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View Diary: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is (57 comments)

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  •  class is irrelevant, according to Scalzi (1+ / 0-)
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    He has a followup:

    ... wealth and class are not an inherent part of one’s personal nature — and in the US particularly, part of our cultural sorting behavior...

    ... But speaking as someone who has been at both the bottom and the top of the wealth and class spectrum here in the US, I think I have enough personal knowledge on the matter to say it belongs where I put it.

    The economic mobility statistics in America would tend to disagree.

    According to Wikipedia, Scalzi went to an expensive private high school (with Josh Marshall) and the University of Chicago. It doesn't say what his parents did, but I'm assuming upper-middle class, and presumably well educated, based on that background.

    Maybe he was raised poor, but got a scholarship. But I suspect his experience with the "bottom of the wealth and class spectrum" means he was temporarily poor after college.

    •  False. Please reread the article and (0+ / 0-)

      See the response to #3 in the follow-up thread.

      •  I quoted from #3. derp. (0+ / 0-)

        Which are you disagreeing with ("false"), by the way:

        Do you believe that class is a non-issue in America?

        Do you disagree with Wikipedia that Scalzi had a class-advantaged background?

        •  You did not answer my question. (0+ / 0-)

          Show me precisely in the article where he claims that "class is irrelevant." The article I am reading says:

          Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. If you start with 250 points and your dump stat is charisma, well, then you’re probably fine. Be aware the computer makes it difficult to start with more than 30 points; people on higher difficulty settings generally start with even fewer than that.
          Stats, as I and Scalzi indirectly noted, can be changed. Difficultly can't.
          •  it's from the quote, (1+ / 0-)
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            The grouch

            which I will repeat:

            ... wealth and class are not an inherent part of one’s personal nature...
            This is completely oblivious to how class works.

            And the computer game analogy is also oblivious. Wealth isn't just about buying toys. It's about financial and family stability. Education opportunities. Social markers. Job opportunities.

            There's a reason class mobility in America sucks. If class didn't matter, there would be perfect class mobility.

            When Romney said that young unemployed should just borrow $20,000 from their parents to start a business, he was displaying the same cluelessness that Scalzi does.

            •  That is taking his argument completely out of (1+ / 0-)
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              context. You are, very simply, inserting something into the article that does not exist. From the follow-up article:

              Nope. Money and class are both hugely important and can definitely compensate for quite a lot, which I have of course noted in the entry itself.
              This one’s a stand-in for all the complaints about the entry that come primarily either from not reading the entry, or not reading what was actually written in the entry in preference to a version of the entry that exists solely in that one person’s head, and which is not the entry I wrote. Please, gentlemen, read what is there, not what you think is there, or what you believe must be there because you know you already disagree with what I have to say, no matter what it is I am saying.
              •  that's second paragraph illustrates my point (0+ / 0-)

                You can't talk about "easy mode" without talking about class.

                If you gloss over class when talking about difficulty, you can't defend yourself by saying "but I wasn't talking about class. No fair."

                The only reference to class in the original essay is buried in a paragraph choosing stat points:

                ... If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed....
                Ok. If Scalzi (or you) had argued that upper-middle-class white male is easy mode, I would have no complaint with the essay. But he didn't.
                •  For the third time (0+ / 0-)

                  You did not read the article properly. Try again and let me know when you are ready to stop being defensive.

                  Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?
                  Now, once you’ve selected the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, you still have to create a character, and how many points you get to start — and how they are apportioned — will make a difference. Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. If you start with 250 points and your dump stat is charisma, well, then you’re probably fine. Be aware the computer makes it difficult to start with more than 30 points; people on higher difficulty settings generally start with even fewer than that.

                  As the game progresses, your goal is to gain points, apportion them wisely, and level up. If you start with fewer points and fewer of them in critical stat categories, or choose poorly regarding the skills you decide to level up on, then the game will still be difficult for you. But because you’re playing on the “Straight White Male” setting, gaining points and leveling up will still by default be easier, all other things being equal, than for another player using a higher difficulty setting.

