Archive | October, 2014

Idaho Gov. “Won’t someone please think of the children!”

22 Oct

2-17_AddWordsProtest_Statesman

Note: My opinion on a piece I saw over at BuzzFeed this morning.

So Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says that marriage equality could cause significant harms, “especially [to] the children of heterosexuals” and has asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider the position that the Idaho ban on same sex ban is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Gov. Otter wrote, “This issue is also exceptional because, as a practical matter, redefining marriage by judicial fiat will undermine these social norms and likely lead to significant long-term harms to Idaho and its citizens, especially the children of heterosexuals… —including serious risks of increased fatherlessness, reduced parental financial and emotional support, increased crime, and greater psychological problems…”

On social norms, I’ll quote user TheLittleRedHeadThatCould because I couldn’t say it better:
“It used to be a “social norm” to cut sick people, you know, to let them “bleed it out”.
It used to be a “social norm” to force black people to use different bathrooms.
It used to be a “social norm” to marry girls off at 16 with a dowry.
Thankfully, “social norms” change.” QFT.

To address each of the lawyers’ statements: 

1. “Increased fatherlessness…”
Really? We already have tons of kids out there that are growing up in single parent homes. Wouldn’t it be better to have two people that love each other raise a kid, instead of one? (Not diminishing the power of the single parent; their sacrifice and dedication is amazing) 

2. “Reduced parental financial and emotional supports.”
Once again, two heads of house hold, two incomes. Two loving people = better emotional support. 

3. “Increased crime and psychological problems.”
Seriously? That’s simply conjecture. I haven’t seen any scientific proof indicating that.

Listen, I get that the majority of people who are anti-gay are fundamentalist Christians. But yet it seems really easy for us to pick and choose what parts of the Bible we will advocate for and others that we won’t. Ex. In Deuteronomy 22:20-21, it talks about how if a woman is not found to be a virgin when she is married, she is to be stoned to death. And yet we ignore that.

Christians, I don’t get you sometimes and sometimes I wonder how I affiliate myself with you. Yes, I’m still a Christian, but 1. It’s not our place to judge, as it’s God’s and 2. Jesus preached love and compassion. Jesus hung out with whores and tax collectors and lairs and cheaters and blue collar workers. Where in the Bible does it say that we must go out of our way to harass and harangue our fellow human beings? You may think you are trying to save their souls, but news flash, it’s not working and it won’t work.

One of my favorite comics puts it best:

jealous
A little silly, but it makes it a good point.

Christians, it’s a lot easier to love. So much time and effort is being put forth into fighting homosexual marriage but why? This isn’t rhetorical, I want to know why people are pouring so much effort into this.

Couple of things I want to get out of the way:

1. America is not a Christian only country. Stop acting like it is as every position stating such can be easily refuted. Even the “Under God” part of the Pledge of Allegiance.

2. It’s their personal choice. No, I’m not debating sexual preference being a choice or biologically directed. I’m saying that what people do with their own lives in this regards does not affect us in the least bit. So why should we get in the way?

3. “But what about the children,” you say. Listen, if you are concerned about your kids being negatively influenced by gay people, my biggest question to you is, “Why are you worried? What negative aspect of being homosexual are you afraid of? Or really are you just uncomfortable with the concept of homosexuality? Also, I’ll infer that you say that, you’re worried you can’t control your children. Right?” Which leads to:
Wonka Convert
Condescending, yeah, but the fear that your child will be “converted” to being gay is unfounded.

4. Gays can have kids too. Sure, they may not have the biological parts for traditional child making, but surprise! There are places in the world called sperm banks. And egg banks. And orphanages. What orphan wouldn’t want a loving home? I doubt that the kid would care about mommy/mommy or daddy/daddy or mommy/daddy dynamics.

In summary, or the TL;DR version: anti-gay marriage just seems to be fronted by uncomfortable Christians, trying to justify how other people should live by forcibly framing their self-interpreted, Biblically driven ideal of happiness on people who live differently from them.

I’m curious to see how many non-Christians are anti-gay marriage for reasons other than, “They make me feel uncomfortable,” because I don’t think there are very many and I would like to hear their argument.

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Why I don’t align with GamerGate

17 Oct

Let me make it clear from the offset: I have no idea what GamerGate really stands for. One hand, they say they are for proper ethics in video game journalism. On the other, they come off as a misogynistic hate group, if that’s true or not, I don’t know. Even if the core of GamerGate is anti-misogyny, the way they are perceived by the general population says otherwise. Is that unfair? Maybe. But to cling to this group, shrugging off the fact that it’s tainted, does any well intentioned actions a disservice.

I’ve talked to some people on Twitter who appeared to be pro GamerGate, through have not directly said as much, and they’ve dismissed the idea of reforming under a different banner, stating that the tolls would simply follow and ruin that name. And this is where I’m calling them out as being disorganized. If you’re going to stick with GamerGate as the name of the revolt, someone has to do some PR to seriously distance themselves from the tolls. Right now all the general public hears is, “Video games, journalism, hate against women, angry.” It’s like an aimless Hulk “Smash!”

And can someone please clarify the ethics in journalism angle for me? (And yes, I’m being serious and trying to be objective) I know pieces of Zoe Quinn story and the overarching thought stream of how gaming journalists need to be more ethical, but I don’t understand GamerGate’s reasoning. Delving specifically into the Zoe Quinn issue, people are upset that she supposedly exchanged sexual favors for a positive review of her game. True or not, my question is, “Who cares?”

