Archive for the ‘art’ Category

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I Am Artist, Hear Me Congratulate Self!

March 25, 2009

I was reading up on RaceFail09 earlier today, and I started following links and Google hits and somehow it got me to Alas, a Blog, which got me to Aaru Tuesday, and somewhere along the way I found the Bechdel Rule and the Miller Test and a great rant decrying the fact that a straight white guy is seen as the default hero in our fiction. It was one of those pieces where it doesn’t say things you haven’t heard or don’t already know, but says it in a way that forces me to acknowledge the truth in a way I hadn’t before.

And I realized that my book, which I have so carefully constructed for the better part of a year, fails on the basic level of not being about a straight white guy who swoops in to save the queers from the problems they can’t solve for themselves. For extra bonus points, I made the murderous bigotry merely the backdrop for my hero’s emotional journey, and his sidekicks facilitators for the same.

And furthermore, I realized that this manuscript, as currently constructed cannot be saved. But that’s okay, because I was already dreaming of the sequel, and I’ve now decided to toss Disposable Heroes and move straight to what was origonally the followup effort.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the new idea, because that would easily spawn 10 pages of self-indugent shit, but I will say that it is much better for allowing the plot and action to flow naturally from the character relations, and that I’ve basically given up trying to pretend that my favorate characters are not in some way self-insertions.

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Added to My To-Do List

February 24, 2008

My roommate- the stupid one- just came back from There Will Be Blood, bitching and moaning about how it was horrible and awful and completely devoid of plot or story. She said she and her boyfriend where sitting through the whole movie, looking at each other in disbelief, wondering how on Earth they were duped into paying money to watch such shit.

So now I have to rush right out and see it.

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Dun-dun-fucking-DUUUUUNNNN!

February 17, 2008

So I guess this means that the newspost for this was just a dirty fucking lie? How dare you, Jeph? I trusted you.

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Invisible Friends

January 17, 2008

I’m reading about the Crusades in one of my classes, and it has sparked some internal monologuing on the subject of religious wars. It seems to me that religious strife comes from a deep seated insecurity about the nature of one’s own beliefs. If it was a simple disagreement, I don’t see why differing religious theories would so regularly lead to violence. Controversies in science and art sometimes become bitter and personal, but they rarely lead to bloodshed. In fact I cannot think of a single time that an artistic or scientific disagreement even got near the mere threat of force, unless it was a disagreement between the scientists/artists on one side, and some very religious people on the other.

But religious disputes are different from art and science. On some unconscious level, people recognize the irrationality and inconsistencies of a belief in the divine, and in response they come up with ways to justify that belief. But when they encounter other people doing the same thing but in a different manner- and this might be particularly true for different denominations of the same faith- it can be terribly upsetting. The question that arises is: if the Word of God is so true and profound and universal, how come so many other people get it wrong? How is it that they arrive at these silly excuses they tell themselves to paper over the flaws in their beliefs, and how is it that they can believe so fervently in them?

How dare you claim your invisible friend is the one true invisible friend when it is so clearly obvious that my invisible friend is the one true invisible friend! Furthermore, I hate you for believing so fervently in your invisible friend, because your ability to rationalize your clearly delusional beliefs about him unsettles the strength of my belief in my own invisible friend; I recognize in your face the same incredulity I wear when I look at your church and your god and it tempts me to wonder if perhaps the points I make about you may apply equally to me. And for the sake of all the years and effort I have invested in my belief, I cannot allow that to happen.

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Dare I Hope?

September 5, 2007

So I was skimming across the Internets when I ran into a new trailer for a game I hadn’t heard about before, “Battlefield: Bad Company“. Now aside from it’s stupid name-colon: name, which would do much better to simply be chopped down to a simple “Bad Company”, virtually everything about this game looks promising. Yes, yes, it’s yet another modern/near future shooter featuring a hypothetical and ridiculously implausible shooting war featuring NATO’s whole Toy Chest of Doom, but there’s something else here that is promising. Something cynical.

Now the big marketing buzz the game is trying to go for is its fully destructive environments. Hm. Where have I heard that one before? Oh yeah, I remember playing this game before, back when it was called Red Faction. Or maybe I’m thinking of the other three-dozen games that promised us this in the last 6 years. Hell, maybe I’m thinking all the way back to fucking X-COM, which if I recall correctly featured a fun little toy called the Blaster Bomb which allowed the player to level entire maps to smoking rubble. I guess the point that is coming into focus here is that “fully destructible environments” just doesn’t have that magical zing it used to. We’ve heard that claim before, or even its successor “we really mean it this time!” on too many occasions to get real thrilled about it now.

So why am I still excited about this game if its primary selling point so far seems to be a marketing buzzword that no experienced gamer would get excited about in this day and age? Simple, the story. DICE, the development studio behind this game, are being coy with the particulars of the story so far, but what we do know is this: the player assumes the role of one member of a squad of disgruntled US Army troopers who decide to go into business for themselves in the middle of World War 3, apparently without telling the Army before hand. What they’re after hasn’t been explicitly laid out yet, but we do know it involves money and revenge.

This idea is fantastic on a couple levels. One, the developers seem to have been smart enough to realize that on the tail end of a loosing war is not the time to be telling stories about teary-eyed heroism and idealistic struggles, and that kind of intelligence bodes well for the game as a whole. Two, all great war stories are at their core tales about the very worst parts of human nature, and having your protagonists abandon their duty to go off in search of personal wealth as the starting point of the story is a promising early sign that whoever they hired to write this game’s script understands that. Three, if they pull this off correctly, DICE may succeed in creating the world’s first anti-war war-sim. If that happens, we’ll have one more compelling example to set beside BioShock (which I’ll be getting to in a later post) in favor of the argument that video games are taking their first tentative steps into becoming a full-fledged art form complete with their own standards of aesthetics and moral statements.

So to DICE I say, in the unlikely event that you read this: please don’t fuck up.