/Tag: culture

So, like. In Oldschool Adventure Games there’s basically two “types”: the King’s Quest and the Monkey Island.

In the Monkey Island, failure in a puzzle means you just get to try the puzzle again. Maybe you get some funny dialogue, or a cutscene, but there’s no real punishment for mistakes.

In the King’s Quest, mistakes (usually) mean you die.

One of those series was developed by a woman. I’ll let you work out for yourselves which one.

2018-11-21T10:26:55+00:0020th November, 2018|Tags: culture, gaming, pop culture, video game|


Filmmaking — and indeed all art — involves a contract between the creator and the beholder: the creator makes an offer, which the beholder, by watching, accepts. Harold Pinter and Michael Haneke have written plays and films which hinge on this agreement, far better than [Lars] Von Trier: works that call into question the moral acquiescence of the audience, the collaboration of the spectator in the barbarity depicted onscreen. [In The House That Jack Built] Von Trier blithely, or perhaps stupidly, asks us to accept the very terms of his film, and to judge the movie on what he has set out to do — namely, to accept that the violence depicted here, the torture and abuse, can be a parable for Von Trier’s own abusive behaviour towards women, and the way his films have enacted, again and again, the suffering of women. But I do not have to accept those terms; we do not have to collaborate with Von Trier in deeming this a subject. And, incidentally, the abuse of women is a poor metaphor for the abuse of women.

Caspar Salmon just stopped watching.

I know it’s kind of besides the point, but as someone who went through an Asian gorehound cinema phase it’s hard not to notice that the scene from The House That Jack Built that most critics are listing as the most “shocking” (a woman getting her boob cut off) is not even all that original; it’s one of the infamous set-pieces from Ichi the Killer, for example. And I will confess, I often quite like exploitative “shock art”… but if you’re going to make it, at least have the decency to be honest about why (i.e. to, y’know, shock people), rather than dressing it up in pseudo-intellectual garbage wankery designed to nudge-nudge-wink-wink your own Really Real World abusive behavior.

2018-05-21T11:06:11+00:0016th November, 2018|Tags: culture, pop culture|

Whatever happened to sun-dried tomatoes?

Seriously. Where did sun-dried tomatoes go? For a couple of years they were everywhere, and now… nada.

I mean. They’re like, gross, so I didn’t exactly miss them, but… interesting story, all the same.

2018-05-21T10:15:00+00:0015th November, 2018|Tags: culture, food|

Respectful respecting.

In the world Republicans have constructed, a Democrat who wants to give you health care and a higher wage is disrespectful, while a Republican who opposes those things but engages in a vigorous round of campaign race-baiting is respectful. The person who’s holding you back isn’t the politician who just voted to give a trillion-dollar tax break to the wealthy and corporations, it’s an East Coast college professor who said something condescending on Twitter.

Paul Waldman on alternate realities.

Also see this twitter thread, which goes a little more into how the right-wing stranglehold on media outlets—even ostensibly “centrist” or “liberal” outlets, who still more often than not parrot right-wing talking points—has so thoroughly corrupted the polity.

2018-11-26T08:01:09+00:0014th November, 2018|Tags: culture, politics|

Primary objectives.

One of the biggest successes of the conservative movement, of course, is its relentless exploitation of the American tendency to see the fact that there are multiple sides of an issue as evidence that both sides are worth listening to. So, through ignorance or fear of riling up the right, large corporations and ostensibly apolitical organizations continue to ignore the obvious fact that many major conservative institutions have made hypocrisy, bad faith accusations of persecution, and straight-up lying their primary activities.

Libby Watson on grift.

2018-05-15T08:36:36+00:0010th November, 2018|Tags: culture, politics|

Closer together? Further apart.

The neoliberal origins of “world music”.

Because I am Old, I remember the whole Deep Forest/”world music” craze and… ye-ee-eah. About that…

(Minor content warning that the video uses a particular word to describe central African peoples, which is in some contexts considered a slur or, at minimum, outdated/inappropriate.)

2018-11-27T14:06:12+00:008th November, 2018|Tags: culture, music|

JAQ off.

The repeated outbreaks of fascination with the question of whether women and racial minorities are inherently unequal were not quite the product of the disinterested pursuit of the truth, [philosopher Philip] Kitcher argued; otherwise, the same unpleasant questions would not keep appearing in radically different pseudoscientific forms. Instead, the recurrent interest stems from public and elite eagerness to believe that discrimination against women and minorities was justified.

This was reinforced by individual intellectual incentives to cultivate contrarianism for the sake of fame, or, as Kitcher describes it, the “temptation to gain a large audience and to influence public opinion by defending ‘unpopular’ views” — views that, in truth, mirrored widespread societal prejudices.

Henry Farrell  on the dark web.

The article in general is about that little cadre of right-wing wannabe intellectuals who’ve been having a bit of a whinge about how their “freedom of speech” is being “oppressed” by the Intolerant Left who won’t let them Just Ask Questions on, for example, women or people of color or the Holocaust. Farrell’s take is that this group is getting so pissy lately because the academic and social Overton windows have, in fact, shifted—and shifted quite a lot—in favor of progressive positions. It’s not a take I’d entirely agree with, if only for the fact that even the very framing of things like “hey, did you know the Holocaust kinda sucked?” being considered a “progressive”/left-wing position shows that something has gone very wrong.

I’m also kinda reminded of that Four Horseman video that was going around like a million years ago. There was some talking point along the lines of, “What would be your ethical position if it was scientifically proven, say, women were inferior to men?” This was before everyone realized that Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins were huge flaming assholes,1 and I remember thinking how it was… funny that the question is always framed that way. It’s always “what if it was SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN women are irrational” or “SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN black people are less intelligent”. Funny how it’s never “what if it were SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN white men are bias-reinforcing assholes unfit for public intellectual life”. Just asking questions, y’know…

  1. Everyone always knew that about Hitchens—being an asshole was kind of His Thing—and as far as I can tell Dennett has mostly just faded quietly back into academia or whatever, which makes him the obvious winner of the four. ^
2018-05-22T08:36:00+00:008th November, 2018|Tags: culture|