Magic The Gathering as Literature, part 1 (introduction)

Jon Finkel (seated left) plays Patrick Chapin (seated right) in a feature match at Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011.

Part 2 | Part 3

Hello! I’m new here.

I am in Philadelphia, attending a professional Magic: The Gathering tournament (Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011). The event runs through Sunday, and throughout the weekend, I’ll be posting updates “from the floor,” so to speak. I’m currently sitting in the pressroom (I have a press pass!) alongside a few other reporters; they’re busy Tweeting and posting about the current tournament standings, what the format looks like, which cards and decks are proving the best. It’s high stakes stuff—one of four invitational tournaments held annually around the world (the last two were in Paris and Nagoya; the next will be in December in San Francisco), with a top prize of $40,000.

All of which, I think, should interest even those who know nothing about the game. Here’s why:


Events / 20 Comments
September 2nd, 2011 / 3:48 pm

AWP Chicago: A Human Being’s Notes




Browsing through the many post-AWP posts for something that does something that I don’t know what, maybe something worth mentioning, or something else, I found this up at Agni (via the Newpages blog): ‘AWP Chicago: A Gamer’s Notes’ by JS Tunotre. I read it and tried to think of how it applied to my AWP experience. I found myself resisting it, wanting to respond. Then I told myself I wasn’t going to post about AWP, especially not one of those ‘thank-you’ posts to everyone (which are fine and fun to read, but there are just so many of them, and I can only read so much about how weird it is to meet people in real life whom you’ve only known online). But I changed my mind today when I realized that I couldn’t focus on the student papers piled on my desk. So here goes:

Before you read on, recall that we’ve already talked a little bit about the ‘submissions game’ here, so maybe this AWP post will pick up a little bit where Mike Young left off?

And if you haven’t, please read Blake Butler’s BE AN OPEN NODE post for some more thoughts that sort of go with what I’m thinking here.

So, to the essay. Give it a quick read, then come back and let’s talk. Also, you should know that I’m reading/responding to JS Tunotre’s essay honestly. I’m aware of its satirical qualities, its humor, etc, but I think Tunotre is describing a common perception about AWP, publishing, writing, and so on that I want to treat as a serious argument, despite his framing it in gamer’s language. We can also discuss how serious Tunotre is about this issue in the comments.

Okay, enough delay. My first question after you’ve read the essay is this: does Tunotre speak for you?

I am speaking here for all of us who still cannot walk into a room, a literary arena, without immediately seeing it as a complexly graded hierarchy, a scarcely disguised Hobbesian jungle, tyrannized over not by teeth and claws, but by their verbal equivalents.

Probably not, unless you are a robot, in which case you are probably small and round and vacuuming up all of the crap after everyone leaves town.

Or you are insanely intelligent, live alone in a garrett that you never leave, and write very long books, in which case you have no experience with crowds anyhow.

But seriously, does Tunotre speak for you? I’m curious to hear from people who think of AWP this way (or any other social interaction for that matter).


Mean / 143 Comments
February 23rd, 2009 / 2:26 pm