muscadine: (Default)
A group of us were talking over dinner last week, and (mostly based on [livejournal.com profile] acutegirl's contributions to the conversation) came up with four rough criteria (in no particular order) people use to decide whether they will enter into a certain sexual situation or not:
(a) Is it illegal? (are there laws - perhaps also policies/rules - against it?)
(b) Is it immoral/unethical? (do I believe it to be harmful to myself or others, does a Higher Power forbid it, etc?)
(c) Is it beneficial or is it in my/their interests? (beyond strict answers to above considerations, will it be unharmful and perhaps helpful in some way - psychologically, socially, etc. and probably actually includes consideration of consequences of (a) & (b). This criterion was the most vague and may actually need to be explicated further and teased apart more from (b).)
(d) Is it a preference? (do I like or want to do it, does it turn me on, etc)

Clearly, this set of criteria probably applies more broadly than sexual situations. How these four considerations are weighed against each other depends upon the person, and probably varies across situations for at least some persons. For example, some people would never do anything they knew to be illegal. Other people wouldn't much care about the legality. Some people might care a great deal about the legality in business matters, but not sexual matters. Sociopaths would only consider (d) and a limited aspect of (c) in regard to decision-making about pretty much anything. And so forth.

I decided to write about this now, beyond the fact that I considered the above conversation very interesting, because of how I thought about it being applicable in another case I recently ran into. On an LJ gaming community I posted part of a post by Gabe from Penny Arcade, an interview of his grandpa who fought in World War II. The interview ended with the following exchange:
Interview excerpt cut for length )

At the end of this quote I asked about what kind of moral/ethical lines people drew in regards to the games they play. I was only somewhat surprised to get back a couple of responses along these lines:
"I play what I like. I don't like moral/ethical values stand in the way."
"I do not avoid video games based on morals or ethics. The line should be drawn when games stop being fun."
In other words, mostly using (d), with perhaps a limited consideration of (c). Sound familiar?

As I thought about it, it seems to me this is actually a common attitude towards media in general. Certainly there are things individual people won't read or watch, but it varies quite a bit from person to person, and often tends to be expressed more in terms of personal preferences than ethics or morality. Indeed, there is often lots of criticism and contempt heaped upon groups that recommend avoiding a movie or book because of the ethics or morality it displays (of course, this is somewhat confounded by a history of actual censorship or attempts at censorship, and/or un/misinformed viewpoints about content of a book or movie). So I would venture to say most people will read books or watch movies in which various sorts of unethical and indeed horrifying behavior takes place, even when portrayed in anything from a neutral/ambiguous to sympathetic light. Witness the Hannibal Lecter fandom, as a quintessential example of this phenomenon.

So it should not be shocking to find people extend this attitude to other forms of media including video games. But, in the case of video games, it seems to me people tend to find this more worrisome. While in a sense people may "take on the role" of characters in any form of media, in video games this is much more explicit and active. The main character "is" the person playing in a way they are not for the person viewing or reading. Certainly I find it somewhat worrisome, although upon reflection I think perhaps we should also do more worrying than we do about other media as well. What does it mean that many of us use a logic arguably akin to sociopathy to decide what media we consume?
muscadine: (Media/Internet Persona/Legolas)
We saw 300 on DVD last night. I'm not sure what to make of it. As novelized history, and I hesitate to use the term, it is clearly more fiction than history. It was too preachy to just be an action flick. On the surface some of the ideology seems nice enough, but ends up pretty disturbing:Spoileresque stuff here )
muscadine: (Dorks <3 Love)
To celebrate the fact that Hanukkah starts this week, and because I promised [livejournal.com profile] feelmymoment I would share this with her because she hadn't heard it, I present the Hanukkah Hey Ya. (Music performed by Eric Schwartz aka Smooth E aka the Suburban Homeboy, the flash video is apparently fan art.)

You may need to scroll down for the full experience.

