Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chest Hair Shirt From Forever 21


Beth and I are big fans of this chest hair shirt for girls exclusively from Forever 21.

posted by Een at 12:41 am  

Friday, August 28, 2009

“United Nations Calls For Explicit Japanese Game Ban” – The Rapelay Controversy at International Heights

Here’s an interesting development that poses a bit of a conundrum. I think the United Nations is an exteremely valuable force in the world, but they often have to act or speak on very complicated issues.

Via Kotaku:

In the wake of the Rapelay controversy, the United Nations‘s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is urging for the ban of explicit games and anime.

The committee is suggesting Japan to ban “the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls.”

Legislation in Japan has been proposed to ban the possession of child pornography; however, the government has decided to study the issue for three years before acting. This legislation does not include virtual child pornography, and the U.N. Committee noted that current Japanese law does not cover virtual child pornography.

The U.N. committee also showed concern “at the normalization of sexual violence in the State party as reflected by the prevalence of pornographic video games and cartoons featuring rape, gang rape, stalking and the sexual molestation of woman and girls.”

Their concern is extremely well founded. These games are morally questionable in their effects – however, in calling for a ban, questions of policing morality come into play. What’s legal when it comes to our sexual fantasies? The feminist in me is throughly outraged that such things exist. If I could make it so such games were never concieved, let alone developed, I probably would.

The part of me that needs to protect personal liberties though, must take a more nuanced view.

The important term is “fantasy”

When people participate in actual real life rape fantasy, the fact is that they are participating willingly, acting out a role for the mutual enjoyment of the participants. There is no way this should ever be illegal.

The game is much the same way – the voice actors, animators, fictional characters are all working to act out a FICTIONAL FANTASY situation. At every level it is still consensual, even though a suspension of disbelief may be taking place in order to make it “enjoyable.”

Now, while I personally find it very very distasteful, and not at all arousing (in fact, pretty much the exact opposite) – I understand that it’s fantasy and should not in any way be illegal if all participants are working consensually.

Just like bondage, adult baby play, whatever – the reason bestiality and pedophilia is ALWAYS illegal (in real life) is because there is no way such participants could be considered as consenting. They simply aren’t rational adult sentient beings.

Hence, if a Japanese voice actor is playing an underage horse that gets raped, they are still consenting to be involved in a virtual sex act. I can’t, in fairness, say that it could be illegal. If they enjoy fantasizing about this, or enjoy being paid to pretend so others can enjoy it, this is their rational adult decision. They deserve to be able to exercise this right in the private sector.

This is the case for almost any niche fetish – while most find it unsavory, the parts of the brain that control desire and arousal are often extremely illogical. There are plenty of well balanced people that enjoy acting out these illogical fantasies in a safe manner. They know they are “wrong” but this is often part of the fantasy – just as we might often daydream about cussing out an annoying client or kicking in a door. Or why, of course, part of why violent videogames and movies are so popular.

It’s quite possible that media items can be harmful, especially to the development of young minds. But there hasn’t yet been conclusive evidence that indulging in any sort of fantasy, for an otherwise well balanced indivudual, for small amounts of time, causes psychological damage. I think much more harmful to society, far beyond Grand Theft Auto or even Rapelay, is when fantasy is projected as fact or as attainable. If you’re looking for real scary stuff, just flip open a fashion magazine. Or look at a billboard. Or even go to church. But that’s a topic for further discussion.

Of course, I can understand why any politician with half a brain would SUPPORT this ban – it shouldn’t pass or be enforced in ANY way, but it’s pretty much political suicide to be pro-rape games. Or anything distasteful, really. Tough sell to constituents.

It’s very easy to take any of this out of context and say “So and so supports games where your only goal is to rape.”

Even when the real fear is that if one kind of consenual fantasy is made illegal, it’s quite possible that say, homesexual sex might go out of style. If it sounds crazy, you don’t know your history.

In this situation, as in many similar ones, the solution is probably closer to counter promotion than a ban on the offending material. For example, offer support for developers who create stories that have an emphases on socially consious dating, gender equal love, non-violent approaches to sexuality, etc. Make the opposite apealing and fun.

People often complain about violent videogames, but forget that the mechanics are often what make them entertaining. They are involved in a downward spiral of sorts. People who grew up having fun with violent videogames are more likely to develop violent videogames.

Violence is often an easy way out in game design. Blood and death hits a fundemental chord within people. They often understand it on a level that doesn’t need to be explained.

You can have action though, without violence. Similarly, you can create extreme emotional or sexual interest, or a feeling of sexy “wrongness,” without resorting to something as base as rape. It is probably a lot harder, but I bet it’s worth it if you can actually create situations that avoid these (sort of) easy ways out. Then again, the controversy has another function, in sales, so I expect we’ll still see plenty of games aiming to shock, just like in other mediums.

