Virtue signalling is not pretending

After watching a single video by H. Bomberguy, YouTube started recommending a bunch more, like this one:

For those who don’t care to watch: H. Bomberguy makes humorous and informative videos mocking anti-feminist youtubers.  This particular video addresses the concept of “virtue signalling”, apparently a buzzword in the alt-right/manosphere.  The alt-right accuses their opponents of “virtue signalling” as a way of saying that their opponents are just doing things to make themselves look good, possibly to get women to have sex with them.

I am not nearly as entertaining as H. Bomberguy, but I want to address a point he missed: signalling is a real concept in game theory, and the alt-right clearly doesn’t understand what it means or how it works.

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Review: Obduction

[cn: This review is spoiler-free. I can’t speak for the comments.]

Obduction is a new game by the team that brought us Myst. Having played all the Myst games when I was younger,* I ended up buying Obduction, and almost immediately regretted it.

Hear me out, it’s not that it’s a bad game. It just reminded me of why I think retro pixelated games are so popular these days. Game creators can advertise high-quality graphics all they want, but ultimately the hardware required to render these graphics is sold separately. In many ways, this game had uglier graphics than Myst IV. I had to put the graphics on the lowest settings, deal with terrible frame rates, and sit through lots of long loading screens. My advice: bring a book.

That aside (and also putting aside numerous other technical issues), Obduction is an okay game. The main attraction is the story. Just sharing a bit of the game’s introduction: you find yourself teleported to a strange world, a deserted mining town surrounded by an alien landscape. You have to use environmental clues to figure out both the mechanics of the sci-fi world, as well as the events leading up to the desertion. But it’s not all mystery and sci-fi, it’s also about the human angle.


Image credit: Cyan

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Linkspam: September 10th, 2016

Hey, if you’re interested in joining Freethought Blogs, you better send us an application right now.  Instructions on how to apply are here.

And now for my monthly linkspam:

Psychic Ferns EP – My brother is in this psychedelic doom metal band!  And the EP is available for free (or name your price).  Naturally, I think they are the coolest thing ever.

Aces in the Church – A collection of aces’ personal experiences with Christianity.  If you’ve ever speculated on the interaction between Christianity and asexuality, I’d ask you, are you ready to confront some real stories?  Coyote themself has some of the best writing in here but the snippets are important to show the diversity of experiences.

[cn: rape, rape apology] A Feminist Magazine’s Hypocrisy On Rape Made Me Love Feminists Even More – Chris Hall talks about an incident where a feminist magazine published a sympathetic account of a woman raping her male partner.  Although this was a feminist fuckup, Chris was grateful for the response of other feminists, and mad at MRAs for making the conversation more difficult.  MRAs upset me for similar reasons, particularly since I started being out about being a rape victim.  I still remember that time that a gay guy tried to sell me on the men’s rights movement by telling me gay men were lucky to not have any consent culture. [Read more…]

Knowing one’s marginalized self

I think most people here agree that people in marginalized groups are authorities on their own marginalization. The marginalized person sees how others treat them differently, and knows exactly how much it hurts to be treated differently

On the other hand, I often feel like I have no idea how marginalization affects me. When I started talking about how race affects me, I found that it required research. First-hand experience wasn’t enough. This left me feeling that I’m not much of an authority at all. Compared to a white person, I simply had more motivation to look things up and retain the information I found.

Furthermore, I believe this is a common experience. That’s one of the things suggested by my research! Filipino Americans have relatively little cultural identity:*

Of the ten largest immigrant groups, Filipino Americans have the highest rate of assimilation. With exception to the cuisine; Filipino Americans have been described as the most “Americanized” of the Asian American ethnicities. However, even though Filipino Americans are the second largest group among Asian Americans, community activists have described the ethnicity as “invisible”, claiming that the group is virtually unknown to the American public, and is often not seen as significant even among its members.

Never have I identified more closely with being Filipino than when I found out that Filipino Americans rarely identify closely with being Filipino.
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Data feels

cn: rape, sexual violence, & CSA juxtaposed with cold data. This is being crossposted to my other blog.

Some of my most important activist work is in volunteering technical skills for the Asexual Census, a survey of English online ace communities. This past week, I’ve been on a roll analyzing our 2015 survey. No numbers will be reported here, this is just a personal account.

Unsurprisingly, as soon as I was done with prep work, my attention was drawn to the statistics on sexual violence. As a programmer, I’ve been trained to always use descriptive variable names. Now I’m looking at variables named “rape” and “rapeCombined”.
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Origami: Octopus

An octopus made of paper

Octopus, by Sipho Mabona.  It’s about 2 inches in diameter.

This model is a foray into “one-piece” origami.  Or at least, I like to think of it that way because I usually use multiple pieces of paper.  More specifically, this is the kind of advanced origami where they no longer give you instructions.  Instead, they simply show a square with all the folds (a “crease pattern”).  Check out the image below the cut.

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Toxic masculinity: Basic considerations

I believe in applying feminist ideas to help men. It’s not that feminist ideas need to help men in order to be good ideas; it’s that feminist ideas are good ideas, therefore they are good ideas for men. Feminism is not obliged to help men, since that’s not really its primary goal; nonetheless, applying feminism to help men is a worthwhile project.

One particularly relevant feminist idea is “toxic masculinity”. According to the Geek Feminism Wiki,

Toxic masculinity is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.

Toxic masculinity causes harm in two ways:

First, men are pressured to conform to male gender roles. For instance, there is nothing really wrong with being unemotional, and some of us just have more muted emotions than others. However, telling men that they are supposed to be unemotional leads them to be ashamed of the emotions they have.

Second, some of those male gender roles are in themselves bad. For instance, violence is generally maladaptive in modern society. A man who is socialized to be more violent could hurt the people around him, and could hurt himself as well.
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