What Social Media Means to Me

Posted in Grumblings on September 15, 2022 by chemiclord


If you’re reading this, it’s possible you have followed a link from my Twitter or Facebook profiles after one of my online offerings “blew up,” as the saying goes. You might be wondering why I put together a blog post rather than some link to my works to piggyback off my “blowing up,” so let me tell you.

I hail from the era of Usenet and the early pre-AOL days. The sentiment of that proto-social media community was pretty unanimously “the Internet (yeah, we’re talking about the era where proper English dictated that the word was always capitalized) isn’t real.” It’s a social programming that I haven’t amended… and don’t particularly feel compelled to either.

Social media exists in my sphere of consciousness to peddle my wares and occasionally shitpost. It’s why I have more than one real life acquaintance and/or friend that has me blocked on various social media platforms (this is perfectly okay, for the record). Any nuggets of wisdom you find from me on Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or wherever is going to be few and far between, and you’ll only disappoint yourself looking for them.

I prefer to leave my serious observations of insight to this blog… that rarely updates, which should tell you how often I have wisdom or insights to share. I’m just a dude, trying to create my own problems to resolve… then sell them to you!

I’m told I also intentionally construct things to make them look far more absurd then they really are. But that’s just silliness, I tell you.

Anyway, have a good day, afternoon, evening, or night. Feel free to explore this blog if you wish. Maybe buy something as long as you’re here.

Or don’t. It is a silly place, after all.

The Isle of Donne is Here!

Posted in Updates on March 12, 2015 by chemiclord

Book 6 of the MegaTokyo: Endgames series is live!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00023]

After a more than long enough wait, The Isle of Donne is available for sale.

For paperback, follow this handy Amazon link!

If dead trees don’t suit you, ebook versions for KindleKobo, and Nook are available!

MegaTokyo: Endgames books for sale!

Posted in Updates on September 24, 2014 by chemiclord


The Gate Series

Posted in Updates on January 29, 2014 by chemiclord

Broken Prophecy Cover FinalBook 1: The Broken Prophecy 

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Not convinced?  Enjoy five short stories that set up the novel completely for free!

Front CoverBook 2: The Sixth Prophet

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Want to take a look before you buy?  Enjoy this free preview to whet your appetite.

Sega Does What NintenDon’t

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2023 by chemiclord

It’s a bit interesting that the topic of Nintendo and their heavy legal hand has jumped into the news again. In 2004, this very topic was the subject of my sophomore year thesis paper for journalism composition. So, this is something that I actually had a bit of (dated) knowledge about. But one thing I’m not is astonished that they largely haven’t changed their stripes in the following twenty years, because they had been largely the same way twenty years before my exploration into their legal procedures.

One thing that I’d ask people to internalize is the phrase “technically correct,” because you’re probably going to hear it quite a bit in this blog post.

Part of the “Nintendo Problem” is that I think gamers are asking the wrong questions. The important question isn’t, “Why is Nintendo like this? Why do they shut down fan projects? Why do they harass Youtubers and other content creators?” Because that question has a very simple (and technically correct) answer. “Because they have to.”

See, the case with Nintendo isn’t about copyright. They certainly have copyrights to all of their work, but that’s not what compels them to be so aggressive. The issue is that Nintendo takes most of their IPs into the realm of trademark, which is a somewhat related but altogether different thing.

Trademark behaves much like a lot of gamers think copyright works. Trademark requires you to “defend it or lose it.” And it is actually a fight over trademark that is the core of one of Nintendo’s most prominent IPs.

We’re gonna dial the time machine to 1982. Nintendo had a deal for a Popeye video game fall through, and Shigeru Miyamoto decided to rework the game they had to feature “Jumpman” (who was the inspiration for Mario), and a big ape named “Donkey Kong.” I won’t go through the entire blow for blow of that case, but there’s a pretty good write-up of it at this link.

Long-ish story short; Nintendo was able to demonstrate that Universal Studios did not adequately defend the King Kong trademark, allowing tons of unlicensed material of King Kong to exist… and that’s presuming that Universal Studios even held the trademark for King Kong to begin with, which they also managed to cast into doubt.

