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.

Elden Bling.

Fashion Souls gets a write-up in GQ because . . . why not, I guess?

For what it’s worth, I spent most of my ER playthrough wearing the same default starting Warrior chestpiece because everything else looked like junk. I eventually switched it to the Fell Omen Cloak and the Shining Horned Headband and spent the rest of the game running around looking like a feral deer man before yeeting off to the stars with the hat witch. Gods, that game sucked. What a waste of seventy hours of my life . . .

2022-05-22T14:43:24+10:0022nd May, 2022|Tags: , |


The internet operates on its own logic. In the world of Twitter, Twitch and Tiktok, fame is the aim and exposure the goal. The influence of an influencer is measured in retweets, reblogs, and runaway memes. The internet-addled man glories in the hashtag that takes on its own life; he revels in the image that entire subcultures make their own. His battleground is “the discourse.” In this ethereal realm of images and threads, prestige comes from being clever, being funny, and being first. One’s internet enemies are to be cancelled where possible, and lampooned when not. The social media addict knows victory when the right words are used by the right sorts.

But not all enemies can be cancelled. Not all fights can be won through clever retweets. The world of flesh and blood does not always work like the world of memes and tweets. Those given responsibility in the world of physical things court disaster when they confuse internet politics with the real thing.

Tanner Greer on spitpost diplomacy.

2022-05-21T02:53:08+10:0021st May, 2022|Tags: , , |

You sound white.

A particularly striking iteration of this phenomenon is a widely shared 2021 musical comedy sketch by the comedian Bo Burnham, entitled “A White Woman’s Instagram.” The skit pokes fun at a certain kind of female Instagram user who likes to post lots of photos of herself and various visually pleasing things — avocados, coffee tables, “A dreamcatcher bought from Urban Outfitters / A vintage neon sign” — along with corny inspirational quotes. It’s a relatively gentle send-up: a poignant segment in the middle of the song makes reference to the anniversary of the death of a parent, hinting disarmingly that the therapeutic benefits of social media use might outweigh the cringe factor. But it’s unclear why Burnham, who is white, feels the need to emphasize that the type of woman he is satirizing is white. Many non-white women also post similar content, so what function does the “white” serve here? It appears to be a sort of built-in insurance policy: perhaps anxious that his caricature of vapid, preening online narcissism might be perceived as sexist by the liberals who comprise his target audience, Burnham immunizes himself against this charge by maintaining that he is on about white women specifically, which implies he is in fact performing some kind of racial satire.

To the extent that one can even parse the satirical point being made here, it seems to go something like this: white people, because they are more coddled and complacent than non-white people, are more prone to indulging in vain, shallow and frivolous pursuits, which deserve to be mocked as manifestations of their racial privilege. But the behavior being cited as inherently white – purely by virtue of being banal and stereotypical – is actually fairly universal, which prompts the question: why link it to whiteness at all? [ . . . ]

What’s the motivating impulse here? It’s probably a mix of things. On the one hand, there’s a well-intentioned desire on the part of the speaker to differentiate themselves from the kind of white person who isn’t sufficiently aware of, or sensitive to, structural racial inequalities — to signal, essentially, that they’re one of the good guys, and that their awareness of the bigger picture is informing their thinking at all times. But this bleeds into another, rather less admirable motivation: a domineering compulsion to lay claim to the moral high-ground at all costs, even if it means resorting to the manifestly ludicrous strategy of belittling your target on the grounds that they are the same race as you.

Houman Barekat on white people accusing each other of whiteness.

2022-05-18T20:20:28+10:0018th May, 2022|Tags: |


Everyone go home. Machine learning is over now that humanity has discovered the only valid use for it.

[Mild content warning that this is, indeed, an app that draws cartoon scribbles of penises which, while hilarious, may not be entirely safe for work.]

2022-05-18T02:20:01+10:0018th May, 2022|Tags: |

Dead dove, didn’t read.

There are a lot of people who use social media that become violently enraged if they view content that somehow doesn’t completely and totally align with their worldview. I’m also talking about a specific kind of internet toxicity here. I’m not talking about racist trolls or violent extremists, I’m talking about essentially online manspreaders. People who seem to compulsively need to assert their own point of view in the comments and replies of other people’s content. These people tend to show up most prominently in fandoms, but they can show up anywhere.

Ryan Broderick on Our Lady of the Eternal September.

2022-05-17T02:22:17+10:0017th May, 2022|Tags: , |

Finished reading: My Inner Bimbo

Sam Keith does for, uh, bimboification comics (and selkies) what he previously did for superheroes with The Maxx.

This is a difficult (and, one can’t help but feel, not just a little bit autobiographical) read and won’t be for everyone. It deals with sex and male neurosis, particularly as the latter relates to women — the main character literally goes out to fight a Sea Monster of Female Disapproval at the climax of the story — and the characters are not particularly likable. With the, one assumes intentional, exception of The Bimbo, who’s effectively a sex fantasy and representation of the (older male) protagonist’s journey of individuation, rather than a character per se ( . . . maybe).

That being said, the characters are at least compelling trainwrecks and Keith never descends into the cynicism that would’ve made this unreadable. So . . . there’s that.

2022-05-16T07:22:32+10:0016th May, 2022|Tags: , , |


Evaluating something as bad because the evidence in front of you is that it’s bad is a fair thing to do. In the case of cryptocurrency, there is a wealth of evidence of constant acts of exploitation and criminality, along with an almost complete lack of any meaningful progress. What have NFTs, cryptocurrencies and Web3 done better than anything else out there? What new discoveries have they made that have improved their lives?

The answer is that they haven’t. Any meaningful improvement they have made to people’s lives is the ability to generate income, and even then these stories are rare compared to the endless deluge of rug pulls or scams. The cryptocurrency industry has proven only that there is a hunger for the chance to generate wealth, masked by a parade of multi-billionaires trumpeting wonky concepts as the future of society. They are getting such adoption because we do not live in anything resembling a meritocratic society, and becoming one of the elite is [not] (and never has been) a question of hard work. People want the shortcut to wealth that crypto vaguely promises and are prepared to lie to protect that dream. [ . . . ]

Something is happening here. We are seeing probably the largest libertarian experiment of all time, along with the largest financial technology boom in history. Please note that “large” does not mean “good” and “financial technology” does not mean “useful” – I just mean that we are seeing thousands of different fintech products being created out of seemingly nowhere, but they’re being marketed as functional pieces of technology that do something other than the generation and manipulation of speculative assets. And what the venture sect has realized is that this creates numerous new ways in which a customer can be monetized – in almost every action they take in the case of cryptocurrency – and then sold to the consumer as a form of freedom.

Ed Zitron on experiments.

2022-05-14T07:51:17+10:0014th May, 2022|Tags: |
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