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 06:58 on 22-11-2011, valse de la lune
I believe they get a few details wrong (not least of which is "Harry Potter is the perfect antidote to Twilight..."), but the vast majority are dead on.


I don't get this especially because Harry Potter isn't exactly feminist. I know the salivating fanmass around it will hold up Rowling as the goddess of everything--anti-racist, LGBT-friendly, feminist--but HP's gender politics are nothing to be lauded. Ginny Weasley being cited as a wonderful ~strong female character~ is just lol.
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at 06:41 on 22-11-2011, TryCatcher
Star Wars of Warcraft being the suck was coming from a mile away. They wouldn't have been so hard-ass on the NDA if they weren't polishing a turd. Also, the few gameplay videos revealed very mediocre gameplay.

My prediction: People will buy it, burn trough the storyline, then dump it. All of the above in 2 months or so.

BTW, the above will mean the death of exclusively suscription-based games. I see WoW changing to a Freemium model on their next expansion, or at least on their .1 version.
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at 06:24 on 22-11-2011, Ibmiller
Thanks for the link, Alasdair! Thoughtful (probably deliberately so, given the ironic nature of the persona). I believe they get a few details wrong (not least of which is "Harry Potter is the perfect antidote to Twilight..."), but the vast majority are dead on.

And I say that as someone who still enjoys the series.

Also, the saga of the dead companion is both hilarious and touching. Almost makes me wish I were playing that game. Then I remember the enormous arthropods, and am just fine not playing.

Though I am incredibly sad (but also completely unsurprised) to hear that The Old Republic, having finally lifted the Non-Disclosure Agreement, is getting very few non-infatuated positive reviews.
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at 05:29 on 22-11-2011, TryCatcher
This:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ckBlasgNSzg/SxB2-MwOv5I/AAAAAAAAQGU/hvBc-jrxKcU/s400/Twilight+Moms.jpg

Absolutely killed my capacity to feel sympathy for Twilight fans. They deserve all the criticism that they get.

PS: They have a website that I won't link because is puke-worthy.
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at 03:27 on 22-11-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I know you guys have probably read/written enough critiques of Twilight to fill a zeppelin hangar, but this recent offering from The Incredible Hulk is still worth a read. He breaks down the structural problems with the books, explains why and how they are problems, and yet he maintains sympathy for Stephanie Meyer and the fans of the books/films. Impressive and informative.
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at 21:18 on 21-11-2011, Arthur B
Gods. Words cannot express how much I love John Walker. This might just be the funniest, saddest thing I've ever read. I honestly ... it's sublime.

I find it especially fun because I'm using Lydia as my companion in the game and am increasingly disinclined to use anyone else. I mean, I can befriend some random stranger to serve me... or I can call on the service of a warrior who owes fealty to me. In the literal "has specifically sworn loyalty to me as part of our respective places in the feudal system under our Jarl". How cool is that?

Of course, I do also have in my armoury a nasty dwarven axe that steals souls and puts them in soul gems when you kill things with it. So there's a non-zero chance of shit going all Elric with a single misaimed swing...
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at 19:32 on 21-11-2011, valse de la lune
I do so adore RPS. The best gaming site anywhere, bar none.
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at 18:46 on 21-11-2011, Wardog
Gods. Words cannot express how much I love John Walker. This might just be the funniest, saddest thing I've ever read. I honestly ... it's sublime.
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at 15:43 on 21-11-2011, Andy G
Well, the Eurozone isn't the same as the EU. Mind you, the EU also isn't the same as the Council of Europe which confers lots of the benefits (like Human Rights law) that get attributed to the EU. There's a very useful diagram on Wikipedia.
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at 15:32 on 21-11-2011, TryCatcher
The EU is a nice idea, but it kinda falls apart in practice. Not because racial tensions, but because of something more simple: The Economy. Specifically the Euro.

With currency being on countries, people can move to the places where they are jobs and the goverment can inflate the currency to ride the tough times (only works as a patchup measure, but is there). With the Euro, none of the above is possible, so the only option left is to put austerity measures. And despite what Hillary Clinton says, the protests are nicely flared up becuase people DO NOT like that.

So, the IMF and the bankers, whose policy is "give us the money or we break your thumbs", uses their bought political weight and they put in charge people ruthless enough to enforce their policy. The current case is Greece, that has Fascists (real Fascists, as in Nazi supporters) in charge now:

http://exiledonline.com/austerity-fascism-in-greece-the-real-1-doctrine/
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at 14:30 on 21-11-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
I think that the EU is a great idea. At least in the sense that it tries to connect people, facilitates theirm movement around and in general tries to lessen conflict between different people and nations. But it is still pretty clear and I would suppose glaringly obvious for someone outside Europe, that the tensions and differences and old hatreds flare up too easily, when any sort of troubles arise or there are frictions between people and as usual, instinct and fear overrides reason and fairness. Ethnicity seems on many occasions to be such a political thing and the demarcations people draw between each other seem very arbitrary and tragic. And the contemporary anti-immigration movement hasn't certainly helped. Funnily enough, in Finland at least, Canada is seen as the nice country, where the excesses of the US are tempered and immigration has been a success. But I guess in reality, all places have their troubles.
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at 14:25 on 21-11-2011, Axiomatic
err...continued.

Because I come from Slovenia and we really don't have much in the way of any sort of racial minority.

It's the kind of situation where you can say "Lol, nobody here is racist!" because 99% of the country never has to interact with any non-Slovenians. Except Croats and Serbs, maybe, who look pretty much like Slovenians, and whose languages are often easier to understand than some dialects of Slovenian.