At the end of the day, Nintendo won on quite literally every count, and they learned all the wrong lessons from that battle. Realizing just how powerful trademark can be, they started trademarking everything that wasn’t nailed down, and probably a few things that were. By the time I wrote my thesis almost twenty years ago, they had approximately 1500 unique trademarks, and assuredly that number is even larger now.

Some of those trademarks are positively absurd. For example, the sound the Mario games make when he collects a coin? That is a Nintendo trademark. The rainbow hued charging plates you saw in the (long ignored) F-Zero series? Yep. That’s a Nintendo trademark. Each and every different suit that Samus has ever worn in the Metroid series? Yeah… I think you see where this is going.

The question really shouldn’t be “Why is Nintendo so aggressive?” The question should be, “Why the hell does Nintendo have so many profoundly ridiculous trademarks?”

It’s because Nintendo realized the power of trademark. It allows them the legal power to shut down mods of their games in ways that copyright really doesn’t. Nintendo’s executives will shrug and say that trademark compels them, and they’re technically correct.

It’s why they can shut down a Let’s Play for charity (which they have been doing literally from the instant Justin.tv was birthed into existence). They’ll respond, “We have to. If we didn’t shut down this charity stream for St. Jude, then someone like Tucker Carlson can host an anti-trans stream using the same game, and we can’t stop him.” This is also technically correct.

But, technically correct isn’t actually correct. Nintendo uses restraint quite frequently when handling trademark issues, and exercises considerable discretion… when they want to. For a great number of derivative works, Nintendo is more than willing to see no evil (just take a look through any Nintendo IP category on AO3 or Deviantart for evidence of that). They can absolutely allow fair use without risking their trademark, and they do so quite frequently.

As a general rule, there are two ways to raise your risk of receiving a letter from Nintendo’s Legal Division to the danger zone:

The first way is to create a fan work of something they are in planning to do, or in active development of. This is what got the creator of the Mario Battle Royale and the fan remake of Samus Returns in trouble, evidenced by the “limited release” of Mario 35, and the official remake of Samus Returns.

These are things that are rather petty; clearing the field of any potential (and free) competition for their products. This isn’t uniquely a Nintendo problem. For example, if someone had made a fan remake of Resident Evil 4, Capcom is quite angrily demanding that get yanked off of the creator’s Google Drive. If someone developed a Final Fantasy game and called it Final Fantasy 16, SquareEnix isn’t going to be patting them on the back and saying good work.

But that’s not how it has to be. Bethesda happily invites mods of their work, and has on a couple occasions tried to launch programs to financially compensate modders for their work. Sega (as the title of this blog post implies) happily embraces fan work. Hell, if you do a good enough job, they’ll hire you do it. That’s how one of the Sonic series came to be, if I remember correctly.

Nintendo could be a lot more agreeable on this score. They choose not to be. That’s an active choice, not one compelled solely by trademark.

The second way to get on Nintendo’s shit list is what the bulk of the complaints on this issue stem from, however, and it’s one where there is a very clear narrative that one side really wants you to buy, sometimes quite literally.

When you try to make money off of Nintendo’s IP.

When Gary Bowser (yeah, if I had a nickel for every time a Nintendo story popped up about a real life dude named Bowser, I’d have two nickels… which isn’t a lot, but kinda funny how it happened twice) was arrested and his wages garnished for the rest of his life, he wasn’t just some nice guy trying to help poor kids play Nintendo games that just couldn’t afford them. He was one of the brains behind a group called Team Xecuter, a hacker collab that sold ransomware hidden under the hood of Nintendo products. You can certainly argue that his punishment is excessive (40 months in jail, and $10 million in fines to be paid to Nintendo), and I’d honestly agree, but he was not some fair Robin Hood of this story being railroaded by this massive corporate Sheriff of Nottingham, and that people want to believe he is isn’t really Nintendo’s problem outside of the PR hit they are taking in the court of public opinion.

It’s also at the heart of a lot of content creators that are seeing their videos stripped of ad revenue. This tends to happen every time Nintendo is getting ready to launch a title on one of their flagship IPs. Now, the nature of fair use when it comes to Youtube videos or other “critical” media is very blurry, and it’s not entirely clear whether or not such videos that use extensive cuts of copyrighted and/or trademarked IP falls under that umbrella. Nintendo absolutely is taking advantage of that ambiguity to bully Youtube and Twitch and TikTok or whatever into shutting down monetized content.

