Native Advertising Now? (A response to Polygon)

I am going to give you a brief education on a concept called native advertising.  It works like this – the media is really lazy.  See, doing good journalism apparently takes too much money.  The people doing the bad journalism are looking for easier ways to make money.  Conventional advertising doesn’t work anymore.  It just runs off people like water off of a duck.  So now advertisers are trying to sneakily get their advertising into things.  Here’s the problem – it only works once.  That’s it.  After that, people have the whole, “fool me once, shame on you” approach and you aren’t able to get them again.  Native advertising works by having a product that you want to sell.  In order to sell it, you get a publication that is meant to inform people of things.  These companies then pay these publications to print stories that cleverly pimp out these companies products in the stories.  Not to the side.  In them.  It’s insidious.  It’s greedy.  It’s taking what little respect online news has and flushing it down the drain.

Which brings me to Polygon.  When GamerGate started, people thought that all the stuff about collusion with the press was just a smokescreen for sexism.  But then more and more we saw that there is real collusion between Indie and AAA devs and games journalism.  It’s a real thing, and while there have been real strides in publications that actually respect the intelligence of their audience, others have decided – eh, fuck that!  We have stuff to pimp out, to people we are tight with.  Such as with the senior editor at Polygon, Phil Kollar, and freelance “journalist” and crappy book author Phil Owen.

According to some interesting digging that people have done (linked here) which shows that Owen and Kollar have a gay little bromance between them, which ended up having Owen’s book being pimped out in an article.  See, what happened is that there was this article that was written where the majority of it was just a part of Owen’s book put in the article.  The rest was written by “Polygon Staff.”  Which, when someone busted Polygon for this, they then tried to do some revisionist history and edited the article.  Twice.  Eventually, it stopped being written by “Polygon Staff” and then was written by Phil Owen.  Funny how that works.  In the article, not only do they pimp Owen’s book, but they also tell people how much it costs and how to get it.  Did they at least charge Owen for the publicity?  Given the nice gay little bromance that he had with Kollar, I doubt it.

Why do I bring this up?  I bring it up because the thing that got GamerGate started was tied into the infidelity of one person.  But not the fact that Zoe Quinn was sleeping around.  It was who she was sleeping around with. One of them was Nathan Grayson.  A writer for several publications at the time.  Detractors of GG are quick to claim that he never reviewed her game.  I agree.  But he did give Quinn positive coverage in a couple of articles.  He is also credited at the end of her “game” (I don’t call it that.  It’s a choose-your-own-adventure digital storybook) Depression Quest.  That was clear and present evidence of an Indie dev trading on her relationship with a writer (but Grayson’s editor said that the relationship started the day after those articles came out!) to get positive coverage.  That was the whole deal.

Garbage journalism should be noticed by someone.  Anyone.  I hate that it is so easy for people to just turn the other cheek about this stuff.  Why?  Because there are people who I am sure will defend Polygon for this decision.  For the decision to allow native advertising AND collusion in their publication.  That’s the “standard” that they hold to.  This publication is so bereft of integrity that they accept when this sort of thing happens.  How can people keep reading stuff like this and go, “yeah, I’m totally fine with this.”  What does it take for you to bring into question a publication’s professional integrity?  Do you have to see Owen sucking Kollar’s dick?  Do you have to have photographic evidence of Owen handing Kollar money with taped audio of him going, “alright, you sexy beast.  Print my story and you’ll get even more”?  What does it take?

Fifth Estate journalism is a joke.  A really bad joke.  We need to turn this around.  It needs to happen.  Right now.  Because with each story like this, the field dies a little more.  When I went into college, and decided to major in journalism, I was so ignorant to how much garbage infected this medium.  Now I am not ignorant.  I see the truth.  The truth is that journalism is dying a little more every day.  Every piece of crooked journalism is doing more damage.  Most people think of Fox News with this crap.  But as you can see, they aren’t the only ones who are guilty.  This isn’t totally on them, either.  After all, does the public not consume this stuff?  Are we not at least a little responsible for how bad it’s gotten?  If people didn’t consume it, we wouldn’t see stuff like this.

Thankfully, I know that at least I am not helping to contribute to this problem.  I don’t read Polygon.  I don’t read Kotaku, Destructoid, or Rock, Paper, Shotgun for the same reason.  Forget the hashtags for a moment.  Do you honestly want to support this kind of unethical behavior?  We all draw lines.  Each line is in a different place, but we should at least be agreed that the place of blatant corruption is a line that we will not cross.  As for Kollar, you suck at your job, and if I were the boss at that publication, you would be fired that day.  But wait, never mind.  If your publication had standards, then none of you would be working there.  After all, the “Polygon Staff” clearly didn’t protest this, either.

Until next time, a quote,

“The thing about drawing lines in the sand is that they disappear with the next breeze.”  -Raymond Reddington, The Blacklist

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Ideals Won’t Work (A response to Google Ideas)

There’s this new group called Google Ideas, for those who haven’t already heard.  They have a large proportion of the social justice wankers getting together to “support free expression while fighting harassment.”  They seem utterly immune to the fact that you cannot do both.  I know that that sounds like a very bold claim to make, but it’s true all the same.  I am going to outline why.  This post is going to be not so much a response to an article as a response to some stupid ideas that these people have about free expression that need to be challenged.

There was this great episode of The Simpsons where Marge goes after the makes of the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon for the violence, after Maggie decides to take something she saw there and apply it to Homer’s head.  It was a very good episode.  See, after Marge successfully gets them to change the show, her views are then challenged when the statue of David comes to Springfield.  The same people she stood with were now demanding that they put pants on the statue, so kids wouldn’t see David’s non-aroused penis.  Marge viewed this as wrong, believing the statue to be a work of art.  Which in turn led her to fighting against her own cause.  The episode showed that both free expression and fighting to make sure that no one was offended both have downside.  The downside of censorship is that ideas and independence are crushed and the world becomes generic, stale, and nothing is even a little imaginative.  Free expression has the downside of producing a lot of garbage.  Like, a lot of garbage.  So much garbage.  Just look at the plethora of stuff posted on YouTube every day.  It’s 99.9999999% garbage.  But that’s how free expression works.  You get the good with the crap.

Google Ideas has this strange idea that you can get the best of both worlds.  It’s not true.  At all.  Either you support free expression, or you can “fight against harassment.”  Because if people have free expression, mean things are going to get said.  Do I believe that that means that stories like that one about the girl in Canada who got pictures of her rape put online is okay?  No.  That was a crime.  If a criminal act is involved, I think that there should be a point where it is too far.  But even then, it’s still a gray area.  I acknowledge that.  We have to take things as they come.  When the pictures of Amber Lynn Schraw’s naked and strangled body were posted on 4chan, was I cool with that?  No.  I went after Brianna Wu, when she tried to profit off that senseless act of violence.  It’s the reason that I think she’s a profoundly terrible person.  But enough about her.  When I see a video the ones that Nicole Arbour is now infamous for, do I think those should be removed?  Not at all.  Vile as that skank is, she has the right to her opinion, and to put it out in the public square.

But that’s not how the social justice crowd see it.  What’s more, those are the type of people that Google Ideas has working with them.  In a picture that is making the rounds of their contributors, you see Anita Sarkeesian (the con artist), Zoe Quinn (the sad victim who needs to accept that no one gives a shit about her anymore), and Randi Harper (BIG Sister) all standing there.  So, they got a charlatan, a has-been, and someone who is pro-censorship.  These are the people who they want talking about free expression?  The first two being people who went before the United Nations and made a case that governments and Internet providers should be censoring the Internet?  That’s who?  Wow.  That’s impressive.  I guess Google Ideas hasn’t reached self-awareness yet.  Either that, or just like how Ubisoft decided to have a transgender character in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Google Ideas thought – hey, let’s get in these social justice people!  They’re the ones with all the ideas, right?  Who better to talk about free expression than them?  People obviously want to hear what they have to say, since they are talked about so much.  Easy marketing.  Google Ideas is either stupid, or greedy.  Regardless, this is the path they chose.

