Link Roundup: July 2024

In the past month, I wrote an article for The Asexual Agenda discussing causality.  And on a more personal front, I composed a couple short songs for music box.  (Did you know, I made an EP back in 2022?)  Anyways, onwards with the roundup.

Seeing Beyond the Veil | Bullet Points Monthly – This article discusses the association of psychosis and spiritualism, through the lens of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II (a game I have little familiarity with).  In the first game, the protagonist’s psychosis is a source of suffering; in the second game, it’s a source of spiritual power.  This serves a narrative of empowerment–but it takes place in a world where giants and fairies exist.  In the real world, people may have more complicated feelings about attempts to turn their suffering into something mystically useful.

‘Cis by Default’, ‘Cis-genderless’, and ‘Gender detachment’: Three Terms You’ll Hopefully Be Hearing More Of | Ace Film Reviews – Blue Ice-Tea discusses three independently created concepts, each describing experiences of people who are not necessarily trans or non-binary, but lack a strong sense of identity.  I think by the nature of the thing, people with these experiences may not be very vocal about it, and may not even think much about it.  Creating labels for the experience has the disadvantage of drawing unwanted attention to the question of who is or isn’t.  But I do think it’s worth being aware of this side of gender experience, and at least some people may find the words useful.

The chronically online state of asexual discourse | Rowan Ellis (video, 1:19 hours) – I mostly agreed with this discussion of 2010s ace flame wars (euphemistically called “ace discourse”).  There’s a brief quote from a post of mine where I describe feeling outside of the flame wars, because I’m a smidge older than the people most impacted.  I was in queer student groups years before, so I entered the arena secure in my optimistic belief that we were already “winning”.  The flame wars were between people who didn’t seem to have ground experience to know that.

One factual error: Rowan claims that David Jay (founder of AVEN) is a cisgender heteroromantic ace, and this is simply not true.  Source: common knowledge in my cohort, and fwiw I also know the guy.  DJ is in the vicinity of aromanticism (although I’m not sure he uses the word), and is in a non-romantic three-parent family.  But in the “discourse”, people labeled him heteroromantic because they had bad sourcing, or lied.  During that era, people coined “cishet”, which was precisely gerrymandered to exclude certain aces, and then they would apply it sloppily to exclude even more aces.

I Don’t Know James Rolfe | Folding Ideas (video, 1:16 hours) – This is a high-concept video that I think most people won’t appreciate, but it’s one that I appreciate, even though James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) being entirely outside my field of awareness.  Essentially, the video applies the approach of H Bomberguy’s CTRL-ALT-DEL video to the subject matter of Lady Emily’s Cinemassacre video.  It’s critical, but the criticism is turned inwards.  So far as I can tell, there are some mediocre aspects to AVGN, but mediocrity is not a sin, and he’s dealing with some unseen constraints (budgeting, tiny studio size, having a personal life).

Kawaii: Anime, Propaganda, and Soft Power Politics | Moon Channel (video, 2:31 hours) – A long discussion of the history of Japanese cultural imperialism, and how it is reflected in anime.  This is definitely a different angle than I’m used to–I usually think of foreign media consumption as a good thing, as it broadens our perspectives and breaks down prejudices.  Some Japanese “propaganda” was intended to counteract anti-Japanese racism, and that seems like a good thing to me.  Less good, is when anime promotes Japanese partisan politics, which foreign audiences will accept uncritically because they don’t have enough context to understand its partisan nature.

I have to say, I’ve never seen Japanese media actually promote remilitarization of Japan, like what Moony discusses.  Maybe because I only pay attention to Japanese video games, and not anime.  Where anime receives governmental subsidies, I think video games tend to be independently profitable, so that leads to more anti-authoritarian themes (see: every JRPG where you kill God; Hideo Kojima).

Yoko and the Beatles | Lindsay Ellis (video, 1:41 hours) – Lindsay explains what really broke up the Beatles, and discusses how fame destroys people, and women in particular.  This feels like a generation above me–I didn’t know any of this.  I had some awareness that people didn’t like Ono, but I thought it was because she was a terrible singer.  And like, stop trying to sell me on her so hard!  I sampled some of her music, and she’s a pretty amazing vocalist that pop audiences obviously aren’t ready for.  She reminds of Ligeti’s Aventures, or Mysteries of the Macabre.

What happened to the new atheism? | Pharyngula – Christian apologists seem to think that new atheism failed because they won the argument.  This is self-serving, and obviously untrue.  In my review of atheist movement postmortems, the most plausible reasons for its decline are a) atheism became too socially acceptable, reducing motivation to agitate, and b) the schism between feminist and anti-feminist atheists.  In other words, it’s a community problem, not a philosophical problem.  Or in other words, it was self-inflicted, and the apologists are but fleas.  Although I have officially left the atheist movement, there are still good reasons for atheist organizing: conservative Christians are still shockingly politically influential and a force for bad; and leaving religion continues to be a personally significant event for many people.

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