Current Times 24

1. The Atlantic points out that the HTML code for a pretty racist ad about jobs contains the class tag “yellow girl.” It is, presumably, referring to the Asian woman in the video. This is racist for a load of reasons, but something that is important here is that HTML code is something to be explored, read, and analyzed. It is the literal subtext for the way that we view the internet, and so brings itself forward as something to be read and talked about. Implicit racism, like phallologocentrism and other things like it, becomes readable on the linguistic level, and it just so happens that the linguistic level of the internet is an actual, readable document. Code does things.

2. Ludonarratology has an interesting post up about the Dark Brotherhood quest in Skyrim. The post is mostly summary of the questline, so be warned, but the post comes to an interesting conclusion:

Most importantly, Bethesda’s designers realized this wasn’t a literary project. In writing, the saying may be “show, don’t tell”, but in game design it’s “don’t show, don’t tell, do”. The quest works around some of its fridge logic by having the player perform the unbelievable process of following up on a rumor of the Black Sacrament. It demonstrates the character of the guild through the player‘s actions, before he even joins.

I think this is probably the most interesting thing said about Skyrim so far. The game presents the player with the option on following up on rumors of a child calling assassins to kill his enemy, and it really only gets more horrible from there. The interesting part, though, is that the narrative requires the player to have a curiosity about helping a child kill his enemies in order for the quest to even begin. The player has to think that that road could be one worth going down. It says weird things about our desires in games.

3. The Mary Sue reports on the Nielsen ratings that DC Comics released about their New 52 titles. I think the “interesting things” breakdown that they do is, well, interesting, so I’m going to just copypaste it here. Read the whole article, though, because it says a lot about DC Comics and really expresses how fucked I think that business, their titles, and the people who read their comics.

A few things to note:

  • They introduced the survey after only the first month of the relaunch which meant buyers had only one issue of each book to go on.
  • Just over 6,000 surveys were completed. That’s a small number overall and looks even smaller when you consider over 200,000 issues of Justice League #1 were sold.
  • New readers, who may have not been as familiar with the DC Universe, may have been disqualified from the survey partway through thanks to a trick question about a fake book. If you answered you were planning to purchase that one, your survey ended there.
  • The survey was not a general “who reads comics” survey, it was a “who bought our New 52″ survey.
  • The words “women” and “female” are not actually used anywhere in their reports. Something which, to me, is extremely telling about the way they look at their business.
4. Partial Objects made a smart post about that parent who shot his daughter’s laptop on youtube. It is hypermasculine, bootstrap bullshit to the maximum, but Objects makes a great point (indirectly) about how the internet creates listening circles that empower and reify fucked up things.

Everyone, meet Tommy, the Soon-To-Be-Celebrity parent, whose previous YouTube exploits never exceeded the low tens of thousands in view count. Now? Two million. In two days. You will respect his authority. And he would love to sign your copy of his newest book. Again, if you’re not a parent, judging his methods might be unfair. But we’ve all been children, and 15-year-old Mac would learn one important thing from this experience. Sometimes, it is very wrong to openly express dissatisfaction with a family member. Other times, it makes you a hero. Apparently, the difference lies in who is listening.

5. 4thLetter has a really smart article on the many deaths of Frank Castle. Of course, you should know that PunisherMAX just ended, so we should all be sad. Read the article for awesome stuff like this, which is consequently from my favorite What if? story of all time:

 6. Adam McKay says that a movie based on the The Boys property is still in the works. Sirens go off in my head when I hear that it might be PG-13 rather than R.
That’s all for today!
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