1. i liked it and was agreeing completely until you had to mention the first amendment.

    Yes, it does protect your right to be offensive. Inoffensive speech rarely needs protection. However the first amendment protects your speech from the government, not from social repercussions.

    The government cannot say for me to not draw tasteless anime babes on my cards, but my local game shop has the right to tell me I cannot use them in their store.

    • the First Amendment protects you from the government abridging protected speech. It doesn’t protect you from the consequences of your offensive speech outside the sphere of the government’s influence. The First Amendment didn’t protect Gilbert Gottfried from being fired by GEICO for making a Tsunami victims joke. It didn’t protect that guy from Duck Dynasty from being fired for saying something that it wasn’t at all surprising a guy from Duck Dynasty said. In the context of basic lands at a hobby shop where no one brought up the government at all, I’m really surprised you let an offhanded comment derail you like that.

      • His point is just that the first amanedment, generally, protects your right to be offensive- though there are some exceptions when speech acts lack any actual value, but I digress.

        If the following point is to be that people can berate you for your speech or discriminate against you because of it, then your wording is off when you say it’s not protected by the first amendment.

        The bottom line is that the first amendment does to a reasonable degree protect your right to be offensive, and that correction is more than a nitpick. It’s constructive feedback on the fact that your statement is inaccurate, though your argument is still compelling- it would just be more compelling were everything stated correctly.

          • Jason was and is right. The First Amendment says the government can’t infringe on what you say, offensive or otherwise. However, the laws of our country make it very clear that these rights are not bullet-proof – they are subject to you’re knowledge of what you do with them, and the situation. They CAN be revoked. Such as the classic “yelling fire in a movie theater”, creating a clear and present danger is typically a top reason people know of. Much the same, contracts can ask you to literally sign away and surrender you’re rights. Anyone has the right to ask you this. Your job does it, that’s why you can’t say anything you want, and can be fired for what you say. Your right to have that offensive speech protected was surrenders when you agreed to work there and follow their private rules.

            As such, the first amendment does not guarantee your right to be offensive at Hobby Lobby. They have every legal right to decide on their own how to handle your speech, as far as it violates their rules or otherwise effects their business/establishment. Jason Alt is absolutely correct.

            • As a side note – the yelling fire quote is from Schenck v. United States (1919), which is ofter considered one of the low points in the Supreme court history, along with the Dredd Scott case. In it, and a couple of companion cases from that time, the court held that issuing pamphlets calling for peaceful protests opposing conscription were not protected speech and were punishable by 1 0 years in prison. It would be hard to find many that would support that argument today.

              Sorry, first amendment issues are one of y hot button topics since I frequently see arguments misused.

      • I think we agree more then we disagree. (Especially based on your follow-up on Reddit.)

        Let me be clear – if I owned a gaming shop, cards like that would be banned in a nano-second. As far as no one mentioning the government, then why did you mention the First Amendment? That literally only applies to the government, so that’s why I was distracted.

        I’m not sure if you edited the post, or I just didn’t notice the “at a Hobby Shop” part of the statement. (In my defense, reading on my phone.)

        I thoroughly, completely agree with the sentiments you outline in the article, and I am very grateful for the positive influences I had in my gaming life. (The TO of the first game I really played competitively – Lord of the Rings – was a woman and wouldn’t have abided any of that nonsense.)

  2. Good way to start the conversation, Jason. As a guy in technology, I see these problems extend from the gaming community into peoples’ professional lives. Over the past two years I’ve worked pretty hard to open similar conversations with my female friends and colleagues, and I’m happy with the results. Those women are my allies. I feel comfortable asking them for a different perspective on issues and ideas in my life. They feel similarly toward me.

    I’m not much for jumping through hoops to make other people comfortable, but I learned one amazing trick that I think men should understand. The idea is called proofing, which is setting another person up to have a reason to be the next speaker in a small group. If you are outside your gaming store talking with a few guys and a woman you know approaches, just say something like: “Hey guys, you know Annie, right? She and I were talking last week about how Brimaz sucks in this deck. Didn’t you think Master of the Feast was the better choice, Annie?”

