I worded that post badly, I'm sorry. I'm really tired. I intended to ask what you thought of the game and give my opinion as well, but since you already answered that much I won't bother now. Again, sorry man.
Nah it’s no biggie. Again, sorry for picking on you. It’s cool, we all got opinions and stuff. But it’s just weird how games and stuff require other people to tell other people that they’re wrong.
Man, I REALLY wish Destiny didn't suck as bad as it did. I still can't believe Bungie screwed up so bad after making all those Halos and having as long as they did to develop it. At least the character designs are cool looking.
Not to make pick on you, okay sorry maybe just a little. But why come to me with this comment? I was pretty sure it’s clear I was a fan. And still am a fan. And I am playing frequently and consistently enjoying my time with it. I will very likely buy the season pass. And I am looking forward to completing more missions with my friends soon.
I’m into the lore. I explore the caves. I like the loot. I really love the gameplay. And I find the grind rewarding. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth. And I’m just surprised how often people need to tell others how much it sucks. What do you get from doing this? If you can’t see why people like playing the game, I don’t get what other people get from coming to fans and going “I sure didn’t like what you like.”
It’s like going into an Italian Restaurant and saying, I really prefer Chinese Food.
Even if you did not see this post, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the argument. For the sake of clarity, I’ll try to sum it up:
A: My creative output of choice affects the attitudes and perspective of the consumer. Therefore, as a creator, I have a responsibility not to influence my audience in ways that encourage negative beliefs and actions. Actively or passively encouraging antisocial behavior does, and should, have social consequences. In some cases, there should be economic or legal consequences.
B: The idea that I am obligated to encourage prosocial behavior (or, at least, not to actively or passively encourage antisocial behavior) is inherently limiting. Furthermore, nothing about being an artist suggests that I am obligated to weigh in on moral issues. I am not responsible for how people interpret, or act on, what I create. Being obligated to avoid any narratives which may encourage antisocial behavior (inadvertently or otherwise) infringes on my freedom of speech.
Personally, I think all acts have inherent moral weight (whether you mean for them to, or not), so the idea that an artist is not “obligated to weigh in on moral issues” is perhaps true, but irrelevant. Morality is in the eye of the beholder - regardless of what my intent may have been, you, the consumer, are free to interpret anything I have created in any way that suits you. You aren’t just free to do that; it’s likely that you are inclined to do it, so whether I am or am not obligated to make moral statements or push any particular agenda is really aside the point. You’re going to make judgments and create a moral narrative because that’s what you’ve evolved to do; there is nothing I can do about that.
I’d also argue that I am responsible for the content of what I created. I am responsible for my own intent regarding said content. I am not responsible for how you interpret said content; however, I am responsible for how I react to your interpretation. To use an example from the post linked above - if I write a book from the perspective of a school shooter, and the book is found among the belongings of an actual school shooter, I can (hopefully) decide whether I want to do anything about this. I certainly could not impel somebody to shoot up a school with my book, but I could later choose to withdraw said book from circulation.
Since I believe in creator responsibility, it might appear that I would fall in line with claim A, which, by the way, I do not think is (usually) a call for censorship. It turns out that I do not. I absolutely do not, and cannot. The reason is simple: we do not agree on what constitutes prosocial behavior. Additionally, the sort of absolutist moral universalism that makes encouraging social, economic, and even legal consequences for antisocial narratives rational, runs largely in opposition to the intersectional worldview that people making claim A typically espouse.
(What I’m saying is that a truly intersectional outlook requires moral relativism, but enforcing the social, economic, and legal consequences of “antisocial narratives” in a consistent and rational fashion requires one to assert that a particular moral outlook is Correct, while others require punitive action. This is not relativistic. It is absolutist moral universalism in service of progressive politics.)
While I do believe that social consequences can be appropriate (inasmuch as they ever are; one is always allowed to dislike things), I believe that legal consequences for antisocial narratives are ultimately counterproductive.
I do not trust others to dictate to me what is morally right. I was not put on this Earth to tell my neighbors from other countries, what is morally right. In a world where Good means different things to different people, a society that values and protects free speech is the best possible architecture in which to promote diversity. This is the only way to guarantee that we can continue to speak for ourselves.
