John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 131: Mummy, Are You A Princess Too?

by on Apr.08, 2013, under Rum Doings

Heaven high. It’s episode 131 of Rum Doings, in which we don’t discuss what to do with the interest rates. And then despite Nick’s insistence before we started recording that he didn’t want to, he then insists on talking about John’s misogyny/sexism article on RPS for about forty million years. We do also discuss other more important matters, such as The Golden Girls, accidental upgrades, and My Little Pony.

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19 Comments for this entry

  • Evert

    I have enjoyed John’s articles on women in gaming, and I feel a little bad for never commenting or sending a message of support before.

    There is one frequent criticism that I see that I haven’t seen directly answered, which is always along the lines of: “Why should I have to put up with feminism on a video games site”.

    It confuses me because I never see that argument made on articles about (say) board games or the Sunday Papers, or even the articles you ran poaching an egg or recreating recipes from Wow ( which I think Quinns wrote).

    Is it just “girls in gaming” articles that argument is made against.

    (sorry if that was rambling, I am writing in a world of distractions at the moment. I hope you understand what I mean.)

  • Steve

    This episode inspired me to watch the Tropes vs Women video again. And also, in the interest of challenging my preconceptions I tried watching some of the rebuttal videos. I got around two minutes into the first video before I became so angry that I couldn’t go on. The argument the made was so stupid that it just couldn’t have been intended honestly.

    Half an hour later when I’d calmed down I went back and the NEXT argument was even EQUALLY as ludicrous. I’m furious now. And glad that John is willing to engage with these idiots because I sure as hell am not.

    I don’t understand Nick’s comments regarding the tropes vs women video. Nick says that there are rhetorical flaws in the video that undermine the argument. The only one he mentions as far as I could tell was cherry picking of examples. I don’t think that a case for cherry picking can be made. The video shows dozens of examples of the trope and makes it clear that there’re literally hundreds of examples over the time period covered by the first video.

    The possible counter examples are a tiny, insignificant minority as any long time gamer will be acutely aware.

  • Alex

    The impression I got from Anita Sarkeesian’s new video was that it was intended to be “Babbys first deconstruction” and not a novel take on misogynist video game tropes. So, like a lazy intro-to textbook, it glosses over little niggling details that the author doesn’t feel the audience needs to know. I hope she’ll move on to more nuanced arguments in future instalments that.

    Also, was Cara Ellison not mentioned as a great RPS hire because she’s only freelancing?

  • Tim

    As someone who grew up playing games in the C=64 era and particularly enjoyed old school RPGs and adventure games on the PC in my teens, I can empathise with the argument that “A larger audience will result in the games I like no longer being made”.

  • Evert

    I’ve never heard of these shower vortex things :-(

    Clearly I got a defective wife.

  • Disagreeable Me

    I really enjoy listening to Nick’s contrary nit-picking of John’s arguments, even while he seems to broadly agree with John on broad attitudes.

    I’m quite like this myself too. It’s quite irritating to a lot of people, but I think it’s helpful in clarifying issues.

    For example, gay marriage. I’m a supporter, as is Nick, but I would agree with Nick that there is nothing inherently inconsistent in the viewpoint of the religious anti-gay-marriage lobby.

    If you start from the assumption that homosexuality is sinful and repugnant (which I do not), then there is a rational argument to be made that gay marriage degrades the institution of marriage itself.

    If you regard your marriage as a sacred covenant before God, then you want society as a whole to recognise the holiness of your commitment to each other. Referring to a “sinful” union with the same word tarnishes the concept as a whole and devalues all marriage, stripping it of its holiness in the eyes of others.

    This is because it is actually possible for the value of what you have to be diminished by giving the same to those who you believe don’t deserve it.

    This is why there are strict controls over wine labeling, and why John feels his profession is devalued by the practice of certain commercial websites featuring content produced by unpaid aspiring writers. It’s why fake academic journals and degree mills are a problem.

    So my reasons for supporting gay marriage are probably different from John’s. I don’t think it diminishes straight marriage, not because this is nonsensical on the face of it, but because I do not regard it as sinful or repugnant in the first place and see it as no more or less holy than straight marriage.

    I probably would feel that marriage as a whole would be devalued if we legalised the marriage of people to animals, for example. How about you, John?

  • Gassalasca

    Dear god, Step By Step. I watched when I was roughly the same age as Nick was when he watched it, only I’m ten years younger, and the show came a bit late to my backwater.

  • Alex

    “I’m quite like this myself too. It’s quite irritating to a lot of people, but I think it’s helpful in clarifying issues.”

    I guess is comes down to which definition of consistency you’re using. Does their position on gay marriage logically flow from their scripture? Are they content to live by their own creed, or do they feel the need to apply God’s laws for everyone? Do they have the same amount of zeal when it comes to other actions that contravene their interpretation of biblical marriage?

