More world headlines to stimulate your cerebrums. The more you know, the more you digest and discuss, the better prepared you will be when we, the geeks, take our rightful place as the leaders of the world.
Comic Creators: “Diversity is Weak Storytelling”
It turns out politicians are not the only chronic sufferers of foot-in-mouth disease.
During the Television Critics Association press tour, some of the better-known names in the comics industry exhibited stage three symptoms of the crippling mental disorder. Todd McFarlane, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and Michael Kantor were all present to answer questions about the upcoming documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, when the question of women and minorities in comics took center stage.
“…We actually stereotype and do it to both sexes,” McFarlane said. “We just happen to show a little more skin when we get to the ladies.” This is old news, and something we’ve come to expect from certain big comic names, but then McFarlane, Conway, and Wein all contributed to a single thought so absolutely asinine, we have to wonder about their perceptions of individuals and society in the real world.
They had the gall to suggest that diversity in comics would only produce weak story telling.
“There hasn’t been historically a comic book that has worked that is trying to get across some kind of message, if you will,” McFarlane said. Oh, really? Is that your excuse for a character as lame as Spawn?
But seriously, guys and gals, what is literature, in any form, if not ordinary individuals with abnormal talents for the written word and the painted page doing their small part to change the world? Comics are that wonderful medium on the spectrum somewhere between books and film. They have the depth of the written word, and the visual scope of the artist’s strokes. They can paint a picture so moving, you feel you have to close the book before the tears well up. They can splatter a canvas in such a horrifying, though necessary, manner that you cannot tear your eyes away.
“The comics follow society,” Conway said. “They don’t lead society.” Oh, really? Sounds to me like an excuse. What happened to great power, great responsibility and all that?
The author of the article on Think Progress, Alyssa Rosenberg, also brings up a great point in response to Conway’s statement of, “It’s like saying, ‘Why are there no medieval stories about female knights?’ Because there was only one, you know, Joan of Arc.” From the article, she writes, “And his and McFarlane’s arguments, of course, ignore that superheroes don’t actually exist.” She goes on to point out how other authors have created realistic female characters in any such genre without using that flawed line of reasoning as an excuse. Essentially, it’s a fictional world powered by your own imagination. Do whatever the hell you want with it!
If you’re still reading this blog, it’s because you don’t use the term “girl geek” or even worse “fake geek girl”. It’s because, while still appreciating the female form, you can look past the curves to the humanity. To cling to the concept of what is specifically for boys and what is intended for girls is archaic and dead. There are female soldiers, female police officers, female firefighters, and these old men of the comics industry are trying to tell us that these same women can’t be superheroes?
“Girls, come on!” Elastigirl once said in an interview, “Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so!”
Source: Think Progress
A Company to Defeat Wal-Mart?
We all know Wal-Mart is evil, but when we are presented with the counterargument of those low, low prices, it’s hard to come up with an appropriate and meaningful response. Well, now we have one.
WinCo, based out of Idaho, has done what more conservative economists claim is impossible and unnecessary. They have the ability to beat Wal-Mart’s prices while paying their employees a higher wage and providing better benefits. Employees can expect to make $11 per hour, compared to Wal-Mart’s $8 per hour. In addition, employees have full health benefits even if they only work 24 hours a week. And it accomplishes all of this while keeping its prices lower than Wal-Mart’s.
How does WinCo manage this? A simple combination of bulk buying, self-bagging, no credit cards, and “pragmatic” displays. Because, let’s be honest, if you go to the superstore for the pretty décor and insist on having someone bag your own purchases, you’re just destined for a debut on People of Wal-Mart.
The economy is a monster worthy of Lovecraft, and yet it is a monster more easily defeated than we think. The next time you are engaged in an epic battle of dollars and cents with those who worship the wasteland of worker suffering, remember that you have now been blessed with the Elder Sign of WinCo. May your gods watch over you, for the demons of low prices are the devourers of worlds.
Source: Think Progress
Man Beats the Bank at Their Own Game
A man in Russia named Dmitry Agarkov is fighting the good fight against the corruption and sheer annoyance of banks.
When Agarkov received an unsolicited credit card offer, he scanned to document and added his own list of terms and conditions, including unlimited credit, a 0% interest rate, and no fees. He also added large penalties for the bank if they broke the contract. The bank then made the mistake of not reading the returned contract thoroughly.
After two years, the bank caught on and cancelled the card. The bank sued for what they believed they were owed: $1,363. The court determined that due to the wording in the contract, Agarkov only owed $575. Agarkov is currently countersuing for $727,000 as the bank violated the contract.
Game, set, and match.
It is unlikely anyone will be able to duplicate this act, as banks are most certainly updating their policies regarding credit contracts. However, it does make one wonder what the average geek is capable of when pushed too far by corporate greed and lies. In Russia, Main Street fought Wall Street and won. If it can be accomplished in Russia, imagine what our combined intellect and power as geeks could accomplish.
In Soviet Russia, you charge bank!
Discussion—Splinter Cell: Can We Still Enjoy It?
The next chapter in the popular Tom Clancy franchise is set to release on August 20th. Players will once again find themselves controlling Sam Fisher, a covert government agent charged with taking on all the jobs worthy of being disavowed. This time, a terrorist organization known as The Engineers are threatening a series of attacks against the United States, and only Sam is capable of stopping them.
I’ve actually been a fan of the Splinter Cell franchise for a while. While its story is like a drunken combination of 24 and Call of Duty, the stealth mechanics are well crafted and can make for very intense and rewarding gameplay. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
With recent revelations having come to light, we have to ask ourselves if we can still enjoy such a game. The NSA surveillance programs, questionable drone strikes, and rumors of Americans being deprived of their rights under habeus corpus have put all of us on edge. Yes, I am all for capturing and killing the real world terrorists who threaten our lives, but not at the expense of our basic freedoms. And I’m aware production of this game most certainly started long before any recent revelations became public knowledge. But, where does the series go from here?
To me, this would be similar to going on a massive, violent rampage in the fictional realm of Grand Theft Auto only to turn on the news and see a report of yet another mass shooting. No, I am not saying violent video games lead to violent behavior. What I am saying is as we dive deeper into the abyss of our tangible surroundings, and pass through the illusion of our idyllic, post nuclear age Americana maintained by tabloid magazines and schlock passing off as news, can we still enjoy something in the context of a possibly illegal operation which we fear may be more than fiction?
As I count down the days until the release of Grand Theft Auto V, I certainly hope so. Discuss below in the comments. What do you think?
Source: Splinter Cell Home