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Posted by Michelle Legro

Days before the events in Charlottesville, Harper’s published the cover story from their September issue about the prominent women of the alt-right: Women who want to bring others into a movement that is misogynist at its very core. In the piece, “The Rise of the Valkyries,” Seyward Darby profiles Lana Lokteff, the “queen bee” of the alt-right who David Duke has described as a “harder-hitting” Ann Coulter with a “movie-star quality.” Lokteff finds likeminded women online and promotes them via Red Ice, a white nationalist media company she runs with her husband. But for women to have a voice in the alt-right, let alone be prominent in the movement, is its own paradox, as Lokteff admonishes women to give counsel to men and embrace classic notions of femininity. I spoke with Darby about what it takes to interview a subject whose very existence appears to undermine her own claims.

***

I was listening to an interview with Elle Reeve, the Vice News Tonight correspondent who embedded herself with the white nationalists in Charlottesville, and she says that shared misogyny, usually online, is often what brings white supremacists together — that misogyny is a kind of gateway to white supremacy. How does Lokteff understand the role misogyny plays in the alt-right?

I think Elle did a great job in that Charlottesville segment; I was impressed with her access and poise throughout. The question you pose is the one that drew me to this story in the first place: How can alt-right women exist — or, going a step further, be vocal advocates — in such a misogynistic movement? The answer isn’t simple. Lokteff and other sources provided several different responses, revealing complicated — or confused — views of gender dynamics.

First, they do not agree that the rhetoric uttered by movement leaders like Richard Spencer is misogynistic. (I quote him in the story as saying that women should not be able to make foreign policy because “their vindictiveness knows no bounds.”) They insist this language is merely cognizant of biological, predetermined, symbiotic differences between men and women: Men are strong and assertive, while women are soft and emotional; men should lead and women should follow, providing their men with support and counsel. To protect the white race, men should run countries, make policy, and fight wars, while women should perpetuate bloodlines, nurture family units, and inculcate new generations with pro-white beliefs. I remember one source telling me what people outside the alt-right might find misogynistic she thinks is “just true.”

The corollary to this answer is that these women detest feminism. Many of them came to the alt-right as anti-feminists first, not unlike the men you mention. Their reasons were myriad, but at base I think a lot of them felt ostracized by, angry with, or otherwise disappointed in feminism, which they would define in caricature: an ideology that celebrates man-hating, racially diverse, fat, ugly women demanding whatever they want from the world. The women I examined believe that the progressive feminist agenda castigates traditional wives and mothers and depicts the white man as public enemy number one. (They would call that real racism.) They argue that feminism, which they see as the spawn of washed-up, Marxist, lesbian, and/or Jewish women in the early 1900s has perverted the natural gender order by convincing women to be more like men and men to be more like women.

When I described to Lokteff my personal concept of feminism — very roughly, it advocates women having the same rights and opportunities as men to choose to be what they want to be and do what they want to do — she told me that white women already had that before feminism came along, because white men have “propelled us like crazy.” Which, of course, circles back to the whole men lead, women follow thing: Women succeed thanks to men giving them the platform to do so.

Another answer I heard is that men’s rights activists (MRAs) and men going their own way (MGTOW), the most virulent of internet misogynists, aren’t really alt-right. Lokteff told me that to be alt-right, a man cannot disdain women; he must love and cherish them, because otherwise how will the white race reproduce and thrive? This raises all kinds of questions about who gets to claim the alt-right mantle, which was forged in the depths of the internet with minimal organization and maximum self-amplification. I don’t think men who identify as MGTOW and alt-right would be thrilled to hear a woman tell them, “You’re not one of us.” I’ve seen as much — but said far more crudely and cruelly — in some comments sections attached to Lokteff’s videos.

The last thing I’ll say about this question is that my sources insist that the mainstream media intentionally depict the alt-right as misogynistic in order to degrade it, to make it seem like it isn’t and couldn’t ever be a real political force. They want white women to know that the movement has their true interests at heart, that it’s a sorority where they can feel safe and accepted. Any which way they spun it, the responses boiled down to, “You’re wrong about us.”

