There seem to be a host of online conventions that many insist are requisite for being a "True Gorean" or, of course, the acclaimed, ever elusive "TGK" ("True Gorean Kajira").
Listed below are but a few. I have no doubt that there are many more and many that will be invented in the future.
1. Urth: The declaration that the "True Gorean" spelling of Earth (the place we ALL live, unless I missed something major) is "Urth". Completely disregarded is the fact that this word, "Urth", never once appears in any of the Gor books by John Norman.
2. Ko-lar: The constant referring to collars or the collaring of a girl as "Ko-lar", "Ko'Lar", "Kolar", or any other "alternate" spelling. The spelling, "Ko-lar", appears ONCE in the entire 26 book series, and that is a phonetic spelling to demonstrate the pronunciation of the word. It is spelled "Collar" in every reference in all the books with that one exception.
3. Bazi Tea Ceremony: Claiming to know how to perform, or telling a girl to perform "The Bazi Tea Ceremony". I have found literally dozens of sites on the internet that explain, in detail, how to perform this ceremony, including what each cup and sugar color symbolizes, along with ritual type phrases that are supposed to be said before drinking each cup. This is all complete hogwash. There is no such thing described in any of the books. Bazi tea, a beverage IS mentioned a few times. It is noted in the books that it is often, by custom, served in 3 small cups and drunk quickly. It is also noted in the books that it is drunk by many in a more common fashion. There is no reference or even allusion to any ceremony associated with Bazi, or any other sort of tea in any of the Gor books.
4. Red Sugar: There are references all over the net about how there are "two sugars commonly used on Gor, red and yellow". There is NO reference in any of the books to any red sugar. (There is, however, red salt, which may be how the whole "red sugar" thing came about.)
5. Slave positions: There are no such positions as "Karta", "Sula Ki", or "Table" in the Gor books. They were made up by people in chat rooms. There is a position that is much like what "Karta" is described as. It is called, "Obeisance".
6. Full time required use of 3rd person speech: In the books, slaves were sometimes made to speak in the 3rd person as an object lesson or a training aid. Most of the time though, slaves in the books used personal pronouns normally.
7. Lack of capitalization for proper nouns: NEVER, EVER, NOWHERE in ANY of John Norman's books, does any proper noun appear beginning with a lowercase letter. Period. Free persons' names are capitalized. Tarns' names are capitalized. City, river, ocean, mountain and forest's names are capitalized. Even the name given to a big, old salt shark was capitalized, for heaven's sake! Slaves' names are capitalized. Could it possibly be made any clearer?
8. "Silk levels": If the color of your "silk" tells people how much training you have had, you might be a gamer. No, wait… there's no 'might' about it! There were no training "levels" of any kind recognized in the books. A girl had either been taught to do something or she hadn't. The color of her clothing, if she was permitted clothing, had nothing to do with it. "Red silk" was a rather crude term for a girl who was no longer a virgin and "white silk" a just as crude term for a virgin girl. That is all.
9. Assassinations: You've seen it… some idiot going around bragging that he has "killed so and so and is now Ubar" or that "Slave_X has been killed for disobedience and her head is hanging on the wall of (insert online 'Tavern' name here)" Yeah. Right! There's someone living Gorean in real life! We all go around beheading folks who displease us. NOT. This is EARTH (Not "Urth"). We have laws. We follow them or suffer the consequences.
10. Forced collars: Uh huh…Right. So, any "free man" can just up and collar (or is that "Ko-lar"?) a female and not only is this okay, but it makes him more Gorean? No. Fraid not folks. Again, Earth, laws, etc… There is no legal form of nonconsensual slavery here.
11. Kassar Language: They know how to "speak Kassar". Some people REALLY need to get a life! So, get this… Someone actually made up an entire "language" that is supposedly Gorean. There are a couple words here and there in the books that are Kassar. That's it. All the rest was made up by online gamers with nothing better to do. It IS creative. I'll give them that, but it isn't Gorean.
12. Form of greeting: "'Tal' is reserved for the free. Slaves must say, 'greetings' or some other form of greeting". Ummm…Riight. No. "Tal" MEANS "Greetings". Slaves said it all the time in the books. Slaves and free alike used the words interchangeably, in fact. Also on this subject, and a pet peeve of mine, "Tal & Greetings"? Yeah, walk into work tomorrow and call out, "Hello and Greetings" to everyone and see if they look at you like you're a moron.
13. What to do with a drink: Hmm, lets see, you touch it to your "slave's heat" (It appears that implies that you should touch it to your crotch)? You hold it to your heart for the count of 3 beats or you touch it to your lips and take a sip to test it for poison? Oh, I know… How about "None of the above"? Yes, that's it! No slave in any John Norman book ever did any of those things. Again, made up. (note: slaves DID routinely touch a cup to their lips and/or kiss it before offering it to a master as a sign of deference.. but never to "test" it)
Now, am I saying that doing any of these things makes someone any Less Gorean? Of course not! I am not implying in any way that "if it isn't in the books, Goreans didn't do it" Only that if it isn't in the books, there is absolutely nothing to back up the idea that one must do it to "be Gorean". There are lots of things that aren't specifically mentioned in the books that it's quite possible the characters would have done, had they been real people rather than fictional characters in a series of fiction novels. The fact is, however, that there IS NO GOR! It is an imaginary place! Which means, there is no such thing as a "True Gorean" anything. Some people (myself included) are what is known as "Lifestyle Goreans". This means that we live our lives according to the philosophies, ideals, and ways of life found in those fictional books to the degree that is practical here in the real world in our daily lives. Seeing as how honor is perhaps one of the most important traits on the fictional world of Gor, it would stand to reason also that we follow the laws and rules of courtesy of the very real world we live in.
Now, if you want to do any of the things listed above, hey, go for it. But don't call it "Gorean" and if it's illegal or infringes on another's rights, don't expect a judge or others to "understand".
Furthermore, Don't tell me or anyone else that we're "less/not Gorean" because we live in reality.
© Khaos WolfKat 2003