Happy Birthday, America! A Celebration Of Issues

America was based on the tenets of free speech – and so was StarCity. From the beginning, StarCity’s tried to be the voice of the community, picking up where the Dojo left off, allowing people of all sorts to have their say. Almost every Magic issue that can be debated has been on StarCity at some point, and the only thing I have to say is:

Boy, you sure are a bunch of whiny bastards.

Today is July 4th, the birthday of the United States of America – and quite possibly the third-most important birthday in the history of Western Civilization.*

America was based on the tenets of free speech – and so was StarCity. From the beginning, StarCity’s tried to be the voice of the community, picking up where the Dojo left off, allowing people of all sorts to have their say. Almost every Magic issue that can be debated has been on StarCity at some point, and the only thing I have to say is:

Boy, you sure are a bunch of whiny bastards.

Wait. That’s not quite as encouraging as I would have liked. Let’s try that again:

The only thing I have to say is that the Magic community is alive and well.

(There. Much better.)

(Even though my eyes bleed sometimes after editing the fifteen zillionth”Net decks are the slime-dripping abortions of Satan, droped fresh from Baalzebub’s womb!” article, which is always – always – followed closely by a”Rogues are perennial losers who deserve to be buried under a pile of gasoline-soaked salt laced with razors, and then set ablaze in a suttee-like ritual!“)

(Yes, being an editor is fun sometimes.**)

Seriously, though, one of the things that makes StarCity unique is that we do discuss issues here, and allow them from everybody. We don’t care if you’re a scrub or an aspiring pro, a Type 2 die-hard or multiplayer-only, a cheater or a paladin – we want to hear what you have to say, and we want to hear it now.

And the thing is, Wizards listens.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was no official support for Type 2. Sure, Wizards had the format – but there was no Pro Tour for it. You could play it in casual settings all you liked, and States and Regionals were Type 2…. But if T2 was your meat and drink, the PT was out of your reach.

Omeed Dariani, the former editor of this site who stepped down two years and a day ago, didn’t like that.

So he wrote a petition and posted it here. Within days, hundreds of people were emailing Wizards’ HQ, demanding a Type II Pro Tour… And sure enough, we got one.

Since then, we haven’t gotten everything we’ve wanted…. But our demands for a more balanced format, our cries for multiplayer support from Magic, our grousing about cheaters on the Pro circuits have all been heard and responded to.

The beauty of America and StarCity is that if enough people cry out, Wizards will listen. And isn’t that really what democracy is all about?

So with that in mind, today is”Issues Day” on StarCity. That’s right – nothing but issues, grousing, bitching, moaning, Randy-bashing, Randy-defending, Type One whining, misogyny and gyniphilia…. We got it all. And to further expand your viewing pleasure, let me also re-present the finest issues discussions published on StarCity!

(I really, really wanted to add issues articles that were posted on other sites, particularly the salad days of The Dojo… But despite my posting a request for old articles with URLs to the StarCity mailing list, everyone replied with,”Boy, you know what was fun? Cathy Nicoloff’s bitching.””John Shuler sure tore a rug in his day.””Remember that time with….”

(And let me tell you: Ever try to look up old Magic articles via today’s search engines? Jesus. They’re buried like the Ark of the Covenant.***)

I guarantee that all of these articles are fine reading, and well worth your time just as pieces of literary work. In short, they’re fun – and given the extreme number of turgid, humorless”issues” pieces here, I trust that you will understand the difference.

Now how could we start off a discussion of issues articles without the man who was called”Issue Boy” himself – the dearly-departed John Rizzo? Love him or hate him – and boy, did a lot of people hate him (and I’d estimate more than half of you skimmed his articles****) – Rizzo was, for good or for ill, a hip-hop voice for the community.

Rizzo had an opinion for everything, which makes it hard to choose just one – it’s like trying to eat one potato chip, frankly – but if I had to narrow it down, I’d have to go with Bringing Out The Dead.

Not only did this lovely little piece ask you to reexamine your life and what you intended to do with it, but it changed the course of at least two people’s lives – Rizzo and mine. Based on this article, I quit my day job to become a professional writer, and Rizzo quit writing dumb Magic articles to pursue his dream as a playwright.

Read it. It just might change your life, too.

(It also inspired a less-readable but more-interesting sequel – The Dead Thread.)

As we said, not everyone loved Rizzo. Mike Flores didn’t.

In the wake(field) of Rizzo’s departure, I made the bad call of holding an entire week devoted to Rizzo.

It was a total failure.