                  I, and no doubt Scalzi, believe that responses such as yours are simply defensive reactions designed to defend your bruised ego. It is almost certain that such responses will occur, however, even on a website as liberal as this one is.
    •  Scalzi grew up poor (1+ / 0-)
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      He wrote another powerful piece called Being Poor that is well worth reading. It's based on his own experiences growing up.

      •  well, to be honest (0+ / 0-)

        most of those quotes sound like someone doing research, not writing from experience.

        Contrast his quote:

        Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.
        (Scalzi has a degree from the University of Chicago.)

        Contrast with one of the comments:

        Being poor is finally realizing that when your Mom says you can be anything you want, she doesn’t really believe it, but feels she has to keep saying it anyway to keep the whole family from falling into despair-based lifestyles.


        Being poor is discovering that that letter from Duke University, naming you as one of three advanced students in your class invited to test out of HS early into their scholarship program, is just so much firestarter because the $300 it costs to take the test may as well be $3 million.

        Despair is finally realizing, at nearly 36 and with a barely-afforded AA in English from a community college, just where you could have been by now had you had $300, and what that missed opportunity has truly cost you.

        This quote reads true. In fact, that quote is exactly why I object to Scalzi's "easy mode" essay.

        And another commenter:

        Being poor is fighting with someone you love because they misplaced a $15 dollar check.

        Being poor is a sick, dreadful feeling of your stomach dropping out when the phone rings, because you know it’s a bill collector and you know you’ll pick it up anyway on a one in a million chance someone does want to hire you.

        Being poor is knowing that no matter how hard and how much you work, you still can’t cover it all.

        Those also read more true than Scalzi's list.
        •  Yes, he calls it personal experience (0+ / 0-)

          A direct quote from a follow-up piece, Looking Back on "Being Poor" is:

          "It was extremely difficult for me to write, because of its subject matter and because so much of it is taken from my own life experience, so I was gratified that with the exception of a couple of small populations of the self-righteous on either extreme of the political spectrum, most people got what I was trying to say, and shared it with others."

          He also did a lengthy post called A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It that describes at length how he was able to do such things as attend the University of Chicago - "I was able to attend through a combination of scholarships, government Pell Grants and work study jobs and bank loans."

        •  I have an honest question for you. (0+ / 0-)

          Are you an MRA? Because you sound just like them. Seriously, dude, your ego-stroking is starting to piss me off.

          •  No, I'm not. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't even disagree with the concept of white male privilege.

            But this kind of diary reads like "What's the Matter With Kansas?" from the liberal side.

            It reads like a purposeful distraction from economic issues that affect everyone: like unemployment not being extended, or the tax cut extended to $350k, or the public option being dropped, or the stimulus being too small, or student loans, or state teacher cuts, or the minimum wage, DC talking about cutting SS to balance the budget, etc, etc, etc.

            Those economic issues exist for every race and gender. But saying that it's "easy mode" for white males says political issues don't affect everyone, and so economic policy has less urgency. (Anyone who is white and unemployed is just lazy, right? Why bother extending it.)

            I think of people like Geithner, Cuomo and Rahm Emmanuel when I read this diary. People who thought the economy was already fixed in 2010. I think of the Democrats who complained that $250k was middle class.

            This diary also plays into the Republican story that Democrats aren't interested in helping everyone. (There's no point helping poor white people because they have easy mode.) I don't see how any of that is helpful.

            •  Having had to confront my own prejudices and ego (0+ / 0-)

              in the past and present, it has become painfully clear that the defensiveness such as that which you show here has nothing to do with an honest appraisal of the facts. Nothing. The dead giveaway is that you are trivializing racism, sexism, and homophobia, implying instead that the issues of poverty and economic inequality are of far greater importance.

              If you can't accept that racism, sexism, and homophobia are risk factors of poverty for their targets, then you should probably just stop right now. Nowhere in the article did the author claim or even suggest that being poor doesn't one at a disadvantage, or even that said disadvantage is inherently less than those created by racism, sexism, and homophobia.

              Stop getting defensive about all this and realize that this could be an opportunity for you to deal with prejudices and biases that you may not have been previously aware that you probably held. Whether you see this as an opportunity or an attack is up to you. But I'm not holding my breath.

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