The aforementioned episode of The Simpsons ended with Marge realizing that what she was trying to do was a double-edged sword.  She can’t justify wanting to curb one area of free expression while championing another.  It’s a good lesson to learn.  One that Google Ideas either hasn’t learned, or simply doesn’t care to learn.  We are living in an interesting age.  Free expression is under attack again, this time from the gender activists who want to stop women from being “victimized” in any way.  Even if that way is, as happened with Marge, by putting them on the spot and having them be forced to defend their ideals to the public at large.  There will never come a day when Anita, Randi, or Quinn will be forced to be in a room and answer for what they’ve said or done.  The video from Google Ideas about Crypt Keeper Wu had the comments disabled.  So all that free expression stuff was…what, exactly?  Bullshit?  We can only express freely if other people approve?  That’s how it works now?

I would have said this to Marge, and I’m saying it to Google Ideas now – you don’t get to make that distinction.  Either free expression means something, or it doesn’t.  Don’t like people’s ideas?  Don’t put it out in a marketplace for ideas.  Don’t like someone’s opinion, don’t put it out in a space where they can see it.  Get a private message board just like the rest of the SJW echo chamber.  That’s what it’s there for.  These people are marketing themselves on a false pretense.  I don’t mod comments.  If you come here and want to argue that I’m wrong, take all the time you need.  I’ll be here.

Until next time, a quote,

“Where would an innocent child get the idea to attack her father with a mallet?”  -Marge Simpson, The Simpsons

Peace out,

Maverick

Now You’re Going After Anime, eh? (A response to Kotaku)

The thing to keep in mind as we move forward with this post – according to Kotaku, they do “journalism.”  They aren’t some two-bit rag on the Internet that so blatantly panders to a demographic and does shit writing in order to pander to that demographic.  They do “journalism.”  “Journalists” work there.  People who want to be taken seriously in the field of reporting.  That’s the claim that they make.  So, when I see an article where one of the subheaders is – Anime Sucks, forgive me if I think that your “journalism” might need a little work.

Part of me always wonders what took the SJWs this long to go after anime.  It’s been a giant elephant in the room for years.  But I guess, since it was never and will never be accepted by the mainstream, our friendly neighborhood social justice rejects decided to just leave it be.  After all, if it isn’t popular, they can’t generate hate for going after it, which in turn won’t let them get people to donate to their Patreon pages.  They are such victims, after all.  It’s not like they troll for reactions.  And that’s this entire post.  It’s trolling.  Someone decided to shit-talk Japan, to get reactions.  This is what this publication feels is worth reporting.  But Kotaku has stepped up to the plate, with their excellent “journalism” to talk about why anime is bad.  For real, that’s the whole crux of this article – anime is bad and Japan needs to stop.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

When foreign cultures talk about Japan, they usually talk about anime and / or manga. Usually, it’s anime. Anime is terrible. It used to be okay. Now, it’s not. It’s inbred trailer-trash in entertainment form:

Wow.  What a wonderfully balanced opinion.  I’m sure that you’ll give very balanced reasons why you find it disdainful.  Not just someone bitching for the sake of bitching.  Because that isn’t what a publication that actually wants to be taken seriously would do, right?

Every season’s new Japanese animation places one-upmanship of every single aspect of the last season higher on their list of priorities than even “make something entertaining.” The same can perhaps be said of all Japanese entertainment, though it’s not relevant anywhere else as much as it is in anime.

You know what this claim could use?  Some citation!  For real, what elements, in-particular, from anime make it such a terrible entertainment form?  There’s a real discussion to be had about modern anime, and how it is either gutless or niche-peddling.  I myself have made such a thought-out argument.  I acknowledged that modern anime has a habit of having very good ideas, but lacks the will to follow through on them.  That is a real issue, and one that should be addressed.  But in a publication that actually respects people’s intelligence.  Not a fifth-rate blog like Kotaku.

Anime used to answer the questions of kids’ dreams: “How awesome would it be to be a world-class assassin / kung-fu master / robot pilot / baseball hero?” Now it’s just a bunch of shit pandering to perverts and pedophiles.

Your one citation is a Kotaku article.  That’s it?  That’s the best that you can come up with?  Wow.  I guess the makers of this publication can’t handle it if they aren’t sucking their own dicks.  Once-again, there is an argument to be made for the mediocre anime we see nowadays.  But it has to be made by someone who isn’t looking to just give the finger to a group of people.  This entire post is someone giving the finger to Japan, because they hate it there.  There have been good videos made talking about modern anime (linked here).  If this publication had any self-respect, they would link to stuff like that.  But no.  This is Kotaku, after all.

And by the way – where was the pedophile or pervert pandering in Attack on Titan?  How about in Parasyte?  Or maybe Terror in Resonance?  Where was it there?  Please, inform me about how every single piece of modern anime is for perverts and pedophiles (because that’s not stereotyping at all.  Nope, not a bit).  Remember, citations are your friend.

Anime heroes used to be people with amazing job descriptions; now they’re reasonably young men who find themselves miraculously sharing houses with a dozen girls aged six to nine, accidentally almost touching every other scene.

What?  Are you kidding me?  Where are you getting your information from?!  Yeah, because all three aforementioned shows have nothing but people touching each other and themselves.  It was non-stop sex, the whole time.  That’s totally how it was.  Don’t you believe me?  I have no citations, so I can make a blanket statement about something.  Who do you think I am, Laci Green or something? (Her statements about Disney were just as ill-informed.  No wonder Venom Fang X pwned her)

Or else it’s just guys with huge hair and impossible weapons shouting jargon.

Citation?

Long ago, manga aspired to be like Dragon Ball Z: graphically iconic, with a story more coherent than it probably needed to be. Now there’s the ADHD-addled Dragon-Ball-Z-inspired One Piece, a manga for the Twitter age if there ever was one.

This is your best example?  Your best foot forward?  One Piece and Dragon Ball Z?  Wow.  Yeah, let’s just TOTALLY forget all the other amazing anime out there.  Let’s not talk about the thematically heavy shows like Wolf’s Rain or Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.  Let’s not even discuss the awesome shows that have both intelligent characters and cool action like Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.  Nope, those shows don’t exist.  It’s all just INSANELY overrated series like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece.  That’s your best example.

If you read through the rest of that article (something that I was unable to do.  I got as far as I could, but look at how long it is and you’ll see), you see someone go on for an eternity about how much they hate Japan.  It’s got to be around 3,000 words of someone who hates Japan.  I made this post for a few reasons.

Firstly, I want to show that this is how SJWs argue.  Everything that was said about anime is unfathomably easy to poke holes in.  The person bitching clearly has never seen any of the series that I love.  My top 15 favorite anime have characters who are interesting, cool plots, some fanservice (it’s hard to escape.  But fan service is fine, in moderation), and were about more than just watching two people fight for 20+ episodes (which describes the entire genre of the shows this person mentioned).  The average SJW doesn’t actually learn about the mediums they are attacking.  They look at what’s popular and just go after that.  It’s easy.  It’s lazy.  It describes that demographic to a tee.  They don’t like to have to dig a little deeper and really understand what they are attacking.  After all, if they did that, they might become…informed!  Can’t have that.  If they can just attack things without context, that works a lot better.

Second, this is the kind of writing that you have in Kotaku.  3,000+ words of someone who is bitching about a group of people that they clearly want to denigrate, because their culture doesn’t pander to them enough.  Well, that also says more about the SJW mentality as well, but let’s not get on that.  Kotaku gave this person a platform.  And at the end, they had to tie it in, unbelievably-loosely, to video games, in order to justify it being there.  The person writing the article even says that they are bringing it to video games.

The Fifth Estate journalism is a joke.  Straight-up, it’s a joke.  A terrible, stupid, whiny joke.  Guess we have anime getting caught in the crosshairs, but they were just a platform.  In truth, this article is boring garbage that was designed with the express purpose of telling the audience how much they don’t like Japan.  It said in there that they wanted to move to San Fransisco.  Well imagine that.  An SJW in San Fransisco.  Shocking.

Until next time, a quote,

“A lot of lip service gets paid to being honest, but no one really wants to hear it unless what’s being said is the party line.”  – Colin Quinn

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Why I Like Game of Thrones More than Lord of the Rings

Before we get started – I am not talking about the books.  Both J. R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin have the same problem in their writing that keeps me from truly enjoying the literature versions – they have LONG and boring descriptions that can go on for page after page.  It is so tiresome to read, after a while.  I respect the literary works for the masterpieces that they are, but the writing style is too stuffy for me.  Instead, I am going to talk about the stories overall, along with the worlds that they inhabit, and why I think the Martin’s creation is more enriching than Tolkien’s.  Keep an open mind, and you might have some thoughts on this as well.

