08 June, 2018

On Incarceration Troupe...

I'm not sure how much overlap there will be between this and "Playing the Fool", but what you'll read here will be reiterated in some form. Potentially in Parts 1, 3, and 4. 

Most if not all of the information on what was once called "Maximum Security Showcase" is woefully outdated since the last time I talked about it. I'll also confess that I never referred to it by that moniker in the drafts. I was paranoid about calling it "Incarceration Troupe" because admittedly, if or when I decide to market this, I wanted that title for the final product. I worried that I wouldn't be able to if I referred to it online as such.

I was full of myself in thinking that. It also may have been silly in hindsight.

The whole hauntology angle never really panned out for two reasons. The first of which I briefly touched upon in the foreword to "Playing the Fool" which would've turned the story into an unhinged rant about tech. One that merely combines the recent works of Hossein Derakhshan, Jaques Derrida, M.T. Anderson, and Jon Ronson into some fictional narrative. In part, I have to thank an Internet friend for pointing out that this whole thing has been done before when he joked that the projects he was working on were his projects.

(OtherMichael, if you're reading this, hello, and thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow.)

The other reason dealt with the additional characters who would be the major players in that argument. I liked writing them, but the more I focused on fleshing them out, the less I focused on the main characters. Simply put, it became a hot mess.

Around NaNoWriMo 2015, I started reading Specters of Marx and if Capital broke me out of Marxism, Specters prompted me to say, "Well, screw it," and give up on the story as it was. That book was frustratingly dense, even for an academic book. I got the gist about what deconstruction theory is (in part) and how it works upon finishing it, so it wasn't that bad.

Still, I let that story collect dust for months. I tried again in the following summer to bring new life to it, but ultimately failed.

It had been over a year before I decided to take a look at the project again, or rather the short story that it branched from in the first place.

The circumstances in which I wrote that, well, sucked. This was two months into the new year after I realized that my hiking partner used me as a third wheel to start a relationship with someone who took my writing and ran. They did tell me, after our last hike, that they liked him and I relayed the message when we crossed paths at school. Either way, it hurt.

There was also an internship that did not turn out as it was originally planned. I ended up doing mostly secretarial work when I was supposed to be learning about web development. By proxy, I would've fulfilled my job over at the student-run newspaper if the internship was successful since, it goes without saying, that's what they hired me for in the first place. What's even worse was the fact that I didn't question it, that I just let the guy who ran the internship use me to write up some bits of content, change a club's constitution, and scan the back archives of their magazine which ironically never found their way onto the actual website. In short, I felt slighted and going into the final semester, asking myself if that internship was actually worth anything, is not a pleasant thought to say the least.

I also wasn't happy in the groups I associated with in general. I was physically tired due to both the workload and roommates who turned the commons into a pigsty in the course of a semester--it didn't help that I lacked the confidence to say something about it, and the fact that they were noisy past quiet hours--and mentally tired for the same reasons and then some. The some being pretty much the above...

...and what ultimately lead to me writing out that very story.

The draft itself had an ending far different than what I ended up with in the "final". Instead of this realization that he (the main character) was "free" from his ex-colleagues, he finds himself chastised by his girlfriend who leaves him the next day. Instead of just realizing that he's no longer obligated to maintain a relationship with some co-workers, he finds himself free. This, after he finds some slip of paper stuck in a book with some motivational passage comparing people to planets and how gravity, metaphysically speaking, can attract friends based on one's attitude or, well, "orbit".

Either way, it was the ending I preferred. The one in the final was a result of even more sleep deprivation, and delusions of grandeur in which I started to picture it as more of a sitcom in a series of short stories than a stand-alone novel, finals week notwithstanding. In short, it was a cop-out. It was crap...

...and I'm glad I veered away from that direction.

In early February, I decided to look at the workshop critiques from that first draft to try and figure out what the story was about it the first place. Many of them pointed out that the conflict between the main characters and his former co-workers is left unresolved and that the issues between them are unclear aside from the obvious political differences. There were also some questions about the main character's anxiety towards them, mostly due to said non-resolution but also in scenes where it's just him and his girlfriend. One of them noted that he doesn't seem to be comfortable with anyone, let alone relate to them.

