pop culture

/Tag: pop culture

Video Game: The Video Game.

Given that I don’t play the sort of “parkour action console game” that’s apparently So Hot Right Now,1 I managed to not notice that, well, everything is kind of the same nowadays. On the other hand, I do remember back in the mid 2000s when Every Game Was World of Warcraft,2 so I guess this is kind of just the rinse-repeat of that.

  1. Or own a PS4, for that matter.
  2. Or the early 90s, when Every Game Was Monkey Island, or the mid-90s, when Every Game Was Myst, or the late 90s, when Every Game Was Doom, or…
2018-09-25T07:59:32+11:0012th March, 2019|Tags: gaming, pop culture, video games|

Horoscopes for the professional classes.

Corporate personality testing is, um, not… good.

My most recent encounter with Myers-Briggs was at a “women in IT leadership development” type lean-in nonsense thing, unfortunately run by a True Believer who chose Myers-Briggs specifically because it was developed by women and thus, apparently, “empowering”. There was another woman in the group who’d studied psychology, and who remarked—in the sort of uncertain, hedging way a lot of women float criticism—that she was “surprised” they’d “never studied” this apparently “revelatory” system at university. The course functionary took this almost as a kind of existential threat, which I guess it is, in the sense that being confronted with the notion that your entire world outlook is pseudoscientific rubbish is threatening…

2018-09-20T14:34:52+11:008th March, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Problematic things.

“And you can’t judge the past by the standards of the present.”

Yes you can.

Really, you can.

Watch me.

“In 1952, Alan Turing was tried in a criminal court and given libido suppressing drugs as a punishment for being gay. This was wrong.”

“In 1900 in the UK, women were not allowed to vote in elections. This was wrong.”

“Until 1954 black children were not allowed to go to the same schools as white children in some parts of America. This was wrong.”

That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

Andrew Rilstone thinks it’s not so hard at all, really.

From a long-but-excellent essay looking at enjoying (or not so much) problematic things from the past, in the context of today.

It’s specifically talking about the Doctor Who episode, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, so content warning for examples of yellowface and blackface, an image of a popular 20th century racist doll (yes, the one starting with “g”), plus discussions of orientalism and sinophobia and other harmful tropes.

2018-09-20T12:12:56+11:007th March, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture|

High concept.

So apparently someone uploaded Escape from Tomorrow (the surrealist horror film stealth-shot at Disney World) to YouTube and… that was… a film. That I just watched.

2019-03-02T17:25:04+11:0028th February, 2019|Tags: film, pop culture|


Interesting interview with Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame.

A couple of years ago, when I was in America, my stage-magic-loving husband persuaded me to go to a magic show in New York. It was one of those “The Magicians” type things, with five or so different acts with very different personas. One of the things that struck me about it, however, was just how mean all of the audience participation was; it was glad we were up on the mezzanine in the theatre so there was no possible chance we could be called on.

A few weeks later, we’d managed to make our way to Vegas, were I suggested we see Penn and Teller’s show. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with P&T, mostly because I think they’re interesting people, excellent magicians, and I like their work in the debunking/sceptic community. But hot damn do they have some nuclear-level hot takes in the politics department. Their stage show… certainly delivered in all of these areas.

But the thing that surprised me, given Jillette in particular’s persona, was how kind they were to their audience. They performed several acts that needed participation, during all of which they were very gracious to their volunteers. Unlike the show I’d seen in New York, at no point did they make the audience members the butt of any jokes, or put them in situations that were (or appeared to be) humiliating, frightening, or dangerous. And, of course, they ended the show with the bullet catch. I’d been kind of dreading this, because I am extremely over-sensitive to sudden, loud noises; stage gunshots in plays and musicals are, like, my actual nemesis. Except, again, Jillette was extremely clear at all times what was going to happen, and when it was going to happen, and gave the audience explicit instructions on when to cover their ears.1

In the article above, Jillette says:

Our goal when we started was “Let’s do a magic show for people smarter than us.” No other magicians have ever said that sentence. I hated the whole idea that some smarmy motherfucker who couldn’t get laid was out there saying, “I can do this; you can’t.” So when Teller and I first got together I said, “I want to do a magic show that’s honest and has complete respect for the audience.”

And, the thing is… they actually do do this. And, y’know. I can’t not respect that in return.

(All that being said, the Cato Institute—at which Penn and Teller are fellows—is still a garbage institute doing garbage to the world so… you can’t have everything, I guess.)

  1. The actual gunshot sound itself was also much, much more muted than the sounds I’m used to hearing in stage productions, which I also found interesting. I’ve never head an actual gun fire in real life, but I somehow suspect it’s more like the gun used in Penn and Teller’s show rather than, say, Les Mis, in which case… fuck you, Broadway shows. Fuck the fuck you.
2018-11-26T08:21:28+11:003rd February, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Corporate fandom.

This essay about the commercialization of fandom in in the context of SDCC reminds me of my own NYCC experience, specifically the fact that there was a booth selling cars, of all things, in between the Weta Warcraft movie display and the (I think) Gossip Girl popup everyone was grumbling about because it “wasn’t comic-y enough”.

Which, yanno. They weren’t saying about the cars, so… go figure.

2018-08-25T12:00:09+11:0029th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|


Conceptual horror: Hey, wouldn’t this thing you’ve never thought of before be scary?

Psychological horror: Hey, here’s how a thing you think about a lot would be scary!

Surrealist horror: where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of

Visceral horror: b̸̧͖̟͍͎͚̠͓̩͍̟͍́̎̈ͫ̅ͧ̇̌ͪͯ̓̅̀̏͘͟o̢̳͈̹̞͎͓̣͍̭̣̱̾̓̊ͮ̉ͪ̊̌͂́͘͜͠ͅỏ̻̻͉̠̬͕̼̼͍̪̤̻̟ͩ̉̽͞͞ͅ!̨̏́͆͂͛̓ͩ̕͘҉̧͚̘̭̱̤̣͓͇̭̖

2019-01-23T14:26:20+11:0020th January, 2019|Tags: pop culture|