Tuesday, May 1, 2018

And now they're purging their own...

The RPG industry crusaders and protectors of all that is good and pure, and the promoters of inclusive inclusivity of the highest calibre are running out of miscreants to spotlight and throw into the pit. So now they appear to be going after their own.

Christopher Helton has authored this naked hit piece on Sean Patrick Fannon: New Allegations Show More Work Needs to be Done. Fannon has been a reliable and outspoken supporter of efforts to destroy the evil sexists and racists and bigots and anyone else who fails to demonstrate how much they hate fascists and oppressors by beaving like a fascist and oppressor. And yet, Helton has reached back several years to "expose" accusations leveled by mostly anonymous individuals... and accusations that, as far as I recall, predate Fannon's required public affermation of his status as a Crusader and Protector of All That is Good and Right and True.

I suppose the lesson here is that once you're a sinner, you're always a sinner. There's no redemption, no forgiveness, no hope of ever gaining grace... because no matter what, once your fellow believers run out of the wicked to pursue and crush, they will turn inward and start purging the ranks. And those who have confessed their sins provide a ready-made target list for lazy people like Helton to work off.
Or maybe Fannon became a target because didn't praise the right game product in the right way... or maybe he praised the wrong one? (For those who might not know, Sean Patrick Fannon is a game designer and reviewer who is perhaps best known these days for Sean's Pick of the Day.)

Whatever the motivation, Helton has unleashed the shrieking angels of vengeance upon Fannon with a by-the-book hitpiece. I have seen his post referred to as "journalism." As a one-time feature writer and features editor, I wouldn't have wanted my name on this sort of badly sourced rumor mongering, nor would I accepted this trash as an editor, even with the lower standards for what is good reporting and what isn't. Except the purpose here was almost certainly not to practice good journalism.

It's worth noting that Fannon has posted a response to Helton's character assassination--a response that even starts and ends with the Litany of the Protectors of All That is Good and Right and True. You can read that here. It's much better written, and much better supported with sources and quotes, and generally shows Fannon to be the superior writer (and journalist for that matter).

So... if you've made a confession because you wanted to prove your Righteousness in the eyes of the Inquistion, beware. They may come for you as they came for Fannon.


  1. "(For those who might not know, Sean Patrick Fannon is a game designer and reviewer who is perhaps best known these days for Sean's Pick of the Day.)"

    Depends on the circles you move in, Steve. Other parts of the hobby probably know him better for Savage Rifts. Shaintar, and the recently-concluded Freedom Squadron kickstarter.

    If you have a strong stomach, reading the discussion thread on RPGNet will support some of your suspicions.

    1. I confess to being completly out of touch with what's hot and what's not in the field these days. I was only half paying attention for years, and as of 2016 I pretty much stopped entirely. (The antics of folks like Helton were a major contributing factor to that.)