Monday, March 12, 2018

Two Different Issues, One Root Cause

So, students around the country are planning to walk out of schools to protest the country's criminally insane lack of gun control laws, and teachers around Oklahoma are planning to walk out of schools to protest how abysmally underfunded the state's education system is, and I'm gonna need everyone to wake the fuck up and realize that BOTH OF THESE PROBLEMS ARE CAUSED BY HAVING TOO MANY RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS.

They are the NRA's subservient little bitches.

They have controlled Oklahoma's state legislature for countless years on end.

If you always vote for them, you are the reason things are like this.

Wake. Up.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Bullying, Intimidation, Silencing

Andrew Sullivan wrote another great article a couple Fridays ago. I don't consider this one as earth-shattering in its truth telling as this one was, and I don't feel as compelled to quote-and-highlight the entire thing as I did here. But this is the passage that stood out to me most:
An entirely intended byproduct of [SJW] bullying — and Roiphe is just the latest victim — is silence. If voicing an “incorrect” opinion can end your career, or mark you for instant social ostracism, you tend to keep quiet. This silence on any controversial social issue is endemic on college campuses, but it’s now everywhere. Think of the wonderful SNL sketch recently, when three couples at a restaurant stumble onto the subject of Aziz Ansari. No one feels capable of saying anything in public. In the #MeToo debate, the gulf between what Twitter screams and what pops up in your private email in-box is staggering. It’s as big a gulf on the left as you find between the public statements and private views of Republicans on Trump. This is compounded by the idea that only a member of a minority group can speak about racism or homophobia, or that only women can discuss sexual harassment. The only reason this should be the case is if we think someone’s identity is more important than the argument they might want to make. And that campus orthodoxy is now the culture’s as a whole.

Microaggressions? How else do you explain how the glorious defenestration of horrific perpetrators of sexual abuse and harassment so quickly turned into a focus on an unwanted hug or an off-color remark? The whole cultural Marxist idea of a microaggression, after all, is that it’s on a spectrum with macro-aggression. Patriarchy and white supremacy — which define our world — come in micro, mini and macro forms — but it’s all connected. A bad date is just one end of a patriarchal curve that ends with rape. And that’s why left-feminists are not just interested in exposing workplace abuse or punishing sex crimes, but in policing even consensual sex for any hint of patriarchy’s omnipresent threat.
I very rarely post about social issues on Facebook anymore, because the torrential downpour of shit my fellow liberals gave me for it led to a degree of social ostracism, which in turn exacted a heavy toll on my mental health. But I cannot allow myself to be fully silenced on these issues, so I speak out here on my blog instead.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Top 10 Games of 2017

(I know, I know, I'm a month and a half late.)

NOTE: Per usual, this list refers to the top 10 games I played in 2017, not games released in 2017.

10) Cuphead
9) Doom
8) Firewatch
7) The Turing Test
6) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
5) Gone Home
4) Batman: The Telltale Series
3) Super Mario Odyssey
2) Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
1) Zelda BOTW

(I do not have a review yet for Breath of the Wild, as the game is such a cultural milestone and personal favorite that any review that did the game justice would need to be much more in depth than I typically go. So I will write that sometime in the coming weeks, as I am currently on my second playthrough of the game.)

Previous Winners:  [2016]

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

17 killed in Florida school shooting

Obligatory "Fuck the NRA and every limp-dick dumbass piece of shit who supports them."

Obligatory "No, seriously, American pro-gun arguments are so unbelievably, incomprehensibly fucking stupid that side-effects of hearing them may include nosebleeds, severe nausea, and rage-blackouts."

Monday, February 12, 2018

Favorite 2018 Super Bowl Commercials!

(Note: These are all just my own personal rankings, obviously.)

