It strikes me that privilege is an invisible thing to those who have it. I personally am not an expert in detecting it but I at least have a clue that it does exist and it does inform my thoughts and perceptions. And that I have to be careful lest it lead me astray. Having said that, I feel it is important to talk about my thoughts concerning certain recent changes on DriveThruRPG.
Lately this website where I sell my books have come under criticism for their handling of some unacceptable material they were selling for a publisher. There are those who think they should not be censored, that such material should be available to anyone who wants it.
I really don’t like censorship in general. I think that the censor’s baton is a bully’s weapon. In a Libertarian-ideal world, we wouldn’t need to worry about such things as censorship. But I don’t know where that world is, if it will ever exist. And I’m not sure I want to even live there. And, frankly, the fantasy of living in a situation such as that is just that – fantasy, and it is fantasy born out of privilege.
There are things I don’t want to see and rape is one of them. I have a life partner, I have children. I have friends and loves who have been targeted for sexual assault and abuse. To me, material that glorifies rape is unacceptable. I don’t want to see it. I won’t go looking for it. If I find it on a bookshelf in front of me, I steer clear of it, and that should not be difficult for me to do.
One of the biggest problems of censorship is deciding what needs to be censored and what does not. Deciding who gets censored and who does not. Another problem is that those who wish to pursue a campaign against a specific person or publisher can use censorial tools to do that.
Currently, Drive Thru RPG is saying that they will deal with works that are reported to them as needing review, and that in the end what it all boils down to is that they’ll know unacceptable when they see it. That CEO Steve Wieck will be the final arbiter. (I do not envy him this task.)
I hope that this works out, but I am leery of such things *because privilege exists* and *because privilege is invisible* and *because there are people who do not look at things from outside of that box of privilege.*
I signed a contract with DTRPG for 1 year of exclusivity, and that year is not up yet. Once that year is up, I have to wait 6 months to get out of the exclusivity agreement once the decision is made to do so. As a result, right now the books that I have been writing and releasing on DTRPG are going to stay in place. I keep my agreements.
As of now I am in a waiting mode. I believe that my contract comes up for renewal in January, so next July could see me splitting off and going my own way. If works that glorify rape remain. If the censorship program becomes a weapon in culture wars or other kinds of infighting. If the process isn’t clear and concise and specific and on the up and up. If consistency is not applied. If tone policing continues.
We’ll see. I am watching, waiting, taking notes. I’m listening to what others have to say. And I am getting back to the business of writing.
I have deadlines to make – and so does DTRPG.