Tag Archives: journalism

Back to Gender and Videogames

Figured it’s about time to score another feminist gamer post. I’ve often appreciated MovieBob’s strong statements on body types in gaming, and so when another video blogger on the Escapist had one I thought I’d throw in.

Jimquisition is an admittedly awkward guy, especially compared to Yahtzee or Bob, but really this particular site is all about the nerdery, so I happily give him props for things like his complaints against absurd DRM. His latest, however, left me in a bit of a tangle:

I mean, he’s right, we should have more female characters represented in games like this. But what I’m sure he knows is that there’s a cultural dimension beyond production costs and hit boxes. I’d like to believe I’m a pretty level-headed feminist, but if you showed me a video of a woman getting punched in the face and then a man getting smacked in the very same manner – all context suspended – I’d probably feel worse about the woman. I know that’s a potentially sexist reaction, but I think it probably ports to games – our fantasies get busted up if we see women getting shot, cut and blown up in games. I already think it’s quite unfortunate we’re so immune to fantasy violence, I’m not sure that I want us to be immune to fantasy violence against women. And, likely, Jimquisition would agree, given his stance against rape in fantasy games and his identification of women as simultaneously sexualized and brutalized in games.

I also worry that the addition of female body types risks what Professor Lisa Nakamura posited as identity tourism. Given that many (read: most) women are turned off by the gore and sheer aggression present in many FPS games I think we’d be looking at a lot more guys playing female models. This might not be a problem, necessarily, but if these guys start to fulfill sexist stereotypes in the women they play (see Lori Kendall’s statement in Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub… or just take a look at the play guides for Janna in League of Legends, the biggest online game these days) then we risk worsening the situation.

So what’s my opinion? Well, I think we should have more female body types in games, but please, could we work on toning back the violence? These spoiled 14 year old boys immersed in Call of Duty end up as engineering students forced to take my classes and have no idea how to have empathy for other human beings. It’s hard work repairing them – they don’t really like listening to a “pussy” like me when they’re too busy “raping” their math exams. I’m not saying the violence in videogames is directly linked to sexism, I just find the hyper-competitive survival-of-the-fittest ultra-aggressive types feast on that ish.

Or, at least, often that’s my perception. Happy Monday all!

Internet Attention Span and Kony 2012

Remember that Kony 2012 video that got 6 million 88 million views?

Right so 4-20 rolled around and I was saddened to notice the news media appeared to publish more on pot smokers than the cover the night campaign. I did, however, observe some red cups spelling out the words on one of the overpasses running across 290 heading eastbound into Chicago, not far from UIC, which felt uplifting. I think at this point the criticisms of the film’s focus are well-known, and most of us here would agree that seeing to a self-sustained independent Africa isn’t going to have much to do with US special forces tracking down some crazy dude, but what I thought was worth point out here was the astronomical drop in attention for the topic as it has gone on. First up, is this girl’s response, which yielded ~4 million views:

Now, check the views (176k) on their response to some of the criticism:

It seems to me that there wasn’t much of a worthwhile dialogue about all of this, and if there was it took place amongst a small fraction of the people originally interested. In fact people have probably paid far more attention to 12 seconds of this poor guy’s emotional breakdown than issues like the real challenges Africa faces.

People make me sad sometimes.

One man's journey to see the results of his actions

Fred Pearce, senior environmental correspondent for the “New Scientist”:http://www.newscientist.com/ is calculating his footprint. Unlike the increasingly popular “footprint calculators”: found online, Pearce is actually going around the globe and visiting the source of the “gold in his wedding band”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/03/freds-footprint-cost-of-gold.html, the “jeans he wears”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/04/freds-footprint-jeans-from-dhaka.html?DCMP=Matt_Sparkes&nsref=fred, and his “favorite coffee”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/03/freds-footprint-how-fair-is-fair-trade.html. In this amazing series, the audience discovers, along with Pearce, just how connected the world it is. What we do and buy right here instantly (and sometimes catastrophically) effects people in as far off places as Dhaka, Tanzania and the South Africa.