Tolkien made the fantasy genre.  I will give credit where it’s due.  The style that he made, the myth format that he used.  So much of the hero story that we know today came from his books, and so I must admit that Martin followed in his footsteps.  But where Tolkien wanted to tell a story about a hero on a mythical journey, Martin wanted to tell a story about a world.  It’s a tale where there is no true hero, and no true villain.  Well, okay, aside from the White Walkers and their army of the dead.  They are pretty damn evil.  But that still works in the world that they are telling.  It’s a force beyond all others.  A force so powerful and so vile that it can bring this entire feuding world together.

The thing I like most about Game of Thrones is that its fantasy elements are played down quite a bit.  You don’t have the orcs and the spirits.  Sure, there are dragons, but it’s played that the dragons are just animals.  The Dire Wolves, while awesome, are just animals.  Each part of the world has some amazing animals, but they are still just animals.  Part of why I couldn’t get into The Witcher games is because I feel like I’ve seen this all before.  A world of magical animals and magic stuff.  The trolls and chimeras and all of that.  In Martin’s world, the bulk of what is there are just animals.  That’s not to say that there is no magical stuff.

Here’s where I give that Tolkien and Martin got the same idea, and both of them do it well.  Both of them treat magic like it is some secretive thing.  The truth about it is hidden in folklore and superstition.  Magic is treated as something to be feared.  In the world of Game of Thrones, it has ties to darkness, fire, blood, ice, and death.  Those who practice it are shunned by the world at large.  They are seen as those connected to something evil.  To be fair, that’s because a lot of the magic in the series does tie into bad things.  The shadow monster birthed to kill Renly.  The magic the White Walkers use to reanimate the dead (for real, that scene where you see all the dead rise again gave me chills!), the images in the fire.  These things are something to fear.  But magic wasn’t always that way.  You see the Children of the Forest, and how they used magic, along with the First Men, to seal away the White Walkers, and end the Long Night.

But the thing that truly separates Game of Thrones from Lord of the Rings is that the world of the former feels connected.  All of these families, these nations.  The conflicts.  The heroes on all sides.  When you hear the story about Aegon Targaryan and his conquest of the Seven Kingdoms (well, six.  He never did break House Martell), it feels like a story from a world that, aside from the dragons, makes sense.  You see the workings of this world.  The ties that bind people together.  The players and forces in every place, slowly picking away at each other.  You see these forces at work, and it feels like a real place.  Not some magical kingdom where magic things happen, but somewhere that one can feel and touch.

We need more fantasy like this.  Stories where it isn’t always about saving the world.  Where sometimes it is just about surviving day to day.  Where it is about revenge, glory, or finding a home.  So much science fiction has this same problem.  The world is in danger in Game of Thrones, but that danger is understood to be something that is building.  When it blows up, it’s gonna be epic.  I get the feeling that the last season is going to be the War for the Dawn.  The end of the Long Night.  When the White Walkers are destroyed, once and for all.  That will be cool.  But I know that that isn’t where the series will truly end.  It will end by showing how it is still about these people.  The characters we have come to care about.  Tyrion, Arya, Jon Snow (who I am certain we are going to see again.  His part in this story isn’t over), any others.

Lord of the Rings set a standard.  It takes its rightful place as great literature.  But it’s world feels grand and bombastic.  The world of Westeros feels like somewhere that I can see.  This series keeps getting better and better.  I read the wiki and learn the lore surrounding these people.  It’s engaging stuff.  The wait for season 6 is so damn hard.  Part of me hopes that the end of season 7 is when the Wall comes down.  When you see it get blasted open, and the dead spill out.  Talk about a mindfuck!

But that’s just me.  Let me know what you think.

Until next time, a quote,

“I had given up on life, until Varys convinced me you might be worth living for.  If you chop of my head, well, my final days were interesting.”  -Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Tape

TapeI don’t know how many of you have seen the one-act play No Exit. It’s about three damned souls who end up in Hell.  They are locked into a room together, to spend eternity.  That is their torment.  It’s a pretty damn insightful play, where all three of them analyze why they are in Hell, and come to realize what kind of person they are.  The ending isn’t especially cathartic, as even after they realize who they are, they are still trapped with each other for all eternity.  That’s the ultimate message.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  In the end, this is what it is.  I always liked that play.  This film is in that same vein, and while this also isn’t an especially cathartic film, it’s one that I like all the same.

The story goes that two friends, Vince and Joe, meeting up.  It is a reunion after many years, and there is clearly some unresolved tension between the two of them.  One of them has a plan.  A plan to uncover a secret that the other has been hiding, for years.  When the person the secret revolves around, a young woman named Amy, comes into the picture, you realize that there is more to the story than meets the eye.  These three are trapped inside of a room together, and it becomes readily apparently that all is not as it seems.  It all culminates in an ending that I guarantee you will not see coming.  Not so much a twist, as just a strange turn of events that have things ending on a note that is not even a little cathartic, but still works.

What to talk about.  I guess the first thing is that this movie is shot in a REALLY strange way.  It’s like an old video camera.  Which makes sense, considering the title of the movie.  Every shot in this movie is strange, and the off-putting nature of that can be a little jarring.  However, this film isn’t meant to be visually appealing.  This is a film all about characters.

All three of these performances were awesome.  The best of which being Robert Sean Leonard, as Joe.  This is one of those underrated actors who I really hope gets more work.  Now that House M.D. is done, I haven’t heard much about this guy.  He plays these characters who are straight-forward, yet have these darker sides that always appears as off-putting.  Like it’s this secret part of him that you don’t really want to see.  Hopefully I’ll see him in more good stuff before his time is up.  There is Uma Thurman as Amy, and she is naturally hard to read.  As the plot unfolds, her motivations become more and more hard to understand.  By the end, she still keeps you guessing.  What did she want in all this?  How is she leaving the situation?  It’s intense.  The weakest of the three performances is Ethan Hawke as Vince.  It felt like he was trying a bit too hard to be strange.  It didn’t come off as natural.  I did like his role in the film, but he was very shadowed by Leonard and Thurman, who clearly stole the show.

I think this is one of those movies that people should watch, if only once.  There was this constant tension throughout the whole deal that never let up, even at the end.  There is no background music.  It is totally quiet throughout the entirety of it.  The off-putting visual style, the character acting that gives so much tension to each scene.  It’s one of those movies that you have to see.  Don’t know if it’s one that is made for multiple viewings, but still.  I am glad that I saw this.  Not sure how to feel about it, either.

I like movies where you are emotionally confused.  This film throws a ton of ethical issues your way.  Who is in the wrong?  Where did it end?  Who grew?  Who stayed flat?  The lack of any certainty, I am going to be thinking about this film for a long time to come.  And that is the best thing that I can say about it.  Take this review for what you will.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

You Want to Curtail Free Speech (A response to UN Broadband Commission)

Studying history is an excellent way to keep it from repeating itself.  At least, that’s how it should be.  But that’s never how it is.  Instead, what happens is that people who should study history don’t, and it all ends up repeating itself over again.  That’s how it’s always been, and how it will always be.  Let’s get some history out there – authoritarian regimes are almost always started by people who believe the are doing the right thing.  When the people rebelled against the Czars, it led to Communism taking over Russia, which led to the people being even more oppressed than they already had been.  To bring down one system of oppression, they made one that was even worse take hold.  There is a reason for this – authoritarian approaches to ruling a population never work.  Ever.  They inevitably crumble, with the people being lorded over rising up again.

Before Democracy, we let rulers tell us what our values were.  They told us how to think, feel, and act.  The lord of your castle gave you your values.  That was just how it’s done.  In the 21st century, we have new lords of castles wanting to give us our values.  The are third-wave feminists and social justice warriors who believe that they have the right and the duty to dictate to us how we think, feel, and act on any particular issue.  It’s quite amazing, really.  These people genuinely believe that they know better than everyone else about what is good for people.  Especially women.  Because if women don’t have them to dictate what is right and wrong, then who will?  That’s the mindset we’re working with.