    The sticking point for me is that last one. Like you said, if someone really buys into the conservative definition of holy matrimony, then same-sex marriage isn’t the only thing tarnishing the institution; sodomy, adultery and divorce are threats as well. Why, liberal churches even commit blasphemy when endorsing the union of loose-minded individuals- their cavalier approach to marriage sullies the whole concept, and so do all those secular ceremonies taking place in city halls and court houses.

    If they don’t follow through, the argument falls apart. Marriage, as it exists today, might be loosely tied to their definition, but there are enough areas that conflict with their views that campaigning against only one would be hypocritical.

    Perhaps same-sex marriage deserves *so* most attention because it’s the most egregious violation of God’s will. Maybe the people running the campaigns realise that it’s easier get results if you target a small group of people, and that more general complaints will only hamper their cause. Either way, it doesn’t really jive with the whole principle-stand/martyrdom angle that Christianity is supposed to based on.

  • Steve

    Alex – I don’t know to what niggling little details you’re referring. I’d appreciate it if you could point out a couple of concrete examples. I really want to understand this issue in depth.

  • Disagreeable Me


    All good points. There are many reasons anti-homosexual discrimination is wrong.

    I’m just not sure that I agree with John when he says it is obviously nonsensical to claim that homosexual marriage diminishes heterosexual marriage.

    If you start from an anti-homosexual position in the first place, it seems to me to be reasonable to see homosexual marriage as harmful to the institution.

  • Iain

    If you start from the position that the state ought to be liberal and not care about what people do in their own homes though. Which most anti-homosexual people seem to hold.

    Then you do end up in a contradictory position. As you ought to also oppose all homosexuality, sex outside marriage, marriages not of your religion. I think however that the vast majority of people do hold some liberal principles about private lives.

  • Nick Mailer

    Gassalasca: This is a useful antidote. Completely traditional sitcom, but done with much more panache; it’s like a little play;

  • John Walker

    @Alex – yes, Cara is a freelancer. We have many amazing freelancers.

  • John Walker

    @ Tim – Well, that’s a pretty ignorant argument! Since there are very many amazing old-school RPGs about, and in development.

  • John Walker

    @Disagreeable Me – You’re simply stating it too! What is the rationale that allows homosexual marriage to be harmful?

  • Jack

    It would be super super awesome if you could try and reduce the file size a bit without compromising quality – perhaps by recording in mono – your audient is using an exploitative satellite internet connection from darkest ruralest Tasmania. (Although by the time you release your next episode I hopefully will be living in a house with a nice ADSL connection.)

  • Nick Mailer

    We could easily reduce the filesize without affecting the quality, but John encodes and is scared of doing anything beyond defaults. I will teach him.

  • Disagreeable Me

    “@Disagreeable Me – You’re simply stating it too! What is the rationale that allows homosexual marriage to be harmful?”

    I thought I explained that. I gave several analogies.

    If you want a more formal argument I’ll make an effort.

    Premise 1: Some of the meaning and value of marriage comes from the recognition by society of a sacred union between two people. That is to say, the institution of marriage would be harmed if its recognition as sacred by society were diminished.

    Premise 2: The recognition of [category X] as [adjective Y] is diminished whenever a [Z] which is not [Y] is recognised as [X]. (For example, the recognition of [Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée Wine] as [Exquisite] is diminished whenever a [Bad Wine] which is not [Exquisite] is recognised as [Appellation Bordeaux Contrôlée Wine].)

    Premise 3: Homosexual unions are not sacred (in fact they are downright evil and sinful).

    Statement 1: From P2 and P3, substituting [Homosexual Union] for [Z], [Sacred] for [Y] and [Marriage] for [X], “The recognition of [Marriage] as [Sacred] is diminished whenever a [Homosexual Union] which is not [Sacred] is recognised as [Marriage]”

    Statement 2: From P1 and P2, diminishing the recognition of marriage as sacred harms the institution of marriage.

    Conclusion: From S1 and S2, allowing homosexual marriage harms the institution of marriage.

    Again, I want to insist that I disagree with the conclusion, but mainly because I reject P3 – homosexuality is not sinful and is not even especially regarded as sinful by society any more.

    I also reject P1 – as an atheist I do not value the recognition of marriage as sacred. I value instead the recognition by society of my commitment to my wife.

    I do however think that P2 is correct, and this is why it is not irrational for religious conservatives who believe P1 and P3 to hold that homosexual marriage is harmful.

    P2 seems clear to me as illustrated in the wine example. Similarly, the value of a PhD is diminished if an ignoramus can buy one online. I’m just making the same argument for marriage.

    I hope that makes the argument a bit clearer. I really don’t think I’m just simply stating the conclusion.

  • Disagreeable Me

    Darn, failed to notice after editing a bit that Statement 2 is redundant. It’s just a summarisation of P1, and you can replace it with P1.