thread: 2005-11-28 : Closeted

On 2005-11-30, Roger wrote:

I have, once again, apparently failed to be sufficiently clear.

All I meant to ask was a fairly straightforward question:

Why does he [Vincent Baker, alleged game design badass] care what other people think of his hobby?

I intended that question to have this emphasis:

Why does Vincent Baker, alleged game design badass, care what other people think of his hobby?

So far I've seen very few people try to answer that question, and instead offer up:

Let me tell you about my reasons for caring what other people think of this hobby...

Don't get me wrong—that's a perfectly interesting line of discussion too.  But they're not really the same thing.

I shall therefore attempt to lead by example.

It's hard.  Surprisingly hard.  I've read, what, probably somewhere on a hundred thousand words written by Vincent.  So it's a bit shocking to realize that I don't really know anything about him.  Nothing important, at least.

Sure, there are a few clues.  In this post (well, the first comment) he states:

Somehow it survived in me that what matters most is family and friends, and what matters next most is guests and hosts.

Which certainly confirms that he cares about the opinions of others, but doesn't, in itself, offer much in the reasons why.  It just becomes circular—look, he cares what other people think because other people matter to him!  Well, yeah.

Possibly more revealing is his post on courage, in which he discloses:

My confidence in my skills, I find, doesn't survive contact with an actual problem. Sometimes, reminding myself that I'm pretty good at what I do helps me face doing it.

So we have a self-professed insecurity with respect to his mad ninja elite game-designing skills.  Which is not rare by any stretch.

Is that the whole story?  I think there may be more, but I need to get a bit more speculative.  It is good, no doubt about it, for everyone in the world to think you're the best darn game-designer, or afghan-knitter, or Mesopotamian basket-weaver, ever to have walked among us.

That doesn't really help answer the deeper question—the one which E.B. White alludes to in that perennial classic, The Elements of Style:  "If you write, you must believe in the truth and worth of the scrawl."

That, I believe, is the burning question.  I respectfully hazard a guess that Vincent's answer is "The measure of the truth and worth of the scrawl, my scrawl, is what other people think of it, and thus of me.  Not merely my family, my friends, or my peers, but all other people."

Why he might believe that is a question too deep for me to consider, nor do I have any right to judge the fitness of his answer.  It is a question I suspect we all must face, and I've no real advice on how to do so.  Perhaps no one does.


This makes BR go "No, dude, you were clear."
Its just that isn't a question anyone but Vincent can answer. It also isn't the question Vincent was asking about -- he specifically asked us why we care. Not to mention the fact that, when all is said and done, Vincent is only one guy and I don't think his personal answer is special.

This makes CRN go "Vincent is special"
Brand, when you see the light that V came to save us all from the wrath of Ron, the Father of the Chosen People, and V is his intellectual son and the One Come to Save Us, then you will understand that only his answer matters.

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