So much of what you describe with Lokteff reminds me of the character of Serena Joy, as she is rendered in the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Serena is as much of an architect of the new government that her husband is, but when the revolution comes, she finds herself forced to live the life she preached — one of subservience — shut out of the political life she aspired to. How does Lokteff understand her own place between femininity and power?

I’m so glad you asked this question. I started working on this story in January, and over the next four months I read The Handmaid’s Tale and watched the Hulu series. It was a bizarre experience to see everything I was researching dramatized in a worst-case scenario. In the episode about Serena Joy’s backstory, I had to hit pause on my remote because all I could think was, “Oh my gosh, that’s Lana.” The parallels were eerie.

I put the question of femininity versus power to Lokteff and she said a few things worth noting. First, she described herself as having “guy brain,” or masculine tendencies toward assertiveness and leadership, which makes her unusual among women. On the whole, she thinks most white women want to be beautiful, adored, married with kids, living in a nice home, and maybe fulfilled in a career. (But that’s secondary.)

The other thing she said is that the alt-right believes it’s currently fighting a war for the soul of Western civilization — a grand sociopolitical battle to save the white race from destruction. All hands are needed on the frontlines promoting the cause and recruiting acolytes, including women. The implication, I think, is that women who are outspoken today would take a step back once the white ethno-states that many in the alt-right wish to create finally exist. They would shift back to the natural position that they want — or say they want — to be in anyway.

Lastly, the women I examined view femininity as a form of power in its own right. Lokteff talked about white women — namely, their sexuality and vulnerability —as inspiring men to fight for and protect them. This is one of the reasons alt-right women place a high premium on aesthetics: The more beautiful you are, the more likely men will be to take care of you, personally and existentially. I heard several women say that they can get away with saying things that alt-right men can’t; they think that femininity makes racist, anti-Semitic, or otherwise offensive ideas more palatable.

You describe an alt-right podcast hosted by a white nationalist couple (“Good Morning White America”) as having calculated “bubblegum” tone. It’s a tone that’s similar to Lokteff’s physical presence: equal parts cheerful and hateful. How did this come across as you interviewed her? Did it affect the kinds of questions you asked?

Another reason I did this story is because I wanted to sit down face to face with people I don’t agree with. It’s easy from a distance to dehumanize such people as thoughtless, malevolent, and not worth an ounce of your time. I wanted to challenge myself to see women of the alt-right as fully-formed people, no matter how much I found what they said to be abhorrent.

The women I spoke to were friendly, articulate, and accommodating. Lokteff offered to pick me up from the Charleston airport, to drive me back to my hotel after our interview, and to appear in a debate on Red Ice. (I declined all three.) I didn’t hide who I was, save briefly divorcing my husband on Facebook because he is half-Jewish and I wanted to maximize the chance that women would talk to me — not a foregone conclusion at the start of this research. They were aware that I am liberally minded and do not support Donald Trump. I was told that some of the women who declined to speak to me or never responded to interview requests did so because they saw on Twitter that I support refugees, which I guess was a non-starter for them.

I tried to be cordial and measured in my interviews. One rule I had was to not get into arguments. I knew there was no way they would change my mind, nor was there much chance I could change theirs. I also knew that I would be pointing out what I disagreed with — or letting repugnant views speak for themselves — in the final article. So I endeavored to keep the dialogues going for as long and into as much depth as I could, in order to wrap my head, and hopefully my readers’ heads, around their zeitgeist. That kept the combativeness on a pretty low burn, even if on the inside I was angry or alarmed (which I was a lot of the time). This approach only affected my questions insofar as I tried to pose them anthropologically, for lack of a better word. And because I didn’t get into fights, I was able to ask more questions than I think I otherwise would have.

