Browsing the archives for the Politics category

Cognitive Tools: Apex Fallacy

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Culture, Politics

Recently I came across a bit of an interesting observation — And it really struck home for me in terms of pithily summing up one of many fatal critiques of Feminist pseudo-scholarship.

[Feminist] critique started when some women systematically looked up at the top of society and saw men everywhere: most world rulers, presidents, prime ministers, most members of Congress and parliaments, most CEOs of major corporations, and so forth — these are mostly men. Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man. The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too.

This is a quote by Dr. Helen Smith. What she’s describing is a phenomenon known as the Apex Fallacy. It’s a wonderful shorthand for understanding that even at the fundamental level, Feminist critiques are blind to a wealth of contradictory evidence. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen anyone articulate the idea of the Apex Fallacy until now. Maybe in another ten years the idea will have caught on well enough that people making Apex Fallacy mistakes will be pointed out on it.

Sexism? Or Just Not PC?

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Culture, Games, Politics

So Shamus just posted over at his site discussing a video that showcases a so-called reality show called Game Boss, presumably about some group of game-developer rejects. For reference, here’s the video.

Now the brunt of the reaction to the video seems to be about the second proposal showcased, which seems to be making an ineffectual, tongue-in-cheek jab at feminism. The backstory of the game proposal being that by 2021 the European Union is taken over by feminists and their main villain is an angry, childless woman in menopause.

This, of course, is being used to demonstrate that these guys are SEXIST and MISOGYNIST!

But are they really? Lets put this proposal into context. The previous contestants proposed a boss fight that involved launching the plague-ridden corpses of dead princesses at the player, and then later following up with the idea that the player would have to dodge a literal stream of excrement. This isn’t exactly highbrow stuff the other guys are producing, all of them are rolling around in the gutters. So the idea of making a game that is also social commentary seems fine to me. It may be inept social commentary, but then I don’t expect games, game designers, game journalism, or reality TV to produce good social commentary.

Being that I’m not the type of person to fly off the handle at some socially awkward guys presenting a poor satire, I decided to do a little research.

Where did this video montage come from? It turns out the Game Boss show aired sometime in early-mid 2011. Very old news in our 24/7 hype-and-outrage driven media culture.
It was posted to YouTube by a user named OffalAl. This guy also posted a second montage clip containing many of the same video clips although slightly different. In the comments to that video, he posted a link to the website Gamers are Embarassing.

If you take a look at the Gamers are Embarassing site you’ll notice that it essentially takes offense to the entire idea that people play and enjoy videogames. I’ll be the first to admit that “gamer culture” is a ghetto that I’m eager to step away from. But the guy thinks that this unabashedly cute video is somehow deeply embarrassing. He’s also quite persistent in trying to argue that gamer culture is “rape culture” or somehow celebrates rape. Also included in the typical topics are:

  • can’t deal with gender
  • can’t deal with homosexuality
  • can’t deal with race
  • can’t deal with relationships
  • can’t deal with women

That’s right, If you enjoy videogames, you’re a racist, homophobic misogynist virgin. You obviously don’t have the “correct” views if you’re a gamer. If you have a sense of humor and are able to see the fun in a character like Duke Nukem, you’re a sexist rape-promoting bigot. As far as I’m concerned, while gamers might be somewhat embarrassing, they’re certainly more intelligent and better company than somewhat deranged leftist blog authors with an axe to grind. The only cringe-worthy thing I found is that games journalism continues to cater to the increasing unhinged views of people like the Gamers are Embarassing blog author.

We Interrupt This Non-Broadcast…

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Culture, Music, Politics, Visual

Many moons ago I posted this video called Flying at Tree Level.

It’s a stunt/trick video showing some of the insane movement tactics in UT2004. The other day while checking my email I got a friendly message from the YouTube Police telling me that this video had been removed for violating copyright.

Now, as it turns out, YouTube hasn’t totally removed the video, they’ve simply muted the audio. Fine, at least they’re not totally annihilating volumes of original work just because they include something that may be copyrighted*.

*Although, the distinction must be made that these works themselves have copyright, what they don’t have is deep pockets and teams of lawyers to aggressively antagonize hundreds of millions of people.

So, anyway I went back and took a look at this so called copyright violation. Apparently the audio on this video was pulled because it contains a whole 40 seconds of the song “I Believe I Can Fly” by Space Jam. What a crock. Bitterly ironic that it gets pulled for containing only the main chorus of a song by a band who only ever made one popular song…

Update: Related Reddit thread.

