Sunday, August 9, 2020

Ghosts of Tsushima: SJWs revive the White Man’s Burden for the 21st Century.

Still no cure for Foot in Mouth Disease.
Before anyone goes full WHARRGARBLE about the term "SJW" being used here, please keep in mind that it is not the same as when drunk-uncle or some Fox News chud uses it.  This is pure internet circa 2006 traditional meaning of basically someone who develops an overly-righteous sense of impetus for immediate action, to engage in activities that are actually harmful to the very causes they explicitize their support for.  In short, picture the Ralph Wiggum from The Simpson's "I'M HELPING" meme combined with Social Justice Sally from way back when.

I set the standard brah! Not you!

With the release of Ghosts of Tsushima, The White Man’s Burden of the 21st Century awakens within the campus collective of SJWs shooting themselves in the foot and saying “look at me, I make virtue signal!” with all the self-awareness of the hive-minded student body and staff of Oberlin College.  The same crowd that boldly stood up to the oh so egregious cultural oppression of a non-Asian actress playing a character who uses a cybernetic body based on a European design, in a future where the global population is super-portable from location to location and rapidly erasing genetic racial differences, in an English language movie from a Hollywood studio that was obviously doomed to fail as a commercial film – is now trying to scream bloody murder because a successful commercial venture in video games has not conformed to their standard rubric of what is appropriate when global business spans more than one specific socio-cultural group.

Notice no one got upset when an "Asian" character was played by this guy.
Yeah... total mystery.

The argument of requiring a pre-existing qualification to engage in story telling as commercial entertainment being necessarily tied to the actual race or nationality is mindbogglingly stupid, yet through the efforts of SJWs it has almost become ipso facto default in American entertainment media.  To make matters worse, this absolutism is zealously pushed by a mentality that would have Chairman Mao saying “wow that’s a little too intense” and all by groups of idiot morons who can not differentiate between “race” and “nationality.”  Furthermore, these mentalities actually devalue cultural practices and histories by indelibly tethering them to things like “nationality” turning cultural practices into compartmentalized commodities that are confined to convenient little boxes they can access as memes and use as tools when they have some meaningless discussion about “identity” and “diversity” in a racially segregated safe-space.  This completely ignores the very real fact that nations can have many cultures within them, and that cultures can span the borders of nations.  When these people look at things like race, culture, and nationality, they don’t see wide areas of sociology and anthropology too large to be fully understood, but rather they see poker chips or Pokemon cards, to be used to strengthen their own hand in their posturing and pontificating about what they know is best for specific groups of people.  

Such an outrage mechanism was engaged when Ghosts of Tsushima was released and some American noticed it wasn’t made part and parcel 100% by genetically pure Japanese.  This was a problem that the enlightened ones would not sit still for.  Those of the proper higher education were here to protect those unfortunate victims of “cultural appropriation” or whatever, even if the people of the culture being appropriated are so simple and basic that they can’t tell how appropriated their culture is getting, and how it must be stopped before they totally run out of it (just like what happens when you over-mine molybdenum, you’re gonna run out of it forever!).  Yes, this was all needed despite the game going over well so well in Japan it scored 40 out of 40, 4 times in Famisu.  Just in case you forgot, they know more about video games and the video game business than anyone reading this.  Yet there they were, the ever-outraged SJW Brigade who support their America-centric assertions with an absolute authority that comes from being born and raised in Reseda with a Vietnamese mom and Pilipino dad, half way through a weaboo inspired trek through Japanese 201 at whatever-college …because “Asian!”  You know, just like how some guy outside Boston who has Irish grandparents is a default authority on Serbian history and culture because “European.” 

Hunting with Good Will.

So having a game, set in Kamakura period Japan with a sprinkle of Edo anachronism here and there, made by a company that is not owned by Japanese investors, not located in Japan, and not staffed 100% by Japanese citizens of Asian ethnicity; is apparently a serious affront to ...either all Japanese nationals or all Asian people from Palau to Kashmir (you can’t really tell with these SJW people).  Jeez, I guess Japanese owners of Ferrari or Audi with right-hand drive should feeling very much of shame not buying Japanese cars!  And these people from outside the existing contemporary culture that is Japan (no, watching a lot of anime and learning hiragana does not get you anywhere near that), go on a crusade of moral righteousness, to save the people of Japan and video game consumers around the world from Namibia to Nunavut, from what they know is oppression in the form of Red Dead Redemption set in Japan. 

What happened next is the ultimate manifestation of White Man’s Burden of the 21st Century.  Japanese markets embraced the game en masse, and regular average fans, as well as luminaries in the video game industry reacted with a perplexed dismissal at the notion of the game coming from a source that was not racially pure enough being something that would detract from its quality or entertainment value.  At that moment basically all of Japan was labeled “Uncle Tom” and cast as simpletons who simply don’t know what is best for them.  Japanese lack of their own “cultural identity awareness” was something that needed to be addressed and it was now up to the American (notice this didn’t happen in France), ivory tower enlightenment-class to bring “civilization” to wield the flaming sword of Social Justice in their defense.  Japanese-ness had to be preserved, and the Asian American with their White allies were just the ones to install such preservation, keeping it un-corrupted like a perfectly unchanging museum piece to be looked at and admired for its own unique-ness-of uniquecallitisity in a uniquely unique way.  Like the perfect example of a well-bred dog, no outside influences shall be allowed to taint such an elegant specimen worthy of SJW admiration.  

