This is a small one, but there was a podcast when there was a game company called HB games, and Jeff said that it was "Hank Bazaria Games" and Ryan just lost it. I had just started listening to the podcast at that time, and hearing him laugh made me laugh. Whenever he lost it like that it was great.
tydigame's forum posts
There are interesting attempts to deal with genre in music, here are a couple:
Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music is a little out of date, but cool.
This paper takes a whole different approach to genre, and tries to look at how the ways that groups of people who create music form subcultures.
Both of these are examples of people trying to provide justifications for varying divisions among a set of complex cultural artifacts.
@dvaeg said:I'm pretty ambivalent about the whole concept as it seems in my casual glance to be wholly without context. Are the (admittedly legitimate) feelings of these employees found in greater number vis-a-vis any other industry? I work in healthcare, in a profession dominated by women. Many of my fellow men feel similarly in our field. The missing context appears to be: is this emblematic of an industry that is disproportionate in its genders, of the workplace in general, or is this common societal issue that is being misappropriated to the games industry?
I think the issue is that it is happening, period. It doesn't matter if it occurs more frequently in other fields. The issue raised in the comments yesterday (which, incidentally, was more than "just grow a pair of balls") was whether or not this twitter campaign would actually achieve anything, what the endgame was, so to speak, or whether or not it was just a soapbox for bitching (pardon the word). If it wasn't intended to actually solve anything (which it didn't appear that it was over the weekend), then why write a news article about it other than to incite a flame war for pageviews (which worked, by the way, as Patrick mentioned it was the most commented thread in the history of the site.)
Plenty of people (Patrick included) have noted that just "raising awareness" of the issue was enough to justify the twitter campaign which is interesting because a news article on sexism in video games/booth babes pops up about once every two weeks somewhere on the internet. It's not even a dead horse, it's been ground into a fine powder suitable for snorting, which added another layer to yesterday's comments: why are talking about this again? What did the last conversation achieve except to make everyone hate each other?
That and the fact that it appeared at least one person (Leigh Alexander) was trying to blame the backlash for previous bad behavior on "sexism" pissed a lot of people off and further derailed the conversation.
I will say that, for the record, sexism is bad. Most of these stories in these tweets are horrible and reprehensible. But the time for talk is over - we've talked this issue to death. It's time for action. I have no idea what that action is, but it's clear that "raising awareness" is doing more harm than good at this point. People are becoming numb to the issue. "Oh look, it's this article again. Fishing for pagehits, aren't we Patrick?" Quit talking, start doing.
And that's a whole hell of a lot more than I ever wanted to talk about this.
I think that continuing to talk about issues of inequality and injustice is critical to actually doing something about them. After all, if we stop talking about bigotry, it just makes it that much easier for people who aren't recipients of it to ignore it and say it doesn't exist or isn't a problem. So, while I agree that this is a perennial issue in games/games journalism, I totally disagree with the conclusion that we ought to stop talking about it. Rather, I think it means the problem still exists and being reminded of it will also remind us to take the action you're saying it's time to take.
I always look forward to this time of year, when they don't feel obligated to just give me the rundown on a bunch of games and can mess around and say goofy crap. The discussion about cleaners, Jeff's adventures in real estate, any talk of Max and life with a baby have been great.
Glad to see you're getting the hang of it. One thing that I found helpful when I was learning is to think about how to minimize moving your fingers. For instance, when you shift from a G to a C, you can finger the chord so that you don't have to change the shape of your fingers on the E and A strings. That way, you can just drag them down to the next lower string and not have to completely reorient your fingers. Little tricks like that can be really helpful.
@Brodehouse: I'm not sure it's necessarily required that ALL art/culture acts in this way. In fact, Marcuse emphasizes that "negativistic" art (art that questions or attacks the arrangements of the totalitarian capitalist organization of life) is a way out of one dimensionality. That is in fact what Phone Story is doing; it makes the suggestion that the human misery resulting from the production of the iPhone is not justified by the phone's utility.
