clearing the browser decks for the trip

If five things make a post, I think I have several posts here.

LAN party for a new game bars women rather than make the men behave — money quote: “Why are you protecting the assholes among you, gentlemen? Why do you value their participation so much that it’s worth creating a space so “dangerous” for women that they must be banned from the premises? What do the assholes bring to your experience that is so irreplaceable? Is the game better when you can throw around vicious descriptions of rape and sexual assault? Does winning feel more awesome when you can hammer your opponent with anti-gay slurs?”

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy — I think there’s some definite truth to the notion that trying to make childhood perfectly happy just creates problems later on.

JSTOR “theft” and problems with academic publishing — I learned about fiction publishing before I got anywhere near the academic side, and was appalled to discover I’d be expected to give up my copyright.

Why Is Fantasy Always in a British Accent? — I admit I fall prey to this, too. Regardless of the actual linguistic reality of what, say, an Elizabethan accent sounded like, in my head, “American” accents didn’t exist before a couple hundred years ago at most, and therefore it’s weird to use them for settings older than, say, the steampunk era. (Also, not unrelated: have you noticed that in American film, British accents can stand in for pretty much anything foreign? Italian, Arabic, whatever. Though I was fascinated by the way that Enemy at the Gates gave the Russian characters British accents, and the Germans American ones.)

Teaching About Race: 101 — so, if you scroll down a ways, the post includes photos of people born before 1930, and asks you to assign a race to each one as if you were a census-taker back then. (The answers and explanations are in the first comment, further down.) It’s a fascinating glimpse into how those categories were and are constructed.

The Decent Human Being’s Guide to Getting Laid at Atheist Conferences — which of course applies to a lot of other contexts, too. Posted in light of the Dawkins flap.

The Republicans Exit History — Roger Ebert sums up a lot of my thoughts.

News Redux — some very, very good points about the crappy layout of the New York Times website, and news sites in general. I don’t agree with everything there, but it’s a good start.

Boobs Don’t Work That Way — the first Tumblr I’ve felt compelled to subscribe to. Lots of horrifying failures of anatomy, like this one, with the occasional bit of useful instruction or gender-flipped examples. (If that last one makes you want to spork your eyes out, well, that’s about right.)

Tropes vs. Women #5: The Mystical Pregnancy — if I could find a place to link to that showed the whole video series, I’d do it. Lots of good points about the way women get depicted in narrative, and the problems with same.

A reminder that an artist friend of mine does good work.

Also, shveta_thakrar is more than two-thirds of the way to her goal for Sirens, and is offering up some stories.

Okay, I think that’s enough to keep Firefox from crashing out of sheer overload. (Your brains may be another matter.)

0 Responses to “clearing the browser decks for the trip”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    It irritates me when an academic publisher makes me do an index in four days or lies about publication dates, but the copyright side, as far as articles go, doesn’t bug me. (Books are different. But no academic publisher I’ve worked with expects to be given copyright for books.) I trained in a system which believes that knowledge is there to be shared and explored widely, and where I wasn’t paid for scholarly articles. It’s about the debate, not the money. Journals were priced to cover their costs.
    The pay-for-access online model did and does worry me, though. A reasonable subscription, to pay staff and so on, seems only fair, but some organisations are offering out-of-copyright material which they’ve scanned at fee levels which are extortionate and annual, not one-off payments. Many university libraries could maybe afford a one-off payment or a sensible annual fee, but not the rates now asked. So the material isn’t there for students and academics to use, which rather defeats the purpose. I am hoping it will eventually settle out, as some of these shark-like types fail under their own greedy expectations. But I’m not holding my breath.
    British accents in fantasy? Not that I notice. Lots of fake ones, yes — and even more so fake Irish ones. My instinctive reaction is, well, GoT is loosely based on the Wars of the Roses, which is my country’s history, and I really don’t enjoy seeing my history re-done in US voices (as does sometimes happen — the 1990s film The Little Princess springs to mind) or relocated to US-centric places. And then, British actors are all too often brought in to be the villains, and that’s annoying, too. I am guilty of having been delighted to discover that in recent film The Eagle — based on Rosemary Sutcliffe’s British classic The Eagle of the Ninth, the Britons were British in all our varied accents, but the Romans were given US voices. It made a nice change. Of course, I may be biased about this!