Selective Sexism

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Culture, Politics

First off, I want to get this out of the way: Epic Games has really lost touch with their gamer base. They tasted the forbidden fruit of easily-swayed 12 year olds with Gears of War and have pretty much abandoned their past market — A mature and discerning gamer who demands a superior quality product.

Nevertheless, I came across this article on Kotaku which I thought was really silly. The main point of the article is unremarkable, it’s talking about Epic’s decision to go with EA (probably not a bad thing given what a debacle Midway has been with UT3) and their new projects in production.

The fun part is when the Kotaku interviewer chides Mike Capps for Epic’s “lack of female characters”:

As a parting shot, I asked about chicks in this new game. I hinted (flat-out said) every Epic game I’ve seen is severely devoid of badass females (except Unreal Tournament) and wanted to know if he planned to do anything about it. Apparently, I’m not the only one with this concern. Capps’s girlfriend is also very interested in the badassitute of female characters in Epic games – ditto for the EA handler’s girlfriend and double it for all the guys at People Can Fly with girlfriends.

Really, so “every Epic game” he’s seen is severely devoid of badass females?

Lets look at their past titles: Epic Pinball. Jazz Jackrabbit. Unreal (main character was by default, female). Unreal 2. Unreal Tournament. Unreal Tournament 2003. Unreal Tournament 2004. Unreal Tournament 3. Unreal Championship. Unreal Championship 2. Gears of War.

Pinball and Jazz are not exactly relevant here. And the only Unreal title that doesn’t feature “badass females” (badass of course, meaning “sexy female character who turns boys on by being into guns and killing stuff in the same way that adolescent boys are”) is Unreal 2. Even there, we can’t really know what Aida is like because she never sees combat in the game. She’s touted as a military genius, though, and her strategy won a past war — she just doesn’t like killing.

So basically, this Kotaku guy puts on his feminist waders and goes to chide Epic. “Of your past 9 futuristic paramilitary shooter games, one of them has not featured a ‘badass female.’ When are we going to see more games from you guys that feature ‘badass females.'”

How utterly stupid. Not that it’s anything special, it is pretty typical.

Anonymous vs. Scientology

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Culture, Politics, Technology

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you probably haven’t heard of the declaration of war that the internet entity “Anonymous” has declared against Scientology.

This was the first video to hit the interwaves:

A new one has recently come out, though similar in content. There have been some threads on social news sites following the release of these videos. One comment in particular in this Reddit thread struck me as quite interesting. User notany says: “Anonymous might be the first real Stand Alone Complex.”

Spoiler-ish description of Stand Alone Complex behind the cut.

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More Massed Effect

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Culture, Games, Politics

Here we go again folks! More media controversy over Mass Effect’s raunchy, primetime-TV-watchable sex scenes.

This video found via Kotaku. I actually felt like Keighley really dominated the interview segment, but when we went to the panel all that progress was lost. Instead we got a bunch of people who have never played a videogame since Pong(!), commenting on something they know nothing about, and a news anchor pontificating on how difficult it is to be a parent and control childrens’ access to entertainment systems that costs hundreds of dollars, and games that cost half a hundred bucks each.

BuyCooperLawrenceNow

SearchInsideCooperLawrence

Funnily enough, the so-called expert called in on this Fox News segment, Cooper Lawrence, whose entire useful contribution to the segment was admitting that she didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, is experiencing a mass effect of her own as her book is flooded by poor reviews on Amazon.

Anyone else think the pictures shown with her book are a little distasteful and “objectifying” of women? I mean, “Buy Now” and “Search Inside?” That seems a little inappropriate for children.

I am absolutely loving some of the reviews she’s been getting. Unfortunately, Amazon has already closed one-star reviews and will probably start removing some of the better reviews. A bit ridiculous considering Cooper Lawrence’s own uninformed opining on national television. A couple of samples from Amazon…

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Absolutely wonderful book! It is both an incredible sexual aid but is also quite useful for cleaning up messes that my dog has created.

1.0 out of 5 stars Oh look, a misinformed review, January 23, 2008
By Farzad Mesbahi “Z” (Bethlehem, PA) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
I’m just here to bash a form of entertainment I’ve never read (your book) after you bashed a form of entertainment you’ve never played (Mass Effect.)

Oh how much it sucks, doesn’t it?

1.0 out of 5 stars Ignorant, January 23, 2008
By Patricia R. Rossetti – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
If she feels that she is professionally qualified to bash a video game that she has never played, then she should have no problem with me bashing her book that I have never read.

