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"The only way to win is to not read the crazy, and just fap and/or shlick to the pictures."
- 1 Meaning
- 2 ...So why is this a big deal again?
- 3 Relevance to /tg/
- 4 What do???
- 5 See Also
Skub's final form.
SJW stands for "Social Justice Warrior", a particular kind of individual known for attempts to police the internet and the culture of society as a whole by proxy. The term originated in the late '90s to mid-2000's, where they were originally more neutral and merely annoying advocates of social change. Because being moderate gets you exactly nowhere in politics, they are now completely insane, self-serving harpies with legions of equally insane followers, kinda like a mini-me version of Chaos. Aside from assholes trying to shut up people they're being rude to or who are harmlessly being a bit more politically-correct than them, expect the term to start showing up anytime someone in popular media does or says something considered offensive, whether legitimately so or otherwise.
Similarly, you can expect the thread and any other nearby discussion to be derailed in short order. This can and does often lead to rifts developing in several communities, creators (most often independent ones) facing harassment and death threats, and any legitimate criticisms are sure to get lost in the mix of mob mentality - like most of the internet. There are plenty of examples, but the average fa/tg/uy is unlikely to care about most of them outside of the hobby he's invested his life in, so that's what we'll be talking about today.
Politics and Motivations
SJWs are not enlightenment liberals, and seek to ironically undo many things considered progressive. Most are far leftists with heavy indoctrination in continental philosophy. They oppose almost all of the core values of enlightenment liberalism. In fact many SJWs advocate for policies that are so far left, they appear to loop around to the opposite side of the spectrum:
- Racial segregation is good, for the protection of minorities.
- Gender segregation is good, for the protection of women.
- Sexuality should be suppressed, because sex is oppressive and evil.
- Freedom of expression should be suppressed, because it hurts minorities.
- Cultural mixing and multiculturalism is bad as its 'cultural appropriating' the native culture
- Individualism is bad, people should be judged collectively by their class, race, or sex.
- Meritocracy is bad, people should be given resources based on equality of outcome.
- Cosmopolitanism is bad, cultures should avoid cross contamination so that minority culture is not "whitewashed."
- Religious fundamentalism is ok, as long as it is a "non-white" religion (though ironically Christianity, often perceived as THE "white" religion, originated in the Middle-East with Jesus being Galilean/Israeli).
- Science is bad, because technology is oppression.
- Reason is bad, because (so-called) knowledge and truth are used for domination.
- Democracy is bad, because minorities have no say.
- Violence and coercion is always justified to advance one's politics.
- Removal of legal protections, such as due process, to better prosecute oppressors.
- Free markets are bad, because it doesn't reward the things they like.
- The United States, as the apex of an enlightenment society, is especially bad and oppressive.
A clever reader will note that SJW ideas are almost identical to those of far-right reactionaries, but with a leftist twist. This makes sense, because their philosophies are directly derived from literal card carrying NAZIs, such as Martin Heidegger, and other far right counter-enlightenment intellectuals like Paul de man, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Georges Bataille. In fact, SJW's can be some of the most racist, sexist, bigoted, childish, attention seeking, hypocritical and narcissistic people to exist, at times as bad as the ultra reactionary people they're targeting. This usually stems for the fact that the majority often obsess over problems specifically tied to race or gender some of which are problems that they pulled out of their ass as well as their pretty blatant insecurities. It gets pretty ridiculous if a SJW tries to shame members of a minority for not being outwardly offended about the subject, even if they don't find it offensive in the first place. A most fitting term for SJWs is one coined by some guy recently: The Regressive Left. This term is taking off more than SJW ever did.
Most SJWs are Humanities majors (More specifically Sociology majors, much to the dismay of those studying Journalism, International Relations, Communications, and Law) which means that they have no marketable skills. They are often unemployed or under-employed which gives them plenty of free time to ruminate on their failures, and invent bad guys as the cause of them. They take to the internet and lash out with their hatred and frustration at anyone they perceive as oppressors. Common targets are men, atheists, Christians, whites, scientists, the rich, and republicans. They are especially concerned with "representations" of minorities, and women in media and entertainment.
...So why is this a big deal again?
