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 22:17 on 06-07-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Well, the question of the identity of gaming's Citizen Kane has been settled by no less an authority than the man himself.
at 21:13 on 06-07-2013, Michal permalink
at 17:40 on 06-07-2013, Arthur B
I always liked Frasier but Laser Frasier somehow makes it even better.
at 20:30 on 05-07-2013, Robinson L
I still haven't seen Much Ado, but I did just have a conversation with my younger sisters, one of whom has apparently become a Shakespeare nut over the past 3-4 months, and she said I absolutely must see the Whedon version.

It sounds like they actually liked this one significantly more than Branagh's - I think the biggest reason given was that she felt Whedon was much more faithful to one of the characters; Claudio, I believe.
at 19:12 on 02-07-2013, Alice
@Cheriola: I can't say I've come across those terms in any feminist spaces, but then again I also haven't been reading anything where sex work has been the topic of discussion lately. So I'm basically as confused as you are, sorry!

Re: that convoluted paragraph of Jacob Clifton you quoted, I think he's trying to say "if I go out of my way to look nice purely so as to boost my self-esteem, you'd damn well better notice/pay attention/appreciate it", but who knows. He'd already lost me at "[safely] revel in our appeal as objects", so I wasn't inclined to spend much energy parsing the rest of the quote.
at 18:30 on 02-07-2013, Robinson L
I'm not familiar with that particular reviewer, but my sense of "That Guy With the Glasses" contributors in general is that they tend to be well meaning but a bit clueless, and I'll occasionally run into something of theirs which I consider sexist/racist/heterosexist/or something just out of convention.

I've also noticed that different people in different contexts have very different standards for what counts as acceptable discourse. Many of the feminists in my life whom I regard the most highly use and happily tolerate in others gendered language which I wouldn't dream of engaging in. So I guess people have very different standards of how important politically correct language is.

... Basically, I think what I'm trying to say here is that I'm as confused as you are.

"I do just think that when we are given the opportunity to safely revel in our appeal as objects without having to pay any consequences -- to put gas in the tank of self-esteem, for free -- it's kind of your duty to follow up. It's like, everybody knows when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it, that pisses God off. But I think in certain circumstances, boners are the same way."

I can't even work out what that's supposed to mean, but just from the way the argument is made I'm feeling pretty leery.
at 14:13 on 02-07-2013, Arthur B
The Jacob Clifton stuff just looks crass, I agree.

Couldn't watch more than three seconds of the vampire reviewer video because I have a generalised dislike of/allergy to review sites where the reviewers play wacky whimsical characters!!! so I can't help there, sorry. :(
at 14:07 on 02-07-2013, Cheriola
@Arthur: No, it wasn't about discussing tropes, it was used as a label for the profession. One recent example was this review of "Byzanthium". (The over the top goth shtick is a style thing that most of the reviewers on that site employ. They review while 'in character' as someone not identical to the actual reviewer person. Doesn't explain the choice of words in this case, though.)

The other is the various "True Blood" and "Defiance" episode recaps by Jacob Clifton on TV Without Pity. Such as in this one, where he insists on calling the brothel in the show a "whorehouse", which sticks out especially because the show - while clearly being about male wishfullfilment with regards to the prostitute characters - goes out of its way to make the main prostitute/madame empowered as hell and no sympathetic character ever calls her a slur (unlike in Firefly). (In fact, I can't remember any character other than the angry wife of one client, and for a brief moment her sister (who is the mayor, and usually totally supportive), saying anything critical about the profession in and of itself. This is supposed to take place after a huge social upheaval, after all, and the adult human characters would have grown up in the middle of these discussions right now.) In "True Blood" recaps, he usually calls all characters enganged even tangentially in sex work "hooker". And while one of these characters does use the term as an endearment himself (because it's African American and/or gay slang?), it still feels like deliberately disparaging to me when he's talking about walk-in extras. (The extra in that scene was basically hiring herself out as "meals on wheels" for vampires, but dressed up like a sex worker and with the clear implication that sex could be had for some extra cash, too. But she didn't call herself a "whore" or a "hooker", that's just the recapper putting supposedly funny words in her mouth.)

Though I've just read his latest "True Blood" opus, which also involved the words "retard", "bitches" and "QUILTBAG mess", as well as justifying female fanservice objectification with "I do just think that when we are given the opportunity to safely revel in our appeal as objects without having to pay any consequences -- to put gas in the tank of self-esteem, for free -- it's kind of your duty to follow up. It's like, everybody knows when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it, that pisses God off. But I think in certain circumstances, boners are the same way."
So by now I've decided that this guy, for all his protestations of having grown up in a feminist household and being queer and supposedly having liberal values, is really just an entitled hypocrite who has a couple of pet issues that touch him personally, but who wouldn't recognise intersectionality if it bit him in the ass.

That still leaves me confused with the first example, though.
at 12:27 on 02-07-2013, Arthur B
@Cheriola: Can I see some context for the particular examples you have in mind? I can see using "whore" or "hooker" in a review if it's in the context of something like "(Author) portrays all women as being either perfect, unattainable angels or depraved, thrill-seeking whores, with a select few characters oscillating between those two poles". I wouldn't say it's offensive there because you're not using the word in reference to a real live human being, you're describing fictional characters as being constructed according to a nasty, misogynistic blueprint, or saying that the author seems to be viewing the characters through a Madonna/whore sort of lens.

