John Norman’s Gor and hate speech

It looks like I've been assigned the role of Gor apologist. It's not a role that I'm at all comfortable with, but I'm willing to give it a good try.

For anyone who doesn't know, Gor is the fictional world created by John Norman for a set of serial novels. Widely regarded as nerdy male wish fulfillment fantasy, the novels nonetheless have a huge cult following. Some people just like reading and roleplaying SF/F of admittedly questionable standards while others have decided that Norman was not just writing pulp fiction, he was postulating a unique and fabulous theory of sociobiology. The sociobiology group likes to try to live what they think of as the "Gorean Lifestyle", which outsiders think is all about the slave girls.

I met my first Goreans before there was an internet. Yes children, I am so old that I was a young adult before there was an internet. Oh noes! The Goreans I knew back in the dark ages were pretty much like every other middle class married couple with kids that I met. I had only read three Gor novels at that time, standing in the stacks at the library because the librarians would have never checked them out to my teenage self. The Gorean family was so normal that I don't really have a lot to report. They did have a girlfriend who lived out of town and came to visit for the weekend on occasion, but she seemed mainly to be a friend, babysitter, and household helper. If they played slave girl games in their private time, it was invisible to casual bystanders. I heard rumor of other Goreans, the Tuchux who visited SCA Pennsic War, but Pennsic was a bit of a drive back then (and sadly still is).

That was all the Goreans I heard of for years. Meanwhile, the internet was born and Goreans took to IRC as though it were built especially for them. When the first virtual worlds came into being, like Active Worlds, the Goreans came in droves. Same is true for Second Life today. Lots of Gorean sims and Gorean people doing their Gorean roleplay.

Currently, Goreans are the people it's okay to whip up insane hatred over. So here's my Gorean Apologist statement for today:

If you can substitute any traditionally hated group in your complaint about Goreans, such as Jews, Muslims, Gays, People of Color, the Poles, etc., and then cringe because you'd probably draw a nuclear flamewar if you made the same complaint with the substituted hatee, then this is not an okay thing to say about Goreans either. Or anyone else– Furries, people who dress in clownsuits 24/7, people who rp nuclear holocaust mutants, or mean little old ladies with handbags.

Hate speech is hate speech, no matter who it's aimed at.

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