I thought about the implications of this AI Overseer guiding thoughts, emotions, opinions, consumer habits, politics, public policy, among many other things, including the very modes of human interaction and our reasons for doing anything at all. It sounded like a “benevolent” dictator, but one with far more insight into and power over people on an individual and collective level than any human or their administration could ever manage.
It sounded like a god.
The recent accusations against Quantic Dream founder David Cage do not exist in a vacuum, nor without precedent. He wants to be judged by his work, and indeed if one looks critically at his games, a theme emerges. People of color are reduced to caricatures, invoke harmful stereotypes, and should remain at the margins, if they appear at all. Even if that means literally erasing them from settings where they predominate. This is not the cross-burning of the past or the anger-marching racism so en vogue these days, but the more deeply entrenched racism underlying all of our media institutions.
Diverse representations of black people in media has nothing to do with “political correctness”. It has little to do with fairness, either. This is not a zero-sum game by which black gain equals white loss. What it concerns, most significantly, is the acceptance of this proposal that Black Lives Matter. That Black People Matter. Black representations are a matter of survival. Of casting us as fully-realized human beings with thoughts, feelings, dreams, aspirations, complexity, agency — against a backdrop that explicitly shows and tells us (everyone) that the opposite is true.
Fear Effect is coming back. Have you heard? After the heartbreak of Inferno’s cancellation, and a 15 year wait with no new game in sight, French indie studio Sushee Games is creating Fear Effect: Sedna. Concerned about representations of Inuit peoples in the game, I decided to contact Sushee Games about how they would handle the use of Inuit aesthetic, cultural stories and history.
Sometimes it’s tucked away, hidden just beneath the tongue, or in the sly twist of the mouth…
Anti-blackness is so pervasive that I think media creators aren’t even aware of how they present it on a regular basis. That’s me giving them the benefit of the doubt, in spite of all the evidence that suggests it’s intentional.
A contemplation of the revolutionary potential of teaching black kids Mandarin. Beyond allowing black people to have more mobility within a new power structure, fluency in Mandarin would allow us to spread our own influence. Our revolutionary spirit writ large to resonate with people around the world…
When you hear the name Thomas Jefferson, it is likely followed by “founding father”, “hero”, “patriot”, and other such reverent terms. But he should also be considered one of the Founding Fathers of white supremacy. Nearly every white supremacist idea, claim, or rationale, can be found in Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia…
What does any black person stand to gain from sitting in a dark movie theater—more than likely surrounded by white people—and being psychologically assaulted for two hours? Will we then turn to those white audience members and discuss how horrible it all was, how many tears they shed, and eventually breathe a collective sigh of relief that all that was in the past, and thank God that we’ve come so far?
An examination of how Butler challenges sexual norms, from the incest taboo in the Patternist series, to interspecies sex in the Lilith’s Brood trilogy, to pedophilia and rape in Fledgling, and arguably all three of these in her short story Bloodchild. These stories show us how norms, particularly sexual ones, are flexible between worlds, cultures, and especially individuals.
Ever since the first airing of The Legend of Korra, fans have been abuzz with speculations over the identity of the masked antagonist, Amon. Some theories have been plausible, others have been completely asinine, like “Amon = Aang!” Seriously?
…are condemned to repeat it:
The following passage is from The Principle of the Mercantile System, written in 1776 by Adam Smith, who ironically, has become a sort of symbol of the same type of “free market” capitalists who Smith seems to be criticizing here. More striking than any of that, though, is how much this passage so precisely reflects our current situation.
I take issue with the very idea that it need be some sort of marketing or political strategy, some sort of acquiescence to irrational demands that someone represent or treat people of color with sensitivity and respect. Yet in the case of Tithe, I am left wondering if that was not exactly the point.
We take it for granted that our perception of reality is grounded in some objective truth. We do not even consider the possibility that there is no such thing, that instead “reality” is composed of a multitude of overlapping spheres of perception, the shared spaces together making up those aspects of reality that we agree upon – the collective consciousness, to give it another name…
It is one of the oldest clichés that the “forces of darkness” will set upon that which is good and “light”. In a medium where the heroes are most often white and characters of color – especially black characters – are reduced to plot devices, and in a society where power is designated along lines of “light” and “dark”, the old trope is necessarily racialized…
An analysis of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods — As the battle for “brain space” rages on, with each new scientific innovation, new interpretations of history, shifts in culture and society, we must reconcile these changes with the deep-seated desire in all of us to hold on to some part of our pasts…
I have argued in the past that video games are the ultimate form of expression, and what is art if not expression? Indeed video games are a convergence of art from just about every medium – audio, visual, literary – and their social impact is ever-increasing. Ebert makes his statement by observing video footage of a few games offered up as art, already prepared to deny the possibility. Aside from the sheer fallacy of denying art as a form of expression, there is also the matter of his evaluation not being made from the proper standpoint.
In spite of the near unanimously European-inspired cast of characters, Dragon Age: Origins demonstrates inclusion of diverse experiences in ways that no game has ever done before. Bioware has again established themselves as a trailblazer in an industry that so far has shied away from challenging the status quo or tackling tough issues.
Those of us who are not white, but hope to identify with the characters we play in games the same as anyone, find the industry to be deficient. At best we have had to settle for ethnically ambiguous characters, often in non-Earth settings, which while fulfilling an aesthetic need still leave players wanting for a more substantial connection. When characters of non-European ethnicities are depicted in video games, it is true that they are often stereotypes.
Even in accepting the apologists’ arguments, that Islam was essentially a peaceful religion, and it was only through a myopic and agenda-driven misinterpretation of the holy texts that the “Islamist” perspective emerged, there was still a problem. It seemed to me that all around the world, where there were “insurgencies” or other forms of violent conflict, at least one side was Muslim. The separatists in Chechnya, the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, the Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia, the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group in Spain, and last but not least, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda – active in multiple places.
Gender inequality, even where it takes on a distinctly “Islamic” character, is not specific to Islam as a religion, or Muslim society. Rather, it is a consequence of patriarchy – a phenomenon that knows no religious or cultural boundaries. How patriarchy manifests in any given society, the ways that people – particularly women – respond to it, are simply different. We must be careful not to presume that these differences are qualitative.