Forward thinkers do provide alternatives though, and if the games are actually fun, people will play them. The oft mocked premise of a game where you ran around giving people flowers could be extremely entertaining.


In fact, the game Flower is one of the most amazing things I’ve played this year. There are choices out there and you can encourage people to share in the ones that promote morals you that make you proud to be human.

posted by Een at 1:28 pm  

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roommate Get!


Chrissy, AKA Christina Caskey purveyor of fine design, is our newest roommate here at 315. We lucked out that someone we’ve known for years responded to our posting.

I found her blog. She made this:

Also living at 315 this next month, Jana, who I don’t know well enough to find a picture, unfortunately.

Thanks to everyone else who inquired as well, wish you all luck with your housing search!

posted by Een at 12:24 pm  

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Need Roommate

Hey, just a quick note on this:


Beth and I need to fill a room in our house by september first. Due to some unfortunate events, the person we hoped would be moving in can’t.

It’s a lovely place! Give me a call at 413-530-3634 if you’re interested or know anyone who might be.

posted by Een at 1:25 pm  

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller

Amazing. I never knew there was video of this stuff. Youtube is awesome. Literally. Seriously. I am awed.

We are in an age right now where we are not only creating more than has ever been created, we are also archiving, sorting, and gaining access to the information of the past – which used to be viewable by only a select few. Some complain about this equalization of access, some worry about “owners” of content (much of it way past original copyright expiration) and the organizations that used to charge for access, but I think it can only drive us forward as a species.

posted by Een at 2:12 am  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Woman Yells Heil Hitler to Jew Speaking About Health Care

via ThinkProgress

I know, I should be expecting this kind of crap by now, but I'm actually pretty upset by it.

This guy is old enough, and seemingly lived in Israel long enough... I'm sure that he's known hundreds of people who were personally effected by the Holocaust.  I know he has been effected personally, I'm only 23 and I have people in my family who were in concentration camps. And this woman is yelling Heil Hitler at him.

This is just totally unnacceptable. This health care debate is totally out of hand.

You know me, I support making jokes about the worst things, but these people don't have a sense of humor. There is no satire here. There is not even conversation. They're just fucking bullies.

Yeah, the guy is dramatic, but I would be too if I just spent 8000 dollars for two hours in the emergency room. Making "boohoo" noises at sick people and yelling Heil Hitler at jews. This is where the right is on the health care debate. This country is seriously fucked up.

As a side note, I had medical care while I was in Israel, my throat was swollen until I could hardly drink and I had a doctor visit me in a hotel, was given antibiotics and throat soothing medicine (slight numbing agent, basically advanced cough drops) on the spot and paid nothing. I'm serious. My experience may not have been typical, since I was on a Birthright trip at the time and I think they may have picked up the copay (or whatever), but they obviously didn't think anything of it. At no time was the question "who is going to pay for this" even an issue.

posted by Een at 4:49 pm  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Introducing ARTtxt! ARTtxt 2.0 coming soon!

Now introducing ARTtxt!

Tired of having to wait for a blog to load to see the newest art reviews?

Are all 140 characters of Twitter bogging you down?

Just sign up for ARTtxt!

Ian will go to shows and send reviews right to your cell phone.

The best review system around: a simple + or – lets you know if you should bother getting out of bed.

Check out these hot sample reviews:

Nude@Met: +

Pol@Gagosian: -

Flea@Kellers: +

GrwUp@Emp: +

Coming Soon!

ARTtxt 2.0 is just around the corner! The major new feature for this update is the “ReviewU” program, which is a value-add available for tiny micropayments. Now you can have your art reviewed by a professional art commentator!

All you have to do is send the image to the number supplied upon receipt of your donation and you’ll get a critique right back. Here are some samples from our beta testers. You can click them to see larger.

Beta Tester Image Sample Response

H8 clouds.

mAbE U shud mAk d skin tones warmer

DIS iz an image, thN, of a v specific America, a v specific Amrcn Uth. Adventure & sXULET mA b freer bt ther iz a possly disturbing undertone dat DIS FantaC iz 4 a certan grup of ppl, d ppl approved & seleCD 4 DIS lifestyle. thN, 4 d majority of d wrld, evN outside of itz ridiculousness, it iz exponently unattainable. U must b yung, Amrcn, waifish, frElE naked, & pRt of “whiteness.” It iz hEr, eva mo specifically, dat d wrk continuz itz travL in2 d collective Spectacle – d domain of Guy Debord’s societal criticism – it joins prodct advertiZn n creating d image of an unattainable lifestIL – d “world vision whch hz bcum objctified.”

HDR? :(

More great new features on their way:

  • Implimentation of an all new character, “?” which will supply heretofor unimagined possibilities for the ARTtxt reviews.
  • Our new ARTtxt twitter account, where Michael, our intern here at Ian Aleksander Adams Headquarters, is super exited to tell you all about the progress of ARTtxt 2.0 and the implementation of ?
  • Tiered donation program! Donors of $200 or more will get a free ARTtxt baseball cap!
  • iPhone App.

