best when viewed in low light


Vote Counts

You know how they say "Every vote counts"?

Well, given our history, that's an assumption worth questioning. The timing has very little to do with it, evidently.

[You want me to do what?!]

We're Having More Fun Than You

And even NPR knows it.


Marry Me Jon Stewart!

FUCK you are so funny...and bitter, sarcastic and disillusioned.

Everything I ever wanted in a man.

Everything (and an especially funny one) from Hulu here.



Babies Are Not An Excuse

Men come up with the lamest excuses for differences between themselves and women, and it principally revolves around our ability to bear children.

Ironically, this isn't looked upon as an amazing BONUS in the gender equation, but as a hindrance to other "desirable" behaviors, like, for instance, risk-taking.

According to this Ev Psych test conducted by three people who have no idea how to account for variables, claims that women avoid risky behavior because we are evolutionarily risk-avoidant, due, evidently, to our instinct for self-protection during pregnancy.

In the game world, women only like to play "easy and quick" games, and are not particularly interested in working really hard to ship a product. Because, surprise, surprise, we wouldn't have time to go home and see our kids. Ever heard of project management? Try sticking to deadlines, or even looking at a calendar.

This rhetoric is losing steam...more girls understand that they can kick ass now than in thousands of years. Just wait.


Forward Movement

The more I see, the more I love this guy.

Look towards the future, don't be afraid of it.
[Nice website, btw]
While we're talking politics...

Game Religion

The answer to your question, Craig, is a resounding, "No fucking way."

Thank you for playing.


Bullshit On The Academe

I couldn't have criticized it better myself. Thanks for finally pinpointing the source of my immense frustration and annoyance!

"over the past ten or twenty years, there has been some criticism of political correctness at universities. i had never read any of that stuff. in economics, we didn't talk to people in other departments and so didn't encounter any of the conversation. i felt i just didn't understand any of it, neither side. after getting into new media, however, i've had several moments where i was surprised at how someone was reacting to something. example: i view ev psych as a pretty neutral, benign, reasonable, and persuasive theory about the pressures that help create human behavior. yet at ludium I it got an extremely hostile and emotional negative reaction from my colleagues at terra nova - pretty much all of them. That surprised me and i've been trying to figure it out ever since.

moreover, i've learned that there's a language that works, and another that doesn't work, when you're talking to folks on the cultural studies side of communications. this was evident in my trip to UT Austin, where I had numerous meetings with critical theory scholars. they have a different way of approaching subjects.

i was reading an essay about the election that i found interesting, and surprisingly the author was roger kimball, the guy who wrote the book *tenured radicals* back in 1990. me and bryant paul were joking around about the possibility of tenured radicals at IU a while back. i remembered it as a book that inspired fistfights. so i bought the book and decided to read it, just for fun.

i started reading it yesterday and just finished it five minutes ago, reading it word for word. as some of you know, i *never* do that.

of course i don't agree with much that he writes. but i felt that i was reading an MD's precise, clear diagnosis of a vague illness of which i had been aware but couldn't really describe.

just a few examples: it has bugged me for a long time that so much academic writing is hard to understand. in economics, i chalked that up to the math-heads getting obsessed with formulas and never really learning how to write. but those few times i tried to join the wider intellectual conversation - and i really did try, i read the post-moderns -- i couldn't understand it either. well, kimball explains that there used to be a norm among intellectuals that you should try to express profound ideas simply. it's been abandoned, he says, and replaced by a norm of gamesmanship over word-play. whatever you think of Kimball, that does seem to be true in my experience.

which leads to another thing: i became convinced long ago that academic success is largely a game that you play. But Kimball's view is that this is new; it didn't used to be that way but has only happened because we have given up on notions like truth and merit. again whatever you think of the book, this part has seemed absolutely true, in my experience.

