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Industry Insights

The Fallout

by Sean Jaffe
September 27, 2001  

In a numb shock on Thursday, I drive to a friend's house in Verona, New Jersey. He quietly enters the car and we say nothing as I head for a fast-food joint. He blinks and says this:

"You remember how we used to have to deal with that security guard when your ex ran Live Games at the Wintergarden? The old guy who seemed annoyed that we were screwing around playing games in his World Trade Center?"


"You know, It's pretty bad when I find myself even worried about that little cocksucker."

When I decided that I was a good enough writer to attempt to share my scrawlings with the people at large, I wanted to expose the world. It's a typical response of a young snot-nosed pampered white suburban kid who doesn't know from anything. I have a gift, and I will change the world and make it a better place. I has since occurred to me that there's no reason for me to tell people how I feel because A: I have nothing to offer. I have done nothing of value to make me worth listening to, and B: no one gives a shit anyway.

So I'll spare you what you already know. I'll spare you tearful soliloquies about how this affects me emotionally and how I feel, letting you know what you can do to help, and I sure as hell won't tell you what bastards the meatheads responsible must be and what kind of royal hurt we'll lay on the (insert brown people here) when we get our bad-ass high-tech American mitts on 'em and lay the smack down all stars-and-stripes-like. You've heard it before from dozens of indignant flag-wavers and journalists of all stripes...

I'm from North Jersey. This is the neighborhood all those poor, sorry bastards commuted home to before someone decided to visit their 110th floor office in a jetliner. I know that unlike me, the vast population of America-- and the rest the world-- doesn't wake up every morning to the view of a dusty, blaring abscess where the Twin Towers stood like two overprotective parents.

They are getting tired of CNN's fiery rock videos staring Muhammad Atta and Wolf Blitzer. They don't drive to work and see the staggering surge in business at all of the local funeral homes, the candles left out for fallen commuters. You sure as hell don't still smell the smoke. Six thousand dead folks have been left out in the sun and the rain for the past week and as much as we don't talk about it around here, we can tell it's close when the wind blows. Hell, Nazi Germany didn't even smell like that. Even they at least could bury the dead. None of us could ever, ever, try to forget that smell.

Pay attention, because this is the last wake-up call you will ever receive. This world is a million times worse than you had originally planned. It isn't cruel and evil to Black people or Cambodians. It's not wicked and sadistic toward Serbs or Tutsis or Ethnic Albanians. When bad things happen, they don't happen to Mexicans or Pakistanis. They happen to people.

Serbs killed Ante Jurilj. They cut off his head and killed his wife and son...

Emmanuel Mulangelengwe was the only survivor of the massacre in Muranbi Technical High School, where more than 20000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu lost their lives.

Perry Anthony Thompson's wife last heard from him when he called to say they were evacuating Tower 2.

What's the difference?

Geography. We- By "we," I mean the generation that could allow for such a frivolity as gaming, for example- have just grown up and entered the brutal world theater. People aren't like Americans or Latinos or Croatians. People are more like the smiley guy you see at the coffee shop with the funny hair who always waves at the clerk while she's trying to talk to her boyfriend, or the kid behind the counter at the comic store who speaks with a fake accent to try to get laid.

Don't get confused. In light of the recent tragedy, the Americans are doing just fine, but a lot of people are dead and a lot more are hurting. And you bet your ass the pain has only just begun. Americans are gearing up for war. Americans are brimming with well-placed pride, resolve, and hate. Americans are alive. I fear that Perry Anthony Thompson is not.

There's plenty of death for us all. For all of our ideas and emotions and ideals and plans, we are human. We are not the people we love. We are not the things we own, nor (and this kills me) the things we create. We are not the way people perceive us or what we have accomplished. We are not the good nor the evil that we have done. We are not the children we love or the families we have. We are not the faiths we practice. We are not the sum or our parts.

We are merely an amalgamation of meat, blood, hair and teeth. We're goosh that talks, walks, and makes more goosh. And if you take nothing else from this whole damned debacle, remember this above all else: IT IS WAY TOO GOD-DAMNED EASY TO MAKE US NOT EVEN THAT. Do you think Perry Anthony Thompson gave his life for America? Well, yeah, he probably did, in a way. But I'm sure he'd rather not have done so. I wouldn't have. I'll bet his wife would be inclined to agree.

And in the end, what are we left with? Grief? Rage? Hate? The families I see that leave candles on their doorsteps every night for the missing fathers and Mothers, Sons and Daughters, don't have the energy to hate. Let them grieve.

The rest of you?


Now is a time to hate like you have never hated before.

But for Chissakes, be careful. Hate is a weapon that we still can't control...

