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 03:01 on 05-12-2011, Arthur B
Was this the link you meant to post Al?

The Modern Warfare stuff is interesting but the Hulk schtick makes it really hard for me to read articles that long, to be honest. Plus I can't really approach his wider argument because I don't share his axiom of art-as-thematic. I mean, portraits are generally considered to be art, and certainly any definition of art which excluded portraits would seen wobbly, but most of the portraits we have exist because some rich fucker in history decided they wanted an image of themselves to hang on the wall and stare at their grandchildren's grandchildren. Sure, there's portraits which slip in all sorts of allegorical and thematic allusions both to the image the subject wanted to put forth and to wider themes, but there's also really top-notch portraits which are just a well-executed painting of someone from History. Hulk's definition doesn't seem able to handle this unless it's open to themes as thin as "Here is a picture of my employer", at which point "theme" becomes so thin as to be useless.

Also, any consideration of MW which ignores the multiplayer aspect literally discards the very reason the games exist in the first place. It's like analysing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel without paying attention to all the Churchy stuff.
at 00:59 on 05-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Film Crit Hulk! has returned to talk about both the COD:Modern Warfare series (and its decay) as well as the whole "does gaems be art?" argument. Naturally, he manages to encapsulate a whole lot of issues far better than I could.
at 21:48 on 03-12-2011, valse de la lune
Aaaaah why do I read creepy stories at night.

Hugs please.
at 20:49 on 03-12-2011, valse de la lune
I probably won't, I'm not that dedicated to hurting myself. Graphic gang rape scene ugh.
at 20:24 on 03-12-2011, Cammalot
Because of the whole Emiko situation I couldn't, or just didn't want to, get past the first few pages. It really upset a (Southern Chinese) friend of mine as well. And the reviews I'd read, even the ones praising, raised the same questions of squick. So it became a big "eh, why?" thing for me. Valse, I don't know that you should finish it. :/
at 15:17 on 03-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Well, as a longtime Trek fan, I freely admit to have been devoted to a franchise that is basically the Hustler of starships, so I may give Cargo a watch.

(Also, Excelsior class is best starship. If anyone tells you differently, they're wrong.)
at 06:38 on 03-12-2011, Michal
I just watched Cargo, which is a movie I remembered being very intrigued by on its announcement before it totally fell off my radar. What I've just seen has got to be the most gratuitous example of spaceship porn in existence. I mean, I haven't seen this much spaceship since 2001: A Space Odyssey , and Cargo showed me even more spaceship, the camera lovingly lingering on each gleaming metal surface and caressing the ship's engines in ways that left me frankly embarrassed.

Unfortunately, the film makers were so focused on the spaceship they skimped out on the characters. And the plot. And, well, everything else. It's a shame that a movie this gorgeous looking that does such interesting things with lighting is otherwise completely lifeless. I mean, there's some action sequences jammed in (that I think the film would have been better off without), but it was impossible to feel anything for the characters because the camera kept swinging away to show moar spaceship. I guess I could give +1 for having a non-sexualized female main character in it but we barely learn anything about her and then there's this HILARIOUS bit of space ballet at the end that had me cringing.

So yeah, not recommended unless you really like spaceships.
at 05:44 on 03-12-2011, valse de la lune
@Ibmiller: no see, I believe your professor knows plenty about racism, but there are a lot of things you will most likely know only if you are SE Asian because it's very specific. Like finding the "sordid sex trafficking in SE Asia is totally normative there amirite amirite" thing beyond fucking tiresome (because, of course, sordid human trafficking doesn't happen in the LAND OF THE FREE! THE WEST IS GLORIOUS AND PERFECT) on top of racist. I'd guess she doesn't speak Thai, either.
at 02:41 on 03-12-2011, Melissa G.
Apparently I was right about Texts from Bennett. :-(. RIP Hustla da rabbit.
at 20:51 on 02-12-2011, Ibmiller
My apologies - I should have said that my professor was fairly consistently attempting to be sensitive to racial portrayals of many types. I certainly didn't say that, and apologize for the implications.
at 19:29 on 02-12-2011, valse de la lune
It enraged me for pretty much the same reasons it enraged Jaymee Goh, yep. Plus some extras. Loooots of extras. This novel won fucking awards when on the very first page there are linguistic errors--all that could have been corrected if the smug know-it-all asshole had consulted a real Thai person! Number of Thai names in his acknowledgments? Zeeeeero. I'm angry enough that I actively want to spread the word so I can make sure that this man is remembered as "that racist asshole" the same way Orson Scott Card is remembered as a homophobic bigot.

In 1999 Bacigalupi also wrote this, so here's to his consistent racism.

This is why we can't have nice things and this is why, despite the ridiculous brouhaha of racefail '09, the genre is still not a safe and comfortable place for me to navigate.

Really? I'd heard amazing things about Bacigalupi and that work specifically from one of my professors (who's African American, female, and got her degree in the 60s/70s, so I'm surprised to hear that it's racist).

At a guess? It's because she's not SE Asian. Being of color isn't a monolith, you know.
at 18:53 on 02-12-2011, Michal permalink
at 18:41 on 02-12-2011, Michal
I never did finish The Windup Girl. There was something wrong about treatment of Thailand that I couldn't quite put my finger on, due to not being familiar with the place, but my orientalism alarm bells were ringing quite strongly. Emeko the bio-enginnered Geisha was also just a little bit unsettling.
at 18:28 on 02-12-2011, Ibmiller
Really? I'd heard amazing things about Bacigalupi and that work specifically from one of my professors (who's African American, female, and got her degree in the 60s/70s, so I'm surprised to hear that it's racist). How is it so? It looked far too long and depressing and formless for me to really be interested, but I was edging towards reading it.
at 17:37 on 02-12-2011, valse de la lune
Against better judgment I started reading The Wind-Up Girl. It's one of the most amazingly racist things that's won an SF/F award ever, and that's saying something.
at 17:03 on 02-12-2011, Melissa G.
That *would* be a devastating blow to humanity... Let me reassess the situation.
at 09:53 on 02-12-2011, Arthur B
But if it's fake that'd mean HUSTLA DA RABBIT isn't real! :(
at 08:20 on 02-12-2011, Melissa G.
Stumbled upon that via my FB friend earlier. I really, really hope it's fake. Just because I'm more comfortable with it being someone(s) with too much time on their hands than that someone is really THAT stupid/ignorant.
at 23:42 on 01-12-2011, Arthur B
We want high-falutin', classy, and intelligent banter, do we?

May I introduce you to Texts From Bennett? The titular Bennett is a wonderful, glorious human being. By which I mean "a foul-mouthed fool".
at 19:09 on 01-12-2011, Frank
For some reason, I thought ars technica's comment section would be more cerebral than the norm.
Goddamn I'm stupid.
at 18:04 on 01-12-2011, valse de la lune
Apple responds with predictable weaseling and PR-speak. Readers of tech blogs are, just as predictably, acting fucking stupid.
at 21:12 on 30-11-2011, Frank
iBoo Steve Jobs.
at 19:16 on 30-11-2011, Shimmin
Apparently Siri has some curious omissions in its abilities. Almost tempted to say it looks like a Very Specific Level of Unable to Help. Seriously, what?
at 18:00 on 30-11-2011, Robinson L
Apparently, Anne McCaffrey died last week. I'm rather sad. (And a little embarrassed it's taken me this long to notice.)