“If you don’t push, you’re lazy.”

Around 15 years ago, I sat in on a little talk with Apostolos Paraskevas, a Greek composer and guitarist (among other things) working at Berklee College of Music (in Boston). I got to spend a couple of days hanging out with the guy, but the best thing he said came in that little informal talk with some composition students. One of the college students asked, “How do you compose music?” Apostolos got this odd look on his face, then he smiled slightly and said, “Asking a man how he composes music is like asking a woman how she gives birth.”…

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The Empire of Nothing

I came across a term thrown out by fellow writer Alexandru Constantin: The Empire of Nothing In the spirit of cultural exchange and expediency, I’m appropriating it. The United States is an Empire – we don’t have to get into the technical details of why this is so – but what exactly is it an empire of? Individuals. This has been, in one sense, its strength. Individuals unbound by borders, restrictions of status, obligations to lord and land, and unencumbered by tradition were the perfect group to spread across a mostly empty land and settle it, forming the semblance of…

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“Acceptance” and the Death Cult

Fat acceptance. Tattoo acceptance. Queer/trans/gay/poly/etc. acceptance. These things are actually tools of the death cult. Remember that the death cult doesn’t just want you dead, it wants your culture, your people, and your religion dead. It often offers nominal life to you as an individual in return. Acceptance movements in general operate along three common layers to the death cult: A seeming appeal to the good A usually tacit appeal to the self A result that furthers the goals of the death cult (see above) Let’s take “Fat Acceptance” as an example. We should accept fat people. It’s what’s inside…

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Games, “Narrative,” and Gameplay

I’m not going to link the article that spawned this essay, mostly because the headline, which provoked everyone, was slightly misleading compared to the content of the article. The gist was the article had a title like “Narrative-focused games should drop the hours of combat,” which most gamers understand to be part of the games-journo advocacy of games that don’t have gameplay. This has been going on for years, and I have been addressing it for years. The odd thing is, the games industry has been addressing this concern, despite the fact that the market already solved this problem and…

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Idols

Idols are a problem to western society. No, I’m not writing today about the Japanese phenomenon surrounding teenage girls. What I’m thinking of is the idolatrous obsession over certain concepts that, through constant attempts to appease as if they are deities, inhibit discourse, clear thinking, and can even cause stumbling on your path to heaven. One of these, which I’ve talked about already, is Democracy. The idea that democracy as some unmitigated good is not just accepted as fact in the body politic, attempts to even suggest that it might merely be a conditional good, that is one that is…

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Low Trust America

People talk about America becoming a “low trust society,” but what does that mean, exactly? The normal take is that in a low trust society, there are low interpersonal moral standards beyond the tribe. So is the future of low trust America a Balkan-like tribal warfare state, or is it something else? I actually think what we will see is an appeal to paternalism to a much greater degree: This is much, MUCH worse. In America (and other western countries), bloodlines don’t hold loyalty. The tribe is not the tribe; rather, it is an artificial construct of ideology, dogma, and…

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Games Preservation going forward

I have a bigger predictions article in mind, but in the meantime, I just want to take the time to point out a big one: It’s going to get harder to game. Particularly, I am thinking of vintage, retro, classic games, etc. While I think lots of companies have made good efforts in bringing classic games over to new platforms, either in the form of simple ports (like the final fantasy games, particularly 7 and 9), or in the form of overhauls (the many “remastered” editions), there are many, many games that are not in such a place. This might…

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It Goes Both Ways

We’ve spent the last 4 years on the butt-end of Trump Derangement syndrome, a very real psychological phenomenon affecting millions of people worldwide, not just Americans. They’ve been conditioned to vacillate and quiver by a constant stream of emotionally-charged “information” (using that term loosely, because as I have pointed out, most news is false even when the journalists aren’t lying, which they often are). What I think we forget is that these things can go the other way as well, not so much in “Democrat derangement syndrome” but in viewing Trump as something more than he is. To most of…

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Auto-Allegory, or how Starfire is a Terrible Mother

I don’t like to give publicity to garbage like this, but it’s such an instructive moment for writing and understanding people I can’t help myself: Basically, this is about DC superhero Starfire’s daughter (Raven, I think), who is an angsty 90s-2000s goth girl who is also obese and a lesbian, and of course resents her beautiful mother. The surface level complain is obvious – this is bad fan fiction and denigrates established characters, pushes a gratuitous woke agenda at the expense of a good story, and is generally low-quality writing and art. Add to that the fact that it will…

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Appeals to Processes

For anyone reading this in the future, the US is in the midst of a highly contested election. I don’t have the space to go over all the details, but the short version is that Donald Trump appears to be the victim of election fraud, as hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, all for his opponent Joe Biden, were “discovered” overnight, only in key battleground states and districts controlled by the Democrat party. This, however, provides a great time to talk about systems, processes, and the appeal to processes as a stand-in for the good. “Democracy” is something the American…

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