Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dinosaur [chat]

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kristen Stewart: She really is that awkward

If you've ever, um, watched Twilight, like, you will know that, um, Kristen Stewart stammers and, uh, pauses, a lot. Like, a lot. Like, the whole fucking movie is, like, just Kristen, um, Stewart stammering and, um, pausing. And just, uh, when you think she's, erm, going to stammer, like, a little less...? That's only, uh, because she's, erm, pausing. She's basically, like, the most awkward, um, inarticulate, uh, person, ya know, ever.

If you, uh, have not seen, like, the, you know, Rifftrax they, uh, kind of tend to, like, you know, focus upon, uh, this quite, erm, a bit.

But I thought this was just for her character, in the movie.

Turns out, uh, that in real, um, life, eh, she is just, like, as awkward, and, uh, inarticulate.

Also, she apparently, uh, really cares, like, about wolves. And, um, hates that, ya know, they are, like, shot? And stuff? Shooting, um, is mean, erm, you know, bad. Yeah.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ebert: Keep the Kids off your Lawn

A while ago, Roger Ebert stated that Video games can never be art. Upon posting this article, Ebert became the focus of a torrent of scorn and criticism from "video gamers", a group the definition of which is quite lax. Despite the fact that none of these people cared about Ebert to begin with (except for when he wrote reviews about things which matter) they were all suddenly personally invested in his thoughts on video games.

Because, well, they had nothing better to do.

The primary focus of the original article is that a video game can never be art due to, in part, the definition of art:

Plato, via Aristotle, believed art should be defined as the imitation of nature. Seneca and Cicero essentially agreed. Wikipedia believes "Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more concerned with the expression of ideas...Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction."

But we could play all day with definitions, and find exceptions to every one... .

One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.

Unfortunately, Ebert never provides a clear definition of art. Rather, he sort of discusses the difference between, say, video games and novels, movies, and paintings. Video games seem to contain key features which make them distinctly not art, but rather something else. So, given Ebert's understanding of what constitutes art it cannot be the case that video games are art. He ends the article with something of a rhetorical question:
Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?

If he thought that question would put the issue to rest, he was sorely mistaken. The bitching continued, the nonsense continued, and video gamers everywhere continued to post and rant and debate over what some film critic thought about games.

As a result, on July 1, 2010 Ebert posted a new article entitled "Okay, Kids, play on my lawn" in which he kind of retracts his position:

I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself.

He goes on to write that one day video games may become art, and so his claim that they can "never be" art is revoked. But he maintains his fundamental position that video games, right now, are not art.

Alright, that's all summary. Now I get to write shit. And the shit I want to write is focused upon this thesis: Roger Ebert, keep those kids off your god damned lawn!

There is no reason, at all, to argue that video games are art. For that matter, there is no reason to care whether or not anyone thinks anything is art. The reason for this is that "art" is a fuckass stupid, nonsensical, meaninglessly arbitrary word which does not mean one god damned thing. The only sensible definition of art comes to us from Ad Reinhardt who wrote:
The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.

The merit of this definition, the virtue of this definition, is that it perfectly articulates the fundamental absurdity of the word "art." The word does not fucking mean anything; it is an honorary posited onto "shit someone likes" which is taken to be indicative of some super-special quality. What is that quality? No one knows. How does a thing come to have that quality? No one knows. But, fuck, we sure care about that honorary fucking term!

Here is a challenge: Tell seven people to each obtain one item to which they think the predicate "art" applies. Then, gather these seven items together and discern what quality they each possess which constitutes the quintessential feature of "art." Remember that this quality must not only be something they all share, but also must be ONE QUALITY which exists in everything, ever, which is "art". Once you have accomplished this task, you are free to ride off into the sunset upon your unicorn.

Here is a spoiler: You are not going to find a quintessential feature by which the predicate "art" can be known to be instantiated in a thing. The reason for this? Well, there is no such feature; "art" does not exist or occur independent of persons positing it onto entities. "Art" is a socially-constructed nonsense term.

That is the fundamental absurdity of this whole argument to which both sides need to provide an answer: WHY THE FUCK DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE WORD "ART"? If you think video games are art? Why do you care? If you think video games are not art? Why do you care? Stop applying the word "art" to video games and movies. What changes? Alright, now start applying the word "art" to video games and movies. What changes? Nothing? Ok, well then shut the god damned fuck up about it already.

