Alexis never fails to be interesting. The entry linked to is, I think, genuinely insightful in a way which is quite rare in the blogosphere: it made me think about something that I have never really considered before.
It's this: I think arch self-awareness in role players is often a cowardly defence mechanism.
First, it's important to say that I don't think game sessions should be totally po-faced, and I don't think anybody really thinks that, in the end. Games are fun and should make people laugh.
Secondly, it's important to say that British people are very uncomfortable with two things - genuine emotion, and seriousness. So whenever anything or anyone gets remotely clear to expressing any serious emotions of any kind, our immediate paramount concern is to somehow deflate it and deflect it, usually with humour and sarcasm.
This means that a certain amount of irony, humour and tongue-in-cheek remarks is inevitable in any game that I run; it would go against natural human instincts, and also my national, cultural background to do otherwise.
And yet, I do sometimes think that there is something cowardly about the arch way in which I and other role players sometimes operate: everything is approached from a slightly sideways, taking-the-piss angle, as if there is something difficult and terrifying about trying to take the endeavour seriously, and I think a large portion of the reason for this is simply that, if you play an RPG while simultaneously taking the piss out of yourself and being awfully self-aware, you are subconsciously reassuring yourself that you are not, in fact, the horrendous nerd that you might appear to be to outsiders. Although you are a grown man pretending to be an elf, you are a grown man pretending to be an elf and you are aware that it is ridiculous, and you are so comfortable with yourself that you can poke fun at yourself while you do it, etc., etc., and hence you lessen the sting of embarrassment that comes with that very nerdish act.
So there is a part of me that would like to be less arch and piss-takey about my games, sometimes. I don't mean for a second that I'd like them all to be that way. But I do think, wouldn't it be great to run a horror game in which the players genuinely got scared? Wouldn't it be great to run a fantasy game in which the players genuinely felt a sense of wonder and awe? Wouldn't it be great if in a fight the players felt a genuine sense of danger? Because in the end, I think most people who play RPGs would say that the really great campaigns and sessions that stick in their mind are those kind of games. But to run them requires a level of buy-in that my default ironic tone will not generally provide.