Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 16:55 on 29-07-2009, Rami
The "urban music" genre is simply called "Black-Musik" in Germany
Well, at least they're honest about it. It's one of the things I hate about America -- things change glacially, but they get cloaked in different language really quickly. So you have millions of people out there saying "we're not racist, honest, we just [pick euphemism for fear and hatred] [pick the current PC term for minority] people". And the justifications are everywhere, because covering one's ass is the number one priority -- God forbid someone should be so mean as to accuse you of a patently "outdated" attitude like racism just for stereotyping non-whites!
at 16:44 on 29-07-2009, Andy G
The "urban music" genre is simply called "Black-Musik" in Germany. Make of that what you will.

I'm also sure that I once heard a comedian talking about how "inner city" is used in the same way in news reports.
at 14:59 on 29-07-2009, Dan H
"Urban" is a particularly weird euphemism.

It's even weirder when you realize that it's been the name of nine popes.
at 14:17 on 29-07-2009, Arthur B
I'm utterly dismayed by the concept of an "urban fiction" section in a shop, partially because I'm dismayed by the increasing use of "urban" as a synonym for "black people". It strikes me as a nasty cover-your-ass sort of word which your enterprising modern racist can use to say anything they like about minorities and then turn around and say "Oh, well, I was just talking about the problems of inner-city areas, not black people." And even when it's not used that way, how fucking patronising is it when you can't think of any better way to address a particular population than saying "Well, um... they live in cities?"
at 13:49 on 29-07-2009, Wardog
This is interesting and saddening - it's a cover controversary, really, over the fact the cover of Justine Larbalestier's Liar depicts a white girl with long, straight hair when the protagonist is actually a black girl with short hair - here's a link to her journal entry in which she talks about it.
at 12:17 on 29-07-2009, Arthur B
I find it disturbing how similar the HPA's logo (as seen in this article) is to the logo of a certain other political movement.
at 11:30 on 29-07-2009, Dan H
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I despair for any movement that takes its anti-discrimination advice from Harry Potter. "Okay guys, what we're going to do is we're going to be more polite to Black People, and that way they'll get back in the cotton fields where they belong".
at 02:49 on 29-07-2009, Guy
Hay guys! There is a new religion based on Harry Potter do you want to join it will be great!!!
at 01:01 on 29-07-2009, Arthur B
A good article about how the Republican party is being eaten alive by its lunatic fringe. Puts the video I posted the other day in context, is also hilarious.
at 16:44 on 28-07-2009, Arthur B
Yeah, people are saying rude things about him in some quarters and saying that being in the film broke him, but they're not taking the context of the interview into account: anyone will end up sounding pathetic answering a series of questions exclusively about Star Wars and how it's affected their life.

I hope he made stacks of cash out of being in the film. If his Wikipedia page is anything to go by he did at least get a gig doing voice work for various Star Wars computer games until his voice broke.
at 15:41 on 28-07-2009, Wardog
Awww, poor Jake Lloyd! Sounds like he had a terrible time of it at school and college, but he seems to have grown into a really nice, sane and sorted person. I kind of have a wee bit of a crush on him after that interview actually. His sortedness reminds of the Will Wheaton sanity effect - i.e. that people who play really hated characters seem to develop into astonishingly well-rounded human beings.
at 12:32 on 27-07-2009, Arthur B
George Lucas is already working on the issue and will be digitally altering Hayden Christensen's appearance in the Special Editions of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith specifically to make him look more like Jake Lloyd does now.
at 10:27 on 27-07-2009, Andy G
@ Arthur: He also really hasn't grown up to look even remotely like Hayden Christensen, has he?
at 09:40 on 27-07-2009, Arthur B permalink
at 23:58 on 26-07-2009, Arthur B
The mention of Citizen Kane in the title did in fact make me expect games = art bullshit, and I was quite pleased to see that it wasn't. :)

It was also nice to see the author actually pointing out how some of the camera tricks in Citizen Kane works, which is refreshing. Lots of people namedrop the thing without actually being able to coherently explain why it's so important. (Hell, I've seen it and I couldn't explain the technical aspects of it.)
at 23:33 on 26-07-2009, Wardog
Yeah, I know, I should have posted the link in a slightly more positive way. I actually thought it was a pretty decent article. (for once, none of that games = art bullshit).
at 17:50 on 26-07-2009, Arthur B
@Kyra: To be fair to the article author, he's saying that the Citizen Kane comparison is strictly on a technical level - just as Kane introduced a heap of technical innovations which are still copies to this day, there are certain games which pretty much defined their genre, and which every later game is compared to, although that said I have to take issue with some of the specific choices - why Starcraft instead of Command and Conquer or Dune in the RTS department? Why Silent Hill 2 when the first Silent Hill had all the features the writer froths about, aside from the super-expressive faces?
at 17:15 on 26-07-2009, Jamie Johnston
Ah yes, a couple of years ago a friend of mine bought what she thought was a new novel by John Grisham. Not unreasonably so, since it said in big letters at the top "THE NEW GRISHAM". Just underneath the much smaller words to the effect of "this completely unknown author could well turn out to be".

I suppose the lesson is that if you're going to judge a book by its cover, you should at least do it thoroughly.
at 14:31 on 26-07-2009, Nathalie H this one, I mean this one, or, how to sell a book nowadays.
at 14:31 on 26-07-2009, Nathalie H
(Thanks to Gina Dhawa for this one)
at 13:18 on 26-07-2009, Wardog
The Citizen Kanes of Videogames - apparently. Spurious idea but fun list.
at 22:36 on 22-07-2009, Viorica
If anyone's interested, Joss Whedon talks about Dollhouse's second season, including his thoughts on the Dolls as sex slaves.
at 21:45 on 22-07-2009, Arthur B
Sorry, I thought "Craigslist" and "NSFW" were synonyms these days. ;)
at 20:47 on 22-07-2009, Shim
I want to know what you were searching for that turned that up. On second thoughts, perhaps not. I will also try to remember in future to see what you're linking to before clicking it... I naively thought that would be an article about it, maybe something from the Daily Mail, good and rabid, you know. Luckily I wasn't reading it at work. All the blame is mine.

Rami, I've seen (approximate title) "Learn Japanese through Manga", which... didn't look too bad actually.