Fetish – A Love LetterDireNecessity
A Brief History on Fetish
When fetish first appeared in English in the early 17th century it referred to objects (often amulets) believed by certain West Africans to have supernatural powers. During the 19th century, the word took on a broader meaning: “an object of irrational devotion or reverence.” The object need not be physical: a person may have a fetish for an idea, such as an unwarranted belief that a particular economic system will solve society’s ills. By the early 20th century, fetish took on yet another meaning, quite distinct from its antecedents: a sexualized desire for an object (such as a shoe) or for a body part not directly related to the reproductive act (such as an earlobe).
It’s not a bad history from Merriam-Webster, but I would dispute that the early 20th century understanding is “quite distinct from its antecedents.” You see the earlobe, the loins engorge. There’s no logic to it. It’s just magic. Another unfortunate result of the shift to modern meaning is implication of deviance. What was originally merely supernatural (i.e. beyond scientific understanding), now includes evaluative component. The term “sexual fetish,” being coined at the end of the Victorian era, not only describes but judges. Sadly, much like the disapproving Victorians, few people recognize how often they consume the dark insinuations a language feeds them. Lips are not directly related to the reproductive act, meaning, by definition, kissing is fetish. Still, lovers passionately kiss all the time and we don’t think it depraved. How can this be? Because we, much like the Victorians, are quick to demean others’ fetish (say earlobes) while simultaneously being blind to our own (say lips).
A Quick Review of Explanation
Practically speaking (and very probably theoretically too), an explanation is a satisfying answer to a “why” question. You and the daughter are on the subway. A man seated across from you rises, pulls out a pistol, shoots the gentleman seated next to him, tips has hat to your daughter then exits the car.
“Why did he shoot that fellow?” the daughter asks.
“Obvious,” you reply, “his leg muscles tensed bringing him upright, his arm muscles tensed pulling his hand holding gun out of his vest, his finger muscles tensed pulling the gun’s trigger.”
“No dad,” the daughter disputes, “I didn’t request a biomechanical recitation, I wanted to know his motives. *Why* did he shoot that fellow?”
“I see,” you respond. “By the looks of his suit he almost certainly was a Mafia assassin hard at work. He very probably has a daughter at home nearly as delightful as you and wants to put food on their table. Assassin is good work if you can get it.”
“I see,” she replies. “Probably explains why he tipped his hat at me too.”
“Mafioso are polite bunch hereabout.”
Strangeness aside, an explanation works when the mind is settled. Explanations needn’t be thorough nor complete and they very rarely are. Rather they hang there like magic fetish, halting in midair when the questioner nods knowingly saying, “I see. Makes sense.”
A Few Eve Fetishes
Permanent loss, we’re told, gives additional significance to in-game actions. Nothing truly risked, nothing truly achieved. Via permanent loss, you emotionally invest in your space stuff. If Scrouge McDuck couldn’t lose his gold, he wouldn’t take such outrageous joy in having his gold. We’ve reached full fetish – McDuck literally swims in his.
Building on the distress permanent loss can create, “Tear Licker” seeks no further explanation of his fetish. Harm-joy is magically delicious à la carte.
A historical recitation that halts, unexplained, in midair at magical belonging. Classic fetish.
When the winners of the Shadow of the Serpent contest were announced on August 14th’s 07 Show, the good people of Reddit had long since calculated out the rather poor ISK/hr return enthusiastic contest participants would earn. Still, that didn’t matter to BUISNESSWOMAN (note CCP’s typo) because BUISNESSWOMAN wasn’t chasing reward ratios, she was chasing the prefix 1. 1, you see, is magic.
A Ghost in the Machine
Go to the 03:38 mark on the 2016 Day One Fanfest twitch stream and imbibe a little spirit. Do it right now. You really, really want to. (https://www.twitch.tv/ccp/v/62089147)
We literally start with CCP Ghost’s brain. We then receive an obsessively extensive recitation of Ghost’s interests. He begins to engage with the game until (and I quote), “Holy shit!” Magic. CCP Ghost reaches his fetish. Right there, before your eyes, Ghost relates his lived noob’s journey; the very thing he was hired to make accessible to other players. CCP Ghost examines magic. CCP Ghost studies fetish. CCP itself, top to bottom, may well have snagged a lucky, exhibitionist, catch. You want to have his babies.
Not being rational, fetish doesn’t submit to argument. When awash in the magic, it’s difficult to see beyond. Preoccupation does that.
Some (many?) solo PvPers pursue personal improvement. They climb the ladder of mastery over self and worthy other. Tear collectors find this puzzling when smacking the near defenseless harvests their favored magic so much quicker. Excellence chasers belittle the griefers. Griefers reply, “Cry more!”
Some (many?) nullseccers disparage lowsec as frivolous backwater inhabited only by roaming groups looking for random, ultimately meaningless, PvP. Lowseccers, proud worshipers of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, adore the act itself, not some sovereignty birthing consequence the act could engender. Wormholers dismiss both as soft, asset safety mechanic hugging ninnies.
you don’t argue your way into an intellectual understanding of fetish
All speak past each other because you don’t argue your way into an intellectual understanding of fetish – rather you espouse particular ones or you don’t. Eve marriages are very odd things.
I feel for CCP sometimes. They’ve conceived a judgemental fetishest’s paradise birthing oddly loyal players who scream vociferously at not only one other but also CCP across gulfs of incompatible magic. And this is to be expected. When people touch fetish, they grow passionate. It’s neither good nor bad, it simply is.
“One is fruitful only at the cost of being rich in contradictions.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
I play Eve wrong. Very, very wrong: