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With Our Powers Combined

January 2, 2013

Blerd Chick Stories and How To Tuesday combine to form one Super Awesome Mecha Post! And my ass forms blazing sword from the jump. (Yes, I know, I’m posting this on Wednesday but I honestly found the title and the idea of a Super Awesome Mecha Post so amusing that I cheated, since I’m writing this Tuesday evening. JUST READ IT AND STOP TRYING TO STEAL MY JOY!)

Presenting: Blerd Chick Stories: Sometimes A Game Is Just A Game And Sometimes Your Friends Are Just Assholes. How To: Tell The Difference

One thing I did not expect was my innocuous little Giftmas Facebook post to lead to a massive avalanche of drama. “Yay! Cards Against Humanity!” doesn’t seem like it would bring about the digital shitstorm that fell upon me, does it? I expected responses of “Cool!” or, at worst, “Meh.” What I did not expect was any variation of “OMG HOW COULD YOU PLAY THAT GAME? IT SO RACIST!SEXIST!HOMOPHOBIC!” followed by multiple horror stories in my inbox.

cardsagainsthumanity

If the judge’s Grandma just died of cancer the person who played this is an asshole.

First of all, thank you, people who are my friends, for not setting fire to my Giftmas Facebook post. I would have been less than pleased if the people who gave the game to us had been made to feel uncomfortable for buying it. Second, I essentially got a research assignment for Giftmas, which is kind of ideal if you know me. So, you all sort of got me a present too.

Of course, I did the research because I’m me and I’m the chick who does the research. The first thing I found out was that this game is apparently super hard to get because it pretty much sells out as soon as it is restocked. So thanks extra, A-‘s brother and sister-in-law! Also, this game was made by high school students or possibly very recent graduates depending on which version of the history you read, which explains a lot.

Cards Against Humanity is essentially NC-17 Apples to Apples. For those of you who don’t know what that means, basically, one person reads off a card and the other people play a card from their hand in an effort to create the most amusing answer. There’s an element of strategy involved because each player takes a turn as the judge so you have to be aware of and in tune with the other people around you and their feelings.

Let me run that one by you again because this seems to be the crux of the problem that people have with this game. You have to not be a douche while interacting with people. What is confusing?

The stories that I heard were all pretty similar. A group of people were playing, someone played a card that the person telling the story found really offensive, they pointed out how racist/sexist/whatever-ist that play was and the person who played the card gave no fucks. Sometimes they tried to deflect with “It’s just a game,” or “I was kidding.” Sometimes the other players jumped in with admonishments for the person telling the story to “lighten up.” As a result the people telling me these stories all concluded that Cards Against Humanity is really a horrible game. That conclusion is wrong.

The correct conclusion would be that the people telling me these stories need better friends because the people they’re playing with are assholes. I don’t care if the box says “A Party Game For Horrible People,” if they’re deliberately hurting your feelings, and they don’t apologize and fucking stop hurting your feelings, then your friends are just assholes.

Any game can go up a few ratings depending on the people. I’ve played some pretty lewd and edgy versions of Apples to Apples. That happens when you know and trust the people that you’re playing with. And that’s the key. Trust. Don’t assume that the Person of Color or the woman or the queer or whoever is going to be fine with whatever you say, just because you’re playing a game. If the act of playing a game removed all the rules of basic decent behavior every MMO in the universe wouldn’t have harassment codes and ignore functions.

Look, humor is situational. I expect that a group of middle class, white, cis-gendered, straight, males, the group this game was largely created by and for, are going to have different ideas of what is funny that say, me. or the people who wrote to me about their hatred of the game. I get that. When you join a table top gaming group of any kind and you’re not white, male, cis, straight, and at least middle class-ish, you are often the odd man out. I get that as well. Having an odd man in a group means it’s going to take a little time to adjust. Mistakes happen. So, that rape joke DudeBro made last week that everyone thought was the funniest thing evahr, may not be so funny to the woman that just started playing. Why? Possibly, because she’s one of the 1 in 3 women who have survived sexual assault. Possibly, because she knows one of those women. Possibly, although unlikely, she doesn’t know one of those women and yet she understands that rape jokes are a tough needle to thread and DudeBro probably can’t thread it. The same is true of racial jokes. And seriously, if you make excuses for your racism, you’re pretty much giving me and any other PoC  permission to punch you in the throat until you squeak out an apology.

So fine, you’ve made a mistake. What do you do?

It’s not that difficult to avoid being an asshole. Here is a simple formula; If a thing you have said hurts someone, you have two choices. You can apologize and fucking stop doing that thing or you can keep doing that thing which means you’re being the asshole. Specific to this game, you can choose not to  play the card that makes the racist/sexist/whatever-ist joke or you can be an asshole. I don’t care how funny you think it would be, if you know it’s going to hurt a person, do not be an asshole. The fact that it’s “a game for horrible people,” is not an excuse for you to be horrible to people.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2013 6:30 PM

    Grrrr… I had a reasonably eloquent reply that somehow disappeared. I can sum it up with one question:

    Why is easier to accept the label “oversensitive” than it is to apply the label “asshole”?

    • January 2, 2013 7:53 PM

      Because it’s always the second person who is admonished. The person being the asshole is always give a by. It’s the person pointing it out who everybody turns on.

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