Lang Leve de Koning!

It first dawned on me when I wrote a new CV a few weeks ago. I have experience organising events. Events where thirty people or more sleep, eat and play together for three consecutive days. And most of those events were a success thanks to the organisers, thanks to me.

It’s not just something that looks good on my CV, it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing immensely. But this time, it’s different. This is the first time that I can call the plot “My Plot”. I may have handled finances, food and organising stuff before, but this is the first time that the story is mine. Not entirely mine. I could never do this without Anastaszia and Erwinl. But it’s mine nonetheless.

One post on facebook and I get five new sign-ups. We have more than fourty seriously interested people. For our event in December. I am astonished and humbled. But I have to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Write more plot.

If you’re interested in what this is all about (and you can read Dutch): Lang Leve de Koning!

Hollow

When I was a child, there were a lot of albums of the Police lying around the house. This song made me think, the other day.

It describes a feeling I think everyone feels. Something is broken, “missing from my life”, and we spend a lot of time trying to fix it, trying to fill the hole. The Oatmeal wrote a comic about it the other day. I think we are all constantly trying to silence our demons of fear, doubt, regret and general blerchness. The Oatmeal runs marathons. I have tried to fill the hole with sex, with videogames and roleplay, with writing stories about people trying to fill the hole, and even by trying to help others battle their demons. Everyone looks for ways to conquer the void.

We just can’t. Nothing we do ever makes us truly happy. Contentment and peace are fleeting somehow, despite the invention of a number of belief-systems designed to find peace within ourselves. Despite all of the things we try. We remain inadequate human beings.

I have a theory that we come from a place of eternal perfection. Then, we are born into this world of beauty and misery to go on some kind on journey, to learn something. And upon death, we return with whatever we learned. Some religions describe something similar to my theory. But they often judge us, working with concepts like “good” and “evil”, being good will lead us to enlightenment or heaven, being bad will damn us to hell.

I don’t believe in that. I have never met a person with truly bad intentions. Sure, as a group, we do unspeakable things. There is evil in peer pressure, in mobs and in organisations. But not in people. We are all just misguided, troubled, foolish humans, looking for a way to fill the hole.

It’s time for me to get on my soapbox

I’m worried about what people do on the internet. Not because the internet is for porn. Porn is fun, if it’s made by consenting adults. What I’m worried about is that the internet seems to be for trolls.

I’m talking about the toxic language of comments on youtube and of tweets. The rules of basic human decency simply do not seem to apply. The other day, the woman who won Wimbledon was called all kinds of nasty things on twitter because some people don’t think she’s pretty. People tweeted things I’m sure they would never dare to say out loud, directly @ a woman who has just demonstrated that she’s a top-athlete. What is this thing about sitting safely behind a computer that makes people feel entitled to say unacceptable things like that?

You all know I love to play MMORPGs. I was online in such a game the other day when the chat channel turned ugly. Someone made a bunch of nasty remarks, including a rape joke, about people who could not play the game very well. And I raised my voice asking: “Is it acceptable to be mean to someone with inferior skills? Does that entitle you to call them names and make fun of them?” and I was met with crickets, blank stares and three smug “Yes, of course!” answers.

This is why I recently signed the Gamers against Bigotry pledge and I’m a little disappointed at the small number of other who have done the same. People need to become more aware that the internet is a community made up of people, people whose feelings can be hurt, and who deserve to be treated with respect.

I’m going to leave you with Jimmy Kimmel, who is trying to show us that the mean things people say on twitter do have impact, by showing us celebrities reading what people tweet about them.