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About Christopher

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  1. I just wanted to post in here to say that the first episode was great and also that you should try to get Maddy Meyers on as a guest some time, ideally for the heavily foreshadowed Life Is Strange discussion. She's had some of the most interesting things to say about that game, she's on your coast (Boston, I believe?), and I've always thought she would be a good fit for the Thumbs atmosphere.
  2. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    I a big fan of Alyssa Rosenberg, but I also think it's more accurate to describe that as what it is: A blog post by Alyssa Rosenberg. She is a pop-culture writer who has been doing thoughtful analysis of media for years. I feel like there's a big gap from Alyssa Rosenberg making yet another excellent blog post on her blog that is currently hosted by The Washington Post and "The Washington Post . . . put[ting] up an article." Here are some of her previous blog posts on Gamergate. She also writes some of my favorite Game of Thrones episode recaps!
  3. QUILTBAG Thread of Flagrant Homoeroticism

    Yes. That's why I think this is more about basic etiquette than some complicated nuance that's just impossible to understand. It's impolite to refer to a trans person you know little about as "transitioning" for the same reason it would be impolite ask a cis guy who started growing a beard and wearing backwards baseball caps more frequently if he was finally "transitioning" to at last becoming fully male. It's basically just kind of rude to assume that someone's gender presentation doesn't meet your standards and so they must be in the middle of a "transition" to reach whatever your imagined endpoint is, whether they're trans or cis. On the other hand, if someone is literally transitioning and says they're transitioning and wants people to know they're transitioning (e.g. meaning that they're literally actively in the very process of a change in gender performance/identity/whatever), that's a separate issue entirely.
  4. QUILTBAG Thread of Flagrant Homoeroticism

    No, transitioning is not assumed to mean that by itself. However, in the context of this discussion and your previous posts (e.g. "I now know that pre-op is an unacceptable term to describe a trans woman. Can I now say 'transitioning' instead?"), it took on that meaning. So far, I don't believe anything has been said to indicate the girlfriend in question is planning to get genital surgery, or even that the girlfriend is "going through the process of changing genders." So, this is in effect you making a judgement call that she is "transitioning" or "in the process of changing genders." But it's entirely possible this is a trans woman who has a penis, and her process/her transition is done. That's the context that makes both "pre-op" and "transitioning" come across as impolite. So, in this case, "transitioning" is not really very polite either, unless it's how the person explicitly understands their current situation and you're aware of that. Unless that's explicitly how a particular person talks about theirself, it kind of implies you've assessed their gender performance and found it lacking/incomplete. If you know for sure that this girlfriend is considering genital surgery or otherwise says they're transitioning, that's of course fine to say and is potentially relevant information about the topic at hand. Although unfortunately it sounds like maybe the trans woman in question isn't really able to speak for herself here, and her girlfriend called her "pre-op," so maybe there's not really a good source of information on this person at all.
  5. QUILTBAG Thread of Flagrant Homoeroticism

    Was this below asking if "transitioning" would be a term that you could use instead of "pre-op" to describe the a situation where the girlfriend had a penis? That was my reading of this statement: If so, then yes, you were implying genital surgery as a necessary endpoint. Someone can be done "transitioning" and not have genital surgery. If you want to use "transitioning" instead of "pre-op" to describe the situation, you aren't addressing the basic problem here, which is an underlying assumption that there is a shared endpoint to "transitioning," and that endpoint is genital surgery. The rule, I still think, is simple: Instead of looking for label, just explain what the situation is. Again: She is dating a trans woman, and her trans girlfriend has a penis. This makes her uncomfortable sexually, and she's not sure what to do. Her trans girlfriend [is/is not] [<--pick one as appropriate] planning to have genital surgery. No confusing terminology or nuance involved. Just the situation described in plain language. If you aren't comfortable with what various terms mean, luckily there is no reason to use them in this case! And, again, this is a pretty crazy edge case and in most circumstances there's really no need to talk about it. But calling someone "pre-op"/"post-op" or using "transitioning" to mean "has not had genital surgery" does carry with it an assumption of genital surgery as a necessary endpoint. This isn't an assumption that exists at a confusing level of nuance that requires a complicated context. It's at the most basic level of language usage and etiquette. Just take a moment to think about it: If you are saying "pre-op"/"post-op" without knowing someone's plans for their genitals, you are assuming that an operation is in the cards, which it may not be. If you "transitioning" to mean "has not had genital surgery," you are assume their transition will involve genital surgery, which it may not.
  6. QUILTBAG Thread of Flagrant Homoeroticism

