Great Divides

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A recent scandal has taken place this past weekend. Circulating the internet as a collection of photos known as “GP Richmond Crackstyle”, one enterprising individual decided to photograph himself next to as many exposed butt cracks he could find. While amusing for those viewing the pictures of breezy posteriors next to his concerned and serious face, the album has sparked a discussion that we as a community should have probably had years ago. Is a dress code necessary for Magic tournaments? One thing is for certain, to the outside world this makes Magic players look awful.

GP Richmond Crackstyle: for those who haven’t yet seen the album.

It seems that the internet has divided opinions on the photos. Some claim that this person is a wretched bully, humiliating these people with the pictures he took and publicly embarrassing them online. Others say that at an event like GP Richmond you have no expectation of privacy and it’s a public space. You sign a waiver before hand saying that you may have your picture taken and you’re okay with that. If these people didn’t want that kind of attention they should have worn a belt and pulled their pants up.

I find myself somewhere in the middle. I don’t like his methods but I agree with the spirit of the message. Magic players should have respect for themselves and for others around them. Hairy butts should not be on display to be photobombed in the first place. It’s a common perception that Magic players are the worst sort of basement dwelling nerd. All kinds of undesirable attributes are associated with Magic players. This photo album only reinforces those stereotypes to people who are not involved in the game which is bad for everyone involved.

Crack-gate is only  the most recent manifestation of a discussion the Magic community has been having for years. It can essentially be boiled down into “Should Magic events and tournaments have a minimum dress code?” Society already has certain expectations as to how we behave and dress in public. We can’t walk around naked all day and we’re expected to bathe often enough to avoid the stink aura. You can’t walk into a restaurant without a shirt or shoes because the staff just won’t serve you. Most players would agree that a t-shirt with a naked woman on the front or “Fuck you” written across the back would be unacceptable. We already have some standards set for us, we know they exist and we accept them. The question is not whether to have a standard but where the line should be drawn.

Everybody who has played Magic for a reasonable length of time has inevitably encountered an opponent who decided they didn’t need to shower that day or had no idea what deodorant  was.  It’s a difficult situation to be in. Most just play through the discomfort in order to avoid the social awkwardness of pointing out the opponents lack of self-awareness. By doing this we are merely enabling the behaviour. Perhaps tournament organizers should agree to a set of standards in order to play Magic in a competitive space. Nothing too tyrannical, just the basics of personal hygiene and respect for others.

The aftermath for the individual who posted the images online is reportedly an 18 month ban from Magic. To me this seems harsh since no one individual was harmed or even identified in the photos. The “victims” were merely the butt of an immature joke. Harsh, but not unexpected. I can understand from the DCI’s perspective that they had to make a statement about this sort of activity. This hurts the image of Magic and the players who enjoy it. From a business point of view, Wizards had to respond with some sort of punitive judgment.

We as a community should discuss this issue. Talk about it at your local gaming store. Bring it up with the players around you or with the tournament organizers you interact with. Visit mtgsalvation and join the conversation online. Judges especially should be aware of this issue since they would be the ones to deal with enforcement. Every player is an ambassador for the game we play and the community as a whole. Examples like the imgur album are not representational of MTG culture and are actively detrimental to the cause. Feel free to leave a comment below and yes, all the butt related puns were intentional.

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Thomas Traplin

@tomtraplin

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