It's sort of a dead giveaway as to where this is going and yet, four years on, I've finally figured out where this story's going and more importantly, what's it about.

Instead of focusing on making it some literary magnum opus, I'm going to focus on it. Whatever happens, I'll be glad once I finish writing it just for that fact alone. We'll see what happens after that...

14 May, 2018

Freehand Ink #6: A Fool's Roadmap

In writing out this post, I never realized how much I was pre-dispositioned to classical liberalism before I transferred over to university. Or at least what defines a classical liberal anyway. I'm not exactly fond of embracing political labels although as I'll explain later in that series, I feel knee deep into marxist literary theory and ultimately identified as one for a time. I think that reading Capital three years ago sort of broke me, or rather got me out of it altogether. Coincidentally, that was also something I promised someone on Ello* and in retrospect, I am thankful I decided to go through with it. Thanks, @booksnips if you're reading this!

So on that note, this is how I have it laid out...
  1. Literary Theory and Clique 
  2. Public Relations 
  3. M.T. Anderson's Feed, the discussion and lack thereof. (Where did all the coders go?)
  4. Ed Snowden, the NSA, and how to hide your concerns for privacy with holistic claptrap.
  5. Who I am and where I stand today? (Or at least up until now anyway.)
All tentative and subject to change as I write it.

I'll admit that it was hard to write out the into to the whole thing. The co-worker who ran off with my story is someone who I blanked out of my memory when he finally left three years ago, having been transferred elsewhere. He did stop by once and he talked about Trump before he left, loving his "tell it like it is attitude" and I just went along with him. Even now whenever I talk about him, my chest tightens up. There is also the fact that one of our co-workers, one who was a friend of mine for a time, fancied him. This was something that I found out early into my senior year and, without going into the finer details, I ultimately felt slighted being used as a third wheel between two hikes.

There is also something else that I worried would seep into "Playing the Fool". I haven't told very many people about it, but in hindsight, I should've said something while it was ongoing almost five years ago. It's been recently affecting me at both my jobs, my writing, and more or less the reason why I put off starting out this series in the first place. It's something that I thought about while I read through Recovery, and Rascal, and when I first found the panel with James Damore and Heather Heying. That combined with issues at work has brought this thing back to the forefront and it makes me feel uneasy.

I might post something about it. I might not. For now, I'll switch tack...

There's been a lot of talk about the IDW--a term originally coined by Eric Weinstein in one of his appearances for the Rubin Report now legitimately canonized by Bari Weiss in her recent op-ed, or at least that's how I've seen it. And of course, I've harped on about them or mentioned them in passing. So instead, I'll just list some of their goings on, along with who I think you should follow...

...and that's about it really. Well, no. I spent most of the past couple weeks listening to Jordan Peterson read through his 12 Rules for Life--a self-help book written in part with an academic vernacular. Peterson, well, I'm not sure about him yet. I mostly started following him in passing, without knowing much about his brush-up with C-16 or his interview on Channel 4, and I haven't even watched it yet.

I will say this about the book: It's long. Some rules are tight while other ones get lost in anecdotes.

Would I recommend it? Unless you're enamored by philosophical, scholarly writing or with Dr. Peterson himself, there are other options.

 Videos from the Queue

I've been binging through Midsomer Murders for the past couple weeks and love it immensely. I'm currently in midst of season six and might take a break from it once Sargent Troy (Daniel Casey) leaves. It's not exactly binge-able, as in I can only mange two episodes in one day and usually, they're not back to back. Still, it's good.  

On the subject of binging, I've been meaning to go through Banjo Guy Ollie's Motherfolkers Podcast, which hands the spotlight over to other YouTubers or artists.

Other things I need to get around to watching...

Reading List

 If you came here by Twitter, then this may already familiar to you...

...and that's wraps things nicely. I do think that being out of an echo chamber has actually helped my stress in a way. I no longer react to things that some would consider sacrilege or necessary for a start, in a way that those in said chamber would approve of. I also feel more comfortable socializing with people, especially those I work with, in a way similar to how I felt before I transferred to university. Everything that I previously mentioned, which fits this, also applies.

It's also why I've been blogging more this year, than in the previous four. I plan on keeping this pace, if not improving it.

*My post is public, but if you're not logged into Ello, you won't be able to read the discussion.

