More Pablo

Joss Whedon, the word Feminist

:: culture, essay

[Disclaimer: I benefit from virtually every type of privilege society grants: namely, I’m White-presenting, cis, male, straight, thin, well-off, etc. Privileged people talking about movements aiming to equal the playing field are often fraught with peril and questions over to what degree I should involve myself in conversations like this are pretty open, so take the below with this in mind. I couldn’t find the original, but remember this reproduction of this handy flowchart just to be clear.]

Some folks on my Facebook feed are angry that some feminists are angry that Joss Whedon said some silly things about feminism the other day. Here are some other criticisms if you missed it.

I predictably mostly agree with the more critical takes, but many Facebookers on my feed are responding negatively to the response, so I’ll respond to their response to the response. That should fix it.

Adventures in Programming Language Bikeshedding

:: plt, culture

“Greg” opens a great little bikeshedder on rust-dev, proving that you can wink and “ironically” be aware that you’re doing something you might think is uncool in the general sense while still totally doing it (see “ironic racism”). While much less harmful than marginalizing people, he’s suggesting in the subject title (“For Great Justice”) and his many qualifications (‘I am aware that I am jumping into an issue at a point in time that’s considered “late in the game”.’) that he’s aware that his suggestions, no matter how worthy or well-intentioned, are coming from a place where they probably can’t or won’t be implemented, but he still just can’t help himself but send them.

I don’t mean to be too hard on the guy — he’s cordial, and I don’t want to hate on someone who’s just loving what they do, and wanting to spread it. I think the Rust devs did a good job in their responses of giving his requests credence while also declining. The thread makes for a cute read if you’re not used seeing these kinds of discussions.

Blogging Solutions

:: culture, meta

A friend recently asked for some advice regarding blogging solutions, and I realized it’s a pretty big space. Here’s some advice after a few years of blogging, a bit of experience with blogging engines, and general technical proficiency.

The Smash Brothers

:: culture, video games, pablolife

While I play a ton of StarCraft, one of the games closest to my heart is Super Smash Bros. Melee. I probably played that game more than any other in high school, and only as I was having to focus on my senior year and a major production did I discover that there was a high-level scene, where people (about my age, often younger) from disparate cities would drive up and down coasts to play and learn from each other.

A member of the community made a fantastic documentary on the game and its most influential players. If you ever played the game, at any level, there’s a good chance you’ll love checking it out. Even if you’ve never played it, it’s a very entertaining story.

First part embedded below:

Quick write-up of some books

:: art, culture, pablolife, books

I’ve driven a lot these last few months: first from San Francisco to Austin, from Austin to Washington DC, a few trips from DC to Philadelphia, and recently DC to Wooster, Ohio (not having a boss is great for this).

Making these long drives is much easier with a good audiobook. I’ve listened to three in their entirety, here are some quick thoughts on them, in the order that I read them:

On Depression (mine)

:: essay, culture, pablolife

Roast Beef, trouble with toast

Part of getting better about managing my depression is being open about it. Contrary to what I frequently told myself, it turned out friends and family do appreciate you going into details about this. I’ll describe some topics about my depression, since you almost certainly have someone in your life who might like it if you knew more about it (like me!).

Breaking Bad

:: culture

Breaking Bad comics

I watched the Breaking Bad finale yesterday, and enjoyed it. Mostly, I enjoyed closure on the series, whatever form it took. Once, when asking my mother what made Latin Soap Operas much better than their US counterparts, her first answer was “they end,” referencing the fact that they just have a story and tell it, rather than milk a set of characters for 30 years.

Excellent read on Gone Home

:: culture, video games

Ian Bogost just published my favorite piece written about Gone Home so far. An excerpt:

There is an idea among the game-playing and development communities that games can be stories with interactivity, and that such new types of stories are going to “broaden the audience” for games. But this is a flawed idea, because a broadened audience would mean an audience amenable to such new material in the context of their existing tastes. If that gap is not acknowledged and addressed, then we end up with games as bad television shows and novels; bad television shows and novels with button pressing.

Then again, what if Gone Home teaches us that videogames need only grow up enough to meet the expectations other narrative media have reset in the meantime? After all, we’re living in an age in which the literary mainstream is dominated by young adult fiction anyway. Adults read series like Harry Potter and Twilight and The Hunger Games with unabashed glee. Comic book film adaptations have overtaken the cinema. What if games haven’t failed to mature so much as all other media have degenerated, such that the model of the young adult novel is really the highest (and most commercially viable) success one can achieve in narrative?

As the designer Merritt Kopas said of Gone Home, “This is a videogame. About girls in love. That shouldn’t be exceptional in and of itself, but it is.” And there’s the rub. Because Kopas is right: the fact of the game’s very existence becomes more important than its aesthetic ambitions. Such is the remaining not-so-hidden secret of Gone Home, a game about not-so-hidden secrets: that media must struggle against increasingly strong rhetorical currents to have even a chance at spawning a modicum of expression before dying off.