That is not even a pragmatic move on my part. My concern is not for practical consequences but, rather, for the metaphysical status of the thing. If the predicate "chocolate" applies to a thing then this is meaningful, as it indicates that the thing contains "chocolateness" and, so, is delicious. But what the fuck does the predicate "art" do? What the fuck does "art" indicate? What the fuck is "artness"?

The question is not how people treat a thing which is called "art". The question is not how people act towards a thing which is called "art". The question is one of the thing-in-itself. Suppose I have an egg sitting on my desk. At time-point-one it is "70 degrees celcius". At time-point-two it is "not 70 degrees celcius". What changed? Now, say I have a calculator sitting on my desk. At time-point-one it is "art". At time-point-two it is "not-art". What changed? With regard to the egg, a fundamental metaphysical feature of the thing must have changed given what "70 degrees celcius" and "not 70 degrees celcius" mean. But the calculator, with regard to "art"? What the shit could have possibly, actually, changed?

The only way anyone gets "art" to be meaningful is if they equivocate "art" with another term which is actually meaningful. If we take "art" to mean "creative" or "important" or "worthwhile" then the term starts to be meaningful, but it only has meaning in its being an equivocation of those terms; "art" still means nothing unto itself. So, why the shit do we need "art"? Why not just call something "creative" or "important" or "worthwhile"? We do not need the word "art" to serve as a god damned middle man between "Avatar" and "creative". Just fucking say that Avatar is creative; the only reason for which one would need to invoke the word "art" is if they forgot how to spell "creative", in which case we don't really need to care about their opinions, anyway.

I tend to agree with Roger Ebert: video games are not art. However, I disagree with Ebert's position that movies are art. Why? Well, because nothing is art since art is nothing. There is no reason for Ebert to state that games may be art just as there is no reason for Ebert to state that games are not art. Both sides of the whole fucking argument are stupid. Movies are movies. Video games are Video games. Art is art-as-art.

And everything else? Well, that's everything else.

If you think I am wrong? If you think I have missed something? Alright, cool. But I'm only going to fucking listen to you after you provide a coherent, sensible, workable definition of art which is not simply
1) Equivocation between "art" and "other words".
2) Arbitrary, socially-constructed nonsense.
3) Stupid.

Good luck with that.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Decade of Diablo 2: Just admit that you miked that Seal!

As Kotaku noted, Diablo II was released 10 years ago on June 29th, 2000. Which means that for 10 years now, Mike has been denying that he miked that seal.

I mean, seriously, dude. You were the only person in the Chaos Sanctuary. The rest of us were in town buying potions, getting more Pepsi, and taking a piss break. But then, suddenly, the world starts shaking, everyone gets confused, and Diablo emerges. Diablo does not emerge as the result of someone repairing their gear. He's not going to emerge from someone selling a topaz. He won't pop out of his hole as a result of someone opening a Pepsi. Diablo only emerges when all of the seals have been opened.

The only way to open a seal is to be in the Chaos Sanctuary.

And you were the only person in the Chaos Sanctuary!!

It's been 10 years! Admit it! You miked that seal!

Sharron Angle: God planned for you to be raped.

Ends / Means justification is a touchy subject. Some argue that the end justifies the means, while others think that the a means, an act, independent of the end, needs to be assessed in itself. While some would argue that a murder which results in the death of Hitler is justified, others would state that the murder, in and of itself, is not justified regardless of how many Hitlers it kills. It is a very difficult subject which involves great nuance and subtlety of argument in either camp. Many worthwhile and well-conceived arguments exist for both sides of the debate, and all merit careful consideration and respect.

That, of course, is what a god damned weak-willed dickless, spineless, effete pussy would say given the inability of a god damned weak-willed dickless, spineless, effete pussy to tells persons that they are flat-out, god damned well, wrong. It is the sort of position which results from taking Nietzsche seriously and engaging in the unicorn and rainbow based conception of reality whereby one thinks that every view has some merit. There are some views which are fucking stupid, arguments and positions which are so moronic, so completely asinine, that no amount of rhetorical dancing will make them anything but non-intellectual tripe.

For example:

MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

ANGLE: Not in my book.

MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

ANGLE: You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

According to Sharron Angle, it is in God's plan for some people to be raped. If a person is raped, they need to assume that this is all a part of God's plan and, so, not have an abortion.

I invite you to think about that for a moment. Ponder its implications. Done? Alright.