Here's another: my big beef with Brad Bushman is that he clearly has an agenda. Kimball says that the ideal of scholarship used to be disinterested pursuit of truth, but that we're giving that up, concluding that since our biases are always present, we might as well surrender our scholarship to them. and reflecting on my experience as an academic, it turns out that the people i have respected are the ones who seem uninterested in the directions of the implications of their findings, only interested, rather, that the implications be significant (real-world significant!). people who are clearly pursuing some kind of an agenda have always bugged me, whatever the agenda.

finally, i could never understand why i felt i was not really getting anywhere in the academy, i mean, as a "person of higher thinking", even though i had worked hard as a kid to expose myself to music, the arts, and literature from the western tradition. i thought it was weird that few people in economics knew the difference between bach and beethoven, that none of them spoke a foreign language (unless born with it), and nobody seemed to care. Kimball argues that by removing our respect for a common body of knowledge said to be "higher", we've un-democratized education. See, if a person needs to know Shakespeare and Mozart to be educated, and if that standard is accepted and understood by everybody, then even a kid from industrial Cleveland can listen and read and work his way into the system, by showing that he knows his stuff. But if there isn't a set of accepted things-to-know, then the only way to become a person of thought is to get accepted by the in-club on, well, *some* grounds, like an SAT score or your ability to sound like Derrida. when we lose the canon and the attempt to pursue merit, truth, and disinterested scholarship, we turn academia into a good-buddy club. it is truly not what you know, it's who you know - because it's assumed that people cannot know things, only other people.

On all these points, reading the book gave me many 'aha' moments, where i felt i understood the academy i have lived and worked in quite a bit better. i mean, in my 20+ years, i have never met a single person in the humanities who says positive things about western culture. i had never really grasped that, how weird it is. this book puts a spin on that fact, a spin that fits surprisingly well, though like i said, i wouldn't agree with all of the political pronouncements. (i am sure he'd be appalled that there's such a thing as a tenured professor of video games.) and while kimball himself is politically conservative, i think his point of view on universities isn't. this seems to me like a debate between old liberals and the new left.

well, i would recommend this book or something like it as you guys prepare for interviewing in the communications market. if you look at the NCA program, you know you're going to get into environments where they take this kind of stuff very seriously. on one side or the other, i mean. i think you can use kimball's book and reviews of it to see both sides. and you ought to know that there's a debate going on at a much earlier point in your careers than i did.


Finding Love


The paradox of global networks:

"Online love blossoms for pair in the same street

Published Date: 09 October 2008
A PRIMARY school teacher found love online – with a neighbour who lived just doors away.
Julie McIlroy contacted electrician Allan Donnelly after seeing his picture on a dating website, and the pair started e-mailing each other.

It was only after several weeks had passed that they realised they lived just seven doors apart in the same street in Cardiff – and had done for the past 17 years.

The couple now plan to marry."

The Economist Cries


The real story.

Another Nick Yee Nugget

I love this guy.

Did Your Mother Not Like You?

Maverick John McCain has been doing mavericky things for a while now.

[Also, apologies for spreading the blague. Turns out this isn't true.]


Being Girlie

Two great articles from women who seem to know themselves well.

The one on gendered socialization aka Sarah Palin.

And the one on the ultimate gender war question: Why do men want more than one woman?

[By the way...HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Can you see how many people want to know, or think they know the answer to this question?]


So (Not) Funny

John "Slaves Came Before Sharecroppers" McCain"Mississippi" John HurtI can't even come up with something funny to say...these two are related?

[Senior Black Correspondent responds to the racial issues in this election, at the 2nd commercial break 11:15]

Tsk, tsk, Jon. Relying on archaic and cliched racial stereotypes for humor?


Even Closer

Wow, LGIV, you kicked it up a notch with this one!

But, truly, how right you are.

No Jesus Jokes!

I just received this text:

Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor.

We've already established that I'm voting for Obama, so let's take that as a given when I say this.

Deifying a human being is an act of handing over to another human being your capacity for critical thought and rational decision-making. As a rule, I'm against this.

I get the joke...except that McCain is not a governor, and Obama is not the next messiah.

The only elected official that will ever get 100% of my vote will be the person who can stand up and say, "Here, United States, are the things we want...and here is what we can actually have. We have to make some tough decisions, and we'll need everyone's participation and agreement. But not your proxy. Not your couch-criticisms and indifference. YOU are this country. YOU make it happen, whatever IT is! Everyone will have to make compromises and sacrifices, screw people over and get screwed over, and together we will eventually reach another day."

Still waiting.


Ackhme What?

Look, you fucking idiots. There is no such person as Ackmedenijad.

Dude's name is: Ahmadinejad

There is NO "K" there!


Ah Sociology

Just goes to show that you can draw scientific conclusions from the most far-fetched data imaginable.
Also goes to show that there's often more truth to be gleaned from Johnny Populace than MSNBC.