And then as if that wasn’t stupid enough, the land mine of foot-in-mouth disease was trod upon with all the subtlety of a drunk elephant.  And yes, I am of course referring to the performance of Cornelius Boots at E3.  Genius level jingoist racist Dani Jo and company a took one look at this and deemed it to be entirely unacceptable that a non-Asian person (not necessarily a non-Japanese, just non-Asian… but something tells me if it were some dark skinned dude from Bangladesh, she wouldn’t be happy either) was playing a traditional Japanese musical instrument to promote a video game.  Did she know Cornelius Boots was considered a master of the shakuhachi?  No.  Did she do anything to find out about him at all?  No.  Did she look up the word "shakuhachi"? ...No.  What she saw in that single observation was enough for her to pass judgement with the unassailable authority of “I are Asian.”  By her standards, the shakukachi by its very nature can only be played by someone who is racially and nationally pure enough to meet certain pre-determined standards.  She also called the promotional costume he was wearing “traditional Japanese” in her self-righteous ignorance, when what he was wearing was as traditionally Japanese as the outfits at Medieval Times are “traditional” Middle European (ie. they’re not).  It was marketing for a product promotion, the same way people put on George Washington costumes for President’s Day mattress sales or the Bacardi group sends out people in cinematic themed pirate costumes with eye patches and shoulder parrots to yell "aarrrrggg."  It evokes a modern notion of “concept A” in most people, and that formula is being used to sell stuff.  Dani Jo and those who followed suit were quickly shut down for being an embarrassment, because when you apply the same level of diligence in your arguments as flat-earthers do, jingoist racial zeteticism shall get you nowhere (other than relentlessly ridiculed).

Do you think Dani Jo would have said the same thing if the shakuhachi was being played by a very non-Asian black Namibian woman?
...yeah I didn't think so either.

The SJW onslaught did not stop there, and further delved into the trivial idiocy that only has value to their owned warped perceptions.  Arguing about the “correct” conjugation of 続くthat’s “tsuzuku” meaning “to continue” actually started happening.  Yep, people who live in suburban America with no JLPT scores were ever so sure that the version as written in the game was “wrong” and therefore un-Japanese enough to cause SJW outrage.  The correct response to this notion is simply “shut the fuck up” and nothing more.

It was not saddening to see game media like Kotaku, Polygon, Technocodex, and even The Washington Post twist in the wind trying to appease the SJW commandments they have sworn themselves loyal to and say something bad about this game without making their motives obvious.  After Ghostbusters 2016, media critics became worthless.  What was saddening was seeing SJWs decide to use their time on something like this, while Black Lives Matter is still happening, at a desperate point where it needs to make significant headway.  Nice use of your time, dickheads. 

Still a thing.  A much much more important thing.

In the end the keepers of objective reality have had a victory against an opponent who we didn’t even notice was trying to fight us.  Their arsenal of misconceptions, double standards, and factual inaccuracy, simply had them trying to land punches with fists made of smoke.  But in doing so, they exposed their willingness to embrace the White Man’s Burden of bringing education and enlightenment to those who are all but too underdeveloped and savage to even know they need it.  The noble SJW Burden, has them bringing American academic social concepts to nations, cultures, and ethnic groups in the name of “helping” them, for they no not what they need protection from.  Somehow the perpetrators of such insidious evil believe themselves to be righteous.  May their efforts fall as flat as this every time.

She needs her SAFE SPACE!

And as always:


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Being Punished: What does the future hold for the Punisher Skull.

When it's too important:

As you might guess, this is going to cover issues that encompass more than just The Punisher Logo and its use by third parties.  Let's start with that though.

The co-opting of the Punisher Skull by the suburban white "tough guy" crowd has been an ongoing process that we all noticed, but couldn't figure out how to react to.  Like a doctor confronted with a condition that could be a deadly infection or a severe allergy, there was no way to tell what the cure for the condition was, and so what action could be taken was never evident.  

A good look (not a perfect one) into this phenomenon can be seen in the About Face piece by Nate Powell published well over a year ago.

Of course this is because of Baby Boomers:
So how did we get to a society where a dangerous amount of people think wearing a virus prevention mask is government oppression, but Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd would "still be alive" if they had just "obeyed commands" of these out of control nutjobs...?  Well those of you who regularly read this blog (which is no one), might expect me to instantly blame the baby boomers.  And you're right this is their fault.  40 years of having their hands on the wheel of this country and in 2020 they finally drove into the farmer's market and into a brick wall while asking "is this the Dairy Queen" and all that.  Thanks for the forever wars, baby boomers. 

SJW Failure:
But there is a bit more than just baby boomers here.  Something that is equally destructive.  SJW nonsense.  Yep, the ineffectual hydra of emotion that was the SJW movement which attacked everything from white guys in dreadlocks to the wrong kind of Halloween costumes, and from the word "picnic" (yes I was there when that happened), to the Melissa Click school of physically attacking news videographers and journalists, they missed their own point completely.  While Gillette was busy insulting its own customers and you thought boycotting Nathan's Hot Dogs was gonna do something, the entire effort was wasted.  What was mistaken for "micro aggressions" and "toxic masculinity" was indeed something far more dangerous.  A resurgence in the exact kind of anti-intellectualism that always precedes and enables a very real manifestation of real fascism.  Italy, Germany, Spain, China, Cambodia... all began with a whirlwind cascade of anti-intellectualism.  Hoards of people, more than proud to be stupid.  The SJW movement was anti-histamine prescribed for tuberculosis.  The mark was missed, and the harm is done. We skeptics told you. 

The perfect army for a Dunning Kruger President.  "Poorly" Educated means there was an educational standard that WAS there, but wasn't met.  Un-Educated means that someone simply never had that opportunity in the first place. That's a game-changing difference.  The wanting to be stupid, to better fit in... I guess?

Modern Education in America is an entire school system which basically criminalizes the very existence of teenage identity, treating students as if they were inmates, incarcerated in educational institutions subject to the whims of the most incompetent Karen type micro-tyrants.  Whether intentional or not, whether realized or not, it is now a firmly entrenched factory of The Third Wave, not as a top-down structured goal, but as a natural result of what goes on in there.  These "teachers" and "administrators" are shielded in their criminal and immoral actions habitually taken against students by powerful unions, hellbent on nothing more than preserving a system that enriches them to the fullest while providing them with unchecked power (sound familiar?).  Is it no wonder that this environment creates such balkanized social categories that produce masses of young adults who only know authority as an unchangeable vehicle for social and economic elevation.  With a higher education industry that only offers worthless diplomas at a price of lifetime debt, a job and housing market left destroyed by the baby boomers and their greed without consequence, hostility of SJWs (real or imagined), the option of being a cop or military simply for the sake of "now no one tells me what to do" is attractive to the exact kind of mind that should never be given that authority.   Basically, it's obvious at this point that anyone who wants to be in law enforcement should ipso-facto be prohibited from doing so.

