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 19:50 on 31-01-2012, Dan H

Yeah, the fact that it's a dude telling a woman why she can't be a "real" geek pretty much killed any chance I ever had of identifying or agreeing with that bit of virtual rag.

Girls can't be real geeks, because girls don't understand what it's like to be made to feel like an outsider. Because nothing any human being can experience is worse than not getting laid in high school.
at 19:46 on 31-01-2012, Furare
Yeah, the fact that it's a dude telling a woman why she can't be a "real" geek pretty much killed any chance I ever had of identifying or agreeing with that bit of virtual rag.

That and the fact that I spent about a minute trying to clean a bit of dirt off my laptop screen only to realise it was on the "paper".
at 19:37 on 31-01-2012, Dan H

Oh, those lonely Friday nights of... doing shit I was interested in and enjoyed. What torture! What torment!

But doing things you enjoyed and were interested in didn't make you popular! Nobody has ever suffered worse!
at 19:31 on 31-01-2012, Arthur B
I shall summarise:

Person Who Is A Lady: I am a member of this clubhouse; for instance, I possess far more copies of a particular comic than any "casual" fan would ever be expected to own (if they own individual copies at all rather than just buying trade paperbacks), which is something a member of this clubhouse might do.

Person Who Is An Asshole: You are not allowed into my clubhouse.

PWIAA: Nobody is allowed into my clubhouse unless they have already been in my clubhouse as long as I have.

PWIAA: That you desire entry to my clubhouse suggests that you have no personality or soul of your own.

PWIAA: You are only doing this to give erections to people who are assholes. Good job I am not an asshole.

PWIAA: To get back on the subject, only people who were bullied in school and stayed in on Friday night get to be in my clubhouse, because popularity in school defines your interests and hobbies. If I had been popular in school there is no way in hell I would be in this clubhouse.

PWIAA: In conclusion, you are not allowed in my clubhouse because my clubhouse is now popular and you fakey popular people are trying to get inside because of that, whereas in the past it was unpopular and was full of unpopular people. The clubhouse became popular where once it was unpopular because of the suffering of the unpopular people inside it, not because it was adopted by people who are popular.

PWIAA: Anyone who disagrees with my flawless definition of what my clubhouse is was never in my clubhouse in the first place and therefore they cannot define it.

PWIAL: Setup for boob joke.

PWIAA: Boob joke.
at 19:10 on 31-01-2012, valse de la lune
Even xkcd isn't that oblivious, I don't think. Didn't read the whole thing by the way, very tl;dr.
at 19:04 on 31-01-2012, Michal
I'm surprised that wasn't taken from xkcd.
at 18:59 on 31-01-2012, Arthur B
Oh, those lonely Friday nights of... doing shit I was interested in and enjoyed. What torture! What torment!
at 18:40 on 31-01-2012, Dan H
But geeks are so margainalised and oppressed! That's why they "deserve" the "success" they are "suddenly" getting.
at 17:46 on 31-01-2012, Arthur B
I found a new shibboleth. Anyone who seriously agrees with this comic is almost guaranteed to be part of the reason geek culture is appalling.
at 16:17 on 31-01-2012, Andy G
I loved the snide remark after Jonathan Franzen's comments: "We prefer reading our favorite texts on clay tablets, just as Hammurabi intended"
at 12:46 on 31-01-2012, Arthur B
Ümläüẗs übër ällës!
at 11:20 on 31-01-2012, valse de la lune
Andy: the solution seems simple to me, we all write our names with lots of diacritics. Hello, my new friend Ándï!
at 01:53 on 31-01-2012, Michal
I started The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya and it's occurred to me that Tolstaya has inadvertently achieved what all the New Weird authors in the west have tried to achieve but haven't really (that is, being weird and New Wave and all literary at the same time). No insect-people, however.

At least, not yet.
at 00:28 on 31-01-2012, Andy G
The apostrophe must die. A post by someone with personal reasons to hate the apostrophe.
at 18:30 on 30-01-2012, Robinson L
Arthur: I think once MPs start doing something it's officially No Longer Cool.

I'll go along with that. Although I suppose it's possible for MPs to be cool, too. Theoretically.

In other news, here's another great article on feminism and class (with a little about race) from Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, published in the US lefty magazing In These Times.

Browsing their site for the online copy of the article, I also found a short but insightful piece on the narrow definition of racism ascribed to by most Americans, using Ron Paul as a case study.
at 21:22 on 29-01-2012, Arthur B
Is Paul McCartney's new release a concept album about rimming? I ask because that is a title you would give to a concept album about rimming.
at 19:07 on 27-01-2012, Wardog
@Finbarr - ditto!!!
at 17:26 on 27-01-2012, Arthur B
For those who were interested in the news about 5th Edition D&D: the first public playtests have started and there's intriguing feedback coming back. Trollsmyth has collated the most useful links.
at 12:52 on 27-01-2012, Fin
i'm not sure what it says about me that watching that made me the happiest i've been in the last few days. :D
at 12:36 on 27-01-2012, Wardog
OMG, Mario 8 Bit Opera totally made my day! :D
at 09:53 on 27-01-2012, Arthur B
Polish parliamentarians disguise themselves as a man known for trying to blow up parliaments.

Can we declare the whole Anonymous thing to be over now? I think once MPs start doing something it's officially No Longer Cool.
at 03:25 on 27-01-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Hey, Penguin Books! If you're ever thinking of reprinting some J. G. Ballard collections or something, you should give this guy a ring to do the covers.
at 03:22 on 27-01-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I don't know how to feel about this.

So, I'm watching a Let's Play of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, a game concerning the noted rapper's efforts to reclaim a bejeweled skull in an unnamed Middle Eastern nation (which a very evil part of me believes is actually Iraq two years from now), and I had reached the part near the end when Mr. Fiddy takes to the skies in a helicopter and uses a minigun to strafe two or three refugee settlements/terrorist drug labs. Having the commentators use the Top Gun soundtrack to score the sequence was quite funny, if an expected joke. However, what really blew me away was what came after. Regarding some questions on the original thread regarding the game's treatment of women (this was an LP from the Something Awful community, by the way), one of the commentators proceeded to open a copy of Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton's American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass and quoted, at length, several passages discussing the coarsening of relations between the sexes in the black ghetto from the 1980s onwards, all while Fifty Cent is murdering hundreds of people with a helicopter.

It was hilarious. It was informative. And it was very sad. I have never experienced anything quite like this before.

If any of you are at all curious, the sequence in question is excerpted in this video from the 10:00 mark onwards. The whole game can be watched here, and it's actually pretty damn fun to watch, as if it's a glimpse into Fifty Cent's most egomanically ludicrous fantasies. And yes, Massey and Denton lay out the game's gender politics to a tee.