Monster Mash

This week, undoubtedly, nothing matters except the Endgame. Except, I’ll be honest, I’m not desperate to consume the end of an era instantly, because once I’ve watched it, that’s this part of the MCU done. I will undoubtedly lose a couple of characters I love for good, one at least (allegedly) in a way that, if true, is a bit of a kop out with my writer’s hat on. That’s the trouble when you create worlds for a living.

Other people’s narratives piss you off when you think you could do it better.

I know why arrogant’s a metaphor that gets thrown at me a lot, but honestly, don’t care. MCU is not my world, it belongs to you people and I just watch at a distance. You enjoy the final hoorah, and I’ll be over here getting far more excited over Godzilla because this, frankly, is the hokum I am here for. Marvel built the benchmark from which all genre movies will now be measured.

I’ve got other stuff to worry about.


The increasingly larger concern going forward is how I watch arrogance manifest online, under the auspice of opinion. I did it up there, did you notice? So much of the MCU is sacrosanct now, you can’t abuse particular movies, because of the important cultural diversity demonstrated… and yet that’s exactly what happens. Find a thing that a minority enjoys, then destroy it, when you could just say nothing at all. Except, of course, that defeats the object of owning Social media. You’re not the problem. Other people are.

You won’t find me pissing on anybody’s fireworks however this week. Everybody gets to enjoy their stuff, you don’t wander in and give them grief. The number of things I’ve seen where a comment could have started a fight this week is a lot higher than normal, and we’re only at Wednesday. Something is fundamentally wrong with the picture when saying how you feel will cause conflict, that others are being so thoughtless and selfish in their pronouncements to provoke such reaction.

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‘Hot Take’ Culture is giving people legitimate excuses to be idiots, and then blaming others for getting upset at them when all they’ve done is speak their minds. Once upon a time, if you saw something and didn’t like it the polite thing to do was just to keep quiet. Not any more. Get more views by upsetting other people! Insult their race, culture and attitudes, and at the same time become the centre of attention! No experience or intelligence is required, please leave your empathy off the Internet.

The bigger problem then comes with those people who attempt to be objective and who are simply accused of the exact same crime, when nothing is further from the truth. This is especially rife in gaming culture: you either love a game unconditionally, or you shut the fuck up. Constructive criticism has literally become impossible due to the reaction you’ll get for not being a 100% complete and utter fangirl. Objectivity in gaming design criticism is dead.

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When historians chart the destruction of modern civilisation, undoubtedly it will be the weight of individual outrage that pulled an awful lot of society down to their demise. So easy to get apoplectic over the minutiae, totally fail to use that anger constructively to save the Planet you’re ignoring and that is slowly choking to death via your consumerism and ignorance. Enjoy your brief moments of glory whilst they still exist.

Maybe, just maybe, consider stopping and thinking before you chat shit online.

Help

It’s taken about two months, if I’m honest, but today I muted Warcraft content in my Twitter feed. I didn’t feel there could be honestly on my gaming blog as to why: it’s taken about an hour to do the maths and grasp actual reason. There are a huge number of complex relationships that weave around the yearly Convention for the game (Blizzcon) and yesterday, following a conversation back to its source, a really significant fact registered for the first time.

So many people are not, and never have been, my friends.

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You guys all have your cliques and your Guilds and your interest groups and honestly, truthfully, I belong in none of them. The people who I once really cared about, that there was actual affinity with as a Guild, have long gone. Many I still cry about, for both good and bad reasons. Those relationships mattered a great deal, and a number have done me permanent damage. The one time I spoke about this someone appeared and decided to contest everything I knew was truth, then there was no going back.

I’ve forgotten how to make friends with strangers, seem to have lost the ability to be tolerant of those with more disposable income and less inhibitions. A lot of this, undoubtedly, is wrapped around the mental issues that I’m now dealing with. Yesterday’s revelation that someone can be happy to chat when it suits them and then not give a fuck when it appears you’re not listening is a timely reminder that it is probably a good idea to concentrate on things that matter.

This is the moment to move on.

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The people who care and who are genuinely kind will always be there. They still are, and continue to be so. They don’t care about what games I play, or whether I follow the ‘right’ people or not. These are the friendships that need more nurture and care. The rest is, and always has been, not worth getting upset about. Learning how to separate wheat from chaff is a fundamental Internet skill that requires further effort. Most people aren’t even listening, until they get into trouble and need your help.

Oh, if that only worked both ways.

Sunrise

DAY 3: I’m a  recovering addict, trying my best not to sound like an evangelist. It’s a tough ask, some days, especially when the weight of evidence shows how gullible I was. Companies are to blame for feeding addiction, and in due course one can only hope common sense will prevail… but don’t bet on that. However, if as individuals we are unable to discern truth in our own shortcomings and failings, all is lost.

This, in a certain light, utterly is confirmation bias at work. Someone else (as a result of my flagrant disregard of The Community) is already indignantly decrying this attack on freedom of choice, and that’s absolutely fine. However, if you continue to throw money at companies whose entire modus operandi is to get you to do just that, stop complaining they don’t cater to your tastes. That’s when you take your money away and go elsewhere. No really, that’s how it should work.

If it doesn’t…? Who has the problem here, exactly?


I do love my gaming friends. Some have moved on, others staunchly remain wedded to their MMO’s of choice and all of them wear gaming as a badge of honour. It is how you know if someone’s gonna grasp your point of view or not: meeting gamers makes a ton of metaphors applicable in any conversation. It’s the difference between awkward and relaxed, almost instantly.

Currently I have a History of the Internet poetry collection under submission and once it is summarily rejected (because half the references will be lost on people judging) I will go about getting it published myself. This is what I am. Like it or not, good or bad, there is never the means to separate gamer from woman. It’s why indignation rises over cheap stereotyping, that this same stupid, pointless rhetoric hasn’t gone away for the 40 years I’ve played.

This whole ridiculous argument isn’t about women being good at games, it’s about women being good at ANYTHING and part of me wants that association to be 360 No Scoped back into the 8 bit age. I don’t fucking care how good or bad I am, I deserve the right to play unchallenged.

This is a fundamental problem with Humanity that really should have been fixed by now.


Rejecting a space which is specifically designated as one in which performers may do as they wish is artistically limiting, Kanye.

You need to listen to more people, mate.

Your Cheating Heart

The national side progressed easily into the last sixteen of the World Cup last night, but they didn’t do it properly. There were no magnificent scenes of victory. Nobody punched the air, except the Belgiums. A newspaper this morning calls this a ‘basic misreading of hypotheticals’ like that phrase means anything to begin with. A manager, for the first time ever, looked at the game after the one they’d be playing and made decisions based on a long-term outlook. Football fans can’t look past the next game, we all know that. If you’re not living in the moment, you’re dead inside.

There is a fundamental problem here that needs to be addressed.

I had a conversation with my daughter on the way to school this morning about how the fine art of thinking about shit is being lost. In the clamour to be noticed in a World that increasingly values the cheap gag or the funny meme above actual facts and logic, a valuable resource is being squandered. My opinion on last night’s game is valid, but as I am not Gareth Southgate how the fuck do I know what his plan is? I have no right to question his tactical decision making now, I don’t get paid to be England manager, yet millions of fans like me feel they somehow now have a voice, because Social media gives them a stage. We stop thinking, and start ranting, and then everything goes Pete Tong.

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Some would argue it is just easier to get other people to think for you. That’s why we have websites like comparethemeerkat.com, who use SCIENCE to tell you that you can save money and feel awesome (no hang on, that’s the other lot). Except, if all you do is compare figures and don’t look at the ethical backgrounds of companies, is this saving worth the effort? So what if I can recoup £1000 a year? There are far better financial decisions to be made than this that most people don’t want to think about because they won’t consider their own unique circumstances. Having a website tell you to save is all well and good, listening to an ‘expert’ pontificate on what’s best is great… but what if that advice is potentially more harmful than good…?

I didn’t know the possible consequences of a Keto diet when I began it, until my gallbladder finally gave up the ghost and I was forced into surgery to remove it. When I watch people expound on my Social media of the benefits of fat bombs, there’s still a chill that runs through me. My body could have given up at any point, but had I taken better steps to read through possible consequences, a lot of fear and heartache might yet have been avoided. When someone else tells you X has changed their life, just blindly copying them may have its own consequences to shoulder. Thinking through options remains a better bet than simply chopping and changing when someone else tells you ‘this is a good idea.’

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As less people think and just do whatever the fuck they want, the danger of disaster becomes all the more apparent. Handing over decision making to automation will not give us an easier life if our ability to think independently and critically is compromised. Giving people platforms to pronounce opinion has always been fraught with potential disaster, but if these people simply spew hate and anger from LEFT AND RIGHT, nobody wins. Sure, you can get angry, but if you let your hatred colour and pollute everything? There will be consequences.

It is then that we all need someone to cut through the bullshit and say the things we’re all too scared to speak aloud.

Lots of you people genuinely frighten me. If you don’t think Piers Morgan’s a twat, it’s also highly unlikely we’ll have much to say of any value to each other.

