To All the Never Books: Writing Toward Infinite Possibility

So I find myself thinking about all the "Never Books", the books I will never write, not because of stagnation, but because for any given project I have to draw the line somewhere and finish it. There are infinite variations of any book I might write, given enough time to ruminate and to appropriate any and everything that captures my attention, stirs my devotion, or inspires my revolt. Truly, what would UTMC become if I gave it another twenty years?

The Sacrifice of Ralph Northam on the Altar of Sanctimony

This whole Virginia drama is revealing something important about the current Democratic establishment, something which has implications for both past and future, including the election of Donald Trump. That something is that Democrats are symbolic politicians, concerned more with the image of doing the right thing, than actually doing it. Where they effect policies that actually make a positive difference in people's lives, it is usually reactive, a case of them "holding the line" against the worst abuses of the Republicans.

Thomas Chatterton Williams And The Scourge Of Individualism

There has undoubtedly been one person, or ten, or even one thousand black people who have gone through their lives with little to no observable experience with racism, don't consciously feel its impact, and for that manage to gain some degree of success or wealth or high quality of life. Their experiences do not invalidate the very real existence of systems that make such outcomes more unlikely for the rest of us. Systems that privilege white people at the expense of people of color.

Learn, Predict, Steer: The God That Google Made

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.

Blindspots or Negligence?: David Cage and Racism in Video Games

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.

10 Tips on How to Include Black People in Media

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.

The Return of Fear Effect and Fears About Its Effect

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.