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Mann depicted these cost-effective female educators as angelic public servants monitored by Christian faith: wholly unselfish, self-abnegating, and morally pure.” Women weren’t just cheaper to hire; they were also assumed to be naturally nurturing and pious enough to teach godly behavior. “Teaching,” Goldstein writes, “was promoted as the female equivalent of the ministry: a profession whose prestige would be rooted not in worldly rewards, such as money or political influence, but in the pursuit of satisfaction that came from serving others.” In other words, you can pay teachers in work.

One of the tensions that runs through The Teacher Wars, as well as the teaching profession in general, is that between the angelic volunteer and the hardened union negotiator. By original design, American teachers aren’t supposed to be in it for the money. The U.S. education system was built around a historically specific moment in the development of women’s relation to the workplace: Teaching was high-prestige and intellectually demanding, compared with other career options available to women in the 1830s. Our heavenly ideal teacher still resembles Mann’s vision:

How divinely does she come, her head encircled with a halo of heavenly light, her feet sweetening the earth on which she treads, and the celestial radiance of her benignity making vice begin its work of repentance through very envy of the beauty of virtue!

Compare this to the introduction of Miss Jennifer Honey in Roald Dahl’s Matilda:

Their teacher was called Miss Honey, and she could not have been more than 23 or 24. She had a lovely pale oval madonna face with blue eyes and her hair was light-brown. Her body was so slim and fragile one got the feeling that if she fell over she would smash into a thousand pieces, like a porcelain figure.”

From our Back To School issueNot For Teacher: a review of Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars by Malcolm Harris

This is the editorial note to TNI Vol. 32: Back to School. View the full table of contents here.
Subscribe to TNI for $2 and get Back to School (and free access to our archive of back issues) today.

When white teachers in the New York City school district defied their union and their employer’s orders not to wear shirts bearing the NYPD insignia on the first day of school, signaling to the students in their care that they supported the choking death of Stat- en Island father Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD offi- cer Daniel Pantaleo, the Police Benevolent Association president issued the following statement of support for the rebel instructors: “Teachers wearing NYPD shirts to school only underscores the solid relationship that exists between rank-and-file teachers and police officers.” Many commenting on the protest noted the symbolic violence of teachers showing up to the first day of class in cop shirts when many of their students will be targeted by the NYPD on their way home from school. But what about all the other days of the school year, when classrooms are run by cops who show up in teacher shirts?
In many parts of capitalist society, school is where children encounter the social on their own for the first time. School is the way we take infants, exuberant in their generic individuality, and form them into legible bearers of their race, class, and gender. They must then simultaneously master such novelties as calendar time, asking permission to pee, how to become a version of themselves which is more excellent than all their peers, and how to live inside the confines of an externally imposed type.
School is the alibi for class society. Passage through it is supposed to be what makes the unequal distribution of violence and luxury in the bourgeois world a fair out- come, what makes the bodies it disposes of earn their disposal. It is also the house of knowledge and so a powerful node of induction into the mysteries of this bloody society. Those who want to approach the knowledge held there must also internalize its mechanisms. Some go on to help it reproduce itself, as teachers. Unexpected success in this self-transformation is sometimes called class mobility, but to celebrate those who are capable of moving admits that the majority are fixed in place.
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This is the editorial note to TNI Vol. 32: Back to School. View the full table of contents here.

Subscribe to TNI for $2 and get Back to School (and free access to our archive of back issues) today.

When white teachers in the New York City school district defied their union and their employer’s orders not to wear shirts bearing the NYPD insignia on the first day of school, signaling to the students in their care that they supported the choking death of Stat- en Island father Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD offi- cer Daniel Pantaleo, the Police Benevolent Association president issued the following statement of support for the rebel instructors: “Teachers wearing NYPD shirts to school only underscores the solid relationship that exists between rank-and-file teachers and police officers.” Many commenting on the protest noted the symbolic violence of teachers showing up to the first day of class in cop shirts when many of their students will be targeted by the NYPD on their way home from school. But what about all the other days of the school year, when classrooms are run by cops who show up in teacher shirts?

In many parts of capitalist society, school is where children encounter the social on their own for the first time. School is the way we take infants, exuberant in their generic individuality, and form them into legible bearers of their race, class, and gender. They must then simultaneously master such novelties as calendar time, asking permission to pee, how to become a version of themselves which is more excellent than all their peers, and how to live inside the confines of an externally imposed type.

School is the alibi for class society. Passage through it is supposed to be what makes the unequal distribution of violence and luxury in the bourgeois world a fair out- come, what makes the bodies it disposes of earn their disposal. It is also the house of knowledge and so a powerful node of induction into the mysteries of this bloody society. Those who want to approach the knowledge held there must also internalize its mechanisms. Some go on to help it reproduce itself, as teachers. Unexpected success in this self-transformation is sometimes called class mobility, but to celebrate those who are capable of moving admits that the majority are fixed in place.

