aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, February 23, 2006
South Park boycott backfires in New Zealand
You know the same would happen here:
An appeal from the Catholic Church for New Zealanders to boycott an episode of South Park has resulted in a record audience there for the controversial cartoon.
The “Bloody Mary” episode of South Park drew more than six times the normal audience, New Zealand broadcaster TV Works announced Thursday.
The not-so-gay games
In Newsweekly broke the story about the popular online multiplayer World of Warcraft gamer cited for harassment because she recruited for a “GLBT friendly” guild in a general chat channel within the game. After some initial confusion the company issued an apology and promised to institute change.
In Newsweekly’s Alexander Sliwinski has followed up with a report about an International Game Developers Association (IGDA) survey regarding diversity behind the scenes in the video game industry:
“We are pretty homogeneous,” said Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the IGDA. “A lot of the information matched the stereotype of what a game developer is.” ... The report shows that 6 percent of individuals identified as being GLBT, with another 2.6 percent refusing to answer. The report mentions that many people stated they would not take the survey as a direct result of this particular question.
I’m struck that they even conducted such a survey in the face of these views:
There were respondents irritated that the IGDA was even looking into the issues of diversity. Many said that diversity has nothing to do with the outcome of a game - that the focus should be on talent and not diversity in the workforce.
“Please quit the PC stuff,” wrote one 37-year-old respondent, “you are a independent game developer org. Stop wasting money on diversity stuff and start doing useful stuff for independent game developers - who cares about race, sexuality or any of that stuff. This is the absolute last thing you need to waste money on - you are starting to sound like a political party - STOP IT NOW, or you won’t see any more money from me!”
Even though on average they have more industry experience and higher level of education, there is an $8,000 salary gap between GLBT workers and their non-GLBT coworkers. One game designer observes:
“The overall culture of video games is still fairly homophobic, even if most of the developers aren’t, which could have an effect on the self-confidence of LGBT industry workers. Also, many LGBT developers are closeted at work, which may keep them from forming the personal relationships that often lead to promotions and other business opportunities.”
I’m glad to see the game developers association tackling the topic, and In Newsweekly’s Sliwinski sticking with it.
RELATED: A couple thoughtsdeas that inform my thinking on the story. Here I look at how diversity matters because it makes us smarter, more creative and we make better decisions as a consequence of it. And here I look at examples that illustrate how the biases we need to become aware of and work to counteract are the subliminal biases that we can hardly even know we have.
Niggas, queers and dykes
Damon Wayans wants to trademark “Nigga” for a clothing line and retail store:
[S]o far, his applications have been unsuccessful. Trademark examiner Kelly Boulton rejected the registration dated Dec. 22, citing a law that prohibits marks that are “immoral or scandalous.” A previous attempt by Wayans was turned down on identical grounds six months earlier.
“While debate exists about in-group uses of the term, ‘nigga’ is almost universally understood to be derogatory,” Boulton wrote to Wayans’ attorney, William H. Cox, according to the application.
I don’t want it trademarked because I don’t want any of our language trademarked but I wonder, do we really want Kelly Boulton telling us a term we use to describe ourselves is immoral? What say do any of us have in reclaiming those derogatory terms used against us?
Lynda Zadra-Symes, a trademark lawyer in California, said Wayans may be successful. She compared “Nigga” to the successful registration of Dykes on Bikes. The San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent fought the Trademark Office for three years to overturn an initial rejection of a Dykes on Bikes trademark. The mark was published Jan. 24.
“Because the application was by a group of lesbians it was eventually allowed to publish,” Zadra-Symes said.
“This is a great victory,” the group proclaimed on its website. “It affirms our right to determine who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.”
However, Tawnya Wojciechowski, another trademark attorney practicing in California, compared Wayans’ application to the ongoing legal case where Washington Redskins trademarks have been challenged by seven Native Americans. “They’re going to have a really tough time,” Wojciechowski predicted.
Remember George Will’s Sunday comment, “Conservatives believe in the pursuit of happiness, liberals believe in the delivering of happiness from a post-New Deal government.”
Today he blows that line up into a whole column:
A survey by the Pew Research Center shows that conservatives are happier than liberals—in all income groups. While 34 percent of all Americans call themselves “very happy,” only 28 percent of liberal Democrats (and 31 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats) do, compared with 47 percent of conservative Republicans. This finding is niftily self-reinforcing: It depresses liberals.
Election results do not explain this happiness gap. Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the survey began in 1972. Married people and religious people are especially disposed to happiness, and both cohorts vote more conservatively than does the nation as a whole.
People in the Sun Belt—almost entirely red states—have sunnier dispositions than Northerners, which could have as much to do with sunshine as with conservatism. Unless sunshine makes people happy, which makes them conservative.
Here’s the Pew poll.