In that vein, the UN Broadband Commission has come together to tell us just how awful everything on the Internet is for girls, and how they need to listen to them to change it.  Because us men are the sexist ones.  Sure.  Here’s a link to their report.  Now let’s talk about it.

The growing reach of the Internet, the rapid spread of
mobile information and communications technologies
(ICTs) and the wide diffusion of social media have
presented new opportunities and enabled various efforts
to address VAWG.

This entire report is predicated on the belief that mean things being said on the Internet is equal to real life violence.  That is what the validity of the argument rests on.  Let me make something clear – that is ridiculous.  Do some horrible things get said to women on the Internet.  Absolutely.  This report even talks about some things that do legitimately sound like awful things.  Like how a girl in Canada got gang-raped, photographed and had those pictures posted.  Tons of people saw them, and it drove her to commit suicide.  That’s a serious issue.  However, we then have them equating that issue with our favorite con artist, Anita Sarkeesian, getting mean things and mean image macros getting sent to her.

Do you see the dilemma?  I’m legitimately finding it hard to find good examples to share, because I can’t escape the premise.  How can I make a fair response when this report is broken from the bottom up?  Mean things being said on the Internet is the same as real-life violence?  Are they kidding?  If they wanted to equate it with verbal abuse, I still wouldn’t agree, but at least that would be a leg to stand on.  Instead, they want it to be equated with violence.  Actual violence.  Let’s see if we can find some angle to look at this at, because I’m sorry – I can’t buy that.  I can’t buy that a girl who gets beaten to death by her husband is on the same level as a girl who gets told that she’s fat on the Internet by trolls.  If that’s just too horrible for you, please do explain to me your position.

Almost without exception, across national boundaries and
jurisdictions, millions of girls and women are subjected
to deliberate forms of violence because of their gender.

Okay, here’s something I can talk about.  I think it’s obvious that the people who “studied” this have not spent any legitimate time in Internet culture.  Do they not realize that EVERYONE gets mean stuff said to them online?  Do they not realize that it’s everyone?  Everywhere?  All the time?  This is the world we live in.  It’s a place where anyone with name recognition gets shit posted at them.  Why?  Because – Interwebs.  I guess these people just can’t handle it.  Or they look at the insane levels of shitposting on 4chan and think – this is indicative of everyone on the Internet.  But I’m sure that’s not the case…

Cyber VAWG includes hate speech (publishing a
blasphemous libel), hacking (intercepting private
communications), identity theft, online stalking (criminal
harassment) and uttering threats. It can entail convincing
a target to end their lives (counselling suicide or
advocating genocide). The Internet also facilitates other
forms of violence against girls and women including
trafficking and sex trade.

Wait, what?  How on Earth is sex trafficking equivalent with people getting mean things said to them?  Hell, how is it on the same level of identity theft?  Talk about hyperbole.  Gross hyperbole.  Yet-again, the crowd in favor of social justice is doing everything they can to dilute serious things.  Because the trafficking of human being is on the same level as someone being told they suck.  Watch the speech Sarkeesian gave at the UN.  It was pretty much, “people say mean things to me, and that’s wrong!  But this actually gets better.  Let’s see what these people have to say about women who choose to engage in sexual acts online.

Not only does commercialized sex on the Internet drive the demand for the sex industry overall, it also allows traffickers to use the legal aspects of commercial sex on the Internet as a cover for illegal activities.

Because no woman chooses to do porn.  They are all in it because they are victims.  And of course, the free sexual expression of women is a bad thing.  Because it lets the bad people win!  That’s the argument here.  Bad people do bad things because of the other people.  So let’s curtail their freedom to express themselves as they see fit so that we aren’t personally inconvenienced.  Amazing.  How can women not find this condescending?  How can any woman who doesn’t view herself as in need of a hijab not read that and go – I’m the problem?  In other words, the UN Broadband Commission is slut-shaming.  Nice work, you sexist charlatans.  And of course, let’s not talk about lesbian or bisexual women who may like watching porn.  If you acknowledge that those people exist, then you might have to change your opinions.  Bigots.

Online crimes are not a ‘first world’ problem; they
seamlessly follow the spread of the Internet.

We don’t view online crimes as a First World problem.  We view the people who choose to make getting called mean things on the Internet as a sign of some great culture battle that needs to be fought as people with First World problems.  It’s the definition of it.  I highly doubt that women in the third world give two fucks what some troll on the Internet calls them.  Most women in the first world don’t, either.  It’s just these people.  These special snowflakes, that you have legitimized through this report.  Well done.  This is so helpful.

There is a well-worn statistic that 30% of all Internet traffic constitutes porn: Research also reveals that 88.2% of top rated porn scenes contain aggressive acts and 94% of the time the act is directed towards a woman. Furthermore, studies show that after viewing pornography men are more likely to: report decreased empathy for rape victims; have increasingly aggressive behavioral tendencies; report believing that a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be raped; report anger at women who flirt but then refuse to have sex; report decreased sexual interest in their girlfriends or wives; report increased interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts.

This is probably the most sexist thing I have ever read.  Not only do you slut-shame women who choose to express themselves, sexually.  You are looking down on them as victims.  Victims of who?  Why, us men, of course!  Because all men who look at porn are just one bad day away from raping someone, am I right?  We just think that women who get raped deserve it, right?  And of course, if we see porn, we are less attracted to real women.

Who the fuck do these people think they are, dictating to us how we feel?!  I watch porn, and I don’t think that women who get raped deserve it (though this ties in to the fact that the third-wave feminist crowd has redefined rape so badly that pretty much everything is viewed as rape now).  I think that rapists are bad people and deserve to go to jail.  Someone will look at my post on the UVA case and say, “what about there!  You blamed the victim!”  Jackie wasn’t a victim.  Jackie lied.  IT was found by the police that every part of her story was a lie.  It was all fabricated.  That’s why Psi Kappa Phi is suing Rolling Stone.  Because they were the victim of a lie.  So yeah, I don’t think that women are asking for it.  I love sex with real women.  I miss it.  Has been some time.  This statement about how porn is so awful and men are so bad because of it is sexist, insulting, and wrong.  I suppose the fact that sex crimes have been steadily decreasing with the rise in pornography has nothing to do with anything.  Or we could look at how countries like India, who has outlawed pornography outright, has some of the highest rape statistics in the world.  But no, that sounds too much like facts.  Something that the average social justice type is WAY too uncomfortable with.  You know what’s funny – they praise India for their outlawing of pornography.  Guess those rape stats don’t mean much to them.  They have an ax to grind, after all.

Finally, the lack of women in the technology sector –
including in private and public sector – may also have an
impact on priorities, culture, technologies developed and
corporate policies, regulations and infrastructures that
can promote or reduce cyber VAW.

Another common thread in the typical social justice argument is that there aren’t enough women in tech.  There’s a reason why – women are not choosing to go into STEM fields.  There’s hard data to back this up.  I can already hear the counterargument – it’s because they don’t feel welcome there!  Yeah, that’s why there are so many guys who say that they would love to see more women get involved.  That’s why my friend Selena, who is in the Engineering program at her university, says that she is one of the only girls there, but that guys treat her just fine.  In fact, they go out of their way to be nice.  Yup.  That sounds like the sexist nightmare that these people paint it as.

Here’s an alternative viewpoint – women are not choosing to go into tech.  I know, this is hard to accept.  After all, it is based on the idea that women have the ability to make their own decision and can choose not to do what they don’t want to do.  Like how women who go into medicine tend to go into specialty fields, like family medicine or pediatrics.  But let’s not tell the UN Broadband Commission that women have self-determination.  That they can choose not to do something because it doesn’t interest them.  That might just make their buzzers for oppression go off.  They do have to see it everywhere.

This document contains a great deal more that there is to get annoyed about, but this is the stuff that got to me the most.  The UN Broadband Commission is sexist.  They slut-shame women.  They reduce men who watch porn down to animals, while also ignoring lesbian and bisexual women.  Just like the rest of the third wave feminist community.  These are the people that we are supposed to take seriously?  These are the people who have women’s best interests in mind?  I don’t buy that for a moment.  It’s time we called these kind of people out for what they are – sexist bigots.  Sexist, uncaring bigots, who want internet providers and governments to help them curtail free speech on the Internet.  That report has dozens of ways that they can get to make sure that people don’t have free speech on the Internet.  It’s kind of disturbing.