If you think that's an exaggeration... just remember that cops did this about 10 minutes before they murdered George Floyd. 


The idea that the country will be able to pass a federal standard for a 4 year degree combining criminal justice and behavioral studies as a requirement for all law enforcement, has about as much chance of passing as the Green New Deal does with Dianne Feinstein in the Senate.  This one is a long haul that we're gonna have to add to the list of things we can only do once the Senator for-life boomers are out of the way.

No, you can't have it:
Nothing pisses of the cop animal mentality more than wanting something and being prohibited from having it.  Not because the thing they want is impossible, or that some natural force has made it unattainable, but because it is kept from them by an authority over which they can exert no influence.  To have that dynamic turned on them, is something they can not comprehend and so they react like an angry chimpanzee.  But like all situations of this nature, there is but one single way of succeeding, no other endeavor will reach said goal.

Not a copyright issue:
As has been established, there are no legal mechanisms that Marvel/Disney can employ to compel any police force, military unit, or individuals, to stop displaying the image.  They are not selling it or using it as commercial entity, copyright just does not apply.  No company can tell you not to wear a t-shirt you bought with their intellectual property on it to wherever you want in public.  They can not extend an office of ownership past the point of sale.  They wanna slap it on the car, or wear it on a shirt, then that's that.  The argument that such actions by police agencies somehow "hurts" the brand is not tenable because in court, a tangible price tag of a real dollar figure would need to be attached, and attached for each instance, of each police agency, in each jurisdiction and so on and on and on and on.

Is it a copyright issue?:
The Punisher blue-line merch is almost certainly unlicensed.  Marvel/Disney can definitely hit vendors and retailers (online or otherwise), with cease and desist orders with a nice friendly Disney "or else" bit at the end.  If that happens, many will stop, some will not.  The ones which are completely located in other countries where Disney doesn't have as strong a standing, or countries which don't even have mechanisms of copyright/trademark protections to enforce will remain sources for these products.  Furthermore, would Disney even think devoting the resources to research, contact, and potentially prosecute makers of unlicensed merchandise?  That's a lot of diligence work and diligence work costs money.  Don't expect them to open up an office dedicated to dealing with this perpetual whack a mole situation.

Totally a copyright issue:
There is one option they have.  If they have true moral convictions, true notions of what is required to be undertaken in an effort to withhold this meme from those that would use it for anti-humanitarian purposes, Disney will do the one thing they can do.  Suspend all licensing. Not
stop publication, just physical merchandise.  Everything from pins to apparel, from decals to decanters, let no official license be granted. Anything made after that point is unlicensed and therefore actionable.  In short, Scorched Earth.  Will Disney do that?  Well you can't get Song of the South on DVD can you...?  It's not out of the question. 

Fuck copyright:
With 3D printing, home made applique, spray paint, power coating, stickers, stencils, photoshop, and whatever else, does it even really matter?  It won't stop them.  They will do it and take pride in any objections.  Such is the animal mentality.  To have protesters, BLM, and even the creator himself, object to what is being done with this symbol, serves as boner-fuel for those who have already started to use it for anti-humanitarian purposes.  They love it.  The "try and stop me" attitude has been ingrained in Americans that have had to endure the hypocritical tyrannical social meat-grinder foisted upon American youth by the baby boomers from D.A.R.E. to "Zero Tolerance" to Jack Thompson.  Just like telling a boomer to wear a virus prevention mask, telling MAGAS not to use the Punisher Skull for anti-humanitarian purposes is just gonna make them do it more.  It's not going to work. That leaves only one course of action.
 Authorial intent can fall on deaf ears.

Make it impossible for this to be used like that.  Kill it, kill what it stands for.  The writers and artists must begin a story line where in the comic narrative itself, the symbol is co-opted by a person or entity which uses it in a absolutely vile way.  Something like white-supremacist, violent, gay, child molesters.  It has to happen so thoroughly, and so permanently, that Frank Castle -The Punisher himslef- abandons the image.  The reviled group sees it as a victory as only the most unintelligent among us can, and that skull forever becomes a symbol of violent gay child molesting white supremacists.  Something that every cop and wanna be tough guy will forever want to be dissociated from.  Frank Castle must lose.  But Frank Castle is a loser in the literal sense.  He is the product of loss, the forever damaged aftermath of succumbing to the base instincts of a nature capable of recognizing the irredeemable harm of such a choice.  The willing step over the line of damnation is the unforgivable price to pay for the license to his actions.  To wield a sword with a handle just as sharp as its blade, cutting into the holder so deep until it can not be let go.  Forever in your grip, unceasing in its cries for blood.  It will be loss.  Fans and readers will now face that loss.  As such, there can be no greater purpose than the choice to accept that loss.

Frank did not lose his soul. He abandoned it.
The tragedy is that he lived in a world where he could.

What will happen?  What will be done? ...Nothing.  Because nothing ever is.  Any development, be it solution or exacerbation, will come from an external impetus not yet known.  But where things are headed in the broader sense goes beyond one replaceable symbol of an ideology in its death throws.  Writhing as it is smothered by reason, desperate to remain and thrashing in the most dangerous way as it is extinguished.  I've been an active member of the ACLU since 1997, and it's enough to have seen dangerous extremism from the right and the left, from lawful and lawless, and to know that all lasting change is slow and cumulative.  Loss on the other hand can come with the suddenness and severity of any disaster in the relative blink of an eye.  We must both instigate and support progressive change, and guard against regressive motion. 

Black Lives Matter.

And as I have said for years:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Australian Senator Wants Government to Ban More Anime and Manga

Australia, still an enemy of free thought.

Second time we've used this.