The perverse side of all this is that the women’s friendliness is, to a certain degree, calculated. If they want the alt-right to have a real civic future, which many of them do, it’s in their interest to seem normal and reasonable. It’s also in their interest because, from a recruitment perspective, they want to make potential converts comfortable with the idea of becoming alt-right. They promote themselves as being on the side of truth and light on matters of race, gender, and nationality. They depict their critics as aggressive, nasty, and violent — hence all the rhetoric about antifa and other leftists post-Charlottesville.

The last thing I’ll say about this is that there are exceptions: There are online female pundits and trolls who are crass, sarcastic, and impatient with “normies” (people outside the movement). I certainly encountered some of that, though it came mostly from anonymous pundits.

You include in your piece a short history of women within white extremist groups. It seems like they fare best within tight organizational structures like the Klan. Does Lokteff see her role in the alt-right as an organizer? Or is she more interested in adding women’s voices to the movement’s purposeful disorganization?

She demurred about this when I asked. I don’t think she would ever outright say, “I’m a leader of the alt-right.” But she would say that among women in the movement she’s more vocal and deeply involved in generating propaganda. I think she knows that the more female voices she can harvest from YouTube, Twitter, Gab, and other platforms to promote via her media company, Red Ice, the better. Not to create purposeful disorganization, but to convey momentum. The alt-right is concerned with showing that it has strength and numbers. Its shrewdest leaders realize that a critical piece of the project is proving that they aren’t just a bunch of slovenly white guys on their computers in their moms’ basements. They want to seem like smart, virile white men and smart, beautiful white women who’ve finally realized what’s in their best interests.

As for the historical comparisons, I found these very striking. No, the alt-right isn’t a tightly organized structure like the Nazi party or the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. It’s an umbrella term for a motley cluster of hate groups, internet personalities, quasi-intellectuals, and trolls — all of whom believe in the cause of white nationalism. But the way that believers talk about women’s roles in their movement today is very similar to how predecessor groups talked about the same topic. I found myself underlining and highlighting bits of speeches and articles from nearly a century ago because they rang so familiar to what I was reading online or hearing said in interviews.

You say that the alt-right is notoriously cagey when it comes to talking to the mainstream media. When Lokteff agrees to meet with you, she invokes a sense of female empathy—that you wanted to hear her out—and then immediately revokes it. (“It’s not because you’re a woman.”) How did this play out in your interaction with her?

She rejected female empathy, but then invoked it again when she compared herself to me, saying we’re both vocal women who are interested in politics. So her line on the issue wasn’t a straight one. One of the things I found most striking about how she approached the interview was that she showed up with her husband, without mentioning in advance that he’d be there, and recorded me at the same time I was recording her, on equipment that was much more sophisticated than mine.

I gathered that there were two reasons for this: First, she wanted to make sure she had a precise record of everything she and I said, so that she could call me out on any discrepancy in what I published. (Several people I asked to interview said they would only do so if they could get questions in advance, record me simultaneously, or respond in writing.) The second reason is that she sees herself as a journalist just as much as I see myself as one. One with an agenda, to be sure, but a truth-teller and muckraker all the same, out to upend the mainstream media narrative.

The majority of white extremists at the Charlottesville march were men — men who were willing to show their face in public, who were emboldened to transform their talk online into the public space. Do you get the sense that Lokteff and the women she mentors want to enter a public sphere? Or would they rather remain online?

Some do, and some don’t. Some want to do so now, others claim they aren’t ready. Some insist that they can’t go public because they risk their careers, reputations, and so on; this is a piece of a broader narrative they try to spin about the alt-right being the new counterculture, the renegades of the 21st century. But to me, the bottom line is that the internet is a fertile space for this ideology because it offers anonymity, room for hate speech, and connections across wide geographies. (The alt-right is a transatlantic movement, with a strong presence in parts of Europe.) Many alt-right acolytes feel emboldened by Trump’s election and are stepping out into the world, as we saw in Charlottesville. The internet, though, is home base.