The major crux of the problem is that SJWs tend to emulate previous moral panics in popular culture, such as the hysteria surrounding hip-hop, rock music and (most relevantly) Dungeons & Dragons - the mostly-Christian right wing of those times believed them to be a gateway to devil worship, and thus eternal damnation. This resulted in changes to many aspects of the game real-life occultism and black magic practices, which mostly consisted of renaming a bunch of shit (e.g. demons and devils were now Tanar'ri and Baatezu). Just replace the religious issues with social ones and you can figure out the rest. Unlike the chucklefucks behind Satanic Panic that nearly killed D&D, however, SJWs largely seek not to ban/boycott the things they don't like, but to "reclaim" those things, bending them to fit their own ideology. Just like last time, the folks in charge of marketing the RPGs sometimes oblige in the hopes of winning them over as customers. It's not uncommon for the folks in charge of marketing to be in on the scam too, but the main goal is almost always to expand an audience that some executive believes ought to be made larger, regardless if said expansion is viable. Let's face it, the people who run Wizards, White Wolf, and the like are businessmen first and foremost; the moment this trend looks like it's not as profitable as they thought, they'll all bail on it.
Relevance to /tg/
For a long time, SJWs mostly focused on comics, movies and video games, leaving traditional gaming be. Over the last few years this has changed, though nobody can really agree on why and it's common to blame one's favorite boogeyman for the mess. Some blame the rise of rules-light games like FATE and Cards Against Humanity for reducing barriers to entry and allowing people with no actual interest in the hobby to claim that they deserve a voice, supported by the fact that the authors of the aforementioned games are pretty damn close to SJWs themselves. Others blame penny-pinching studios for hiring the SJWs (who often have the financial independence to work long hours for pay that career writers would balk at) and giving them free rein in hopes of uncovering a new demographic, some say it's all the Jews' fault, and on and on and on. Fuck knows who's actually right or to what degree. In any case, these days there are a lot more of the rat bastards kicking around, and you can see them everywhere from the publishing house to the convention scene to your very own FLGS. Don't look, but there's one behind you right now.
White Wolf fits somewhere into this mess, but nobody's sure where because they've always been like that.
Common symptoms that your game, setting, or system has been touched inappropriately by SJWs include:
Many games will include a sidebar or other blob of ancillary text to explain the use of pronouns in the rulebook. This in and of itself isn't a sign of fuckwittery and anyone who claims otherwise is probably trolling; publishers have been leaning on writers to avoid gendered language since the 1970s, but that's difficult because English is woefully short on gender-neutral pronouns and phrases. As a compromise, writers will pick an impartial policy like "go with whatever makes the meaning clear" or "the GM is always female" and stick to it. What is a warning sign is when the writers act like picking a female-based pronoun scheme and sticking to it is some kind of great political message. More often than not, this indicates that they unironically think that use of male pronouns is an insult to strong and independent womxn everywhere and being contrarian in some random nerdbook is a blow struck for equality.
A larger red flag is the assertion that playing as a "non-binary" character in the game (as a race with two biological sexes, weird aliens get a pass here) is totally legit in all circumstances, with the subtext that anyone who disagrees is not playing properly and should be shunned as a heretic; this one even managed to make it into the hallowed halls of D&D. (Don't believe me? Check page 122 of the 5th edition PHB.) If the people who insist on this shit actually knew anything about how RPGs work, they would know that if you were trans/genderfluid/non-binary/whatever and wanted your character to reflect that, you could simply discuss it with the group like a mature adult. If the other players aren't douchebags and know you aren't just being difficult they'll likely be plenty willing to work it out with you, either by politely debating how it would fit in with the campaign or by the GM simply altering his existing plans to fit. Shoving it into RAW gives That Guy the green light to facefuck unsuspecting GMs with his nine-dicked space laser dragon who identifies as a Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, because the rulebook says he can. Double whammy if the writers use the contents of a bad Scrabble hand instead of real pronouns when discussing this topic: the infamous "XE, XI, XO, XUM, I SMELL THE BLOOD OF CIS SCUM" tactic. Triple Numberwang if a race or culture in the game's setting uses custom-made artisinal pronouns because they're too special for anything else.
Fade to Brown
SJWs love brown people. Many SJWs are not brown people and feel really bad about it, so they compensate by throwing brown people into every aspect of single project they excrete, ethnogeography be damned. This is why the population of every plane of Magic: The Gathering released after a certain point is at least 40% some generic shade of brown when earlier sets would try to focus on different cultures populated by different-looking people from set to set, such as the Africa-inspired continent of Jamuraa or the vaguely Mediterranean city of Mercadia. The "advantage" of this approach is that SJWs infesting an existing work don't necessarily justify where these random "people of color" came from, and if you complain that it doesn't fit or that their new characters are bad then you're obviously a racist.
The pathological avoidance of anything that might be misconstrued as being sexual in any way, shape, or form. A less common manifestation, this is more frequently associated with either an attempt to make things "family-friendly" or pandering to conservative religious types (see also: devils and demons in DnD becoming baatezu and tanari'i).
Canon magical realm
The opposite of the above. Magical realm baked into the setting, complete with ridiculous fetishes and justification for same. If few to no other indicators are present, this may simply mean the person who made the game, setting, or campaign is just a /d/M. Forgotten Realms is one of the oldest examples of this, though the most blatant magical realm elements of the setting have been heavily sanitized over the years for obvious reasons.
Progress through Guilt
(Stuff to talk about when fleshing out this section, this is just a guideline and will probably be added to)
Pronoun-trouble sidebars (Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, arguably D&D 5th)
- Making everyone brown-skinned for no reason because you're ruining an existing setting or can't be arsed to worldbuild properly (Magic: The Gathering, Curse of Strahd)
- Shoehorned *ism allegories that make approximately negative sense (Eclipse Phase, Pathfinder to an extent)
- Shoehorned LGBTs as a substitute for character development (oh holy fuckballs Pathfinder, MtG thanks to that one tranny in Khans, Android: Netrunner)
- Purging sex from settings to assuage the writers' feels (Pathfinder)
- Pandering to the writer's weird fetishes (Numenara: Love and Sex in the Ninth World)
- Blatant projection on the part of the writers (Pathfinder, Eclipse Phase, Beast: The Primordial)
- Obsession with "the message" over making a good game, with the associated bad design decisions (Beast: The Primordial, bunch of minor games)
- Attempting to guilt-trip players and GMs into being more "politically correct" (read: completely subservient to the SJW's ideology and personal whims)
In case you haven't noticed, these symptoms share a lot in common with a social group suffering from the predations of That Guy. This is not a coincidence.
SJWs and WH40k
Now, you may hear complaints about wargaming, and how it has too much imperialism, war crimes, genocide, religious extremism, xenophobia, abduction, child soldiers, injury and death of minors, religious mind-rape driven war machines, rape, drug abuse, sexual exploitation, supernatural horror, etc. etc. While not mentioned by name, you can imagine they had one particular franchise in mind. Naturally, you can also imagine the lengths they went to in order to completely ignore the entire air of black vs. black morality within the setting itself (with shades of super-dark grey if you're feeling generous).
With that said, the three most common complaints about Warhammer 40,000 are the absence of Female Space Marines, the Sisters of Battle having boob plates and, tied for third, the lack of women and non-white humans in the Imperium going by models and art. Here is a handy quick-list of refutations, to make everyone's lives a little easier:
- Warhammer 40,000 originated as an ironic parody of hard-right authoritarianism, born out of the explosion of progressive UK Sci-Fi and Fantasy that erupted as a reaction to Margaret Thatcher's policies of moral regulation and strong executive power (as well as all the other shit that happened in then-living memory during the 20th Century). Warhammer 40k took the piss out of the conservative UK government in the same way 2000AD did, as satire and cautionary tale - a context that has been lost over time with the growing popularity of the game, the growth of the company itself and the fact that the political climate being satired is no longer dominant in the UK.
- Anyone who actually reads the fluff (i.e. nobody who actually complains about this shit) knows that the Imperium as a body doesn't care about sex or race, because the encroaching forces of grimdark make any form of discrimination impractical. Females regularly participate in every level of Imperial society. The lack of female models is a semi-regular issue that ends up at the feet of GW, who already get enough shit from pearl-clutching moral guardians about Sisters Repentia and Daemonettes to generally want to avoid gender controversy and making "redundant" models. The discrimination that does happen in the Imperium has some credible backing, in that the Imperium is an empire of semi-justified zealots: mutation is a common symptom of exposure to Chaos or other very bad things, so they figure it's best to not take chances. Female Space Marines also have a well-defined fluff reason for not existing, and the section of the actual playerbase that clamors for female Marines generally does so with impure intent.