Anyone who has seen the fine documentary series Housos, knows that Australia is what happens when a bunch of cognitively dysfunctional weirdos get trapped on an island full of spiders and snakes, surrounded by sharks and murder-snails.  From this Southern Hemisphere version of England with more land and on-fire-ness to it, comes a flash in the pan news tidbit:

So Australian Senator Stirling Griff (yes that's a real name of a person, not a fictional character... somehow), wants literally every single anime and manga ever, inspected by the government for "child exploitation" and subsequently banned in the country if it does not fit some existing standard as defined by said government.  Apparently Mr Griff saw some anime with bouncy boobies and tighty-whities and is mad about it, probably because it makes him feel like his pants are shrinking.  The entity responsible for government censorship in Australia, which is officially called the Australian Classification Board, has since responded with what could be paraphrased as "you don't tell me what to do, now go fuck yourself" essentially.  They already have a government censorship rubric in place for everything and don't need to create a special one for anime or manga.  Making this idea more or less dead in the water.  Common sense should prevail, as a drawing of "child exploitation" is no more evidence of an actual crime than a drawing of Conan the Barbarian chopping someone's head off constitutes evidence of murder.

Well that should be it right?  One politician has a stupid idea that up and disappears like a fart in the wind.  Senator Silver Trench will go pout in the corner and that will be it right?  Probably, but like those instances where only the last of the redundancies avoids total disaster, so too does this small event illuminate the tenuous nature of a global market for art and entertainment properties.  One where one government can influence sales and license valuations for a global property, to a degree based on their own market size. 

It's happening in more than just the one place everyone immediately thinks of.

When discussing government censorship of entertainment media and art, the usual suspects always spring to mind, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand, Russia, Singapore, all that.  But in reality, the government regulation of creative output is embraced by countries which tout their self-celebrated socially progressive atmospheres such as Germany, U.K., Canada, France, Holland, Australia, and so on.  But these countries have a long history of maintaining actual thought-police and continue to do so while performing the mental gymnastics required to label them as positive entities which benefit society.  They justify their actions in state enforced censorship by arguing they are simply enabling the greater good but in reality are just another way to implement a what we say goes socio-cultural policy.

We're here to help.

As mentioned, Australia being one of England's side-projects, and as England  loves doing this, so too is like Australia to blindly parrot such thinking.  What is somehow second nature to these quazi Euro or Dynastic modes of thinking, are extraordinarily repugnant to Americans. So much so that when the USA was forming an absolute set of laws just after making England go away by shooting their army guys in the face, the very first one was a law expressly forbidding the government from legally regulating written works in any way, and through case law has been extended to art, music, performance, and software.  Actually if you look at the U.S. Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-8 can basically just be called "shit the English did that is not allowed anymore."  And #1 is a bit crowded, but government censorship is in there.  The continued strong aversion to such regulation, is cemented in American cultural identity and jurisprudence, through lots and lots of Supreme Court case law.  It is still seen as a very relevant subject today, because throughout the 20th and into the 21st century, it was often American cultural and literary output that has been the target of such government suppression efforts; Don't wanna participate in the SS book burning?  Too bad, do it or we shoot you.  Get caught with "Amerikanski rock and roll album" behind the Iron Curtain?  Time for re-education in Siberia.  That book about Robert Ingersoll and modern Atheism?  Off with your head you dirty kuffar!  Looking at that wrong American website in China?  To the Laogai you go for your state sponsored re-education.   Hell, if Salmon Rushdie tried to publish The Satanic Verses today, the UK would probably go crazy trying to ban the thing and lock him up for "hate speech" or whatever it is they're calling it now.  No wonder he moved to New York.

In Australia, this is a senior respected member of the government keeping your woke eyes and ears safe from all the evil manga and anime drawings.  It's ok, he knows what's best for you.

This ongoing tension has lead to the one important thing.  No other country has explicit prohibitions against the government regulation of any artistic or entertainment content.  Those MPAA or ESRB ratings?  They come from private organizations and they are not legally binding.  The local theater near me does not enforce those ratings and rather makes their own decisions about age restrictions if any, breaking no law.  That simply could not happen in Australia, or any other country out there. 

So this happens in English speaking markets, as well as other markets all over the world except for one country... 'Murika!  Making the USA the only vestige of truly free speech and expression.  Where all incarnations and manifestations of free-thought and expression are free to participate in the environment, where they either thrive or become obsolete through that participation.  For freedom of art and expression (including commercial media) in the USA it's sink or swim, in the rest of the world it's "Pool's Closed" because we say so.

If government censorship based on localized sensibilities continues to grow unabated through actions such as this, an international market for entertainment properties will become more and more impossible.  It would become a mission of of pleasing "all of the countries, all of the time" which is such an insurmountable prospect, that potential licensors would not even entertain purchasing such assets.   What would be the point of licensing Keijo if some government goon can threaten you with criminal prosecution for publishing it?  Anime goes from being a global multi-billion dollar business (yes, I'm counting Pokemon) back to a localized phenomenon traded with fans using legal or illegal means depending on what the government has decided you can dare to have access to.  Australia should just put the kangaroos in charge at this point.  They would do a better job running the place.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

In Occasional Defense of Piracy: Streaming services getting it wrong.

When piracy of entertainment properties is the only way to improve the market.

Yar har har!  Hardee harrr har har har harrrr!

Those who fail to learn from the past are... baby boomers.   Only from the boomer mind that thinks it's just too cool to keep up with new developments would a notion of a TV studio acting like a record label make sense. In 1995 having a Blackberry made sense too.  Since these people have insulated themselves in positions of power which no one would dare offer up an incongruous or critical counterpoint, their clunky outdated ideas will drop on top of the existing market only to smash into it like a rusted 1970 Mercury Zephyr into an electric car show. Theirs is the idea of owning a show from top to bottom and forcing an environment where an interested consumer would have to join a paid service just to watch the one good show that's on it.  The days of consumers buying an "album" to get one or two hit songs from it are gone, and it seems as if TV executives don't think that is going to mean anything to them as they try the exact same failed strategy with streaming services.