But, as I noted, this isn’t new. These content creators know exactly who they are dealing with, and what they potentially risk, when they post a video about Nintendo products and hit that “ad revenue” option. They know that Nintendo videos get eyeballs, and rack up the most views and ad revenue as a result. That’s why they are constantly trying to make Mario and Zelda and Metroid videos, and not Sonic or Skyrim. These are largely not innocent people just trying to show their love for their favorite products. These are fans who are trying get some scratch, and are using their favorite games to do it. They’re inviting people to sub to their Patreon for quick sneak peeks. They’re inviting them to donate or sub to their Twitch channel (you get one free sub if you have Amazon Prime, ya know).

These are people who know they are riding a tiger. They shouldn’t be crying out their victimhood when that tiger mauls them.

What Nintendo wants out of their exercise of trademark is the right to dictate how the customer enjoys their product, sometimes in very specific ways, on terms that can seem like they change daily. If you find those terms agreeable (and hundreds of millions of people very clearly do), then you’re not going to see much of a problem with Nintendo’s practices. Frankly… that’s okay. Nintendo is not a monopoly, and they don’t even dictate how video game fair use is handled, much less media as a whole. It’s not the dire issue that a legion of content creators want you to think it is.

That said, if those IPs are something you are emotionally invested in, it’s also okay to be angry about how Nintendo treats those who want to express their love of that product. Nintendo is willfully obtuse about the legality of what they do, nor are they always consistent in how they handle derivative works. It is worthy of criticism, even if it’s not the dire omen that those who are also financially invested want you to believe it is.

Trans People are People (This is Apparently Hard to Grasp)

Posted in Grumblings with tags on April 16, 2023 by chemiclord

So… Judy Blume decided to open her mouth and insert her entire ass recently, telling the world that she was “100% behind” J.K. Rowling’s attempt to forge a new flavor of Trans-Exclusionary Feminism.

(I honestly wouldn’t even call what Rowling is doing “feminism” to be honest, but I suppose that’s not my call to make.)

Now, Judy Blume is an author I’m familiar with; I grew up with a lot of her books in my family library. But to be honest, I hadn’t given her much thought since about seventh grade. My initial reaction to learning of the endorsement was, “WASPy old woman holds reactionary views. Color me not shocked.”

I had to be reminded that Blume isn’t Protestant, which rather negated the entire “WASP” thing, and that her bibliography is actually quite progressive. Which… okay, fair enough. And yet… I’m still not surprised, because I have become far too accustomed to people disappointing me on the issue of trans people and trans rights.

For whatever reason, even among the most progressive circles in the world, far too many of us once we get to the “T” trip on that part of the acronym, and they trip hard. I’ve seen so many even within the rainbow really want to chop off that part of the flag, to “divorce” themselves from trans people. I don’t think that they are hoping to gain acceptance from the rest of society by vilifying trans people. I think they honestly and genuinely think there is something fundamentally wrong with being trans, and are quite happy to risk their own place in society rather than ally with trans people.

Trans people are people. They should have all the rights that any white Christian male enjoys. I really don’t understand why this is so hard.

Revisiting Cyberpunk 2077

Posted in Grumblings on March 4, 2023 by chemiclord

I never particularly wrote on this game because frankly, my opinions of the title amounted to “Trash Bin,” and that was after all the updates and patches the game got.

But then I stumbled upon this re-review from Luke Plunkett at Kotaku, and it inspired a couple thoughts.

1: In The Dark Knight, a theme that emerges, to the point that it is outright voiced on at least two occasions, is “You either die a hero, or live long enough to be a villain.” I’d like to offer a rewording, at least for the sake of game development.

“You either sell out a hero, or produce long enough for people to figure out who you really are.”

This sort of rushed launch and frantic patching to eventually produce a finished product was hardly new to Cyberpunk 2077. It may have been its most famous example, but you don’t have to dial the wayback machine too far to discover that The Witcher 3 was a nigh unplayable mess when it first launched. Or that The Witcher 2 didn’t exactly launch in what we would call a “finished state.” Or… The Witcher


I actually struggled to think of any CDProjekt Red title that didn’t need significant patching to bring it to a playable state for a good many gamers. If your CDPR game played great right out of the box, you were in the minority. This sort of thing was not, and is not, new for this developer.

