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 20:36 on 14-06-2016, Robinson L
This is all just horrific, and the reactions to it are sickening, disgusting, and sadly, entirely unsurprising.

That Reuters piece plays a little bit of the Humanizing the Killer game the media plays after a white person goes on a shooting spree, getting some neutral or ambivalent remarks from people who knew him, but after a paragraph of his former spouse describing him as violent and abusive. Also note how his (possible) political/religious affiliations are placed front and center in the article narrative (and in the title), rather than downplayed or ignored entirely.

Melanie: (I am queer, and bitter.)

With good fucking reason, clearly.


Arthur: Or the argument that random members of the public having assault rifles stashed in their closets constitute anything resembling a "well-regulated militia".

Yeah, and am I wrong that the necessity for those "well-regulated militias" referred to in the 2nd Amendment was to fight those bloodthirsty Injuns who perfidiously pre-invaded our land thousands of years before we had an inkling it even existed, and to deal with legally and lawfully owned human beings trying to run away from their chattelhood? Because if not, I can totally see that's a necessity which has stood the test of time.
at 03:59 on 14-06-2016, Melanie
What with most of the victims apparently also being Latino, it seems to add insult to injury that, of course, people want to blame "immigrants", despite the shooter having been born here.
at 09:30 on 13-06-2016, Fin
This news destroyed me. I wasn't able to function yesterday and don't feel much better today. I'm only two degrees of separation from some of the victims. And while we're mourning our dead opportunistic scum are downplaying the role homophobia played in this tragedy and capitalising on it to fuel their Islamophobia. I've already had one cishet guy yelling at me last night for having the audacity to include Muslims in my call for love and solidarity yesterday. Cishets have been dehumanising us and when someone acts on that hatred they want to decouple the bigotry from the act so they can scapegoat their pet boogeyman. It's sickening.
at 08:33 on 13-06-2016, Arthur B
Or the argument that if more people at the club had guns it wouldn't be so bad, because having more guns in that dark, noisy, confusing confined space would have made it safer.

Or the conspiracy theories that it was faked/provoked so Obama could Take Our Guns.

Or the argument that random members of the public having assault rifles stashed in their closets constitute anything resembling a "well-regulated militia".

I really want the conversation around this mass shooting to not just follow the same limp pattern that the discussion of every mass shooting for the past decade or two has followed, but I hold out little hope.
at 03:09 on 13-06-2016, Melanie
Yes, and I also can't wait for millions of christians to suddenly "care" about homophobia to the extent that they can frame it as a uniquely islamic problem and not something that christianity, specifically, has been the major driving force behind and/or the most convenient excuse for in this country.

Or for them to just ignore that it was a gay club. Either way.

Also for gun fetishists to come out of the fucking woodwork to complain about "politicizing" this, because obviously we should treat every mass shooting as a separate, unique incident that could not have been prevented in any way. Because that always happens.

(I am queer, and bitter.)
at 20:43 on 12-06-2016, Ichneumon
I'm with Ms. McGowan here. Besides being just ugly, it does have some really unfortunate sexist implications, to say the least. It's probably a product of tone-deafness more than overt misogyny, but it's just... *bad.*

On a much, much worse note:

So, people on the right here are going to spin this into more Islamophobic bullshit, but before I read the whole "this guy was apparently a Da‘esh fanboy" thing, my first thought was, "This has to be some kind of neo-Nazi thing." But ultimately, there's not much difference, is there? It's frenzied reactionary rhetoric with an added dose of religious fanaticism and barely disguised sadism. This idea that it's really about God more than it is about any elevating cause oriented around hate just makes it easier for the other potential murderers-by-proxy to pretend they're different and special and better when they're really not.

It's scary being queer, you know?
at 01:15 on 05-06-2016, Craverguy
Speaking of the latest X-Men movie, the latest brouhaha in Hollywood is over whether or not a billboard portraying Apocalypse neck lifting Mystique promotes violence against women.
at 18:30 on 01-06-2016, Robinson L
So, I enjoyed the latest X-Men movie. Felt like they did a good job establishing the villain, and the opening sequence got me really pumped. Liked what they did with Jean Grey and Cyclops, and could have done with more Jubilee. Really liked the way all the characters came together to defeat the villain in the end - it really felt like a team effort. And it was awesome to see
the Phoenix
used for good for a change. Also glad that Professor Xavier finally
restored Moira MacTaggart's memories
. The little touches with dialogue and character moments were also very effective for the most part (perhaps too effective at times - I'll come back to that). Despite a huge cast, it managed to stuff in quite a bit of (mostly excellent) character development spread out around its main players. Favorite sequence of the movie was probably Quicksilver goofing around while saving a crap load of people from an explosion and listening to Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" on his walkman.

