Thursday, March 22, 2007

Outstanding Achievement in Journalism

NBC News just felt the need to dedicate 5-7 minutes of our lives to a report on how students shouldn't cite Wikipedia as a resource. Wasn't this just a bit more relevent a year and a half ago?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Belated writings: I Wii, and You?

A little something I forgot to post here back in December when it originally came out (and was probably a lot more relevant!). This is cross-posted over at Inprint, where there's also a great illustration by Jeremy Schlangen.

I Wii. And You?

Several weeks ago, beefheads and the socially awkward camped out at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square for the Nintendo Wii release. With its odd name and especially phallic controller, one wonders if Nintendo has finally created the gayest video game console ever. Given the hetero-normative sociological expectations in video gaming, the idea of men waving phallic motion-sensing controllers at each other can be somewhat unsettling to most gamers.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. When the company announced back in April that they would name the console "Wii" instead of the originally intended "Revolution," millions were outraged. "Gay," said one Japanese publisher. "Sorry if that offended. I hate using that word in the pejorative sense, but it totally applies this time. …Joe Schmo from middle America can't say 'Wii' with a straight face, whereas he has no trouble saying '360' or 'PS3.'"

Honestly, I can't keep a straight face saying any of the three names. Saying "I want a 360" and "how 'bout that PS3" just creeps me out. But 'Wii' has a bit of a ring to it. Not only does it embody the onomatopoeic equivalency of the word "fun," it also says something sexy about the machine. "I want a Wii" and "how bout that 'Wii?'" just roll off your tongue, and make you tingle in all the right places. It's no surprise that gamers started a petition to force Nintendo to change the name.

Even more amazing is the slew of reports that players have been accidentally throwing their Wii remotes through their TVs and even in each other's faces. Have you ever heard that saying—that homophobia stems from self-hatred? Well, just imagine sitting with a group of frat boys jamming their six-inch Wii phalluses in each other's faces during a game of Mario Bowling, and you'll get the idea. Follow the debauchery of crushing beer cans on your head with a long night of trading Wii blows, and you've got a deal!

At, the "blog with homosexual tendencies," contributor Andy writes, "Part of the fun of the Wii is designing your own character, called a Mii. You start with a head shape and add from dozens of features until your character is created. Of course, this ultimately turned into an incredibly amusing diversion. As you can see, it wasn't long before our friend Martin's journey into cyber-drag resulted in the character below." Andy refers to a Mii character resembling a coked-out circuit boy one would find on the dance floor at the nightclub Heaven. "When hooked up to WiFi, you can send your Miis over the internet to participate in a parade on another user's Wii."

This Christmas, why not don your Link outfit and role-play with your partner over a Nintendo Wii? That's what I'll be doing, and I'll be sure to order the purple silicone skin from eBay to slip over my Wii for that extra effect while I swordfight with my bros.

Alison Bechdel and Alain Mabanckou

I contributed two articles for the March edition of Bookslut.

An Interview with Alison Bechdel:
Well, it’s true that it's [Dykes to Watch Out For] not as financially viable as it would be to devote myself completely to books. It might be a smart thing, actually, but somehow I don’t think so. I feel Dykes is like a steady investment. A municipal bond. It has supported me for many years, not just financially, but as a really great outlet -- especially during the Bush administration. I think I would go insane without somewhere to vent this stuff.

Also be sure to check out the Alain Mabanckou profile "The African Psycho Comes to America":
“My book, African Psycho, is deeply rooted in Africa, and I needed to focus on an awkward character who is unable to commit a real murder -- Gregoire Nakobomayo. American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman is a product of America; he is rich -- the image of the successful Manhattan executive. Gregoire is the opposite. He is an orphan. He is poor. He lives on the street. He was adopted by a rich family, but it is not his world. He wants to resemble Angoualima, a mythical serial killer from the other Congo [the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Za├»re]. Patrick Bateman is the perfect serial killer. Gregoire is just eternally awkward.”