Alis

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About Alis

Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.

Endgame.

Yet another way to recognize power is the intentional foregoing of selling your product to customers in order to capture market power elsewhere, or what is known as vertical foreclosure. This is most apparent in the new service Disney is rolling out called Disney Plus, which will bundle all of Disney’s massive trove of content into a Netflix-like bundle. In some ways, this looks like [Disney CEO Bob] Iger’s end game in the strategy for global dominance. Disney can produce must-have branded content, force theaters to show all of its branded content, and then leverage that across its global network of theme parks and its dominant streaming service. It is vertically integrated from production lot to the end consumer.

Iger’s strategy is to do what Netflix is trying to do, except with more raw power. Netflix’s strategy is to produce so much content and sell it at a loss through subscriptions, in the hopes it can drive its competitors out of business. One it has a large base of subscribers and no competitors, it can then raise prices on its subscribers (as it is doing in the U.S.) and pay its talent less money. Where else are they going to go?

Matt Stoller on monopoly culture.

The whole article is worth reading and, yeah yeah, no ethical consumption under capitalism and all that, but

But.

2019-12-12T09:13:58+11:0028th March, 2020|Tags: economics, pop culture|

Cancelling cancel culture is cancelled.

But the problem with criticism of the “cancel culture” is it ignores that the ones doing most of the cancelling are conservatives.

Conservatives in this country have cancelled progressive taxation, have tried for 40 years to cancel public health and education, have cancelled any attempts to increase Newstart, been doing their best to cancel the NBN and have cancelled a price on carbon, any effective action on climate change, and tried in vain to cancel moves to allow gender equality.

Most recently we had conservatives in New South Wales trying with all their might to cancel legal abortion.

And of course the most egregious example of cancel culture in Australia was by the Australian newspaper, which used a short Facebook post by Yassmin Abdel-Magied as an excuse to hound her out of work and in the end the country.

On the other side, progressives get annoyed when Alan Jones uses the N word, Sky News and the ABC interview Nazis or far-right extremists, and political parties continue to mouth platitudes about climate change and then seek to foster growth in the coal industry.

Greg Jericho on cancelling.

I mean, look. I’m the first person who’d admit I have problems with cancel culture1 but, like. Jericho’s not wrong, so…

  1. Pretty much exclusively when it ignores existing power structures. “Cancelling” a teenage indie creator on Twitter because they drew an art you don’t like is… qui-ii-ii-ite a bit different to “cancelling” a millionaire media personality, or multi-billion dollar corporation, for supporting far-right extremism, for example. []
2019-12-18T09:52:59+11:0026th March, 2020|Tags: culture, politics|

Public investment.

But the reality is that if we had a bigger public sector today, we would be better prepared to weather the health and economic crises triggered by the coronavirus. Hopefully, by the time we come through this, we will have learnt that lesson once and for all. Because nobody thinks “the market” is best placed to tackle the coronavirus. Nobody thinks governments should step back and let the private sector step in. One of the first casualties of Covid-19 in Australia is the neoliberal rhetoric about government spending being a “cost” to the economy.

As China has shown, if you are interventionist enough, and crush economic activity hard enough, you can stop the spread of Covid-19. As Italy has shown, if you are laissez-faire, you will overwhelm your hospitals. There is no avoiding this choice. Delay and dissembling will deliver the worst health and worst economic outcomes.

But neoliberalism is all about delay and dissembling. For decades, we have been told that if we cut spending on health and welfare today, we can grow the pie and all be better off in the future. Of course, in reality, if we had spent a lot more on the health system, we would be better off today and in the future.

Richard Denniss on government.

2020-03-25T08:50:14+11:0025th March, 2020|Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, economics, politics|

Snowflake avalanche.

This isn’t even a question of economics, per se, as Deadspin — and, indeed, G/O Media entities as a whole — are profitable. Deadspin’s future isn’t in jeopardy because it wasn’t making enough money, but because a jury in Florida decided that Hulk Hogan was owed over a hundred million dollars because his public image was embarrassed, in a case bankrolled by Peter Thiel due to a personal vendetta against Gawker. The network of profitable sites was then sold to Univision and used as collateral by its private equity owners, which piled on billions of dollars of debt. Those sites were then sold to Great Hill Partners, another private equity group, which installed as CEO a guy who seems to hate everything about the sites, and who used to run the Internet Advertising Bureau — which might explain why all of these websites are now laden with garbage advertising.

All of this is to say that blogging is a format that is still very much alive, especially if you stretch the definition. But the most powerful people in the room desperately dislike the validity of independent and unconventional writing, and are doing all they can to dismantle it.

Nick Heer on journalism.

It’s also worth pointing out Hulk Hogan’s “public image” was “embarrassed” because he was caught saying racist things on camera. So, y’know. There’s that. And, for those who missed it, Thiel’s vendetta was because Gawker once ran a story pointing out he’s gay… but also a huge bank-roller of far-right (and thus often anti-gay) causes.

Either way, the point is that a pair of millionaires who got caught out being shitlords and got hurt fee-fees because of it basically burnt and salted the earth for an entire segment of online journalism…

2019-12-12T08:25:10+11:0024th March, 2020|Tags: culture, newsphobia|

Dog petting boom.

So some good coronanews for once; apparently there’s a massive boom in pet fostering.

More importantly is the quote noting that dog fur does not make a good transmission surface for COVID-19, which I admit is something I’ve worried about recently while walking my (extremely pettable) dog…

2020-03-23T08:18:55+11:0023rd March, 2020|Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, darth bacchus|

… aa-aa-and nearly exactly two months after finishing A Realm Reborn, there’s Heavensward done!

The writing is definitely getting better, though still suffers from the problem games with unvoiced protagonists often have wherein you kind of end up feeling like a side-character in everyone else’s drama (despite doing all the “work” to fix it!).

On the plus side: flying is still awesome, and the gating requirements feel natural and manageable.1 Also I… really, really like Dancer? Like I wanted to unlock it because of (ahem) the aesthetics but I actually really enjoy how it plays, to the point where I’ve switched to it as my main (from Summoner).

And now… to slog through the 3.x content filler before the next expansion (ugh). Hopefully it won’t be as tedious as the 2.x stuff, though looking at the wiki there are still way too many Duties and way too much run-here-watch-a-cutscene-run-there-watch-a-cutscene-run-back-watch-a-cutscene.

Also: I have discovered Triple Triad. Don’t ask me why it took me this long to actually start playing it.2 I was the, like, one person who really enjoyed Triple Triad in FFVIII, and… I still really enjoy it. I’m not actually good at it, but luckily you don’t really have to be.3 So… on my way to grinding out that 100,000 MSP for those sweet sweet arch-demon horns…

  1. Basically, once you’re done with the MSQ in a zone, you should have done at least 90% of the work to unlock flying “naturally”, so it never really feels like a grind to get the last few pieces. []
  2. think the first time I went to the Saucer I got the impression it was a PvP mini game only? []
  3. Winning is like 60% what cards you have, 30% what rules are in effect, 10% skill. []
2020-03-23T08:02:21+11:0023rd March, 2020|Tags: final fantasy, gaming, mmos, video games|