    Some subtleties: talk with each ally ahead of time and talk it out. Make sure she knows you, knows what kinds of topics you are going to act like she knows about, and that she wants the favor.

    Say something like “I know sometimes it can be helpful if friends give other people a reason to listen. If you would like, when I introduce you to a stranger, I could gently point out that you know what you’re talking about.” If she agrees then follow up with “If I do it in a way you don’t like, just tell me later and I’ll figure out something better.”

    If she wants to know what’s in it for you, then just say “exactly the same thing. If you’re talking with other women and I walk up, could you give me an easy ‘in’ so I don’t look like a bumbling idiot?”

    With a little practice, it’s very easy to use this method to set up a platonic atmosphere where ideas and thoughts get all the attention. Alliance is profitable for everyone involved, no matter their gender or sex.

  3. Maybe I don’t know about lisps or speech impediments in general, but aren’t lisps involuntary? That seemed pretty thoughtless in an otherwise good article, why lump that into crack-pants and neckbeardery? Doesn’t MaRo have a slight lisp?

  4. I just want to add in 2 cents

    1. % of participants are female. 10% seems *way* too high for me. Here in Vancouver, there are hardly any female players at sanctioned events, and we have a pretty strong population of MTG players. My wife is often the only female at any event we attend.
    GP Vancouver was maybe 2-3% female, from my estimate… Larger prereleases might have been more like 5%, if that.

    2. On the other hand, my wife’s experiences have been pleasant ones. She has yet to run into any real sexist situations, or any of these weird anime alters. Even the teenagers we’ve played against don’t seem to have made any issues about ‘playing a girl’. Good luck, or just the city we’re in?

    3. What is wrong with people? That tweet/msg… ugh…

    • Notice how one person says the percent is too low, the other says it’s too high. Anecdotal evidence is not the same as empirical data, for this very reason – just because overall the playerbase is listed as 10% female, doesn’t mean ANY given environment has one girl per ten guys. Each area is different, and the figure is looking at the big picture, which will show peaks and valleys in different communities.

      Personally, I’ve met mixed response when girl gamers are involved. The only constant ever seems that they are treated a bit different and they notice, though it seems to “wear off” as they continue to participate and “earn respect”

  5. You… you put the insults in the title. What you are doing here is the opposite of helping. When you use insults, body shame, fashion shame, etc. in your criticism of someone, you don’t change that person’s mind. Instead you push them away from the viewpoint you’re encouraging. Who wants to agree with the person who’s being shitty to them? Because it is really lousy behavior. A bully for a good cause is still a bully. You need to do better than this.

    • While you may have a larger point, I must point out that ‘Neckbeards’ is extremely common internet shorthand for a particular kind of socially inept male. And they like to call women thin-skinned!

      Obviously not all of the magic community is toxic (though my experiences at FNMs, mostly in Northern Virginia, are much closer to 10% than 40% women), it’s undeniably out there. Most men are happy I’m there, but there’s always That Guy who is clearly angry when I’m beating him. Is it because I’m female, or is he just a bad loser? It’s very hard to tell.

      Ultimately when I moved, I did a gut check if I wanted to navigate my new local Magic community, find the good players and venues, and re-learn who to avoid? Hope I don’t end up in a shop with a lot of these anime cards and people who think they’ve been playing Magic longer than me (my Alpha cards say otherwise), or just retire and try and meet people through more friendly hobbies?

      And I chose the latter. Maybe if my local friends start going to prereleases and things again, and I have that buffer, I’ll pick it up again, but the risk/reward just didn’t seem worth it compared to other hobbies like RPGs.

      • I didn’t claim that the magic community isn’t toxic. There are a lot of people who cause problems. I want them to stop. I don’t want more people to have experiences like yours. That kind of thing really isn’t cool, and I’m sorry you lost out an awesome hobby because of other people’s poor behavior.

        This article is not helping with that problem. It’s making it worse.

        • I agree. The manner in which you tell someone to stop being toxic is critical to getting said message across. This article, while well intentioned, runs the risk of driving the people who need it away.

