Comments on TWH #180


Dana J. Erlandsen

regarding your comment to Willner concerning masculine & feminine modern fantasy: Try Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthology series. There are ten of these books now, so somebody thinks they're popular. They will definitely explode that particular myth, they're fun to read, and they're easy to swipe from for any games you're GMing!

Douglas D. Jorenby

Very much enjoyed "Session Notes #13"! If this is "bittersweet" role-playing, I wish you did PBM, and I had the time to play!

Mark M. Keller

*sigh* I'm not trying to insult anyone by putting smiley faces in. In my defense, I'll point out that I also write things like *sigh* and *grin*. I do it because I have been told I have a dry sense of humor on occasion, and I am a person who uses body language extensively while talking. When I talk to someone face to face, they can see by my body language when I'm trying to be funny. A reader can't. I've had people give me hell for saying things in print that they'd know to laugh at were they physically present. I don't like having to apologize for someone not realizing my writings were meant humorously, and I'm not going to apologize for using smiley faces either. Sorry.

You might be interested to know that the FBI has done extensive research on the kidnapping and sacrifice of kids by Satanist cults. After years of combing through the hysteria, the FBI concluded that the problem of kidnapping and sacrifice of kids by Satanist cults didn't exist. I quote from the conclusion of the report:

"The amount of "ritual" child abuse going on in this country depends on how you define the term. One documented example of what I might call "ritual" child abuse was the horror chronicled in the book A Death in White Bear Lake (Siegal, 1990). The abuse in this case, however, had little to do with anyone's spiritual belief system. There are many children in the United States who, starting early in their lives, are severely psychologically, physically, and sexually traumatized by angry, sadistic parents or other adults. Such abuse, however, is not perpetrated only or primarily by satanists. The statistical odds are that such abusers are members of mainstream religions. If 99.9% of satanists and 0.1% of Christians abuse children as part of their spiritual belief system, that still means that the vast majority of children so abused were abused by Christians.

Until hard evidence is obtained and corroborated, the public should not be frightened into believing that babies are being bred and eaten, that 50,000 missing children are being murdered in human sacrifices, or that satanists are taking over America's day care centers or institutions. No one can prove with absolute certainty that such activity has not occurred. The burden of proof, however, as it would be in a criminal prosecution, is on those who claim that it has occurred.

The explanation that the satanists are too organized and law enforcement is too incompetent only goes so far in explaining the lack of evidence. For at least eight years American law enforcement has been aggressively investigating the allegations of victims of ritual abuse. There is little or no evidence for the portion of their allegations that deals with large-scale baby breeding, human sacrifice, and organized satanic conspiracies. Now it is up to mental health professionals, not law enforcement, to explain why victims are alleging things that don't seem to have happened [italics mine]. Professionals in this field must accept the fact that there is still much we do not know about the sexual victimization of children, and that this area desperately needs study and research by rational, objective social scientists.

If the guilty are to be successfully prosecuted, if the innocent are to be exonerated, and if the victims are to be protected and treated, better methods to evaluate and explain allegations of "ritual" child abuse must be developed or identified. Until this is done, the controversy will continue to cast a shadow over and fuel the backlash against the validity and reality of child sexual abuse."

The quote is from "File: FBI Abuse; 'Investigator's Guide To Allegations Of "Ritual" Child Abuse'"; January 1992; Kenneth V. Lanning, Supervisory Special Agent. The report was conducted at the Behavioral Science Unit, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia 22135. It's a fascinating report.

John Fast

Could you send me the Secular Humanist Affirmation put out by CODESH? What does it stand for? Swap you the FBI report for the SHA report? :-)

David Hoberman

Thanks for the POV compliment!

As far as why I like superhero games: hmmm... I guess I have to break this down into a variety of reasons. Firstly, like you, there are certain things I just can't tolerate. For example, the ' masks melt your brain' argument: "Gosh, my best girlfriend, who has red hair and is dressed in hot pink and neon orange, has disappeared, and a red-headed woman in hot pink and neon orange with a hot pink lipstick figure-8 drawn around her eyes has taken her place. Monster! What have you done with my girlfriend?!"

I've always tried to have my paranormals (they aren't necessarily heroes!) wear something appropriate. One PC is an experiment in disguising the non-paranormal. She wears completely concealing clothing: hats, boots, gloves, long skirts, and heavy sunglasses all the time. She also affects a limp, and walks with a cane, to hide her abnormal reflexes -- the cane helps to remind her. She'd had a lab accident, and no longer looked completely human. One had a "private" ID -- e.g., she made no attempt to conceal her paranormal abilities, but the general public wasn't aware of her. One was a shape-shifter, and wore nothing at all in her animal form. You get the idea.

I also like gaming to explore varying viewpoints, as I've said before, and as I've said before, it isn't socially acceptable to study how people react under stress in real life by subjecting them to "test to destruction". Games allow me to do that, and "supers" games make the power balance very obvious. Think about it -- if you knew you couldn't be imprisoned, would you jaywalk? Steal (for the poor, of course :-)? Murder? Not even to revenge the violent deaths of your whole family? What is your breaking point?

Quotes we love to remember: I have a PC who is a proud and noted geneticist. She is, in her paranormal ID, a tremendously fast and strong amalgam of human and tiger genetics (*grin* okay, not much better than a radioactive spider! Do I get points for trying?). The game equivalent of Stronghold had asked her to study a particular prisoner. When she realized some of her previous research might have been used to create the paranormal abilities of the prisoner, she took her report, stormed into the office of the commander of the facility, furiously announced her conclusions, and loudly demanded Something Be Done! She then noticed the commander was being amazingly polite to her, and somewhat less passionately asked him why. His reply, "I'm always polite to mad scientists. They're just the kind to come back in an armored suit and trash the place!"

She heatedly replied, "I would never..." (moment of thought as she remembers what she does at night) "...come back in an armored suit!"

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    Last Updated: Mon Aug 4 1997