04 May, 2018

Playing the Fool: Personal Experiences with Self-Censorship (Foreword)

I want to start out by reiterating and elaborating on my previous spiel about no longer possessing an "outrage warrior's" candor. Simply put: I found my way out of an echo chamber that I didn't realize I was trapped in.

For all the grief I give Facebook about how it filters out posts in favor of what it thinks you'd prefer to the point that it used to be a major component of a work in progress, I never thought of the other ways I could unknowingly weasel myself into something I didn't want. Hence the awkwardness in that rant and the zealotry in the following weekend checkup, even though as mentioned previously in the latter, I also feared about "being eaten" by other dogmatic leftists (or regressive if you prefer Dave Rubin's terminology for it).

In hindsight, that was silly of me. Also, trying to spool a rant about the unwillingness to discuss the nuances in the architecture of both social networks and the web into a story that in had no place being in was even more absurd.

Both of which I touch upon in this series of posts.

I think that if it weren't for the people I follow--comedians like Russell Brand, writers like Jon Ronson, Logospilgrim and Cathy Young, YouTubers like the Game Lords and the Lawful Masses, and academics like Bret Weinstein, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Bogohossian--then I would be stuck there in that echo chamber.

In looking back through my college years for this, there is a poem published in my alma mater's literary magazine (2014, on page 84) simply titled "The Maze". I was a member of the group that reviewed the material and on it's first reading I remember other reviewers being fascinated by its form. I was more fascinated by its words, the idea that one can wander in "a maze of [their] own thoughts".

Those words, when considering the ongoing issues with free speech today, still hold stronger than ever. The echo chambers that one might inhabit are like that maze with both thoughts and fear intertwining into dead ends with guideposts consisting of mostly ideology and not so much fact.

This series is me finally exiting that labyrinth. It is also the story of how I found myself there in the first place.

It begins not with a classroom or a lecture hall, but a grocery store eight years ago. There was a co-worker I worked with who I shared a short story with. He enjoyed it, and said he wanted to collaborate with me on it. The writers' workshop I went to also liked it or at least said it was an improvement over what I submitted a year ago.

I envisioned that story as being part of a collection of short stories and I remember telling my colleague the same thing. He went and wrote a chapter book on the thing. I played along in the beginning, typing out a chapter over at Borders when Borders was still around, causing a ruckus at in the local library's quiet zone with ideas or lack thereof, and so on. I never mentioned the fact that I was slighted at him for taking my story and butchering it into his own thing. I just told him at one of our Borders sessions that it was his, and he could do what he'd like with it. That was the last time we met regarding that story.

At work, I decided to take it out on him. Not in anger, but by playing the fool. More specifically, I told him made up stories about how he wanted to go whitewater rafting or how he was supposed to be attending the Cannes Film Festival among other tall tales. I sometimes brought customers into his fantasy world, the one that I conceived for him. Some got a laugh out of it while others were unsure of what was going on. Either way, I found the whole thing very cathartic while masking the fact that I resented him for what he did.

I never thought that I would once again play the fool when I transferred over to university after three years at a community college. Between that and work, I was used to dealing with people with different world views and ideas, some more extreme than others. Dan Gillmor's Mediactive was still fresh in my mind and I was having a ball with other writers on Google+, doing prompts and discovering self-publishing, the ideas of open government, digital rights and online privacy among others. Heck, my health studies professor assigned me, along with a few others, to argue that vaccines do cause autism, which is something I strongly disagree with. Even so, I wasn't livid or disappointed about the experience as it reinforced how little evidence there actually is, if not at all, regarding the issue.

The co-worker who trained me for my first job was a hardline conservative who saw Fox News as gospel and was openly bigoted towards muslims and minorities in general. Yet, he was efficient in his job and thoroughly explained why he did tasks the way he did. We got along because we took out job seriously, not because of our politics. For the most part anyway. There was a point when I shared a bevy of left-leaning articles on Facebook just to stave off his harsh responses, but it subsided by that final year when we agreed to put our differences aside.

But, I would end up donning that role once more. So what set that ball rolling? 

