Memes are the 21st century’s Pandora’s Box: once you start using them for a real purpose, they begin to cut in every direction. Don’t get me wrong, as a scurrilous bottom-feeder who attacks people from anonymity, memes are my friends. I have witnessed their birth in the wild and lauded them.
It was only a matter of time before memes that I didn’t like, on the topic of LARP, arose. At first I struggled to understand, rationally, why I didn’t like them. Irrationally I could screech a list a mile long, that’s my specialty! But to write anything cohesive, one has to have at least the semblance of rationality. And for me, that takes time and sometimes liquor to help round off the jagged edges of my anger and bitterness.
But I’m ready to take on that smiling, wretchedly “positive” face of evil.
I know, I know. I said I was done. I closed up shop, turned off the lights, locked all the doors, but as I left my salt factory here at Larp Cynic, I had this sneaking suspicion that I had forgotten something. It wasn’t anything too important, such as my car keys, pants, or handle of vodka, but it nonetheless gnawed at me. The whole drive home. In the weeks since. What could it be?
Oh, right. It’s player agency. Not a big deal, only the most important thing about LARP.
Hoo boy. HOO BOY. These last 4 months have been the longest year, haven’t they?
Every time I try to write a post, a portal to some newer, fresher hell opens. The speed of decay in the larger networked US games is staggering, and I mean staggering. Not to mention I, the bitterest of bloggers, have become obsolete, as memes have taken up the mantle of the drunken diatribes I labored so long and angrily to write.
But that mean, salty fire hasn’t left me yet, so enjoy what may be the final, furious ride of Bitter Bruce.
It’s 2019, and nobody goes outside anymore without putting on their finest set of woke accessories, intellectually purchased from your nearest yellow journalistic rag or angry Facebook post. LARPs are no exception, there is an arms race to seem as tolerant, accommodating and safe as possible, courtesy of a culture of drama and abuse. But like your racist aunt who watches Ellen so she couldn’t possibly be racist (or was it Oprah?), LARPs are merely engaging in a calculated and time honored practice of buck-passing. And the buck is passed, as usual, to players.
If there’s one rule every LARPer knows, it’s this: act like your character, not like yourself. It is more important that costuming, combat or mechanics. Without it, LARP would be an unmasked, ego-centric game of nerdball.
Except that IC doesn’t really exist. It is an illusion, one which prevents us from addressing real problems, and until we toss it in the garbage and examine IC vs OOC critically, we’re dead in the water.
It’s been a chaotic year in the LARP world. Drama, lawsuits, labor changes, exposed abuse, and a massive purge within the Cam of bullies that defies expectations and past history. Yet despite all the public airing of grievances and exposure of misconduct, people still sign up for the same LARPs every month, month after month, as if they are wearing military-grade blinders.
So in the spirit of 2018 and Trump’s America, we’ll start today’s post with a reductive meme which would make me cry, if it weren’t for the massive dose of Thorazine my doctors insist I take.
I haven’t posted in a while. Not for lack of drama, but for an absolute deluge of drama. In such a target rich environment, one does not post lightly. What if I accidentally choose the WRONG drama, and offend the WRONG audience? Who I offend and why is very important. There is honor amongst the salty.
But below is an intriguing fan submission. I have received maybe 7 fan submissions, and they’ve largely been terrible for one reason or another (sorry guys), but this one has a lot of sourcing, humor and relevance. It’s also a behemoth: took me forever to read, and research. Once done though, I was extremely grateful to have received it. It’s very, very interesting. And they even included funny images of their own!
“He hasn’t posted in a while,” you think, “perhaps he’s run out of salt. Perhaps he’s quit LARPing. Perhaps he was hit by a bus.” Think again, reader, for I am made of salt, too stupid to quit, and statistically unlikely to be hit by oncoming traffic.
It’s easy to look at our peers at the ground floor (or penthouse, depending on how stratified and terrible your game is) and see who is toxic and why. But to peer upward into the murky sky above game, and analyze those who run it, is a tougher task. Numerous unsung labors go into managing and running a game, be they site costs, insurance, managing staff and managing expenses. Perhaps that complexity is shield enough from criticism. Or perhaps game runners are too scary to criticize, for they can make or break your social life.
Salt is necessary for water retention, and you are as likely to suffer prolonged dehydration from lack of salt as lack of water: this natural desire for salt is, I assume, why the saltier my posts get, the more they are shared. Wednesday’s post, by measure of sheer view count, must have been salty enough to pickle an entire city’s population.
Happy New Year. I’m back from the holidays with kidneys full of salt and blood pressure higher than Mt. Olympus. So let’s skip past the niceties and dive directly into the 6 categories of swine you endure in LARPs, and more importantly how to defeat them, or if nothing else, survive them.