The ‘stupidity’ of some people (Part the First)

It’s been a while. This is the first part in a series of essays talking about my observations of people’s behavior — behavior that makes you go, “You know, that’s kind of stupid.” This first part isn’t really about true stupidity, it’s more of a warm-up into the whole theme.

So anyhow… I’ve been doing this in-character podcast for the local Requiem game (if you haven’t been listening, get caught up on the episodes here, and please note the disclaimers and whatnot). My first show caused a bit of a stir in-character — enough of a stir that there was concern about my character’s survival.

I don’t have a problem with that — I actually enjoy putting my characters at risk. I’m a bit of a risk-taker at heart, and there’s a vicarious thrill I get when I put myself at risk (through my character)… but it’s still safe, because I’m not really in danger of having a stake driven through my heart.

Anyhow, there was enough of a buzz over this, and (apparently) a wide enough swath of in-character interest over this that one of my local friends suggested I apply for “Kindred Legend” status — in the game this represents fame (or notoriety). It seemed to make sense, and so I started investigating the possibility of picking up this merit.

I put together an e-mail, and sent it out across the out-of-character lists I’m on, asking if people would be willing to support the application. I’ve gotten a smattering of responses — I don’t think it’s enough to really justify the application at this point, but that’s not really the point.

A lot of people have responded with, “Sorry, never heard of you,” and left it at that. That’s cool, and I’m not expecting people to support something they’ve never heard of.

The two notable bits to come out of this are a discussion (of sorts) about how what I’ve done in-character isn’t “legendary”, and so doesn’t deserve any level of legend status. There are all sorts of logical fallacies going on with this discussion, many of which get hung up on the name of the merit — Kindred Legend.

Now, I’m not the sort of person who gets overly hung up on names, I just find it kind of amusing when people do, especially when there is evidence or documentation that disputes the claims they’re making (that is, the description of the merit in the game supplement). So, that’s ‘stupid’ thing number one.

‘Stupid’ logical fallacy number two is arguing against my request by improper comparisons. I’m asking for support to earn Kindred Legend status 1, this is the lowest level available. One person replied by bringing up one of the iconic characters, the Unholy, who holds Kindred Legend status 5, and then proceeds to say that because I’m not in the same league as the Unholy, I shouldn’t even consider the application.

Hubba wha? I know I’m not in the same league as the Unholy (who truly is a bad-ass sumbitch), but I’m not applying for Kindred Legend 5! What does her reputation and status have to do with mine?

I’ve been chalking most of it up to professional jealousy, and a misunderstanding of my goals. I’m not really looking to twink out my character, I’m trying to mechanically reflect in-game character and plot developments. If I don’t get this thing, it isn’t a big deal — I’m perfectly capable of spending the points elsewhere.

The third ‘stupid’ thing is how many people — presumably internet-savvy people, mind you — assume that podcasting somehow requires an iPod.

Now, the iPod is a sweet piece of hardware, don’t get me wrong, but you no more need an iPod to do podcasting than you need… okay, I’m coming up blank in the analogy department here. The point is, you don’t need an iPod to listen to podcsats. Any MP3 player will do — heck, I transfer the podcasts I subscribe to onto my Sony Minidisc player.

Now, if your character is totally computer-illiterate, and you’re avoiding the podcasts because there’s no way your 300-year-old bloodsucker would listen to them, that’s cool, and kudos to you for roleplaying your character. But a lot of these comments about “I don’t even own an iPod” are out-of-character, and show a certain degree of ignorance.

Yes, I realize ignorance is not the same as stupidity, but I feel there is a link between them. Stupidity can lead one to make statements that betray your ignorance.

Taking a step back here, part of it may be that I’ve recently gotten into podcasting, and I’ve found this vibrant community, and I’ve lost a bit of perspective — it’s still a niche thing (like blogging, come to think of it, but smaller). Just because somebody is tech-savvy doesn’t mean they know anything about a particular application of said technology.

Anyhow, that’s my rant for today. The next one will get a bit more specific and personal — not about me, but about a specific person who has earned the right to wear the “I’m with stupid” shirt that has the arrow pointing up.