I’m very happy with PAR, and if this is how it ends, that’s not too bad. We had a good run. We didn’t fix game journalism, but the whole idea of it being broken and needing a white knight to run in and make everything better was arrogant and more than a little pigheaded. There was good game writing before PAR, and there’s going to be good game writing after we go away.
Because after 25 years on television, there is still nothing more to his character than “is best friends with Carl.”
Like there’s no, there’s no attempt to give him depth. Because he doesn’t need it. There’s not a bad episode where we get a “deep insight” to his character, there’s no mess where we meet his father, there’s no weird attempt to add a facet of his personalty that ends up making him behave awful and out of character (like we have seen with chalmers professor frink and flanders, respectively). He’s just some fuckin weirdo who really likes carl
Thank you for not ruining lenny and carl yet, the simpsons. I guess
"Listening to the media outlets today on the coverage of Madiba’s passing brought me to a state of great mutug. Not an hour of his death went by before the rewriting of history began. They’re already going on about his Ghandi like status. This is why I have little patience for white liberals, why they infuriate me so. They will love you once you are underground, when they can mold your story to reinforce the present of their status quo.
"What happened to Madiba’s terrorist status? What about Thatcher’s indictment of him? What about Canada’s collusion with the apartheid project? What about Israel popping fists with the Afrikaners? WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THIS?!
"Yo, listen, Mandela believed, advocated and used armed resistance against that disease of white supremacy illustrated by Afrikaner apartheid. He spent 27 years in prison, more than my entire lifetime, because he would not recant his faith in the basic humanity of black South Africans. Let’s not forget this. He was not Ghandi. He believed in forcibly taking back what belong to him, his humanity, his right to walk under the blue sky in dignity, the right to come and go and become as he pleased. This is why we celebrate MLK and hardly a whisper about Malcolm X. This is why they murdered Steve Biko and Patrice Lumumba. If they cannot kill you in the prime of your leadership (and they could not with Madiba), a recourse to that shall be the passing of time, the slow decline of memory, the rewriting of your story of any animosity towards white supremacy. Do not mourn him in false memory. Just, don’t."
how the hell can one balance their wholly sincere love of certain elements of cyberpunk with the knowledge that 1) this shit is patently ridiculous at many times and 2) a hell of a lot of it got obsoleted by failing to recognize most of its core tenets could co-exist with a totally mundane near-future (ie today) asking for a friend (its me) (im the friend)
if you go back and read Snow Crash or any Shadowrun novel (lol) after spending a lot of time in a completely dysfunctional metropolis like the Bay Area you quickly come to the realization that reveling in trash and destruction is the only way to get through this decade without having some sort of breakdown
i will report that i recently spent a couple months in two white utopias—Bellingham, WA and Brattleboro, VT, followed by a short stay in a cute little gentrified town called Beacon, NY—and the liberalism, hypocrisy, smug yoga horseshit and only casually-obscured racism was enough to make me feel sick and hunted, even in the midst of a beautiful, clean, green, prosperous ecological paradise.
at the risk of sounding like a dipshit hipster worshipping a projected and racist concept of “authenticity” (too late), at least oakland is “honest”. at least in Crime Zone, the piles of burning diapers on the street tell it like it is. at least the citizenry here will help you escape from a police kettle through their backyards. at least i can see at a glance that poverty exists, exploitation exists, and that no one has any medicine. and yeah people will fight me on it sometimes, but a lot fewer of them than were fighting me in Bellingham.
and i value that intensely, even while i’m gnawing my fingernails down to bloody stubs because of my guilt at being a colonial interloper. i value the lack of obfuscation between my privilege, and how most people are forced to live in the united states. there was poverty and crime in vermont and washington but everyone was working so hard not to look at it, or think about it, or admit it.
that said, it’s incredible the shit that privilege makes you say and do. elias is living in a house right now where his roommates refer to their livingroom window as “San Pablo TV” (San Pablo Avenue is a thoroughfare that goes through several ghettos in Oakland and is generally a rough area), and cordially invited him to play “Spot the Hooker”.
street-walking sex workers in this area are usually between the ages of 12 and 18 and are being run by abusive pimps. it takes ten seconds to either read this, or figure it out by glancing at one of these extremely young girls. girls who are often functionally enslaved and often trafficked.
i dont mean to asert that i’m not dealing with heavy internalized racism, sexism, and classism of my own obviously. i catch myself all the time thinking and doing awful shit, and that’s only a fraction of it obviously. but i know this about those girls, and it scares and shit out of me, and makes me furious on their behalf, and makes me want to cry. so why don’t comparably-educated, young white hipsters, who have had the same educational and moneyed background as i have, figure this out, too? its not hard. and its not like we dont all watch documentaries constantly. but no. they’re fine making fun of child sex slaves out their front window, like they’re 19th century British colonists with a balcony that overlooks the ghetto.
