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Internet Pet Peeve: Tone Deaf

This is a very important blog. It is, in fact, the most important thing you'll ever read, and the  best possible way to start your holiday. This is the blog in which I, better known to you as "random Internet dude", reveal why I don't like the term "tone deaf". This is a very important piece of information that your life absolutely cannot do without, so get comfortable and follow me an this amazing journey, or whatever.

First things first: the meaning of "tone deaf". According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, tone deaf means "unable to hear the difference between musical notes or sing the right musical notes". My problem with it is that... wait a minute, this is the wrong tone deaf. Sorry.

Let's try this one, from the Urban Dictionary: "a condition of being oblivious and/or clueless regarding the existence of social cues, nuances, mores, norms, et cetera, within a given social subset, or more often than not totally and completely and all the time".

That's the one! When someone says something that some people don't like, one of the first accusations that someone can expect to hear is "tone deaf", which is clearly a horrible thing. In the Internet controversy world, tone deaf usually means being oblivious or indifferent to the ongoing shouting, I mean, "conversation", trends and demands. 

But who decides what's the "right tone"? You? Me? A committee? Morality? I kinda like that last one, except that in a world where someone with programming skills digs into the code of a non-retail version of Dead Island that was sent to Steam by accident, finds a line of code in the remains of an obscure debug function that once listed a skill as "Feminist Whore" and the entire world smells blood, there is bound to be plenty of disagreement about what is morally right and wrong. Seriously, think about that for a second: the Feminist Whore name never showed up in-game. Ever. An errant line of code forgotten buried in a debug function by an unfortunate programmer who probably lost his job was all it took for the villagers to get themselves some torches. And when the likes of Kotaku "helpfully" run headlines (AKA all that too many people ever read) like "Dead Island Maker Gives Leading Lady A "Feminist Whore" Skill", you have to wonder how many people even knew what they were really mad about.

Maybe the right tone is decided by the loudest or most numerous voices? In that case, local Afghans who argue that women should be treated like human beings and not as properties are definitely tone deaf.

When someone at Gearbox calls something in Borderlands "girlfriend mode"? Tone deaf. Lack of female protagonists in GTA or Deep Down? Tone deaf. When a RPS "journalist" successfully baits a controversy out of a Blizzard dev and hits the jackpot, the line "we're not running for president" when pressing him on female characters? Tone deaf. The bloody launch of a Samsung cellphone? Tone deaf. Mike Krahulik waking up in the morning? Tone deaf. Rape jokes? God, those are definitely ALWAYS tone deaf.

But, but, but, what if you want to make a rape joke anyways? Well, my dear rape apologist and closet rapist, this is your lucky day. You see, there IS an appropriate way to make rape jokes. I googled "how to make a rape joke", and found this helpful link, in which Official Rape Joke Evaluation Committee chairman and CEO Lindy West teaches you how to make rape jokes the right way. Being the tolerant CEO that she is, she even tells you it's fine to ignore her rape joke guidelines... as long as you're okay with being a horrible person that doesn't mind making the world a worse place. Come to think of it, I don't remember this committee even existing in the first place, but there you go. 

When someone accuses someone else of being "tone deaf", what they're really saying is that the offender is not dancing according to THEIR tone, which strikes me as incredibly arrogant, especially when tone deaf is usually thrown around by people claiming to be sticking up for the oppressed masses.

And that's why I don't like "tone deaf". As far as I'm concerned, it's a lazy term used by arrogant people in a vain attempt to shame their "enemies". Which is why it rubs me the wrong way, and as soon as I hear it, I instinctively tune out.

So now you know why "tone deaf" sucks and I don't like it. Aren't you glad you know? You're welcome.

Now I'm going back to playing Folklore, and so should you. Seriously, it's a crime against humanity that this game has been so thoroughly ignored and forgotten. I'm telling you to fix that terrible mistake right away, and you will, unless you're tone deaf. Because I'm telling you to do it, so that's my tone, and if you disobey my tone, you're tone deaf, and being tone deaf is a horrible thing everyone should strive to avoid. Get it? Get it? GET IT?!?!?

I'm going to stop now.
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About CaimDarkone of us since 11:02 AM on 08.19.2011

I am a Brazilian student in Norway. I also happen to really, really like games! I'm a huge RPG fan, especially JRPGs and party-based WRPGs, but I also enjoy nearly every genre, from Mario Kart to Limbo to Bulletstorm.


Fatal Frame 2
Dungeons And Dragons Chronicles of Mystara
Silent Hill Downpour
Anarchy Reigns
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Crysis 3
X-com Bureau Declassified
Dust Elysian Tail
Tokyo Jungle
Plants vs Zombies
Dante's Inferno
Retro City Rampage
Batman Arkham Origins
Rayman Legends
Splinter Cell Blacklist
X-Com Enemy Unknown
Castlevania Lords of Shadow Trilogy
Deus EX The Fall
The Saboteur
X-Com Enemy Within
Crimson Gem Saga
Riviera The Promised Land
Knights in the Nightmare
Hexyz force
Growlanser Wayfarer of Time
Class of Heroes
Battlefield 3
Heroes VI
Metal Gear Revengeance
Sniper Elite V2
Pikmin 3
Velvet Assassin

Currently playing (as of 12/06/2014): Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Mario Kart 8, Chronicles of Mystara

My 3DS code: 3995-6846-8256. For some reason it doesn't appear in the player profile.
PSN ID:CaimDark
Steam ID:CaimDark
3DS Code:3995 - 6846 - 8256


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