On the other hand, I'm a dude so I don't make the rules on this.
at 11:00 on 02-07-2013, Robinson L
@Cheriola: Interesting question. I guess I'm not particularly in touch with current feminist thinking on this topic, so mine is hardly an informed opinion. (For whatever it's worth, I also tend to be more sensitive about politically correct language than most of my peers.) That established, my immediate mental reaction would be to classify the word "whore" as a slur, whereas I tend to think of the word "hooker" as a more neutral term. Again, though, that's just my visceral take and I could be completely off.

@Ibmiller: Nah, haven't seen it yet, and unless one of my friends organizes collective theater trip (unlikely) I probably won't until it hits DVD.

@Shimmin: That sucks. Sorry to hear about it. Hope things clear up with the new monitor.
at 08:12 on 02-07-2013, Shim
Curses. Attempts to finish The Witcher, and thus produce an article, have been further delayed by my monitor frying itself last night. The computer itself may or may not be okay, but until I get a new monitor, it's hard to say.
at 05:58 on 02-07-2013, Bookwyrm
"There is indeed a book entitled Ass Goblins of Auschwitz."
Huh. I guess I'll file that under:
"Words I never thought I'd see in the same sentence"
at 21:28 on 01-07-2013, Michal
Today in "Things Michal Learned Today He Wished He Didn't":

There is indeed a book entitled Ass Goblins of Auschwitz.

at 02:34 on 01-07-2013, Ibmiller
So, just saw Much Ado About Nothing last night, and while it was fun and charming, I missed the Branagh version with pretty much every line. Anyone else catch it yet?
at 23:06 on 30-06-2013, Cheriola
Gals, a lot of you seem closer to the beat when it comes to feminist discourse than me, so I have a little question: Have the words "whore" and "hooker" been reclaimed recently while I wasn't looking? Lately I've been stumbling across those terms to describe prostitute characters in quite a number of reviews, done by people who call themselves feminists (both male and female). And I'm confused. I thought those were considered very obvious slurs? I mean, yeah, the same people also use the word "lame" in the same way people would have used "gay" to describe something as bad/boring, but I get the feeling that's just because most people don't think about the original meaning of the word until someone points it out to them. But I thought it was long agreed upon that you don't use terms originally intended to insult or morally judge prostitutes, ever, just like you don't use the n-word if you're white. I wince every time I read something like that, but maybe that's my language barrier at work?
at 22:19 on 26-06-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Indie survival-horror games are a dime a dozen these days (seriously, I think there's a deal on them at Desura right now), but Routine, a charming little exercise in science-fiction nostalgia that's supposed to come out at some point, has piqued my interest with their new alpha gameplay trailer.

Gaze in awe at the futuristic marvels of the year 2002! Moon colonies! Personal robots! Desktop computers with 64 megabytes of RAM!
at 19:57 on 26-06-2013, Melanie
Pretty sure that arranging your apartment like this is how you summon Cthulhu.

(Need javascript enabled. If you click it, there's another shot of that scene from a slightly different angle, which makes sense of the... thing.)
at 17:03 on 26-06-2013, Arthur B
Oh, Our Valued Customers, sometimes you are so wise.
at 21:26 on 25-06-2013, Melanie

30-40 hours of wakefullness

*screaming internally* Yeah, that's horrifying. I think the only times I've been up that long have involved external factors--essay to write, too hot/noisy to sleep (#gross sobbing #simmering in misery and rage), etc., as opposed to just scumbag hypothalamus.

No idea about the music video, although it sounds interestingly like a softer take on "The Masque of the Red Death".
at 20:45 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Sorry. ;P

I just meant "from the time when MTV was still showing music videos", which seems a different pop cultural era.
at 20:31 on 25-06-2013, Arthur B
an old music video
Oh, cool, I love old music videos, let me put my thinking cap o-

mid to late 1990s, or maybe very early 2000s.
at 20:23 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Could someone help jog my memory, please? I have this image in my head of an old music video featuring a Noah's Arc scenario with giant metal ship in a harbor being borded by the rich and famous (including the Queen and her corgies), while the masses who will be left behind to drown look on with resentment as they are held back by the military, all in the pouring rain. Then, inside the ship, the privileged find that they'll not get the luxury treatment they packed for, but instead are handed a coal shovel. (Literally or figuratively, I can't remember.)
But I can't for the life of me remember which song or band that video belonged to, so I can't google it. It probably would have been on the air in the mid to late 1990s, or maybe very early 2000s.

Anyone got an idea?
at 19:36 on 25-06-2013, Cheriola
Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I call it "sleepless high" - the state where after a certain point of tiredness, I can't fall asleep despite being physically exhausted to the point of not being able to think straight. This usually ends in a complete collapse after 30-40 hours of wakefullness, followed by up to 20 hours of sleeping like the dead. Sometimes I can induce it sooner with chemical help, so that I might time waking up somewhere close to morning. But most of the time, tranquilisers and sleeping pills only work if I take an overdose so high I get weird sensory effects. And that's too dangerous on the long run.
at 19:06 on 25-06-2013, Melanie
Ha, now if only I could actually count on that working regularly! The more usual pattern is that getting too little sleep does the opposite to me. I.e., it makes me tired all day... until evening, when I start waking up and starting to feel okay. At that point, I can either stay up late again, or I can go to bed and... stay up late while lying in the dark.

It gets to be sort of self-perpetrating, so it's pretty magical and noteworthy when I actually manage to (always temporarily) get into a more diurnal rhythm without feeling horrible all day.