There's a mage on my server called bumboy and a paladin called gayelf. If either of these names make you snigger this post probably isn't for you.
I'm far from impressed and vaguely offended, but to be honest, I'm not sure why.
First, let's rule out any squeamishness on my part. These words do not offend me. I am not so sensitive that I blanche from a little moderate slang. I recognise that the meaning of a word is not an absolute, that the intentions of the users and the social context of their usage are essential to correct interpretation. What I mean is, my best friends can call me a moron and I will laugh it off, but if my boss says the same thing I may react very differently.
So I need to understand why these players chose these particular names.
Does anyone here think these are gay men reclaiming their sexuality through a video game? Spider pride? No, me neither.
And a quick flick through google effectively rules out any translation errors. We can safely assume bumboy does not, incredulously, mean something innocuous in Turkish.
The most likely explanation is the one I jumped to instinctively when I first saw the names. I am meant to be offended. While I can't hope to fully understand what passed for thought in these players at the character creation screen, it's safe to assume it was not benevolent goodwill to all humanity.
There is something very immature and threatening about someone who chooses a term of hostility as their most visible identifier. It may just be a childish in-joke, not an intentional act of hatred, but it carries the same consequences. The best you can say about these players is they lack empathy.
I may well have over-reacted, it depends on your triggers. What one person may think passes for humour, another will deeply resent. How do you feel about spastic, rapist, spic? In reality, it's not so easy to know where to draw the line.
So while I can't necessarily explain my reaction, I stand by it. Life is full enough of unpleasantness, without it spilling over into a fantasy life that many of us use as an escape from that shit to start with.
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