And it brings me back to where I started.  Here we have the new lords, in their castles on the Internet.  They want to make sure that the rest of us believe as they do.  Right now, their castles are in foreign lands that we don’t see.  They have been relegated to the Internet.  But what happens if they become seen by all?  If their lands grow into the regular population?  What happens then?  You ask me, that’s when we get worried.  Really worried.  Hell, part of me already is.

Until next time, a quote,

“It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

Peace out,

Maverick

Online Violence is as Bad as Real Violence Now? Seriously?! (A response to Time Magazine)

I remember this post I did about a series of images made that had these guys yelling at girls, and from their yelling mouths were fists, striking the women.  I hated those images because they were making it seem like verbal assault is as bad as physical assault.  Which is blatantly untrue.  You try telling a woman who had the shit kicked out of her for the fifth time by her husband that you getting yelled at was just as bad.  I made the argument in that post that the concept of violence and abuse are just two of many that are being deluded down, due to the social justice mindset.  Just like every time I think I’ve hit the bottom of this social justice stupidity, it gets worse.  According to a new article by Time magazine, the UN is making the case that online violence is as bad as real life violence.  I’m not even kidding.  Here’s a link to the article.  Now let’s talk about it.

Cyber violence is just as damaging to women as physical violence, according to a new U.N. report, which warns women are growing even more vulnerable to cyber violence as more and more regions gain internet access.

And people wonder why people like me think that the UN is a joke.  This is beyond jumping the shark.  They nuked the fridge, fried the coke, and had a big-lipped alligator moment all rolled into one.  How do you come back from this?  Let me save my rage for down the road.  Let’s keep going.

The report calls itself a “wake-up call” about cyber violence as a systemic concern, especially as technology is spreading across more regions.

A wake-up call?  That’s a bold statement to make.  Especially since this report is so full of shit.  After all, what constitutes “cyber violence?”  People getting mean things said to them on the Internet?  Oh boo-fucking-hoo.  Everyone gets mean things said to them online.  We’re going to act like women are somehow special?  Of course they are.  Women are special snowflakes that need to be constantly protected.  But don’t tell them that.  They are empowered!  Empowered to need protection.  Wait, what?  Double-standards?  No, that’s just the misogyny talking, I’m sure.

Anita Sarkeesian, a gamer and activist who has long agitated for more action against cyber violence, spoke at the launch of the new report, titled “Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call.”

There she is!  I was wondering when you would come into this.  You must be proud, Anita.  Your con artistry has gotten you to the most useless office in the world.  Congrats.  Not even joking, I’m impressed.  But you are full of shit.  I watched the video of her at the UN.  It was basically a diatribe where she says that people commenting on her videos is wrong.  How people shouldn’t be allowed to speak their minds.  See that authoritarian mindset in action?  They don’t want you to have freedom.  They want you to “listen and believe.”

The U.N. defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts.” The report notes that cyber violence is an extension of that definition, that includes acts like trolling, hacking, spamming, and harassment.

Oh my god!  Am I the only person who realizes how utterly condescending this kind of shit is to women?  “You’re a woman, so you can’t handle the online behavior that everyone is subjected to.  We have to protect you!  Protect you from the mean things being said!  You poor snowflake.”  I don’t get how women aren’t insulted.  Yes, ladies, the UN believe that the entire gender is a bunch of pussies who can’t handle mean words.  Wow.  Who are the sexist ones, again?  Sure, the trolls might be assholes, but at least they aren’t telling women that they are too pathetic to handle it.  Give and take.

The report also argues that “cyber touch is recognized as equally as harmful as physical touch,” suggesting that online harassment might be just as lethal as domestic violence or sexual abuse.

Here is my rage point.  The point at which I lose my ability to contain, and must now unleash the totality of my loathing for this article, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON who is affiliated with it.  I admire what a talent she has, but I still think that Sarkeesian is a loathesome person.  Same with every other woman in this article.  Why?  Because they are literally equating online harassment to real-life violence.  What’s more, they are saying that it’s the same as sexual abuse.

I have a new friend who was sexually abused.  She told me the story, and it was horrifying.  I had a hard time reading it.  It was ongoing, and by a family member.  That’s all I’m gonna say, but you get the picture.  I want the women who purport this worldview to look her in the eye and say, “I had mean things said to me online!  That’s totally like what happened to you!”  Or another former friend of mine, who was molested by her skating coach.  “What happened to me was just like what that coach did to you!”  Yup, that is the argument they’re making.  And it’s bullshit!  Fuck this argument!  Fuck it!  I hate it when I have to see a publication that wants to be taken seriously talk about this garbage.  I thought the UN stood for something.  Clearly it’s just to suck the dick of the social justice crowd.  If Emma Watson’s speech wasn’t bad enough, now we have this.

These people have so diluted the concept of violence.  Just like what feminists have done with rape, these people are now turning real-life domestic violence into a joke.  They are taking away the seriousness of what should be a really concerning thing, and making it into “this happened to me on the Internet, so I know how this feels!”  God does this bug me.  It’s not enough for these people to just ruin the seriousness of things.  Now they want to curtail people’s freedom of speech for their ideological bullshit.  That’s what’s coming.  I can feel it.  There will be some bill or something called the “Violence Protection Act” or something that will make it seem like it is going to be for the protection of women, but all it will really do is kill people’s freedom of speech.

The UN supports crushing people’s rights.  How ironic is that?  Sarkeesian does, naturally.  Like all third-wave feminists, she wants humanity to go in lock-step toward her bright future where she is given a shit-ton of money without having to do real work.  Because she is just as valuable as a brain surgeon, right?  Fuck this article.  But wait, there is an amusing ending to it.

If the internet isn’t a safe place for them, Mlambo-Ngcuka added, they risk swearing off it altogether.

Good!  If you can’t handle what everyone else had to deal with, then piss off!  We don’t want you!  Don’t let the door smack you on the ass on the way out.

Until next time, a quote,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou

Peace out,

Maverick

*Update* A friend of mine recorded her own response to this.  It’s heart-breaking, and a little hard to listen to, but here’s a link all the same.  Maybe these women who get mean things said to them on Twitter can tell me how they totally understand what it’s like, when they hear this.

My Bishop

Ever get that feeling when you see an element of your past come face to face with you at the worst possible time?  That’s the feeling that I got.  My latest assignment was one that I and everyone else who was given it with me dreaded – security.  See, because our organization provides “solutions” to high-profile clients who have the money, we sometimes end up having to do security for people who don’t deserve it.  Rich assholes who feel the need to flex their financial power over others.  It’s boring.  We end up standing around in our uniforms, showing off the insignia, and making everyone believe that this person that we are hired to protect is some Eastern European dignitary.  It’s pathetic.  What’s worse – almost all of the people who hire us for this are Americans.  I hate working on American soil.  It’s insulting.  After what these bastards did to me, every time I breathe the toxic fumes that come from pretty much the entirety of its land, I feel like I am doing a disservice to the people who died in that prison with me.
But here I was, getting out of customs.  We caught the flight out of Home Base, and were going to meet with our client later that evening.  He was catering some big event.  Bad people were going to be there.  Lots of them.  Our job was to provide security.  Security for some of the most corrupt people on the planet.  Arms dealers (and manufacturers), military contractors, owners of various companies that all had their hands in the pies of war.  Enough of those to go around.  No wonder they wanted to feel safe.  Probably any number of these people were being watched by the CIA and FBI.  We had gotten the layout of the area, and our mission commander would disperse us as needed, for the duration of the night.  Once everyone went home, our contract was done.  One night, to protect people who were all involved in doing horrible things.  Not secretly, mind you.  Not all of them, anyway.  Sure, some of them, but not all.  Some of them were able to do their villainy right out in the open.  Lobbying, as Americans call it.  When I was growing up, we called it “protection.”  You pay and make things happen.  How do the criminals in Sicily feel comfortable calling it that, while Americans don’t?  Oh, right, pride.  Americans are dripping in that.  Red, White, and Blue limp-dick fuckers.
Having gotten out of customs, I was headed down with Sister to grab my bag.  I could tell that she wanted to hold my hand.  To show affection.  But she knew that I am not the type, and it was an odd time to do it.  So we just walked together.  At baggage claim is when it happened.  A ghost from both of our past reappeared.  It was a man, high in age, and wrinkles.  He was dressed in red and black.  His attire looked very formal.  A religious man?  But who wears those colors?  That’s when I remembered growing up.  You live in a community filled with Roman Catholics, you know what to look for.  This man was Catholic.  More than that, actually.  Sister stopped cold when she caught sight of him.  Her eyes went huge.  It was then that he saw us.  He was with an entourage.  They were escorting a man, dressed all in white.  The Pope?!  Well, this was an unexpected honor.  Why were they here in the States?  An odd choice.  Since when was the Vatican on good terms with the United States?  This was very new.  The man we were looking at just stared back at us.  His jaw open and his vision wide.  It was like a mixture of fear and horror.  Memories were surely coming back for him.  They were for me.  Indeed, all I could think of was times long gone by.  The war, that scarred my childhood.  It was the first place I met this man.