Nobody... just no one wants this.  Seriously.

If anyone who sees this has seen other stuff written here previously, it would be apparent that I usually take a negative view of piracy, as it de-values any property and makes it less likely that more of that property will be made.  But in this context, "be made" does not only mean produced, but also be made available to potential consumers/audiences/whateveryouwannacallit.  By not doing so, a vacuum is created which will collapse in on itself, and never is that seen as a profitable venture. Even though these properties lack tangibility in the literal sense, the rules of logistics are going to apply just as they would to any commodity.  Ignore those rules at your own peril, guys.

There is a reason that was never the #1 seller of Nike shoes online.  It's because no one goes to a store that sells only one brand of one item.  No one wants to register or any nonsense at a different website for every different product they want to buy.  Amazon made it possible to look "across the shopping isle" to other brands, other items, and alternative products while never abandoning a shopping cart.  Similar thinking in the strategies of TV streaming, forcing potential customers to sign up for an entire service just to get the one thing they want, will similarly kill these studio attempts.  We had Hulu, Netflix, or even (shudder) cable providers, which offered all the programming with little barriers of going in between them as a consumer, push a few buttons, and bam you're watching the other thing you want to watch.  Throw properties behind a paywall of a completely exclusive service with its own user registration and billing cycle?  Yeah, the RVR (reverse value ratio) there is far too big to make it worth it to the point of continuing.

RVR is this but with way more math and specified variables based on regression analysis.  I'd mansplain it to you but your brain would melt.

So why is this even happening if it's so crazy universe ass-plodingly obvious doing so is a terrible idea?  Because baby boomers.  I am serious, baby boomers are desperate to keep other baby boomers running the show rather than allow opportunities to become available to other generations, will literally do anything to stop younger people from ascending to any type of positions where they would have executive authority.  Baby boomers will invent new positions which sound great but don't do anything and put younger people in them, they will abandon entire projects/divisions to get rid of them there youngins, or they will just keep hiring their own generation even if they are way past their expiration date.  The generation that says "there's no such thing as a free lunch" but wants to pay you in "experiences" is gonna keep on truckin' and just say "what the fuck are you gonna do about it?"

The boomer-block.  Why you haven't gotten promoted in over a decade.

They may end up changing the strategy, but boomers won't "learn" anything, they never do.  The reason is actually because the boomer mentality is so conceited that despite having ample opportunity to learn new things when they were new (the internet, corp. strategy, environmental responsibility, logging on to wifi, how to rotate a fucking .pdf), they feel they shouldn't have to learn such things.  They are just too cool for that stuff.  The generation that has such ignorance that finds not until it feels, is not going to avoid a problem in advance.  So like many things boomer, this is another one where the solution is going to have to wait until they run out of other reasons to blame it on until they finally end up having to look into a mirror. 

The show Picard itself isn't actually very good.  This is going to cause a lot of buyer's remorse and trigger a kind of resentment that people on the receiving end of a bait and switch inevitably feel.  It promised so much and delivered a pile of nonsense antithetical to the entire identity of the entertainment entity that is the character Picard and the brand of Star Trek.  This should be no surprise as it's coming from Alex Kurtzman.  They guy who ran the SpiderMan franchise into the ground, who screwed up Universal Monsters so bad it couldn't even get off the ground at all, the mind behind the box-office juggernaut that was The Mummy with Tom Cruise.  Alex "I want a franchise NOW and I don't care what it is" Kurtzman was a bad choice for this.  Also, they've given creative input to Patric Stewart... and he's an awesome guy but he's not a Star Trek Writer.  He's an MCU actor and has been in a rich-person bubble for a long time.  He has so much money he hasn't had to wash his own dishes since before I was even alive, and he's on half-his-age hot trophy wife #3, so, what are we really get from that?  Nothing relatable.

You didn't need me to tell you Star Trek: Picard was gonna suck, it was pretty obvious.

Same has been true with the Harley Quinn series available only through DC Universe.  You see it?  It's not as good as you were thinking it was gonna be was it...?   Sure you're still excited because because of the novelty "ooo animation where they say fuck and tits!  ha! Take THAT people who say cartoons are just for kids... like SPAWN, remember AEON-SPAWN & STIMPY?"  but that will ware off soon enough.  Now imagine you paid for that up front and there's nothing you can do about it.  The warning signs were there.  The delays, and the character design change to full on suicide-squad Harley and away from the original Paul Dini version (which should always be a red flag that someone involved doesn't know what they're doing).  But I am biased in favor of the original version of Harley Quinn and not the Suicide Squad anorexic with a face tattoo played by someone who speaks in a condescending Mary Poppins accent IRL.

Girl you know it's true.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The New Sheriffettes: Anime Conventions Write a Modern-Day Comstock Act with Ahegao Restrictions.

Keep Making That Face and it will Stay That Way.
Anime conventions in flyover country have started “banning” clothing and other items with ahegao images on them.  Prints, books, commissions, videos, towels?  What about… a tattoo?  Like any amateur social manipulators, they haven’t really mentioned them in any specificity, so apparently non clothing items are permissible.  The reason that seems to be given by one of the conventions for such prohibitions is “social climate.”  Now, there is no way to successfully parse “social climate” with the notion embodied by the phrase “what other people think” since they are the same thing.  Thusly, a sweeping policy which is being applied to everyone is now in place because of … “what other people think.”  Following that logic, it becomes very apparent that the actual end of that equation goes from “what other people think” to “what WE think.”  You don’t need to be well versed in post-Revolutionary France and the Société des Jacobins, amis de la liberté et de l'égalité to realize where this leads and the CRG squads that will inevitably prowl the convention halls looking for any and all infractions contrary to the new Little Red Book of obscena- prohibetur. 

The New Sherefettes:
The blatant hypocrisy of this development has already been exposed by writers and commentators out there who are quicker on the draw than I am. has handily pointed out that the new “rules” are only applicable to clothing items which have “ahegao” images in an effort to promote a “family friendly” atmosphere.  In a telling indicator that this may be also influenced by Third Wave Feminism creep, these rules do not apply to cosplay in this case, just a specific image on clothing items (more on this later).  So we end up with:

The outrage machine wants you!

