Bros movie review

cn: This review makes no attempt to avoid spoilers

Bros is a 2022 gay romcom described as the first movie of its kind to be made by a major studio. It is most certainly not the first movie of its kind in general. I’ve spent quite some time dare I say dumpster diving for gay movies, so I can tell you that the two most common categories are the high school coming out slash romance, and the adult romance. Bros is an example of the latter, and I pleased to say that the mainstreamification did not really compromise the vision of this particular subgenre. It just got a bigger budget, and the acting and writing got a lot more polish. No, the main problems with Bros are problems that are common to its source subgenre, which makes it a great subject for discussion.

The movie is about a romance is between Bobby an out and proud effeminate gay podcaster and LGBTQ museum curator, and Aaron, a ripped jock.  To illustrate the interests and issues with the movie, I’ll begin by describing one small arc.  At one point, Bobby runs into Aaron giving himself a testosterone injection, apparently to maintain his muscled physique. Bobby questions him, and Aaron says all his friends do it, and it “doesn’t seem to bother you when you’re obsessing over my body”. Bobby says fair enough.
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Ranking the Cyan games (again)

By In April, I wrote a ranking of all the Myst games. I emphasized that the list was a “recollective” ranking based on how I remembered them, as opposed to a “retrospective” ranking based on giving them a fresh look. Well, I gave them all a fresh look, and that caused my assessments to move around.

For the Myst games, I watched Keith Ballard’s blind Let’s Play series, which lets me see the games through the eyes of a new player. I also replayed Obduction, and added the new game Firmament—at which point this is no longer a Myst ranking, but a Cyan games ranking.

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The veil of gender ignorance

One of the common TERF talking points is, “If I grew up today, I would have (wrongly) believed I was trans.” As with many TERF arguments, there’s also an anti-ace analogue: “If I grew up today, I would have sooner believed I was bisexual heteroromantic than just gay.” I’m going to take an analytical approach to understanding and countering these arguments.

The veil of ignorance

We can start by borrowing an idea from political philosophy: the veil of ignorance. We imagine that we have the opportunity to construct a society however we wish. Afterwards, we get to take our place within the society. The catch is, we don’t know which place we will take. So we don’t want the society to unfairly favor one group over another, because we may end up taking the unfavored position.

The veil of ignorance is particularly well-suited to this problem, because it’s pretty close to what we’re actually doing. We choose the cultural and social messages that are conveyed to the next generation. And, in order to make that choice, we imagine ourselves in the shoes of the next generation. “If I grew up today…”

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On liking furries incidentally

cn: Discussion of erotic media but no graphic descriptions. I’d appreciate if commenters follow suit.

I’d define a furry as someone who is interested in or involved in the furry fandom. It isn’t *just* about interest in anthropomorphic animals, it’s about connection to a particular fandom tradition dating back to the 1970s. The furry fandom taps into a cross-cultural tendency to depict animal characters in a variety of forms, but that tendency is not in and of itself the same as being a furry.

There are plenty of popular works with animal characters that do not arise from the furry tradition, such as Redwall or Bojack Horseman. These works might be well-loved within the furry fandom, and if you *really* love them that might indicate that you would appreciate the furry fandom.  But fans of Bojack Horseman are not necessarily or even typically furries.

I’m not here to summarize the history and practices of the furry fandom. I want to talk about my personal experiences and impressions, as an occasional appreciator on the outside. And, I guess, this is a way of processing my own relationship to furries.

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Origami, and artistic values

Sketch of an origami turtle

Origami Turtle, a pencil sketch by me, of an origami model folded by me. Someone at an origami meetup taught me how to make this. I do not know who designed it, possibly he did.  ETA: I have identified the model as Baby Sea Turtle by Neige A.

Since I’ve been writing about AI art, I want to talk about the implications on my own artistic medium of choice: origami. Since I do not draw (although I have the ability to make a sketch), I’m not directly impacted by AI.  But there are some distinctive artistic values that emerge from origami, and I think it might help explain where I’m coming from.

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Link Roundup: May 2023

FYI, my last post about AI art got a lot of comments on Pillowfort, if you’re interested in that conversation.  And, I have another post queued up, so look forward to that.

Free Stuff is Good, Actually | Unlearning Economics (video, 1:24 hours) – An economist runs down the evidence in favor of social spending such as education, healthcare, and universal basic income.  It really is a free lunch, so there’s no excuse not to take it.

I don’t have much to add except that, in the US individual market prior to Obamacare, the adverse selection death spiral ran its full course for some populations.  People like my husband would not have been able to purchase individual health insurance at any price because of adverse selection.  People complained about how insurance companies loved Obamacare, and yes I expect that insurance companies do not like adverse selection, and I happen to agree with the insurance companies on that one.  Restore the mandate to buy health insurance.

Games and Online Harrassment Hotline, Take This Heads Explain Why the Industry Needs Another Culture Shift | IGN – The author speaks with Anita Sarkeesian and Eve Crevoshay about current work trying to improve company culture, going beyond standard DEI initiatives.  Employees’ fear of doing something wrong, and companies’ fear of liability appear to be major obstacles.  It’s also interesting that when they made a Games and Online Harassment Hotline, they got a lot of calls from the people who had caused harm and didn’t know what to do about it.

Sexism certainly comes in all sizes.  There are acute examples of sexism and abuse that need to be handled by firing people–but workplaces can also have a chilly climate arising from a hundred small behaviors.  I think when people only hear about the acute examples of abuse in the news, they end up being very defensive even about little things–and that makes it difficult to improve workplace culture before the crises occur.

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Tagging AI art

In an earlier essay, I discussed three arguments about AI art, and why I disagree with them. First, it is argued that AI art violated the consent of artists used in training sets; second, that it hurts the livelihoods of artists; and third, that it is bad art.

Part of what inspired me to defend AI art was that the social network Pillowfort polled its users on what ought to be done about AI art. I was surprised to hear that more than half thought that AI art should be banned from the platform, and the vast majority thought it should at least be mandatory to label it as AI-generated. I’ve said repeatedly that I am not personally interested in AI art, but it feels so wrong to single out one particular category of content just because a lot of people don’t like it. I myself produce content that plenty of people don’t like (analytical essays), and there are plenty of popular varieties of content that I dislike but no one would ever think to ban. So I defend AI art not on its own merits, but because I am opposed to efforts to homogenize social media content.

However, let’s consider a couple of things about AI art that might make it particularly annoying or corrosive to a social media platform. Even someone who creates or follows AI art might be concerned about these, and advocate measures to control them. We’re talking about deception and spamming.

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