Over at Border House, Alis Dee really, really wants you to play Dragon Age 2.
Which is, hey, good for her. She drops a bizarre statement,1 but okay, whatever. Reading down the article, though, gave me pause.
: “homosexuality is neither a taboo nor a fetishised “virtue” (a la the pederastic social structures of, say, Ancient Greece/Feudal Japan, or the woeful modern Magical Queer trope).” Yeah I didn’t know those cultures were defined by pederasty either. Learn something new every day, eh?
Ultimately, the main “problem” with DA2′s narrative is that it really does have Social Justice 101 and Feminist Media Deconstruction 201 as prerequisite courses; almost all of the game’s point is lost if you don’t read it from that angle (and, for gods’ sakes, one of the main characters is called “Justice”, just in case everything else was too subtle a hint for you). Even people who do will find it highly contentious — maybe even more-so — purely because the game does try and doesn’t hit 100% of all targets at all times; SJers are used to writing off non-starters, but they’re absolutely brutal with anything that tries and doesn’t make perfection.
The criticisms of DA2′s portrayal of mental illness and its whitewashing are valid, but I think they’re also almost threatening to drown out the ways in which DA2 does work.
See, this is why sometimes criticism and fannishness should be kept apart. It’s like Harry Potter fans who refuse to hear anything about Rowling’s dubious handling of sexual politics and problematic racial discourse. You defend your object of fannishness to the death. You laud it for virtues it may or may not have, and ignore anything you realize isn’t quite right with it. All that is still more or less inoffensive, if daft and myopic, but when your fannishness edges into shutting other people down, it’s no longer okay.