I have many minor issues with the movie of course, but only two really big ones. The first is that it often feels unfocused: it has a hard time keeping track of all the characters and their activities in the middle part of the movie before they all come together into two distinct groups for the third act. I get the feeling several scenes were left on the cutting room floor, especially ones dealing with Jean, Scott, Kurt, and Jubilee hanging out at the mall. And while I liked the team effort feeling of the climax, it was also quite cluttered, with certain characters - namely
Jean, Magneto, and Storm
- taking an inexplicably long amount of time to step in and make their contribution. It actually reminded me a bit of the climax to Star Trek Phase II's "Blood and Fire," where characters likewise just sort of hung around uselessly for a while until the script called for them to intervene.

My one big complaint is that the film introduced its single most compelling subplot by far for the sole and express purpose of stuffing it into the fridge and delivering a much more familiar and simplistic character arc instead. Boo.
at 18:35 on 23-05-2016, Ronan Wills

Didn't know another Syberia was in development. I remember reading the post about the previous two on this very site and thinking it was a shame that the story was never continued. Any excitement around this?
at 22:06 on 22-05-2016, Arthur B
I don't think I ever read any - I actively read 2000 AD in the early 1990s, after the original run of Rogue Trooper had finished but before they started telling new stories, so I kept seeing references to the series but never got to see the character himself in action.
at 20:57 on 22-05-2016, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Out of the blue question: Arthur, what can you tell me about Rogue Trooper? I know the very basics (shirtless blue man fights a lot of dudes on futuristic hell planet), but I just want to know if it's a comedy, serious war drama, sci-fi action nonsense, or is it one of those things like Judge Dredd where it can be whatever you want it to be, within reason. I'd also like to know if that old Rogue Trooper game would be an adequate primer.

I ask all this because I recently picked up Gordon Rennie's collection of Atalia Jaegir comics, and I'd just like to know how much context I'd need going in.
at 18:23 on 15-05-2016, Ichneumon
Hehehehe. Thanks. The paranoid, creeping aspect was definitely part of what I was going for.
at 00:18 on 15-05-2016, Melanie
My impression: Weird and dreamy, makes for good background listening. The sort of tense, sparse, industrial/electronic sound some of it has makes me feel like I should be sneaking around, trying desperately to avoid being seen by guards/undead/whatever. Or, more likely, hiding in some out-of-reach place I've found, studying npcs' patrol patterns and trying to figure out if I can survive a mad dash to the exit.
at 21:36 on 14-05-2016, Ichneumon
Oh. Fair enough.

I really have no idea how to describe it. There are songs with lyrics and chords? Also synthesisers and strange noises?
at 11:33 on 14-05-2016, Arthur B
I don't think anyone can really tell if they are interested or not without either hearing the album or getting some sort of description of what it's like...
at 02:55 on 13-05-2016, Ichneumon
Speaking of which, I made an album recently. I think it's decent, or hope it's decent; certainly enough time has been spent fussing over the stupid thing. I'll link it here if anybody's interested.
at 02:48 on 13-05-2016, Ichneumon
The first part is still going to likely be a fairly dry and wordy breakdown of the different potential definitions of the phrase "video game," though, seeing as my biggest issue with the original article was the way it applied this sort of semantic absolutism to such a broad and malleable umbrella concept. I really hate prescriptivism in media analysis. But after that, yeah, it's vein-opening time.
at 08:35 on 12-05-2016, Arthur B
Also: I finished the game I alluded to earlier, and it would indeed make a great lynchpin for the article on games and art, but I have come to realise that this article, because of how important this experience was to me, is probably going to get way more personal and reflective and less point-driven and definition-oriented than I had intended. This one got to me.

I look forward to reading it even more now.
at 01:22 on 12-05-2016, Ichneumon
A trans* friend of mine once observed that Tingle's use of the "unicorns=transfolk" metaphor as a satirical device in his work managed to be infinitely more respectful than the Powerpuff Girls revival's use of the same idea in earnest. Which, given trans* representation in media as it stands, is kind of alarming.

Also: I finished the game I alluded to earlier, and it would indeed make a great lynchpin for the article on games and art, but I have come to realise that this article, because of how important this experience was to me, is probably going to get way more personal and reflective and less point-driven and definition-oriented than I had intended. This one got to me.
at 23:49 on 10-05-2016, Arthur B permalink
at 11:48 on 06-05-2016, Arthur B
Chuck Tingle's whole web presence is basically trolling - in the "amusing Internet performance art" sense, not the "harassment and hate-spewing" sense - so Vox Day bringing Tingle into the whole mess just gave him a huge opportunity to get Tingley everywhere.
at 01:35 on 06-05-2016, Adrienne
At this point I actually hope Tingle gets the short story Hugo. I mean, it wouldn't be the worst thing ever to win a Hugo award; it wouldn't even be the worst thing to win one THIS DECADE.
at 01:31 on 06-05-2016, Michal
This is beautiful.

If there's one thing out of this year's Hugos I'm enjoying, it's seeing Chuck Tingle troll the ever living fuck out of Teddy Beale.
at 21:58 on 04-05-2016, Arthur B
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that going silly is the way most people would approach Round Robins.