“Ecstasy. From the Greek Ekstasis. Meaning not what you think. Meaning not euphoria or sexual climax or even happiness. Meaning literally: a state of displacement, of being driven out of one’s senses.”—Jeffrey Eugenides (via entelechies) (via elucipher) (via sylvides)
“For the third time since sunrise you see men in gas masks sweeping the highway. It’s dusk. They are approaching the overpass where you hide in the weeds. You can only guess, but guesses are better than nothing: you calculate your chances of escaping unnoticed at 15 percent. When the nearest of them is close enough for you to hear the sound of the gravel underneath his yellow rubber boots, you know that the time has come for you to act.”—This passage from John Darnielle’s new novel is perfect. In context, it’s part of the introduction text to a video game his protagonist has designed. But it could be the lyrics to a Mountain Goats song, and it would be a good one. I can almost hear him singing “15%” in that way he injects overly specific details into his otherwise enigmatic lyrics. This is why JD is such an incredible writer: even when it’s a piece of exposition with easy to nail down, extremely precise meaning, what he produces feels mysteriously personal, like a story you once told that you’ve now forgotten. And he does it every time.
This is a culture war. The right side is winning, at great cost. At great personal costs to people like Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and even Jennifer Lawrence, and countless others who are on the frontlines of creating new worlds for women, for girls, for everyone who believes that stories matter and there are too many still untold. We are winning. We are winning because we are more resourceful, more compassionate, more culturally aware. We’re winning because we know what it’s like to fight through adversity, through shame and pain and constant reminders of our own worthlessness, and come up punching. We know we’re winning because the terrified rage of a million mouthbreathing manchild misogynists is thick as nerve gas in the air right now.
Us Social Justice Warriors – this is me, stealing that word in order to use it against my enemies- are winning the culture war by tearing up the rulebook, and there’s nothing the sad, mad little boys who hate women and queers and people of colour can do about it. Nothing, at least, that doesn’t sabotage their strategy, because they can win their game from day to day, but they’re losing the war. They can punish me for writing this, and I’m sure they will, but that will only prove my point. I’m not afraid anymore.
Every time they make an example of one of us, ten more stand up in outrage to hold her up or take her place.
We are stronger, smarter and more numerous than anyone imagined, and we are not to be fucked with.
The Personal Experience of Surveillance is a series of storytelling panel discussions across New York City that aims to build a shared understanding of the personal impact of surveillance across different kinds of everyday familiar people. For those of us who have been ensnared in moments of…
on sept 20 the silent barn hosts the next installment of “the personal experience of surveillance.” an ongoing storytelling series throughout NYC. click thru for more info + the ongoing call for participants.
“We took time out from capitalism to write these tenets. The world that we are all apart of is going so fast that we actually don’t talk to each other for long enough to actually find a level of activism. It’s difficult for us even as artists to step out of the modes of behavior that society, and especially technology, has imposed on us to sit in a circle and to spend hours, days, allowing, hoping, or in search of a collective consciousness, and that was the first time any of us had ever done that. Even as artists, we found that we’d never sat and talked to each other, not just for an hour over dinner or for two hours over an evening, but for days, searching for consensus about our perception of the world from the point of view of frontier artists in New York City. What we represent is a wall of frontier female artists from New York City, and this is our point of view. And it was a desire to find non-authorship.”—Antony
I don't think Anita Sarkeesian's videos should be treated as an extension of the PMRC mindset. She's pointing out misogynistic tropes in video games, not advocating censorship. I mean hell, she starts her first video in the series saying that even though she's pointing out problematic aspects of games, that doesn't mean those games shouldn't be played or enjoyed. I don't understand why she's getting as much flack as she is.
Anita is getting flack because she’s an ignorant outsider. I’m not even a gamer, and this is apparent to me.
Whether you agree the content Anita showcases is misogynistic, offensive or not, most of her videos function on the same, flawed premise: That the negative gender stereotypes she finds in these games are harmful to the gamers that play them. She argues that these games somehow ingrain negative gender stereotypes in the individuals that play. They hurt women via perpetuating these stereotypes, essentially.
This is pure, unsubstantiated BS. Anita would never fund an actual study with the tens of thousands of dollars she’s raised, because she knows any such study wouldn’t work in her favor. It’s easier to buy a bunch of video games, cherrypick the most offensive parts for ignorant viewers, and then keep the rest of the money for yourself and your organization, right?
You’ve gotta wake up to the truth: Anita’s videos are about as effective and as enlightening as an elementary school screening of Reefer Madness.
Media—especially popular media—reflects already-existing norms, ideas, concepts, and sentiments in a society, it doesn’t dictate them to consumers. Slasher flicks don’t make serial killers. Grand Theft Auto doesn’t increase the probability of shooting sprees. Gangsta rap doesn’t create gangs. The game Bully doesn’t create bullies. Reading 50 Shades of Grey probably doesn’t increase the likelihood of the reader getting tied up and whipped for sexual pleasure either.