And it’s not like this phenomenon is unique to CDPR. For example, “Bioware Magic” was always fruitless management dithering followed by a frantic burnout stretch that destroyed employees to get their titles up to snuff before their publishers got too angry. EA’s production process was always about getting the most revenue for the least amount of effort possible. These companies didn’t really change their stripes in any meaningful way; the consumer base merely started to see them for who they had always been.

2: Another thing is that we really need development studios and publishers to understand is that games aren’t movies, nor should they try to be. Players really aren’t terribly keen on a four to five hour non-stop adrenaline rush when the controller is in their hands. They want to be able to take a breath, look around the world constructed around them, then dick off for three hours doing something completely irrelevant to the main plot if they so desire.

Any game that doesn’t understand that, and allow for the game to slow down, is probably not going to be received all that well. I suspect that’s a major part of the reason why I so loathed Final Fantasy XIII (a game which is getting renewed interest by a generation of gamers). I spent so much of that game rushing down hallways that it left me thinking, “If you guys wanted to make a movie, you should have just done that rather than give me a controller like anything I do here matters.”

Anyway, that’s my intermittent blather for the month. Have a good day.

A More Spoilery Narrative Review – Bayonetta 3

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on November 27, 2022 by chemiclord

I figured it would take me a hot minute to get to this. I do apologize to all five of this blog’s readers. But here we are, having absorbed enough and processed enough of Bayonetta 3’s narrative to offer some thoughts on it.

Firstly, none of the characters that you see in this game are the same ones as the first two outside of Rodin.

Luka suddenly has some sort of werewolf like ability? No need to explain why that is. It’s just a different Luka from a different universe! Same thing with Bayonetta apparently being so into him (and not Jeanne)! None of these characters are the same, so now we can completely toss aside character development and get right to what we want to do!

This is why I tend to not be a fan of “multiverses.” It strikes me as more of a narrative cop-out than anything else, even when done well, a way to dodge lore you already established rather than anything that particularly adds to said lore, and it is definitely being used as a cop-out to give Kamiya the characters he wants to work with rather than the ones that had developed over the prior two games.

Which is a bit unfortunate, because in this case, it’s a rare situation where a multiverse actually can somewhat make sense narratively. Bayonetta’s setting is the same “Dante’s Divine Comedy injected with a little bit of Norse mythology” in which these sort of shenanigans actually could work, and to an extent it does. Singularity is an interesting foe, and the decision to make the major threat something not angelic or demonic was a nice twist.

It’s just blunted by what seems the real reason Kamiya and his team went in this direction.

Which dovetails into one of the big controversies of this game; Bayonetta (or at least one of her iterations) deciding to shack up with Luka at some undetermined point before the game.

After the first two games, I always felt that your opinion of Bayonetta sexuality said more about you than it did Bayonetta. The character quite happily flirted and teased damn near anything with two legs and a sentience, and carried very little seriousness towards any of them. Even her flirting with Jeanne came across to me as more playful than serious. They had a far stronger emotional investment than a physical one, in my opinion.

But that’s my point; I’m a largely asexual flirt, and so I saw those same traits in Bayonetta… largely because the entire series never particularly hammers any of that down, and I’d argue actively avoids doing so.

If you wanted Bayonetta to be a flamboyant lesbian, you certainly had evidence to support that interpretation. If you wanted her to be a girl who talked a big game, but actually had little opportunity for actual relationships, and thus had no real idea what to do about her interest in Jeanne or Luka or anyone, that had quite a bit of evidence to work with too.

It’s actually the same here in Bayonetta 3. Despite her affections towards Luka to the point of actively having a daughter, she’s still the same flirt with a strong emotional attachment to her Umbran sister. The significant difference in this case is that we now have very overt evidence she actually knocked boots with Luka in a way we don’t explicitly have with anyone else.

And brings us to the final point I want to address; Bayonetta’s daughter Viola taking on the mantle at the end of this game, presumably to become the heroine of future installments. Now, I don’t have any particular problem with Viola as a character; really the only thing I found bothersome about her was how mechanically different she plays and how that can be jarring for someone who already has significant muscle memory for the dodge mechanics rather than parrying.