The 5 things meme

Aug. 22nd, 2017 08:21 am
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[personal profile] alexcat
The 5 things meme

Nabbed from [personal profile] ysilme


5 things you’ll find in my bag: wallet, keys, eyedrops, coupons, lists


5 things you’ll find in my bedroom: eyedrops, CPAP machine, clothes, photos of Sara, pillows


5 things I’ve always wanted to do: See Stonehenge, write a book, paint like Vah Gogh, live in a cottage at the beach, be a hippie


5 things that make me happy: Larry, books, air conditioning, Jenny’s visits, drinking latte at B&N’s Starbucks with friends.


5 things I’m currently into: Babylon 5 fandomy things, reading mysteries, science and history shows on tv, writing drabbles, enjoying evenings with Larry


5 things on my to-do list: writing my OEAM Big Bang Story, catch up on August drabbles, catch up on Orphan Black, find somewhere to go for a short vacation, make some crafty things for Christmas gifts to my special friends.

Family Band

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] longreadsrss_feed

Posted by Longreads

Ben Rothenberg | Racquet and Longreads | August 2017 | 9 minutes (2,122 words)

Our latest Exclusive is a new story by tennis writer Ben Rothenberg and produced in partnership with Racquet magazine.

To hear Alexander Zverev Sr. tell it, the tale of how his younger, golden-haired son began to play tennis has the simplicity of a fairy tale involving the Three Bears.

“It was all natural for Sascha,” he said. “Mama played, Papa played, brother played. And so, he started to play.”

While the Williams sisters have made family reunions in the finals of Grand Slams feel normal, multiple branches of a family tree breaking through to the top of the sport remains a rare phenomenon. This is particularly so in the men’s game, where brothers have rarely shared space in the top 200 together over the past decade. But in a sport that demands individualism, the Zverevs have managed to become the archetypal tennis family, a story line that’s become increasingly prominent in professional tennis, where the various methods of grooming top players are hotly debated.

Spanning generations and cultures, the Zverevs travel the tour together as four: father Alexander Sr., 57; mother Irina, 50; older brother Mischa, 29; and younger brother Alexander Jr., called Sascha, 20. The group is completed by Lövik, a toy poodle who does not play tennis himself but seems to enjoy the sport.

Under the guidance of their parents, both Mischa and Sascha became world-class juniors and now top 30 ATP players. Their biggest successes yet came in early 2017: Mischa reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after beating top-seeded Andy Murray, and Sascha made his top 10 debut after winning the Italian Open, the first Masters title for a player his age in a decade.

The younger Zverevs had their courses charted by parents who also achieved tennis success—though by different metrics, as Soviet athletes were rarely able to compete outside the U.S.S.R. during what would’ve been the heydays of their careers.

Family friend Olga Morozova at Wimbledon, 1970. (Photo by Ed Lacey/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Olga Morozova was wary that the elder Zverevs might downplay their pedigrees. Morozova—perhaps the best-known player of the Soviet era, reaching the French Open and Wimbledon finals in 1974—had ostensibly joined our table in the players’ garden at the Italian Open to be a translator for Alexander Sr. and Irina as needed, but she quickly turned into a booster instead.

“This gentleman in front of you was one of the best tennis players in the Soviet Union, and I think he was unlucky not to be here and doing it here,” she said of Alexander Sr. “And that lady, Irina, was on the national team. I have to start, because sometimes they don’t know how to say it about themselves, but they both are very good tennis players. And that’s why their sons are playing so well, because they have very good knowledge about tennis.”

* * *

Both from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Alexander Sr. and Irina both played the sport as children with the free equipment provided by government-backed coaches.

“You come to tennis courts, the coach gives you racquet and balls,” Alexander Sr. said. “And if there’s no court, you go to the wall and you start to play there. It was very simple, very nice.”

They married when he was 24 and she was 17.

“Why not?” Morozova said, anticipating any objection to their age difference. “It’s normal. She was a good-looking girl, and he was a good tennis player.”