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But the health rave is a sign that any leisure time is increasingly threatened by the looming specter of productivity. It is an a propos outlet for the urban creative class, who are always and never working.

— Max Pearl, Work It 

Appetite for Destruction →

Football has become a sport of science fiction, one that inhabits a world that only exists on television.

Nothing Short of a Revolution →

"…That the answer to the problems of the last three weeks can be solved by simply voting in new people (and they better be Democrats, otherwise they deserve what’s coming to them).

This discourse is wrapped in the language of concern and the language of the ally. That makes it all the more dangerous.

It is dangerous because in a world where Black college graduates are on equal economic footing with whites with a high school education, where no one can actually tell us how many unarmed Black people are killed every year by law enforcement, and where walking down the street has become cause for everything from manhandling to murder at the hands of your friendly local law enforcement officer, nothing short of a revolution is necessary to fix wrongs on this magnitude. Nothing short of a big-ass reset button on this society is needed. The Ferguson barber who told theGuardian that “this is a revo-fucking-lution” understood that.The Kerner Commission understood this when their 1968 report (troublesome as it was on certain accounts) recognized that looting and property destruction was committed not because of wanton thuggery, but because those businesses were a constant reminder of how capitalism had failed the offending parties and their neighbors.

But the politics of least resistance is what works for today’s liberals…”

How Ought We Die? →

Imagine the dying patient today: sitting in the intensive care unit, hooked up to a ventilator that artificially pumps their heart and a feeding tube because they can no longer eat on their own. The patient could be on several drugs or antibiotics, hooked up to devices that keep an eye on every bodily function, or even need hemodialysis because their kidneys have failed. All the while physicians scramble about doing everything in their power to keep this patient alive as long as they possibly can, even when they know that time is limited. Why? Because this person is a patient in a hospital and everyone knows you go to hospitals to get better, not to die.

Lydia Dugdale gives such a description in her Hasting’s Center Report article “The Art of Dying Well.” Dugdale claims that American society is ill equipped for the experience of dying. Instead a physician’s focus is solely on perpetuating life as long as possible, and the family often times desires the same thing. According to Dugdale, today’s focus on continued life doesn’t make dying any better than in the mid-fourteenth century in Europe during the Bubonic plague epidemic. Then, the constant presence of death turned society’s attention to ensuring that the dying would receive a good death.

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I’ve felt like a fraud at every job I ever had…Every job I have had since — even as a writer, the identity that’s mainly supported me for the past seven years — has presented the same triangulation of the private desires, the public value of the thing produced, and the set of make-believe ethics bridging the two.

— Mike Thompsen, Cleaning Up

Sunday Reading!

Kitabet:

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“Well! That certainly didn’t work out well,” they reflect. “Not only did capitalism make us all unhappy, it was, in fact, constantly going wrong.” 
Excerpts from the upcoming English translation of Communism for Children, a fable of capitalist dystopia and communist revolution.

“Well! That certainly didn’t work out well,” they reflect. “Not only did capitalism make us all unhappy, it was, in fact, constantly going wrong.” 

Excerpts from the upcoming English translation of Communism for Children, a fable of capitalist dystopia and communist revolution.

TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism

Context and Reactions: The Last Couple Weeks

•Liz Ryerson- On Right-Wing Videogame Extremism

•Leigh Alexander – ‘Gamers’ Don’t Have to Be Your Audience. ‘Gamers’ Are Over

The Work Most Recently Under Attack

•Andrew Todd – Videogames, Misogyny and Terrorism: A Guide to Assholes

•Mattie Brice – Moving On

•Samantha Allen – Will the Internet Ever be Safe for Women?

•Kris Ligman – This Week in Videogame Blogging: August 31st (a good overview of much of the coverage)

•Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2.  TRIGGER WARNING: some very upsetting in-game footage of violence against women. This video is the most recent in Feminist Frequency‘s incredible crowdfunded video series Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games (more here here here here and here), which through video essays centered around game footage reveal the most insidious patriarchal and violent misogynist tropes in video games. Host and writer Anita Sarkeesian has beenparticularly targeted by misogynist threats.

•Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest: An interactive, educational story game about depression and the often very difficult and personal methods required to overcome it. The game is available for free on Steam–it’s pay what you will–but if you can afford it, consider buying the beautiful game to support Quinn, who has faced near constant harassment since the game’s release.