Remember, we took out the Library of Alexandria, New Orleans, and Chicago all with fire and we had a pretty good idea how that one was supposed to work at the time. Hate is a thousand times more deadly than that and can be wildly devastating when wielded by the notoriously stupid, as the past weeks have shown.

So now that we're on the eve of a brand new wave of pain like we have never before seen in the Impenetrable US of A, it is deadly important to go into this hating with eyes open. Question your leaders. It has just become their job to lie to you, what they are supposed to do, and God Bless them for it. Question your enemies. As you should know, provided you haven't spent the past week eating crayons and drawing pictures in your own poop, our enemies are not brown people or Muslims or the Middle East. Our Enemies are people, blood meat, teeth and hair, just like their victims. Question your motives. Why do you hate these people? Because they destroyed so much? Because they killed so many? Because they hate you? Trust me, if you're reading this, you can bet your ass that if they didn't before, they do now.

Channel that hate. Purify it, make it into energy, and use it to do something. Right now. Turn off the computer and get up and donate to a charity or give blood or draw a picture or join the army. I'm making my hate into something that will be online soon and I hope it helps out somehow. But I don't have a lot of hate to offer, because I, like most around here, am too busy grieving.

It's late, now, and the sun has gone down. It's time for me to close this computer and light a candle to leave at my doorstop for my own friends that are gone. Gamers. People.

Two people from six thousand.

Blood, meat, hair and teeth like me that I called friends.

God bless America, and God bless us one and all.

Sean Jaffe TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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All Industry Insights

  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews China Mieville, April 24, 2002
  • lizard's Condensation of All Game Fiction, April 18, 2002
  • Sandy's "God or Whore?" GTS'02, March 26, 2002
  • Allan Sugarbaker with GAMA Trade Show '02: An Inside Report, March 22, 2002
  • Aldo of Impressions on the GamePlay CD, January 3, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Ken Hite, February 8, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Tim Powers, January 18, 2002
  • Aldo Ghoizzi on Inside the Making of GamePlay, January 3, 2002
  • The RPGnet Awards Cabal presents the RPGnet 2001 Awards Results!, December 5, 2001
  • Ken Whitman teaches us with A Note About Creating a Good Promotional Campaign, October 12, 2001
  • Sean Jaffe on The Fallout, September 27, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • Sean Jaffe on Interesting Times, September 21, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • GodLike: Dennis Detwiler and Greg Stolze, September 14, 2001
  • Jared Nielsen on Tribe Gamer, August 31, 2001
  • Mark Bruno teaches about Copy Editing, August 16, 2001
  • Ratings not just kid's stuff for RPG industry, reported by Matt Snyder, August 9, 2001
  • GenCon '01 News, reported by Matt Snyder, August 3, 2001
  • Origins Report: Would you send your mother to buy from them?, part 4 of 4
  • Origins Report: Booth Babes, part 3 of 4
  • Origins Report: Overview, part 2 of 4
  • The Origins Awards, part 1 of 4, reported by Jason Paul McCartan
  • Gary Gygax Interview, part 1 of 3, by Scott Lynch
  • Why I Write Gaming Materials by Greg Stolze, November 16, 1999
  • Blowing out the Nostalgia Candle by John Wick, October 19, 1999
  • Interview with Sean Pat Fannon, Shards October 5, 1999
  • Portuguese is not Spanish! by Thad Blanchette, September 14, 1999
  • Intuition and Surprise by M. J. Young, July 27, 1999
  • Fear and Loathing in the Wizards of the Coast Game Center by John Tynes, January 26, 1999
  • Breaking In,, on how to break into writing for RPGs, by Steve Kenson, December 22, 1998
  • ALT.RPG, first of a series looking deeply at what gaming is all about, by Matt Miller, September 1, 1998
  • The Night They Tore Old Mecca Down, GenCon report by Randy Porter, August 20, 1998
  • GenCon Fun: con, city, and even housing tips from Randy Porter, June 30, 1998
  • GenCon Lore Vol 3: Program Books, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 23, 1998
  • The Missing and the Dead, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 2, 1998
  • The Definitive Count on who is and isn't attending GenCon 98, by Randy Porter, April 28, 1998
  • How to Scam Games Part II by Steve Johnson, March 24, 1998
  • The Perils of Penniless Publishing by Aaron Rosenberg, February 3, 1998
  • Polyhedral Dice & Mirror Shades, by Greg Costikyan (or, the death of paper).
  • Ken Whitman: A Love Hate Relationship by (of course) Ken Whitman
  • Interview with Sean Punch, GURPS line editor, by Bob Portnell, October 1997
  • YOU DID WHAT? Perspectives On Becoming A Full-Time Writer In The RPG Industry, by Steven Long, September 1997
  • A Resurgence of Role Playing, by Gary Gygax, August 1997

    Other columns at RPGnet

    TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg