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Everything posted by evensong

  1. Got a source for this? Can't find anything with reverse google image search.
  2. That's awesome, congratulations! Today I wallowed in self pity and read about cancer for about ten hours. I have an exam tomorrow and I have more or less resigned myself to the fact that at this point, it's out of my hands. If I don't know it by now, I'm ****ed, so I'm in bed watching TV and internetting. As a subject, pathology really ****s with your head. I caught myself thinking "well, 60% five year survival rate isn't THAT bad" and then realised that no, actually, it's a ****ing dreadful prognosis. Don't get cancer, guys. And especially don't smoke. That **** gives you basically every cancer. Even bladder cancer! How does that even work? I don't know!
  3. Well, Disney being cartoonishly evil isn't exactly a new thing.
  4. Right, see my previous point about "a rose by any other name" - make it the exclusive definition of racism or consider it systemic or subconscious forms of racism, either way, the systemic discrimination doesn't disappear! I actually kind of agree that it's silly pretending you can't be racist against white people: a lone white kid at a school being bullied for being white is still subjected to racism. But it's incredibly important to also recognise that the racism he's experiencing is, to a large degree, a consequence of a larger systemic kind of racism, where poc and white people are, to a very large degree, geographically and socioeconomically segregated as a result of many, many variables - historical, biological, sociological and so on. Just like defining racism as prejudice+power is convenient for those who want to pretend you can't be racist against white people, defining racism exclusively as the Klansman variety is highly convenient for those who use it to feel not-racist, even though it's pretty much indisputable that we all carry some degree of racial prejudice with us* - we're hard-wired to categorise ****, it helped us survive for thousands of years, and pretending we've somehow evolved past it despite clear socioeconomic indicators that we haven't is pretty silly. We can recognise our nature and work against it, or pretend it doesn't exist because it's convenient and benefits us. If we want to pretend that we're interested in creating a level playing field with equal opportunities for all, however, where we judge people by their character, we can't ignore this problem.
  5. Also, why is he drinking a thimble-sized coke?
  6. Well, amusing doesn't mean guffaw worthy, mind you. But what was off-colour about the jab, there ? Nothing especially wrong with it, it's just a really lazy and dumb joke. A person fulfils a stereotype? Yeah, you're hilarious.
  7. Hopefully you survive the trauma. Was amusing and is a common dodge by those people on Twitter (can't expect much from that kind though ) I don't think I'll ever cease being amazed by what people find funny...
  8. So instead of saying something useful or interesting, you opted for accusing people of ad hominem arguments through an ad hominem comic? It's five in the afternoon and it's still early for this ****.
  9. Alright, I get you. I kinda disagree, though. Admittedly I haven't watched that much of A. Sarkeesian's videos, but I don't recall her ever saying that it doesn't influence behaviour - her deal is cultural criticism, and as far as I know she's never said that culture doesn't influence behaviour, neither explicitly nor implicitly. That would be a totally ridiculous thing to say. At least to my mind, there's a huge gulf between Jack Thompson's arguments (is he still around? I remember he was a big deal in like, 2006?) and Sarkeesian's. Thompson's arguments are/were explicitly about censoring and prohibiting the release of certain games, he claimed direct connections between playing games and real violence, as well as people using video games as "murder simulators" in which they practiced murdering people in real life. All these things are ridiculous claims, and not really on the same level as examining the cultural impact of video games. I've never heard Anita Sarkeesian explicitly call for prohibition of any games, and I would be surprised (and disappointed) if it turns out she has.
  10. Well, yes, that's what I was trying to do. I was trying to explain how video games change the way we think, namely as part of our broader cultural tapestry. It affects both the way we think and, consequentially, how we act. Do you disagree that culture affects how we think and act? Edit: I guess I'm kinda struggling to understand what you're saying here, could you explain it briefly? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding you here.
  11. I kinda disagree. Talking about "steps" seems weird to me when we're constantly steeped in our culture. We've never not been exposed to this stuff. There isn't a linear progression between watching a dumb thing on TV and adopting a dumb opinion, the program is just a drop in the cultural ocean, constant around us. Because of this I often think discussions about single instances of sexism or racism are more symbolic than constructive - we're missing the forest for the trees a lot of the time. It's much easier to talk about single crystallised aspects of our culture instead of looking at where it's coming from, but it's also a lot less useful. Talking about "mind control" is a ridiculous reduction of what's going on here. It seems common to think that anyone critiquing culture from a feminist/anti-racist point of view has in mind some pure, self-contained soul that gets corrupted by racist or sexist culture, and that we must purge our culture of anything that can taint this fragile core inside of us through censorship. That's not what anyone is trying to do, that would be insane, because that core doesn't exist. This is the point: Our minds are already controlled. Not by anyone in particular, but by the cultural influence of our society. That is our default state. There is no pure internal atom of reason. So this is the point of cultural critique: we are all affected by the culture that surrounds us, and figuring out how it affects us can tell us something about ourselves and our society. If we also have an idea of what we want our society to look like - we generally do, as most people prefer level playing fields and all that - it can also tell us something about where our culture is headed, and lets us talk about what we can do to influence it. An analogy: We can picture mind control as being pressganging. Cultural criticism is not about pressganging, it's about trying to explain that we are all already on a ship, and we can try to figure out collectively how the ship works and how to get it where we want to go. Of course, you could sit down on the deck and pretend you're on dry land. It'd probably a lot more comfortable, but you'd be deluding yourself.
  12. Yeah that's a silly thing to say, I agree. It influences both. Culture influences the way we perceive the world, our perceptions inform our opinions, our opinions inform our actions. It has a real effect on the world and people around us.
  13. It's not especially controversial in psychology today that everyone harbors some amount of racial prejudice, for the most part unconsciously. Some people are in a position where the cumulative societal prejudice works in their favour. Recognising that this gives them some measure of advantage, while giving disadvantage to others, doesn't seem that crazy to me. I guess defining "racism" as encompassing that idea exclusively seems a bit narrow, but a rose by any other name, right? Call it systemic racism if you want, it's still a real thing, it still works in our favour, and it still affects people in ways that make it ridiculous to claim society is currently a level playing field. If you disagree that white people are privileged at all: Here's a thought experiment. You're walking home from work late at night in New York. A police car rolls up and tells you to stop. In the interaction that follows, would you want to be black or white, or do you think it wouldn't matter?
  14. Yeah, no, **** this bull****, especially the IP stuff. Restricting ability to shape individual country copyright laws, restriction of fair use, stronger patent laws for medicine... Not a fan, not at all.
  15. Is a game better because it has 3d as opposed to 2d graphics? Is CoD a better game than Minecraft because it has higher quality textures? If not, how is describing these things of any value whatsoever in a text that is supposed to help you determine whether or not to buy a game? The stuff you describe has an impact on what the game is like, to be sure, but it's akin to reviewing a novel by only looking at the quality of the stitching and typesetting. It's effectively meaningless as a description of the content.
  16. Could you give an example of an objective standard by which we can measure video games?
  17. Meshugger: I am being serious. As serious as I'm capable of, anyway. It's impossible to strive for objectivity when talking about art. I'm sorry, but it's impossible. Here's a selection of quotes from Roger Ebert's reviews that clearly contains value judgments made by Ebert (a value judgment is an inherently subjective thing). I picked the reviews more or less at random from the first page of the reviews on his website. "The film's portrait of its small town is finely done. There is a fraught sequence when the faithless mom Tanya returns from California for a visit, and Greta lets her have it. There are indications that life is going to get more complicated here. But when a movie shows a couple of bright kids excited about a mussel, it's hard to say no." "For Bill Murray to occupy his time in this dreck sandwich is a calamity. Of Charlie Sheen, we've seen more than enough, at least until he gets his act together. But there's a sad shortage of Bill Murray performances, and his work here is telephoned in as if Thomas Alva Edison had never been born." "If anyone has trouble understanding "Bless Me, Ultima," it will be the grown-ups, because so many modern movies have trained them not to understand. Some moviegoers are reeling from the way they're bludgeoned by the choices they make. Their movies spell everything out, read it aloud to them, hammer it in, communicate by force. This film respects the deliberate nature of time slipping into the future." "You may have noticed that the trailers for "Gangster Squad" are peppered with hyperbolic review quotes provided by syndicated critics of dubious merit. They're a sure sign of a movie's mediocrity, and my favorite blurb hypes "Gangster Squad" as "the best gangster film of the decade!!" Man, what a drag. If that's true, the next seven years are going to be lousy for the world's favorite crime genre." I find it difficult to believe that anyone would consider this in any way "objective". This isn't a failing of Ebert's, the inherent subjectivity follows from the fact that any appreciation of art is inherently subjective - because there is no standard against which to measure a work of art, which is the only way an objective measurement of anything is possible. You can create standards that would allow objective measurements, but they would be completely inane - the minimum possible completion time, for example, or number of unique weapons, stuff like that. Stuff you can measure. You can't measure a game as a whole. I think a better term for what you're aiming for here is neutrality, but this is also fraught with problems, see below. KaineParker: That's fair. I can agree to this, sort of. Some things should probably be disclosed, like direct financial gain from game sales, or - I guess - romantic involvement with a developer. (Preferably, your boy/girlfriend shouldn't write that review, though.) I have some big problems with it, though, mostly that "COI" is a thoroughly nebulous term when it comes to subjective judgements. It seems to me that most of COI disclosure is done implicitly, via different parts of the press catering to different people. I like Ars Technica and RPS. I don't like GameRaptor, Kotaku (maybe uncharacteristically), Joystiq, Gamespot etc. - especially as far as reviews go, I'd much rather read the opinions of people I generally agree with in political, social or intellectual questions, because that gives me an indication of what the game is going to be like for me. Similarly, a Gamespot review gives me comparatively less info about the things I look for in a games review. Reading about a shooter, I'd much rather read a piece that explores the tropes of military masculinity in the game than talk about how I can skin my rifle to a leopard decal if I kill X amount of people or whatever. I see this in myself as well when I play - my politics, and how they influence my views on the world, create a lens through which I filter my experience with a game. And here's the thing: everybody does this. Conflicts of interest are inherent to video games journalism, because the subjective nature of art requires you to have a framework with which to contextualise it. This conflict of interest is only a problem if you assume the writing can be neutral or objective. Most of what makes a video game review, even without a huge gamechanger like having ****ed a dev should not be taken at face value - even if there was nothing to disclose, because reviews, and virtually all other aspects of video game writing, is opinion. I'm also gonna stick out my neck here and say that if anyone took video game reviews at face value up until Zoe Quinn did (or didn't do) the thing, and assumed that GameSpot or PCGamer reviews were somehow not considerably influenced by the major league developers of a billion dollar industry, no amount of COI disclosure can help them.
  18. Literally the only story line I care about any more is Arya's. I especially don't give a **** about anything that happens in Dorne.
  19. Actually, I'm gonna pose an open question to y'all - what constitutes ethical behaviour for a video games journalist? (First person to bring up the notion of objectivity gets to stand in the corner.)
  20. Well, that's not that strange, to be honest? Trans people have been largely invisible in popular media until very recently. As for ethics in games journalism: Maybe this is because I'm sort of out of touch with the gaming press, but it feels like the "conflicts of interest" people seem to have are like... friendships? Which, yeah, that happens everywhere. Considering we're talking about an enthusiast press, I think it'd be more surprising to find a journalist without friends in the industry than with, you know? Here's an old bit in Ars Technica about how larger publishers ply reviewers with all kinds of ****. This seems to me like something anyone concerned with ethics in games journalism should be more worried about than publicly viewable friendships.
  21. Dear Christ. I thought we stopped making these, collectively, as a species.
  22. The word doesn't need to be used in a specifically negative context, that's the entire point of the euphemism treadmill - as long as being a trans* person is considered a bad thing in society at large, any word used to describe them will be "used up" because it eventually becomes loaded with the preconceptions people have about the people it describes. The same thing happens in lots of other arenas, too. In Norway, at least, the term "patient" has gone "out of style" psychiatric health care, we now use a different word. It's kinda hard to convey the same meaning in English, but basically it amounts to "a person who is using health care services". Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with being a patient, there never has been. But the term still comes loaded with preconceptions of what the role entails that it makes treatment more difficult. A lot of people perceive patients as passive receivers of health care, so if their own participation in treatment is crucial, being labelled as what they perceive a rather passive role can be detrimental to their healing process. No doubt, in another ten years we'll be using a different term again. Whether or not this is a good thing, I couldn't tell you. Personally I feel like it's not really up to me? Like my basic approach to (not) calling people things is pretty simple, if someone doesn't want me using a word to describe them, I won't. Doesn't bother me, switching up words occasionally is healthy anyway, I think. I know it bothers a lot of people, but it just seems to me like a basic marker of respect for people to call them what they want to be called. It's worth noting that the internet (especially tumblr, I guess) tends to make a much bigger deal out of this than anyone I've ever met in real life has - I've been politely asked to use different pronouns in reference to someone twice in my life, and I hang out with a fair amount of trans* people. So yeah. Julia Serano wrote an interesting blog post about the word a while back; about the origin, use and denunciation of the term. (Her book Whipping Girl is also well-written and an excellent introduction to trans* issues, check it out if you want to learn more.)
  23. It used to be perfectly acceptable, even a preferred term of reference, but it's gone through a couple of rounds on the euphemism treadmill, basically. Here's an old piece by Steven Pinker explaining the concept of the euphemism treadmill. "People invent new "polite" words to refer to emotionally laden or distasteful things, but the euphemism becomes tainted by association and the new one that must be found acquires its own negative connotations. … The euphemism treadmill shows that concepts, not words, are in charge. Give a concept a new name, and the name becomes colored by the concept; the concept does not become freshened by the name. (We will know we have achieved equality and mutual respect when names for minorities stay put.)"
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