Not the succulent red meat kind (though the burger earlier was very tasty), but the bitching and moaning kind.
I’ve been entertaining myself lately by making use of the Dragon Magazine CD archive that’s been idling on my shelf for the last few years, and reading some seriously old-school gaming stuff. It’s been thought-provoking, and likely some other thoughts will burble to the surface over the next few days (such as “what would RPGs be like today if TSR hadn’t been so full of gentlemen with prickly tempers?” and “Was feminism a mortal wound to swords and sorcery?”).
The issue at hand, however, is this. It becomes clear, adding the historical record to my personal experience, that since the dawn of time, any gaming magazine, when faced with the question “Why don’t you run articles about X?”, will reply “Well, we can’t run what no one submits. Duh. You should write something instead of bitching to us.”
To quote Juicy Bananas’ “Bad Man“, I call bullshit on that.
By and large, low-grade RPG freelancers are a pretty pliant bunch. If I got an email from the editor of pretty much any gaming periodical I’ve heard of, saying “Hey Michael, we’re trying to round up an article on X. Can you put something together?”, I’d be thrilled (assuming I know anything about X). It would be vastly easier for me than working on spec on articles that will have to brew in the slush and may not even be what any editor in the industry is looking for.
Now, there is a perfectly valid case to be made that commissioning (or even just soliciting) articles is more work for the editor, and gaming magazine editors often lack the time and controlled workload that their mainstream-magazine counterparts enjoy. That’s fine. I can accept that. But it’s not the ordained order of the heavens that gaming magazines must be at the mercy of fickle freelancers and their sometimes-spotty submissions, and I chafe at the responsibility for the editorial content of a magazine being pushed onto its subscribers and freelancers.
Chafing, and I’m all outta talcum powder.