Posted by: Andy | July 31, 2005

(mmo)Rpg-freaks: The Non-Culture

I was pondering today, as I often do. I have lots of little conversations with myself it my head. Not that I’m crazy (…) or anything, somethings just sound stupid if said aloud without a little pre-thought. I was trying to find something to identify with. Why? Well, because everyone is something I suppose. [insert religion],[insert ethnicity], [insert sub-culture], etc. But me, well, I’ve always had a problem fitting in. And that is sort of the story of my life – because it’s not that I don’t want to fit in, it is just that very rarely is there anything I find I like enough to want to fit in to. I’ve got piece of a zillion subcultures in my personality (punk rock, punk-ethic, indie music, folk, pop, tattoos, gen-x moderate gauge piercings, academia, blue collar, poor, married, young, whatever) but nothing of any real strength.

No religious connections now, just a history and a bitterness and distaste for the vomit that is religion acquired from personal experience. I don’t really “believe” in anything, but I disbelieve in plenty of things: virgin birth, ANYONE’s writing as absolute truth, original sin, might-makes-right, manifest destiny, the American Dream, hard work is rewarded, etc. I’m not an atheist per se, there might be a deity of some sort, but it sure as fuck is not the one described in any religious literature I have seen yet. Although Karma as a concept has always made sense to me. You do bad shit to someone, bad shit tends to happen to you. That’s the truth. However, this seems to have a way of not affecting the wealthy, but that could just be outside jealousy or envy speaking, who knows.

I don’t have any kind of ethnic identity, even a whitey one. My family is czech, polish, portuguese, irish, scottish, dutch, and even somewhere between 1/8 and 1/32 cherokee (or some tribe from Oklahoma…I suppose it could be anything). But everyone in this country has an ancestor that raped or killed an Original American (for some reason the phrase “Native American” pisses me off) at some point in their history, so that’s not saying much. My family didn’t identify with anything, we don’t have any traditions handed down from anything, the closest I get are the cookies & yams I can make that I learned from my Mom and the fact that I like to make milkshakes like my Dad showed me.

I’ve been a part of many subcultures, but never really been motivated enough to make myself over in one image or another. I was semi grunge in junior high – I used to wear two or three different flannels at the same time, it’s pretty funny to look back on it now. In high school, I was a late hitcher on the punk train (94?), but I love me some punk music. Rancid & the Clash will always be on the top of my list. I can say it’s ok that I wasn’t ahead of the curve because we had to fight so hard to avoid country music in my town. I used to dye my hair all kinds of colors – but I always thought spending an hour putting egg in your hair or whatever to spike it or whatnot was a fucking waste of time. I could be reading or playing a video game man! I do like to think I was a (relatively) early passenger on the train that is indie/whatever. SF59 in 1993 baby. Sure, I missed out on MBV (one of SF’s heavy influences), but I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it at the time anyway. And, again, there really wasn’t much exposure to good music in Paso. Punk was as smart as we got. I wish I’d got to know the goth kids better, I bet they knew what was what. I was in a band or two, always playing some kind of wierd hybrid rock/punk/emo schtick (except that first one..we really wanted to be like a glam nirvana or something…OUCH), but I never got good enough to be anything.

So where am I now, and how did I get here? Well the one thing I really spent any amount of time on (aside from music) was the computer, nintendo, etc. Primarily playing Role Playing Games of any system I could get. Apple 2e, PC, nintendo, even early BBS rpgs and then mudding when the internet woke up. If there is anything that defines my “culture”-ish self, timewise, it is my association with RPGS (pen & paper too, but much more limited). But what do RPGers have to bind them together?

“We” don’t dress alike, like the same music or any other sort of unifying thing. Nothing to make one able to identify another in public – except perhaps a poorly chosen t-shirt. Not that we would have anything in common if any of us met in person. It’s a wierd boat. It’s like people who are into soccer, or Britney Spears, or hip-hop, or being drunk & irish, whatever, they can play their game/watch their concert/vomit on each other, whatever, and then talk about it afterwards. But for gamers, why talk about something when you can do it? For the most part, I think we tend to be thinking animals, and that thought really does occur. “Hey, I could go over to Bob’s and talk about Evercrack/Daoc/D&D/Coh/etc. but in the time it takes me to do that I could be online and halfway gained a level. And maybe Bob is already on anyway.”

I’m sure I had a point in there somewhere…what was it..oh yeah, look at the title fucknose – “non-culture”. I think the only thing I’m a part of is a thing without bindings, and thing with no-real center, an undefining thing. (Ok, some people ARE defined by this – but they are much scarier than me and I wouldn’t really want to know them). And it’s not even Anti. I’m not fighting against anything or trying to avoid identification or whatever, I just don’t give a shit. Where does that leave me? Well, I tend to think that lack of identity is part of the geas of white americana. Or maybe it is the whole thing. Maybe the hatred comes from jealousy? Maybe the gung ho jesus freaks just really want to belong. Can’t say I blame them, I know the feeling. Ok, well I will blame them, because they should be strong enough not to be stupid.

Oh, and on an unrelated note – Tegan & Sara are the SHIT…boy was I late with this bus. Thank you Matt Sharp! What is up with Canada and kick ass music lately? (Weakerthans & K-os are also Canadian).

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