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 03:37 on 30-08-2014, Michal
Some of the anatomy in that comic is absolutely terrifying.
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at 01:37 on 30-08-2014, Arthur B
I guess it's because he's a Nice Good Guy he can give you purely platonic, friendly hugs three times better than those jerks who can only hug you with two arms.
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at 01:10 on 30-08-2014, Melanie
Wait, why is there a portrait of himself(?) with six arms? (There's also an uncropped version on his facebook.)

Did he draw himself as a Hindu god.
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at 17:25 on 29-08-2014, Arthur B
Well, obviously by definition he's a feminist, he's protecting women.

/sarcasm
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at 17:13 on 29-08-2014, Kit
Also, way to spectacularly, repeatedly and obstinately miss the point about what Nice Guy has come to represent, Mr. I'm-a-Good-Guy-let-me-explain-not-a-Nice-Guy-a-GOOD-Guy-like-authentic-and-honest-and-brave-and-did-I-mention-I'm-a-Good-Guy-already?

And I bet he thinks he's a feminist, too.
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at 17:08 on 29-08-2014, Kit
his inevitable encounter with Lady Who Eats People's Insides


I was hoping you made that up. But then I (very reluctantly) checked the comic and of course.

*heaves a deep, weary sigh*
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at 15:58 on 29-08-2014, Arthur B
@Arthur What the whaaa? Bzuh? What in the actual fuck is that guy's point?

I guess we will find out as the comic progresses to his inevitable encounter with Lady Who Eats People's Insides.
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at 15:41 on 29-08-2014, Kit
@Adrienne: that's a very interesting article, even though I always get overly emotional (i.e. sick to my stomach) whenever I read anything Sarkeesian-related. For some reason I find the hate she gets particularly triggering...

@Arthur What the whaaa? Bzuh? What in the actual fuck is that guy's point?

On an utterly positive note, does anyone here watch My Immortal: The Web Series? Inspired by the most infamous, cracktastic and really really goffik Harry Potter fanfic (relating the insane adventures of Ebony/Enoby Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, Mary Sue extraordinaire), it somehow manages to turn the source material on its head, be simultaneously a parody and a homage to original text and fanfic both, be silly, funny, completely nuts, breathless, heartwarming and, well, totally awesome (to quote another incredible product of HP fandom). It's an ironic but affectionate riff on the concept of Mary Sues, it's got two POC main characters (Harry and Hermione), it's incredibly non-heteronormative, brimful of nods to various parts of the fandom, and the whole cast is very clearly having the time of their lives doing this. I just watched the second season, which, even though it's busier (read: even more all over the place) than the first, is still made of squee and happiness and utter insanity. If you have a little time to kill, preread a little something about the original fanfic (not too much or you might need brain bleach) and then go at least watch the first season.
Oh, and their tumblr is great, too.
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at 14:26 on 29-08-2014, Arthur B
Self-proclaimed Nice Good Guy produces semiautobiographical webcomic about his romantic history. The actual comic is so cringeworthy it evokes the rarely-felt full-body cringe. (His explanation of why a Nice Good Guy isn't the same thing as a Nice Guy is also really something.)
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at 10:15 on 29-08-2014, Adrienne
Of possible interest to Ferretbrainers, a great, in-depth essay about the ongoing anti-Sarkeesian bullshit.
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at 10:18 on 28-08-2014, Ash
@Cheriola: Thank you for acknowledging genderqueer people. (And thanks to everyone else for not dismissing that outright.)
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at 18:36 on 26-08-2014, James D
They do it because they tweet/tumblr/whatever faster than they think, is my theory. Obviously most people, if they stopped to think about something cool-headedly and objectively, would not lash out on the Internet like that. So when people go ahead and do it anyway it's a fairly sure sign that their annoyance has overriden their rationality.

That seems the most likely explanation, but it just fascinates me that these people, whose livelihood depends on the goodwill of the internet community, haven't developed a better filter. Does this carry over into meatspace? Do they lash out verbally at waiters when a minor mistake is made in their order? Do they berate family and friends when things don't go perfectly their way? Maybe Aaron Diaz actually does, based on Twitter exchanges like this. I also wonder if, at the time, these types see the situation as them giving a troll a righteous beatdown, only later realizing that they themselves were the bully all along.

Either way, Diaz does seem to be in the habit of deleting his more abrasive tweets, which indicates at least some level of self-awareness.
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at 15:02 on 26-08-2014, Daniel F
I don't know if there is a proper way to respond to that, other than to say (speaking as, I'm sure, only one of the benefit-of-the-doubt people at most) "Thank you". Even with all the real credit going to Kyra, everyone who is offered that trust has a reason to be grateful.

Trust, even if it's only benefit-of-the-doubt potential trust, is something very valuable. All I can really say in response is that I hope no one here would ever make you regret it.
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at 10:31 on 26-08-2014, Arthur B
Not sure how to respond to that save to request that people keep prodding me when I make mistakes.