Even I have to admit, looking back on it and cringing, that the laments and weeping for The Friggin’ One got monotonous, and it really wasn’t that interesting. In addition, the man who stood up and said that hey, Rizzo wasn’t really that great a guy got completely smaunched by the Rizzo-enamored populace.

But two important things came out of it:

One, when Mike Flores – an important pro and a key player in Magic’s history – decided to attack my editorial decisions with You’re Doing Magic A Disservice, Ferrett, I got to prove something that’s critical to the way we deal with issues here – I don’t care what you say, I care merely that it needs to be said.

Editing this particular piece wasn’t fun, and it garnered a large share of”defending Ferrett” articles (thanks, guys) which I never published… But to a large extent, Mike was right and I’m glad he said what he did.

But what was more important is that Toby Wachter, the guy who dared bash the precious Rizzo, decided to reply in the way that I wish everyone would – with style, courtesy, grace, and above all, humor. My Penance is one of the funniest things that Magic writing has ever seen, and if everyone could respond with this level of sarcasm, the world would be a better place.

Read it. Then email Toby and ask him to tell you about how he took the picture of his dog taking a dump on Psychatog.

Today’s page holds many articles on women and their place in Magic – but only one woman designed a deck that inspired three separate bannings. You may have heard of the feared Trix, and Michelle Bush is responsible for taking a”junk rare” and turning it into one of the unstoppable juggernauts of all formats it was legal in.

Not surprisingly, she has something to say about Women in Magic – and in many ways, she said it best with Two X Chromosomes And A Whole Lotta Attitude, a piece that not only affirms women’s place in Magic with humor and zest, but makes fun of a whole lot of men on the side.

Sadly, Michelle’s disappeared from the tourney scene since then (thanks in part to some Team Academy shenanigans)… But one other woman wrote one of the most important Magic articles ever published, and she never even played in a tournament.

But her boyfriend did.

Aaron Forsythe long-suffering girlfriend had to deal with him as he continually jetted off to strange places to abandon her, played cards relentlessly, and hung around with friends who refused to discuss anything but Magic. In The Other Women Of Magic: Dating A Pro Player, Anne Forsythe discusses about what it’s like being on the flip side of the Pro Tour.

(Aaron later dropped off the pro circuit to become the editor of Magicthegathering.com, where he now flies out pretty much every weekend to cover Magic events around the world. Anne, aren’t we about due for your”Marrying an Editor” article?)

Chad Ellis wrote some of the best”general” articles about Magic; in fact, I’d have to say that his”The Danger Of Cool Things” article is one of the most personally-influential Magic articles I’ve ever read.

So when he decided to discuss what was wrong with green in [author name="Bennie Smith"]Bennie Smith[/author] Is 100% Right, Or: Why Clever Is Better Than Power, he took it on with his typical flair for boiling things down to their essentials. Since this article was published, I’ve seen at least one article every week that refers to”clever blue” or”dumb green,” so we know this has made the rounds.

Some issues just seem to go on forever. Michael Granaas and Reeve Geary published a large article on Tiered Tournaments*****, which was at least three weeks’ worth of people’s discussions. But the granddaddy of them all?

Tony Sculimbrene.

I’m not saying this is the best-written article out of the bunch… But his thoughts on what rares should be sure touched a nerve. So many people flooded the site with responses that we had not one, but two Tony Sculimbrene love-fests. You should all hope your issues articles generate so much furor.

Other potential Sculimbrene-style authors include Michael Clauss, who seems to be making a career of complaining about R&D, and William Mistretta – who in addition to his article on today’s front page also came up with a doozy of a piece about flavor text.

And lastly, I’ll end with a piece I can’t really comment on – mainly because I wrote it. But it got a lot of responses at the time, and stands as one of the best things I’ve ever written here.

So without further ado, I present The Great Misunderstanding.

Signing off,

The Ferrett

The Here Edits This Here Site Here Guy

Away at Origins, but back on Monday

[email protected]

* – The first, of course, being Jesus Christ’s birthday, somewhere around December (but probably not exactly on) December 25th. The second would be my birthday on July 3rd – and incidentally, I’m still accepting presents. See what being an only child does to you?

** – As is ripping off blisterguy.

*** – And don’t tell me about the Wayback machine; I’m leaving for Origins in three hours. You think I have time to look at every Dojo page archived there just for a rather silly exercise? I think not.

**** – A luxury I myself did not have – although sometimes I really wished I did….

***** – An idea which I personally hated, incidentally. So don’t assume that I agree with everything I publish.