Out of character, part 3. Roleplayers, this series is for you! Today we’re talking about canon and ownership in blaseball roleplay with Connor and Pigeon.
Follow Connor on Twitter as himself @ucbamba and as Paula Turnip as @TurnipOnBlase. Check out his horror podcast @PitchLibrary.
Follow Pigeon on Twitter as themself @AngryLibrarian, as Richmond Harrison @RichmondHarris4, and as Polkadot Patterson @TheDotBlaseball.
Here are a few resources for blaseball roleplayers:
Grounding techniques: https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques
“10 survival techniques for the highly sensitive person”: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201105/top-10-survival-tips-the-highly-sensitive-person-hsp
Ten Percent Happier: https://www.tenpercent.com/
Mental Health, Roleplay, and Fandom (for blaseball roleplayers): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bXO3dKgh8iWjHR2lplm8HnHA_cFQ3RO8p3PbzNUVhK0/edit#heading=h.w4v9rm7sq7b3
“Why are queer people so mean to each other?”: https://www.dailyxtra.com/why-are-queer-people-so-mean-to-each-other-160978
Follow us on Twitter: @blaseball_pod
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drop us a tip on Ko-fi: ko-fi.com/blaseballpodcast
Welcome to the Show by Kevin MacLeod
Breakdown by Kevin MacLeod
White Lotus by Kevin MacLeod
Organic Grunge by Kevin MacLeod
Disclaimer- Hey there listeners, It’s Kimberly with a content warning, this episode contains a reclaimed homophobic slur that starts with the letter Q. That said, let's go on to the episode.
Kimberly: Hello listeners, you are listening to Take Me Out to the Blall Game, the world's most thoughtful blaseball podcast. I'm Kimberly Dauber and I use she/her pronouns.
Today I'm once again not a blaseball in the sky with the microphone. Instead I am a human in Boston with microphone, and that's because today is the final episode of out of character safe and healthy role playing. In the past two episodes of this series, we talked about emotional bleed and staying grounded. And if you haven't listened to those, I highly recommend looking back in the feed and checking them out. Today though, we're going to finish up the series with a discussion about canon and ownership. But first, a word from our splonsors:
This episode of Take Me Out to the Blall Game was brought to you by Blaseball Baby. Hey! Have the last couple of episodes about blaseball Twitter role play and healthy role play practices made you interested in taking a dive yourself? Or perhaps you're already running a Twitter account for a player and you want to better communicate with others involved ? Check out the Blaseball Baby Twitter RP discord where we meet to workshop interactions and set boundaries for a safer role play experience. Talk to your team in the main discord, or DM a team’s Twitter account and they'll point you in the right direction. All characters are welcome! P.S. If it's a selling point for anyone, we’ve got a pets channel! Just sayin’!
Hi listeners, we're back. Today on the show we're talking about how to do role play in a healthy, and safe way. We've talked a little bit in the last half of the show about emotional bleed and how we can ground ourselves in a healthy way using some mindfulness techniques. Now we want to move on to our final topic, which is ownership of the characters and the story of blaseball. There are some issues with this that come up in the blaseball community from time to time, so I'd like to ask Pigeon, and Connor; Can you describe what is this thing that we're talking about? And why do we need to address it?
Pigeon: Ownership comes up a lot of the time when somebody views the character that they are portraying as the only “Canon iteration of the character”, and, that is difficult to handle in blaseball in a lot of ways because there really is no canon iteration of any character, save for the ones being portrayed by the game band. (The Commissioner, The microphone). Even the wiki itself, does not broadcast its interpretations of the characters as any sort of canon where they've implemented something called believes the Interdimensional Rumor Mill, or, “I.R.M”, and that allows for a character page to randomly rotate through an abundance of interpretations. I think it's an important mindset to be in, where we recognize that even though we have put a lot into our portrayals of these characters even, even me into Richmond, where I tweet in emoji almost exclusively. You put a lot into it. It changes the way, in a lot of ways, you think you start to view the world through that lens. And it's very easy then, to not only project into the character, but internalize that character and say “This is mine.”