Our orders came down from Command.  They told us about a Catholic church that was being used as a field hospital. They claimed to be treating both sides of the conflict, yet we understood that there was a command post of the enemy not far from that location.  Our mission was to move in and destroy the entire area.  Our own soldiers were to be rescued, while the enemy was to be slaughtered.  We would kill their wounded, secure their supplies, and destroy the command post.  It could deal a crippling blow to the enemy.  At least, that’s what we were told.  The truth was…well, I was too young.  I just pointed my rifle at who they told me to, and fired.  It was a simple truth.  Being a child in war is never complicated.
We deployed under the cover of darkness.  Trucks got us as close as they could without being noticed.  We kept low, moving through the forest.  Most people think that a rainforest has to be a jungle.  Not true at all.  This is a rainforest, with oak trees.  It was fast going.  The rain was pouring down.  The lot of us were ghosts in this.  I had my rifle by my side, keeping pace with the rest.  The lights of the church soon greeted us, along with the sound of activity.  There were a TON of tents around the church.  Some sort of triage, perhaps?  Again, I didn’t think much of it at the time.  Just a child in war.  You aim your rifle at the enemy and killed them.  It was a simple life.
Coming in close, our commanding officer took out his binoculars.  He sighted a number of patrolling guards.  They were the enemy.  So it was true.  The enemy was protecting this place.  So the claims about it being for both sides was a lie.  This place had to be destroyed.  Might as well be us who did it.  This had to be quiet.  If we drew too much attention to ourselves, they would raise the alarm and the fight would be hell.  If we could kill the patrolling guards, that would give our artillery time to set up.  We could blast this place to rubble in minutes, then move in to mop up.  But the trick was to take care of those patrolling guards.
We were split into three teams.  Each team consisted of three people.  I was with a boy and Sister.  We moved to the left, told to keep to the treeline and take out the guards at the far end of the church, by the main road.  It had to be done in such a way as to make sure none of the bodies were by the road.  Easy enough.  We also couldn’t use guns.  Even in this rain, a gunshot would still be heard.  Drawing my knife, I was at home in the undergrowth.  Three of us, three guards.  One each.  I took the one furthest from the others.  He was undoing his fly by a tree.  Planning on relieving himself, I guess.  Too bad.  It made slipping the knife into his neck so easy.  Right by the shoulder.  The artery was severed, and he fell to the ground.  Dead in seconds.
The others had done their part, so we went back to the rest of the unit.  The enemy was suddenly moving around a lot.  Did they suspect something?  These guards likely had radios.  If they all went silent at once, I suppose they would suspect something.  This was bad.  We had to move.  We had a couple of RPG launchers, and one mortar.  That was the extent of our artillery.  Our CO ordered two teams, my own included, to move to the other side of the church, and await command.  We were to cover what would be the enemy’s only retreat path.  Any who fled, we were to drop.  Clean, simple, easy.  Back to moving fast and getting into position.  Had to move quicker this time.  The enemy was moving a lot.  More soldiers were moving around.  If we didn’t start firing soon, they would disperse to find us.  That would be bad.  Right now, they were bunched up.  Spread out, that was a bad thing waiting to happen.  It increased the likelihood of our artillery being seen.
Once we reached the indicated point, we called in.  The other team had done the same.  All paths of retreat were being watched.  Now was the time.  The first RPG went flying at a tent.  There were screams from soldiers.  But it was more than that.  I heard women screaming.  Grown women.  Civilians?  Why would civilians be here?  Mortar fire.  A wall of the church was blasted in.  Even more screams.  Soldiers coming out, shooting into the trees.  A waste of bullets.  They were firing blind.  The RPG teams would keep moving.  The mortar could fire for hours in the dark and in the rain and they would never see it.  This was a one-sided fight if there has ever been one.
Five of the longest minutes I had ever had passed by as more rockets and mortar shells impacted around them.  Wasted bullets.  Screaming. Death.  The church was now hanging open like a rotting wound.  So grotesque, it all was.  That’s when the vehicles started to head our way.  They were going to try and get to the main road, then flee.  My team stood up, opening fire.  We took aim at the tires of the trucks.  It was not pretty.  Two vehicles went rolling, while a third smashed into a ditch so hard that the front burst into flame.  Someone went flying out at that point.
Those who tried to escape the vehicles were met with our gunfire.  What was going on here?  For being a command post of the enemy, this place was almost completely undefended.  Why were the guards here?  Had it truly been for both sides of the conflict?  So many mysteries, but we had our orders.  Finally, the firing stopped.  The enemy had either been killed, or disabled.  Our demolitions were spent.  Now was the time when we would go in and clean up.
You ever see something so awful up close, that you know will never leave, but it’s so terribly amazing that you have to keep watching?  That was the aftermath of what had happened here.  Corpses everywhere.  Crying people.  The occasional gunshot.  Orders were orders, after all.  We were purging this place.  Something didn’t sit right with me.  Why had there been civilian screams?  Once I got to the church, I understood why.  It wasn’t civilians.  It was people associated with the church.  They were helping people.  Staying behind, to help whoever they could.  There were food stores in the church.  Supplies of kinds that aren’t bullets.  And the “command post?”  It was just a place where soldiers could know where to go to get back to their own forces.  We had just obliterated this place for nothing.  God knows how much of their medicinal supplies we destroyed.
A sound from below.  A basement?  Bringing my rifle to bear, I decided to head down.  No reason that I couldn’t handle this on my own.  I found the door beneath some rubble and made my way down.  It wasn’t a long journey.  Opening the basement door, I shined my flashlight around.  There was nothing but pews, Bibles, hymn books and other things here.  Nothing that would even qualify as interesting.
Right as I was about to turn and head upstairs, there was another fall.  In a flash, I had my weapon and light turned.  It was facing down a man in black, with a white collar.  A priest?  So this church still had parishioners.  He held up his hands, blood running down his face.  Just the sound of the rain above, and the dulled gunshots.  The fear in his eyes, it was intense.
“Please…” he begged.  “I don’t want to die.”
There was no weapon on him.  He was a total non-threat.
“I only help the sick.  You don’t have to kill me.”
Orders were orders.  Weren’t they?  The longer I stayed down here, the worse my situation got.  I had to kill him.  Had to fire.  The man was so thin.  So little threat.  Blood was on his face, and he was at my mercy.  What was the right thing to do?
“Please, child, don’t do this.  You have no reason to kill me.  Please…”
How could someone this afraid be a threat?  I lowered my weapon.
“Stay in here until morning.  Then leave.  Don’t come back.”  I turned to leave.
“God bless you, child.”
“Doubtful, Father.  He hasn’t yet.”  The last thing I said to him.
Back up top, I told my CO that there was nothing down there.  We brought in trucks, loaded up what we could, and left.  It was the last time I would ever see that church.