I suggested that a club start a blog to aggregate the works of other writers at their second meeting. Most of the room roared in laughter and the president at the time initially asked if I was stupid then saying I was free to do so, but I would be on my own. Ironically, they now have a blog and, at the time, ran an active Facebook group. I thought to myself, what's the difference? Granted that one could set the page so that only Facebook users could access it, but the response was uncalled for. It reminded me of middle school in which this bullying occurred more often.

I suggested the same idea to a club at the community college only months prior, called the East Indies club. The only reason why I went to their inaugural meeting was I had no idea what constituted the East Indies, mistaking it for the East India Company, so I wanted to find out. As to why I put forward idea of a blog showcasing the stories from those who hailed from East Indies along with their culture, it goes without saying. I was white. I knew nothing about the region. It was received rather well. As in it was something they would consider and they handled it professionally. 

In those three years, the only moments where I felt I had to censor myself or play the fool were in response to the trainer's Republican barbs and that co-worker who decided to steal a work-in-progress that is now collecting dust somewhere else.

Yet in the final two years, it would all go south. I wouldn't just play the fool to conceal my dismay at the state of things, but to conceal opinions that I feared would face scrutiny even if politically, we were mostly on the same side. 

The NSA leaks and Edward Snowden, the discussion around M.T. Anderson's Feed, public relations,  even literary theory itself, and so on. I would keep my lips, sealed, told people what I thought they wanted to hear, or just conjured up something from left-field that I thought for some reason some would be pleased with merely to prevent blowback. Each time I did so, I would descend further in, not just playing the fool, but becoming one.

Next Time: Literary Theory and the Canon Clique 

22 April, 2018

Freehand Ink #5: A Brief Hello

I said on Twitter that I would try to belt out one of these today. I'll be brief because I want to start tackling some of the more topical posts that I said I'd do. I'm listing these below both as a personal reminder to actually get around to doing them and what to (ideally) expect...

  • On Self-Censorship/Internalization Tentative Title: Playing the Fool. Might be multiple.
  • On where Incarceration Troupe/Maximum Security Showcase stands and how it changed.
  • My personal history with video games. I tweeted about this once (pre-2018) when Nintendo announced the Switch. 
  • A review of Shin Megami Tensei IV and possibly Apocalypse  

The last edition of Freehand may have been a dead giveaway, but I'm trying to get back into writing book reviews. I wrote up a blurb on Goodreads the other day on Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. My reviews from last year consisted of a Big Finish audio and James Goss's novelization of The Pirate Planet and pretty much nothing else. I think I spent part of that year rediscovering my love of Doctor Who and why I love it. I touched upon it before in an article I wrote for my university's paper talking about the impact of fandoms. I thought about revisiting it, delving deeper into my own interest in those who make the stories, shows, games that I enjoy. Consider that as another thing for the list.

Speaking of universities, I'm still on a Peter Boghossian binge...

This one's a good premier on what intersectionality is and how it plays out with regards to identity politics and debates today. This was also uploaded not too long before this article from the National Review described intersectionality in a similar vein after the student protests at Lewis & Clark Law School. Don't let who hosted the panel fool you. They don't identify as conservatives.

This does not bear repeating, but Peter's made me, well, "woke". Aware in the same way others discover a religion that they identify with or as they point out in the panel, the concept of privilege. More specifically their criticism of postmodernism, and postmodern theory in conjunction of some of the articles I read on Quillette on the current state of literary culture and the issues surrounding literary theory. At least state-wise. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy reading books on literary and media theory which in some cases use a postmodern lens to write about their media.

I'll cover some of that in the self-censorship series of posts.       

There really isn't that much I can recommend for a complete reading list or a viewing queue than what I linked to already. I think I had some moment of "outrage" when I first tweeted Neema's article or rather it was part of an ongoing thing since I retweeted something previously about Josh Blackman's recent experience at CUNY Law School alongside Claire Lehmann's tweet linking to a graphic novel depicting John Stuart-Mill's ideas on free speech. That is if I wasn't tweeting about Facebook.

There's also this documentary on Oasis which thoroughly covers their rise to stardom leading to the disasters which surrounded and was ultimately "Be Here Now". I actually went and streamed "(What's the Story) Morning Glory" shortly after watching this alongside "Be Here Now". The latter's as bad as they say it is. Couldn't even make it through the full thing.