EDIT: Apparently this is an edited/censored version of the video. You'll have to do some looking around to find a full one, sorry. :(
muscadine: (Halloween/Pumpkin/Spooky)
Since it's almost Thanksgiving, it seems like an appropriate time to finally post that promised picture of my Halloween pumpkin this year (:P) . I decided to go with the small but semi-permanent option (see icon).
muscadine: (Sexualities/Pomo/Discourse/Foucault)
I wanted to comment a little on this. (which I first noted via [livejournal.com profile] firinel)

Furry visibility and suave movie references aside, the gender/sexuality subtext is disturbing on a number of levels. I originally saw the website, which raised some red flags in that there was only one "male" ah... pinup? In the commercial, what's really initially disturbing in the (literal) predatory masculine sexuality. The female protagonist is a deer, and the male bear protagonist is introduced as if he were going to charge and attack her - she looks clearly frightened at several points in this first sequence. Instead he snatches (!) her Orangina and uses it to produce a flower for her. In a momentary flicker of hope of some sort of subversive message, she becomes the aggressor, using the flower to *ahem* take him by surprise then forcefully grasp him around the waist with her legs. But then a moment later she is kicking away and into an American Beauty-esque dreamy fall into a pile of flowers.

Now the scene is something more akin to a go-go bar, the female protagonist continues to be in the active mode, but lest we truly upset the dichotomy, there is a clear shift to the male gaze - the male protagonist looks on comfortably from his chair while she performs. Eventually this seems to transform into a short attempt at one-upping the other, which she apparently wins with her Flashdance impression (although there's an obvious symbolic complication to the win there). However, there is another transition into a club dance scene, and he joins her on the center stand, where eventually she allows him to "take the lead." Cut to the final scene where they sip a shared Orangina.

Oh, but it gets better. Those characters portrayed as female in the actual commercial are flowers, birds (flamingos, peafowl), herbivorous mammals (the deer of course, also zebras, rabbits, giraffes, and a panda who loses her clothing) and, notably, an octopus. The male characters besides the bear are secondary at best, but you can pick out apparently carnivorous mammals (cats mostly?) and reptiles. A particularly telling example of the underlying logics here is the deer's ensemble dancers - four peacocks, and they are peacocks - they have beautiful male plumage. But they also have large breasts and are dressed as the other female characters. So either this reflects a subconscious idea that such adornment clearly belongs on females, or this is some sort of attempt at trans inclusion. Eat your heart out, John Levi Martin. (Curiously, the website is a little different. Although other male characters are totally missing, the females include a lion and hyena.)

But that's not all. Curiously, the bear is only adorned in a fig leaf over his crotch. The female characters are all wearing regular clothing - bikinis or skimpy one-pieces that cover the breasts and crotch. Again, the males are harder to make out but appear to be wearing thongs. Why is the bear the only character, symbolically at least, naked (except the panda, who enters the state unwillingly and is subsequently embarrassed)? Perhaps because the whole commercial reflects the theme of the middle scene - the male gaze. Orangina appears, in fact, to be masculine power and sexuality, or at least enjoyment. He takes the bottle. He drinks his glass while watching her. After downing it he decides to show off. At the end of his sequence, which involves interacting with the crotches of several zebras, Orangina spurts up all around him. Seriously. The Flashdance sequence involves the deer being covered in Orangina as it gushes down upon her. I don't think I need to spell that one out for you. In case we were left wondering, in the club dance scene the zebras are riding giant bottles of Orangina, which subsequently pop their tops and spray out - presumably on the whole crowd, but we only see it on the rabbit, who does a good "girls gone wild" impression. And finally the octopus squeezes her breasts oranges. Of course, what's kinda funny about this is that the bear pinup on the website is holding the bottle suggestively while licking his lips. Oh my.

One expects this of American beer commercials, but French citrus soda commercials? I expect better. I mean, really.

