Thursday, March 20, 2014

Eww, bodies are icky

There has been quite the scandal this past week or so over an incident at a Magic:  The Gathering Grand Prix.  A person took a large number of pictures of players sitting down with butt cracks showing and posted them to Reddit.  Many people laughed at this and expressed concern at the amount of butt crack being exposed and others were horrified that someone would attempt to so publicly shame and humiliate people.  Of course the term 'free speech' was inappropriately tossed around on both sides because misunderstanding what free speech is about is a cornerstone of internet arguments.  The whole thing has become known informally as Crackgate.

Quite frankly the act of taking pictures of people with the intent of shaming them in this way reeks in all kinds of ways including sexism, homophobia, fat shaming, lack of respect for privacy, and sex negativity.  People act as if there is some kind of objective way in which seeing a small part of a divot in a body that is near to the anus is somehow disgusting and awful.  Nobody saw poop, nobody saw an actual anal opening, and even if they had, so what?  They saw a bit of a butt crack.  If their delicate constitution can't handle such a thing they should probably just stay home as inevitably somebody they see will be wearing tight pants and a cardiac event will probably ensue.

Of course it isn't actually about butt cracks.  It is about the butt cracks of heavier men.  If there were women there showing off butt cracks the attitude would be completely different though likely just as pathetic.  If the men being pictured were thin we wouldn't be talking about this at all.  The reason this became a thing is that so many people are so wrapped up in being disgusted at heavy men and in particular the idea of seeing the flesh of those men.  Because, you know, that would be awful because nobody likes the idea of naked man flesh, amirite fellahs?

Free speech is, at its core, about the ability of a person to say things without the expectation that they will be oppressed by the government for doing so.  The person taking the photographs of butt cracks is allowed to do this.  The people criticizing them have the same liberty.  This is a good thing as if they did not have the freedom to do these things it would be disastrous.  However, the governing body who runs Magic tournaments is also allowed to ban jackasses who ruin the experience for others and free speech has nothing to do with the matter.  Wizards is not the government and they can decide they don't want your business if you are an asshole to their other customers; if you don't like it then found your own company and offer a competing business model.  Good luck with that.

There is no call to be doing this kind of thing.  You have the right to be an asshole of course but you should expect that people who aren't assholes (or who want to sell goods and/or services to people and want to appear like they aren't assholes to facilitate said selling) are going to use the means at their disposal to punish you for doing so.  Don't like it?  Then don't show up, and good riddance.

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