Also featured in the ongoing series “Fred’s Footprint”: “Fairtrade cotton”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/02/freds-footprint-cottoning-on-to.html, “prawns”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/04/freds-footprint-where-prawns-meet-mafia.html, recycled “mobile phones”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/02/freds-footprint-old-phones-offer-new.html and “computers”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/01/freds-footprint-dollar-day-for-wrecked.html and “green beans”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/01/freds-footprint-green-beans-and-old.html. Follow Fred’s Footprint as it’s revealed at the New Scientist “environmental blog”:http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/.

Josh Wolf released, along with his footage

After being incarcerated awaiting charges for 226 days, Josh Wolf has been released. Wolf refused to hand over his raw footage (a journalistic right) of an anti-G8 protest in San Francisco after law enforcement agencies subpoenaed it. His justification was that there was nothing of consequence on the tape, which after having seen it myself, I would have to agree with. As part of Wolf’s release terms, he agreed to publish the footage online which can be found through his website “here”:http://www.joshwolf.net/blog/?p=324 or by clicking the picture below.

http://blip.tv/file/get/Fappy-JoshWolfVideo772.mov The video in question shows what you would expect a video of an anti-G8 protest to look like. A very small amount of educated but frustrated American youths in facemasks and hoodies march through the streets shouting things like "Whose streets? Our streets" and "fuck the police state." After awhile, the mob mentality takes over and the protesters start throwing paint balloons at local shop windows, dragging metal newspaper stands into the street, and tagging passing buses. Police enter the scene and the whole thing is actually unremarkable. Still, it was good to see that Wolf had been right in his assertion that his footage showed nothing too important and it is even better to know that he is finally out of jail. See my previous post about Wolf winning a Journalist of the Year award "here":http://duenos.net/article/89/josh-wolf-wins-journalist-of-the-year A "BBC article":http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6524359.stm about Wolf's release

Lend Money Online To Third World Entrepreneurs

“Nicholas Kristof”:http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/nicholasdkristof/index.html, the talented New York Times opinion writer, continues to impress me with his ingenuity, resourcefulness, and compassion. Last week he wrote about “a new way to help combat third world poverty”:http://www.kiva.org/content/about/images/YouTooCanBeaBankertothePoor_NewYorkTimes.pdf: online lending to recipients in third world nations looking to start or grow their businesses.

http://www.kiva.org "Kiva.org":http://www.kiva.org provides pictures and detailed information about the lender and his/her business so that you can ultimately make the decision of who and what you want to support. Truly, this is an amazing and innovative service, and it appears to be actively fostering growth in needy areas.

NYTimes.com Now Free for College Students

The “New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com has recently made its “TimesSelect web feature”:http://www.nytimes.com/products/timesselect/overview.html, which most notably provides access to the NYT’s “brilliant opinion columnists”:http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/thomaslfriedman/index.html and much of the 150+ year archive, “completely free for college students and professors”:http://www.nytimes.com/gst/ts_university_email_verify.html! All that you need to sign up is a valid university e-mail address.

http://www.nytimes.com/gst/ts_university_email_verify.html In effect, this makes the entire contents of the New York Times free and computer-accessible. How convenient!

Josh Wolf wins Journalist of the Year

The Northern California Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists have awarded “Josh Wolf”:http://www.joshwolf.net/ their highest honor, the SPC Monroe Award. For those of you who don’t know, Josh is a blogger/independent journalist who has been in jail awaiting charge since August 1st, 2006 when he refused to release video tape footage he’d taken at a demonstration in July, 2005. He is being held unconstitutionally on trumped up charges of civil contempt and on February 6th of this year he became longest-jailed journalist in US history for refusing to comply with a federal subpoena. I am a big supporter of Josh’s and he more than any other person has convinced me that this country needs more independent journalists keeping us up-to-date on what is happening in this world.

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An excerpt from his acceptance speech, which he had to deliver from prison:

_The face of the media is changing. This we know for sure. But what remains to be seen is the role professional journalists take in developing this new landscape. Will the battle lines be drawn with two classes of warring voices or will we work together in solidarity to develop a massive chorus as diverse and eclectic as our society itself? As journalists is our commitment to an economic system or is it to the pursuit of the free flow of information? The power is in your hands. Choose wisely._