Archive

  • Stick to Baseball and Wall Street

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math Michael Lewis, whose book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game almost upended my life, is apparently the last pro-Arnold commentator standing . You should read the article, but make sure you're not drinking any fizzy drinks when you do. Lewis is falling for the siren's call of the anti-politican; the notion that most professional pols are lesser men (how many fomer CEOs and multi-millionaire small businessmen are in the Senate?), and that just putting someone into office who's more in touch with the rest of us (why, exactly would a twenty-million-bucks-per-movie-actor fit into that category?) will both result in better governance and be more entertaining for the rest of us. Well, I suppose Arnold does make the headlines a bit more often; there aren't many other governors digging potholes so they can hold a photo-op to fill them. Meanwhile, in the Reality-Based community, the Governator is currently losing head-to-head matchups with...
  • So LA

    By Ezra Went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery ("Resting Place of Hollywood's Immortals!") last night for their Movie on the Mausoleum. It's one of the weirder LA events I've been to: 600 attractive young folk, about 80% of them hipsters, tromping through graves and between tiki candles to set up blankets and picnics in the spaces not occupied by plaques. A DJ spins creepy (but very good) house music while old movie posters flicker on the walls. At 9PM, everyone breaks out the alcohol, Hitchcock comes on screen, and the move begins. Last night was Perfect Strangers. Hollywood Forever, for those who don't know, is a cemetery for the lions and lionesses of the entertainment industry. Think Arlington National, but instead of JFK, you have Cecil B. DeMille. And instead of resting in peace, the expired celebs are still public attractions: people tour the cemetery, watch movies on the lawn, make pilgrimages to see their favorite stars. The men and women buried there lived in the public eye...
  • Journalisming Done Right

    By Ezra This LA Times debunking of mythical lawsuits is the best piece on tort issues I've read in a major paper in the last year. I just exited a class where the teacher taught almost solely through the lens of a few weird, anomalous court cases, cases that either didn't seem to exist or he radically misinterpreted. That, unfortunately, is the same level on which the tort reform debate operates -- scare stories about criminals tripping on sideway cracks and grannies fleecing fast food chains for millions because they didn't know coffee was hot. It's crap. All of it. It's crap in the context of malpractice , and it's crap here. And major props to the LA Times for pointing that out. It's a reality check that's long overdue, and they couched it in an article that's both comprehensive and entertaining. Read it.
  • Heroes

    Shakes' post on female gamers has gotten much deserved attention, from men and women alike. Earlier today, she e-mailed to ask me why, saying that she knew the secretly violent femmes would respond, but not the stereotypically violent mens. I couldn't quite answer then, but I can now. And it was her other post , on Cindy Sheehan, that clarified it. What struck me about her piece was her articulation of what's always attracted me to games; the desire to be a hero. If you read her blog, it's the same thing, there's a subtext that says one girl and her keyboard can change the country, one girl and her keyboard can light enough fires on enough mountains that, Lord of the Rings style, the other bloggers will see the flames and wave the torches in front of their audiences, the audiences will light flares before their politicians, the politicians will set fireworks in front of the media, and all of us will finally snap out of our stupor, strap on our swords, and march on her political Mordor...
  • Regime Change in Baghdad

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Ezra has already mentioned the bizarre events that took place in Baghdad on Monday. A bunch of armed Shiite militiamen entered Baghdad's municipal building, deposed the mayor, and installed their own guy in office. The deposed mayor is unharmed -- apparently he wasn't in the building at the time -- but he has officially resigned, and he's fleeing the country. There's a bunch of things to be said about this. How well can we be doing in providing security when thugs can just march into City Hall, kick out the old mayor, and install a new one? How can you have a stable democracy when anybody with enough guns can put whoever they want into power? How can we convince Sunnis to buy into the new Iraqi government when Shiites are using weapons to put people into office? But the thing I really want to address is the way that this shows the error of so much right-wing talk about regime change.
  • Gaming and Gender Roles

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math Shakes' essay on female figures in video games brings all sorts of interesting thoughts to the foreground. This graf in particular caught my eye:
  • Ask the Audience: What Should We Call Ourselves?

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math I'll add some substantive material soon enough, but for now, we need your help. As Ezra mentioned , he's turning over the reins to several of us on weekends, or at least slowing down from his weekday pace of seven or eight posts a day. I'm super-psyched for this arrangement, but our intrepid team of guest bloggers is missing a key ingredient. We need a nickname. Number-themed nicknames (like "the Far-Flung Five" or "The Dirty Half Dozen") are probably not a great idea, since it members will come and go during vacations, finals, dissertation defenses, etc. But other than that there are no rules. Put your suggestions in the comments.
  • Familiar Face

    Shakes here… Yesterday , Ezra explored the Mystery of the Missing Spokesperson for the anti-war movement, and, in doing my best to turn this weekend wildness into a salon, I’m picking up on that discussion. The truth is, Ezra and Gary Hart might both be on the wrong track. Cindy Sheehan isn’t, at Hart suggested, emerging as the spokesperson for the anti-war movement, nor is her role quite as unimportant as Ezra suggests. She is, instead, a rallying point, or, perhaps more accurately, a relatable icon, for the second wave of anti-war folks—those who have turned against the war, a departure from an earlier held position. But because this president has so inextricably tied himself, as a leader and as a man, to this war, the anti-war second wave is comprised of people who have turned against the administration, and it’s notable that many of them are turning against the war because they have turned against the administration , rather than the other way around.
  • Breaking Up With Mario

    By Ezra Apropos of Shakespeare's Sister's brilliant essay on girl gamers (which is right below this post and is your assigned reading for the weekend), can someone explain to me why the Gamecube has ceased having video games released for it? So far as I can tell, nothing decent has come out in the last six months, and nothing good is coming out until November. That's a 9-month drought for the system. If I'm wrong on this, I'd love to know it, but otherwise, is it time to bite the bullet and get an X-Box/Playstation? Which one? Which one's got better online play? C'mon nerds: this is your moment! Update: Wait, so Sony and Microsoft are both bringing out new systems? Should I be waiting for those? Which?
  • Game Girls

    Shakes here... Lance Mannion is a sexist. At least, he thinks he is , or suspects that he might be, because he doesn't like that, in one of his son’s video games, Batman beats up a girl. Batman does not hit girls , he says, but of course what he really means is that Batman didn’t used to hit girls. Because, in fact, he does hit girls nowadays. And that’s the problem, as Mannion sees it. …I don’t think that showing the villainess being as kick-ass tough as the hero teaches boys and girls that women can be forceful and independent and that they have the strength to take care of themselves. I think it just teaches kids that it’s ok to hit girls. He’s right. On both counts. Kick-ass femme fatales are undoubtedly less a teaching tool than a reflection of game makers trying to expand their market beyond teenage boys, and, perhaps (less cynically) also the result of increasing numbers of women game designers, who, like the rest of us, want to have the chance to play the bad guy once in...

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