This dynamic alone is a red flag made of red flags.  Not only is the regulation so specific mentioning ahegao as to suggest an intentional targeting of certain people, but relies on actual definitions which are beyond vague.  What IS ahegao and more importantly what ISN'T it?  Is it a cropped image which depicts sex outside the frame?  Is it a cropped image with depicts simulated sex?  Is it just that facial expression, which a character could be making while performing an otherwise mundane task?  Is it only applicable to female or female-appearing characters?  Can masculine characters make an “ahegao” face and would such depictions also be against these new rules?  How crossed do the eyes have to be?  How far does a tongue have to stick out?  They gonna make a chart or something?  A new anime convention Hays Code is no doubt in its infancy right now.

But wait there’s more; Colorado Anime Fest has added another tier of inappropriateness.  From their stated rule policy, “…will not permit ‘ahegao’ or similar clothing with graphic sexual imagery to be worn on the convention floor” (emphasis added).  The danger of such ambiguity can be summed up with the simple explicit question of; Well what the fuck does that mean?  Will individual conventions come up with their own criteria for “graphic sexual imagery” and go around enforcing them with vigor?  Does such a development remind you of something?

Yeah ...that. 

Missing a history lesson:

A social conservative resistance to anime and blatant hatred of everything from manga to video games was once a real threat to anime fandom itself.  When one has to invoke Miller v California in order to establish one’s “innocence” in wearing an Urusei Yatsura t-shirt, it is indeed a civil rights issue (not the biggest one, but one none the less).  From book confiscations to the decades-long moral panic around video games, anime and otaku fandom has been attacked numerous times in the name of social standards and anti-LGBTQ and other sentiments so ridiculous, that they were (until recently) simply laughed out of the public sphere by fans and non-fans alike.  These new convention authorities  seem to be completely ignorant of how hard fought the evolution of otaku fandom was going from fringe element to massively accepted and commercially viable sphere of influence, and so bring such threats back to bear, this time from within the fandom itself.  This is what you get when you let people with undergrad degrees from Evergreen State College (or any SJWs R Us campus) actually exert authority over entities that operate outside the academic bubble of their calcified nodes of absolutist thought

But now, the threat to the fandom comes from within, and begins as always with all but seemingly innocuous pleas of “for the children!” cloaked in a self-projected righteousness.  Such restrictions and prohibitions on creative works and thought shall slowly spread as their efforts progress, much as an unhealed wound slowly expands from repeated puncturing by those who seek to add unnecessary remedy.  If allowed to continue unchecked, such efforts will bring their exclusionary authority to increasing more types of expression and art (be it commercial or otherwise).  What will the result be?  A convention bereft of the qualities that make anime and anime conventions fun. 

No fun allowed you counter-revolutionary sex racist!

I warned you people.  And here.  And here.  Here too.

I say, You Can’t Have a Negro:
For those of you who don’t know the story about that line, here is the primary source account.  It can be distilled into the basic singular event; specifically the publication of Incredible Science Fiction in 1955, and story in it called “Judgement Day” a short comic where only at the end, the “Hero” astronaut is revealed to be a black person from Earth.  This had already been published to accolades before the CCA came into being.  The head of the CCA, Charles F Murphy rejected the story based on the notion “you can’t have a negro.”  So it was asked of him, “where in the code does it say you can’t have a negro?” to which Murphy responded simply with “I say you can’t have a negro.”  From that moment, the Code became simply whatever the Chair said it was, and it wasn’t until decades later that a wholesale rejection of its necessity did the CCA become unable to exert influence on creative works. If you are under the impression that this ahegao thing won't lead to something similar, the shoehorn for getting your head out of your ass is somewhere around here.

Total Assholes, ruining my fandom?  It's more likely than you think.
This is a dank-meme for all you zoomers out there who don't know shit.

It is easy to dismiss this incident, as Charles F Murphy (who  somehow attained the rank of Judge) is the kind of guy who you would absolutely expect to find vigorously helping to frame the Central Park 5 in his free time.  The platitudes of being far more socially enlightened (which some people think means “woke” but it doesn’t), do not, in fact, shield such overzealous entities, be they groups or individuals, from the exact same perilous cognitive entrapment.  The misplaced notion of the need for censorship can find itself misplaced under any guise, be it the preservation or morality, blatant racism, or the happy fun-time feely feels safe space rainbow of the all-encompassing greater good.  Once that happens, the individual whims of someone, whoever they may be, in such a position of absolute authority will become the exclusive maxims, and limits, of toleration.  This scenario has played out many times in history, always for the worst.  What fans have now witnessed is the emergence of micro-tyrants within the convention space.  What fans must decide, is how they will fight such an emergence.

What such an threat once looked like (before they shot him in the face and chopped his head off... It's ok, he really had it coming). 

The Penis is Evil!
So is this a case in which Third wave feminism has managed to creep into the fandom?  Who fucking knows… but what other mechanism would so necessitate banning ahegao images and nothing else which could be considered equally or even more sexualized?  Ahegao does seem to indicate a particular enjoyment of a female character engaging in heterosexual intercourse (that means she like banging).  Third-wave is notoriously hetero-averse and hetero-hostile, so by singling out ahegao and it's potential to be sex-positive, it does seem as if this is something that fits the Third-Wave agenda.  I promise none of the links are about fart-rape.  Except this one.  To be honest, this is just a notion of a possibility which may or may not be the case, but it is more likely than aliens or something stupid.

Expose Yourself.
No I don’t mean get naked, this isn’t some furry convention.  What I mean is someone needs to get a 2 or 4 person team, one male one female, have them walk around a convention each in the same ahegao gear, and set them up with hidden cams and mics (kind of like the 10 Hours of Walking experiment).  Document what kind of differences there end up being between the two if any.  Send them out the next day with ahegao images of exclusively male characters, see what kind of things happen then.  Put yourself out there to expose inevitable double standards that will apply to female and male attendees regarding this policy.  I would love to see a shirt/hoodie made of characters making “ahegao” expressions but engaged in mundane tasks like using a vending machine, or using a calculator.  Have the whole image shown so as to clearly demonstrate that these faces do not spring from any sexual activity.  See what happens then.  Will you be asked to take it off / leave?  Then expose that hypocrisy to the world. 

