Kultural Kontroversy Kommentators, you are still not political.

Of the many things I wrote in my book Dangerous Gaymers Gamers, one that readers (the half-dozen of you) usually point out as surprising is my claim that the Internet kerfuffles and “controversies” surrounding entertainment and, especially, the so-called political bent, bias, or content that has been injected in video games, games, movies, books… (i.e. nerd and popular culture) is not really political. In fact, I even said that political thinking and sociopolitical content has virtually disappeared from popular culture. And I was right, and I’m still right.

Continue reading “Kultural Kontroversy Kommentators, you are still not political.”

Psychology of reading and writing: recalling vs. recognizing.

In a previous post, I mentioned I believe the usual advice given to writers (or, rather, to people who want to write) may not be that good, if not downright useless. And if one wants to be controversial, you might as well start with a big bang:

Read a lot. Reading will make you a better writer,” or variations of the same. It seems logical, common-sensical. But if you think about it, it’s a bit like saying that if you want to be a good musician, you should listen to a lot of music, or look at many paintings if you want to be a painter. A kind of craftsmanship by osmosis.

Continue reading “Psychology of reading and writing: recalling vs. recognizing.”

Game of Scoliosis*, manly posture, suits, and other stuff.

*Kyphosis, actually, but that doesn’t sound that funny.

I saw this image yesterday, and I chuckled immediately. It was a reflexive laughter, and it took me awhile to understand what exactly had triggered my reaction.

GoT
That’s from the TV show Game of Thrones, in case you have been living under a rock these last years. Image Sauce: NYTimes

As I said, I laughed when I saw this, even before I had consciously processed what I had seen. A few minutes of heavy thunkin’ later, I realized what was wrong: they look ridiculous while trying to look cool, which is the worst kind of ridiculousness that exists.

Continue reading “Game of Scoliosis*, manly posture, suits, and other stuff.”

The Seven Quests/Motivations and why we can’t have nice things

Among all the lists that tell you exactly how many “types of story” exist, I like this one about the Seven Quests. No, I don’t mean the famous The Seven Basic Plots but this one in this more obscure, plain, and unsourced website: Love, Money, Power, Glory, Revenge, Survival, and Self. I don’t know the source behind it, and I don’t think it’s an exhaustive list —I can think of two other important motivations— but it’s useful, simple, and surprisingly powerful.

What I like about that list is that it actually focuses on human emotions and motivations, not abstract Jungian narratives like “Killing the Monster.” After all, what does that even mean? Killing it, sure,… but for what? Because you want to loot his treasure, revenge, or simple survival? It changes the story quite a lot whether the motivation of our hero is one or the other, and it also highlights the pitfalls of each motivation, its dark side if you will (Love -> Jealousy, Money -> Greed, Power/Glory -> Arrogance & Wrath, Revenge -> Obsession & Moral downfall, Survival ->? (this one is morally neutral as I will explain later.)

Continue reading “The Seven Quests/Motivations and why we can’t have nice things”

Bad Writing: Amazon bestsellers edition

The original goal of this post was to write a mini-essay on something that annoys me about contemporary writing. As far as I know, it has no name, and I struggled to find one, so I had to settle for something as cumbersome as “mid-action or mid-description beginnings.” Essentially, the story starts in media res, but not in the middle of the plot, but in the middle of a scene, with people (sometimes a lot of people) doing, sometimes exciting or action-related, stuff… for no reason we can discern. No goals, context, purpose, or meaning are given. It’s just a picture, like a movie scene (and in many cases, it shows the writer imagined it as such.)

The protagonist can be fighting another person (and we know nothing about them so we have no reason to care,) sweating profusely from some equally strenuous activity, engaging in a heavy dialogue with a character we know nothing about, or sometimes it’s a cliché-ridden description as the character prepares to do one of those things (the standard in fantasy until a few years ago was to describe, for some unfathomable reason, the sky – usually a sunset or dawn- and how that light reflected on the local vegetation.) The opposite, of course, is to start like all stories have been writing always, with a small, perhaps only a single sentence, explanation about the why, where, and when so we can contextualize what is happening and will happen.

Continue reading “Bad Writing: Amazon bestsellers edition”

“Where does coffee come from?” Asks multinational coffee megacorporation. “Dunno,” it says and shrugs.

There is a type of news or news article that reflect the current zeitgeist so well that they deserve their own analysis.

Coffee industry discusses need to improve diversity, inclusion – The Seattle Times 18.04.2018

Coffee farmers, buyers, roasters, retailers and baristas from around the world are gathering in Seattle this week to show off their wares, compete in the U.S. Coffee Championships and do business.

And nothing goes better with coffee than conversation.

 At an industry symposium on the sidelines of the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, talk focused on challenges ranging from climate change and consolidation to the industry’s struggles with equity, diversity and inclusion up and down the supply chain.
[blablabla]
Other speakers pointed to an economic reason to welcome more under-represented minority groups into the coffee business, particularly as the industry looks for its next wave of growth. In the U.S., young, ethnic minorities represent a huge and growing market of would-be specialty coffee drinkers, but they may not see themselves reflected in the industry, said Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.
How should the industry increase coffee consumption among African Americans and other minority groups, Johnson asked. Her answer: “Hire them.”
This article links to an older article: “After arrests, Starbucks is talking race.”
I know most of you reading this are American, so bear with me when I say this is the most American thing I have read in a long time. It combines self-centeredness and lack of geographical knowledge, peak wealthy liberalism, and peak corporativism, all mixed together in an unholy brew of moral superiority and ignorance.

Continue reading ““Where does coffee come from?” Asks multinational coffee megacorporation. “Dunno,” it says and shrugs.”

DISUM 19-04-2018

 

  1. You definitely have a problem, Houston.

Ex-Houston 911 operator guilty of hanging up thousands of callers – CBS News 19.04.2018

A former 911 operator in Houston has been found guilty of hanging up on people calling for emergency services. Jurors on Wednesday found 44-year-old Crenshanda Williams guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls, a misdemeanor.

She was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months of probation.

Prosecutors from the Harris County district attorney’s office say she worked as a 911 operator for a year and a half, ending in 2016. Records showed that thousands of calls lasting less than 20 seconds were attributed to her hanging up. She was fired after a supervisor noticed the unusual number of “short calls,”

Continue reading “DISUM 19-04-2018”