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 18:55 on 13-10-2014, Cheriola
Yeah, me too. I was getting worried the site had been hacked beyond recovery, or that you'd given up for lack of funds/traffic and cancelled the contract with your hosting company while I wasn't paying attention. Welcome back!
at 15:13 on 13-10-2014, Axiomatic
Oh hey, welcome back, Ferretbrain! I kinda missed you.
at 10:10 on 13-10-2014, Arthur B
We should maybe dish out for that new tech support team that Paul Feig has been talking up.
at 09:04 on 13-10-2014, Shim
I think you're right. I popped up the server info and all I'm getting is "692 Error. There is no data, only Zuul" in every field. Can you ask Rami to check the containment seals?
at 08:04 on 13-10-2014, Arthur B
It might be a server glitch, I've redownloaded again and this time it's just the bit where I mispronounce the name of the book as Bring Back Our Bodies and everyone laughs, looping over and over and over again with increasing reverb until it's unrecognisable.
at 07:17 on 13-10-2014, Shim
That sounds the cut section from the middle, when my medication wore off? Don't tell me we archived that and dumped the episode...
at 06:21 on 13-10-2014, Arthur B
Shit, you're right. And with the biopic in development hell the contract's going to be an issue for a good long while.

I tried redownloading the Bring Up the Bodies Text Factor episode but all I got was fifty minutes of you screaming and weeping, and I swear the original episode only had about five minutes of that at most.
at 02:02 on 13-10-2014, Shim
It looks like my series through the Booker may also have been a casualty, but TBH I've been increasingly embarrassed by the gushing tone, so it may be for the best. I'm more concerned about the disappearance of TextFactor Summer Wars? I swear I squandered months of my life reading Bring up the Bodies.

Arthur, not sure if reposting the Cordova articles would potentially breach your contract re: the biopic? You know better than me, just thought I should flag it up.
at 23:54 on 12-10-2014, Arthur B
Given the frankly ugly direction the associated discussions took - really, I'm surprised at some of the commenters' behaviour there - I think it's best that the missing articles stay offline for a bit.
at 23:45 on 12-10-2014, Bjoern
That's a shame. I also notice that the "Travel" section under "By Theme" seems to be missing. Is there any chance you can repost your insightful backpacker's tips for Tlön, Uqbar and/or Orbis Tertius? Those seemed really quite helpful.
at 21:58 on 12-10-2014, Melanie
Ouch, that sucks.

Still, glad the site's back online.
at 17:12 on 12-10-2014, Arthur B
Apologies for the technical difficulties over the last few days, readers. Unfortunately, they seem to have eaten my multi-part retrospectives on the Sutter Kane bibliography and the movies of Stanislas Cordova, and the backups I had on Google Drive seem to be corrupted - oh well, maybe I'll get around to reconstructing them later.
at 04:54 on 07-10-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
...elyts ni kcab emoc ...ot gniog si ekil uoy mug taht ...swen doog tog ev'I


I wonder if we'll ever find out what happened to Agent Chester Desmond? (I assume David Bowie made it back to his planet safely.) I also wonder what's going to happen now that Frank Silva's gone. I suppose that upsetting old woman from The Oregonian could use some work.
at 20:17 on 06-10-2014, Bjoern
it makes me want to speculate who's been holding the copyright up to this point - somehow, I doubt it's a Hitler Family Estate

It went to the Federal State of Bavaria after Hitler's Death, so up to now the book never was properly "banned" in Germany, it was rather a question of copyright claims.

Bavaria first gave 500,000 Euros to create an annotated version of the book when copyright lapses, then it withdrew its support, then it said they'd ban even annotated versions going to court, then they said an annotated version would be fine and the current state of affairs is that a critically annotated edition might be acceptable, but this would have to be considered on a case to case basis once the critical edition has been finished.

Which, if I were a historian working on this, is not something I'd see as a clear-cut "yes". Might be a lot of time and effort to just get banned anyway.

