So you see a racist Tweet…

How should we respond to awful posts on social media? Spoiler alert: I don’t know, but I think we can do better – overall – if we don’t always reply quickly, grounding our responses with what is best for others. Not what feels right at that moment. In my latest post for TBD, I use the example of a Tweet that directly targets people like me – “foreign-named”, darker skinned, etc. – and reflect on what I’d actually like to see more of.

Spoiler: It’s not abusive messages sent to the random kid who made the racist Tweet.

Read it at The Daily Beast

In response to those who tell me how to write about diversity

This actually isn’t specifically about games. But this is the context.

A little while back, I wrote a review for a slo-mo, Nazi murder simulation called Sniper Elite 3: Afrika.

Video games.

I found the game problematic in a number of areas, notably the lack of character (development) or meaningful plot, dull graphics, dull story, and homogenous character models. That is, the game features absolutely no one who isn’t white or male. I indicated that this is indicative of a wider problem in gaming; that, worryingly, it’s something that probably didn’t even cross the creators’ minds. For a game subtitled “Afrika”, you’d think maybe other people aside from white males would be included. [Read more...]

So apparently Christians are the world’s most persecuted people

Paul Vallely writes:

Most people in the West would be surprised by the answer to the question: who are the most persecuted people in the world? According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular group with members in 38 states worldwide, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians.

The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year, targeted because of their faith – that is 11 every hour. The Pew Research Center says that hostility to religion reached a new high in 2012, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of the world’s nations.

People suffering, regardless of how much, is terrible. Numbers and facts matter. Resources are determined according to need and requirement. And reality doesn’t always align with our political perspectives.

Vallely doesn’t cite “insulting Jesus”, for example, as discrimination, but rather instances like “Christians… languishing in jail for blasphemy in Pakistan, and churches are burned and worshippers regularly slaughtered in Nigeria and Egypt, which has recently seen its worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries.”

He continues

The most violent anti-Christian pogrom of the early 21st century saw as many as 500 Christians hacked to death by machete-wielding Hindu radicals in Orissa, India, with thousands more injured and 50,000 made homeless. In Burma, Chin and Karen Christians are routinely subjected to imprisonment, torture, forced labour and murder.

Persecution is increasing in China; and in North Korea a quarter of the country’s Christians live in forced labour camps after refusing to join the national cult of the state’s founder, Kim Il-Sung. Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Maldives all feature in the 10 worst places to be a Christian.

This is horrible.

UPDATE

Smart commenters are smart. Thanks, folks!

Plagiarism in the age of instant, digital content

Buzzfeed has fired its “viral politics editor”, Benny Johnson, for numerous (read: forty one so far?) instances of plagiarism. Buzzfeed isn’t some bedroom-based conveyor belt of clickable content, it’s a major site, employing many people, producing original content and sometimes actual journalism.

However, Buzzfeed, as a whole, is an entity existing in an ethical quandary with content creation. [Read more...]

Male entitlement, why it’s a problem, why I (and you should) oppose it

Because, in 2014 (not, you know, 1814), a woman can be sent a document, from her husband, detailing when she said no to sex. Because a website can publish a list of traits “attractive girls” have that, I guess, “unattractive” girls don’t. Because a man who’s not exactly on good terms with women’s equality can make an entire album for his ex-wife about getting her back – and people think it’s cute, not incredibly invasive and creepy.

Because, perhaps worst of all, many responses to such stories express support for the men writing and conveying such worldviews; because people, especially women, who oppose such treatment  are threatened, harassed, abused. Women are owed to men, it seems. [Read more...]

Women, science and the machine of exclusion

In my latest for The Daily Beast, I respond to a piece about how “females” just can’t brain science as well as men – or rather, that “females as a whole” tend to find science boring. Apparently. According to some dodgy data.

Anyway, I had some amazing input from some brilliant scientists who have had experience with this. There is also plenty of data supporting the machine thesis, that of a culture that makes science into a man’s space, that is unwelcoming to women, then uses women’s absence and disinterest (after they’ve been taught to be) that women don’t like science.

Of course while writing it, I forced myself to watch that awful Science: It’s a Girl Thing video again. *Shiver*

Remember this BS?

Yeah. I totally wonder why women found this so horrible! /s

Robin Thicke and self-entitled creepiness

So, I’m not what you’d call a regular listener to radio. I did, however, encounter Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” when it came out – and found it not only a repulsive song, musically, but also morally. I think we should care about what goes into our creative endeavours, but maybe I’m just a crazy person.

Anyway, with the release of his new song and album, his put his creepy factor into a new gear. I was not impressed; and hate the normalisation of viewing women’s rejection as some kind of game or challenge. I wrote more about it over at The Daily Beast.

Ubisoft, women and diversity in media

My latest for The Daily Beast is on Ubisoft’s (lack of) prioritising women in their upcoming games and the response, in general, from those wanting diversity in media. Specifically in the case of Assassin’s Creed: Unity I found this really disappointing, since this is a talented bunch of people – who not only themselves wanted women, but are great at encouraging diversity.

I’ve been sick and busy with work, so apologies for empty blog for awhile. I should be returning to at least my infrequent levels of blogging – I definitely have an upcoming fisk.

Please support thoughtful game writing

Five out of Ten Magazine is a wonderful digital publication, edited by smarty-pants friend of mine, Alan Williamson; it focuses on critical videogame essays.

Often game sites do fairly boring news – “DEVELOPER GIVES TINY FACTOID ABOUT UNRELEASED GAME, WE SPECULATE WITH 1,000 WORDS” or “HERE’S A SCREENSHOTTTTTTT!” – but much of the rich conversation is missing. Comment sections seem comprised of the same kind of people shouting women out of online multiplayer and gaming in general; the kind who think wanting same-sex representation is advocating Nazism.

FooT however is a space that allows for great conversations to take place. This latest issue, which I’m in for some reason, is focused on “space” and what that means in terms of games. It allows for fascinating essays that I hope make it worth purchasing.

Considering it’s supporting an area of gaming that really needs more focus and support – like certain amazing-looking games – I want people who love games to love these discussions too. Gaming is a medium worth investing in and, since it’s my favourite medium, I want others to experience the fulfillment, discomfort, passion, and awe it provides me.