Friday, September 19, 2014

Project 52 2014 (38/52): Stay

.:Project 52 2014 (38/52): Stay:.

Some of us hover while we're waiting for the other who was dying since the day they were born, well, this is not that: I think that I'm throwing, but I'm thrown. 

And I thought of it forever, now I'm not so sure, you try to tell me that I'm clever, but that won't take me anyhow, or anywhere, with you.

You said that I was naive and, I thought that I was strong. I thought, "hey I could leave, I could leave," but now I know that I was wrong. 'Cause I missed you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why The Word "Gamer" Is Slowly Losing All Meaning

.:Why The Word "Gamer" Is Slowly Losing All Meaning:.

Last month showed that even with all our so-called progress, it's still hard to be a woman. Not only did Cee Lo Green try to redefine the word “rape” by saying you can only rape someone who's conscious, you even had one of the largest scale hacks in history that exposed nude pictures of almost solely female celebrities for the internet to salivate on. This may not be the crux of this entire blog entry, but it certainly helps to emphasize the point I'm trying to make.

On the same month, a female (ah, there we are!) game developer named Zoe Quinn was doxxed and harrassed because of allegations made by a jilted ex-boyfriend via his blog, and Feminist Frequency videomaker Anita Sarkeesian was sent serious threats that forced her to leave her house, all because she bothered releasing a bunch of videos about tropes versus women in video games.

Funny how that works: the people denying that there's any mistreatment of women in video games end up making their voices heard precisely by mistreating women involved with video games. And funny how suddenly, gamers are all about fighting for journalistic integrity in their video game sites when the idea of "objective" video game "journalism" is laughable at best. Where were these guys when a low review for Kane and Lynch got a journalist fired? Oh, right. They didn't care because it didn't involve the wimmenz. They only raise a stink when it suits their misogynistic agenda.

But I'm not here to go on a feminist tirade about the ills of some gamers, and the complicity the rest of us have by not condemning it. What I'm doing is merely pointing at several events connected by only one apparent thing: misogyny, and how this has, directly or indirectly, led to the call by some game writers for the “death” of the term “gamer.”

I agree with them. But the whole issue of misogyny is only one of the issues why I do. I have several ideas why I feel that the term "gamer" is really becoming less and less relevant as time goes by.

.:The Term "Gamer" Is Getting Too Toxic:.

The people who most loudly proclaim they are gamers are often also the people who sneer at “fake” girl gamers, noobs, and Anita Sarkeesian. When one has to admit out loud they are also a gamer, they unfairly end up carrying the baggage of all these fringe lunatics (or are they really just fringes?) who give gamers a band name, and because of that, they end up saying “I play games, but I'm not really what you would call a gamer instead.”

If the term is now coming with more bad connotations than it ever has since it was first used pejoratively by the popular jocks at school, then it stands to reason that more people would stop labeling themselves as one. The word "gamer" is fast approaching a scorched earth status, and it's a little too loaded for the average person to want to let the term be associated with them.

.:There Are All Sorts Of Distinctions Nobody Cares About:.

Hardcores. Casuals. Console gamers. Portable gamers. Mobile gamers (yep, there's a difference.). PC gamers. What constitutes a video game has expanded to far beyond what we used to attribute to it, and it's bogging down the word. Suddenly, something like “Heavy Rain” is now a video game, despite the fact that it's more like an interactive movie with next to negligible gameplay. If you want to be even more crude, how do most H-games even count as games, when it's essentially just a “Choose Your Own (Sexy) Adventure” playing out on your computer screen?

We've heard people say that “just because you've got a camera doesn't mean you're now a photographer.” But that clearly doesn't apply to gamers, if we're willing to label some of them “casuals” just because. So just like calling someone a hipster, what exactly does it really mean to call someone a gamer now?

.:Everyone Is A Gamer:.

Remember Syndrome in “The Incredibles” when he said that if everybody is a super, then nobody is? That's exactly how the term gamer has become as gaming has become more ubiquitous than ever. You have people playing board games with other strangers in a cafe. You have people playing Angry Birds on their mobiles, and what right do we have to insist they're not gamers, too?

There was a time being called a gamer was some kind of insult. But now, it isn't an insult when nearly every single person on this planet is a gamer in some shape or form. When you see poor kids who spend what little they have on some DOTA matches, then you know gaming is far more all-encompassing than it's ever been.

