Threefold Conspiracy Theory, What Do We Know, And What Isn't The Man Telling Us About It.


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Most conspiracy theories (lizard overlords, faked moon landing, aliens hidden in area fifty one, etc.) are completely ridiculous. These preposterous theories take away any meaning from the word conspiracy, whose definition is:

a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.
"a conspiracy to destroy the government"
synonyms: plot, scheme, stratagem, plan, machination, cabal, intrigue, palace intrigue; More
the action of plotting or conspiring.
"they were cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice"
synonyms: plotting, collusion, intrigue, connivance, machination, collaboration; treason
"he was due to stand trial for conspiracy to murder"

Conspiracies are actual things, such as a conspiracy to commit murder. But tinfoil theorists take power away from what should be considered a serious word and turned it ridiculous.
-Beta


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Greydoch wrote:

Conspiracies are actual things, such as a conspiracy to commit murder. But tinfoil theorists take power away from what should be considered a serious word and turned it ridiculous.

-Beta

But did the tinfoil theorists take power away from the word or was it the ones who call them tinfoil theorists?..........

Maybe that's what THEY want you to think ;)

The Exchange

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There isn't a secret leshy organization. Or at least that is what they want us to think.


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If Paizo can adapt & borrow so much from Lovecraft's work without leaning hard into that man's well documented racism, I think they can thread this needle.


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FormerFiend wrote:
If Paizo can adapt & borrow so much from Lovecraft's work without leaning hard into that man's well documented racism, I think they can thread this needle.

I mean, they managed to make Nyarlathotep acceptable for modern audiences, I think they can do this.

Paizo Employee Developer

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We are aware of the more reprehensible aspects of real-world reptoid conspiracy theories, and I think we have the kind of authors, developers, and editors capable of avoiding those particular connotations. We might have to tread carefully in some places but in doing so, I'm sure we will be able to produce a compelling adventure and interesting lore articles!


FormerFiend wrote:
If Paizo can adapt & borrow so much from Lovecraft's work without leaning hard into that man's well documented racism, I think they can thread this needle.

If Reptoids are a undeniable signifier of a certain variety of antisemetism then surely Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep (in fact ALL eldritch horror... bye bye Garthulu...) signify frantic anglo-centric xenophobia. I can't follow that logic.


Azelator Ereus wrote:
FormerFiend wrote:
If Paizo can adapt & borrow so much from Lovecraft's work without leaning hard into that man's well documented racism, I think they can thread this needle.
If Reptoids are a undeniable signifier of a certain variety of antisemetism then surely Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep (in fact ALL eldritch horror... bye bye Garthulu...) signify frantic anglo-centric xenophobia. I can't follow that logic.

They included deep one hybrids without making them explicitly or implicitly a play on fears regarding interracial mixing, would be the more specific comparison.

I'm not saying that the problematic issues surrounding the reptoids aren't worth some discussion - honestly I've found this thread somewhat educational as while I've known that certain antisemitic groups have latched onto the conspiracy theory as code, I'd always heard that Icke himself was less an antisemite himself and more a lunatic who genuinely, literally believed in extra-dimensional lizard people and just gave talks to white supremacist groups because he was desperate to get the word out that he'd talk to whoever listened to him and was genuinely confused that they thought he was talking about the Jews.

But, no, this thread and how strongly people feel about it did get me looking into it a bit more.

But, my genuine point is this; you have an idea that has problematic origins, or even if not origins, was hijacked by a problematic element and carries those connotations, but despite that it has genuine potential to tell an interesting narrative if those connotations are removed from the equation. Should writers be allowed to take that chance or should any material that's tainted with that be written off as poisoned?


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FormerFiend wrote:


Should writers be allowed to take that chance or should any material that's tainted with that be written off as poisoned?

In all fairness to the genre: fantasy is where problematic folklore goes to rehab.

Most mythological, folklore, or fairy tale creatures are steeped in the casual racism and sexism of the age they were born in. Fairies, for instance, were used as a way to explain everything from Down's Syndrome to racial differences. Witches were one long high concept fantasy dismissal of the female orgasm. Centaurs and Giants were both folklore ways to explain how killing foreigners is morally just because they aren't human. Vampires are all about homosexuality, promiscuity, and a loss of purity, Werewolves were all about a loss of social control and birth defects.

What allowed all of these concepts to become accepted as literary devices is the hard work of good writers.

I have zero doubt that the Starfinder team will handle Reptoids with the same careful respect that rehabs their concepts into something more palatable.


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Starfinder could use a bit more bigotry and xenophobia. Evil just doesn't seem as evil to me when you shy away from the darker issues.

And don't mind the horns. I'm one of the good tieflings. Honest.


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thecursor wrote:
FormerFiend wrote:


Should writers be allowed to take that chance or should any material that's tainted with that be written off as poisoned?

In all fairness to the genre: fantasy is where problematic folklore goes to rehab.

Most mythological, folklore, or fairy tale creatures are steeped in the casual racism and sexism of the age they were born in. Fairies, for instance, were used as a way to explain everything from Down's Syndrome to racial differences. Witches were one long high concept fantasy dismissal of the female orgasm. Centaurs and Giants were both folklore ways to explain how killing foreigners is morally just because they aren't human. Vampires are all about homosexuality, promiscuity, and a loss of purity, Werewolves were all about a loss of social control and birth defects.

