Unpacking the Indie Custom Cube


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ETAO Podcast, Episode 03.

Some independent game developers made a set of jokey, rollickingly broken Magic cards. An awful lot of people found the jokes therein sexist, racist, and generally objectionable. Which is where it gets complicated.

Can we separate what black means in Magic from what blackness means in everyday life? Should we? Can it be done in a way that’s intelligible to outsiders?

Does the Indie Custom Cube get a pass, as far as race or gender issues, because it’s so esoteric, nerdy, and emphatically personal, and because it was created for and by a specific in-group? Or does that mean giving a pass to all sorts of things that truly don’t deserve one?

In this episode, Lucio and I try to untangle those questions, and along the way we discuss racial slurs, the mechanics of prejudice, why we’ll never say “the n-word,” white privilege, white guilt, and yes, Magic cards (white and otherwise).


Ah, and before I forget: We keep mentioning that one other podcast that Lucio and I were on together. That would be this one right here.

And that one game developer whose name I couldn’t remember was Danielle Bunten Berry, probably best-known for her work on M.U.L.E.

And yes, my throat is feeling much better now, thanks.


“All The People Say” by Carpe Demon.
“I’m in the Mood for Love” by Vera Lynn with The Casini Club Orchestra.
“That Old Black Magic” by the Robert Maxwell Orchestra.

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