Current Times 28

This is the kind of post where I post links to things that I have been reading or been reading about over the past couple weeks (or this morning, depending.) If you want to see past Current Times, click here.

1. James Stanescu has been posting various responses to the Encountering Animal Others symposium that Hypatia is conducting right now. He offers some interesting questions about Traci Warkentin’s piece on veganism and animal studies, but he also mentions an anecdote that I find really interesting (and that happens to lots of people who have dietary restrictions, especially along ethical lines):

When I sometimes bring up dietary identity questions, it isn’t so much as a way of demanding to see someone’s papers before giving them legitimacy, as much as wanting to draw out kinships and connections. So, for example, when I was at the recent Non-Human Turn conference, there was not great vegan options at the lunches that were provided. I was standing in line with Brian Massumi at one point, and he was wondering about if there was meat in a wrap. I asked him if he was a vegetarian or a vegan. This wasn’t a way creating some sort of dualism, but a moment of kindred spirits, of seeing someone go through something I go through.

2. Hourglassy has a really interesting bit up about the female breast as a weapon in pop culture and elsewhere. The most interesting part might be the closing lines:

I like the power my breasts wield, but I think I would give it up if it meant I could have real bodily autonomy.

3. Thomas Jane, who just wants his kids back, is kickstarting a video game called Bad Planet. Oh, and Steve Niles and Tim Bradstreet are involved, making it the weirdest fucking collaborative video game ever. However, read this description and tell me it isn’t the most metal God of War clone you have ever seen:

Bad Planet immerses you in the role of the Convict, a nearly indestructible Pheadon Warrior battling to save Earth from a horde of rampaging alien Death Spiders that are intent on turning our world into their breeding ground. Visually stunning, deep, brutal 3rd-person combat; tons of collectibles, customizable weapons and equipment; compelling character growth; and epic battles against hordes of alien monsters all combine to make Bad Planet a distinctly amazing experience.

4. Matthew Rickart has a dual review of Bissell’s Magic Hours and Anthropy’s Rise of the Videogame Zinesters over at Bon Mots and Blood. I haven’t read the former, and I actually enjoyed the latter in that I think it fulfilled its manifesto function and was fun to read (I reviewed it here.)

5. SF Signal has a post up called “Non-Fiction Books About Science Fiction That Should Be In Every Fan’s Library” and it is huge and awesome.

6. The Comics Grid has a long summary of the various panels that went on at The Third International Comics Conference. You should read about them here–comics scholarship seems to be here to stay, and it is amazing stuff.

7. The Mindless Ones have their commentary and annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 up and, as always, they are informative and entertaining. I thought that 2009 was the best League comic I’ve read so far, and the payoff at the end was worth every long prose passage 1950s British pop culture that I had to sift through. Read here.

8. Craig McFarlane has a post up about the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk aka the “Oh Shit, Apocalypse! Team”. He raises some interesting questions at the end of his post:

First, the project as a whole begs the question. There is no good reason–at least none is given beyond the 1000 year anniversary of Cambridge–why humans should be spared extinction. Nonetheless, the goal of this project deems this to be the ultimate outcome. (How will they get around entropy!?)

Second, there is no mention of why humans deserve to be spared extinction. Why should a species so committed not only to its own destruction, but the destruction of all life be spared extinction? Why should a species that destroys the world through global warming, creates destructive viruses, or makes killer robots worthy of existence?

Third, if the above two problems can be resolved–which I don’t think they can be resolved in the sense that Price, Rees, and Tallinn want it to be resolved–there remains the issue of human exceptionalism: what’s so important about humans vis a vis other species?

9. Finally, The Comics Journal has an article about Chester Brown, my favorite of the autobiographical comics creators.

As obligated, here is some musical tunes to check out. The first is Hot Chip’s newest single (I think?) “Flutes.” The second is an older video of “Ready For The Floor” played live, which I hadn’t seen. Both are great.

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