You Say Po-tay-to, I Say Po-tah-to

Scott, of World of Thool, writes, in Dropping out of the Old School

JimLotfP has written an “us vs. them” opinion piece over at Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Jim’s blog is one of my daily early-morning Google Reader destinations. From what I’ve seen, I genuinely like him, I suspect we’d get along just fine in real life, and I especially enjoy the effect his posts have on the excitable.

However, Jim’s post today highlights why I’m not part of the “Old School Renaissance” and my name can safely be stricken from the rolls. I refuse to serve in the Edition Wars. If necessary, I can have my insignia ripped from me in a humiliating divestiture ceremony, complete with expectoration.

The whole enterprise seems exhausting and silly. I do very much think of my setting project as, in a way, my reaction against gaming consumerism, including my own. I react the same way fairly often in real life. I don’t find it distressing that people buy stuff — I’m firmly in the capitalist camp, and a great fan of buying stuff. I find it distressing that people buy stupid, superfluous, low-quality stuff, and they do it reflexively.

My feeling is that you shouldn’t take this kind of stuff too much to heart.

Have you ever seen some real baseball fans arguing over the Designated Hitter rule? Passionately believing X is better than Y for reason Z and arguing about it seems to be part of the pleasure of being a fan. It’s Kirk vs. Picard. Batman vs. Superman. First Gundam vs. Mobile Fighter G-Gundam. (Sorry, very obscure joke.)

People can be assholes about they way the argue about it, particularly on the Internet where you’re arguing with strangers instead of your friends, but simply arguing about it doesn’t make you an asshole per se.

I think JimLofP is nuts if he thinks the “Old School Renaissance” is anything more than some people using the power of the Internet to connect with others way out there in the end of the long tail. Hey! There are other people out there who are still into this old version? Cool!  That’s the thing about the long tail…you don’t need to convert a single gamer from 4e in order for Old School to thrive, not even if you assume that people only have time for one or the other.  All you need is a way for the people with minority tastes to find each other.

So I think it’s a bit of an overreaction to repudiate the Old School tag if that something that can help congenial people find your blog, enjoy what’s written there, and maybe contribute to the conversation.  You might even meet up with them in person and be able to game with them.  I can see from the blogs I read that’s happened to several of them already in different parts of the world.  If I find myself in Chicago or Toronto, for instance, with some free time, I know who I’m going to try to look up and sit in on a game with.  And that’s because I’ve found them through their interest in Old School play, even though that’s not necessarily their exclusive interest, and it’s certainly not mine.

If there’s any windmill more hopeless to tilt at than “Someone is wrong on the Internet!”, it’s “Someone is arguing on the Internet!”

But Oh, If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part
And Oh, If we part it would break my heart…

3 thoughts on “You Say Po-tay-to, I Say Po-tah-to

  1. Hey, Joshua.

    I don’t guess I’m actually repudiating anything, because I’ve never felt comfortable with the whole “old school” tag, and I don’t think I’ve ever typed “Old School Renaissance” without the scare quotes.

    (When it appears without the quotes, it’s a safe bet there’s a link to the right where you can buy something.)

    I’ll still be doing exactly what I’ve been doing, and reading and commenting on other folks’ blogs. I’m just not hopping on the War Wagon. 🙂

    Scott’s last blog post..Dropping out of the Old School

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