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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.

Death and the Maiden

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Freud’s theory of the death drive also gives us a way to think about gender.

Walter Benjamin remarked of the people who experienced the First World War:

A generation that had gone to school in horse-drawn streetcars now stood in the open air, amid a landscape in which nothing was the same except the clouds, and at its center, in a forcefield of destructive torrents and explosions, a tiny fragile human body.

What this body could mean was newly in question. Benjamin discusses economic depression, technological innovation, moral uncertainty, and violence, but the First World War also provoked a crisis of masculinity. Men died, were wounded, and later found themselves unemployed in unprecedented numbers. Meanwhile women, as Sarah M Gilbert and Susan Gubar argue in No Man’s Land, “seemed to become, as if by some uncanny swing of history’s pendulum, even more powerful.” Tiny fragile human bodies threatened to detach themselves from their traditionally assigned gender roles. At this historical moment, death collided with gender.

Confronted with a profusion of patients shaken by traumatic dreams in the wake of World War I, Sigmund Freud had a theoretical as well as therapeutic problem. He had previously asserted that every dream is the fulfillment of a wish, but the repetition he encountered in traumatic dreams contradicted this claim. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) he asked, Why repeat something unpleasurable? Why return to the site of trauma?

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Made for China

by Shawn Wen

As US audiences tire of big budget spectacle, Hollywood designs its blockbuster product for the ever-expanding Chinese market

It matters that Superman is a white man, even though he’s not human but an alien from the planet Krypton. It matters that Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor, and Captain America are all white men—even though most of them are only kind of human. It matters that when we sit silently in a movie theater, reverently observing the glowing screen with our thirteen dollar tickets and buckets of popcorn in hand, we watch white men saving the world again and again.

It matters too, then, that quietly, without fanfare, the race of one of mutants in X-Men: Days of Future Past was changed. Blink is white in the original comic books. In the movie, she’s Asian, played by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

Twentieth Century Fox made a calculated decision when they cast Fan. Although unknown to Western audiences, Fan is the most famous working actress in China. She has topped the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list for the past two years. Her movies have broken China’s domestic box office records and she serves as the face of L’Oreal and Louis Vuitton in China.

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Poems From Guantanamo →

There are few more painful ways to get inside Guantanamo than reading through the mental deterioration and suicide of Adnan Latif, a Yemeni man who—at around 25 years old—was among the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo from Afghanistan in 2002. Latif maintained he had gone to Afghanistan for treatment for a head injury; the government insisted he had gone to train with Al Qaeda. A federal judge ordered him released in 2010, but another court vacated the decision, saying the government record implicating him must be given “a presumption of regularity.” By 2010, Latif’s lawyers were making the case that the government was holding a sick man. Latif sometimes wore a sheet as a cape and did backflips on his cell wall, ate shards of glass, and threw feces and blood at his lawyer and guards. He committed suicide in the fall of 2012 with an overdose of pills he had somehow managed to hoard. After his death, Latif’s body was held in limbo in Germany for months, before finally being returned to his family in Yemen.

Aspect Ratio: Living is Easy

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by Brandon Harris

When it comes to summer entertainment, movies are shouting about nothing into empty theatres. Then they kill everyone

Summer movies promise us many things, but mostly they promise recognizable brands. The hottest months of the year for many years now have been hijacked by uninspired pastiche and comic book infantilization. You’ve got your Marvel here, your D.C. over there, your ‘80s sitcom rebooted here, your ‘60s sci-fi dressed in newfangled CGI there. Thrilling action, spine-tingling adventure, and genuine spectacle come with, but only if they’re attached to a known quantity. The trailers for modern summer movies almost always hinge upon giving away their money shot, building up for 20 seconds of instant cliché recognition until at last arriving at their climax, splooging a hundred million dollars at the audience in a quick mo

Many of us know, deep inside, just how bogus a proposition this is, regardless of how resigned we are to the status quo and how aware we are that the same argument has been made against mass cultural products for as long as such things have existed. And, of course, we all know that summer movies have and could be any number of things if corporations spent their money on richer, more satisfying movies. If the box office numbers (85 percent of theatre seats go unfilled, according to leading indie distributor Cinedigm’s CEO Chris McGurk) are any indication, moviegoers want something else than what we’re being offered. Or at least what we know we’re being offered.

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