I’m gonna get back to just bein’ a drawing blog soonish but here’s a post by a really good artist that I also largely agree with.
I’ll just put it out there, I don’t consider putting thought into the social ramifications of what you create “censorship”, it’s more like editing, and editing is a necessary part of creating the best possible product. Comparing that kind of self-editing to censorship is akin to encouraging people to speak without a social filter. You don’t always need to say the first thing that comes to your head, you can take a minute to consider “how necessary is what I’m about to say?”, “How likely is this idea to be misconstrued?”, “How can I communicate these sentiments more clearly?” It is entirely possible to over-edit and lose your voice, but nothing ever comes out flawless on the first draft.
The big thing I’ve learned in nearly five years of making MGDMT is to never underestimate an audience’s ability to not get a joke. Like, even the simplest, most straightforward gag I can possibly write will inevitably leave someone asking me what it’s supposed to mean, and it’s trained me to think much more clearly about the way I handle these comics. Sometimes I feel like I don’t wrap thing up as punchy as I could have, or like I’ve added a line of dialogue too many, but I do it because that’s the difference between one person saying “I don’t get it” and ten people saying “I don’t get it”. Sometimes people will flat out completely miss the point of something and I have to look at “okay, how did this misunderstanding happen and how much responsibility do I have to clarify it”. I’ve definitely done some comics where I cringe at how thick I’m laying on the moral, but it’s because of trial and error of communicating with this audience that I’ve learned where I have to explicitly hold people’s hands through what I’m trying to say to cut down on misinterpretation as much as possible. And it’s all about what the end goal is to the creator how much that needs to happen. What is important to you? Communicating your specific brand of humour or communicating your overarching message? What balance of give and take between the two do you need to strike to create the balance you’re comfortable with? There are absolutely times where I’ll come up with a joke and think “There is too much potential for this to read in a way I don’t want” or “I’m not sure the general audience I’m presenting this to has proven themselves mature enough to take this message the way I intend for them to” and end up leaving that joke on the cutting room floor. That’s just editing.
I’ve heard this sort of debate in relation to Buddhist swastikas among Japanese film and comic makers. Some artists decide that the swastika is such a powerful symbol to Western audiences that regardless of its actual meaning to the culture the book is coming from it will cause a distraction for Westerners and evoke certain emotions that were not intended. They feel the imagery makes it difficult for them to communicate the correct emotional atmosphere they want in the scene to this foreign audience, so they give localizers their blessing to edit the swastikas for English releases. Other creators say “this is my culture, if someone from another country wishes to consume it it is their responsibility to educate themselves enough to understand what our iconography means.” Other creators do not want their work to leave Japan at all, because they don’t want to deal with potential cultural misunderstandings in any capacity. At a film festival I went to in Toronto once, the head of the department responsible for arranging their Asian cinema night gave a speech about how difficult it can be to get Japanese directors to allow American festivals to show their films because they don’t want to deal with those unintended messages. The movie they screened came with a letter from the director explaining aspects of the film he was concerned were going to offend North Americans and what aspects of Japanese culture they were intended to satirize. Other directors don’t want to deal with this headache at all.
In that case it’s totally up to the creator to look at the audience they have, the audience they want to have, and what ideas are important to them to communicate and decide what they need to edit or not edit to get that across. It’s easy enough to say “follow your vision”, but if you give your vision a couple new drafts and make sure you understand how people who live outside your head are potentially going to interpret it, you’re doing yourself nothing but favours.
Agreed actually. For the most part I think we’re coming from the same ideals, I just might have different priorities. I was a little worried when an earlier part of the conversation seemed to be heading towards “artists have a moral obligation to do something,” and I had to shoot back. Creators don’t really have a moral obligation to do anything. They often have a commercial obligation or even an obligation to themselves to do better work. But I get worried when some things get said about working for the common good. Reminds me too much of the Comics Code.
Please do, think about what your work says. Even if you’re aiming to shock and or be offensive to things you don’t agree with, it’s usually worth it to take a moment and figure out if you can say it better, more clearly. Or even whether or not you should say it at all.
Do you feel like you’ve done this, or is then an example that sparked this question other than Rorschach?