You know what I mean? A kind of homogeny that lets you pretend nobody is a bigot because all the strange people are keeping away on their own.
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at 14:21 on 21-11-2011, Axiomatic
Yay, team Threatening Slav, represent!

On a serious note, I think I'm kinda handicapped in any and all discussions of race relation, because I come from
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at 14:21 on 21-11-2011, Axiomatic
Yay, team Threatening Slav, represent!

On a serious note, I think I'm kinda handicapped in any and all discussions of race relation, because I come from
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at 01:07 on 21-11-2011, Michal
(In regards to my previous comment, I've realized that even in Canada, my overwhelmingly Slavic looks apparently make me seem vaguely threatening upon first contact. This has been remarked upon to the point of annoyance.)
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at 01:07 on 21-11-2011, Michal
(In regards to my previous comment, I've realized that even in Canada, my overwhelmingly Slavic looks apparently make me seem vaguely threatening upon first contact. This has been remarked upon to the point of annoyance.)
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at 00:43 on 21-11-2011, Sunnyskywalker
Wasn't part of the Katniss thing geographical? (Disclaimer: haven't read the books yet.) I seem to remember arguments that since her District is roughly in what's Appalachia today, and there's a history of white/black/Native American racial mixing in that region, then regardless how she identifies or what she knows about her distant ancestors, she could have mixed ancestry (and thus could be played by a mixed-race actress). And there was something about the "Hanging Tree" song being probably passed down from the original hanging tree days, when the couple on the tree probably was black, or an interracial couple. (And there were a few other things... Katniss being a plant name, which supposedly is common for Native peoples in the region? I don't know the reality, just going off what I heard.) All suggestive, but not conclusive.

And it doesn't sound like what Collins intended, but it also doesn't sound like the casting people and Collins ever had a sit-down where they decided that only white girls could play Katniss, so excluding Katniss-looking actresses who are not (or not entirely) white sounds like they're going by the industry "fact" that white leads are just so much better and casting anyone else would make it "about" race. Which is a related but separate issue from what Katniss was intended to be or can be read as.
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at 00:38 on 21-11-2011, Sister Magpie
Katniss wouldn't have to have ever seen an olive to use the term olive-skinned. I didn't realize the two words were even related for most of my life. I also thought....wait, she's green?
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at 23:31 on 20-11-2011, Frank
I get confused whenever people describe skin as olive, because I always think, "green?"

I found it odd in the text only because I didn't see where Katniss would have the background to know what an olive was. Being described as the color of food is weird. Stephanie Meyers describes Jacob's tribe as being russet colored. I know russet is a color, but when someone says 'russet' I think 'potato'. So maybe it's my interpretation and not Meyers description.
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at 22:14 on 20-11-2011, Cammalot
Found the article, which is actually more tangential to the discussion of literature than I'd remembered. Interesting, though. He speaks of the spurious nature of genetic race (rampant mixing for two millennia, similar features pop up amongst different populations), which we know, but also mentions that the response of the powerful to the mixing of categories has generally been to invent new categories. It's not who's in, but who's out that defines the most powerful category, and the necessity of keeping someone out. Yeah, I'm not quite feeling energetic enough to bring that back around to "The Hunger Games" properly. I think it would have been interesting to see it explored, how those categories got narrowed and redefined in Collins's far-future world.
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at 21:57 on 20-11-2011, Axiomatic
I get confused whenever people describe skin as olive, because I always think, "green?"
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at 21:45 on 20-11-2011, Michal
(That said there is a fairly scary anti-Eastern European streak in the right-wing media here and lots of othering of people from anywhere east of Germany. Which makes me wonder whether being partners in the EU with most of the western nations has helped us think of them as siblings, and in turn makes me hope that now that much of the East has joined the club things will get better on that score.)

Speaking from my own experience travelling about Europe: I doubt it. My bushy-eyebrowed friends and I have too much of a villainous look about us. We also eat strange things like pierogi. (And remember: according to just about every right-wing European politician, multiculturalism has failed in -insert western European country here-. Apparently.)
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at 21:38 on 20-11-2011, Sister Magpie
Thank you for clarifying, Sister Magpie.
Even though Collins didn't intend to write a non-white character, the interpretation is in the text. Do you know if she validated the reading of Katniss while expressing her intent as a writer?
Thanks again.


I'm not sure. From what I vaguely remember she didn't invalidate it. I think she said that since the books took place in the future there would have been a lot of mixing anyway so that racial divisions might not be the same as now. I remember having the impression of her saying that she hadn't thought of it or intended it that way rather than her saying that she considered it wrong to see it that way.

So it seems like it doesn't really go against anything to suggest that maybe the people who became associated with the Seam owed heir olive skin/dark hair/grey (?) eyes to ancestors we would consider non-white, while the people who were merchants showed more characteristics inherited from white ancestors.

When people argued about evidence within the text it mostly came down to whether or not a particular reader associated certain things as being non-white or not (I've seen people point to the darker hair, the olive skin and mentions of body hair as being things they identified as non-white, with others claiming all of those things could equally be white), or discussing how the divisions in the society work. For instance, some pointed to the merchant class and Seam being divided, while others pointed to Katniss and Primrose having he same parents. (And neither of those things were definitive for the other side.)
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at 21:16 on 20-11-2011, Cammalot
There's a really good piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates arguing against the idea of the "tanning of America" and stating instead that what's happening is just the definition of whiteness getting broader and broader. Trying to find it.
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