A modest proposal.

However, the right keeps telling me that I’m not respecting DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT and that the test of freedom of speech is not how we tolerate ideas we approve of but how we tolerate ideas we find obnoxious or reprehensible. I’m also told that we need to respect “both sides” of a debate even when one of those sides if offering violence, advocating genocide or treating the humanity of others as some kind of special favour.

So here’s an idea. Why not put the issue of whether headbutting Tony Abbott is OK to the Australian people? Naturally, I’d vote no – we shouldn’t headbutt Tony Abbott. The government could spend several millions of dollars on a shonky survey and put the question of whether Tony Abbott should get the same basic rights as everybody to a vote – because apparently, that’s how rights work in Australia.

Camestros Felapton on the Australian way.

Given Australia has already had a “respectful debate” on whether or not it’s offensive to call Tony Abbott “A C∀N’T” (a judge ruled it is not), I think it’s only fair that we have another one on whether it’s okay to headbutt Tony Abbott every time he appears in public.

I mean, obviously I will vote no–people could seriously injure themselves headbutting Tony Abbott, which would cause unnecessary strain on our healthcare system–but as we all know it’s important to let all sides of a debate have their say. On television, for example, and in parliament, and in our national broadsheet papers. We wouldn’t want anyone’s freedom of speech impacted, for example, by legally mandating that it’s not appropriate to headbutt Tony Abbott. And I may be an atheist, but I think it’s important for religious organisations who hold sacred beliefs regarding headbutting Tony Abbott to express their concerns about a world in which they could not exercise their religious freedom to headbutt Tony Abbott. I mean, what if someone who supports headbutting Tony Abbott is forced to bake a cake for an anti-Tony-Abbott-headbutting ceremony? What then? Does Tony Abbott’s so-called “right” not to be subjected to violence every time he appears in public outweigh the concerns of headbutting traditionalist cake makers the country over?

Truly this is a question that only a national postal survey could decide.

(Also see.)

2017-09-26T11:38:16+00:00 26th September, 2017|Tags: australia, culture, politics, xp|0 Comments

The Eye in the Pyramid.

It should come as no surprise that Twitter is the medium of choice for left-wing conspiracy theories. As Trump himself has demonstrated, Twitter cares about only one thing: whether content is sensational enough to go viral. Twitter enables conspiracy thinkers to unfold their crazy scenarios in incremental, isolated blasts, each “fact” as disconnected from the others as it is from reality. What matters isn’t the background or experience of the theorists, or whether any of their claims are substantiated. Much like adorable cat GIFs or Ellen DeGeneres selfies, conspiracy tweets play not to our desire to understand the world, but to our deep-seated need to share the things we find most comforting.

On the rise and rise of the left-wing conspiracy.

Also, any time anyone tries to tell you liberals are “too smart” to fall for conspiracy theories, I have one word for you: antivaxxers.

2017-07-07T07:59:02+00:00 26th September, 2017|Tags: politics|0 Comments

No Mercy.

I recognize that some characters are easier to pick up than others but I don’t consider that a bad thing. You can play Mercy in competitive without spending 20 hours with her in quick play and do well. Same with Soldier 76 honestly and he isn’t considered a no-skill character. I don’t know, “skill” just seems to be a word that gets thrown around to enforce some characters as being better than others based only on what makes men comfortable. They depend on Mercy and discredit her at the same time.

Lex Rayne on playing support.

Toxic masculinity is using teamwork to win then immediately turning around and declaring you didn’t need anyone else’s help. Misogyny is when all the people you’re kicking off the podium just-so-happen to be the women (or the people in roles perceived to be feminine).

2017-07-07T07:40:39+00:00 24th September, 2017|Tags: culture, gaming, pop culture, video games|0 Comments

Subversion is the answer.

Let’s take a common reason why violence is used [as a problem-solving mechanic in videogames]: because you’re fighting against an overwhelming force bent on destroying you.

For marginalised people, their existence is often precisely this. There’s no need to imagine it, when, for example, their daily lives are punctuated by the realisation that they have to fear police as much, if not more, than violent criminals. To fight against such systems, violence and combat is often not the answer.

So how else could you do it? Well, imagine a first- or third-person experience focused on toppling such a monolithic, oppressive regime, but instead of guns and bullets, you use creativity, intelligence and a variety of non-lethal game mechanics.

Designers could create systems focused on influence or propaganda, to galvanise an exhausted or apathetic population to take up the struggle – for those who match your identity, whether race, gender, nationality, etc., your influence on them is easier but their power to act is less. If you can convince those of a different identity, you gain bonuses – perhaps their reach and influence is further than someone who matches your targeted identity.

Tauriq Moosa on banal violence.

Look. I love shooting robot zombie Nazis as much as the next person, but I would totally play a game that’s all about non-violent subversion of oppressive systems. That game would be rad.

2017-07-06T11:22:08+00:00 23rd September, 2017|Tags: culture, gaming, pop culture, video games|0 Comments

The green peg.

On making friends when you’re the new person at a con.

I’m a deep introvert and incredibly shy, which manifests as a kind of aloof standoffishness. Nonetheless, even I managed to accrue a circle of Con Friends, mostly thanks to being adopted by more gregarious networkers (shoutout Alex and Elizabeth). Being passive about it–with the exception of joining the local spec fic writer’s club–it took maybe two or three cons to happen, starting from a baseline of “knowing no one”. So, yeah. If you’ve never been to cons before, breaking into “the scene” is damn intimidating. But, in general, people are nice, and most of the “aloofness” is a manifestation of the exact same feelings of anxiety and shyness you’re probably having.1 So… show up, and be patient.

Incidentally, at the last Continuum I was at, they has a system of color-coded pegs you could clip to your lanyard to show how open you were to approach from new people. Pretty much the only color I saw people take was the green “come talk to me” peg. I didn’t have a peg myself, for a variety of reasons, but I’m kinda interested to know how they worked out for people…

  1. I’ve had conversations with people that were basically “OMG I was, like, so intimidated you seemed so cool and you knew everyone and I was scared to talk to you!” from both sides, so… y’know. ↩︎
2017-08-21T08:08:45+00:00 22nd September, 2017|Tags: cons, fandom, xp|0 Comments

Inside, out.

Trailer for My Year in Kekistan, the documentary of a Swedish graduate student who went undercover in the British and American alt-right.

More here and here.

[Content warning for the video, which shows uncensored Nazi and fascist imagery, as well as footage of the Charlottesville car attack.]

2017-09-21T15:53:41+00:00 21st September, 2017|Tags: culture, politics|0 Comments