I also think that to Marcuse's way of thinking, catharsis is probably bad of itself, since in a way it only adds another barrier to the free expression of your true humanity, by having you act yourself out in a "fake" way.
Finally, I think Marcuse probably wouldn't demand that art/culture are "designed" with an intentional desire to produce one dimensional thinking; instead, he seems to suggest that one dimensional entertainment arises as an emergent property of people dealing with the conditions of capitalism.
In any case, I don't necessarily agree with Marcuse about any of this, but this article presented a good example of Marcuse's ideas. As a sociology prof, I always need ways to tie the course material to contemporary life, and this post is a sort of exercise in that.
Apple banned Phone Story. In doing so, they attempted to keep control of the space of ideas that you can access in the Apple space; whether you believe Apple's story (that the app violated their terms because it depicted abuses of children or other violations of the terms for the App Store) or the dev's story (that the app was banned because it was critical of Apple), the truth is that Apple was putting boundaries around what the thoughts are that they want people to have while they're using Apple devices. In particular, Apple wants to set outside the realm of thought the possibility that owning an apple device has a moral or ethical cost alongside a monetary one (or that abusing children is entertaining), and to prevent people from believing that a world without Apple devices might be a better one. This is an excellent example of Herbert Marcuse’s ideas from One Dimensional Man.
A little background: Herbert Marcuse was a part of the Frankfurt School of sociology. The Frankfurt School was a group of mostly German sociologists (who ended up working out of the United States as a result of World War II) who were neo-Marxist in orientation. In essence, they weren’t satisfied with Soviet Communism, but neither were they willing to accept that the final word had been entered and that Capitalism had won the day. Instead, they believed that both arrangements were defective and destructive to the humanity of the people who participated in them. In particular, Marcuse argued that the arrangements of modern capitalist life were just as totalitarian as those of Soviet Communism, but that instead of being imposed by the threat of force or punishment, they were enforced in capitalism by people trading cheap rewards for the more profound freedoms they were giving up. In other words, people are willing to be enslaved to the capitalist machine, as long as they have (in Marcuse’s day) TV, microwave dinners and cars or (in our day) an iPhone or Xbox or porn on their PC, etc.
Marcuse argued that the reason these things are totalitarian is that they make people forget that to get those things, they have to toil at wage labor their entire lives, and that in the end, their spiritual well-being and human development aren’t helped by the possessions and cultural materials they consume. This is very similar to the scenario depicted in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World . For instance, Marcuse makes a distinction between the idea of “relaxing” which is an activity you fit in between sessions of work in order to enable to to do more work, and “resting” which is something you undertake solely for the purpose of personal solace and development. When you get drunk on Friday at Buffalo Wild Wings so you don’t have to think about work on Monday (or spend time playing video games or watching movies), Marcuse says you’re not actually resting and restoring yourself. What you’re doing is numbing yourself to the fact that you spend your whole life toiling essentially to neither rise in society nor to become a better person.
So, most of us think one dimensionally when we say, “I know that Foxconn is a terrible place to work, and people are miserable there, but if they don’t work there, I don’t get my iPhone, so really, that’s just how the world is and I might as well take advantage of the fact that I’m well off enough to buy the iPhone.” This is one dimensional, Marcuse argues, because at the same time as we acknowledge that things are flawed (e.g. the people at Foxconn are miserable) we cut off the possibility of acknowledging that there is another arrangement possible (e.g. we say “but that’s just the way things are”).
We, Marcuse argues, have difficulty adding another dimension to our thinking, the dimension of which “negates” the way things are now. In other words, we never consider that a world might exist in which the people at Foxconn aren’t miserable, or in which people might be happy in general, rather than some people being “happy” by buying things at the expense of others’ misery.
Marcuse says, then, that this is one dimensional thinking. He says that all of the parts of a capitalist totalitarian economy are built to prevent people from questioning the rightness of the capitalist totalitarian nature of their world. Phone Story is an excellent example of something not one dimensional, because it uses the iPhone to make the argument that iPhones are bad; it questions the goodness of the technological and capitalist world.