Viola’s punk rock motif can carry just as much “girl power” as Bayonetta’s big band swing style, so I’m not particularly worried that she’d necessarily betray or lose any of that if she were to become the main character in the future. But I’m also not the slightest bit convinced that the mother is actually out of the picture. In a world where death has already been proven to be more inconvenience than anything else, I don’t buy for a second that Bayonetta and Jeanne are inherently buried deep in Inferno forever.

(I will admit I want to see Viola get more screen time, if for no reason that to confirm my theory that Cheshire is Viola’s father either turned into a demon, or some manner of construct derived from that particular version of Luka.)

Anyway, there ya have it. Bayonetta 3, simultaneously a big deal in regards to the characters and narrative… and also, not nearly as much as you might want it to be.

A Spoiler-Free Bayonetta 3 Review

Posted in Grumblings on November 3, 2022 by chemiclord

Note: A more in-depth, spoiler-laden review will be forthcoming as I digest the details a little bit more.

So, after all the drama and spoilers and assorted nonsense, this (perhaps overly) anticipated game finally reached the mitts of the general public. It almost feels pointless to even have a spoiler-free review at all at this point, as quite a few things were already spoiled long before people outside of a handful of media outlets played it, but in this case, I think it might help to detach the story from the game for the time being.

Let’s be honest, if you were playing these games for the narrative… you were probably playing them for a different reason than Platinum Games and their head honcho made them.

Firstly (and let’s get this out of the way), it is not the same Bayonetta that you play in the first two games; thank you convenient narrative multiverse devices. In fact, the only character that is actually the same, as far as I understand, is Rodin. So, in that sense, a lot of things that might seem like ass-pulls at first glance in fact do have a story-based explanation. Not a particularly good one, but an in-game explanation nonetheless (we’ll get into more detail on that in the spoiler-ridden review, which might take me all month at the rate I compose blog posts).

Secondly (and let’s also get this out of the way), Hellena Taylor is a lying sack of human excrement who tried to manipulate what was, and is, a very real problem in the industry. It disgusts me how she will inevitably make it even harder for voice actors to get what they deserve in the future.

So, with that out of the way…

Mechanically, the game plays as well as it ever did. Combat is tight, yet fluid, and is probably the most gameplay-rewarding Bayonetta of the three. It feels really good to hit those combos just right, and the superficially similar foes (the homonculi and the angels really don’t play all that differently) still feel different and fresh; giving you benefit of a new experience that still rewards your muscle memory.

The more open world (because it is by no means open) is a nice touch to the linear experiences of prior games, and also serves to pad the length of a series that normally could be “full completed” in a handful of hours. As a result, the game doesn’t feel as fast-paced, which may be jarring for some but I found personally welcoming. Being able to backtrack (in a limited sense) was a welcome feature, especially to someone like me who hates just missing something a second before.

The new combat elements do take some getting used to. Directly controlling the demon beasts has a pretty rough learning curve, and the game doesn’t give you that much time to figure it out before making it really complicated. Someone not particularly used to managing two separate characters simultaneously will likely struggle.

The new character added to the game also takes some adjustment. Viola herself as a character isn’t the problem, and I don’t share the general sentiment of her being grating or unwelcome (I suspect that has a lot to do with her origins, which will be discussed in the spoiler-laden review). Mechanically, she is quite the deviation from the norm, and again, Platinum really doesn’t give you much time to get used to her idiosyncrasies before throwing you neck deep in some difficult fights.

The spy missions featuring Jeanne are a nice attempt to give her something unique to do within the story other than be a palette swap for Bayonetta, and while I appreciate the attempt, I think it’s a case of trying a little too hard to make her impact on the story and the game play different. Giving her some missions in the same way they handled Viola’s I think would have been fine.

The one part that is going to be rather wholly negative, and this really isn’t Platinum’s fault, is that we are definitely hitting the absolute limits of what the Switch’s hardware is capable of. Platinum does their best with what they have, but the graphics and frame rate do take some pretty heavy hits at times where there is a lot going on. Perhaps oddly, I think the game is more stable and pretty in handheld mode.