If EA Games were to somehow create and sell a video game titled Mysogyny: Women Suck, the only people who would buy and enjoy such a game would be individuals who already agreed with the game’s clearly stated ideology. Anyone else buying and enjoying the game probably just dabbles in whatever fantasy the game presents during gameplay only.
The probability of this game somehow CREATING a misogynist is about as likely as your local library’s copy of Mein Kampf creating a Nazi. Any such result would be minuscule if charted in a study of any sort.
As a kid, teen, and adult, I’ve been exposed to TONS of media that has displayed women as the weaker, more submissive, and more sexually desirable gender. However, this is not something I feel is reality. Why? Strong female role models, good upbringing, friends, family, amazing wife, and plenty of real-life interactions with women. FUCK A VIDEO GAME! A healthy reality ALWAYS trumps a fantasy.
If you really want to change hearts and minds when it comes to gender roles in society, you’ve got to work on changing that society’s reality, not its media—especially media that so explicitly deals in fantasy. I know we tend to blame the media for a lot of our ills, but your real-life interactions and role models play a larger role in guiding your moral and social outlook than any music, movie, game, or book you’ll ever consume.
Anita is on the most foolish of errands, but y’all are eating it up like a hot pizza. Looking for positive gender roles in a game like Hitman is like looking for positive gender roles in any of the three Expendables films. There’s nothing applicable to real life in Hitman because the game’s not meant to guide anyone through real life. It’s a violent video game, not a dating advice show. There aren’t a whole lotta healthy social norms in the game because it’s not meant to portray any sort of normality.
NOW DON’T GET IT TWISTED: I do understand that violent, male-pandering video games persist in the video game industry. They make a lot of money, yes. And I completely acknowledge that a lot of what’s in games like Hitman, Manhunt, and Grand Theft Auto isn’t exactly, uh, healthy when it comes to the gender roles displayed. There’s a definitely a lack of female leading roles in many games, too.
However, it’s not like there aren’t alternatives here. There are plenty of non-violent, positive indie and mainstream games out there that would love more customers. And there could be MORE if we supported this sect of the industry. If Anita really cared about the future of the video game industry in relation to her cause, well, then she’d encourage all of her fans to purchase video games that work outside the negative gender stereotypes and violence of games like Hitman. It’s that simple. Supply and demand might have created Hitman, but it can just as easily create games with positive messages and gender roles, and it already has. You just have to buy them and be willing to support future releases that fit in with your taste.
But Anita is no gamer, and most of her supporters aren’t either. They’re outsiders that want to see change in a market they don’t participate in. Anita’s lack of experience is plain as day, yet, she’s lauded as some kind of expert. What if we applied the same angle to me right here:
Would you take my metal reviews seriously if I owned no metal records? Didn’t listen to metal? Had no real history with metal? Disliked metal? Constantly criticized metal with surface-level complaints like it being too loud, satanic, violent, angry, and perpetuating dangerous, overly masculine gender stereotypes? No, you wouldn’t. No one—except people equally ignorant to metal—would take me seriously. I’d be an ignorant outsider, which Anita is when it comes to gaming.
And I still stand by my PMRC comparison, too. I see similarity in her determination to find social dangers where there really are none. Yeah, Anita has nowhere near the same level of power or political influence, and she probably never will. And she probably won’t try to pull off the same censorship stunts due to the inevitable failure of trying to enforce or legislate any such censorship. It would be more beneficial to her to stay on the sidelines and collect her fundraising bucks as she highlights games she deems misogynistic. I agree America’s got a long way to go when it comes to creating social equality between the genders, but video games are nowhere near the root of the issues we need to address. They’re just an easy target for the quick to complain.
All in all, it’s same shit, different decade. People have been whining and moaning over “harmful” media for generations. And it should be no surprise that those desperately seeking to be offended lose every time. You can be on that side if you want, but just be a good sport when you take your “L”.
“What made him stick was this central thesis, crackling throughout all of his books, that your own inner life is something worth devoting time and energy to. This is true even if you are — as his characters near-uniformly seem to be — totally average, at least on the surface. These odd adventures they had were a way of making their emotions legible, and so they helped me start to name mine. Because that’s the real fantasy: What if you could revisit your old confusion, your sorrow, your trauma, and wend your way back through to its core? What if it could be made physical, the inward quest turned outward?”—
I picked up and put down The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle a lot the year after I graduated college. I couldn’t wade all the way through it, plagued by the recent loss of a good friend and navigating a bad-idea long-distance relationship.
This essay is interesting. I guess because one of the three Murakami books I’ve read is Norwegian Wood, this didn’t really ring true to me. That book had no magical realism in it whatsoever, and I though that’s what made it so powerful. So maybe his new book is like that.
This isn’t a tragic story of sexual or emotional abuse. This isn’t a story of physical harm or psychological manipulation. There are no toxic relationships, no beatings, no rapes. But these situations had a deep impact on me, and if you ever find yourself in a work…