    "Transitioning" can mean a lot of different things. Again, the reason that transitioning doesn't work here is the same reason that "pre-op" and "post-op" don't work. If you use "transitioning" to mean "has not had genital surgery," it incorrectly positions genital surgery as an implied and necessary endpoint. But that's not everyone's plan for their genitals, so saying that someone is "transitioning" doesn't really tell you anything about their genitals at all. You don't know what their endgame is, and unless you've very close to them, you probably won't and don't need to. Unless you know a lot about the specific circumstances of the trans person in particular, it's just basic etiquette to avoid terms that accidentally strongly imply what you think they should be doing with their genitals. Maybe the letter writer knows her trans girlfriend intends to get genital surgery, and that's why she's using that term. Or maybe the letter writer is insensitive or uniformed about trans issues and is just using the term too broadly. We don't really know, so it's best not to repeat it just because someone else said it. (This is the same way that, if a racist white uncle told a story about his new black girlfriend using racial slurs, I wouldn't repeat those slurs.) The solution here is really simple. Just mention the specific situation that's going on: She is dating a trans woman, and her trans girlfriend has a penis. This makes her uncomfortable sexually, and she's not sure what to do. That conveys all the necessary information without accidentally making any judgements about what anybody should be doing with their genitals. If the trans girlfriend is planning to have surgery but hasn't yet, just say exactly that. There's nothing complicated about this! Just convey the information simply, without making assumptions or judgements about anyone's plans for their genitals.
  7. The Big Gay Movie Thread

    It might be hard to find a physical copy, but you might want to consider Matsumoto Toshio's Funderal Parade of Roses. It's an experimental film from 1969 covering that era's underground gay culture in Tokyo. It's a classic of both Japanese experimental cinema and LGBTQ cinema. The link in this post is to a low quality youtube upload, but it does have English subtitles. The story is kind of a retelling of Oedipus, but the director also played with a lot of documentary techniques. It's been too long since I've seen it and it's kind of hard to classify, but it's worth a try and will give you a glimpse into a cultural moment you might not otherwise be able to experience.
  8. Other podcasts