It's late, but I made it as promised. Have a good night!   

06 April, 2018

Freehand Ink #4: A Smug Rascal

I'll admit, I'm enjoying the fallout from the ongoing saga with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. Those who follow me on Twitter (pre-2018) and Ello may be more familiar as to why, but I'll summarize it here.

I never liked Facebook.  I deactivated it in late 2015 then deleted it shortly before Trump got inaugurated. I didn't like the way Facebook operated with regards to data. I loathed the fact that I had to download an extension to make Facebook somewhat usable.

I would also be lying if I didn't mention that also I quit Facebook to distance myself from everyone I knew from college.      

Those last two years at university were a special sort of hell. I got my worth in education, but there are times in which I wish I had spoken my mind instead of just going with it. That instead of being some absurd jackass, I could've been, at least, a rational one.

On Ello, I said that 2015 would be the year in which I "put my foot down" and actually move on up either in my career or into graduate school. The other thing that I meant, but never mentioned outright, was that I would go back to "being myself", which like the other thing I failed to do.

Well, almost anyway. I felt that I was more myself on Ello than on Facebook or Twitter. I geeked out about things that I usually wouldn't elsewhere and I talked about trips I took with my family when I was kid in a discussion about books and travel.

I also met a lot of cool people there. Fellow writers, artists, and the like.

I spent the weekend reading through Rascal, a book written by one of those very writers, Logospilgrim. Rascal: A Manifesto sets out to help the reader embrace themselves through seven vignettes, each titled after the "seven deadly sins". Each sin becomes a virtue as Logos talks the reader through how others, what Logos calls "the abuser", justify the immoral nature that they give these "sins". I should note that Logos characterizes the abuser as either a violent, controlling parental figure or a religious doctrine that makes said suffering acceptable, giving false hope of a better afterlife.

The theme of embracing one's self in the face of social adversity, abuse, and fear is something that Logos has tackled before in other works. Her memoir from 2015, There's A Hula Girl on my Dashboard, uses those same experiences as a springboard as she talks about her journey discovering her own religious faith-where it was, who helped her, and what she found out. Her other recent work, The Corner Store Epiphany, also tackles the same themes as seen in Rascal, but focuses mainly on finding comfort and motivation through hobbies that she enjoyed from her childhood and ultimately uses those pastimes to move forward from what (and who) held her back.

Or to put it simply, to become a Rascal.

I read this book partly to prepare myself for when I start writing out the post on self-censorship, internalizing what should've been said or asked, and telling people what "they want to hear" as opposed to just straight up being honest. The other reason why I read it, is that I have a lot of catching up to do with regards to keeping in touch with people. I wasn't in the best frame of mind to do so for the past few years. I know that a few relatives have sent me messages after I left Facebook and have promised someone while I was working that I would in fact e-mail them shortly after. That was two years ago.

If any of you are reading this, I'll get back to you soon. I also know that I'm slacking on a book review for Sean Bonner's Don't Go Outside and I need to let a few people on Patreon know that I received their stuff.

I've also been sitting on a Raspberry Pi for about a year, which I only booted up a few times, that I meant to use to educate myself on Python. I think you get the idea by now.

I know that in past checkups, or Freehand posts, I lauded the people I patronized by spotlighting their work. In the previous edition, I did so egregiously alongside the efforts of people like Peter Boghossian and Dave Rubin who provide platforms for the exchanges of ideas including ones they disagree with. If it wen't for the current circumstances-as in the fact that we have a "Twitter President" among other things-I would say finding the idea of debating ideas in 2018 revolutionary is, well, weird considering the tools we have now. But here we are nonetheless.

I still stand by what I said previously though, that investing money into these content creators has, within a course of year and a few months, had the same effect on me as those early experiences on Ello.

(And yes, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Logospilgrim also has a Patreon.)

It has also, in part, helped me clean up my Twitter that I previously struggled and failed to do. Twice, even after tweeting about it sometime in the past couple of years. Being able to stay in the loop following around four-hundred and ninety-five people as opposed to plus seven-hundred without going mad is nice alongside other reasons. Some of which I'll probably touch upon in said post on self-censorship.

