Monday, 27 January 2014

409 GW, White Dwarf and Representation of Minorities (or) "Dear Jervis..."

And now for something a wee bit different...
...So whilst having a clear-out I found this: a photocopy of a letter I handwrote to Jervis back in 2008. I thought I'd share it with you lot, on the offchance that someone might want to see what I had to sy back then. Amongst my ramblings I cover such ground as
  • stuff I like
  • stuff I don't like so much
  • representation of 'race' (?) in 40K
  • representation of gender in 40K and
  • different adjectival versions of 'elf'.
It's a fun read. Honest. And no: I don't pretend that it's some super-academic post-feminist treatise on the state of the world today: it's just a rambling letter:
If, perchance, there's anyone who's genuinely interested in the contents but can't be bothered to read it, then just drop me a line, and I'll see if I can type it up.


- Drax.


  1. You were way too nice.

    Seriously; GW has had years to make a statement on any number of issues. And has consistently avoided doing so.

  2. interesting. all valid points back in 2008. sadly, things got worse from then on out and everything you say is even more valid now! did you get a reply?

  3. Thanks chaps.

    You're right - I was nice: quite deliberately so. Even waaaaaay back in the halcyon days of '08 I figured Jervis would get enough grief without me adding to it. I like to try to help the world to be a nicer place.

    But yeah, you're right. GW keep dodging issues and things have definitely got considerably worse since then. In pretty much every way.

    I did get a reply. It was short and generically personal, in that it made no explicit reference to any of my points, but Jervis did append to it a note hoping tht I'd enjoy Games Day, which is more - I'm sure - than some folks would.

    I suspect that on some level I wass hoping he might address the issue of representation in a Standard Bearer. Huh! Some hope, eh?!

    - Cheers.

  4. Interesting letter and article. Interesting as well to read about the positive and negative impacts you feel that the games can have on your students.

  5. Great letter, and good of you to share it. I agree there's no point in being overly negative in such correspondence as the reader will just set it aside, you did a good and balanced job of putting your view across. It's just so sad they have gone so far backwards from where they seemed to be heading back then. I remember how good those podcasts were (even if a little light on content), and Jervis even communicating with other podcasts like Dice Like Thunder, but then it all fell eerily silent. Shame.
    I think I read somewhere recently that they have no marketing/communications arm (or whatever the equivalent term is) and no plans to instigate one which seems a crazy position to take and will only worsen their standing, but more and more they seem to have a head in the sand mentality.
    I love GW and almost all of what they do, but I get so sad about what they seem to be doing to the company and hobby I love, and sit here thinking about how much better it could be.

    Oh well, I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at that.

    Thanks again for a great share, and such a great blog.

  6. Thanks for your thoughtful responses, chaps.

    In fact, "sad" is a very apt work, methinks, Andrew...

  7. Did you ever get a reply?

    1. I did get a reply. It was short and generically personal, in that it made no explicit reference to any of my points, but Jervis did append to it a note hoping tht I'd enjoy Games Day, which is more - I'm sure - than some folks would.

  8. Interesting to read - I suppose as a niche game in the 80s there was arguably no moral duty to deal with these sorts of issues. As GW has grown fairly steadily, perhaps they've never felt themselves to have crossed the Rubicon and taken steps to address these issues - although the last thing that this game needs is to be preachy too.

  9. AS you say even more relevant now,

  10. A rather late reply and I have little to say other than: brilliant, completely agree. For games spanning vast areas, the universe in the particular case of 40k, yet we only have the token "ethic" types in the form of Salamanders. Who are black because they live on a volcano basically. I think beyond GW there needs to be a grassroots change in this. Despite being of mixed ethnicity myself, I tend to only really paint or consider painting caucasian types (the exception being the Gladiators...). I find it quite horrifying to realise this and wonder why it's the case. I think perhaps partly because it would look so out of place painting any other hue, sadly, that it might look like attempts at tokenism. But with this attitude nothing will change.

    I honestly find some of the female sculpts embarrassing. I don't see why it's necessary. Great female characters and miniatures should be. GW has a slightly better track record than many as you point out, but it's still not great. It's awful overall. More diversity overall would be very welcome. In reference to Scipio's comment, I think that's true, but why should these be issues - we should now be representing humanity and our society as it is because that's how it is. Not because it's an "Issue"

  11. Thanks, Kieran - I appreciate your comments.

    Did you see Victoria Lamb's recent 'Guardsmen' sculpts? that's the way to do it.

    1. Completely agree, and it's great to see. Fantastic sculpts that look exactly how realistic female troops should.

      Have you seen this old College Humoor clip? Quite relevant.


Thanks for taking the time to comment!