I’m back from Blizzcon and in true con fashion, I came home with a tiny attached guest – the common cold. So I’m sitting in my alliance hoodie with a box of tissue soul-bound to my hand. In spite of the backlog of work emails sitting in my inbox, I’m actually glad for the respite and rest, even if it does involve nails in the back of my throat.
Blizzcon was a whirlwind of 17 hours days, goggling at gorgeous cosplay, being Canadian in an American’s world (“It’s in the bowl over there.” “Bull?” “Bowl.” “Bull??” “No, the bowl. BOWL.”) and awesome panels. But.
(Trigger warning for suicide after the jump.)
UPDATE: Mike Morhaime’s official apology. So glad that this had a satisfactory resolution!
Strangely, when the Corpsegrinder incident occurred, I was taking advantage of the (supposedly) shorter lines for the Diablo III demo with Apple Cider Mage and sucksmybrain about the Lore Q&A discussion around explicit LGBT characters in upcoming WoW stories, and how excited we’d all be if that came true. We tossed around cheery ideas about Quae and Kinelory, Koltira and Thassarian, Sassy Hardwrench (come on, with a name like that, you know Sassy is an enterprising young gay goblin.) To come out from that discussion to find that degrading homophobia was being played, promoted and even implicitly supported by the Blizzard team at the same time we were feeling hopeful about being represented by a major gaming company we loved and supported… saying it was a crushing blow is putting it mildly.
It’s possible that the banality of evil is a trite phrase, but I don’t think anything sums up better the conflation of the excellent time I had at Blizzcon, meeting interesting and passionate people from both the company and the fan base and then being reminded that deep down, many people still believe that LGBT individuals are less deserving of human dignity – the same people you might have been sharing a joke with, or commiserating with over the unfairness of the Forsaken’ lot in the Warcraft universe – it creates a wrenching divide within you. It’s flipping over a shiny dollar you found on the ground and seeing a giant stinkbug on the other side.
In the interest of fairness, L90ETC released an apology via the forums last night. I appreciate, at the very least, they acknowledge that they caused the offence, as opposed to the usual weasel words of “I’m sorry YOU were offended.” Sometimes, I remember how much of a struggle it is for someone to try and see privileges they have – privilege, the insidious, nearly invisible thing we try so hard to pretend we don’t hold it – but then I remember that these were uncensored slurs and suicides jokes aired in a space filled with a mob that took the idea that these are okay things to joke about to heart. A crowd that contained LGBT youth who also took the words to heart, in a completely different way. And it takes my breath away that people are still blind to how dangerous this was, after a vigorous and well-publicized campaign about suicide rates among LGBT youth.
I’m not even mad? I’m just sad, and disappointed. This is a company that’s been directly responsible for my entrance into PC gaming back in 2000 with Diablo II. This is a place where I’d hoped to work someday if the stars align. The WoW community has kept my head up and my heart thrumming through tough times because of my connection to wonderful people and excellent guilds. Blizzcon was an amazing experience, and I promise to blog about the good too! But like my friend at Decoding Dragons says, you’ve gotta purge the bad blood first.
Blizzcon 2011, Day One and Day Two