Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Moving Pixels Podcast Spends Halloween with The Music Machine

I suppose with Halloween coming up and all that, I should mention the Moving Pixels podcast from Monday concerning an indie horror game, The Music Machine. Personally, I wasn't totally wild about the game, but as always, there are some interesting things to talk about regardless.

I'm kind of more fascinated by just the conception of a horror game made "Solo Deo Gloria" (that is, "for the glory of God alone"). David Szymanski is not the only artist that I'm aware of that has made similar claims about the motivating force behind their work (the poet Dylan Thomas, for example, immediately comes to mind). I've just never heard anyone who worked dominantly in the horror genre claim that motive for creativity. It's interesting.

Of course, anything unusual tends to interest me. My wife always says that if I met a redhead that was missing an eye and had a peg leg, that I would immediately run off with her.

The Moving Pixels Podcast Spends Halloween with The Music Machine

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Returning to Isaac's Body: The Metastasis of the Monstrous

This is sort of like an "adaptation" of an older article I wrote about bodily transformation and The Binding of Isaac. The first time was pure textual explanation. This time, I try to demonstrate what I mean through pictures.

Returning to Isaac's Body: The Metastasis of the Monstrous

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Playboy and the End of Nudity

I mentioned that I wasn't entirely done with the topic, as I wanted to discuss Playboy's relationship to the history of the nude in art.

So, this is the expanded version of my discussion of the end of the nude in Playboy magazine.

Playboy and the End of Nudity

Monday, October 26, 2015

Never mind the bullocks, here's your syllabus

I occasionally come across (or someone points out) that one of my PopMatters essays or something that I have written for a journal appears on someone's syllabus at another college or university. I always think: that's cool, some of my personal madness has driven some discussion somewhere, or something like that.

However, never have I been prouder than being the lead essay on a syllabus for a course entitled, "Punk Style and the Anarchy of Meaning," a course taught at the University of Denver (a few miles away from one of my alma maters). I would totally take that class, but even better, my essay, "Trolling the Player: Punk Aesthetics and the 'Anti-Fun' of Suda 51's Games" appears in a section called, "Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's Your Syllabus."

Tremendous. Seriously, even if the time was spent saying that what I had to say was total bullshit, I just love to be present in some way in a course on punk.

I should teach one someday, too. I'll have to think about that.

Johnny Rotten, Bad Brains, X, and Gertrude Stein? Ideas, ideas, ideas...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The scholar

A thousand years ago, it would have been a monk's, a militant fanatic who would have turned his uncompromising back on the world with actual joy and gone to a desert and passed the rest of his days and nights calmly and without an instant's self-doubt battling, not to save humanity about which he would have cared nothing, for whose suffering he would have had nothing but contempt, but with his own fierce and unappeasable natural appetites.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Darkest Dungeon, a Masochist's Dream

I need to finish MGS V, but it's hard to resist the cruel charms of Darkest Dungeon.

There is never a wrong time to self flagellate.

Darkest Dungeon, a Masochist's Dream

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What's it going to be then, eh?

What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Playboy and the End of Nudity

So, if you hadn't heard, Playboy has announced that they will no longer feature nudes in their magazine starting in March of 2016. Now assuming this is not a PR stunt similar to the one pulled by The Sun regarding no longer publishing topless women, I think this future for Playboy is a pretty interesting one from a cultural standpoint (I will note that I assume they will go back to the nude should this turn out to be a failure, of course).

I've often said that I think that probably the two living men that have had the most significant impact on twentieth century media culture (and, no, I'm not saying most significant positive or most significant negative cultural impact, just most significant) are Stan Lee and Hugh Hefner. While, perhaps, not for this generation of young men, Playboy, for better or for worse, served a rather central role in the sexual development of the American male for three or four generations. Additionally, it has had a fairly huge effect on American and global media culture as well.

All of which is to say that I feel that I may want to write something in a slightly more substantial form about this in the near future. The idea of Playboy moving away from nudity is, of course, not really the "end of nudity" at all (I just said that to be hyperbolic). Instead, of course, it just shows the way that free and easily accessible pornography has changed the nature of the business.

Whatever one thinks of Playboy, the idea that more overtly hardcore and more amateurishly produced internet pornography has become the norm is slightly troubling to me from an aesthetic perspective (not that this hasn't been true for some time, but this move by Playboy marks that transition rather acutely). As I said, think what you will of Playboy, but some of the best photographers in the world shot for the magazine and their approach to pornography (both Hefner's and those photographers) had more tact than their other contemporaries did (say, the approach of Penthouse or Hustler or hardcore pornography in general).

Hefner's Playboy took what is largely a more traditional approach to the nude (within the context of the place of the nude in the history of art) by displaying the body as beautiful and erotic and focused on idealizing the body and those values. Much of what typifies the aesthetics of other pornographers has been a more deviant approach to the erotic, focusing on the strange and creating an often bizarrely biological approach to displaying the female body. In other words, Hefner wasn't interested, as some pornographers are, in essentially giving his viewer the opportunity to look at women as if they were giving them a gynecological exam.

I realize that other more tactful pornographers exist out there (and indeed Playboy's decision to change up their approach to the subject of the erotic may give a boost to those kinds of print and online publications and some opportunity for new publications of that sort to arise and fill that niche), but the end of the nude in Playboy may clearly suggest that the nude treated in that way has moved out of the mainstream of pornography and culture more generally and something more akin to the gynecological approach I referred to has moved in as the new normal (something like this already happened in the American art world some time ago, but that notion would be better suited for a larger discussion on the subject).

In any case, I didn't mean to go on about this for as long as I have. Indeed, I may just feel compelled to write something much more substantial about this to publish at PopMatters or something. We'll see what I have time for. Either way, still interesting and still vaguely troubling, to me at least.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moving Pixels Podcast: Learning to Survive in the Fallout Shelter

My wife, one of my daughters, and myself were all playing our own iterations of Fallout Shelter shortly before we recorded the podcast.

We came to refer to the pregnant women (who are completely adorable, as you can see above) in our shelters as "the preggies," as in the statement, "Hey, how many preggies have you got in your vault right now?"

Moving Pixels Podcast: Learning to Survive in the Fallout Shelter

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I need a date to the prom

I was thinking that I only ever saw the Femmes once, but it was actually twice. I saw them in Illinois when they were promoting their gospel album, but I also saw them at the first Lollapalooza.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The boy was a model pupil, forgettable and easily forgotten, and he spent much of his time in the back of the English class where there were shelves of old paperbacks, and in the school library, a large room filled with books and old armchairs, where he read stories as enthusiastically as some children ate.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chicken bones and British import pop

Saw these guys at a little club in Boulder years ago. The lead singer was wearing some kind of skinny pants, skinny jeans, something dreadful of that sort. He played and sang with one supremely narrow leg up on the monitor in front of him.

I was up near the front and felt (and kind of had the urge to do so) that I could just reach up and snap his leg like a chicken bone. Dude needed to eat a box of Twinkies, something, anything with a rich, creamy center.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dichotomies, dichotomies, dichotomies

Shakespeare's Sister: charmingly melodramatic, delightfully hyperbolic.

The Value of Exploitation: Of Puppies and Pornography, Violence and Vixens

Puppies, pornography, violence, cannibalism, incest, and Pam Grier. It doesn't get better than this.

The Value of Exploitation: Of Puppies and Pornography, Violence and Vixens