And I think we're part of that comes in is, you know, this conflict of there is no singular canon version of a character. Blaseball just doesn't have a canon, and any interpretation of a character that someone wants, can be considered just as correct as any other version. On the other hand, a lot of people who have put a lot of effort into role play and into storylines and things like this, do feel a sense of pride in what they've done; a sense of influence that they've had over the perception of that character and are rightfully feeling very connected to that character. But it is drawing the line between where connection becomes “I am the only person who can say what is right about what this character is doing and thinking” and saying
Kimberly: Yeah this has come up in the podcast as well ,in this podcast, because I expect to get people role playing their characters you know, sending stuff into the podcast and things like that 'cause those are some of the most active fans of blaseball and it's wonderful the stuff that happens but, you know. This is why from the very beginning, I recognized that I am going to subscribe to the many worlds theory of blaseball which says that, any one interpretation of a character may appear on the show and so can any other interpretation of the character; they can all exist at the same time. But what are some of the conflicts that arise around there and how can people cope with this issue?
Connor: We had a couple discussions over you know what would it be like to have multiple people playing different versions of the same character? And my gut reaction was “Oh, God no” like “I've made this character I put that work into it that's something I did.” When I kind of went back I would see why I had that reaction I started the account the night of the season three finale when Landry Violence was incinerated and Paula replaced him and I didn't realize how much being with the character since day one, had influenced my perception of ownership. And I don't think that it is inherently wrong, or bad just to have that feeling; but something that I needed to unpack within myself and say well “OK the reason that I did this was because I happened to be there.” I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Someone else could you know have a completely different interpretation, and that wouldn't make it wrong. And I think it is both a fair reaction to feel that attachment to a character especially one that you put work into, but then you can just tell yourself, and help yourself take a step back because there is no right version. And having another version of a character out there doesn't threaten you. It can actually be really cool to collaborate and say “Hey we have slightly different versions of these characters what if we had them be from alternate universes?”, or, you know spin it into something where you're not going to just like ignore each other on Twitter, but take your collaborative love for the same character an turn it into something really interesting.
Pigeon:Yeah if I can feed off that a little bit to this this is admittedly a story that makes me look a little bit silly but I woke up the one morning and, I am not by any stretch a morning person, so I I mean I slogged through the morning routine, got outta bed, got dressed, figured I would check my check the Richmond Twitter, and see what happened overnight, and, apparently in my - I'm not an evening person either apparently, I peak mid-afternoon.- In my half asleep before bed haze, I had responded to somebody's tweet to the standard string of emoticons and then put the phone down, and went to bed; but I forgot my done it, and so I woke up in the morning and saw that someone had replied to something that mentioned me, I pulled up a tweet I'd also forgotten at the time - again early mornings -that I changed the profile picture on the account, and I looked and went “There's another Richmond. Who did this?” and I spent a few minutes sitting there and steaming Because I’m going “Someone co-opted my character.”
And I did eventually figure it out, I think probably after a cup of coffee, but that I have to sit down and go “OK why did I take such issue with this” and yeah, we do heralding back to before we do put a lot of ourselves Into these characters. Playing Richmond is helped me sit, and learn to simplify very complex feelings into easily digestible chunks. And that that helps me process my box when they get out of hand, it’s been something that's quite helpful but portraying him is also given me or brought me a lot of joy and I had to sit and think, why would my attachment to this character be so important to me that I would want to get in the way of somebody else having this kind of fun; being able to have similar positive thought processes as the outcome of this.
Kimberly: Yeah,yeah. Thank you so much for that story, by the way that is a great story. I really, really appreciate you sharing that. So, I've got a little bit of a story with this too. Although you know my character Kimberly Dauber, the blaseball in the sky with the microphone, is an original character, but one thing that I did experience was, I heard about someone else entering the blaseball sphearr and starting another blaseball podcast and I went, “Oh no they're going to take my audience,” and then I went -Oh no this is… Stop having those thoughts, Kim. So I examined it a little bit, and here's what I figured was going on. For one thing, this podcast is definitely a little bit me trying to build my personal brand, 'cause right now I'm a software developer and someday, maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to make podcasts and do voice acting for a living. And if someone else gets to be, like, the viral blaseball podcast then, that's an opportunity that might be gone for me, well in my world. Then, I had to look at that and say “Well okay, that's not true.” If one blaseball podcast goes viral, then that is an excellent opportunity for cross-promotion and finding the people who love blaseball and podcasts, and that's sort of a rising tide raises all ships mentality. But I think what blocked me from getting to that mode of thinking, is that, even though the blaseball community is so tight knit, a lot of us are still strangers, and that means that we don't give people the benefit of the doubt when you haven't actually spoken to them. I think it can make me, in particular, feel defensive against that sort of thing 'cause I don't know if I can trust them 'cause I've never met them before 'cause they're just a stranger on the Internet. So, that's actually another reason that I wanted to make this podcast, because this podcast lets me meet people.
