Saturday, June 27, 2015

Won't someone please think of the children

The vocal Splatoon community has been very much in favor of equality.  It's not quite as near to unanimous as it seems because there are, you know, rules.  The g-rated message of "Love wins" doesn't violate any rules.  Saying that some people are lesser beings unworthy of dignity and respect does go against the rules because the rules make that sort of assholistry out of bounds.

You can still be a jerk, in the Nintendo community, but you must be a civil jerk.

That the squids are overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality, though, is not in doubt.  People against it made up a not against-the-rules way to demonstrate their disapproval and it didn't get nearly the same following.

But there was also another subset of people who stopped short of saying they were against it and instead voiced concern that it should not be discussed because won't someone think of the children?

Please think of the children.  This is a kids game.  (Uh, no.  It is a game that is considered appropriate for kids, but it isn't considered not-appropriate for adults.)  Don't talk about love winning while kids are around.  They shouldn't have to encounter such talk.

Now it would be good, at this point, to explain that the outpouring of support for the ruling generally consisted of, "Love wins," which left some people unsure what the hell people were talking about.  It did not contain detailed descriptions of ... I don't even know what it would be.  Not sex, peoples right to have sex wasn't in the case.  Um, detailed descriptions of the process of obtaining a marriage licence from city hall?


The point is, the message was basically limited to, "Love wins."  Apparently the fragile minds of the children must not be exposed to this concept lest their heads explode and their feeble souls be torn asunder.

No one is suggesting that we venerate hate, you must understand, it's just important that children not be allowed to encounter the concept of love triumphant.  So, you know, no Disney movies.  No fairly tales about the power of true love.  No Princess Bride.  We must, you see, protect the delicate children.

If they thought that love could win then they might extrapolate that it is conceivable, even possible, that good could triumph over evil and then the children would be lost to us.  The horror.

But, the anti-love crowd aside, there's another way of thinking about the children.

Kids play the game.  It is highly likely (as close to certain as it is possible to be without actually asking the players) that non-straight kids play the game.  Those kids got to see people supporting them and their right to be treated the same as everyone else.

But they also got to see people saying that it's inappropriate to be talking about them, discussion of them or people like them doesn't belong in the random, usually meme dominated, community around the game, they are not welcome.

Kids are not stupid.  They can see the actual meaning behind, "It's nice and all, but don't bring it up ever.  If you really have to talk about it do it in a private space because it's not appropriate for a public space."

And, really, it would be nice if people thought about the children, because they learn fast and if the message you're sending to them is that they're lesser-than they're going to get it, and it's probably going to hurt.

One reason (though not the only one) that it is completely appropriate to talk about equality in a public space?  Because of children.

Before you consider silencing the discussion, think of the children you'll hurt by trying to do so.

Of course the people who need that advice won't read this post, or if they do they won't heed it.


  1. "Won't somebody think of the children that are better off being ignorant of the very existence of certain other human beings, some of whom are the very children we wish to keep ignorant of the existence of these human beings!"

    Just my lackluster way of agreeing, Chris.

  2. Yeah, if the children hear about alternatives they might not think exactly like copies of their parents. Thus, American anti-intellectualism.

    (At the bottom of this page – the adblocker is off because the anti-spam procedures don't work with it – I have an advert for "meet Muslim singles in your city". Shock! Horror!)