Thanks should probably belong to Kyra since as editor she's set the parameters for what does and doesn't fly here and Dan and I more or less follow that lead.
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at 07:24 on 26-08-2014, Cheriola
Guys? I know I rarely post here anymore - it's because I have little in common with you in terms of fandoms and literary interests, or even age. But something occured to me today, as I had another bad, stressful experience, and I think it needs pointing out:

You're literally the only cis men I fully trust - in the "terrible bargain" kind of sense. (Read that article, please, if the term doesn't spark instant recognition. It's necessary context for understanding what I'm trying to say here.) Even those of you who don't post enough for me to form an opinion benefit from a kind of benefit-of-doubt-by-association, because I trust the main writers like Dan and Arthur to keep the house safe and welcoming for people like me, so to speak. That there's enough peer pressure on any new participants in the discourse to behave well, or leave. (Obviously, the women and genderqueer people contribute to that just as much, if not more, but this train of thought I'm having was sparked specifically by articles like this one about the importance of being a male ally.) Even if you do mess up occasionally about some of the less obvious stuff, I trust that if I point it out, you won't get aggressively defensive, because I get the feeling you have spent years educating yourself on your privilege and what it really means to listen.

I'm not saying this to flatter you, or to hand out ally cookies. Every cis man should act like this, and it's a sign of how fucked up the world is that I can't expect it. That I have to withhold my trust and friendship from any cis man or boy I talk to online or in real life, because sooner or later he will show his true colors by stubbornly refusing to care about things that harm me or by disrespecting my boundaries or by acting entitled to my time and energy, etc.

I don't feel this way about women of any birth-assigned sex, or genderqueer people, ever. Or well, at least about those under the age of about 50. I've never felt threatened by them, either, physically or emotionally. I have been hurt by women, of course, but never in this disspiriting, always-the-same kind of way. Instead, the interaction always runs on an undercurrent of "you would understand this if I brought it up; you would get angry for my sake; you would have my back". It's rare that a woman manages to say something so spectacularly offensive that she loses this basic trust in my eyes. Maybe that's not fair. But I do think it has something to do with privilege levels and who was and wasn't forced to learn to put themselves in other people's shoes from birth, to walk on eggshells around those with the power to hurt them. I notice that I do give cis men who aren't hetero a bit more provisory trust for already having been taught by life what it feels like not to be at the top of the privilege heap. (Though sadly, being a man of colour doesn't seem to help much in terms of empathising with women. Maybe it's more the constant comparison in our culture between being non-hetero cis male and being feminine, even if that's usually meant to be denigrating?) But they, too, usually mess up badly on feminist issues at some point and I have to brace myself for the disappointment so it won't hurt so much.

(Like for example one gay recapper on a feminist TV show recapping website, who usually does quite well on things like abusive relationships and such, but recently didn't take any negative notice of a favourite character of his calling a murdered sex slave "whore". It's not a very big thing in isolation, but he has these little moments of fail often enough, that I don't ever read any replies he might make to comments in which I disagree with him or point out problematic stuff he didn't notice. I couldn't bear the confirmation that he might disagree and defend any misogyny / rape culture issue in the shows. I can't trust him enough to expect him to react with a simple "sorry for not noticing". But I also don't want to lose my respect for him in case I am right in my distrust, because he's one of the few people who do reliably timely and relatively entertaining intersectional feminist analysis of shows I watch. So I can never have a proper engaging discussion with him. I can only inform him of my opinion and hope that he learns from it, while he forever remains this kind of "Shroedinger's sexist" for me. It's deeply frustrating and I feel guilty for ignoring his replies. I shouldn't have to feel bad about trying to avoid getting hurt.)

And isn't it sad that I feel the highest praise I can give a cis man is "I trust you like I would trust a woman"?

Anyway, I'm overtired and stressed out to the point of being sick in my stomach from a related experience earlier today, so it's possible I'm being overly emotional at the moment. (If there is such a thing.)
But I wanted to say: Thank you.

And please, please don't make me regret letting down my guard.
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at 21:21 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
This seems par-the-course for Diaz. It's probably slightly less creepy than the time he decided to discuss at length how his various female characters styled their pubic hair, but not by much.

Seriously? I must have missed that.

It's hardly a new point, but the internet has been increasing the mixture of the private and the public worlds.

Therefore, the Internet is reality, and reality is less than the Internet...

I dimly recall two-three years back that Guillermo Del Toro was working with THQ and Volition to come up with a horror game called inSANE. Nothing much came of it, since shortly after the announcement THQ caught on fire and burnt to the ground, but I wonder if Silent Hills will be a partial resurrection of the material from inSANE.

Having a handy store of fresh ideas would be useful, though there may be rights issues with the inSANE stuff depending on who bought out the rights in the fire sale and what the terms of del Toro's contract with THQ was.

We've got the Eraserhead baby (who, despite not having tooth buds, has a serious case of sass-mouth)

Well, at least the usual Silent Hill diligence in making sure there's always something significant going on in the toilet is present and correct.
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at 21:11 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
As if his made-up character actually has a real body to take real agency over - no, he drew sexy pictures of his own character because he felt like it.