Both were good tennis players, in fact: Irina was the fourth-best in the Soviet Union, which meant she narrowly missed out on the limited travel opportunities her husband enjoyed as a member of the Davis Cup team.

“This generation of people were lost for tennis,” Morozova said. “It’s bad luck for them—and bad luck for the rest of the world, because they were such talented players.”

Irina said there was no sense of frustration at the time about what they missed out on.

“We didn’t know another way,” she said. “We first know it’s a possibility when we moved to Germany. Before, in Soviet Union, it was a nice country. Everything was for free, everybody was happy. And after, when we moved, we can see the difference.”

In November 1991, one month before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alexander Sr., Irina, and their 4-year-old son Mischa emigrated, legally, from Russia to Hamburg, Germany, where work awaited them in a tennis club.

It was an adjustment in culture, language, and sport. Alexander Sr. had previously coached at CSKA Moscow, one of the Soviet Union’s training centers for elite talent. In Germany, he worked as an instructor for average players of all ages.

“It was completely another job,” he said. “But, okay. After one month, I understood what was happening, and okay, I worked.”

A new elite player was in his midst, however, as Mischa developed into one of the best in Germany, Europe, and then the world.

“Growing up, my dad was my idol. And he played tennis, so I wanted to be like my dad,” Mischa said. “When I was older, Sascha looked up to me and my dad and wanted to be a tennis player too. It was a natural thing. If the whole family is professional tennis players, I think the chances are very slim that my brother and I would grow up wanting to be a doctor or lawyer or something like that.”

* * *

At first, Sascha stayed behind.

“My mom always tells me Sascha’s first real sentence was ‘Where’s Mischa?’ because when he was little I always used to travel with my dad,” said Mischa. “He understood that I was traveling and playing for tennis, and then he always wanted to play.”

When Mischa came home, Sascha would set up a net of sorts out of VHS cassettes for them to play five-set matches in their apartment, playing the roles of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

“These imaginary battles, that’s how it all started,” Mischa said. “As he grew, I kept playing with him—in small-court tennis, mini tennis, and then advanced to the big court.”

Though still much too young to compete, Sascha tagged along as Mischa began competing in junior Grand Slams, getting to know other promising juniors in Mischa’s age bracket such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Gaël Monfils.

Sascha took advantage of his access to the Grand Slams by trying to talk his way into playing on the biggest courts. “When he got to a tournament he’d say, ‘Where is the tournament director? I must speak to him!’” Irina recalled. “I’d say, ‘Sascha, why do you want him?’ ‘I must speak to him! I must speak to him about my match. I must play on Centre Court.’”

While he didn’t manage to get into Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, young Sascha did successfully talk his way into hitting in Hisense Arena, which seats 9,500.

“I always wanted to do everything my brother did,” Sascha said. “My brother was a professional tennis player traveling around the world, and I always wanted to do that as well. I came to the biggest events on tour and saw the amount of people that were watching him, and the stadiums that he played in, so that was something that I always wanted to do.”

* * *

Sascha Zverev defeated Roger Federer to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Aug. 13, 2017. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

When it was Sascha’s turn to compete on those stages, he thrived, winning the junior Australian Open in 2014 and reaching his first ATP semifinal in Hamburg later that year.

Headlines in Germany declared him the “next Boris Becker.” Becker, the last German man to win a Grand Slam, won his last in 1996, a year before Sascha was born.

Coming from a major but dormant market with a head of shaggy blond hair that would light up any boy band poster, Sascha has the tour salivating at his superstar potential, and he was made the face of its “Next Gen” campaign.

Alexander Sr., who still coaches both his sons, said he tried, futilely, to quiet the buzz that Sascha is a can’t-miss champion. “At first we tried to stop this,” he said. “Of course we have this target, but he must do a lot of work. If he thinks one time, one moment, ‘I am good,’ that’s very dangerous. Federer is unbelievably good, but he works, he practices. For Sascha, it’s important not what people say, but what he does.”

