Archive | March 2013

On Geekery part 1.5 – Pride and Privilege

I know I’ve been posting a lot about geek culture lately, but a good friend of mine wrote this and it’s an excellent meditation on identity, both within geekdom and as a broader concept.

Archimedes' Fulcrum

Who the HELL do I think I am anyway? 

Where do I get off defining geekiness, and what makes me think I can get away with it?

Definitions are tyrannical. The ability to craft definitions is a great power and (say it with me, Spidey fans!) with great power comes great responsibility. So why should I, anarchistic deconstruction-fanatic that I am, build such an ontological border fence?

Part of it came as a reaction to the quotes that formed the first part of my last post. Some of it was intellectual hubris, but what really made me feel able to do it and get away with it was the fact that I have a very privileged existence. Being white and male in a culture where whiteness and maleness are both still unfairly coupled with better access to just about everything does tend to foster a sense of entitlement. In…

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Dungeoned Master

The dice must flow...

The dice must flow…

Today is International Table Top Day, a celebration of table top games, an umbrella term for board games, card games, and table top RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons. For more, google it or check out #TableTopDay on Twitter. Despite being a rather harmless and potentially educational pastime, Dungeons & Dragons has long been mistrusted, vilified, and scapegoated for everything from murder to suicide to general moral decay. Many have painted the game as Satanic or worried that those playing are too unstable to know the difference between reality and the fantasy they have crafted. Similar accusations have been made against World of Warcraft, which was also blamed for a teen’s suicide. D&D was even banned from the US prison systems after the high profile confiscation of a prisoner’s D&D paraphernalia. Officials explained the legitimacy of the ban by citing that the game promotes gang activity, violence, and is a public safety issue, though officials also admitted that there is no evidence of this. All fantasy games have now been banned behind bars.

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Portrait of the Vatican as a Young Church

Image

So Dark the Con of Shan

THE DEFENDANT: The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

THE VERDICT: The Da Vinci Code sparked a worldwide controversy, including book burnings and numerous protests of the subsequent film. The book is outright banned in Iran and Lebanon out of fear that it may spark sectarian violence.

THE CHARGES: The issues surrounding the book include its portrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, a number of assertions about early Christian beliefs and various Christian sects/orders, and the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children. Many have decried it as inaccurate, unflattering to Christianity, or downright heretical.

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Who Run the World?

Women in the media.

I cannot tell you how many discussions I’ve had about this. How many papers I’ve read or written, how many arguments I’ve had, how many panels or lectures I’ve been to, how many documentaries I’ve seen, and how many times I’ve died a little bit inside when someone tells me that this isn’t an issue or that there are plenty of female characters or “the whole strong female lead thing is really getting old” or “has been overdone.” It’s most depressing when women say this.

So, I’d like to take a moment to discuss some of the issues involved here and why there is a huge discrepancy as to whether or not there is a problem or just what that problem is. If I want to keep this blog post from turning into a 600 page analysis, I fear I won’t be able to get into anywhere the depth I would like. I apologize for this, but I welcome any discussion in the comments and encourage you to seek out more information elsewhere. I’ll be breaking this discussion into sections to better examine the many levels involved with this systemic problem that plagues the publishing, movie, television, and gaming industries. Read More…

We’re Dumbledore’s Army

I recently stumbled across this image. I don’t know where it’s from or even if it’s real. But this person is my hero.

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Dead Tongues Tell No Tales

IrishReadsToday is St. Patrick’s Day. For many around the world, especially here in America, that means shamrock Mardi Gras beads, pub crawling, and a drunken bacchanalia in the name of one’s Irish heritage. This is largely due to the fact that the Irish, whether because of famine, occupation, or genocide, are a diasporic people with descendants scattered worldwide. However, it is a pet peeve of many how little people claiming Irish heritage know about Ireland, its history, its politics, or its impact on the world. For example, while getting feedback on a story set in Ireland, hardly anyone in my college level writing workshop group knew the difference between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Read More…

Virginia School Isn’t For Lovers

All the single ladies.

All the single ladies.

In keeping with Women’s History Month, here is a review of Zora Neale Hurston’s classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God. As interesting and enduring as this book is on its own, I find it most fascinating when analyzed alongside another classic piece of feminist literature, Herland. One is a coming of age and into one’s own story about a woman’s life amidst the backdrop of 20th century American race relations. One is a speculative fiction adventure story/political treatise about three male explorers who discover a thriving all-female society isolated from the rest of the world (think Themyscira from Wonder Woman).

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