Kimberly: And you know if someone else if you're starting another blaseball podcast please tell me because I want to have you on the show! I want to do crossover episodes and collaborate and stuff so, in my in my case, the solution is collaboration; finding ways to make stuff together is, like you were saying about the interdimensional multiverse versions of characters thing. That's the way that I can make myself less defensive against people who create their own interpretations of characters that are mine, or people whom in my particular case trying to make other blaseball podcasts.
Pigeon: The one other thing I would touch on, is when we're approaching the idea of multiple iterations it's, it's like you said Kimberly, we don't have to view that as a competition were at each other’s throats thing, but I think we should also recognize that there are some very distinct positives to being able to be part of this multiverse. Because I look back to when Randy Weed got incinerated, and there are a lot of people who are going to look at that as the end of the story. It’s a closed book, Randy is gone. The way that this, at least the person running the Twitter account that is linked to our discord that has that connection, is approaching it is; he is still alive, he's just lost kind of his demonic powers. And it allows us to continue stories in a way that having a fixed character or fixed timeline wouldn't so, it alleviates a lot of the fear of “what if”
Connor: Yeah 'cause you can explore all the what ifs in that multiverse
Pigeon: Yeah exactly.
Kimberly- Hey there listeners it's me Kimberly. I'm cutting in because, when I did this interview, I thought it was only going to take one episode, so I didn't build in breaks to the interview. But I think that this is a good stopping point, so let's take a short rest in this break. Connor has a wonderful mindfulness exercise for us, so stick around for that and afterwards we'll be right back with the last part of the interview.
Connor: Good morning, afternoon, or evening listeners. We are about to do a short, hopefully relaxing mindfulness exercise, where we are going to be listening to, and processing the sounds around us. So wherever you are, whether you're standing, or sitting, or walking, just take the time to feel your body. As we get into this, and as you just settle into the awareness of where you are, you can start to try and focus on how you're breathing. You don't need to change anything about it, you don't need to try and make it deeper, or more relaxing just as you are. And as you do this take a couple moments to figure out how you're feeling. What does your breathing say? Is it quick and shallow, or is it deep? And just accept that and let it happen.
And as you continue to breathe in and breathe out, you can open yourself to the sounds around you. I'm not sure what's there, but it could be the cars in the street, or the sound of the wind, or birds chirping nearby. Just hear it and just be open to hearing it. No matter what happens it's just some sounds that are being heard, being experienced, part of this moment. And if you get distracted, just know that you've gotten distracted and that's okay and come back to focusing on your breath whatever that's doing, and on the sounds around you. It's been a good couple minutes, so I will let us get back to the show, but if this is something you find useful, feel free to pause the podcast to take off your headphones to spend a bit more time with yourself. Just to focus on your breathing, on that calmness and the moment of what is happening in and around your situation.
Kimberly: Alright listeners, thank you for being mindful with us and now back to the episode.
Alright, well I think I think we've talked a lot about a lot of difficult topics today and I'm about ready to bring this to a close. What do you think?
Connor: Yeah, I think it been a great conversation.
Pigeon Yeah absolutely
Kimberly: Thank you so much let's take care of some housekeeping before we go I've got a couple of questions have you two got any favorite resources that you would suggest people go look at about mental health role playing things like this if they want to dig deeper into this topic?
Connor: I am going to very quickly toss out the app: 10% Happier. It is an app that you know has a paid subscription for the full thing but there is a course called The Basics which is 100% free, and an incredibly well done course so if you are looking to get more into mindfulness in an accessible way that is not just, you know, quick fix meditation will make everything better, I would highly recommend that.
Kimberly: I might check that out. Pigeon?