Magical

Oct. 19th, 2007 10:15 pm
muscadine: (HP - Fandom Albus)
This is surely the best news for fan fiction ever:
It's official: Albus Dumbledore is gay.

In other news, I carved a pumpkin tonight. I'm really proud of it. Shall post a picture or two later.
muscadine: (WTF (delectableoomph))
One of [livejournal.com profile] scarcrest's posts reminded me I wanted to bitch a little bit about this last Monday's Heroes.
Spoilers Ahoy! )

Heroes

Sep. 25th, 2007 07:55 am
muscadine: (Future Year2000 Conan)
I broke history!
muscadine: (Default)
If you haven't seen Josh Groban sing the Panda Sex Song, you obviously need to.
muscadine: (Default)
We know
From the ancient ways
That a blood sacrifice
And a scapegoat
Can cover over a whole host of the people's sins
Amen
muscadine: (Default)
Just throwing this out there...

Does anybody have copies of full episodes of either of these shows? I need to review some episodes for a paper I'm writing this semester.

Goings On

Jan. 23rd, 2007 01:40 pm
muscadine: (Default)
To "celebrate" the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a pro-life group has placed a huge set of banners on the mall depicting aborted fetuses. There is also a praise choir singing praise music. Not somber hymns that speak of human suffering or injustice, mind you, but cheery "praise God" stuff. Thus walking through the mall becomes an exercise in cognitive dissonance. This might actually be the plan, since cognitive dissonance is supposed to be an opportunity for acquiring or modifying beliefs, but I think it possibly is creating subconscious connections these people don't intend.

[livejournal.com profile] acceptmyreality offers commentary wondering why we allow such a display while sexually explicit material or artistic expressions that might be construed as debasing of religion are censored as "obscene." One reason might be because it's being portrayed as violence - murder to be exact - and our culture is highly tolerant of depictions of violence. For example, it doesn't take much sexual content to press a movie into NC-17 or "X" categories, while rather gruesome depictions of violence merit only an R. Perhaps we should start a campaign placing these pro-life propaganda pictures (and perhaps some other violent imagery) alongside pictures of couples having sex and asking "why is this ok to display in public, but this not okay?"

...

Intramural softball is starting on campus and the Sociology dept is fielding a team (the Sociopaths). I'm going to try to participate this year since it's on Tuesday evenings.

* Go to OSCR to get Sophos fixed (Replaced with AVG)
* Pick up print outs from CCIT
* Attend first working group meeting
* Work on master's paper revision
* Find a preface to discuss in FM class for Thursday (Nickel & Dimed)
* Finish my GPSC travel grant application
muscadine: (Science/Teaching)
[livejournal.com profile] cabell does not know what she has unleashed.

Gee, I wonder what the underlying factor could be? Also works for...accounting, agriculture, biology, chemistry, communication, diversity, and on and on. Fascinating.

A similar pattern can be found with english, spanish, and french. German, latin, and greek not so much. Italian, russian, chinese, japanese, korean not at all. I guess that's not unexpected.

Chipmunks

Dec. 7th, 2005 12:11 pm
muscadine: (Music/Party/Wonder Woman)
o/~
It's been a while, but we're back with style!
So, get set to have some fun!
We'll bring you action, and satisfaction!
We're the Chipmunks, C-H-I-P-M-U-N-K!
We're the Chipmunks, guaranteed to brighten your day!
o/~

Indeed, Chipmunks, you did, you did.

I used to love that cartoon show.
muscadine: (Lusty/Playful/Silly/Carried Away)
Yeah, it's silly. I need some silliness.
You scored as Willow Rosenberg. You are a very smart individual. Though, like everyone else, you've made mistakes. You've changed over the last few years, so have a lot of things in your life, but you've got great friends who love you and are there for you through anything.

</td>

Willow Rosenberg

67%

Spike

63%

Tara Maclay

58%

Anya

58%

Buffy Summers

54%

Rupert Giles

50%

Xander Harris

46%

Dawn Summers

38%

Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
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