Sunday Linkdump: Beyond the confines of the sick sick game

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Technically not Sunday anymore, but what, am I being graded on this shit? Let’s get to it.

  • So I was wondering earlier on Twitter about whether or not various goings-on in the US are threatening to cause a brain drain and heeeeeeeeeey. But it’s not like we need, y’know, science or anything.

    The drying up of resources has had a damaging effect on the research being conducted, forcing scientists to curtail their projects or trim their staffs. According to the survey, 68 percent of respondents said they do not have the funds to expand their research operations; 55 percent said they have a colleague who has lost a job or expects to soon; and 18 percent of respondents said they were considering continuing their careers in another country.

  • “Reading Habits and the Status Quo.”

    To claim that we’re not getting books with that diversity because most readers would rather not be challenged is insulting. When I talk to my fellow romance readers, I get the sense that this is absolutely not the case. Obviously, sometimes one wants to read something comforting and familiar, but for me, that’s usually when I reread books or read the latest novel by a favorite author. When I am not reading for comfort, I am looking to be challenged.

    And I don’t mean that I consider the presence of characters whose backgrounds and life experiences are different from to be a challenge–not at all. Humanity is diverse by nature and to not have that fully represented in our art is a failure of imagination.

  • Transgender educator and activist Andrea James on Chelsea Manning’s “gender hell”.

    Manning’s pre-military pictures experimenting with gender expression show these feelings were present long before enlistment. From our earliest memories, most trans people recall moments when they realized their identities were considered wrong or diseased by others. It’s easy to internalize that and become very secretive. Trans people often create lives for ourselves that attempt to suppress those feelings and that part of us. Joining the military is not uncommon, nor is committing to personal relationships where transition would mean the end.

  • “When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland.” This is one of the best things I’ve read on the Miley Cyrus VMA debacle. I do want to note that it does do one thing that I think is problematic – and that commentators have been doing almost uniformly – which is to speak and write as if Miley Cyrus’s performance was entirely the doing of Miley Cyrus. The “Miley Cyrus” that we see is not a person. It’s a brand, the result of the careful construction of a corporate entity. It’s just sad that actual persons – including Miley – are the ones who have to deal with the fallout. Regardless, it’s not like the same exact processes aren’t at work.

    Fat non-normative black female bodies are kith and kin with historical caricatures of black women as work sites, production units, subjects of victimless sexual crimes, and embodied deviance. As I said in my analysis of hip-hop and country music cross-overs, playing the desirability of black female bodies as a “wink-wink” joke is a way of lifting up our deviant sexuality without lifting up black women as equally desirable to white women. Cyrus did not just have black women gyrating behind her. She had particularly rotund black women. She gleefully slaps the ass of one dancer like she intends to eat it on a cracker. She is playing a type of black female body as a joke to challenge her audience’s perceptions of herself while leaving their perceptions of black women’s bodies firmly intact. It’s a dance between performing sexual freedom and maintaining a hierarchy of female bodies from which white women benefit materially.

    The performance works as spectacle precisely because the background dancers embody a specific kind of black female body. That spectacle unfolds against a long history of how capitalism is a gendered enterprise and subsequently how gendered beauty norms are resisted and embraced to protect the dominant beauty ideal of a certain type of white female beauty.

  • That Thing we all suddenly seem to have for “introversion”? Yeah, it’s kind of a problem.

    With the Disconnection Meme still making the rounds, is our cultural enthusiasm for the Introversion Meme even the least bit surprising? In fact, I’m almost surprised I’ve not seen an iteration of the Introversion Meme that lists a preference for walks on Cape Cod as a diagnostic criterion for introversion (or maybe that’s the 24th sign). The “introvert” has joined the paper book, the vinyl record, the face-to-face conversation, and the wilderness vacation as a fetish object imbued with the mythic power of Authentic Life™.

  • Finally, this is one of the funniest and – somewhat surprisingly – sweetest and saddest things I’ve read in a while. Honest to God, I got choked up by the end. Every note it attempts to hit, it hits perfectly.

    Over the last decade-plus, the market has been saturated by Grand Theft Auto clones, and it’s no surprise that the Video Game 3,000 has one of its own. The reduntantly-named Unlawful Car Stealer features simple artwork on each page, making it the system’s only title to provide graphics of any sort.

    “[Your mom] designed that one,” says your dad. “It’s about 5,000 pages, too. She’d stay up all night, every night, with that pencil and protractor, making the graphics. One morning last week, I found her sitting at the dinner table, sound asleep on top of that stack of papers, wearing her Denny’s apron. I didn’t want to wake her up, but if I didn’t, she would’ve been late for her shift at the Denny’s.”

Make me a bird.

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