Friday, February 21, 2014

The MagicGatheringStrat Situation

This post is going to require some context, so bear with me while I provide some backstory.

1. I am Jewish. Both my parents are Jewish. My fraternal grandparents were born in America and my maternal grandparents immigrated to this country  in the 1910s or 20s (details are scarce and they have passed on). Relatives of my Bubbe and Zedde did not escape Europe before the Holocaust and were murdered in Concentration Camps.
I am not Kosher, I was a Bar Mitzvah. I don't go to synagogue but I know many of the prayers. I plan on raising my children Jewish until they are of an age to make their own decisions regarding belief. My parents did this for me and my sister and after her Bat Mitzvah they were far more lax regarding our religion.

2. In the late summer/early fall of 2013 two members of the Pauper community published an article calling me out for my lack of attention to the format. These players, Eric and Jason, were correct and I redoubled my efforts. We became friendly. A few weeks later they published another article calling out other Pauper content creators; many did not take it as I had. Eric and Jason were admittedly harsh and I let them know this. Both of them have worked on their public content quite a bit.
Eric and Jason were writing for Dan's site at the time and there was a falling out. There were accusations from Dan that Eric and Jason were deleting comments that were critical and using the forum section to attack people they did not like. Eric and Jason were basically fired form the site and Dan says this was in part due to his personal value of "Free Speech."

3. Eric has repeatedly made cutting remarks towards a content creator Dan. Personally I do not like Dan's content, but Eric's remarks can be seen as excessively harsh. I don't begrudge them their grudge.

4. During the fall of 2013, Dan was posting links to some material I thought was sexist and degrading to women (specifically links to Anime style alters that had gratuitous panty shots and unnecessary cleavage). I posted, on his site's Facebook page, that I thought that those pictures were out of place and could be driving away potential fans. We had a somewhat heated conversation which resulted in my comments being removed from the page and my ability to comment as Alex Ullman - MTG revoked. During our debate Dan defended his right to post the pictures as Free Speech.

A few weeks ago I misheard something on the "Just Another Magic Podcast." I thought they were comparing Eric to Hitler. Commendably, the hosts defended their cast and took it down to provide a transcript. They then reposted it with the transcript and I saw I had made an error. I apologized. We had an amicable interaction about the situation. 
Dan went on the podcast and the following clip ended up in my inbox:

Dan says: "If you had compared Eric [last name and MTGO name redacted] to Hitler that would have been very unfair to Hitler,"

This statement did not sit well with me. Regardless of our relationship, no one deserves to be compared to Hitler. Not only that but Dan's statement makes light of the Holocaust and the extermination of 12 million people.
Being clear: Dan has every right to be upset with Eric. Dan has every right to use hyperbole to make a point.
Dan also should have to answer for what he says. Freedom of speech does not equate freedom of consequences of that speech. One of these consequences was one website removing Dan's content. The content manager defended this as saying he did not want the site associated with someone who made those statements.
The content manager (also a friend) was questioned and I came to his defense. This is when the shit hit the fan.
Dan's statement hurt me. Dan's statement makes light of the death of 12 million people and 6 million Jews. My family and the family of my significant other both lost members. Some bloodlines were exterminated from the face of the Earth and countless other atrocities were committed against people of all creeds, sexual and affectionate orientations, and physical ability. I do not find Hitler or Holocaust jokes funny. 
Dan is basically saying that someone who makes him upset is worse than one of the greatest mass murderers in history.
You can see the conversation unfold here across multiple posts and replies: 

This is not funny. This kind of speech pushes people away and makes light of a horrible moment in world history. I am tired of being told what to feel about what Dan said. Dan said something that hurt me (much like Eric said stuff that hurt Dan). Dan decides to retaliate and in the process I (and presumably others) are offended. I stand up and ask why and Dan has retreated from the Facebook page leaving others to defend him.

Maybe I am overreacting to this but I don't think so. Magic is a community and everyone should feel welcome in it. Comments like the ones made in that podcast and the links to sexist Anime alters drive people away from the game. I can't think of any successful website that has gotten to that point by driving away potential consumers.

I wrote this to explain my side. Dan can be angry at Eric. But right now I am appalled at Dan, as is my right. This is my free speech and I fully expect there to be consequences from it.

Because when someone publishes content, people are allowed to react.