While he attracts the attention, Sascha remains ebullient and deferential about Mischa’s talent and potential, which was stalled for several years by a myriad of injuries to his wrist, ribs, back, and knee.

The two compete against each other in PlayStation games like FIFA and NBA 2K—“He gets very annoyed and then quits after a few times,” Sascha said of Mischa—but they’re quickly each other’s greatest supporters. Any suggestion that his career has surpassed his brother’s leads Sascha to quickly point out that Mischa has made a Grand Slam quarterfinal, something he hasn’t yet done.

“I always thought he’s actually better than his ranking,” Sascha said of Mischa. “I always said that to you guys, and maybe some of you guys thought that I’m just saying that because he’s my brother, but he’s proved that I’m right, in a way.”

That sort of defiance can be typical for Sascha, who often quickly loses patience with the media who gather in increasing numbers after his matches, eager to understand and validate the hype, often asking repetitive, basic questions.

At the start of one press conference in Rome, Sascha balked at a question that began with an observation that he possessed “confidence on court and off court.”

“Off court in what way?” Sascha asked, cutting the young Italian reporter off. He was unsatisfied by the stammering clarification that followed.

“Yeah, I think you meant something else,” he determined with a withering stare.

Sascha and Mischa Zverev in a doubles match in Indian Wells, March 2017. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Despite his antagonistic response to the suggestion, Sascha’s assuredness is hardly disputed on tour. John Isner, whom Sascha beat in the Italian Open semifinals, described him as “a certainly very confident kid” who carries himself with “a lot of swagger.”

Isner is based at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, where the Zverev family also established a training base; he remembered being blown away by Sascha’s skills as a young teen.

“Like, goddang,” Isner recalled.

After adding praise for Mischa and the parents—“They don’t gloat about anything, they just go about their business”—Isner also spoke glowingly about the youngest in the clan.

“I like that dog a lot as well,” Isner said of Lövik. “He’s pretty cool, and he fits in with the family. It’s a cool family, and they have a cool dog.”

* * *

Lövik, who has a somewhat similar mop of curls atop his head, most reliably brings out the softer side of Sascha.

“Sascha doesn’t have too much time, but when he does he loves it, to stay with Lövik,” said Irina. “He can sleep, he can play with him. Lövik every morning comes to him first—to Sascha, every morning—and kisses him for 10, 15 minutes, nonstop. It’s very important for him.”

On tour, though, care of Lövik often falls to Irina, which can be a welcome distraction for her during Sascha’s matches. Since Sascha turned 16, his mother has been too nervous to watch him play. She’ll wander off into a park, or onto a beach, and wait for a message on her phone telling her that the match is over.

“I think I was too long with Sascha alone,” she said. “Papa traveled with Mischa, and Sascha was too close to me, so it hurts too much.”

Irina’s self-exiling is an extreme example of a balance the family has managed on the road of knowing how much space to give one another.

“We’re close, but at the same time my parents are very smart people,” Sascha said. “They know that if we’re going to spend every single minute together, then at some point we’re going to go nuts at each other. So on the tennis court they’re always there, when we’re on site they’re always there, but they let us do our own things. But they’re always there, so I have nothing to be homesick of.”

Irina, who cedes most all of the coaching duties to her husband, also finds peace in making the road as much like home as possible. During Grand Slam events, the family will rent a house, where she cooks and cleans.

“The kids love it when I cook, you know?” she said. “Because 300 days a year they travel and stay in hotels. It’s mom work, it’s normal, but I think this is very important for travel.”

Morozova, again, showed her approval. “It makes them feel good, so it’s very important,” she said, nodding. “I think they’re doing a great job. I think you have to write this article and tell people how they’re supposed to raise children.”

* * *

Ben Rothenberg is a freelance tennis writer from Washington, D.C. He contributes to The New York Times and other outlets, and cohosts the No Challenges Remaining tennis podcast.

