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 14:37 on 31-07-2009, Guy
Those twilight tattoos make me half-want to go and get quotations from something really bad tattooed forever on my skin, like maybe "Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate".
at 15:02 on 30-07-2009, Robinson L
Did anybody hear about EA's lastest spectacular marketingfail 'Sin to Win'
Yeah, I followed the link in Viorica's "Not So Lovely."

... Right, because the first thing I think when I see the injunction "Commit an act of lust" is "take my picture with someone." I mean, the last time I was out on a date, I totally ... yeah. (Actually, the last time I was out on a date, taking our picture together probably would've been racy compared to the rest of the evening.) Hmm, considering most of the group pictures of me out there are probably with one or more of my sisters ... oh God, does anybody know the contact information of a really good shrink?

And of course, well all know about the Catholic Church's draconian zero-tolerance policy toward cameras for just this very reason. I hear they're considering a ban on all forms of tourism, because we all know what that can lead to ...

Really, EA, as if those women didn't get too much crap from some people already.

Twilight tatoos?


Excuse me, I have to go gouge out my eyeballs now.
at 13:57 on 30-07-2009, Wardog permalink
at 12:04 on 30-07-2009, Arthur B
The main thing which got to me about Doug Baley's article is that comments on news websites are so trivially easy to ignore. I just had to check because I couldn't for the life of me remember whether the Independent article about David Shayler that I linked to a few posts down had a comments section or not (it does), because I completely ignored it the first time I read the article. They're one of those things that sooner or later your brain trains itself to not even perceive unless you make the effort to look for it, a bit like banner adverts.
at 11:28 on 30-07-2009, Dan H
To be fair to Grumpy Media Consultant Doug Baley, he does *sort of* have a point. There's a rebuttal here which is significantly more annoying than the original article (it even cites that sodding Time Magazine Person of the Year thing for fuck's sake).

The thing is that journalists *are* better qualified to comment on the news than other people. Because it's their fucking *job*. Most comments on news websites are, in fact, some combination of asinine, reactionary, and just plain wrong.

Ironically I think Mr Baley and his irate detractor both make the same mistake, which is thinking that comments forms are supposed to be serious journalism, when they're actually a lot more like the letters page of a sunday magazine.
at 10:38 on 30-07-2009, Wardog
Oooh! There's an article on steampunk in the New York Times, which only reinforces my conviction that it's a totally empty aesthetic with nothing going for it beyond a fleeting "this is kinda cool."
at 10:23 on 30-07-2009, Arthur B
Like commenting on articles? Fuck you, says grumpy media consultant.
at 10:21 on 30-07-2009, Arthur B
British readers might remember David Shayler, the former MI5 employee who got in trouble for blowing the whistle about a mixture of demonstrable incompetence, vaguely provable shiftiness, and entirely unprovable conspiracy theories in the UK intelligence services. (The wikipedia page for him has a reasonably balanced writeup of his allegations).

Some of you might even remember how he declared himself the Messiah and the reincarnation of King Arthur and some Jewish revolutionary who totally wasn't Jesus but had an extremely similar life to Jesus.

Anyway, his descent into the fringe continues. The Daily Mail and Telegraph, true to form, have made a big deal about the cross-dressing, but the Independent article makes it clear that that's far and away the most mainstream and understandable thing he's done of late.

(I saw him speak at the Oxford Union some years back, before the jail sentence and the Messiah complex and Dolores. His speaking style reminded me of David Icke's even then.)
at 10:20 on 30-07-2009, Wardog
Sorry for the spill of random in the playpen but I am bored. Dude Watchin' With the Brontes. What's not to love about a comic called Hark, a vagrant!
at 10:18 on 30-07-2009, Wardog
This is entirely pointless, but there's a tabletop RPG available based on Commedia dell’Arte. It's probably pretentious and terrible but it has the best name ever: The Penguin Harlequinade! (sadly no penguins in the actual game - how tragic is that?!)
at 10:14 on 30-07-2009, Wardog
Did anybody here about EA's lastest spectacular marketingfail 'Sin to Win' - there's an article over at Ars Technica covering the fail, which comicon attendees are invited to sexual harrass the boothe babes *cough* costumed reps *cough*. Of course, EA have apologised. My favourite line is "by commmit acts of lust" we meant "take photos with." And by "hit you in the face.." I meant...
at 03:46 on 30-07-2009, Rami
According to some casual browsing I've just done, the actual radiation causing the keratosis is usually years in the past, and once it's been treated (apparently one treats it much like one does a wart) you just need to have your doctor look at it every year or so to make sure it's fine. So, <crosses fingers> you should be fine.
at 01:02 on 30-07-2009, Rude Cyrus
I'm fine, although I'm not sure what caused it -- I spend very little time in the sun. More likely it's a side effect of radiotherapy I recieved as a child. It's just something I should keep an eye out for in the future.
at 00:03 on 30-07-2009, Wardog
Um, gosh - for a long moment I thought that was an especially oblique comment on the white-washing of YA cover art.

Are you okay?
at 22:45 on 29-07-2009, Rami
Jezus. Um. I don't know what to say to that. Wiki says they're benign, though?
at 22:36 on 29-07-2009, Rude Cyrus
So I had what I thought was a wart removed from my belly, only for tests to come back and confirm that it was an actinic keratosis.

So, uh, yeah.
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".