Kick Them in the Nutz!
Contact any sponsors of the convention and tell them you can no longer support their products or services if they will support this kind of censorship.  Companies have a serious phobia of this kind of thing.  I know it sounds like “ok Boomer” advice, but an actual printed letter with a stamp on it via snail mail to whatever company might have a bigger impact than most people think.  Just keep in mind there is a difference between a sponsor, an advertiser, and a venue.  In marketing, people who do this are called “brand terrorists” but I would shy away from self-identifying as that unless you want a visit from the FBI.  I've had that, it's not fun and doesn't look like some innocuous little Mulder and Scully jam session, when theyy show up they show up

Contact the CBLDF… they won’t do anything other than possibly wag their finger or release a statement or something.

Shut the Fuck Up about your “rights” and stuff.
None of that applies here.  These are private events that have rule sets you agree to follow by buying a ticket.  Your First Amendment Rights don’t protect you from any rule these convention entities decide to put in place.  Challenge that by deciding not to leave if you’re asked to, and you will most likely be charged with a crime.  That crime won’t be “wearing an ahegao shirt” either, it will be “criminal trespass in the whatever degree” which, if you’re lucky will get dropped down to something like Disorderly Conduct (that’s what it is in NY, I have no idea what the equivalent is in MN or CO, I’m not licensed to practice there).  So stop thinking this is some fight against the great oppressors, it’s not.  Going on about “free speech” or “free expression” if you’re in Canada, is not going to get you anywhere.  You will just make yourself look dumb.

What to do, What to do...
Thus, dawn shows its light on the convention floor, where some seek to enforce a wall of incongruity between creative art and high context self righteousness, and others seek to fight against it.  Nobody can say they don’t have a horse in this race because arbitrary rules are just that, arbitrary.  The longer they are allowed to manifest, the closer the chances that something you like will end up being disallowed skyrocket to 100%.  Keeping your head down is not a good option.

One might easily dismiss these developments as the inevitable excretions of Middle America.  Flyover country where semi-sentient MAGA hats Teach the Controversy, and Jesus is your birth control.  Where wild Karens roam the land in their I want to speak to the manager haircuts, all complaining in unison about how Amerika has lost its small town feel while driving for 35 minutes each way in their SUV to buy groceries at a Wal-Mart.  What they do can easily be bathed in the beige light of insignificance since these places are not epicenters of… well pretty much anything really.

 But one must remember that the most virulent cancer can have its start even in the most vestigial of places, and if not addressed quickly, will metastasize to interfere with the functions of the primary organs.  So too has this cancer of thought come out of the provincial interior to potentially effect storied and more progressive conventions of the higher qualities.  The notion that a truly great international convention would even entertain such similar nonsensical regulations is both ludicrous and now, terrifyingly real. 

What’s banned now?  Your face!  Literally.

In summation, These types of vague knee-jerk regulations are antithetical to what the anime fandom was, is, and strives to continue to be.  They should not be welcomed, entertained, sympathized with, or defended.  An initial backlash combined with fandom efforts to force these rules to be more trouble than they are worth is the remedy which must be administered immediately and with unending consistency.  Give no ground, lest it be taken by those would evict you from it and leave but salted earth. 

 All together now; "Go Fuck Yourself!"

Wow, what a terrific audience.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Wrong People for the Job: Keeping CEOs in media and business that are going to sink the boat.

"Failure to learn from past mistakes begins with the belief that what happened was never a mistake in the first place."
      -Me, just now.

Although it may seem as if you, dear reader, are in for an art history lesson, it is the actual Medusa event that is the inspiration here.  It is something I have been thinking about as it applies to contemporary matters.  Famous for being immortalized in "The Raft of the Medusa" by French master Théodore Géricault in 1819 currently on display at the Louvre in Paris, The Medusa Affair was  a horrific event involving incompetence, cronyism, class-ism, and not only epic, but consistently poor decision making by "management" you could call it. 

Since Wikipedia exists, the entire story need not be retold here, only that due to the above stated reasons (and maybe a shark or two), the evacuation of most of the people on board met with an 8% success rate, and in case you were wondering, that would be -92% return on living people. The result was mutiny, murder, suicide, and eventual cannibalism.  It is a situation with striking parallels to the result of current business practices in these the times in which we live.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Also the boat itself sank.

For more information, visit your local youtube video where a college freshman will blur the lines between explain, extol, and pontificate, while talking about what they read about this in an art history book published in 1992.  It will be followed by a google ad-sense link for where you can find the best deal on a sub-par print you can hang in your tiny apartment to make people who come over think you're smart.  (Which is good because you have really got to stop telling people that "The Scream" is your favorite Van Gogh painting when you point to that old poster of it you got from the campus bookshop that's still up in your kitchen). I put so many miles on this joke I could take it to an antique dealer at this point.

Moving on; The recent episodes of corporate death and disease we have been seeing, which range from MGM to Toys R Us, and from G.E. to Toshiba, are not specific to any one industry, but rather the result of a potent mixture of a failure to adapt, generational disconnect, staunch baby boomer self-righteousness, Executive Worship, immense misplacement of corporate social responsibility, politically complicit corporate corruption, and simple greed in the notion that selling the soul of the company to an investment bank so you could have more money to carry out your bullshit was somehow not going to end up like a real life version of Faust (but hey, you're "executive level" so what do you care...). 

As these companies navigate the turbulent seas of global business, success and even survival depends on command decisions with the health of the vessel in mind as paramount.  All too often in the past two to three decades, concern for such welfares  have found themselves replaced by some nebulous commitment to unknowable collectives of financiers, with priorities far too narrow to sustain anything other than the monetary equivalent of theoretical physics that only finance majors could hold so dear.  This has elevated the concept of the all-star CEO to something of value.  An asset of luxuriant necessity who's lack of presence is as inconceivable as the absence of air-conditioning in a car owned by someone living in Arizona.  It is not.