Here I was, over ten years later, looking into the eyes of the same priest.  The man in white stopped, looking at him, then at me.  I only nodded, then shouldered my bag.  I made sure he saw the insignia of NASSAU.  The man looked so hurt and stunned.  Did he think I had died?  Who knows.  Who cared.  Sister was about to say something, but I motioned her off.  It wasn’t something I wanted to talk about.  Turns out, the man was now a bishop, on his way to becoming a cardinal.  Good for him.  Glad to see that nearly dying in a civil war hadn’t hurt his career.  It was just another ghost from my life as a soldier, finding me here.  How many more ghosts would find me?  I hadn’t seen it, but the man apparently wanted to come talk to me.  But someone in the Pope’s entourage told him not to.  I wonder what he wanted to say…

Until next time, a quote,

“Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.”  – Sholem Asch

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Inability to Play Well is the Devs Problem? (A response to FemHype)

Know what I hate – people who whine about games being too hard.  You know what else I hate – people who whine about games being too easy.  I hear it all the time, from both sides.  After going after the SJW side of the fence for so long, I am finally going to address my side of the fence – shut the fuck up.  Just because you don’t find a game difficult enough for you doesn’t mean that it isn’t a game.  That was a lot of the argument that I heard about games like Gone Home.  “How can you even consider it a game?!  There’s no difficulty!  It’s basically a walking simulator!”  Oh, so that makes Journey one too?  Just because a game is easy doesn’t mean that it is worthless.  The quality of a game comes from more places than one.  Some are narrative heavy and want to suck you in.  Others are action heavy and want to get you on difficulty.  I love games that can get you on both.  Which brings me to this article.

See, a blog called FemHype decided that games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne are too hard, and that’s just wrong.  Wait, no, it’s not wrong.  It’s Privilege.  No joke, that’s what they call it.  They talk about three privileges that one needs to play the game.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Here’s a link to her post.  Let’s talk about it.

I tried to like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. I really did.

Here we go…

That was the problem, though—these games (Dark Souls and Bloodborne, specifically) were not fun for me.

Then don’t play them.  That was hard.  Do you need me here for this?

In order to enjoy these games, in my experience, there are certain privileges that are necessary: time, money, and the dedication to the self-image as a gamer.

*rolls eyes* Oh give me a break.  Privileges?  Really?  If I’ve learned anything from the feminist usage of this word, it’s that it has no meaning.  I’m not gonna go the Google route and look up the definition.  Because the truth is that to the SJW crowd, this word is so damn flexible.  For real, lady, how on Earth are you going to be able to show that these qualities are somehow privileges.  How are they given?  How are they taken away?  What is the requisite of having them?  I do suppose that you can be lacking in the first two.  Time and money are resources, that can be gained or lowered, depending on one’s circumstances.  I am a medical records technician who works 40 hours a week and tries to have a social life.  I love Bloodborne.  From the Lovecraftian horror to the visceral action and awesome bosses, it’s a great game.  But maybe I have that third “privilege” you talked about.  How do these work, anyway?

First, I’ll talk about the privilege of time.

Oh good, you foresaw my confusion.  Alright, continue.

You are thrown into the middle of the action of the story without any concrete idea about what is going on in the larger picture.

Yeah.  That’s how all of the Souls games worked, and how Bloodborne works as well.  You wake up in a clinic, being given a transfusion of blood to heal you of some affliction which is never explained.  You then customize your character and you’re off.  The rest of the narrative is stuff you have to pick up along the way.  It’s a narrative where you have very little control.  You are playing along in a plot that has been building for a long time.  There are some excellent videos that talk about the plot of this game and take it apart.  I loved watching those.  But it is still more fun if you take it apart yourself.  The fact that you were unwilling to do this says nothing about some vague “privilege.”  I think I know where you’re going with this.  You are going to make the argument that to really figure everything out takes a lot of time.  True.  But my answer is – so what?  If you want to invest that time, you will.  If you don’t, you won’t.  You can choose to not play the game.  You can choose to press on.  The choice is yours.  That’s a “privilege,” honey.

Usually, when gaming, the difficulty of the level corresponds directly with how many checkpoints are found within that level. An easier level would have fewer than five, while a more complex level may have a whole lot more. In these extraordinary examples (Dark Souls and Bloodborne), there are maybe three checkpoints over the course of a thousand feet within the game. Not bad, right?

Yeah, it’s great.  It puts your skills to the test.  By the way, just focusing on Bloodborne, you can go to the Hunter’s Dream at any point.  It might take a little back-tracking, but all the monsters you killed stay dead.  So you find a lamp, and you can go back.  You will die a lot, but you can reclaim your Blood Echoes from the enemy that killed you.  It takes skill, but there are ways to get around it, if you choose to take the time to devote yourself to it.  But I can already hear your argument here as well.  But let’s take your argument apart in a better way.  Because the way you defend this point makes you sound so pathetic.

Say there are 35 to 40 enemies within 1,000 feet of distance between checkpoints. The character has to pick off each one of those enemies at one or two at a time in order to get through that stretch in-game. If it takes five minutes or so per enemy or enemies, that takes a whole lotta time.

You’re picking off enemies one or two at a time?  Wow, you must really suck at Bloodborne.  When you first start in Central Yharnam, there are plenty of places where you can choke enemies in and get hacking.  Or, if you have the cane, you can keep them at a distance with the whip-form.  There are plenty of ways to play the game.  Are you playing it really nervous and cowardly?  That’s not how Bloodborne was meant to be played.  Unlike its predecessors, this game rewards daring and being willing to take risks.  It reward playing offensively.  Dodging when it’s smart, then striking hard.  If you take some damage, the game gives you time to regain the lost health, but continuing to fight.  Striking restores HP.  This game is not made for people who play it nervously.  It requires a little bravery.  Sometimes, a lot of the time, you’ll fuck up and die.  But you learn from it.  It’s a learning experience.  By the time I had gotten really good at the game, I can go into an area and not be especially worried.  Does that mean that I won’t die?  Hell no.  I die all the time.  But I don’t lose my shit over it.  If you aren’t willing to take the time to learn the game, then whose fault is that?

Then you inevitably die because, surprise! An evil dog was there the entire time and it just ate your face off. You silly gamer, you. Now you must start again with those 35 to 40 enemies from the beginning, keep that stray evil dog in mind, and pray to the gods that there is not another stray evil dog behind the next cart.

Yeah, you gotta learn.  And you do!  You learn where those dogs are, and you are ready for them.  It’s a game of trial and error.  Each time you screw up, you get a little better.  That’s the whole point!  God, I hate having to listen to someone bitching about a game being difficult because they refuse to put in the time and effort to learn it.  The learning curve isn’t as steep as you’d think.  The Souls games can be punishingly difficult, but Bloodborne is not nearly as hard as this person makes it out to be.  Not if you have the guts to charge forward and start tearing flesh with your saw blade.  Or Ludwig’s Blade, as in my case.

As a working student, I could not justify spending that much time on the same parts of the game for days. I’m lucky—I only had to work one part-time job while going to school. But a lot of people do not have the time in-between two or three jobs on top of a getting a higher level of education or taking care of their family.

Give me a break!  “I can’t hold them with logic, so I’ll appeal to emotion!  ‘They have families and obligations!  That’s not fair!’  Whew, dodged a logical bullet there.  They can’t argue that with that and not appear rude toward people with families.”  Actually, yes I can – if you have all these obligations, then I guess you don’t have the time for that.  That’s not a “privilege.”  If you are so put upon and don’t have the time to game, then don’t game.  I worked full time and went to college and I had the time to game.  I work full time now, as a college grad, and I have time to game.  I don’t have a family, but still.  You prioritize your life based on how much effort you want to put in.  If someone is decent, then they will prioritize their family.  Or their school.  Or whatever.  There is NO reason that developers should tailor their games to make these people happy.  It’s not “privilege.”  It’s the way things are.  If these imaginary people who you made up to pull at our pathos don’t like it, they don’t have to play.

So the privilege of time is intrinsically connected to the privilege of wealth. It connects even more so when you consider that someone (such as myself) spent enough money to feed themselves for a week or two ($50 or more) to get flipped off continuously by sword-wielding skeletons and weirdly tall men in trench coats carrying scythes.

I don’t even get this.  It doesn’t cost you money to play a game, once you own it.  Not unless you are a WoW fan or something.  Let me see if I got your argument straight – I work too hard to have to deal with this!  That about right?  Well then, here’s a simple solution – don’t play.  If it’s just too much work for you, then don’t play.  I have a feeling that this third “privilege” you are about to get to ties in with this argument, so I’ll hold off until we get there.

But I think the most problematic part of this type of game is the part that feeds into the ego of the gaming community.

Spirits forbid that someone who works hard to get good at something feel accomplished.  That “privileged” asshole.

