On the “magic” of symbols

The Gamergate event may be winding down, but the Hollerback catcall video is still a fresh thing and I thought I would take a moment to point out an interesting commonality between these things and roleplaying.

What the anti-journalist cause in Gamergate and the anti-street harassment cause (Hollaback) have in common is that the rhetoric used to support their respective causes do not rest their wait on the fullness of what actually happened that they are arguably against but instead rearrange the presentation to conform to certain ideas that the audience expected to happen. In the case of gamergate the spark narrative reverses the genders of the original story. In the case of Hollaback, only working class and minority harassment was included in the video – leaving out the acknowledged occurrences of white professionals harassing the woman. I am not a semiotician so I do not know the precise words for this, but it got me thinking about how magic or religion in a roleplaying game might be based on such symbols.

I think the Artesia roleplaying game had a dash and of this – you got more XP if you did something aligned with the Cosmic Tarot Card for something. Doing it publicly and with flair got even more because you were manifesting the powerful symbols on earth. Unknown Armies has this too.

Unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to dive deeply into such things but I think it might be fun to do. Perhaps different cultures have different stories and myths that flesh out as different magic and gods. Not because the cultures are inherently different or because the magic system differs but because the practitioner needs to really see things through that particular lens to accomplish the arcane.

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