I also cut out a lot of the video game streamers and Let's Players I used to watch. I got easily distracted with those in the former and I'm not exactly one for chatting in most cases. Many in the latter I merely lost interest in and I believe that at least one of them is on the way out with the way their Overblood riff went. Then again, the way they started leaves a lot to be desired while aging very poorly because the MST3K model for LPs which started out as more mocking than riffing for a closed internet community loses most of its comedic value when unleashed into the wild a la the Streisand effect. I won't link those, but it shouldn't be too hard to find them. Just be aware that there's foul language, some of it bigoted depending on which one you discover and you wonder why there's a stigma against those who play video games wether or not one identifies as a gamer.

That said, and goes without saying, that those who I currently patronize do excellent work on that front. Steve Benway's another good one along with Jimmy Hapa, Octav1us Kitten, Lazy Game Reviews, and PushingUpRoses among others. I did a tweet with my seven favorite YouTubers in 2016 that needs serve updating along with being lost to the midsts of time, or just resting in a Tweet archive. It would be a nice diversion.

But I digress. Four months in and I'm already optimistic about the rest of 2018, at least on a personal front. Hopefully it will also be on a wider scale, in which certain figures leave office, open science and open access becomes more of a thing, and that outrage culture takes a good look at itself. If Jordan Peterson is right about one thing, it's this...

That's enough waffling for one day...

There is however, quite a bit on Facebook and it's issues, or blatant disregard, of user privacy alongside other things. I'll list them here:

Videos from the Queue

If you have a working DVD of the Doctor Who serial "The Armageddon Factor", then you're probably already familiar with this series, where Tom Baker read through four short horror stories. Here's another where he reads through Ray Bradbury's "The Emissary" if you liked what you saw above.    


Reading List

That's it from me this week until whenever I blog next. Might start work on that post in a bit or work on some scenes for Incarceration Troupe, depending on how I feel. Have a great weekend and I'll write again later.  

15 March, 2018

Freehand Ink #3 (or what was formerly the Weekend Checkup)

I had an impromptu plan to belt out a "Weekend Checkup" either on Friday or Saturday before I blogged about Incarceration Troupe, but I forgot.

Or rather, I put it off like I procrastinated on blogging for the past year and writing in general for the past two years (excluding IT), distracting myself with other things. Most notably a five-part documentary and another academic panel which features most of the same panelists. Both of which, I'll link to later.

I also juggle two jobs. Friday and Saturday, I only had to work one of them so I really have no excuse for not blogging something then. I'll admit that ever since I gained more days at my other job, as in more programs, I haven't had ample time to either write or blog. My time on Twitter's also to blame here, pretty much going against what I said on Ello among other things.

I'm working on all this slowly but surely.

One more thing: I decided to switch the name of the Weekend Checkup to "Freehand Ink" so that I don't restrict myself to having these brief catch-ups, reading list, and video queue by a specific deadline. Also, because I thought that titled sounded catchier.


I wanted to start this out with an addendum to my previous post in which I explained the whole concept of a "Outrage Warrior". I'll admit, this was video in which I first heard the term (jump to around 5:40) and extended, or rather twisted that definition in the post to include the Alt-Right. I'm hesitant to use the term "social justice warrior" on its own because of how charged the term is and thought that "Outrage Warrior" worked as a term which encompasses both extremes. I was afraid of any backlash if I did so, and was also nervous of the same thing when posting it. I do like the term and I apologize to Liana for misusing it.

(As an aside: Liana herself does excellent vlogs and currently does a show called Lady Bits which offers a more in-depth look at women who work on video games along with women in them-both as playable and non-playable characters. I definitely recommend checking it out and if you like it, consider supporting her on Patreon.)

This whole fear of being shamed for having a different opinion is something I'm putting on my to-blog list in part because of this tweet I found while skimming through Peter Boghossian's timeline...

...to which I retweeted...

It goes without saying that I'm trying to self-censor and internalize less while expressing myself and asking more. Writing that blog post will probably be a doozy, but it needs to be done.

Videos from the Queue

This was the panel I mentioned earlier as one of the main reasons I put off writing this. Another interesting discussion with Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, and Peter Boghossian along with Christina Hoff Sommers about the notion of victimhood, intersectionality, and the state of free speech in academia. Ever since that other panel, and their interview on Joe Rogan that I listened to twice, I've felt much better about things in general. Which sounds weird, but I've actually been able to focus on my writing without worrying about whether a detail's going to "offend" some person or another or just some grammatical bump I can smooth out in post.