I think a large part of this was due to my ego as a gamer. I am, as you may have guessed, quite dedicated to the world of video games. I am pretty good at them, and thus my continuous failures in Dark Souls really aggravated my ego. I made up excuses, and while they were valid, they were not entirely fair. Although I told myself I did not have the time to dedicate to Dark Souls, I apparently always had space in my busy schedule as a liberal arts student to replay BioShock for the umpteenth time.

Okay, here we go.  Look, honey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to gaming.  I am not the person who enjoys online shooters.  I have never been into competitive online gaming, and I doubt I ever will be.  I love me a good story-driven game.  Or, I can get into a crazy hack-and-slash.  Regardless, I play games for different reasons than other people.  Maybe these games just aren’t for you.  Not all games are for everyone.  I have played the Bioshock games quite a bit too.  There’s nothing wrong with admitting that certain kinds of gaming aren’t for you.  I don’t play WoW.  Does that make me less of a gamer.  Do you play Starcraft?  No?  Does that make you less of a gamer?  It doesn’t matter.  There is a lot of dignity that can come from admitting that you aren’t especially good at something.  Just be honest.  We aren’t going to throw pies at you or something.

I met a lot of people who talked about how much they loved these games and I’ve received snapchats from acquaintances playing these games with very positive captions. I couldn’t understand it—until I realized that these gamers are from privilege who are students or recent graduates, which means there is a certain level of free time and financial support at their disposal.

No.  Wrong!  There is a certain amount of dedication and pride at what they are doing.  And it is pride.  The first time I beat Rom, the Vacuous Spider, I felt accomplished as fuck.  Taking a snapshot of it on my PS4 (I LOVE the share features on that console) felt great.  Getting to the very bottom of the Chalice Dungeons, where the bosses are so hard that any of them can practically one-shot you is so difficult that you will be feeling your nerves crying.  But then you watch the boss die and you feel pretty great.  That’s the nature of this medium.  The fact that you are unwilling to get in on the fun means that you are either too nervous or too pathetic to admit that this is not your bag.  You are blaming the gamers who take pride in their accomplishments because you are too proud to admit that this might not be for you.  Says a lot about you, actually.

That is not to say that they are bad people, but in my experience, it attracts a certain subset of people who have the resources and an urge to prove themselves in a world that does not have the same sense of security, economically and otherwise, that it once did when we were in the safety of the educational system.

This is telling.  It’s really, really telling.  It says a lot about the feminist mindset.  Yeah, you aren’t in school anymore.  Life is hard.  It really is.  It won’t hold your hand.  It won’t let you off easy.  It doesn’t care how you feel.  The truth is, Bloodborne is a lot like life.  It takes a lot of work to really get good at it.  At anything.  If you love something, I mean truly love it, you will invest the time and effort that it takes to become great at it.  That’s why I am so proud of my work on this site.  I have put in six years into this website.  Six years of steady posting.  Almost every day.  In fact, often more than once per day.  Six years of constant effort to really become great at this.  You are not willing to put in that effort.  You are complaining that this game is too hard, and using the term “privilege” to make it seem like its the devs and the gamers fault.  It’s not that this is the game for you.  It’s that you are being trodden upon.

Grow up.

Until next time, a quote,

“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”  -Robert A. Heinlein

Peace out,

Maverick

Sex Robots Are Going to be a Thing. Accept It.

You know who doesn’t like sex?  Social justice types.  Why?  Because they are basically terrified of their bodies and want the rest of the world to feed their sad little need to live in a hugbox that probably doesn’t have a mirror one in it.  The average social justice warrior is so scared of sex that anything that glorifies or even acknowledges human sexuality is labeled the enemy.  They also are very good at not paying attention to history.  After all, if you learn too much, then you might question their established doctrine.  This becomes especially interesting when you look at how they are reacting the the prospect of this dystopian cyberpunk future that we are headed towards.  I am talking, of course, about sex robots.

Let’s digress a bit and talk about history.  I know, context is icky to the typical social justice, third wave feminism crowd.  But let’s talk about it.  The Internet that they so cavalierly use to shout and rant and scream about how oppressed they are started as a system for the military.  The Internet found its beginnings in war.  The airplane?  War.  The cell phone?  War.  Pretty much every modern technology has its roots in conflict.  Then, the industrious among us then go and take that technology and make it applicable for the rest of the world.  Which leads to the next side.  Whenever a new technology is developed, it goes from first being used for war, and then being used for something else – sex.  How long do you suppose it was that the Internet became a thing that porn then became a thing too?  When the cell phone app was a thing, how long do you think it took for someone to come up with apps like Tinder?  Throughout history, this story is replayed over and over again.  We first use technology for war, then we figure out how to use it for sex.  It’s a pattern, and it’s one that is not going to stop.

Already, the integration of robots for war is a thing.  We have drones, which have become the staple of modern warfare.  Killing people with the pressing of a button.  We sure are taking the soul out of war, aren’t we?  As robotics becomes more and more prevalent, we are going to be using robots to kill people more.  That’s already begun, and it can’t be stopped.  The likes of Stephen Hawking may say that we desperately need to not do that, but when did humanity ever really learn from history?  Never.  And we never will.  It’ll eventually destroy us, and that’s fine.  No joke, since I accept it, I am fine with it.  Humanity’s time was up ages ago, anyway.  So, we have checked off the usage of robots for war.  What’s left…?

Sex, of course.  The reality is that, as this technology develops, we are going to be looking for ways to apply it to sex.  The reason why is simple – there are a TON of lonely people in this world.  Look at the world that social media has created.  It’s sad, lonely, and full of people who can’t find love or companionship to save their lives.  I know, because I’m one of them.  Dating is a nightmare, and meeting people is exhausting and often goes nowhere.  It is just too much work, and people are more and more not wanting to bother.  So, when there are machines that can look and act like a person, minus all the emotional baggage or the crushing judgmental attitude that is the staple of modern society (seriously, have you noticed how big of assholes we have all become?  I’m not excluding myself.  I’m a dick like the rest of you).  A person who is lonely and has no ability to connect with people can now find some release without the feeling of shame in getting a hooker.  Or the massive financial obligation of that.

What is the social justice crowds beef with this?  Well, according to a robot ethicist said that it would “reinforce stereotypical gender roles.”  Um…this is dumb.  Why is it dumb?  Because, I’m gonna level with ya – if sex robots, like the kind in AI, were real, I guarantee you that there application wouldn’t be in typical gender roles.  You’d have some poor nerd who wants to be with Black Widow getting exactly what he wishes for.  You’d have some of the strangest relationships that you can possibly imagine.  I bet that it would actually get kind of interesting.  Sure, there would be the guy wanting to bang the French maid, but you’d have all sorts of combinations.  If anything, I think that typical gender roles would fly out the window.  And don’t think that I am excluding ladies from this.  There would definitely be women who partake of this.  How many of them would be publicly SJWs, while closet sex robot fiends?  If we’ve learned nothing else from Butts, it’s that the SJWs have a plethora of skeletons that they don’t want to talk about.  Men and women would be making strange and bizarre sexual connections with machines.  As the artificial intelligence evolves, we might see situations like in Her, where these people form romantic attachments with these machines.  They would become more than things to fuck.  They would become mechanical people to love.

And once-again, let’s totally ignore the fact that gay and lesbian people would end up using sex robots as well.  Even the trans crowd is likely to get in on the fun.  But don’t tell SJWs that.  It gets in the way of their narrative for how women are objectified.

This is all very grand thinking, but the point is that we don’t know where the deal with robots made for sex will end.  There is a grander point that we are headed to.  A day may come when robotics are so advanced that you have no idea if you are dating a person or a robot.  Now there’s a mindfuck for ya.  But that’s the interesting thing.  So when I hear SJW types complaining about this, I think to myself – these people are actually against any form of development of our culture.  They want the culture to exist in a perpetual state of now.  To homogenize civilization into a blend of nothing, where no one can get offended or think beyond the screens of their laptops or phones.  That is the world that they want.  I can’t even imagine how awful and boring their utopia would be.  A world where ethnic groups never blend, expression is curtailed in the name of “tolerance.”  Where we are totally cool with pedophiles.  No joke, that is something they are trying to get happening.  It’s madness.  But it’s the world they want to live in.  A dead, empty, shallow world where no one feels anything too strongly.  Because that me be “privilege.”

Sex robots is going to happen.  Make peace with that as you need.

Until next time, a quote,

“Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.”  – Voltaire

Peace out,

Maverick