This is long so I’ll drop it under a cut
Honestly, I was thinking about the recent episode of South Park and…
A fantastic and insightful look at character creation and direction in storytelling. As a storyteller, this is vitally important reading, particularly if you (like me) are fascinated by grey morality stories and anti-heroes. Comics are an amazing medium because we have the creative control to present life as we see it, free of much of the censorship that more ‘mainstream’ mediums endure. However, this doesn’t give us a license to create just anything - we have to knowingly consider what an audience will take away from our work. People may identify with characters in a different way than we intended. Short of launching yourself from a computer monitor, shouting “Don’t like this character, they’re a TERRIBLE EXAMPLE,” the best you can do is create with consideration and empathy, and try to make people think.
I wouldn’t normally throw my hat into this ring because, well one normally I keep my big trap shut, but two I agree with most everything Coela and Emily have said. It is a good and noble thing to consider the consequences of what we create. It is great to promote positive agendas we have for our audience. Interesting and good things with strong positive messages that don’t bore people, are things that should be widely celebrated and taken as examples that better society as a whole.
But I am a free speech purist through and through. I don’t think artists need a license to create anything. Kids emulating Cartman, angsty teens quoting Rorschach, blue meth existing in the real world now because of Walter White, for sure these aren’t necessarily good things. But they exist because each of these characters fulfill the one and only duty successful art has. The only thing close to an actual obligation for an artist, is to create interesting things for interested people. That’s even if those people are only in it for themselves. And as artists we don’t even have to do that basic task, if we don’t feel up to it.
Personally, I think there is so much more we could do to celebrate art with positive messages for people. Clearly we are also free to create art that focuses on good and noble traits, that promote a better world around us. But I don’t think that’s art’s responsibility. It is something art can do. But it isn’t necessarily something art should have to do.
This isn’t me saying that as people we shouldn’t criticize things on whether or not they positively contribute to the world at large. But it’s not the job of the artist to be a positive contribution. We have to understand this, at least because everyone’s definition of “positive” is so very different.
On a personal level, as a creator, I try (though I don’t always succeed) to sticking to some of the positive principles lain out. I like to include different races and creeds. I hope I’m being sex/sexy positive (most of the time). I like things that promote discussion of topics or express curiosity, but it’s okay if I want to be simpler too. I’ve done some “bad” with some “good.” And I hope the world is more interesting for it. But if I wanted to create a “funny” or “sympathetic” racist homophobic despicable villain because a story would be better with them in it, I’d sure as hell do it.
It’s not in the artist’s job description to be good citizens. This doesn’t preclude you from being a “good one.” This doesn’t mean we ignore criticism of the “bad ones.” But please create whatever you want. We’ll fight with you later on the field of ideas rather than on your drafting table.
Hi Psuedo. I remember way back when you were working on a comic called Salamander. Have you ever thought of chucking it up on tumblr like you did with Cassiopeia Quinn?
There’s been a lot of interest in seeing Salamander again, but mostly from folks on tumblr who (like us) were looking forward to it.
I don’t think, at the moment, I could see the comic continuing. But there’s probably no reason we shouldn’t just publish what we have. I think it was mostly my fault we haven’t simply done so, for so long.
Psu and I have actually had really serious conversations about this (because we’re silly, silly people)!
We decided on Janet Varney, who you may know as the voice of Korra, but not for the reasons you might think. We like her cheery, comedic voice, the one she uses when doing a purely comedic role, or in her Rifftraxes. It’s distinctive, it’s boisterous, it can jump between kindly and zany in the space of a sentence. Just right.
Now, obviously, one of the cool things about comics is that you can imagine whatever voice for the characters works best for you. Still, please feel free to be influenced by this choice when you read Cassiopeia Quinn if it enhances your experience at all. Or tell us what your ideas are! This kinda thing is fun.
This is the second time in as many years that 9/11 completely snuck up on me and I hadn’t thought anything about it. I only mention it because, hell, I happen to be on “vacation” and I’ve got the time.
My primary concerns today were some paperwork, relaxing with some vidya games, and the kinda related news coming out of Iraq and Syria. It wasn’t too long ago when today’s date would come by and I’d have some kinda personal vigil playing in my head over and over again. And now, well, scars heal I guess. Freedom Tower still looks super weird from here.