The blowhards

Edit 02/02/2017: I have changed the original title, which was a play on words using Jonathan Blow’s name, followed by a very unflattering and wordy description. I now believe that was a bit unfair and I think Blow is way more reasonable than what a few tweets may imply, and he isn’t even the focus of this piece. Still, I think the rest of the article is still relevant, so I haven’t changed anything else.

 

gamergate_ISIS

 

Video games, now literally worse than ISIS. This shit is beyond parody. Source: @whenindoubtdo

Salon_pedophile
Gamers, also worse than pedophiles.

 

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Space Invaders and Mr. Foulker’s glazed eyes.

There has never been a popular entertainment that has not been attacked on moral (but shaky) grounds. Popular being the key word since the content is only secondary and moral guardians usually skim over it until they see something “problematic” enough to create the desired controversy out of thin air. There have probably been moral panics about what people read, listened, saw, or played since someone painted on the walls of his cave a bunch of stick figures engaged in something problematic or violent, but the 19th century was a defining moment. Literacy rates went up and, for the first time, masses of people could -and wanted- to read, and usually not what the intellectual elite wanted them to read. So, the penny dreadfuls and the dime novels appeared (and the chapbook before them); cheap books of adventure, romance, pirates, proto-science fiction, fantasy, detectives, criminals, with a lot of fighting and unapologetic masculinity. Many were sold by the hundreds of thousand and were the bestsellers of that time, but they were also the predecessors of most of what we now would describe as popular culture.

Continue reading “Space Invaders and Mr. Foulker’s glazed eyes.”

The State of Play- Zoë Quinn: icon, coordinator of blood drives, beacon for the depressed.

 

[This is a somewhat sarcastic and lengthy post about something that could only exist in our 21th-century society. It’s about Internet drama, e-celebrities, collective hysteria, moral panics, useless journalists, video game culture, ideological groupthink, Streisand Effect, contemporary myth-making, and pathological confabulation. I’ve tried to give a bit of context and background, but you’ll understand it better if you already know about the whole mess. If you don’t, it may seem a bit incomprehensible or the humor may fly over your head. Read at your own risk.]

Part B: about depression.
Part D: about Wizardchan.
Part E: about being harassed for coordinating blood drives.

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The decline of adventure, childhood and joy. Part 1

“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

 C.S. Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” (1952)

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There is no such thing as a violent video game (III)

No image has ever created a massive war, ideology, or crime. Unless you count people who kill painters and artists because they are afraid of their power, of course. The simple truth is that words and language are the best, if not the only, means to communicate worldviews. Images, as propaganda, are useful to reinforce a previously held belief, make a joke, resume more complex ideas, or may be used as “infographics” to make a point. However, those images would not be useful if the observer had no previous idea or reference about what they are talking about. For example, an antisemitic cartoon that stereotypes Jews as blood-sucking vampires is only useful if the person who sees this has already heard about those accusations from other places (his parents, friends, the education system, journalists, etc.). To an alien from another planet, the cartoon would be incomprehensible or ridiculous.

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There is no such thing as a violent video game (I)

TL,DR version: Lol games aren’t real, killing isn’t even the goal, it’s competing to win at something. Gore is just edgy window-dressing.

Although there are some issues that truly divide a nation, most public debates that go on forever have the same problem: They are not well defined, the meaning of words shift according to the current needs of the speaker, and there are invisible premises inside the problem/question. It is like that trap: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” There is no way to answer that. Modern politics and social debates follow similar patterns, although not in such a crass or evident fashion. Among other reasons, this is why debates seem circular and eternal since the conclusion is already inserted in how the problem is defined.

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There is no such thing as a violent video game (II)

The gaming mindset is completely different from the reading or watching a movie mindset. Your brain is behaving differently, and also expecting a different kind of stimulation. To analyze the content and effects of one medium by the rules and parameters of the other is a big mistake. And to analyze any of those mediums as if it were reality, your mental and ideological reality to boot, is criminal.

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