1) According to Sharron Angle, everything which ever happens to anyone might be a component of God's plan. So, no one ought to do anything, ever, with respect to anything which happens to them.

If Player A is raped, the rape could have been a part of God's plan. So, instead of seeking medical attention to terminate a resulting zygote, one ought to, instead, do nothing and assume that God will take care of it. In a similar fashion, if God places an islamo-fascist-socialist in the presidency of the United States, it is best to understand this as a part of God's plan and, so, not attempt to do anything to stop or modify the situation.

Except, of course, it might be the case that God put this islamo-fascist-socialist in place in order to spark a reaction. Or, maybe it wasn't a part of God's plan for the islamo-fascist-socialist to be the president. So, maybe one does need to take some actions...but maybe not. How would anyone know?!


2) According to Sharron Angle, God sometimes acts through violence and sin to bring about desireable, good ends.

Sometimes, God rapes people in order to make the world a better place; God sometimes causes sin. So our perfectly loving and ideal God sometimes fucks people over in order to improve the world. These persons ought not try to help themselves, as it is all a part of God's plan and it is best to rely upon God. Any event of sin, any event of harm, may not be the result of a deprivation of, or lack of, God but, rather, could be the result of God's actions.

So, anything that happens ever could be a part of God's plan. Like the Holocaust, for example. Yup. It was God's plan for thousands of Jews to die. Hitler was a part of God's plan, too. Yey! Go Hitler! Thanks, God!


3) According to Sharron Angle, The Bible is fucking wrong.

Genesis 3:
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." 16

But, Bible! It was God's plan for the serpent to introduce sin into the world! Because everything that happens is God's fucking plan. If God can plan for someone to be raped and carry the rape-zygote/fetus to term then God could, sure as shit, plan for a snake to cause some bitch to eat a piece of fruit.

The Bible is Wrong; God Introduced sin into the world by way of the snake; it was his plan.


- Everything that happens, ever, might be a part of God's plan.
- No one ought to do anything, ever, lest they interfere with God's plan.
- God causes people to be raped.

If a person contracts a disease that might be a part of God's plan. If a person is hungry, that might be a part of God's plan. If a person trips and falls down, that might be a part of God's plan. So, best to just not fucking do anything!!!

Sharron Angle is a god-damned idiot who does not know what the shit she is talking about.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ALA 2010 Book Cart Drill Team - Pittsburg

Christina, who is technically a contributor to this blog, attended ALA and participated in the winning Book Cart Drill Team.

Apparently, when librarians get together at a conference...this is what they do.

Update: Official Version with inane commentary.

Deathly Hallows: Official Trailer


Lobster Dog

Lobster Dog is a Lobster Dog

Sex in the Garden of Eden: Augustine, City of God

So, I found a copy of the City of God online which is easily navigable. I started reading it and remembered how fucking awesome it is. Everyone needs to read all of these chapters, but one especially needs to read chapters 23 and 24. They are only a few pages long. It is some of the greatest shit ever written.

Augustine, City of God, Book XIV.

Chapter 17.—Of the Nakedness of Our First Parents, Which They Saw After Their Base and Shameful Sin.

Chapter 18.—Of the Shame Which Attends All Sexual Intercourse.

Chapter 19.—That It is Now Necessary, as It Was Not Before Man Sinned, to Bridle Anger and Lust by the Restraining Influence of Wisdom.

Chapter 20.—Of the Foolish Beastliness of the Cynics.

Chapter 21.—That Man’s Transgression Did Not Annul the Blessing of Fecundity Pronounced Upon Man Before He Sinned But Infected It with the Disease of Lust.

Chapter 22.—Of the Conjugal Union as It Was Originally Instituted and Blessed by God.

Chapter 23.—Whether Generation Should Have Taken Place Even in Paradise Had Man Not Sinned, or Whether There Should Have Been Any Contention There Between Chastity and Lust.

Chapter 24.—That If Men Had Remained Innocent and Obedient in Paradise, the Generative Organs Should Have Been in Subjection to the Will as the Other Members are.

Chapter 26.—That We are to Believe that in Paradise Our First Parents Begat Offspring Without Blushing.

Robert Byrd: Dead, Racist

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
— Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944.

"America has lost a voice of principle and reason."
-President Barack Obama

It's nice to live in a country where we don't begrudge or think ill of persons simply because they were members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Done Been Warned.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For Every Girl, For Every Boy

See? It sucks to be either sex.