Let's face it: everyone is now a gamer, and that word has lost all meaning. That's exactly why the most elitist of gamers loathe the “filthy casuals” and revel in how hardcore they play games, all the while losing the point of games.

.:The Point Of Gaming:.

Gaming isn't about who sleeps with who or who exploited whom. Games are about having fun. Does it really keep you from having fun if there's a wider variety of women characters in a game? Does it really keep you from having fun if someone else is having fun playing Candy Crush instead of Skyrim? If we all focused on making games more fun for everyone by listening to their valid issues instead of forcing them to shut up about issues we supposedly don't care about, then maybe gaming would get even better than it already is.

There is no feminist or social justice agenda ruining gaming for everyone else. Feminists and social justice warriors just want to have fun with video games, too, the way every other straight, racially acceptable male already is. Is that really too much to ask? I don't think so. If you don't want to listen to feminists analyze your video games, then don't. You don't need to put all of your effort into destroying their lives, because if the issue is so "insignificant" to you, then why are you making this concerted effort to shut her up?

Ultimately, if everyone's a gamer, then using “gamer” as a mark of distinction no longer holds any value whatsoever. We're all just fun-seekers on a digital platform, and that's good enough for most of the world. Only those people who are asinine enough to want to own the rights to the term "gamer" feel otherwise, and as their whiny voices gets drowned out by the wave of people who have better things to do than to humor their petulant ways, things will march on. With or without them.

The "gamer" is dead. But long live gaming.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project 52 2014 (37/52): All Cried Out

.:Project 52 2014 (37/52): All Cried Out:.

I, I gave you all of me. How was I to know that you would weaken so easily?

Friday, September 05, 2014

Project 52 2014 (36/52): When There Was Me And You

.:Project 52 2014 (36/52): When There Was Me And You:.

Now I know you're not a fairy tale, and dreams are meant for sleeping, and wishes on a star just don't come true...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here Be A Decent Update

.:Sorry, Project 52...:.

Well, I really have no desire in me to fill out the lyrics and analysis for my Project 52 entries. Somewhere down the road, it just got to being more trouble than it's worth to write them down. Having said that, though, I figured it's time I started writing in my blog again. There's been so many things going on with me ever since I left the day job, and it's been pretty exciting lately.

Beloved has been back in town for a while already, so there's that, but it's been nothing doing for the most part. I guess I'm at a point with her where there really are no remaining game-changers to be had. It simply is what it is, and while I'm mostly comfortable with that notion, a small part of me still wishes there was even just a little more than meets the eye to all of this.

That being said, where we are is good. And I can't really complain about "good" now, can I?

.:Thursday Night Fun:.

Yeah, no pictures for now. I like the pictures and captions business and all that, but I need to get back into the rhythm of banging out entries quickly before I sprinkle back in funny captions again.

That being said, I will be performing with Mike Unson and new comic Hugh Vincent this Thursday night in Burger Company for Thursday Night Fun. Switch Improv has been there before, and so has Jona Paculan of the Akafellas. Not only do they have great burgers and even awesomer bacon, they also have a pretty substantial collection of board games, to boot! Obviously, they're not trying to beat Ludo at its own game, what with the fine gentlemen from Ludo owning about 400 going on 500 board games last I checked, but hey, Burger Company definitely has its own approach to mixing good food and fun together.

I've gotten back into the thick of my patented comedy mentalist act, and I hope you get to catch it. If you've never seen the Shanghai Shackles before, or if you've never heard about my mind-reading bit, then you're in for a treat, because I will be featuring that and more on Thursday night, then you get treated to an hour of Mike Unson's excellent standup comedy.

Burger Company is located in 72B Scout Reyes Street, corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, right in the heart of Quezon City. Please drop on by and catch us in action this Thursday! It's absolutely free!

P.S. They're doing International Bacon weekend at Burger Company! Order anything with bacon, and get extra bacon on top of it! Mmmmmm. Did I mention yet how life-changing their bacon dippers are?

.:Saturday Night Comedy:.

I also do improv comedy with the newest improv comedy group in town, Switch Improv, and we're hitting Relik in The Fort this Saturday night as well. It would be really nice if we could see you guys there. :)

.:In Defense Of Ramon Bautista:.