    • Marie Brennan

      Pay-for-access stacked on top of pay-for-publication is doubleplus ungood.

      Accents: well, nobody said it’s always well-executed. <g> But British is clearly what a lot of them are aiming for. It makes sense for things like The Lord of the Rings (it being intended as a kind of British mythology) or The Game of Thrones (it being based on British history), and making Will Stanton American in the film I can barely even call an adaptation of The Dark Is Rising was a travesty. But not every fantasy has an actual basis for being British in its speech; it’s just that examples like LotR make that the default for the genre.

      • la_marquise_de_

        I can see that. I’m trying to think of fantasy films that are very British, though — the 80s wave mainly sounded American (Conan, apart from Arnie; Willow; Labyrinth, Ladyhawke).

        • Marie Brennan

          The Princess Bride, Legend (mostly) — probably others I’d remember if I didn’t block most 80s fantasy movies from my memory. <g> And there’s the more general point that the baseline cultural model for fantasy tends to be British, so that the assumption is that it should be done in British accents, if filmed.

          • la_marquise_de_

            The voices in Princess Bride struck me as mixed, but I see where you are coming from. It is odd. Maybe ‘British’ stands in for ‘European’ to Hollywood?

  2. shveta_thakrar

    Thank you for the signal boost!

  3. mrissa

    You know what Fictional Pregnancy thing bugs me? It’s not Mystical. It’s that every single pregnancy in fiction is accompanied very promptly by morning sickness. Every one. It makes you wonder why anybody ever needed a pregnancy test in the first place, since symptoms and women’s bodies apparently don’t vary in the slightest.

  4. rabidfangurl

    The solution to your problems: Too Many Tabs.

    Also, Boobs Don’t Work that Way is awesome.

  5. jennifergale

    I have to say…regarding that first link: if I ever hear another young male use “raping” to refer to pwning someone in a game, I’m gonna go ape-poop. We absolutely DO NOT allow such commentary in our group, but the number of times an evening we have to inform newbies as to the rule…grr.

    That a group of guys would gang together to create that LAN group is not unusual. I wish that wasn’t the case. Bunch of trolls and troglodytes…

    (Not that I have a strong opinion on this subject or anything. :P)

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, the casual usage the word has picked up makes me see red. I’m glad the kinds of games I play (tabletop and LARP) don’t lend themselves as much to that kind of talk, compared to video games. I might have to find a way to punch somebody through a fiber-optic cable network.

      • jennifergale

        Sometimes kicking them from the group can feel just as satisfying. Of course…that doesn’t stop them from spamming public forums. Bloody trolls.

  6. Marie Brennan

    Do you have friends in the community you could encourage to speak up against it? Lots of voices complaining works better than one.

  7. jennifergale

    Ugh. That’s even worse when it’s become a part of the game’s lexicon. 🙁

    And, yeah. If you aren’t leet, no one gives a flip what you have to say within a context like that. :/

  8. cebuscapucinus

    I always found it kind of neat that in Dragon Age they gave all the dwarves American accents. I started out as a dwarf character so for a while I thought everyone would speak with an American accent in the game. I was really taken by surprise when I left the dwarf area and all the humans were British XD

    • Marie Brennan

      Not all of the humans; the Orlesians are French and the Antivans are Spanish. (And in DA2, the elves are Welsh, which sort of makes Merrill sound adorable at the most incongruous moments.)

      It does a lot to add depth to the world, it’s true.

      • cebuscapucinus

        Yeah, I know that the humans you can meet later in the game have other accents, but all the ones you run into right after leaving the dwarf area speak with English accents.

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