Playpen

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 19:35 on 11-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
The guy behind games like Thief and System Shock is making a steampunk Disney game. Looks insane, but it'll probably be toned down when it's (hopefully) released.
permalink
at 18:42 on 11-08-2009, Jamie Johnston
I'm sure that sort of thing does happen, consciously or unconsciously; in this particular case, though, the new cover looks to me more like 'Fuck it, I don't care any more, just stick a black girl on it'. The original cover was dull, but at least somebody had put some measure of creative thought into it (this thought being either the genuine but extremely ill-advised idea of using a white girl to raise questions about the narrator's reliability or else the cynical and appalling idea of using a white girl to make more people buy the book and then justifying it by saying it was to raise questions about the narrator's reliability). The new one has gone beyond dull. Visually it reaches a level of uninterestingness normally found on the covers of remaindered self-help books; conceptually it's now completely devoid of any underlying idea beyond 'this is a book about a girl who looks like this'.

Bloomsbury could have used the Australian cover, which would have cost no extra money and saved everybody's pride; or they could have spent some money commissioning a new cover, with or without a picture of a person on it, which would have shown they'd taken the point and wanted to respond constructively. But they've decided to put in precisely enough time, thought, and money to change only the one very specific thing that Larbalestier complained about and nothing else. It says, 'We surrender unconditionally without in any way accepting that we were wrong'; it says, 'We'll cooperate to extent of doing precisely what you ask with a pointed lack of enthusiasm'. Which is quite childish but also understandable, especially if the original cover really was trying sincerely (though unwisely and even perhaps unconsciously racistly) to do something interesting.
permalink
at 15:56 on 11-08-2009, Gina Dhawa
I don't think you're being cynical at all, I wouldn't be surprised if there was exactly that discussion. It's not unknown, let's say. (link: TV Tropes, so, like wiki, somewhat interesting at times).
permalink
at 15:00 on 11-08-2009, Robinson L
This might not be news to anyone but me
It's news to me (since I essentially live under a rock). I notice that the girl on the new cover, while technically black, is still on the paler end of the spectrum. Maybe I'm too cynical for my own good, but I can't help wondering if that wasn't a deliberate decision on the part of the publishers so as not to make her too black.

Tim Wise has suggested that Barack Obama had a somewhat easier time winning over white voters because he wasn't as black as, say, Paul Robeson.

On the plus side, those look like some interesting books and interesting authors. Must check them out someday ...
permalink
at 12:13 on 11-08-2009, Andy G
This might not be news to anyone but me, but there was follow-up in the Guardian today about the Liar coverfail.
permalink
at 04:55 on 11-08-2009, Viorica
Ah, but that's just what the biased liberal media wants you to think! In reality, people who would benefit from free health care are moochers who expect the government to support them. Also, they're probably gay Communist Mexicans who carry swine flu.
permalink
at 00:09 on 11-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
Here's an example of what health care is like in the States.

There had better be some damn good reform soon.
permalink
at 09:50 on 10-08-2009, Arthur B
Major league troll gets outed by The Smoking Gun. This is the guy whose trolling group, amongst other things, convinced a bunch of KFC employees that they had been exposed to toxic chemicals, and the only cure was to strip naked and urinate on each other.
permalink
at 09:45 on 10-08-2009, Arthur B
Apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for stealing their joke, but if the glove fits...

This is what Republicans actually believe.

Context is here.
permalink
at 07:28 on 10-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
We'll see; frankly, I'm quite cynical about the whole thing.
permalink
at 00:37 on 10-08-2009, Arthur B
Yes, but surely it hasn't lurched to the right far enough that people aren't phased and disturbed by screaming and violence?
permalink
at 23:49 on 09-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
In the United States, what is considered moderate has slowly shifted to the right over the past few decades, so it's more about being in-between a center-left ideology and a far right ideology. A lot of these "moderate" voters aren't all that moderate.
permalink
at 19:17 on 09-08-2009, Jamie Johnston
Nifty!