At the end of the day, if you’re not particularly playing this for the story, you’re probably going to enjoy the experience immensely. In terms of its play, it really is kinda like a Bayonetta+; it doesn’t sacrifice terribly much to give you more of what you already liked over two games, either by adding wrinkles to old systems or expanding the world to give you more to explore.

But if you were invested in the story and/or the characters… we’ll discuss that at a later time.

When the Clowns Run the Circus

Posted in Grumblings on June 2, 2022 by chemiclord

I will readily acknowledge that I did not follow the entire Amber Heard/Johnny Depp defamation case outside of summaries, so it is entirely possible that one side made nuanced arguments that I never heard.

Secondly, I am also going to acknowledge a potential bias before we begin; that I come from an abusive relationship with both parents, who were abusive in different ways, but abusive nonetheless, and a lot of the summarized arugments that went back and forth struck very familiar chords during their divorce case.

So, with that said, here we go.

In hindsight, I find little to celebrate or bemoan when you have two shitty people behaving like shitty people in something that didn’t deserve coverage outside of tabloids. I am distressed that this case became a lightning rod for MeToo and domestic violence because of it will inevitably be used to muddy waters and discourage people who were abused from coming forward.

If it had been my decision, I would have flipped the judgment; both absolutely defamed each other, but Heard’s career and life were far more heavily affected. But at the end of day, I am not going to shed any tears for either of them, because neither of them deserve my sympathy or my sorrow.

One aspect of this trial that really grated on me was how much the argument seemed to be centered on who started the abuse. “He/She started it!” wasn’t a valid argument when I was six years old; it’s not a valid argument now either. Who started the cycle of abuse in this case matters far less than who participated in it.

For example, when you have an abusive father, do we dismiss the man’s actions because that’s how his father raised him? Of course we don’t, nor should we, because we as a society accept that agency still exists. As some point, you make a willful decision to step up to the level of those that abused you, a point where you adopt their patterns of behavior, and once you do that, you are no longer a victim of abuse; you are an abuser yourself.

So, no, I really don’t care who started it; because my answer would be the same. Either Johnny Depp or Amber Heard decided it was okay to jump to the same weight class as the other, and they have thus lost my sympathy now that it’s all come to a head in front of a society eagerly devouring the drama as children are getting shot up in schools.

But that’s another rant for another time I guess. In summary, all I can say is good riddance, and may both of those clowns get out of the big top.

I Suppose I Should Say Something on This…

Posted in Updates with tags , , on April 4, 2022 by chemiclord

If you don’t follow the art streams of Comfort Love and Adam Withers (and why aren’t you?) then you don’t know anything about this. So allow me to acknowledge that I am in fact working on a project for their “Uniques” universe; with a working title of “Cursed.”

It is still extremely early in the manuscript process, so I really can’t say much on specifics, other than it is a title that will be leaning fairly heavily on my early days as a wanna-be sportswriter exploring elements of their universe that they wouldn’t ever get the chance or expertise to explore.

I will say is that it’s overall conceit lies in the both over and understated nature of competitive sports in our culture, and how it weaves itself into the fabric of society and yet go unnoticed by a majority of that society. How it can influence lives, and how it really can’t.

I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope you will too.

On Book Banning…

Posted in Grumblings on January 29, 2022 by chemiclord

So, social media is on a bit of a boil over two separate but kinda similar-ish sorta events.

  1. A school board in Tennessee removed the work Maus from their library, and banned it from being taught in their school. (Link)
  2. A school board in Washington state removed the novel To Kill a Mockingbird from their curriculum’s required reading list. (Link)

Now, you may assume that being a writer, I’d be vehemently against the idea of “banning” books (in the sense of academic use). You’d be wrong. As far as it pertains to teaching purposes, I’m generally not bothered by what books are and aren’t specifically used. There are many books in this world, and any of them can be used by teachers to convey the messages and writing techniques that they wish to convey to students.

I do have a bit of a problem when they are used to score political points, which to different degrees both of these incidents are. A big clue is that neither school board has shown any indication what they intend to replace those books with in their curriculum… or even if they have any plans to do so. These were decisions to demonstrate to the parents just what these school boards believe in.