Who Didn't Believe Me?

I was talking with someone about USB-connected virtual sex...

Here's what I was looking for:


An excellent counterpoint to yesterday's dialogue.

Thanks to alert blogger MAdM for sending this along. Cheers to Professor Gamel for recording this for posterity.

"MY HOLIDAY WITH JOHN McCAINIt was just before John
McCain's last run at the presidential nominati on in
2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle
Island in Fiji with John McCain, Cindy, and their
children, including Bridget (their adopted
Bangladeshi child). It was not our intention, but
it was our misfortune to be in close quarters with
John McCain for almost a week, since Turtle Island
has a small number of bungalows and their focus on
communal meals force all vacationers who are there at
the same time to get to know each other intimately.He
arrived at our first group meal and started reading
quotes from a pile of William Faulkner books with a
forest of Post-Its sticking out of them. As an
English Li terature major myself, my first thought
was 'if he likes this so much, why hasn't he
memorized any of this yet?' I soon realized that
McCain actually thought we had come on vacation to be
a volunteer audience for his 'readings' which then
became a regular part of each meal. Out of
politeness, none of the vacationers initially
protested at this intrusion into their blissful
holiday, but people's buttons definitely got pushed
as the readings continued day after day.
Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to
our mealtime entertainment. He waxed on during one
meal about how Indo-Chine women had the best figures
and that our American corn-fed women just couldn't
meet up to this standard. He also made it a point
that all of us should stop Cindy from having dessert
as her weight was too high and made a few comments to
Amy, the 25 year old wife of the honeymooning couple
from Nebraska that she should eat less as she needed
to lose weight.McCain's appreciation of the beauty of
Asian women was so great that David the American
economist had to move his Thai wife to the other side
of the table from McCain as McCain kept aggressively
flirting with and touching her. Needless to say I
was irritated at his large ego and his rude behavior
towards his wife and other women, but decided he must
have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a
handicapped child from Bangladesh. I asked him about
this one day, and his response was shocking: 'Oh,
that was Cindy's idea – I didn't have anything to do
with it. She just went and adopted this thing without
even asking me. You can't imagine how people stare
when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a
shopping cart in Arizona . No, it wasn't my idea at
all.' I actively avoided McCain after that, but
unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political
discussion which soon got us on the topic of the
active US bombing of Iraq at that time. I was shocked
when he said, 'If I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq
to teach them a lesson'. Given McCain's personal
experience with the horrors of war, I had expected a
more balanced point of view. I commented on the
tragic consequences of the nuclear attacks on Japan
during WWII –- but no, he was not to be dissuaded. He
went on to say that if it was up to him he would have
dropped many more nucle ar bombs on Japan. I rapidly
extricated myself from this conversation as I could
tell that his experience being tortured as a POW
didn't seem to have mellowed out his perspective, but
rather had made him more aggressive and vengeful
towards the world. My final encounter with McCain
was on the morning that he was leaving Turtle Island.
Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when McCain
arrived and told Amy that she shouldn't be having
pancakes because she needed to lose weight. Amy burst
into tears at this abusive comment. I felt fiercely
protective of Amy and immediately turned to McCain
and told him to leave her alone. He became very angry
and abusive towards me, and said, 'Don't you know who
I am.' I looked him in the face and said, 'Yes, you
are the biggest asshole I have ever met' and headed
back to my cabin. I am happy to say that later that
day when I arrived at lunch I was given a standing
ovation by all the guests for having stood up to
McCain's bullying. Although I have shared my McCain
story informally with friends, this is the first time
I am making this public. I almost did so in 2000,
when McCain first announced his bid for the
Republican nomination, but it soon became apparent
that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I
did not act then. However, now that there is a very
real possibility that McCain could be elected as our
next president, I feel it is my duty as an American
citizen to share this story. I can't imagine a m ore
scary outcome for America than that this abusive,
aggressive man should lead our nation. I have
observed him in intima te surroundings as he really
is, not how the media portrays him to be. If his
attitudes toward women and his treatment of his own
family are even a small indicator of his real
personality, then I shudder to think what will happen
to America were he to be elected as our
President.--Mary-Kay GamelProfessor of Classics,
Comparative Literature, and Theater ArtsCowell
CollegeUniversity of California, Santa CruzSanta
Cruz, California 95064831-459-2381 (office);
831-429-8803 (home)"

In the past...