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The Thermian Argument and Video Games

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If the Thermian Argument is real, then there's a phenomenon the perfectly embodies it right now.

"Precious Cinnamon Roll".

Not once have it been used with its original intent, quoting Urban Dictionary:

A character that is very kind and sweet but faces more hardship and suffering than they truly deserve.

It's more used like this:

Person exempt from criticism that uses his/her appearance/values as an advantage to keep it that way.

 So with that in mind, the use of "precious cinnamon roll" is in itself a Thermian Argument.

But this is about video games, and we know a guy here in this forum known for deconstructing Thermian Arguments very well; Roger Van Der Weide. Let's bring him in to this discussion, shall we?

I think his latest video with True Sonic Spirit channel touched upon the Thermian Argument very well. The concept of the Thermian Argument takes the post-modernist notion of the death of the author to it's conclusion. Intent is dead. There's only "the discourse". An another word for intent is internal logic, which Roger used wisely.

The opposite of internal logic is external logic, which criticism is a part of. However, if the Thermian Argument is real, then there's no internal logic to being with. External logic is the only valid source of information by that point. Can be a worthy experience if the goal is making cynicism the norm.

Also, isn't Aaron Weber and Sonic on Social Media a great starting point with this phenomenon?

Folding Ideas made themselves a Thermian Argument with Jupiter Ascending last time I checked. Hypocrisy at it's best.

 

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Not sure I fully understand.

Like, what if an author makes an unrealistically powerful character for a game in the image of a loved one, is that Thermian?

(Yes, that is something I plan to do)

Edited by Lime/Key/Parvati-Pai

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1.) Yes. It's basically saying "When someone asks why a work makes some meta social comment, it's irrelevant to defend that comment's validity by using logic that's only relevant to fiction."

2.) Of course it's valid. While authors have the power to write whatever they want, they do not have the power to fully control the public conversation about what that work of art says to individuals and groups. This is why people can be infatuated with works of art that the author didn't put a lot of work in, or why works of art can proceed to spark controversy when the author didn't intend for that to happen. This speaks to the general idea of institutionalism as a whole: an individual's point-of-view is limited and thus actions can have unforeseen consequences regardless of intent. If I'm driving in a car and accidentally hit a child because they ran out in front of me suddenly and my limited point-of-view didn't see them in time, my lack of intent to cause harm doesn't mean the child still isn't perceiving pain or worse.

This goes for our mental intentions too. Art will always be infused by sociopolitical threads because it's simply impossible for humans to escape cultural symbolism, objectification, subconscious bias, and things of that nature. We draw upon these things because that's literally the only context human beings know. We're social creatures: we understand the world as a result of other's ideas and actions. As a result, no work of art is wholly original, so those reused ideas, even if they weren't caught by the author, will still mean something to people who have the lived experiences and unique point-of-view to pick up on them. And sometimes those meanings are unintentionally hurtful or myopic or just plain ol' lazy. It just happens.

Would it be fair to blame and condemn an author on the message of his work if his intention wasn't to be hurtful? It kind of, sort of reminds of the difficulty prosecutors have in labeling a hate crime as one because intent is the biggest thing here. Let's keep things about video games though; if a creator made the females of said game have chainmail bikini's as their armor, but then someone called him out on his work for it, would the responsibility be on the author, even if his intent was never to be sexist in the first place?

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Would it be fair to blame and condemn an author on the message of his work if his intention wasn't to be hurtful? It kind of, sort of reminds of the difficulty prosecutors have in labeling a hate crime as one because intent is the biggest thing here. Let's keep things about video games though; if a creator made the females of said game have chainmail bikini's as their armor, but then someone called him out on his work for it, would the responsibility be on the author, even if his intent was never to be sexist in the first place?

If something's harmful, whether intentionally or not, it should be pointed out so that it can be corrected. You don't rush to crucify the guy the first time he writes something sexist, of course, because everyone makes mistakes and everyone has things to learn. But he should still take responsibility for it, and try to do better in the future.

I mean, that's the whole point of apologizing, right? Most people don't mean to hurt people, but if they do, they apologize and try not to make that mistake again.

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Would it be fair to blame and condemn an author on the message of his work if his intention wasn't to be hurtful? It kind of, sort of reminds of the difficulty prosecutors have in labeling a hate crime as one because intent is the biggest thing here. Let's keep things about video games though; if a creator made the females of said game have chainmail bikini's as their armor, but then someone called him out on his work for it, would the responsibility be on the author, even if his intent was never to be sexist in the first place?

The content of any work is the author's responsibility. The author has the power to write whatever they want however they want it. That power comes with responsibility over how the text is examined by the public (art doesn't come into existence by nature or magic), and thus some baseline knowledge about the text's subject matter, themes, and implications in modern culture is necessary to be successful at receiving minimal criticism for negative bias. If you wish to avoid accusations of writing sexist material, it's your responsibility to reasonably understand and to be able to parse when your content starts becoming sexist. Of course no one has the ability to do this with perfect accuracy for everything due to ignorance, subconscious biases being difficult to control, and audience interpretations being partly subjective. But if you're trying not to be sexist and yet you write all of the female characters with chainmail bikinis, then you deserve heat.

Intent doesn't matter. Art is simply another way to talk with people, and when talking to someone you cannot say whatever you want and not be responsible for any words or statements that directly or indirectly harm another person simply because you don't have conscious intent to hurt people. You're expected as a human being to reasonably understand your audience, the context of any conversation you engage in, and what words even mean in the first place. Some guy going around calling people "assholes" doesn't get a pass just because he didn't intend for the word to be hurtful either due to ignorance of what it actually meant or because he misread his audience's personal boundaries. In the same way, a person trying not to be sexist but yet making nothing but sexualized female characters doesn't deserve a pass.

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