    I also quit Isometric around that time. I miss hearing Maddy, Steve, and Georgia, but I find Wu to be abrasive in that performatively aggressive nerd way that I find most video game podcast hosts to be abrasive. I would love if Maddy was a guest form time to time on Idle Weekend, now that there is a thumbs shows based out of the east coast.
  9. First, I want to say that I loved this episode, as usual. But, I have to admit I found it very frustrating that you had a thoughtful discussion about how absurd conventions regarding spoilers prevent critical discourse about gaming . . . and then you went on to obey those absurd conventions by having Nick not talk about the endgame of MGS5 critically because of spoilers! I'm begging you: Please let Nick talk more about the ending to MGS5 in a future podcast! As someone who agrees with you that spoiler conventions limit critical discourse in an absurd way, and as someone who also needs to throw away my gamer card because I'm not going to be putting in the 50 hours to beat MGS5 any time soon, I would love to hear what Nick had to say but couldn't/didn't. Keep up the great work!
  10. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Interesting! Thank you for breaking that down.
  11. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    This is not quite accurate and a little inflammatory in comparison to what happened. No Awards were not given in "most of the categories with a Puppy nominee." They were given only in 5 categories, in which all the nominees were both (1) all from the Puppies Slates and (2) those puppy slate nominees were of low quality and/or obviously there for political reasons. (So, for example, Guardians of the Galaxy still won for best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, even though it was on a puppies slate, because obviously the movie itself was not affiliated with the puppies movement. Works did not appear to be voted down out of spite for being on a puppy slate, but instead based on whether or not they were good or bad. As it happens, almost all of them were very bad!) They absolutely did not "basically decide to blow up the bridges rather than risk a Puppy nomination." They did a sensible thing and used the standard Hugo runoff voting system to rank No Award above bad works. A calm and level headed reaction playing entirely within the preexisting rules, and assigning awards based on the artistic merit of the nominated works. If you read GRRM's blogs handicapping the Hugos from a few days ago and compare it to the list of winners, it gives good context for what happened.
  12. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Presumably it's because the awards will be announced this week.
  13. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    I'm not sure I agree with this reading of the Maron piece. (Setting aside the fan comic drawing it, which does come across to me as a bit too didactic.) The piece, specifically, is not lecturing people on their emotional immaturity as if he himself is not emotionally immature. It's precisely the opposite: he is talking about his own emotional immaturity and need for recognition. He is exposing his own human weakness to the audience both to provoke laughter and also greater insight into the way that we all might have a similar experience. And that, in general, is one of the important functions of standup comedy in the style Maron performs. His work is deeply personal, not criticizing society as if here were an objective observer not facing the same problems. So, it's absolutely not "rich," as if you are realizing hypocrisy he does not see. How this overlaps with his own personality is explicitly central to how the piece functions, not something he is unaware of.
  14. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Even if you accept the "it's based on Polish history" example, there is just no defense of the exclusion all non-white characters in Witcher. For a really well known example of a work of european fantasy that includes at least some diverse characters because it's influenced by history history and not white supremacist myth history, just look at the Song of Ice and Fire books (much less so the Game of Thrones tv show). Yes, the continent is largely white, but the book also recognizes the fact that people can and do (did) travel across borders. The history and present day politics of the land is strongly informed by immigration across borders, and larger cities are places where you can meet people from other cultures/races. If Witcher was similarly informed by history history and not a magical racial purity bubble history, it could have done this as well George R R Martin's inclusion of people from outside cultures doesn't ruin the text's ostensible links to its historical inspirations. It paints a better picture of the world, and it shows a much stronger knowlege of history than pulp garbage like Witcher. (Linking this to some tangential topics coming up here, the landmasses that we now know of as Korea and Japan similarly did not live in a racial purity bubble either.) You can create a racial purity bubble when you tell your myths, but it's a conscious choice, not something that can be justified with a claim to historical accuracy. It's a retroactive revision of history based on national borders in the modern world, not related at all to actual history, which is much more complicated. It doesn't mean that every kind of work needs every ethnic and racial group in the world, but once you start creating work for a global audience, you are open for criticism from that audience. You can reject that criticism or not, but it's valid criticism.
  15. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    This is not quite right. Japan was actively colonizing the surrounding area from the late 1800s in a way that was undeniably cultural imperialism, occupying places like Taiwan and Korea, treating the natives as primitives, and trying to "civilize" them. It got much worse the 1940s within Japan, but imperialism outside Japan was a pretty fundamental aspect of Meiji and beyond, not a brief aberration. From more or less the moment Japan became something we would understand as a modern nation state, it was practicing the cultural imperialism associated with the major modern nation states of its era. Additionally (not related to your post, but related to this discussion), the degree to which Japan was isolated from the world during its "closed nation" period (and also before then, obviously) is itself something of a cultural myth, precisely analogous to the way games like Witcher and other works of fantasy pulp portray a cultural myth of white homogeneity in Europe. The frequency and nature of the relationship between Japan and the continent shifted based on their respective political situations, but basically any aspect of Japan known via recorded history is necessarily a record of Japan after it has been transformed by substantial cultural exchange with people living in places now known as Korea and China. (Because the earliest extant Japanese myth-histories are written with Chinese characters and modeled after Chinese histories.)