A Sad Anniversary

One year ago today, I wrote:

Hilzoy, one of the greatest in the game, is stepping out.

Go well, Ms. H.: we’ll all be poorer for lacking your voice, which was always among the sharpest, clearest and brightest on every topic you chose to tackle.  I can think of few bloggers who can approach the quality of writing which seems to simply be your natural element.

I wonder, sometimes, whether Hilzoy still feels, as she did then, “…that the madness is over. There are lots of people I disagree with, and lots of things I really care about, and even some people who seem to me to have misplaced their sanity, but the country as a whole does not seem to me to be crazy any more.”  Her farewell had a tone of finality to it, so I don’t expect she’ll return to blogging, and it would be foolish to begrudge that; but I do miss her voice.

Gamer Culture, Rape Culture, CNN and Japanese Culture: Followup

Kyung Lah at CNN has written a followup article to the story I wrote about on Wednesday.

However, the video segment — from CNN’s Prime News program on their HLN (formerly Headline News) channel — has very little to do with Lah’s article itself, and is sensationalist and overblown, particularly on the part of the anchor, Mike Galanos.  His guest, Dr. Cheryl Olson, seemed to be trying to put the brakes on his (not to put too fine a point on it) scaremongering.  In short, I don’t recommend watching the video (though since I’ve already transcribed it, I’ll still include the text below the fold; WordPress doesn’t appear to let me embed the video).

Lah’s article, on the other hand, is much more thoughtful.  I think it does a pretty good job of presenting the complexity of the cultural issues involved, given its limited space and an audience that can’t be presumed to be very familiar with video games, feminist theory, Japanese culture in general or otaku culture in particular.

It’s not without some faults — for example, this paragraph

It is terribly easy to condemn Japan as a sexist and repressed culture with a government that chooses to look the other way. Part of that would be true, but the reason hentai continues to thrive in a country as progressive as Japan is a complex cultural issue.

seems either self-contradictory, or reliant on some oddly contorted sense of the word “progressive,” and the quotations from the sociology professor, Kyle Cleveland, seem troublingly close to suggesting that this is “just how it is” in Japan, and outsiders ought not judge such things.  That can, admittedly, be a fine line to walk: Cleveland is entirely correct when he says

What provokes people about Japan is the cultural distance which inclines people to see Japan as exceptionally lurid or perverse simply because it expresses sexuality in ways outside of Western norms. Japan is in some ways not that different than other cultures, including the United States, which has its own gender problems that are quite apparent.

but the implication that the very real structural misogyny in US culture invalidates American critiques of misogynist elements of other cultures is quite wrong.  Yes, we have to look to the beam in our own eye.  But provided we are willing to do so, and work to extract it, it is not hypocrisy to also mention the mote — or, as in this case, beam of comparable size — in our sibling’s.

Thoughts on Gamer Culture, Rape Culture, and CNN

Melissa McEwan has generously given me space for another guest post at Shakesville.  Here’s the intro:

[Trigger warning for discussion of video games which simulate rape and violence.]

I’ve got video games on my mind lately — as some of you have probably seen me talking about in comments, I was at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston this past weekend — and I just wrote a mostly-positive post with some criticism and a dubiously clever pun for the title over at my blog, about gamer culture in general and one panel at the Expo in particular.

This post is much less positive, and I’m also much less certain, ultimately, what should be done to try to fix the problems I’m talking about.

Many of y’all probably remember previous discussion, both here (Rape For Sale, Looking for Rape Products? Try Amazon., From the Mailbag for 2009-08-17) and at many other blogs over the past several years, of a Japanese computer game called RapeLay, the genre of hentai (lit. “pervert”/”perverted”) games, and the subgenre of rape-focused hentai games to which it belongs.

CNN’s Connect the World program has now run a story on the game, and its continuing availability through illicit channels despite its having been pulled from production and removed from retail…

The Century

Two years, four months, and five days from my first post: this here’s my hundredth.

(Update: also, a year and a few days from my previous arbitrary milestone.)

In that time, I’ve had a bit over 18,000 pageviews:

A snapshot of the WordPress stats for today.

That’s…an average of about 0.116 post per day, if I did my math right.

Huh.  Guess I’d better try to pick up the pace.

And through the magic of post-publish editing:

Portion of WordPress Dashboard showing a count of 100 posts and 100 comments

The trackback from this post to my first is the 100th "comment."

Thanks to all who’ve read, linked, and/or commented!  Onward to the next hundred!  Maybe in less than a year this time!