What allowed all of these concepts to become accepted as literary devices is the hard work of good writers.

I have zero doubt that the Starfinder team will handle Reptoids with the same careful respect that rehabs their concepts into something more palatable.

Sources for any of that? Centaurs represented barbarism to the Greeks as far as I know, but that's not quite the same. Sexualised vampires seem to come from literature, not the older folklore and in neither the folklore or the early literature am I aware of any specific link to homosexuality.


A single source? No. But as someone who has studied folklore and magical traditions extensively this reads true to me. In certain older magic traditions 'Turks' and 'devils' and 'place spirits' interact interchangably. Often the 'demon' is the ancestral spirit of an indigenous other displaced by the ancestors of the tale teller. Another reason the concept of alignment is garbage if we are trying to accurately explore a recreation of historical and/or speculative mentalities, but thats neither here nor there.

If you were really looking for a good source about this kind of thing though what immediately springs to mind is the work of Carlo Ginzburg; "The Night Battles" or "The Cheese and the Worms".


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thejeff wrote:
thecursor wrote:
FormerFiend wrote:


Should writers be allowed to take that chance or should any material that's tainted with that be written off as poisoned?

In all fairness to the genre: fantasy is where problematic folklore goes to rehab.

Most mythological, folklore, or fairy tale creatures are steeped in the casual racism and sexism of the age they were born in. Fairies, for instance, were used as a way to explain everything from Down's Syndrome to racial differences. Witches were one long high concept fantasy dismissal of the female orgasm. Centaurs and Giants were both folklore ways to explain how killing foreigners is morally just because they aren't human. Vampires are all about homosexuality, promiscuity, and a loss of purity, Werewolves were all about a loss of social control and birth defects.

What allowed all of these concepts to become accepted as literary devices is the hard work of good writers.

I have zero doubt that the Starfinder team will handle Reptoids with the same careful respect that rehabs their concepts into something more palatable.

Sources for any of that? Centaurs represented barbarism to the Greeks as far as I know, but that's not quite the same. Sexualised vampires seem to come from literature, not the older folklore and in neither the folklore or the early literature am I aware of any specific link to homosexuality.

If you're looking for some specifics: Athenian legends about their city's wars with Amazons and Centaurs correspond roughly with the Persian invasions, a foe mocked by the Greeks as both effeminate and cowardly for their use of horsemanship in war. The Centaurmachy legend in Athens is more or less a fictional Persian War.

Some scholars believe that English stories about "Jack the Giant Killer" are combination of the Greek hero Cadmus combined with a healthy dose of anti-viking propaganda. In the story Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack has an implied right to slay the Giant because he is a giant and thus inhuman.

Vampire folklore has always a dumping ground for all manner of ancient "social ills" but one that got "emphasized" by Bram Stoker was the "predator elder" concept, where someone old preys on the young, a fairly obvious metaphor for incest or homosexual behavior.

Legends about fairy Changelings have long been used as excuses for explaining Down's Syndrome in rural families.

Witches have always been a short hand for what happens when women are allowed control of their own sexual power.

I don't have the books with me at work but yeah, monsters of folklore have always been used for dodgy social purposes and the Fantasy genre has a long tradition of washing the racist/sexist stink off them.


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Not at all sure "someone old preys on the young" is really an obvious metaphor for homosexuality. Maybe incest. Or maybe just the very common idea of older men hitting on younger women. And if we're talking Stoker, that's not really folklore. From what I know the sexual aspect doesn't figure much in at least the central European vampire folklore. There are lots of vampire like things around the world though, so it might well crop up.

I think the Centaurmachy legend predates the Persian wars - though later written accounts of it could have been influenced by them.

I'm not really arguing the central point or what fantasy often does with them, but I'm not really seeing these particular connections.


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Again, I'm at work, I don't have the books with me. Let's agree to disagree till I can hit up my library.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Even if Stoker wasn't equating vampires to homosexuality, Le Fanu was. And since Stoker cribbed much of Dracula from Carmilla...

Dark Archive

Umm, that doesn't mean though that Dracula did that even if it was inspired by another book that did so.

Like, wasn't Dracula's main targets in london young women? I'd say occham's razor should be in effect here

Anyway, I definitely find it hypocritical if conspiracy theories goes too far, but Lovecraft's mythos didn't. Lovecraft's mythos is based on the guy's own insecurities, xenophobia and anti-intellectualism. If you think you can use Lovecraft's mythos without being offensive, then surely you can use conspiracy theories as well. If you think both are offensive, then more power to your argument.


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Ravingdork wrote:

Starfinder could use a bit more bigotry and xenophobia. Evil just doesn't seem as evil to me when you shy away from the darker issues.

And don't mind the horns. I'm one of the good tieflings. Honest.

i agree.

let bad guys do bad things.


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CorvusMask wrote:


Like, wasn't Dracula's main targets in london young women? I'd say occham's razor should be in effect here

Listen, the point is that Gary Oldman is a sexy foreign man here to steal our attractive women.

It's a cautionary tale about not letting foreigners smuggle themselves into your country in coffins.

Bram Stoker was VERY specific here.

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