Oct. 1st, 2010

yeloson: (Default)
Hi,

If you've subscribed here looking for gaming stuff, I don't do a ton of posting on gaming on my personal journal here- mostly rarely and mostly locked to friends only.

(Probably the only thing of note recently is that I'm thinking of running an Avatar the Last Airbender based rpg using the Smallville rules, but that will be posted on Deeper in the Game with more details in a month or two)

Gamers of Color is where we talk about anti-racism and social justice in all kinds of games- videogames, MMO's, boardgames, CCGs, mini's, RPGs, etc.

Deeper in the Game is where I talk about tabletop roleplaying games.
yeloson: (pic#459017)
Reading about the most recent "Self Help/Men's Awareness" scandal, I'm thinking a bit about how much these things are like grotesque appropriations from traditional societies, and the results we keep seeing- cult behavior and straight up harm to people.

Traditional initiatory religious practices often use applied stressors as well as specific ritual action to disrupt a person's sense of self and re-arrange it. I suspect the big changes we've seen in modern society is this: you're not in a community where you have to live with this person around, for the rest of your life.

That's not to say there isn't room for abuse, or often enough, historical examples of abuse, but that at least, if nothing else, there is a motivation on your part and others around you to try to limit that stuff- because at the end of the day, you still need a functioning member of your community, and, hopefully one who won't flip out and leave your ass in a ravine with a broken leg.

I'm thinking the fact that nearly all of these modern groups are basically profit-driven enterprises, with attendees from around the country or larger area, but not in close community, means the incentive to actually give a damn about what happens to them drops, not to mention the ability to see what the long term outcomes of these practices are.

In many ways, the hard protocols and traditions of older societies involved with this stuff usually is based in the idea of trying to limit variables and results of what kind of people you "make" in the process.

(This isn't to say there isn't a lot of "traditional" groups now that have been modernized in the same way with the same issues. ATRs that demand $3000 for initiations or guru traditions in which adherents meet from around the country once a year... Again, though, I think the core issue is that it's no longer based in a small community setting.)

The sad thing is that this is pretty much the same problem we talk about when we talk about cultural appropriation - you can copy the obvious, but do you know the full context of what and why things are being done?

If we look at the benefits people are hoping to get out of sweat lodges, drumming, chanting, meditation, etc., it's a real question why they never bother to also consider that these activities are measured in years or decades of training and practice and not just a simple "How to" booklet.

The idea that there is anything in this world that can help without also containing the potential for harm is dangerous and foolish. It's like assuming every pill in the doctor's bag is good for you, so you can pop them at random to solve your problems.

Of course, it doesn't help that a lot of this is couched in terms of transactional thinking and privilege. "I paid this much money, THEREFORE what I receive must automatically be of value". Or, "I just started this thing, but I know BETTER than the people who've done it for thousands of years how to do it, and you don't REALLY need all those restrictions and rules."

I suppose I could just as well make money teaching people that repeatedly hitting themselves in the head with the Bible brings the Word of God directly into their brains, or something.
yeloson: (Default)
Imagine the most awesome X-wing dog-fight you can imagine. Now make the X-wings owls. And the owls are ninjas.

Now that my inner 12-year-old has summarized how I feel about this movie, let me say I really really enjoyed it.

So the basic storyline is that there's a group of evil owls calling themselves "The Pure Ones" who are basically trying to raise an owl-supremicist nation by kidnapping kid-owls to raise as soldiers or slaves.

...yeah.

Opposing them are the Guardians, who have been hidden away in isolation, for a few generations at least, to the point most assume it's just legend at this point.

The story follows Soren, a young owl who is kidnapped by the Pure Ones, escapes, and his journey to seek the help of the Guardians.

The story manages to do the hero's journey without falling into the usual annoying tropes - Soren does important things without becoming THE CHOSEN ONE or surpassing the other characters- it's pretty clear he's outclassed by most of the other characters, even at the end.

Actually, part of what I loved about this movie was all the annoying tropes it didn't dive into- the wacky misfit characters get just enough screen time you get who they are without making you want to beat them to death. The villains tell you what they're about, but don't do huge exposition or speeches - it's all pretty short and to the point.

I thought there'd be only one, but there's actually three awesome female owls who are each badass.

Graphics-wise, it was ridiculous. So much gets communicated through facial expressions. Beautiful scenery, amazing fight scenes, just perfect. The normal shots were great and the money shots were WTF.

If you're in the mood for a fun, action-ey movie, that is just well crafted... and you have a penchant for flying ninja fights, this movie is really worth seeing.

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yeloson

November 2012

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