Let's make one thing clear: if you consider yourself a feminist, I absolutely welcome any critique you might have about Monra's humor, if you feel it is not to your liking. That is a valid criticism of what he does.

However, sexism was never the issue why he was declared persona non grata from the city of Davao recently. It simply wasn't.

As a comedian, Ramon was asked to go to Davao and host and entertain the people during the Kadayawan festival. He clearly didn't read his audience right when they responded violently against his quip that there's a lot of "hipon" in Davao.

Possibly offensive? Of course. Comedy doesn't prioritize being politically correct. Sexist? How, pray tell?

I don't know about you, but "hipon" is a gender-neutral term. It isn't referring to women exclusively, and goes for men and women. Otherwise, we'd call it she-pon, right? Haha, I kill me. Well, no. That isn't really funny, either. But the point stands: you might say that Monra insulted the Davao people, but you certainly can't say he was insulting only the women. Make your objection clear: you were offended by his insult on all of you, not just on your women. Otherwise, you are pretty much saying only women can be "hipon," when that is clearly not the case, as a lot of people call male gym rats "hipon," too.

And fine, people have every right to not find that joke to their liking. This was a public gathering, after all, and unlike a comedy bar, people weren't expecting to be roasted on their special day. Boo him if you want, that's how free speech works! He was free to insult you, you are free to show your disapproval right back.

It was when the government decided to directly interfere with the affair by slapping Ramon with a persona non grata sanction where I feel things went too far. Hell, I'd even let all the cursing by the former Davao mayor slide, even if that isn't exactly a great example of "proper conduct," either, especially if any equivalent of "p***** ina's" was hurled during her tirade, which is definitely a gendered slur.

But okay. Let's assume on good faith that the Davao city council did want to protect the women of Davao from the insult. Let's assume on good faith that they were not singling out Ramon Bautista just because they can, and the welfare of women was foremost among the priorities of the city council and the local government of Davao. Let's assume all of that right now.

Well, how do you explain the fact that Mayor Duterte is now defending the Davao police chief, who was caught on video beating his wife? Please explain to me how come calling people in general "hipon": is totally not okay, but a video of a police chief beating his wife just has to be "a setup." What? He was so agitated, he had no choice but to beat her up? Sure, sure, sure.

In the end, the petty vindictiveness of the people involved in declaring Ramon Bautista "persona non grata" exposes them to be far from perched on the moral high ground they profess to have. For a bunch of people who claim to want to "defend" women from Bautista's non-gendered insult (I cannot emphasize that enough.), they are clearly not doing that job when it comes to dealing with one of their own.

And you hope Duterte becomes president someday because he "takes action?" I'm not willing to surrender my personal liberties for that, thank you very much.

If you felt compelled to declare Ramon Bautista "persona non grata" because he "insulted" your women with his words, then I think it's more than fair that an even stronger sanction be issued against your police chief who hit a woman right on video. Otherwise, your double standard exposes your actions as less of an act of justice and more an act of hypocrisy.

.:And As A Footnote...:.

Five years in comedy, and I can safely say that it isn't easy to make people laugh. People might think what Vice Ganda does is easy, or that Dolphy worked with lower standards, but that just isn't the case. Eliciting laughter is an art form, whether it be Vice's insult comedy, or Dolphy's slapstick, or TVJ's wordplay, or Rex Navarrete's point of view style, or SPIT's improv, or anything else beyond and in between.

Then you see people like Robin Williams, who took his own life, and a guy I know personally, Kuya Jobert, almost take his, and you wonder how these people could be so sad despite making so many people happy.

I'm not going to say that behind every funny person is a tortured soul. That's too hackneyed and cliche for me to tout. What I'm going to say though is that whatever goes on behind the laughter, there's still a lot of hard work going on to get that laughter going. And whether or not Ramon Bautista's comedic stylings is to your liking, he certainly works hard at what he does.

So maybe it's a good idea to, every now and then, think about the people who draw all sorts of emotions from us aside from love (we obviously think about the people we love often enough, after all.). People who make us cry. People who make us angry. People who make us laugh. Let's not care if they're depressed or they're happy. We wouldn't know for sure now, would we? Let's just give them a moment. It won't hurt us at all.

And now, let's give ourselves a moment. Remind ourselves why we're here and what we're doing on this planet. And once we remember, let's go back to life as usual, hopefully with that small reminder well in hand. It just took a couple of moments. But those moments could make all the difference.