Wisdom and Genre Evolution

In an excellent essay on being a more open DM by Stephen Radney-MacFarland in Dungeon, this brief section struck me as being a good encapsulation of a larger truism about genres in any art/entertainment form. And life itself, perhaps:
Keep this sense of wonder and flexibility in mind when deciding what you'll allow as PC choices as well. I know there's been a some virtual rumblings about dragonborn and some of the newer D&D races from folks who (like myself) were weaned on Tolkien. But you have to realize that fantasy is a language, and that languages expand and change -- especially when the language is discovered and loved by younger users. When I was a kid, all I wanted to write, draw, and paint was the fantasy of Moorcock, Leiber, Howard, and Tolkien . . . and of course D&D. The adults around me told me I was wasting my time. Often, cruelly and with much certainty, they said the flights of fantasy I loved were dumb, or pedestrian, or childish. They were wrong.

Now the tables are turned, and I'm the adult. It wasn't so long ago that I sat in a meeting at my other gig -- as an instructor at a local art school -- and I sat around and listened to other instructors complain about how the kids liked drawing all this over-the-top anime fantasy. They called it childish, pedestrian, and a waste of time. Guess what: They're wrong, too. What those kids are drawing is the future of fantasy and it's coming fast. If I were you, I'd do my best to understand it and embrace it, and go out of your way to find a fit for it in your game world. Join the conversation instead of denying it! One of the greatest strengths of D&D and roleplaying games as a medium is the shared aspect of it. Sharing is compromise. Sharing is being flexible. Sharing is saying yes. Sharing is fun!

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