A compendium of links to articles worth reading. Click the title to visit the article. Best read via RSS. Got a comment? Tell me on Twitter.


Adria Richards Link Roundup

Those who follow me on Twitter and ADN likely know that I've been linking a lot about the Adria Richards situation. Now that Faruk Ateş has rounded up a good selection of articles on her case, including many I've linked to myself, I thought I would include these here for posterity. I may not agree with every point made in these pieces (though I do agree with the vast majority of them) but all of them are worthy of your time.

Soraya Chemaly: Online Threats Against Women Aren’t Trivial and Don’t Happen in a Vacuum

Aja Romano: In defense of Adria Richards and call-out culture

Janet D. Stemwedel: Naming, shaming, victim-blaming: thoughts on Adria Richards and PyCon

Chris Yeh: Sexism in tech is like an onion--it has many layers and makes people cry

Christie Koehler: Bold Ideas Uttered Publicly: Pycon, Richards And Responding To Conduct Violations

P.Z. Myers: Adria Richards did everything exactly right

Stephanie Zvan: Not in Public!

Dani Alexis: How Adria Richards Spoke For Me


His Name Is Philip Coulson

Who is Coulson, anyway, in the context of this drama? He wields enoromous power, he clearly outranks the individual heroes involved, and yet he doesn’t merely defer to them, he loves them, they mean the world to him. Coulson, in short, is the audience. If Fury is the writer/director, Coulson is the audience. But not just any member of the audience, he is the way all comics readers imagine themselves on an adventure with one of their heroes: the coolest sidekick ever. He’s blase, unassuming, patient, unflappable and openly adoring, as we see in a moment, when he gushes at Steve Rogers as they head out to the SHIELD carrier.

If you liked The Avengers and aren't yet reading Todd Alcott's ongoing analysis of it, you really should be.


Politics, Clarified

1.) I do not have an "ideology." Political ideology doesn't make sense to me. Actually, moral/philosophical "codes" don't make sense to me, period. I organize my life around situational, practical reason - something is "good" for as long as it achieves the optimal result sought (for me, "optimal" generally includes "causes no direct unwarranted harm to others," just so we're clear), when it ceases to do so it becomes neutral, when it becomes harmful and/or counterproductive it becomes "bad." Ideology means doing counterproductive things because you've subscribed to some kind of "value system" that says this is the right thing to do even when it doesn't work; and while I understand why that sort of psychological masochism works for some minds ("my suffering will be rewarded in heaven!") it doesn't work for mine.

With some exceptions, and while not always the tone I would take (understandably, since we're different people) this is a good piece by Bob "Movie Bob" Chipman that largely explains my own political thinking as well.


My Own Personal Key of the Twilight

I’ve worked on a decent number of games since first becoming a translator, but few that many have heard of. The first project I was involved with where I recognized the name was .hack//G.U., the sequel series to the original .hack. While I was happy to work on a series that I thought may actually be played by people I didn’t know (and one I personally thought was interesting enough to buy and play through its Japanese release in order to better localize it) like so many of my other projects it seemed that the games’ English release came and went with little more than a passing mention on Gamespot. While mildly disappointing, it was not really unexpected (by this point I had long since become used to the idea that the games I worked on were far more likely to be passed over than to be the subject of discussion) and I soon moved on to other projects and left the series behind.

Several years later, through the strange and wonderful way that Twitter brings people of divergent backgrounds with common interests together, I found myself following, and being followed by[1], Kris Ligman, best known as the curator for the excellent Critical Distance but also the first real fan of G.U. I’ve met, as well as the author of the piece linked in the title. After years of translating games it was the first time I’d met someone where my work actually had real, tangible meaning for someone other than the people paying me. And while I don’t delude myself into thinking that I was essential to providing that meaning (if it hadn’t been me working on the games it would have been someone else, a point belied by the fact that they got someone else to do the third[2]) the fact that I ended up directly contributing to it is one of the most fulfilling things I could have hoped to happen when I first became a translator.

Needless to say, my offer to help her with her future analysis stands, and if this article is any indication I can’t wait to read it.

  1. The more relevant Twitter has become to our digital lives the more I’ve wished for a word that meant “both following and being followed by”.  ↩

  2. The agency that brought us the project never asked us to localize the third for reasons they never revealed, so my professional involvement was strictly limited to the first two.  ↩


‘Cultural Scavengers’: Violentacrez, Reddit, And Trolls

[U]nmasking Violentacrez is a first, not a final, step. The profile of his behavior and the culture that supported him is much more than an occasion to castigate him; it’s an opportunity to turn the mirror on ourselves and our media culture. If we neglect that opportunity and are merely satisfied that a creep was uncloaked, the only benefitted parties here would be Gawker and Adrian Chen, who have another viral piece on their hands and come out looking like heroes despite their own participation in the culture they’re calling out.

(via Scott Madin)


Why we shouldn't dismiss non-gamers when they talk about games

Alan Williamson:

As an self-professed adventurer of digital fictions, it hurts to admit that much is rotten about the state of video games. But the way to improve this cannot be to dismiss games as “not all evil”, which suggests that most games are evil as if Satan himself was distributing the software. Is that why you can’t play a game backwards? Even if Kellaway doesn’t care about their place in the cultural conversation, I do, because they are as much a reflection of culture as anything else. GameCity is important: quite frankly, games deserve a better discourse than what is currently on offer. We need more criticism that is intelligent, personally reflective and nuanced; treating games more like experiences and less like gadgets. We need to critically examine the role of games in culture, because we can only demand more from our media when we understand where they fall short. Sure, video games are fun, but they’re serious fun.


On coding, writing, structure and cottage-cheese hating Ninjas

Most people think comments describe the function and purpose of the code. Hell, that’s the intuitive answer, right?

But they don’t. If they’re done right, your comments explain your intentions for the code block. And that’s a very different animal.


I'm Not Interested in Finding a Truce in the Culture War. I'm Interested in Winning It.

Lindy West:

There's this prevailing attitude that the "culture war" is some kind of discussion that we're all having. But you know what? Fuuuuuuck that. I know this is divisive and counterproductive and inflammatory or whatever, but not all ideas are created equal. Some ideas are shitty, and I'm sick of coddling people with shitty ideas just because this country has a weird backwards boner for old-timey puritanical rhetoric.

(via Daniel Feit)


Double Standards

What I find interesting, too, is that it's the same people who are currently slamming Microsoft for abandoning (effectively) the Windows 7 interface with Metro who are also slamming Apple for not abandoning the familiar, well-worn app launcher interface on iOS.


Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea's Music Video Sensation

In case you missed it, this is a fascinating article that explains the hidden depth to Gangnam Style. That said, while most of the scenes have more meaning behind them than someone not familiar with Korean culture might have guessed, sometimes a guy thrusting his crotch at the camera is just a guy thrusting his crotch at the camera.