 March 2017 

March 2018
"How do ya like THEM APPLES?"

Such is the function of self aggrandizing smoke and mirrors.  But much like smoking cigarettes, it only looks cool in the movies, and that intangible coolwill* can dangerously overshadow the real irreparable damage to very tangible healthy tissue.  Damage which is obscured from being a cause of concern until the lifeblood of the drained body-corporate pours from a gasping desiccated mouth twisted in the physical pain of necrotic tissue attempting in vein to maintain its life, quivering below eyes widened by the fear of  inevitable mortality, dripping with impotent tears impregnated with the lamentable knowledge of the fact such a fate as final as this death was by their own hand, preventable.  

Basically their way of running a company is very harmful but they don't realize it until it bites them in the ass.  This is because like the Captain of The Medusa, they have gained their position through favoritism and noble title, not by showing an ability to navigate an overloaded military naval vessel in the dangerous shallows off of West Africa.  Being appointed to such responsibilities leaves most executives genuinely questioning how their "brilliant plan" which relies on strategic metrics and business sensibilities which fully petrified in 2002 could have missed the mark by so much.  And why their concerns for rescuing things from their disastrous endeavors are egregious cries of "assets and golden parachutes first!" when filling the few lifeboats who's shortage and inadequacy seems to exist by design.

 Despite how awesome this looks, in reality it is the result of some very poor life choices.

 *What is "coolwill"?  Related to the business concept of goodwill, coolwill is an intangible asset not generated not by deeds which create general feelings of gratis and dependability in consumers, but by deeds which create feelings of envy in competitors.  This can include everything from innocuous flamboyance, to seriously self-destructive behaviors such as the insanity of CEO Dennis Kozlowski. While Tyco is an extreme example, the notion of the "cool kids" having the run of the school despite being anything other than human garbage, is a long and storied one and continues into just about every aspect of society.  So coolwill is when a Company or Executive benefits from such enviable and not rewarding or dependable behavior.

This brings us to today, where a mix of said "coolwill" and baby boomer selfishness have created an invisible monster that is giving corporate sepsis to companies that make the things we love and which employ the people our communities depend on.  Nothing appeals to older executives like being atop a social pyramid and older such people are finding out that the only such pyramids they can stand atop of are ones where they stand on the shoulders of those simply too economically terrified to ever contradict them.  Even if that pyramid is one they are ill equipped to take command of.  While the myth of the CEO being something valuable is well known and documented, they react like the owner of a pit-bull which has already ripped open 2 Yorkies and human toddler's face, oh well that's not ME and MY doggie, I'm totally different.  Yeah, sure you are.  But that's only a small part of the reason these companies are showing signs of ill health.

The more important part is that the solution to these problems is going to have to include the strategy of filling positions based on ability and competency, not experience and seniority.  Nothing makes a baby boomer start worrying more than the realization that their skill-set of telling other people what to do and their "experience" of working with dot matrix printers is not an asset.  We see these people paid more for doing less.  The notion of "not being able to set up your own email" was cute in 1998, but 20 years on that's like proudly admitting you don't know how to dial a phone or order a pizza.  Why does the VP of marketing need someone to explain to them what tent-poling is, or how to analyze new market data?  The notion that the keeping of their positions might get tied to their demonstrable abilities and not simply the fact that they just have been there forever will make them dangerous wounded animals.  Anyone who says "I've been in the business a long time" needs to be told "yeah, and look what you've done to it."  But of course that's always someone else's fault.

Social issues are also very important, especially in creative and entertainment media.  No one wants to work for a generation that denies civil rights to Americans, and calls video games (a multi-billion dollar industry that pays enough taxes to keep their precious Medicare, bailouts, and unending wars going) as dangerous as lead-poisoning, unless they get paid enough to off their student loans I guess.
 (oh, 2016... See what I did there?).

Although this argument could fill pages upon pages, I will simply conclude that this economic environment of terrible terribleness is only going to bring us more bad decision making by a management with inherited and artificially portable power, and unearned reputations of competence value, and a desperate need to stay relevant despite sucking at their CEO jobs.   (Jeff Immelt I'm talking about you... You can only sell NBC once).

So what does this mean for media creation and consumption for Otaku?  Well I think it means this:

For the USA:
This means that media companies will finance irrelevant projects, use outdated strategies, and fail to give the necessary importance to emergent technology ("disruptive technology" is the wrong term, it is just something the old world execs use for new inventions that they can't figure out how to turn on or off).  Companies will make crap, and eventually we will see a decline in creativity and content.  Just look what FOX did to every single good show they had... yeah, we really need that Tim Allen reboot of whatever it is.  Look how well Rosanne did ammiright?

You just know Fox is gonna bring this one back in such a socially tone-def manner, the lack of self-awareness is going to create a vacuum which rivals a black hole.

For Japan:
The risk for Japan comes from a direct threat to financing.  In terms of content and licensing "keep doing what you're doing" is not only a prudent idea but it's such a Japanese way of doing things that it's gonna happen that way no matter what. Sure there are in-studio changes that should happen which won't, but that's just going to make life continue to suck there.  What keeps most anime actually happening, is financing from massive corporations and banking networks which are too frequently starting to fall like diseased trees and take out whatever happens to be in their way as they plummet into dysfunction.

Is the Shining top of an Oji-san's head the new face of Japanese Global Industry?  

It's getting there, but recent events indicate that Japan is still playing more of a long-game, which seems like a good idea since we're now in a current climate where the only way to win is almost not to play (at least for the moment).

As The Medusa triggered the fall of the Bourbon Restoration and eventually lead to the July Revolution of 1830 in France (actual photograph of the event below), perhaps we shall see one of these disasters spur on the recognition that the balance of power, opportunity, and long term national preservation, so desperately in need adjusting.