  6. While Jason does manage to bring up a good point, but he still has the same writing style and attack-the-readers/commenters attitude. A shame QS couldn’t get a better writer on this topic. I was hoping there might be some substance here, despite the author, but it seems he’s just white knighting (while condemning that very behavior in the article).

    • That’s Jason’s writing style. I didn’t feel attacked in this article.

      Then again, I don’t consider myself a Neckbeard and I only play with Dragon Shield sleeves. So there really wasn’t much for me to take offense to.

      • That’s good for you. You’re not the problem, then. However, if this article is trying to help, it’s really bad at it. People react negatively to being insulted, surprisingly enough.

  7. From the mission statement at the top of every article: “Our deep archive of articles, guides and primers contains hundreds of hours of material that exists for one reason: to make you a better and richer Magic player.” It’s QS’ claim to be singularly focused on this one reason. This article does not serve that reason.

    • On the contrary, by trying to raise the level of civility in shops and welcome more women to the community, it gives us a greater audience to sell our cards to, increasing our wealth.

  8. The image of the “pimped out” deck contains both semi-nude characters with exaggerated features that are both male and female. The simplest argument to be made here is that sexualization is not appropriate when you are playing a children’s card game in a public event.

  9. Traditionally, Magic the Gathering was a male-only arena. For the longest time. Now Magic is mainstream, it’s trendy. It’s been trendy for a short while relative to its lifetime. What happens to anything once it becomes trendy and mainstream? Women will flock to it. Because of Magic’s popularity, there will be a certain stratum of desirable men at the top which women will want. No matter what the trend is, be it magic, video gaming, even comic books, all traditionally male-only areas of interest, when enough men become interested in [thing], women will take an interest as to impress and secure the top men in this area.

    Simple biology. But the 2010s are all about ‘my feelings’ and pushing accountability on to parties that do not deserve it.

    People like you make me sick. Be a man.

    • I was originally gonna jump in here to point out how I’ve played Magic since 2001 and the worst I’ve experienced is some awkward guys, but no one who was outright aggressive to me because of my gender (I’d always ask around the store if someone seemed like kind of an ass, and I would always get told something along the lines of “Oh, he’s just a bit grumpy, it’s nothing to do with you, he always does this”).

      Then I saw your comment and I thought I’d highlight it. This is actual misogyny. Not the awkward guys who try to flirt with you for a bit, not the anime alters, none of that stuff. It’s this. These people who think of females as different people and who think women only play Magic to get some poon-tang. These idiots from the pick-up artist mindset who think that the only thing on a woman’s mind is finding a man. This is what’s toxic. If you want to point something out as creating a hostile environment, here it is. I don’t care if someone is awkward about interacting with the opposite gender, and I will only be slightly miffed if someone decides to shove their fap material in my face. But if someone starts assuming that I’m only “here with my boyfriend”, I’m gonna be annoyed. I was the one who taught my husband to play Magic. I’m still the one clarifying rules for him when something obscure pops up. I’m still the one of us with an encyclopedic knowledge of useless cards. Stop making assumptions – you don’t know anything.

  10. Privileged is a term used by social justice warriors it refers to their marxist worldview in which women are an oppressed class and men are a privileged class, not that I didn’t see plenty of red flags before that. Sad that so many otherwise intelligent people don’t bother to look into this worldview’s flaws and see the logical fallacies and factually false premises that inform it.

  11. If we could have a serious discussion without use of a term like “neckbeard,” that would be awesome, considering you’re trying to talk about social advancement, and stereotypes like these are harmful.

    The card thing is an issue with the anime community. It’s a symptom of a problem, not a problem in itself. There are some instances where anime objectifies men too. Those are quite a bit less common than the alternative, but I digress.

    But with anime, you’re talking about something that comes from a culture that’s comparatively backwards with gender roles. Women are even more feminized there, and much more strongly objectified, and that culture feeds into ours through our consumption of anime, manga, and merchandise.

    The point? You can’t tackle this social issue through one small example of its impact on society.

    But really though. “White knight,” “neckbeard”… these are ad hominem terms that contribute nothing. Rather than trying to look at tougher issues, we are invalidating people.


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