The whole story shows quite well how problematic handling this part of our past and finding a proper response to it is... even to this day.
at 18:02 on 06-10-2014, Robinson L
Also, Arthur is now once again lord and master of the front page.
at 18:00 on 06-10-2014, Robinson L
Fin: I saw this chilling article earlier today.

That is, indeed, deeply disturbing. However, I keep getting stuck on this bit:

"I look at the US military and government, ironically, as having some of the very same problems as what the Call of Duty franchise has," Anthony continued. "We are both on top of our game. We are both the best in the world at what we do. We both have enemies who are trying to take us down at any possible opportunity."

Really, Anthony? Look, I happen to be of the opinion that here in the US, the threat posed by the military and government's "enemies" is vastly over-instated; and while I'm sure there are plenty of state and non-state actors who would like to topple said institutions, I doubt there are more than a handful who seriously believe there's a chance they'll ever be in a position to do so. That said, are you seriously comparing whatever skullduggery your rivals in the video games industry may or may not get up to with the tactics of people who are trying to overthrow a foreign government? Isn't that just the tiniest bit conceited?

Reaching back a bit,

James D: Blatant racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. isn't cutting edge at all, it's shit that was commonplace in decades past and is still pretty common today.

... And into Ye Olde Quote File. Well said, sir.

Reaching still further,

Arthur: It's worth noting that, what with next year being the 70th anniversary of Hitler's death, Mein Kampf is entering the public domain.

That's interesting, and now it makes me want to speculate who's been holding the copyright up to this point - somehow, I doubt it's a Hitler Family Estate.
at 09:28 on 05-10-2014, Bjoern
Forbes author manages to hilariously miss the point.

Short version: If GamaSutra doesn't want ads pulled, it shouldn't allow women to have opinions that make straight, white dudes uncomfortable or critically question them.
at 22:59 on 04-10-2014, Andy G
at 14:31 on 04-10-2014, Arthur B
Something like the Tom & Jerry notice, then?
at 14:26 on 04-10-2014, Andy G
@Arthur/Chris A: What I had in mind with respect to children's books wasn't so much generically disturbing content as notices about more specific issues such as racist language/depictions in old children's classics.
at 19:48 on 03-10-2014, Fin
Holding websites to the mercy of advertisers is of course the best way to combat censorship.

I saw this chilling article earlier today. Wonder when GG will turn their attent... okay, I can't even finish that sentence, they won't.
at 18:07 on 03-10-2014, Bjoern
Back to what started the brouhaha: The GamerGate crowd have so massively swamped Intel with mails, twitter spam, etc. that Intel decided to pull it's ads from Gamasutra. Similar things seem to have happened to RPS and Kotaku.

So, the straight, white men that form the Gaters, who complain about their toys being taken away, now manage to deprieve websites that dare to offer POC, women, gay or disabled gamers a place to voice their opinions of necessary funding. This being a rather underhanded form of censorship...
at 15:18 on 03-10-2014, Shim
Another complication is, as far as I understand, music rating is almost entirely about whether the lyrics contain whatever the current generation of ajudicators considers profanity ("zounds" doesn't make it in, I understand). I don't think they consider the overall message of the song, and certainly they don't get graded on whether they are making an actively positive contribution to society.

Film rating systems generally pay a lot of attention to specifics (swearwords, instances of violence, nudity, actual sex), some attention to scenes as a whole (is the scene disturbing at the 5-minute level even if not at the 10-second level) and again, very little to themes or messages - although Tolerance of [latest point of social contention] is usually a factor. Games seem to be pretty similar, mostly dealing with the level and realism of violence.

When books come into play, suddenly everyone cares about messages and themes and ideas. Book categorisation/censorship is usually discussed in those terms, and almost never in terms of how many times the word "fuck" appears or how many people are graphically killed by the protagonist. You can read as much Tom Clancy as you want, none of this club seems interested in stopping you. I strongly suspect the same people would push rather disturbing books onto school reading lists because they Address Issues, object to the exact same content in films, and complain about Twilight or Fifty Shades because of the sexual content rather than any more pertinent issues about the positions they promote.

But, I speak largely from a position of ignorance. My schools were just glad to see you bothering to read at all.