They talk nuance. They're not dogmatic in any part of the political spectrum or dabble in ideological purism. Dave Rubin and Liana are also like this, or at least that's how I see it. So's Jordan Peterson and I had no idea who he was until I listened to Russell Brand's interview with him just yesterday along with Peterson's interview with Quillette founder and editor Claire Lehmann.

Again, I'll expand on all this in that self-censorship post, but for now I'll say that they're a motivational force behind my writing now. As sappy as it sounds.

I also feel that way about most, if not all, of the people I support on Patreon. Some of which I'm tabling for a post on playing video games which leads me to the next two videos...

DJ Slope is one of the Game Lords, and his attitude towards his work is contagious. My first exposure to his work was through his Kickscammers series where he takes a look at Kickstarter projects that do what it says on the tin, that don't make their funding goal, are just plain odd, or a combination of the three. It wasn't until the Metroid video here that I decided to subscribe to him, partly because I loved the series as much as he does, but also because of his enthusiasm throughout the whole thing. Even with Other M which I confess that I never played because of what I heard about the story, DJ Slope gave it a fair shot in his review.

(Side-Note: He also talked not playing the game for the story elements, which led me to re-download Shin Megami Tensei IV for the 3DS and spend most of late December playing that. Actually got more out of that a second time around. Might review it later...) 

In one of his earliest Complete History videos, DJ Slope starts it out by saying that no matter what console you have that there will always be good games for it. Again, I just love his approach to games and if you agree after watching these videos, you can also support him on Patreon.

On the topic of Game Lords...

I remember this coming up in my YouTube recommendations a couple times and on when I got off work on Thursday I decided to start watching this. The entire series is really worth your time. Kim does an excellent job following Peter Molyneux's career along with the companies he founded then decimated years later.

I've spotlighted her work in an earlier post so there really isn't anything new to add. Between the four of them, they produce videos that are well-researched and highly entertaining.    


I also wanted to put this Kickstarter out there from Paul Rose (aka Mr. Biffo) of Digitiser fame. Goes without saying that I'm not as familiar with shows such as Bad Influence and Gamesmaster aside from Nostalgia Nerd's commentaries of the former and a recent stream from Kim. Thing is, I like Mr. Biffo's writing style, and tech, and crowdfunding campaigns like this. Check it out if you can!

Reading List

On my Shelf

I just finished Robert Webb's How Not to Be a Boy and Russell Brand's Recovery this week. Both of which I enjoyed in part because I liked them already for their past work.

Russell Brand in Recovery has this way of waxing spiritually while simultaneously staying grounded in his writing. I see that book being a huge help to those suffering from addictions or anyone who messed up down the line and needs guidance in moving on from that experience.

Robert Webb is very down-to-earth in How Not to Be a Boy and is an all-around good read.

I've started reading Christine Sneed's The Virginity of Famous Men and am slowly making it through the first volume of Toby Hadoke and Rob Sherman's Running Through Corridors. I also have Fire and Fury on the nightstand, but put off that one. Well, I tried reading it at the first job before my shift began then thought better of it. I'll get to that one in due time along with Offworld.

Volume seven of the Adventures with the Wife in Space takes priority over all of them though. Just got my book yesterday with some nice Kickstarter bonuses and I'm looking forward to reading it. This is also Neil & Sue Perryman we're talking about here so I know it will be a good read.

On Writing

More or less just jotting down notes for particular scenes that I'll write later. Nothing particular special.


...and that's pretty much it for now. I'll blog again sometime next week depending on how my work schedule turns out.

05 March, 2018

"Lacking Audacity and Impulse"

I know that in the past I promised to blog about this and that--from Korean dramas and what I personally thought about Donald Trump among other things. I set up schedules, which on paper would've seen me belting out at least a couple of mini-pieces a month.

None of it panned out. There are a few reasons as to why:

  • Mini-works? Didn't feel motivated or inspired by anything significant to warrant a prompt.
  • Korean Dramas? At the time, I was still in the "literary" mindset. As in, it would have been critical in all the wrong ways, not only taking the fun out of it but it would be culturally insensitive of me to do so. 