So stay tuned and make sure you’re signed up for ARTtxt!

posted by Een at 2:11 pm  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Arts Journalism Summit Projects Applications Due Today – Current Applications Stripped Bare

As Douglas posted on ARTicles, project applications are due today:

When we decided to plan the National Summit on Arts Journalism (October 2, 2009) at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, I thought we’d get about 40 projects in arts journalism. With a day to go before deadline, we have almost 70 projects submitted, and the variety is amazing. To be inspired by the future of arts journalism, go to the Summit site and read about the projects.

And if you think you have the next great model for doing arts journalism, you’ve got until midnight Pacific Time Monday to put your project forward. In the next week or so we’ll announce who has been asked to present at the Summit and more details of what the day will look like.

So if you’ve been slacking and think you’re good for this, get on it.

What’s most interesting here is the list of current applicants. There are a lot of familiar names there.

There are a lot of blogs and projects that have been surviving on pro-bono work even though the guidelines seem to specifically discourage them, including the wonderful Big RED, and Shiney. I’m sorry Big RED, I love you, but if “All contributions of content, whether written or photographic, are provided on a pro bono basis,” your buisiness model is not cutting it for me.

This site is all done pro-bono. So are a million other arts sites. I think the challenge is coming up with how people can make a living if this is what they do all the time, not just on the side.

I wish them all luck, though I can’t help feeling like I’m being a little rude by reading some of their applications.

They are asked to define their financial details (or planned details, as it may be) and specific goals for the immediate future. So while it was cool learning  that Art Fag City has interns (re-learning perhaps, I feel like I’ve known this before, and it’s awesome and I want to apply), or that Culturegrrl may be planning micropayments for link mailings (??), I feel like I’m cheating by getting to see how everyone else is hoping to make a living with this junk.

I can’t say I don’t enjoy it though. It’s definitely refreshing to see what others are going through and how they plan to continue. It’s also interesting to try and keep track of the overall trends.

People are either managing to do all right through donations or they’re trying to sound good for this form. Tough to say. I like to think that it’s possible to support the lone artist, reporter, or commentator through donations only, though it seems to me that only a select few might be able to make it that way right now.

The other major trend is grant/gov/community based support not through individual donors. This has probably always been the case for art journalism, so not much to say about that.

Micropayments don’t show up as much, but I’m not surprised about that either. They always seem smarmy to me for some reason. Micropayment, Paywall. Those feel like the dirty words of the internet age.

I hope I’m not throwing a turd in the pool here with some of this commentary. I don’t mean to be cynical. It’s a really tough question to ask, especially when some of the world’s biggest corperations and best paid people can’t seem to figure it out.

On this one, I actually have a lot more faith in these rebels. Heck knows most of them are a thousand times more innovative.

Wait, I always have more faith in the rebels.

Best of luck with your applications, everyone! I know it’s not just a huge cash prize or anything, since it means more work for you guys, but it’s really interesting to see a battle of the buisiness plans like this. Hope some groundbreaking thought comes out of the summit!

posted by Een at 11:50 pm  

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Pirate Bay’s Latest Middle Finger: DJ Joel’s $675,000 Mixtape


As their latest digital “fuck you” to the RIAA, The Pirate Bay has featured a torrent of the 30 tracks mentioned by the RIAA in court documents during the case of Joel Tenenbaum. Now you as well can download and share these amazingly expensive musical jewels.

Of course, half the songs suck or were blasted into our faces for years in advertisements, tv shows, radio features, and department stores, but perhaps you want to have an illegal copy – well, just cause.

I’m only reporting this with journalistic interest, of course.

As you can read on Joel Fights Back, the website maintained about his legal defense, the case was not even about copyright, but rather the fear tactics and overwhelmingly ridiculous amounts of money the RIAA demand for small amounts of music. Joel originally offered 500 when he first received his letter and then even offered 5000 dollars, which again was not accepted.

posted by Een at 11:00 pm  

Friday, August 14, 2009

Auto Detecting RSS Feeds in Google Chrome

Firefox has been acting very weird for me lately, not allowing downloads and seemingly not working with Gmail. While I’m sure I could figure out the specifics eventually, I thought it would be a good moment to spend some quality time with Google Chrome and see how I like it.

So far it’s alright, works fast and seems to display everything well and painlessly imported all my settings from firefox, but one of my pet peeves is that RSS feeds don’t show up in the upper right corner of the address bar like they do in firefox, making it harder for me to subscribe to feeds I’m interested in.

It seems that some people have come up with a pretty easy solution to this, which you can read more about here at Read Write Web. I’ve tested the method on a few feeds and it seems to work fine. Thank god!

Here’s an example link using this site’s feed.

So this is well worth checking out if you’re a voracious feed subscriber like me.

posted by Een at 6:23 pm  

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