- Until recently, GW was also terrible at sculpting female characters in most cases; the Sisters of Battle were a rare exception for years, and that's likely because they're just power-armored humans with boobplate.
- GW so rarely listened to their own customers that complaining wouldn't change shit no matter how obvious the problem was. Nowadays there is a better chance for more fan-interaction, but anyone looking for change should be taking it up with GW, not Warhammer fans.
- When it comes to racial representation, it's highly doubtful GW would purposely draw only white male characters out of spite; in fact, they've previously said that their idea was for humanity in 40k to be as ethnically and physically diverse as they are across Earth in real-life. GW said the reason for having majority white people in the art was because the early art teams were small and made art of what they knew (the UK at the time being mostly home to white people) and this pattern just became an unthinking habit. This is typical of a lot of fantasy work, and is at worst 'unconscious bigotry' or whatever as opposed to GW being actively malicious.
- Every Warhammer Fantasy and 40k player knows that GW is simply bad at making writing decisions. Asking for well-written anyone from GW is like praying for a miracle. Furthermore, some of the most interesting characters in Fantasy were female, and got written out of canon as the years went on, so the fans are bitching just as much as any SJW would be, except with a valid fucking reason to be angry.
If you read GW's Annual report: 2015-16, you'll find there was complains about most of the staff being male even back then. To GW's credit, they answered "The Company does not consider that diversity can be best achieved by establishing specific quotas and targets and appointments will continue to be made based on merit." (p.15, if you're bored enough to check). That kinda contradicts with the "principle of boardroom diversity, which was first introduced into the Code in June 2010" mentioned on the same page, but you get it. On the other hand, it should be noted that GW has been somewhat 'addressing' things, in Age of Sigmar anyway; several human models have non-white skin tones in their official paint jobs (and most of them look laughable with it, as they're rocking classical European features. Painting grizzly white doesn't make it a polar bear, you know), the first unhelmed Sigmarine is black, there's more than one model for a Sigmarine woman, and the most promoted faction other than Sigmarines and Khorne is the mostly female Sylvaneth. Meanwhile, GW has promised on social media to "improve female representation" in 40k, specifically referring to reducing "boob-plate" in the miniature line and artwork. This could be leading into practically anything, from more female Guard heads to transgender Battle Sisters and canon Female Space Marines; with all the swings and roundabouts GW's been going through, it's impossible to tell, but whatever happens next you can be sure the skub will be fierce.
HA HA, DISREGARD THAT: Gav Thorpe wrote a recent book (Imperator: Wrath of the Omnissiah) with a Magos who "does not identify as male or female" complete with the use of those bullshit "preferred pronouns" SJWs love so much. Age of Smegmar 2e has a female Stormcast Eternal with warning-coloration hair done up in a Trigglypuff-tier mohawk on the front cover of the BRB, indicating that this might be a plot-important named character. Meanwhile, Warhammer Adventures (aka Warhammer for children ages 8 to 12) is being written by some individuals with rather problematic views, but given the other potential landmines involved the writers' politics are small potatoes.
Long story short?
It's your hobby, any changes you make to doing what you love and loving what you do should be entirely your decision. Stop caring so much about what other people think, let alone some fanbrats and political winglets who don't even give a shit about it to begin with. Anyone who DOES care enough about diverse (and HOPEFULLY well-written) characters and settings will eventually take matters into their own hands and brew some up themselves, as they should. Half the fun of Warhammer is making your armies your own anyway, so why make someone else do the work for you? Feel free to point this out if needed, as some may genuinely not have thought of it. Failing that, recall that the Satanic panic eventually sputtered out as well and trust that the big companies will realize that they will lose more money than they make as their misguided attempts at expanding their audience backfire on them.
The wrong response (and this is almost always true, by the way), is to insult the fans for liking something they don't like. But hey, whatchagonnado? Complaining about people liking something you don't like is almost as popular here as complaining about people not liking something you love. And as long as someone makes their dudes "wrong," someone will always be yelling.
Directly attacking them for their beliefs is the worst possible response. Many of them already think they are persecuted, so the last thing you should do is to prove them right.
Yet again, like most of the internet.
So weigh your options and pick your battles wisely, because God knows these chucklefucks won't.
- pol for the exact same cancer on the other side of the body.