Mary Wollstonecraft: Freak

Bear with me a moment: despite the background, this is really all for your amusement. Or mine, anyway.

I am in the process of re-reading some Wollstonecraft and I came across something that I did not remember, something of which I obviously took no special note the last time I read her. In the midst of explaining her opposition to any and all standing armies (You go, Wollstonecraft!) she explains that in such a heavily regulated and even dictatorial environment, those who know in advance that they are destined for promotion have no reason to behave well, and even little to study their military craft. While only some, blessed by family title or fortunate connections, will be corrupted by the idle time and the lack of incentives that results when one’s promotions are automatic, she argues that others are corrupted too.

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Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes Girls’ Night

So, I didn’t pick the title, that was a Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes forum user named JynErso42. But she has a post up on the Galaxy of Heroes forum that resulted from a conversation that mainly took place between the two of us.

If you’re not familiar with SW:GoH, it’s a tablet/smart phone game that’s a bit Magic the Gathering- or Pokemon-esque. The narrative sets you up as a player of a combat game at the HoloTables in a Cantina in some unspecified portion of the Star Wars galaxy. As you play your battles, you earn pieces of equipment (or pieces of pieces of equipment) that you use to equip your characters. You also earn “shards”. These shards enable you to “unlock” heroes you don’t yet have or to promote characters that you do. You also earn experience points. As you level up as a player, you can also level your characters up to the limit of your player level.

While naturally, there’s some fun to be had in actually playing out the battles, in “winning”, a great deal of the fun is simply in collecting the different characters and experimenting with them. JynErso42 – far more knowledgeable on the SW story-verse than I – noted a distinct lack of women or female characters. She posted to the boards noting that at the time of her message there were 91 male, masculine, or gender-unspecified-droid characters and 19 female or femininely-gendered characters. This seemed particularly odd to her since this ratio is, in her opinion, even more skewed than the source material from which SW:GoH draws. Apparently the books and even past games have been more gender-diverse.

EA/Capital Games – the programmers of SW:GoH – aren’t entirely unaware of this. They ran a brief event last year focusing on women characters. However there is nothing to indicate ongoing attention to the disparity or even to the many great women characters of the SW galaxy. JynErso42 wants to do something about that.

The suggestion won’t make any sense to those who don’t play the game, so I won’t discuss it here, but if you do play this fairly fun and greatly popular game, you might want to head over to the official game forums and lend your voice to a suggestion to move EA/CG towards greater emphasis on both its existing female/femininely-gendered characters as well as the many great characters in the SW source material that have yet to be translated into collectible toons.

I haven’t pushed for the portrayal of trans*, non-binary and/or complex genders because all the characters that have shown up in the game have existed in some form or other in the movies, books, TV series, and previous role-playing games, so I believe we’d have to get those portrayals into the books, movies & TV series first, but if you like you should feel free to push for those portrayals and I’ll back you up. It may ultimately be more productive, however, if you focus that effort on Disney itself.


Front page of the EA forums for SW:GoH is here.

I haven’t been able to figure out exactly where to send feedback on the Star Wars source material.

A Page in the Farce: We take this seriously?

Carter Page, Russian tool extraordinaire, is being taken oddly seriously by the media. He claims that surveillance of him is entirely politically motivated, not to mention illegal and unethical, because before they “wiretapped” him they “wiretapped” two Russian espionage agents talking about how they were using Carter Page as a spy, but that he wasn’t being reliable about communication. This led them to question his competence and intelligence, but they were certain he was motivated by the desire for obscene amounts of wealth that might come by serving Russian interests, in particular by being rewarded with a high paying gig at (or consulting with, it’s not clear) Gazprom, the Russian fossil-fuel giant.  Ultimately, the agents were reassured of their ability to control Page because of their certainty that he was a greedy jerk motivated entirely by concern for money and the fact that Page visited Moscow more often than the spies themselves did.

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Hold My Beer: United Airlines, Part Duh

We’re all familiar with the fact that United repeatedly sells more tickets for their flights than they have room for passengers. They hope that among a hundred or more passengers, at least a couple will miss a connecting flight, get sick, or otherwise fail to make the gate. Lots of times this is true and the money United gives out to compensate travelers for voluntarily bumping themselves to a later flight is less than the money United takes in by selling the same seat twice. Occasionally, however, the fact that United sold the same seat to two or more different people creates an awkward problem for them. No volunteers? Well, for failing to aid United in committing fraud by selling a product that does not, in fact, exist, you can be dragged off the plane by police officers, beaten, and seriously injured.

Yep. That’s bad.

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This Is What Fascist Policing Looks Like: Sacramento

In a story receiving ongoing coverage on the blogs Systemic Failure and PINAC, a man was beaten, and beaten severely and viciously, for…

…well, it’s hard to tell if there was anything significantly influential in the lead up to the officer’s decision to beat the man named Nandi Cain. Well, anything that influenced the decision other than Cain’s Blackness.

As always, there’s a narrative here. Cain crossed the street at a neighborhood, uncontrolled intersection. The cop wanted to bust him for jaywalking. Cain acted submissively while the cop acted aggressively. However, Cain did not obey the precise instructions given by the cop. He took off his coat though the cop had not asked him to do so, and he also backed up a few steps as the cop moved on him. This backing up happened at least twice, though during it Cain kept his hands in the air as instructed.  [Read more…]

For Your Enjoyment: DJ Pam the Funkstress

I’ve loved DJ Pam for quite some time, but I rarely go see live music. A friend of mine saw DJ Pam performing with Boots Riley and told me that she scratches records using her breasts. Now, I have seen quite a bit of art that depicted breasts male and female, but I’ve never been witness to art being created by breasts. I was intrigued, to say the least, but yep: she does it. There’s even video evidence. For your enjoyment, I present in all her creative glory the Funkstress herself:

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Hold My Beer: It’s greatly to his credit…

In my last post, I mentioned (inter alia) that the Physiocrats gave us the phrase “Laissez Faire Economics” through their policy guiding advice against regulations of the trade in grains, flours & breads that were intended to stop hunger. Despite riots in the spring of 1774 and again, more notably, in the spring of 1775*1 (the latter of which*2 were both serious enough and of such obvious focus and origin that they were named Les Guerres des Farines), the Physiocrats argued against regulations and social services that would prevent flour shortages and, as a last resort, simply pass out food to the people when shortages did occur. An individualist capitalist analysis made the authors sure that the wealth of the nation – the wealth of the king – would be increased if only the government could see fit to scrap regulations of the agriculture trade and harden their hearts to the temporary consequences of their wealth-building policies. The Physiocrats didn’t want their gloriously perfect economic regime to be destroyed by such human failings as pity or empathy. Riots? Pshaw. “Laissez faire, laissez passer” they told the King’s government: “let them happen, let them pass by”.

Stabilization: bad. Unbridled self-interest: good.

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