[syndicated profile] lifehacker_feed

Posted by Jillian Lucas on Deals, shared by Shep McAllister to Lifehacker

If you missed out on our exclusive Privé Revaux discount last week, here’s another chance to pick from 37 different frames for just $22 each in today’s Gold Box, because you need sunglasses year ‘round. This price is for today only, so don’t let the sun set on your new pair.

Read more...

A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:02 am
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[personal profile] yhlee
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.

Interesting Links for 22-08-2017

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

Day 6 Reveals 2017

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:38 am
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[personal profile] shmaylor posting in [community profile] pod_together
Think You Under the Table (Critical Role (Web Series))
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] Pax, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] bienenalster, [archiveofourown.org profile] pax
Summary: "Pub crawl?" Keyleth said.
"Pub crawl," Percy agreed.

Gestalt (Leverage)
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] Poetry, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] Shmaylor
Summary: The thing about magic is that you can’t do it by yourself. No one person has enough magic in them to do even a minor casting – you need a coven. Parker knew that about magic, which was why she couldn’t trust it.

Cleave (Steven Universe (Cartoon))
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] thingswithwings, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] susan_voight
Summary: “Tell me a story,” Steven asks, as he shuts his eyes. Garnet, as far as she has the capacity for it, is surprised; Steven is seventeen, and while he still has a tendency towards whimsy, he hasn’t asked for this particular indulgence for years. Not since he was a lot smaller.
Garnet feels a little angry at herself for not having noticed that earlier; she feels regretful, too, that she can never seem to see any part of Steven’s adulthood coming in advance.

Loss In The Night (Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling)
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] luvtheheaven, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] marsmaywander
Summary: Set at the end of book 5, Hermione finds out from Lupin that Sirius has died. Her grief hits her hard. The conversation about everything that happened in the Department of Mysteries happens while she is in the hospital wing, still recovering from the effects of the Death Eater's purple flame. A few days later, she talks to McGonagall about the loss of Sirius.

Once Upon a Dream (Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel) - All Media Types, Iron Man (Movies), Captain America (Movies), Agent Carter (TV))
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] endeni, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] KeeperofSeeds
Summary: In which Tony meets Steve earlier.

Despite the Abundance of Violence (Captain America (Movies), Iron Man (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe)
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] romanticalgirl, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] Hangebokhan
Summary: Tony is trapped and stripped of his Iron Man suit. He sends out a distress call to Steve and Sam. Someone else answers.

The Short Telephonic History of the Hipster and the Ginger (Dead Poets Society (1989))
written by [archiveofourown.org profile] phonecallfromgod, performed by [archiveofourown.org profile] Chestnut_filly
Summary: “Oh my god, why do none of you answer your phones!? It’s Gin; when are you done with class? I need your second opinion on something. I think Charlie and Steven might have become a meme? I’m not 100% sure but this is starting to look like the best day of my life. Call me back quick!”

Letter from a very contented lady

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:45 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Dear Mr Derringe

Your direction has been conveyed to me by way of Lady Bexbury, whose offices in the matter had been requested by Mrs Lowndes, sister of Miss Netherne – though I doubt not she is now Mrs Carter? – that so very kindly conveyed news of you.

I am entirely glad to learn that you and Mr Perry did not die of a fever in the South Seas, nor were eaten by cannibals, as some have rumoured, though I mind that you told me that the stories of man-eating were an entire figment, or at least exceeding exaggeration. I hope that you are entire recovered from the fever that brought you under Mr Carter’s care, and that your plans for a school prosper.

Dear Mr Derringe, pray do not distress yourself concerning our marriage that never came to pass: I confide that I too am by no means suited for the matrimonial state. But I assure you, I am now in quite the happiest way of life. Your very fine remarks about David and Jonathan brought to my mind that other remarkable tale of devotion in the Old Testament, that of Ruth and Naomi.