Reviews/Essays/Work on a Single Game

•Lana Polanksy: Jupiter is a Failed Star Because it Didn’t Want it Hard Enough (Kim Kardashian: Hollywood)

•Mike Thomsen: Fuck Forever and Never Die (Skyrim)

•Patricia Hernandez: Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2 (Fallout 2)

•Liz Ryerson: The Monster Within (Hotline Miami)

•Aevee Bee: How Flat is the World (GrimGrimoire)

•Zoya Street and Samantha Allen: Bunk Bed #1: Everlove(Everlove)

•Naomi Clark: Not Gonna Happen (Gone Home); A Hasty Review: Howling Dogs (Howling Dogs–written in response to a gamer claiming it couldn’t be reviewed because games by women aren’t “real games”)

•Angela Washko: Playing a Girl (video essay/performance art/intervention performed within World of Warcraft)

Patriarchy, Misogyny and Violence Against Women in Video Games

•Leigh Alexander: A Game is Being Beaten

•Sarah Wanencheck: “The Consumption Palace”: Gamers, Misogyny and Capitalism

•Kim Moss: You Know What’s Gross? We Often Play Nice Guys™ In Games With Romance Options

• Patricia Hernandez: Three Words I Said to the Man I Defeated in Gears of War that I’ll Never Say Again

•Maddy Myers: Bad Dad vs. Hyper Mode: The Father-Daughter Bond in Video Games

•Cara Ellison: Games, Noir and the 17%: Where are the Women?

•Quinnae Moongazer: I’m Being So Sincere Right Now: Gaming as Hyperreality

•Ben Kuchera: Its time to leave the brothels and strip clubs behind when real victims fuel your narrative

•Feminist Frequency: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

•Jenn Frank: On Consuming Media Responsibly

•Mary Flanagan: Violent Video Games Reveal the Dark Side of Play

Gender Play: Queer, Trans and Feminist Spaces in Gaming

•Kaitlin Tremblay: The Buxom and the Beasts; or, Why I need Monsters as a Feminist;  Intro to Gender Criticism For Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Claire Redfield, to Femsheps.

•Liz Ryerson: The Abstract and the Feminine

•Samantha Allen: TransMovement: Freedom and Constraint in Queer and Open World Games;  Between Pleasure and Reality: Theorizing Video Games as Transitional Objects

•Lana Polanksy: Pushing Buttons

•Mariam Naziripour: The Awfulness and the Importance of the Dress-Up Game

Redefining “Game”, Text, Twine and New Ways of Constructing Narrative

•Merritt Koppas: Trans Women and the New Hypertext

•Porpentine: Creation Under Capitalism and the Twine RevolutionParasite

•Emily Short: Reading and Hypothesis

•Line Hollis: Game Change: Minigames and Narrative Arcs

•Mattie Brice: Death of the Player

•Celia Pearce & Friends: Experimental Game Design

Straight White Males: Video Game Media and Gaming Culture

•Maddy Myers: Gaming, rape culture, and how I stopped reading Penny Arcade;  A Challenger Appears: One woman’s battle against the anxious masculinity of the fighting-game scene

•Jonathan McIntosh: Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male

•Samantha Allen: An Open Letter to Games Media; Community or Island Nations

•Mattie Brice: Why I Don’t Feel Welcome At Kotaku

•Arthur Chu: Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement and Nerds

•Celia Pearce, Janine Fron, Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie: The Hegemony of Play

Games 4 U 2 Play

SABBAT: Director’s Kvt by Oh No Problems

Bubblegum Slaughter and Consensual Torture Simulator byMerritt Kopas

Crypt Worlds: Your Darkest Desire Come True

Sacrilege by Cara Ellison

Love is Zero by Porpentine

Hate Plus by Christine Love

Mainichi by Mattie Brice

Dys4ia by Anna Anthrophy

Depression Quest by Zoe Quinn

FURTHER READING: Blogs, Sites, Projects and Zines to follow

• Cara Ellison’s S.EXE on Sex in Videogames

• Mammon Machine: ZEAL curated by Aevee Bee on weird, small and exemplary games

• Memory Insufficient: A games history E-Zine by Zoya Street

• The Arcade Review: A magazine about experimental/art games

• The Borderhouse: A blog for feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, poor, transgender, gay, lesbian or otherwise marginalized gamers and their allies

• Critical Distance: A site curating great video game writing from across the web: a safer space, reader-supported, upping voices outside the mainstream

• Forest Ambassador: Curates small games, with write-ups.

A big big thanks to TNI contributor Ben Gabriel (@Benladen) without whom this list would only be a shell of its current self. Thank yous also to Lauren Naturale (@lnaturale), Twitter users FKA Stamens (@33mhz) and Kamin Katze (@_kaminkatze), everyone who spread the call for submissions, and anyone who contributes more to the syllabus in the future!

full list permalink TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism

Fathers and Sons

Aeneas carrying Anchises and the Penates out of Troy (Veii, Etruria, c. 500 BCE)

Do you love me? he asks one. If I want him to remain alive, what is that to you? he says of another, and then that other reveals himself as the author of the words we are reading. The twenty-first chapter of the Gospel of John is strange (a succession struggle, like those in King Lear or in Kurosawa’s films). It is perhaps strangest when Christ prophesies Peter’s death, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

 

"Dakhil Naso, a Yezidi from Sinjar carrying his blind father to Kurdistan to save him from death." (August 28, 2014), via @KhalafHamo

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This Week in Art Crime →

“Kill Frats” appears on UC Berkeley campus; “Victory” and “Revolt” appear on a St. Louis Police Car; Blood appears on a Jeff Koons retrospective; and police claim that child pornography appeared in a Melbourne museum.