Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Words - Gamer

Words - Gamer

Do you know what a gamer is?  Media, modern media would have you believe it is a sociopath, or a psycho.  It would have you believe a gamer, and I include myself in this, that a gamer is a person who is fundamentally mentally unhinged.  A person who cannot distinguish right from wrong, who enjoys killing, and violence.  A person who is wrapped in a kind of illusionary reality, an escapism from the 'real' world.  That gamers are predominantly unhinged young men suffering from acute mental trauma, who are more capable of stripping down a 9mm gun than asking a normal person for directions.

That is what people would have you believe by the word, gamer.  This catcheism, this strange, curious word that somehow categorizes us and dennounces us at the same time as less than human.  Gamers are violent, vitrolic.  They have no mastery of the spoken or written word.  They are sexist, chauvanistic, and prone to tantrums or displays of threatening behaviour.  They live in their parents' basements, subsist on cheetos and mountain dew.  They do not bathe, are pasty white, greasy unkempt hair, and black t-shirts.  They are the dregs of a digital society.

That's what people would have you believe by the terminology, gamer.  Is that not so?

No.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gesture - Hug

Gesture - Hug

Do you know what a hug is?  It's a gesture profile of arms wrapped around another person.  It's near universal, every culture has variations, and it is practiced among all age groups, all demographics and across gendered lines?

Do you know what a hug is?  I give someone a hug when I don't know what else to say.  And I'm verbose.  I'm articulate.  Sometimes though, words fail, words fail to provide comfort, or understanding, or sympathy, or empathy.  Words fail.  Interpretations are hard, cadence and word selection don't always explain appropriately what I mean.  But a hug?

A hug says I know you exist.  I hear you.  I don't know what specifically to offer you, but I hear you, I hear you and I am here.  Right here, right now, you have my complete and full attention.  Say anything.  Do anything.  I'm here.  I'm holding on to you, I won't let you go until you need me to.

That's what a hug from me is.  I'm right here.  Right HERE.  Immediate.  Connected to you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inspiration - Be Loud

Inspiration - Be Loud

We are oft reminded that we live in a shitty world, with shitty human beings. So when reminded of that, maybe the rest of us need to step up and be loud, be loud and say no, that we will not accept their hatred, that we will not accept their harassment or their abuse. We need to step up and say loudly that we do not condone their actions, that we are not represented by them and their hate, and ill will.

Be counted, friends. Be counted and bring more light into the world, and be LOUD.

This is mostly a post in response to the threats of violence against Anita Sarkeesian.  Response might not be the correct word, but in support of the difficulties she, and many other women in vocal positions are in when threatened.  It isn't right.  I say again it isn't right that they be attacked in such a way, it isn't right that they be attacked in any way that threatens, demeans, degrades or abuses them.  We discourse that we might enlighten, challenge, illuminate, and debate.  We do not commit attacks upon each other because we disagree.

Freedom of speech does not preclude one from the freedom of responsibility of actions.  I hope those who are filled with the threat, imagined or otherwise of violence are brought to justice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Journalism - On Zoe Quinn and Eron Gjoni

Journalism - On Zoe Quinn and Eron Gjoni

The internet has been exploding of late, with a lot of drama around the situation of Zoe Quinn and Eron Gjoni.  For better or for worse, some ugly laundry has been aired, a lot of shots (proverbial) fired, and a tremendous amount of internet hate.  I've read several articles, including the original and whatnot, and everywhere is a sort of combination vitrol, and incredulity without focusing on the actual issue.

Until I stumbled on this comment, posted by amphigouri, at this website.  It summarizes many of the journalistic questions we have about the issue, and thankfully does so without the venom.  I recommend reading.

There are some parts of the post I disagree with, so don't take it at face value entirely.  Certainly I disagree with the concepts of slut shaming and calling out the action.  I never really advocate for internet trolling or abuses, and still firmly believe that internet threats should be considered in all seriousness alongside real threats.  I don't advocate for violence being done to people, especially essentially strangers, and it's fundamentally weird as a society that we tolerate, accept or even ignore that this happens.  But otherwise it's a solid series of thoughts.


EDIT: I also have to add, that I kind of hate when we collectively, as society simply accept that "The internet will be the internet."  The sort of idea that the worst of people will always be attracted to shaming, abusing or attacking others.  There are plenty of safe havens on the internet for intellectual discourse, it can, and frequently does happen.  That's not to put rose colored glasses on it, but when at some point do we look at each other and say, nah, we really can do better?  I hope it's soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grief - Waves

Grief - Waves

/u/GSnow once wrote something that I have read during hard times.

He said:

Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life. Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

Hope that helps. Im sorry for your loss.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rant - Trolling

Rant - Trolling

Let's declare a cessation on the word 'trolling' and call it like what it is. Criminal harassment. Verbal Abuse. This frontier of digital assault should be in the twilight of its days now, not becoming worse and worse with every passing day. Let us get the names of these people, who hide behind monikers and anonymity. Let us have their faces, and let them stand trial for their actions. Let them speak in a public forum and defend themselves, and let the rest of the world know that there is no defense for these terrible actions.

"In the name of a joke, or Just Kidding" is no longer a defensible excuse for not being an upright human being.

Friday, August 8, 2014