Yep. He richly deserves the satire, because pretending that you get a special Feminism membership card which lets you draw cheesecake every once in a while provided that you think feminist thoughts whilst doing it is absurd. If you really want to claim your sexy art isn't objectifying you kind of need to present it in a way which doesn't objectify or fetishise its subject, and ohboy, does this fall short of that mark (particularly with the amputee angle).

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes?

They do it because they tweet/tumblr/whatever faster than they think, is my theory. Obviously most people, if they stopped to think about something cool-headedly and objectively, would not lash out on the Internet like that. So when people go ahead and do it anyway it's a fairly sure sign that their annoyance has overriden their rationality.
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at 21:06 on 24-08-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
This seems par-the-course for Diaz. It's probably slightly less creepy than the time he decided to discuss at length how his various female characters styled their pubic hair, but not by much.

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes? Best-case scenario, the artist shouts down one detractor and they shut up. Much more likely is that their dickhead comments get publicity, the detractor's criticisms get publicity, and the artist get a big bowlful of bad press.

It's hardly a new point, but the internet has been increasing the mixture of the private and the public worlds. I suppose it doesn't help that interacting with the Internet doesn't feel all that different writing in a diary, the only difference being that your diary isn't meant to have an audience. Or as I like to say, even with the rest of the world, you're all alone.

In udder neus,

Double holy crap: new Silent Hill game is being made by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. If any auteurs are going to make the series worth paying attention to again it'll be those two.

I dimly recall two-three years back that Guillermo Del Toro was working with THQ and Volition to come up with a horror game called inSANE. Nothing much came of it, since shortly after the announcement THQ caught on fire and burnt to the ground, but I wonder if Silent Hills will be a partial resurrection of the material from inSANE.

Also, in case anyone didn't know, the announcement for Silent Hills was made through by P.T., a playable teaser (har har) that was mocked up to be a game from an indie studio. If y'alls wanna watch it with no one yammering through it, this video's all right.

Now there's no way to tell if any of this is indicative of the final game, but the thing that really leapt out for me was how much David Lynch there was. We've got the Eraserhead baby (who, despite not having tooth buds, has a serious case of sass-mouth), the soundtrack seems to be borrowing a lot from the ominous ambient work from Mulholland Drive, and there's a lot of talk about duplicates and violent patriarchs who consider themselves failures, i.e. Lost Highway.

On the other hand, Baggie, character find of 2014, seems to have fallen out of a Sam Raimi movie.
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at 17:07 on 24-08-2014, James D
Apparently the satire comic was specifically a response to this series of Dresden Codak pin-up drawings. I love the first line:

Inspired by some amputee photo shoots, I decided to try my hand at some cyborg-themed pinup sketches with Kim, a sort of celebration of the female form and taking agency over one’s body.


As if his made-up character actually has a real body to take real agency over - no, he drew sexy pictures of his own character because he felt like it. They weren't part of a storyline or anything. It's not really comparable to real amputees choosing to have erotic photos taken of themselves.

Either way, why do web-savvy people still lash out like that? What do they think it accomplishes? Best-case scenario, the artist shouts down one detractor and they shut up. Much more likely is that their dickhead comments get publicity, the detractor's criticisms get publicity, and the artist get a big bowlful of bad press.
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at 10:49 on 24-08-2014, Arthur B
Mary Cagle produces a bang-on-target (NSFW) satire of webcomic artists who claim to be super=feminist but then go ahead and create objectified, sexualised fantasy girlfriends anyway.

It is a little too on-target for Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak guy).
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at 22:30 on 21-08-2014, Robinson L
I hope you'll give it a review, Arthur; I don't feel strongly enough about the book to review it myself (and my writing time is extremely limited), but it is a very good book which probably deserves a proper write-up on the site, and I think you could do it much better justice (pun not intended) than I could, anyway.
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at 11:04 on 21-08-2014, Arthur B
Bought Ancillary Justice on Kindle half for the praise you guys have offered it, half because anything which denies Wheel of Time the big prize deserves a reward as far as I'm concerned (though Brandon Sanderson, for his part, doesn't seem excessively tore up about it).
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at 03:12 on 21-08-2014, Michal
I was underwhelmed by the short story nominees this year too; thought "Selkie Stories are for Losers" was the best-written of the bunch but not very satisfying. The short fiction field is so fractured that it's difficult to scrape together enough votes to get a nomination going, a lot of great stories get overlooked simply because a particular anthology didn't sell that well. (Corollary: Has a short fiction magazine that wasn't online and not widely available in the States ever had a story nominated for a Hugo?)
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at 01:03 on 21-08-2014, Chris A
@Pear - I didn't read "Ink Readers," but I did read the other three nominees in the short story category, and found them all really underwhelming. I thought "If You Were a Dinosaur" was fun, but I can see why it ending up on the ballot earned so many raised eyebrows. "Selkie Stories" was a great concept that fell utterly flat for me. And the winning story, "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere," was a coming-out story I've read a hundred times before, done neither particularly well nor particularly poorly by John Chu. With a cool but superfluous (heh) SF twist.

I don't read a lot of SF short stories, so it's possible that the field was unusually weak and these really did represent four of the best things published this year, but Kelly Link at her least inspired writes better stories than any of these.
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