As for my personal take on President Trump, well, I had a folder of links which connected the issues that I thought were important, mostly related to government transparency, tech policy, and climate change.

I put that one off for a year and have no intention on going back to it. The best way I can explain why in brief is this: I lack both the audacity and impulses of an "Outrage Warrior".

The term in question, coined by Liana Kerzner in her YouTube videos, describes both the dogmatic left, usually referred to as Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), and the extreme (Alt) right. I would be lying if I said that if I did not once had those qualities, which is what happens when identifying a a Marxist because of how easy I found it to write papers based on the associated literary theory.

Also, it had a lot to do with trying to fit in with the schools literary clique, because the only writers I admired at the time who had some place in the literary canon were Douglas Adams, Aldous Huxley, and possibly Jon Krakauer. That, however, is a story for a different day.

Another anecdote, that has a better place in future and yet, has a lot to do with the subject at hand is this: I play video games.

Anyone who's either followed me whether it's through here, Ello, or Twitter, or is familiar with me offline already knows this to some degree. When Gamergate went down four years ago, I was very much on what they called "the right side of history", or rather I quit playing video games altogether because I worried about the guilt by association. I endorsed Leigh Alexander on the basis that her take on games made them into something akin to literature and got excited when The State of Play was a thing along with Crash Override and Boing Boing's Offworld.

So yes, the "right side of history" here placed me smack dab in the dogmatic left. At least that was the case until last year in which some decided to resort to bullying. This resulted in porn actress August Ames committing suicide similar to the shaming of Justine Sacco with those involved even justifying it. In relation to Gamergate, Laura Kate Dale got backlash for an interview with John Bain (TotalBiscuit) whom Feminist Frequency, and others, assumed was the face of the movement. This was what he had to say about Quinn in 2014, by the way, and this is TB talking about misogyny in relation to the issue:

The problem is this. Even after reading a ton of info on this, I still have no idea how much of it is true, how much of the controversy is genuine concern about the state of the industry and how much is just rabble-rousing for the sake of it. Misogyny is very real in the games industry, it's pretty disgusting, but it's also a problem that is not confined to our industry and most of what is being said about it is repetitive noise. Any right-thinking individual knows that hating women is bad, we don't need libraries worth of articles to tell us that. We know that some people that play videogames are also horrible pieces of shit. Problem is some of those people are in on this discussion, it was obvious the moment I started getting Twitter replies about it.

Aside from the TwitLonger, and this vlog, I know very little regarding TB aside from the fact that he technically wasn't the face of Gamergate. Even Crash Override could tell you that much, as schizoid as the writing is. Point is, the harassment of Lara Kate Dale was uncalled for and the moral high ground for it was null and void.

And then you have this, which speaks for itself...

I'll note that I haven't read James Damore's memo at all, but watched the panel in its entirety and enjoyed the discussion. The irony here is that they started walking out when a woman, and an evolutionary biologist at that, had the floor.

I'm trying my best not to find myself in another tangent or take this rant off the rails, but it's hard for me not to be pissed off at the jackassery on display here in the name of social justice. I'm not scot-free either since it's easy to poop out Twitter outrage whether I retweeted someone else, "liking" a tweet, or condensing my thoughts into a tweet, which is why I deleted my old tweets once the new year began. I had moments of "outrage" when discussing certain topics when I was active on Boing Boing's forums--mostly about Jeremy Clarkson and one of PewDiePie's controversies. Still love the former in The Grand Tour, don't care so much about the latter nor do I have time for him.

I think that Trump is dangerous and an all-around dumbass who is proud of his illiteracy. The Alt-Right's ascent into power is also unnerving, but if you bully or harass using the same rhetoiric for the sake of "social justice", how does that make you any different? Does shutting down the ideas of others, or more accurately, barring dialogue a wise move given the circumstances? Is a knee-jerk reaction beneficial in any way that is not cathartic and if so, how?

Me? I don't have neither the time nor patience to snap over a single tweet, memo, article, or situation without actually doing some analysis so I can actually have a solid opinion on something. It's because of this that I no longer have the audacity or impulses of an "Outrage Warrior".

Privileged? An entitled thing to say? Your right, your call.