2.0 out of 5 stars Concerned Parent, January 23, 2008
By S. Roegge – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
I am Deeply appalled by this book and the availibility of it to my children.
I took my child for a nice outing last saturday to the local library and i was frightened for society as a whole when i saw this book being displayed. The sexual tones given off by just the cover of this book alone was enough for my daughter to ask “mommy why is that lady making opinions about things she knows nothing about because she has not done minimal reasearch to even understand the basics of her opinion?”
As you may guess the car ride home was very interesting.

1.0 out of 5 stars Promotes underage sex!, January 23, 2008
By Richard Nast.e (San Diego, CA United States) – See all my reviews
This book is filled with pictures of naked women and depictions of graphic sex. Worst of all, it’s marketed to children!

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Good, January 23, 2008
By T. Goldman – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
I’m sorry, but this book is just not good. It’s not well written, the author has no credibility, and she apparently has no real knowledge on any subject. Reading this book is as helpful and interesting as staring at your wall for 8 hours. The cover is creepy too.

1.0 out of 5 stars An utterly abysmal read, January 23, 2008
By Mr. J. Bain “totalbiscuit” (Leicester, UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Be warned, for within these pages you will find one of the biggest collections of pseudo-intellectual drivel in the history of the written word. But don’t fret, if you can’t get past the truck-loads of assertions, broken logic, terrible arguments and outright overly feministic intellectual terrorism of this book, you’ll still have the front-cover to pin up on your wall. After all, good looks are all you need to be taken seriously as a psychologist these days apparently.

Turnabout and irony, so delicious… So bad, immature, and probably counterproductive but yet hilarious and devilishly satisfying nonetheless.

Update: EA steps in to demand corrections.

The “Fact-Box” Race for President

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Culture, Politics

I know that they all probably assume they have better, much more important, urgent, timely, things to campaign on, but I sure would like to get their individual takes on the new lies that one Kevin McCollough is marketing to ignorant adult children.

It’s called “Lying” and it allows Kevin McCollough – universally male no doubt – to engage in the most egregious falsehoods ever conceived. One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, pace, writing style, fib size of the lies they wish to “publish” and then watch in crystal clear, LCD, 54 inch screen, HD clarity as the internet “lies” multiply in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of.

The objections to such filth should be simple to understand.

Starting with the disgusting idea that one can “create” their own versions of reality, removing facts, truth, and honest spots while enhancing – shall we say – the exaggerated features of reality’s characters tends to demonize accuracy, correctness, and proper grammar. Right? We can all agree on this?

Then there’s the dishonesty behind the lie’s title. “The “Sex-Box” Race for President” sounds like an article written by an overwrought, undereducated high school drop out that was published because the advertisements for the local bowling alley got pulled after a bunch of French anarchists attacked patrons with firearms in the parking lot. By it’s design, parents could ask for it, or turn on their childrens’ Calculation Box to go read it from the tape feed with nary a raised eye-brow. Generic, non-descriptive, and entirely mindless.

But it IS marketed for the IBM Selectric 3600, perhaps the most manually stimulating typesetting system ever made. The hardware for such allows the blending of blatant falsehoods, incompetent analysis, and the manipulation of actual truth so that an alternate reality engulfs the infantalized adults reading it without much objection.

Now if I have trouble with my son taking Kevin McCollough’s lies a little too emotionally, imagine the powerful effect that deceit adds to the mix when the figments of Kevin McCollough’s own imagination are coupled like magnets with stupid-politicians, activists, and anyone else who tests reasonable peoples’ patience by legislating, regulating, and “putting themselves into power.”

I hear my local pastor’s answer already, “Kevin needs to take his medicine.” Figures, he’s a psychiatrist.

In the race for President there has been a lot of discussion about morality and it’s impact on the lives of the individual candidate. Some pretty inane ones like Penny Arcade’s less lucid moment this past week when they posed the inquiry about Soul Edge to Jedi Master Yoda.

Yet here’s a question that deserves to be asked, and in all likelihood will not be: “How much moral judgement should the President push into legislative issues that are likely to severely damage our society’s intelligence, function, and capability?”

I hear the nay-sayers claiming I’m being the wild and crazed Truth thumper I’ve always been – but its a worthwhile question isn’t it?

If a pre-octagenarian, cetacian, Klingon, or senior citizen hears such a lie in which the videogames DO act out Kevin McColloughs most forbidden fantasies, with Barbie streetwalkers, and embody whatever libel can be imagined, what’s to stop that same person from assuming that the videogames in this “real world” shouldn’t be forced to do the same.

We now know because of the lengthy track record of serial killer after another that addictive use of self-delusion was prevalent in case after case – long before the switch got flipped and what their masturbatory imaginations had been given into, they were forcing real live human beings to tolerate their misguided lust for control.