In a document dump that includes private forum messages, emails, organization notes another other information the group found numerous connections between Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and A3P. According to the documents, all hosted here, Paul himself regularly met with many A3P members, engaged in conference calls with their board of directors and engaged in a “bridging tactic”between A3P and the Ron Paul Revolution
this isn’t the first time i’ve heard about ron paul associating with white supremacists either
“This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person was me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I’d gotten the time of the train wrong.
I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table.
I want you to picture the scene. It’s very important that you get this very clear in your mind.
Here’s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There’s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase.
It didn’t look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it.
Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with. There’s nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies.
You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles. There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know… But in the end, I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do: I ignored it. And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn’t do anything, and thought, what am I going to do?
In the end I thought, nothing for it, I’ll just have to go for it, and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened. I took out a cookie for myself. I thought, that settled him. But it hadn’t because a moment or two later he did it again. He took another cookie.
Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice …” I mean, it doesn’t really work.
We went through the whole packet like this. When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime. He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one. Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away.
Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back. A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies.
The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who’s had the same exact story, only he doesn’t have the punch line.”—Douglas Adams (via revolverwife)
Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts
There’s no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.
Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I’m in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won’t be able to stay up the other nights because I’ll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can’t afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn’t leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn’t in the mix.
When I got pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12/$2. Had I had a stove, I couldn’t have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron whilst knocked up.
I know how to cook. I had to take Home Ec to graduate high school. Most people on my level didn’t. Broccoli is intimidating. You have to have a working stove, and pots, and spices, and you’ll have to do the dishes no matter how tired you are or they’ll attract bugs. It is a huge new skill for a lot of people. That’s not great, but it’s true. And if you fuck it up, you could make your family sick. We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.
The closest Planned Parenthood to me is three hours. That’s a lot of money in gas. Lots of women can’t afford that, and even if you live near one you probably don’t want to be seen coming in and out in a lot of areas. We’re aware that we are not “having kids,” we’re “breeding.” We have kids for much the same reasons that I imagine rich people do. Urge to propagate and all. Nobody likes poor people procreating, but they judge abortion even harder.
Convenience food is just that. And we are not allowed many conveniences. Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it’s hard to get a bank account. But without one, you spend a lot of time figuring out where to cash a check and get money orders to pay bills. Most motels now have a no-credit-card-no-room policy. I wandered around SF for five hours in the rain once with nearly a thousand dollars on me and could not rent a room even if I gave them a $500 cash deposit and surrendered my cell phone to the desk to hold as surety.
Nobody gives enough thought to depression. You have to understand that we know that we will never not feel tired. We will never feel hopeful. We will never get a vacation. Ever. We know that the very act of being poor guarantees that we will never not be poor. It doesn’t give us much reason to improve ourselves. We don’t apply for jobs because we know we can’t afford to look nice enough to hold them. I would make a super legal secretary, but I’ve been turned down more than once because I “don’t fit the image of the firm,” which is a nice way of saying “gtfo, pov.” I am good enough to cook the food, hidden away in the kitchen, but my boss won’t make me a server because I don’t “fit the corporate image.” I am not beautiful. I have missing teeth and skin that looks like it will when you live on b12 and coffee and nicotine and no sleep. Beauty is a thing you get when you can afford it, and that’s how you get the job that you need in order to be beautiful. There isn’t much point trying.
Cooking attracts roaches. Nobody realizes that. I’ve spent a lot of hours impaling roach bodies and leaving them out on toothpick pikes to discourage others from entering. It doesn’t work, but is amusing.
"Free" only exists for rich people. It’s great that there’s a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don’t belong there. There’s a clinic? Great! There’s still a copay. We’re not going. Besides, all they’ll tell you at the clinic is that you need to see a specialist, which seriously? Might as well be located on Mars for how accessible it is. "Low-cost" and "sliding scale" sounds like "money you have to spend" to me, and they can’t actually help you anyway.
I smoke. It’s expensive. It’s also the best option. You see, I am always, always exhausted. It’s a stimulant. When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding.
I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.
Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.
I am not asking for sympathy. I am just trying to explain, on a human level, how it is that people make what look from the outside like awful decisions. This is what our lives are like, and here are our defense mechanisms, and here is why we think differently. It’s certainly self-defeating, but it’s safer. That’s all. I hope it helps make sense of it.
Update: The response to this piece is overwhelming. I have had a lot of people ask to use my work. Please do. Share it with the world if you found value in it. Please link back if you can. If you are teaching, I am happy to discuss this with or clarify for you, and you can freely use this piece in your classes. Please do let me know where you teach. You can reach me on Twitter, @killermartinis.
Many people have told me to write a book. I would, but I’m kind of poor and busy working. So I’ve set up a GoFundMe. If enough people are willing to chip in, I’ll be able to focus on writing for a few months and quit with the double shifts. And I will write a thing I can be proud of. Find it here. And I’ve also set up a blog, which I hope you will find here.
Thank you for reading. I am glad people find value in it.