Not for Broadcast’s bizarre politics

Not for Broadcast is a comedy FMV game about managing a television broadcast. This essay is emphatically not a review, meaning that I have no intention of recommending one way or another whether you ought to play it. Rather, I’m interested in discussing its story about liberal fascists. I will also get into spoilers—warnings when I get there.

What is Not for Broadcast?

Not for Broadcast is at its core a multi-tasking game. You must divide your attention between cutting between multiple cameras, bleeping out swear words on a two second delay, adjusting for interference, and don’t forget to actually pay attention to the show that you’re editing, so you can follow the story.

There’s no mechanical benefit to following the story, so in my experience, it got lowest priority. The game delivers a unique experience where the narrative is delivered through a fog of distraction. This aligns with the narrative of the game, which is about a government that distracts from the real issues by filling broadcast news with fluff. Of course, to actually appreciate what the game was doing, I watched the archived footage afterwards. Paying attention would often cast segments in a whole new light.

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Re-reading Sword & Citadel

Remember back when I blogged about rereading Shadow and Claw, the first half of The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe? Of course you don’t, that was in 2019.  Well, I finally finished the second half, Sword and Citadel.  See, I used to read books on my commute and now I work remotely.

This post will contain spoilers for The Book of the New Sun, although for what it is worth, I don’t think this is the kind of book that you need to avoid spoilers for. It’s not that the book doesn’t have secrets. Rather, the secrets are so dense and obscure that it is not possible to spoil all of them, not even by literally reading the book.  I think knowing a few of the book’s secrets can teach you how to find even more for yourself. Also, some of the spoilers you’ll find out there are wrong, so you’ll still have the pleasure of trying to differentiate legend from canon.  Personally, I freely read spoilers.

Like the previous post from 2019, this post will take the form of a series of observations, mostly focusing on thematic analysis.

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Equality vs equity: An overanalysis

It’s time for a critical analysis of the “equality vs equity” meme, a widely duplicated and mutated image of three people standing on crates to watch a baseball game.

equality and equity

I shrink images to fit this blog’s margins. For bigger versions, see my sources. Source

The linguistic island

Of all my complaints about this meme, my most significant is about its choice of words. On the surface level, the meme is educating us about the distinction between “equality” and “equity”. However, outside of the meme, that is not how the words are used. The equality/equity distinction, mostly just comes from the meme. The meme is not educating us about the meaning of these two words, it is establishing new meanings.

It is not illegitimate to create new meanings for words, of course. But the problem is that the meme masquerades as educational, and everyone takes that for granted. As a result, every discussion of “equity” eventually comes back to the meme.  The meme is a linguistic island, and there is nowhere else for the discussion to go.

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Link Roundup: February 2022

The Problem with NFTs | Foldable Ideas (video, 2:18 hours) – Incidentally, my husband started arguing with cryptobros on Twitter a while ago, and so over the past few months I’ve been learning a lot about how NFTs, while extremely absurd on the surface level, conceal many more layers of absurdity.  A dense two hour video is entirely necessary to explain the depths.

I also learned that I have a couple relatives who have invested in crypto assets. One relative said he wanted to learn about the process, so he spent $500 minting a now-worthless NFT; he said he felt pretty dumb about it.  Then he showed us his NFT, which was a randomly generated cartoon dude in a Guy Fawkes mask.  Another relative put a small amount on cryptocurrencies in one of those investment apps, just to track them.  He said they’re like stocks but a lot stupider.  They don’t pay dividends, they’re way way more volatile, and the entire cryptocurrency market is correlated, causing correlated risk.

How Disney Commodifies Culture – Southeast Asians Roast Raya and the Last Dragon | Xiran Jay Zhao (video, 2 hours, and there’s a part 2) – This is some incredible work, gathering all sorts of Southeast Asian opinions on every aspect of Raya and The Last Dragon.  So, I guess I’m Southeast Asian, although I don’t have much of a “SEA” identity and I’m not really one to ask about it.  But this video put to words a lot of dynamics that are going on around Southeast Asian representation in western media, which were previously only on the tip of my awareness.  It goes on discuss many elements of SEA cultures, and missed opportunities for the movie.

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The failure of satires of masculinity

Much belated, let’s talk about Pickle Rick.

“Pickle Rick” was a 2017 episode of Rick and Morty, and the only one I ever watched. After I saw it, I thought to myself, I don’t need to watch any more of this show. For me, the episode represents a common pattern in fiction, where the intention is to satirize masculinity, but at some level, it fails to do so.

In “Pickle Rick”, Rick turns himself into a pickle to avoid going to therapy with the rest of his family. He sets up a mechanism to turn himself back as soon as his family leaves without him, but something goes wrong and hijinx ensue. He has to use his limited means as a pickle to pull himself through a sequence of over the top action scenes. Eventually, he lands in therapy, where the counselor explains the absurdity of his actions to him.

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Origami: James Webb Space Telescope

Last month I heard a lot of buzz about the James Webb Space Telescope. So I made origami of it.

origami of the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors

James Webb Telescope, designed by Robert J. Lang. Folding template online.

Specifically, this is just the big mirror component of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Since people are currently interested in the JWST, and since I just made origami of it, and since I have a physics background, I thought I’d talk about it. Or at least, explain why the mirrors look that way.

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