Some of the more GamerGate aligned Tweeters were dismissive when I asked this, so let me clarify why I asked “Who cares?” Even if a dev swapped favors for a positive review, that’s just one review. (I hope most of us just don’t go by one review.) “But Zen, what if they slept with the whole industry?” One, it’s really highly unlikely if you factor in international reviewers and the sheer number of people in the industry; two, I’m sure that they would have been a bad lay at one point or another; and three I seriously hope that we aren’t just going by gaming journalists only but vetting the game through demos/gameplay footage/screenshots and our friends’ first day impressions or indie reviewers (there’s quite a bit on YouTube).

So I ask again, what is GamerGate all about? Video game reviews are subjective. What a reviews likes, you may hate and vice vesa. I personally have hated Bioshock Infinite and GTA V and loved Katamari Damacy, Torchlight II and Crackdown. And you may not agree with that and that’s fine. So why all the revolt?

Edit: I think I’ve found the crossroads that explains (at least me) what the correct side of GamerGate is about and was alluded to in my Twitter conversations with pro-Gamergaters; gamer’s felt let they were being disrespected by the gaming press by being lumped all together as basement dwelling, white, preteen boys squeaking out vitriol over headsets, with the press flying the “Gamer’s are dead” flag. I think Slate got this right. It’s not gamers who are dead. It’s gaming journalism. Traditional gaming journalism is running for the hills because there’s more and more competition out there that will review games for little to nothing. Hell, I’m still itching to play the Due Process alpha and can’t wait to share my thoughts on it and I’m not expecting a dime. I’ve even got a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, so I could, if I wanted to, go and write for a review site or magazine. But then again, I don’t think I could make a living out of it, due to what we’ve covered here.

Final edit: Point being, and rehashing just so that I’m clear, GamerGate may have some good points, but they are tainted by misogynists. Every argument I’ve seen so far from them rings hollow. It’s great if they’re passionate about something, but passion without fact makes them look like Apocalypse heralding street corner preachers/mad men. I’m over it and I think most people are. Until they provide consistent proof about their point, I’m out and will no longer debate the point.

Happy Pre-Sequel Day! Sorry I won’t be joining you…

14 Oct

A Bandit floating upside in space, fingers to head like a gun, floating over a planet that has an orbit space-station that is space like the letter H

And lo, the Pre-Sequel was upon us. At this point, I can’t even remember how I got introduced to the whole Borderlands world. I think I was looking for something co-op and cheap, browsing Best Buy’s bargain bin. Say what you want, but Borderlands cover art was definitely attention grabbing with the bandit blowing his brains out with his fingers pointed to his temple. And I came into it at a good time, the lull between Borderlands GOTY and Borderlands 2.

Borderlands was different. Different from the Call of Duties, Battlefields and Halo. The concept of FPS/RPG was like mixing chocolate and peanut butter for the first time. Why didn’t I know about this before? And while I didn’t fully embrace the cel shading, after a while, it grew on me. Hell, I watched The Simpsons and Family Guy; this was just interactive animation for all I cared. And Borderlands was story driven, well written and voice acted. I was a fan. Mordecai and Bloodwing sniping all the way to the vault FTW!

Borderlands 2… Borderlands 2 and I have a love/hate relationship. I never pre-order a game. I will never again pre-order a game. Borderlands 2 was the exception. The whole concept of co-op works great when your friends are excited to play first day with you and you all get it day 1. But then, reality sets in and play time gets interrupted by life. By week 2, I was solo running BL2.

Wait, stop right there. I can hearing you saying, “Well, why didn’t you go out and make new online friends.” Simply put: my tolerance for whiny, swearing squeaky preteens is low. Super low. And yeah, I ‘m sure there are plenty of awesome people out there to play with, but I just don’t care.

So back to BL2. I rolled Axton all the way to the end. I even built a death strategy to toss up my turret right before I died and toss my grenades. I tried to explore every corner, run every mission. But while I battled toward the next level, I noticed something. I was spending an inordinate about of time managing my inventory. Way too much time. “Hm… should I take the SMG that has fire damage even though I run out of ammo really fast or the sniper rifle that has a long reload time and small clip or the rapid fire pistol or the acid rockets or… or… or… or…” BL2 became a micromanagement sim. While that may be the beauty in standard RPGs, RPGs don’t have that many variables to worry about. Normally it’s just, “Does this weapon have a bigger damage number than this weapon.” Easy. But BL2 was about live situational adjustments. Take a fire weapon for flesh guys, acid for robots, shock for shields, slag for more damage, explosives for general use, rockets for groups, snipers for long range, assault for med long, pistol for med, smg for med short, shotguns for short. It all detracted from actual play. It’s weird to say, but it’s too much loot.

Even after getting most of the BL2 DLC on Xbox and then repurchasing the game and all canon DLC on the computer, I don’t think I’ll get Pre-sequel today. I think the monotony of BL2 got to me. I think there is an OCD part of me trying to optimize my inventory in BL2 and never really succeeding. I’ve groundlevels in MMOs. I have the patience to ding. But I can’t abide a messy inventory.

Will I get the Pre-sequel? Eventually. Once they come out with GOTY edition and it hits $20-$30. *Sigh* Even BL2 GOTY isn’t a complete edition since they are still milking headhunters and character skins. But… that’s for a different gripe.