And because of the self-published, no-accountability blogohedron age in which we live – Kevin McCollough can be customized to sodomize whatever truth, said by whoever, however he wishes.

With it’s “over the net” capabilities virtual fact-free mind-rape is just the push of a button away.

Yes there will be many snickers that I decided to bring this issue up in the Presidential cycle of 2008 but how refreshing would it be for a President to prove to the nation that his own integrity was not in question and put his pen and signature to a bill that dealt with such unsimulated misinformation excess in a way that was punitive to its creators to such a degree that they would never recover from it?

And, yes, the above paragraph was just one long run-on sentence.

As technology continues to push the limits of imagination and interaction more and more the brain, the emotions, the feelings will integrate with physical responses in reality. Soon after, Skynet will become self-aware. And while Kevin McCollough and other makers of such yellow journalism trash seem to be pushing our next generation of legislators through the gates of hell as fast as is humanly possible, it needn’t be that way.

Here’s hoping that as the next President will be forced to deal with this continual emerging reality – and enemy that has set its site to our destruction from within – that we will have elected a man of such character that he will have precision in the clarity of his response.

How would that be for a bold and uncompromising “Fact Effect?”

Last of the Time Lords

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Culture, Politics, Visual

About a week ago, after watching the second part of a three part finale to the third season of Doctor Who, I got to thinking about the show. For awhile, meaning for most of the first season and about half of season 2, I was a big fan of Battlestar Galactica. My feelings on the series soured after a particularly bad second half of season 2, and a generally pretty mediocre season 3, with a spectacularly bad season 3 finale.

Some spoilers behind the cut.

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Tunnels and Trolls

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Culture, Politics

Just a fair warning, this is a touchy subject for some people, and kind of off my typical subject matter. After reading 150+ comments over at Shamus’ site, I felt pretty compelled to add in my two cents.

If you read the comments to that post, you know how this one really brought out the real trolls of the internet. All manner of them, they came from the depths, with their warts and boils and their horrifying breath rasping out battle-cries such as, “Race and gender are social constructs!” It was frightening, and a few intrepid posters foolishly went at them with their swords sharpened. Trolls cannot be slain by conventional weapons, in fact, they only become more and more agitated by them. Trolls can only be killed by fire.

Those of us who don’t live in solipsistic darkness where external reality is only what we believe or imagine it to be can recognize that these claims are patently false. Skin color is not a good proxy for race, but races are genetically real concepts. Gender is sex. Despite the attempts by Feminists to redefine this word, Feminists have never made a serious attempt at delineating or measuring the influence of sex as opposed to gender. Gender therefore means only what Feminists decide it means as it is convenient for them at the time. Until science has made a great deal more progress, the influence of “sex” as opposed to “gender” is largely unknown and isn’t worth discussing, particularly not with those who think that their thoughts determine what is real.

Both of these are tangents, however. The real battle in the comments took place over the idea that “Rape is about power.” This is actually a shibboleth repeated by Trolls to determine whether the beings they encounter in their darkness are other Trolls, or if they are interlopers from the surface world. If it turns out the being was not another Troll, 1d3 Trolls are summoned within the next round.

“Rape is about Power” is not a verifiable claim. At best, this is a consensus, not a fact. In the world of Trolls, enough of a consensus may determine reality, but in reality it does no such thing. This sort of consensus is particularly suspect given the well-documented and overwhelming political bias of the Psychology field. As a further strike against the validity of this claim, a quick Google search revealed hundreds, possibly thousands of feminist agitprop sites using the formulation, MYTH: Rape is about sex. FACT: Rape is about power.

Even if “Rape is about Power” were true, what does that tell us? Aside from completely misleading us about when, where, why, and how rapes occur, it tells us nothing. One may as well say “Money is about Power.” Yes, and? An understanding of power relationships is already included in folk-psychological understandings of rape. Pseudo-expertise insisting that “Rape is about Power,” though, is far poorer in that it excludes the most obvious and influential factor in rape, sexual desire.

The claim is made not to illuminate our understanding of the subject to help prevent it, but instead to cast it into the Trolls’ delusion of “The Patriarchy.” According to this ideology, rape is a systematic expression of power by this mythical “Patriarchy” over women. Yet another tool in the toolbox, amongst things such as “Truth,” “Science,” “Marriage,” and so on. In reality, the claim “Rape is about Power” is about power. The entire point of this claim is not to help women or stop rape, it is to frame the unacceptable act of rape in terms that Trolls control. It is both a cavern that entices the curious into the darkness of the Trolls, and a weapon that can be used to frame those who oppose the Troll’s perception of reality as being supportive of socially and morally unacceptable behavior.