(Rami's thing, not the American scariness. The scariness is scary.)
permalink
at 16:11 on 09-08-2009, Arthur B
Surely swing voters are moderate by definition, at least in the context of the political scene they're operating in?
permalink
at 07:33 on 09-08-2009, Rami
Also, Arthur is assuming that the swing voters involved are moderate and / or reasonably intelligent or informed. That doesn't tend to be the case in America.

To drop the tone back down: I just came across this. Genius!
permalink
at 04:31 on 09-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
Don't be so sure, Arthur. If and when this healthcare bill turns out to be a disaster, the Republicans and their enablers in the mainstream media will gladly say, "See? This is all the fault of Obama/Democrats/liberals." The people will be angry and frustrated and the conservatives will usher them in on their side with sweet words and faux-populist talk. Remember, "No one went bankrupt underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Even if that doesn't happen, it'll disenfranchise enough voters to keep them home during elections, so they win either way.

The biggest problem Americans face is that one of their political parties is made up almost entirely of insane, bullying, me-first bigots, while the other party is made up almost entirely of wishy-washy invertebrates that wouldn't be able to find their asses with both hands and an ass-finding guide.
permalink
at 03:05 on 09-08-2009, Arthur B
These are powerful individuals with many tools at their disposal, and they're deliberately whipping the wingnuts into a frenzy.

Which will surely hurt them in the long run, since surely the crucial independent voters who determine the results of elections will blame the wingnuts and their sponsors if they actually derail the healthcare agenda? Nothing turns off moderates worse than shouting and violence.
permalink
at 02:16 on 09-08-2009, Viorica
Speaking of crazy conservatives, Sarah Palin will have you know that socialised medicine= denying care to the old and the feeble.
permalink
at 02:06 on 09-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
Arthur: I misspoke; what I mean is that this isn't coming from an unorganized bunch of nobodies. You've got wealthy conservatives like Rick Scott and Dick Armey utilizing millions of dollars, big lobbying firms, and email campaigns to push their agenda. They form groups with names like "Freedom Works" or "Conservatives for Patients' Rights", to make themselves and their ignorant minions appear to be populists concerned about the average American citizen. These are powerful individuals with many tools at their disposal, and they're deliberately whipping the wingnuts into a frenzy.
permalink
at 00:08 on 09-08-2009, Arthur B
I know this will sound paranoid and alarmist, but what's happening right now with these corporate-funded protests and disruption of town hall debates is disturbingly close to whate happened in Nazi Germany.

Um, is there evidence that these people are actually corporate-sponsored? So far as I can tell it's fringe groups like the Birthers and the Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck fanbase.

If you remember, a while back I posted in the playpen an incident where a moderate Republican's town hall meeting was disrupted too; apparently it wasn't an isolated incident, pretty much every Republican in an elected position is being pressured to align themselves with the birth certificate conspiracy theory. This isn't aligned against any one political party so much as it's the lunatic Republican/libertarian fringe running around screaming at everyone that disagrees with them.

I wouldn't call it a Nazi Germany situation; more like a Weimar Republic situation, with Brownshirts running around disrupting Communist meetings. The big distinction is that these people are not in power, and are really really upset about not being in power.
permalink
at 22:30 on 08-08-2009, Robinson L
My sound system's still on holiday. In the second link, is "Stop the violence" in the message right after "If you don't honour the First Amendment you'll run right up against the Second"? Because if so, that would be hilarious.

Not that it isn't all very disturbing, too ...
permalink
at 19:33 on 08-08-2009, Rami
@Rude -- Sorry, where are all these things happening? Do you have a link?
permalink
at 19:24 on 08-08-2009, Rude Cyrus
I know this will sound paranoid and alarmist, but what's happening right now with these corporate-funded protests and disruption of town hall debates is disturbingly close to whate happened in Nazi Germany. Now I know everyone is rolling their eyes and making cuckoo noises, but what these people are doing is stunningly anti-democratic. Until you get a feel for the raw hatred and facist ideology they display, you have no idea.
permalink