Tide killed it this year. I mean, they killed of several stupid people via the Tide Pod Challenge, but they also had the best Super Bowl ad campaign with their series of parodies:

More: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

In second place was Jeff Goldblum's Jeep ad:

Third place went to another Jeep ad - simple, but darn effective:

Bud Light is in fourth place, with this pair of commercials:

The Doritos / Mt Dew rap battle between Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman was in fifth (I sure can't wait to try the new Sprite-flavored Mountain Dew!):

Sappy, sentimental ads are usually more grating than they are impressive, but this Toyota ad was still good enough to take the sixth spot:

Same goes for the Hyundai 'Hope Detector' ad in seventh:

I liked how clever the Intuit "skip ad" ad was, so I'm giving it #8:

Groupon's ad for supporting local businesses comes in at #9, because fuck the rich:

And finally, Toyota's "One Team" ad, because it's a nice thought:


I lol'd at Wendy's "iceberg/Titanic" dig
The "Avocado Dome" ad was amusing
Trailer for Avengers 3
Trailer for the Han Solo movie


Using MLK to sell Dodge Ram trucks? Really?
There is no context in which Dr. Oz does not suck.
This Budweiser ad is almost good, except for the part where they spent millions of dollars to brag about donating what probably amounted to a fraction of that.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Game Review: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

This, is it something else. This game answers the question "What would Schindler's List be like if it were directed by Quentin Tarantino?"

Wolfenstein II's story is constantly pinging back and forth between being hilarious, bizarre, poignant, touching, infuriating, triumphant, cathartic, and hilarious. (Hilarious deserves to be in there twice.) The action and gameplay take a back seat, in my opinion, to said story, which is incredibly wild and proudly leans into its own craziness. It mixes an (admittedly unrealistic) retro/sci-fi Nazi-dominated American setting with characters that are believable, grounded, and easy to get invested in.

One character in particular caught my attention: Sigrun Engel. She is the daughter of the game's sadistic, psychopathic antagonist, who very early in the game joins the player's anti-Nazi resistance movement. Prior to the game's story, she spent most of her life being insulted and emotionally abused by the villain, and even after joining the player's side she is constantly being insulted and metaphorically spat on by other resistance members because of her Nazi background. BJ Blazkowicz (the player's character), however, treats her with kindness, and that can lead to very touching moments not just in cutscenes, but also through player-triggered moments in-game. Specifically, this includes what was not only my absolute favorite moment in this game, but also my second-favorite gaming moment in 2017, period (the first being when Link finally storms Hyrule Castle in BOTW).

(From 12:57 to 14:15 in this video):

Here's what happens: the player walks into the mess hall of the resistance's base and sees a group of resistance members sitting together for a meal. Sigrun comes to sit down beside them to eat, and the group silently stands up and moves to a different table out of antipathy toward Sigrun. Sigrun sits silently, clearly in deep sadness. It's at this point where I wanted to be able to cheer her up, so I moved to where she was sitting and tried pressing the action button – not actually expecting anything to happen. But, in a moment that took me COMPLETELY BY SURPRISE, something DOES happen: Sigrun and BJ strike up a short conversation, where she is grateful for his company. The resistance members, who respect BJ, notice this conversation from the table they moved to, and ask Sigrun how she knows him. She tells them that she helped BJ escape from the Nazis (which happened in one of the first levels). This impresses the resistance members, and they invite Sigrun over to their table to join in the game they're playing.

Holy shit.

I mean, really, HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!

I was not expecting the game to give me the opportunity to cheer Sigrun up like that. I can't recall very many other games, let alone action/shooter games, that give players the opportunity to affect characters like that.

That moment is just one of several that endeared me to Sigrun as a character, including an incredibly cathartic moment just before the game's final level where she not only firmly stands up for herself, but also unapologetically vents about being friend-zoned by another character. I don't want to spoil that cutscene too much, but it's so glorious that I actually cheered when it happened.

Sigrun is my favorite game character of 2017, and one of my all-time favorite video game characters, ever.

It's moments and details like this that put Wolfenstein II just one tiny notch above Super Mario Odyssey, in my opinion. It's not nearly enough to knock Breath of the Wild out of my top spot for Game of 2017, but it's firmly entrenched as one of my favorite FPS campaigns of all time.

One last piece of advice: since action is so far in the backseat compared with story, do yourself a favor and just play the game on its easiest difficulty. Yes, the description of that setting is insulting – but hey, if they wanted us to play on higher difficulty, then they should have made the gameplay as compelling as the story and characters are, right?

Overall: 10/10