You will recall that my cousin Hester is Countess of Nuttenford – now Dowager Countess of Nuttenford, the late Earl having been fatally savaged by a bear whilst on a botanical expedition in Virginia. I became companion-chaperone to her middle daughter, Lady Emily Merrett, a very fine young woman with no inclination to marriage, while she was keeping house for her brothers, the Countess having been an invalid these many years and gone to reside with her eldest daughter, that had but lately married the Marquess of Offgrange.

The present Earl is now married to a very fine young woman, and has given over to our use one of his smaller estates, Attervale, an exceeding pretty little place if somewhat quaintly old-fashioned. There is a dovecote of considerable antiquity and I have taken to the keeping of these birds. Meanwhile, dear Em Lady Emily takes to the keeping of hawks, for there is a mews that we suppose originally intended to that purpose - as she also practices archery we might almost be took for some household of the Middle Ages.

There is a very fine orchard and we brew our own cider: dear Lady Emily’s stepfather, Sir Charles Fairleigh, was most helpful in instructing us in the matter, his own apples and their brewing being highly renowned.

Are you now acquainted with the Thornes and the Carters I confide that you are in a very good antipodean set. The Thornes’ fine humane endeavours for the unhappy convicts are very widely admired in our circles and Lady Bexbury, as I daresay they will have told you, is their benevolent patroness raising interest for them. Their scientific observations are ever attended with the greatest eagerness by savants. I like to think that you will have the opportunity of many fine games of chess with them: I ever regretted that I was by no means up to your mark in the matter.

Is there any service I may do you, I hope that you will always consider me your friend. Please convey my kindest regards to Mr Perry.

In great regard and esteem

Lalage Fenster

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:13 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] elisem!

Daily Happiness

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:51 am
torachan: a cartoon kitten with a surprised/happy expression (chii)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Went to Home Depot today and got a new toilet seat, which is something I should have done a long time ago but just put off because, idk, I'd never bought a toilet seat before and it seemed overwhelming, I guess? But actually it was quite easy, as apparently they only come in two sizes, and it was cheap (got a good one for only $20), and now we have a toilet seat that actually stays put and doesn't slide around all over the place when you sit on it, which is pretty great.

2. I got the paid translation job done early in the day, so didn't have to worry about running up against the deadline or anything (and I'd done most of it by last night anyway), and now I just wait to get paid, which is always a happy surprise when it happens because this company pays at the end of the month following the month you do the work in. By then I'll have forgotten I even had extra money coming!

3. I got a chapter of manga translated, too, and vacuumed the house, and read a book, and just generally got a lot done today.

4. Jasper's getting to be such a big boy.

feliciacraft: felicia as editor of the Sunnydale Herald (herald editor)
[personal profile] feliciacraft posting in [community profile] su_herald
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sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I looked at the calendar, Ray.

The HFA's all-night half-marathon this year is vampires. Of that lineup, I have seen only the Hammer Dracula (1958), but some of the rest—Near Dark (1987), The Hunger (1983), Dracula's Daughter (1936)—I've had designs on for years. This should be great. People are going to be so nervous, stepping out into the ash-making sunlight at the end of that long, bloody night.

I see also from the October and November calendars that the archive appears to be embarking on a William Wellman retrospective. The trick here will not be living in the theater for most of the fall. I've seen a number of the titles announced so far, but hardly any of them on a big screen—they're pre-Code, they turn up on TCM. I know I want to see Night Nurse (1931), Heroes for Sale (1933), and Wild Boys of the Road (1933) because they are three of my favorite pre-Code movies, period. Maybe Other Men's Women (1931) just because I like Grant Withers and all five minutes of James Cagney in it so much. Safe in Hell (1931) is one of those titles you can't turn down. I've been seeing stills of cross-dressed Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life (1928) for years. For some reason I always forget he directed Nothing Sacred (1937) and think of it as an unusually cynical Frank Capra.

I'd ask why I have a real job except I worry it would trigger irony, so I'll just wish I had a real job with more time to write about movies.

Budget also couldn't hurt.
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