Pigeon: I'm going to be unabashedly pulling from a compilation of mental health resources that the mods on the blaseball Twitter server had put together, but a couple that stuck out to me as being helpful in these cases are first off; Healthline has a really good article on grounding techniques that I will provide Kimberly with the link to, and also Geek and Sundry has an article that is very, very well written about coping with emotional bleed during role play and that is in all shapes and sizes, and it's a good reference for understanding why and how that happens.
Kimberly: I'm going to throw in one more of mine that I returned to time and time again it is an article that's title is simply Why Are Queer People So Mean to Each Other? I have come back to that one time and time again. It's one of those things is always open in a tab and when I'm wondering why I'm feeling so crappy about my community, I just go back and read it. And it applies to many communities but I think blaseball in particular is pretty queer, so I definitely recommend reading Why Are Queer People So Mean to Each Other? It's a fantastic article.
Okay so we're going to close it up now this has been a hard discussion. There's a lot of sensitive subjects in here, and I think it's important to end by remembering why we're doing all this. So, please, please tell me what are you love about blaseball? Pigeon 1st and then Connor.
Pigeon: I mean the really easy answer to that in a very true answer is, the community has been by a large absolutely stunning. I have met some really, really fantastic people through it. I think not just the people in the community but the community effort so that the drive the game that pushed the game in certain directions in in a very constructive; the art, the writing, the music even! It's amazing such a thriving music community within this very, very niche interest and it really works to shape a world that really every individual has a place in and that's that's amazing to watch.
Kimberly: Alright thanks pigeon what about you Connor
Connor: Well Pigeon definitely took my answer of the community and I am not going to gush even more about that, so I will definitely say something that I am love about blaseball is Blaseball Cares it just is something that is absolutely fantastic to see every Sunday. Knowing that people are sharing and donating and just really putting in the effort to find good causes, to show good causes, and to just share them with people in a way that uses the platforms for something that is tangibly very good. You know there is a lot of a bent in blaseball that will say black lives matter and things along those lines, but it is events and continuous events like blaseball cares that really show me that this community is putting its money where its mouth is literally.
Kimberly: Very literally.
Pigeon: If it’s alright to promote this here, I would like to promote that blaseball cares has a merch store at blaseballcares.com and all of their profits are donated to charity. That charity rotates every season and lots of the communities just to put in just a fantastic amount of effort. I've got merch on the way, merch has been consistently high quality, it's it's a good organization.
Kimberly: Oh yeah, they're wonderful if you want to learn more about blaseball cares you should actually go back and listen to one of our previous episodes in which we interview one of the people who are running that merch store. It is a super wholesome and interesting episode that will also explain how you can get involved in blaseball cares if you are so interested.
Alright thank you both very much! I also want to shout out one more thank you to all of the moderators, game Masters, dungeon Masters, caretakers, and other volunteers who do work for their communities keeping us safe as we have so much fun role playing and just playing around.
Thank you all so much we couldn't do this without you and you make it possible for… you make it just straight up possible for some people to participate in this stuff that otherwise couldn't and you enrich our lives so thank you so much for the work that you do. We appreciate you so much.
Okay! That is all we've got for today Connor and pigeon where can our listeners find you?
Pigeon: I am on Twitter @angrybookseller, my role-playing accounts are Richmond Harrison @RichmondHarris4 and Polkadot Patterson @TheDotsBlaseball.
Kimberly: Excellent thank you! And Connor?
Connor: Yeah, you can find my very small account for work @ucbamba and you can find Paula @turniponblase. If there are any listeners of Underwood who are hearing this- which is my main podcast- yeah, this this is a new thing that I'm doing. I just want to specify; I'm usually making a horror podcast but yeah if you're interested in that you can go find the Underwood collection @Pitchlibrary on Twitter.
Kimberly: Alrighty thank you both very much! Listeners,please remember to follow us Take Me Out to the Blall Game on Twitter @blaseballpod also remember to send us your blaseball questions, opinions, and soul screams. We would love to hear your reactions to the latest blaseball events and suggestions for topics that we should cover, so email those things to us at email@example.com. We love to get your emails alright everyone I am Kimberly Dauber, this has been Take Me Out to the Blall Game and thank you for participating in the cultural event of blaseball.
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Transcribed by Sophie.