Angels in America and Log Cabin Republicans: How Dream Daddy’s Joseph Reflects Gay Conservatism

bad idea

When I first heard the rumor about a secret ending where blond, yacht-owning, sweater-and-polo-wearing Dream Daddy Joseph is revealed to be a cult leader, my first thought was “yeah, that sounds about right.” Dream Daddy is a visual novel, after all, and that’s a genre known for including strange hidden elements—look no further than the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding of Hatoful Boyfriend or the infamously bloody Bad Endings of Dramatical Murder, Togainu no Chi, or School Days.

The initial discovery of the “cult ending” script in the game files was followed by a wave of complicating factors that turned it (fittingly, given one of the routes) into something of a cryptid. First of all, it isn’t actually possible to unlock the ending in the build of the game that was released on Steam. Chapter 18 has no start command, meaning there’s no way to launch it. Additionally, several of the included assets are reported to be broken, and the dialogue refers to an older draft of the game wherein the player character had a wife named Cora rather than a spouse named Alex.

At the same time, there is also a Steam achievement suspected to be related to the ending (“Escape from Margarita Zone” and possibly “World’s Okayest Dad,” though 0% of users have been able to unlock them), and a few remaining lines in the finished game that refer to the cult ending (such as receiving a warning about Joseph and a knife from Robert). All in all, particularly with the context of DD’s hectic and delayed launch window, I would estimate it to be content tested and then cut late into development, at which point the developers were too busy fixing other issues to remove the remnants of the route (this is not uncommon even in big budget games: see Grand Theft Auto’s “Hot Coffee” minigame or the first Mass Effect’s nearly intact m!Shepard/Kaidan romance, both still salvageable from the code of the finished product).

good advice robert

While the debatable accessibility and purpose of the scrapped content are ultimately a curiosity, the ripple effect was a debate on whether or not the existence of this ending casts a pall of homophobia over the game as a whole. Much of this clamoring has come from an echo chamber of false information, well-meaning people who heard a thing through the grape vine and didn’t bother to confirm, and a likely handful of deliberate shit-stirrers.

There are, however, two issues that I do want to tackle in regards to Joseph: how he reflects a very specific and harmful mindset among the queer community, most strongly associated with the “gay conservative” (a connection I believe the game’s writing deliberately evokes); and how offering a breadth of representation means being able to portray bad people who happen to be part of an oppressed group without making a statement about that group as a whole.

I.  A Brief History of Gay Conservatism 
II. Joseph v. Joe: A Comparison of Closeted Religious Men
III. How Joseph Operates and What He Wants
IV. Representation Means Variety

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Vrai Writes Pop Culture Essays: Popularium

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I’m proud that I can finally talk about my engagement with this site. I’ve been working and writing with them for more than six months now, but things were very hush hush as far as getting things ready for launch. But lo! Now I can share the stories I’ve been working on with all of you.

As for what they are, here’s what the About page says:

Popularium is about sharing great things and great experiences. We believe that we all make emotional connections best through telling relatable stories about the stuff we love. And we do this by featuring real stories by real people about real products.

In other words, people write personal narrative essays about how various pieces of media (or weed or alcohol – hence “products”) have played into the story of their own lives. There’s quite the breadth of experiences on there, and it’s heartening to finally see it fully formed.

You can visit my author page here, and check out links and samples to the stories I’ve published thusfar under the cut.

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The Consulting Analyst – The Vampire Lestat (Part 1)

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Interview with the Vampire Recap

It’s time to talk about Lestat. You remember Lestat, don’t you? The one who came up out of nowhere to take these books in a completely different direction, the one who eventually could do no wrong?

We’ll be covering a slightly shorter segment of actual text this round, since there’s a whole bunch of setup and context we need to discuss before going forward. Also, this book is a good deal longer than Interview (my 1st edition of IWTV clocks in at a little over 300 pages, while my trade copy of TVL runs 550, with thinner pages and smaller typeset), so we’ll probably be riding this train on into the new year. Hopefully it’s an entertaining ride.

….I also better reiterate my fondness for these books right here and now, because the claws are gonna come out for a bit.

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