Sure, both school boards will give their reasons. To Kill a Mockingbird has problematic “white savior” narratives that run through it, or Maus contains “graphic imagery” that is disturbing to young students, for example. Many of the criticisms will be legitimate on its face. But at the end of the day, it’s hard to see how they aren’t a fairly clear political message.

(On an aside, to Mike Cochran of the McMinn County School Board: I had many emotions running through my mind as I read Maus. “Enjoyment” was certainly not one of them. While I am willing to accept that you poorly chose your words in an off-the-cuff quote, there is a significant number of the world’s population that would genuinely “enjoy” the imagery of that graphic novel, and those are not good people. Anyone who said they “enjoyed” Maus would be asked to provide a pretty damn good explanation for their choice of words lest they quickly find themselves no longer talking to me, and probably for good.)

That said, these two stories are, in fact, not the same, and our fourth pillar would be served to not treat them as if they are. Much like nearly everything else in our political discourse, one side is significantly more guilty and with significantly greater severity than the other. The conservatives and reactionaries among us are a far greater threat to our political discourse and sustainability of our society at this moment, and these two stories reflect that.

Maus was outright banned. Teachers are no longer permitted to discuss it. The school library is not allowed to have it on their shelves, or even in their stacks. For students whose only exposure to books is their school library (which is no doubt a non-zero number), Maus no longer exists in their world.

Meanwhile, To Kill a Mockingbird is simply no longer required reading for students in the Mukilteo school district. Teachers are still allowed to present it to students as supplementary text (and I’m sure many will). Students can still be recommended it and it can still be found in their school libraries. Depending on what book is chosen, there is not necessarily any meaningful loss in the education of these children. Presuming, of course, that a replacement actually is chosen or at the very least some rationalization that other books already in the required reading list can fill that niche.

Which it may not be, because again… it’s hard to see how at its core, this move isn’t political posturing of its own. But at the same time, it is long past due to stop approaching such decisions as binary actions of equal severity.

Any Attention is Good Attention

Posted in Grumblings on January 7, 2022 by chemiclord

Welcome back to another (extremely intermittent) commentary on people and the things they do to be noticed and stay noticed.

In today’s episode, we meet Tectone.

Tectone is a content creator, most notably for the game Genshin Impact, but not exclusively. Now, Tectone’s typical creative process runs something like this:

  1. Make a juvenile but otherwise largely innocuous bawdy tweet about something, like “waifus” or the size of a game character’s chest or ass.
  2. Soak in the angry replies from the professionally outraged on Twitter who seem to make a living out of overreacting to anything that happens to come into their vicinity.
  3. Make a Youtube video complaining about how he’s being attacked on Twitter.
  4. Repeat.

Now, let’s get some things out of the way.

Firstly, this process is entirely intentional. Tectone knows exactly what he’s doing.

Secondly, there’s absolutely nothing new about this. If anything, Tectone has merely refined the process of instigating a fight, then crying foul when he gets exactly what he was looking for, that has existed on social media pretty much since it’s inception.

Thirdly, Twitter is certainly filled to the brim with people who haven’t matured emotionally since fifteen and giggle delightfully when someone makes a tweet about “[insert character name here]’s massive mommy milkers,” and a legion of people who are too chickenshit to fight in real life, so they trawl the internet for hours every day looking for an opportunity to throw metaphorical hands.

Of course, none of this should happen this way. Is Tectone playing down to the juvenile? Yeah, he is. But there is absolutely nothing the dude says that should warrant anything more than an eyeroll. The proper response to his games is to mute the conversation, then go on with your day. Let him have fun with the forever teenagers. It simply isn’t worth ruining your day over. They aren’t an army of dangerous incels. They’re a bunch of just out of college aged kids that still laugh at fart jokes.

On the flip side, you kinda start losing sympathy for a person that keeps sticking his hands in a cage filled with angry dogs and inevitably gets bit. Should there be a pack of angry dogs in that cage? Probably not. But they are, and at some point, you lose the right to whine when the dogs in that cage attack you after you’ve stuck your grubby mitts in their face one too many times. I mean… what do you think is going to happen?

At the end of the day, social media has gone all in with the old journalistic maxim of, “All press is good press.” It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as a million people react to it.

And it’s just as tiring to witness now as it was twenty years ago.