The exit is that way —>

Games People Play

A lot of my time online of late is filled with people criticising each other for being themselves. The understanding, when you invite a bunch of individuals into a timeline to be your ‘friends’ is that there’ll never be a cross word and everyone will simply exist in a loving, caring environment that nurtures positivity. That’s pretty unlikely, all told: tolerance isn’t the Internet’s strong point on a good day. Then, there are the moments which I’ve come to identify as the ‘functioning member of society’ tests: do you tick the boxes where, if asked to be an adult for extended periods of time, that’s something you’re both willing and happy to do?

A worrying number of times, people I expect to be at least willing to open their hearts to change would far rather close them for the sake of a quiet life.

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This is happening with increasing frequency: someone makes a comment that is neither a) contentious or b) inflammatory and yet the person it is directed at immediately takes it as both and then posts a rebuttal, often making their own shortcomings all the more apparent. The subject matter, lets be honest, is completely irrelevant. A part of my brain might identify this purely as an attention seeking, need to create drama for personal satisfaction moment, but that’s very rarely the case. If I’m a barometer for this, a need to vent is just that: you hit a nerve, so there has to be a response to give me time to think.

Except, of course, you shouldn’t be doing this kind of thing on the Internet to begin with, but on your own, or with someone who needs to hear that same revelation, or even with a therapist who can help you deal with the issues within. There is the possibility by confronting the person via whichever medium you are communicating with that you could get closure, but the chances of this are so slim… effort will most certainly not equal reward. The whole ‘anonymity allows you to express things you might not do elsewhere’ thing is great, but only if you then solve the problem.

Too often, the Internet is becoming the place where you don’t make things better, but worse.

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If the alt-right fanboys can ruin this for everybody, who’s gonna notice if I make a mess? I can act in a way that would be impossible to pull of in the Real World, because to exist there there needs to be a level of civility and fundamental acceptance of others… except, of course, that’s now changing too. Woe betide those who think they can get away with being morons when there’s a smartphone camera and the opportunity for 15 seconds of fame. More and more, the power of instant reaction is being highlighted for all manner of brilliant (and disturbing) ends.

This woman’s actions are now making national news thousands of miles from the event. A decade ago this kind of viral awareness would have been impossible, but now news organisations understand only too well the significance of being ‘a functional member of society.’ Watching people, every day, do stuff that is no different from this, makes me wonder at what point the whole fabric of society effectively rips, or whether if enough of this stuff will finally be a catalyst to affect real, lasting change. It isn’t the fault of other people, in a great many cases, that this stuff happens to begin with.

EVERYBODY IS THE PROBLEM.

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If you’re using Social media, you are contributing to its demise. Walking away makes things worse. Blocking and muting people acknowledges the problem, but indicates an unwillingness to address the issues, because if you don’t really ‘know’ your ‘friends’ in the first place, how on Earth will you alter their perceptions of what matters? That’s the key to all of this, of course: that is not your job. Feel free to continue to say and do whatever you like, and it is up to other people to decide whether or not to listen… except that solves nothing if your outlook is damaged by personal circumstance.

The truth, of course, inevitably lies at some point between these two extremes.

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As a writer, it is becoming apparent that if I wish to tread a particular path, I am going to kop some flack. It is already beginning to happen in certain quarters, and the reintroduction of mutes to Social media’s an early warning sign that maybe the time has come to cut back on what I consider as noise from people unwilling to help themselves and focus on those who have embraced a desire to change. It is hard to maintain a level of positivity when surrounded by those for whom have not as yet reached that stage in their personal journey.

Yes, you can suffer from depression and still function in society, but your coping strategies will vary.

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If you’re not prepared to accept the rules when you live in a society, there will be consequences. The Internet has rules too, and not just those who you consider the ‘bad guys’ have to live by them. Everybody does. That means not flying off the handle when someone disagrees with you. It means not making assumptions that people don’t understand the peculiarity of your situation. It all means we are all part of a problem that will only get better once both sides of the fence accept the other’s grass is never greener if the resultant fight over that statement hurts someone in the process.

Everybody is the problem, and accepting this is the biggest issue of all.

Dangerous Game

If the National Football Team progress pass the group stages in the World Cup, I can already see a reckoning coming. Those of us who accommodate the interests of others, without getting upset or judgemental, will find themselves watching others fight over passion. It is already beginning: the polite reminders that ‘not everybody is the same’ and ‘perhaps what I’m watching is more interesting than your mob mentality entertainment’ will undoubtedly escalate to mutes and petty spats, followed by arguments over what people can stick on their own timelines.

I’m going to support my National Side (as I have every four years) and that is not going to change. Those paying attention on my feed will grasp my love of football, despite the fact I don’t follow a team. I love listening to games on the radio, which is as much (normally) as can be coped with. Watching England on TV is roughly akin to torture. When the winning goal went in last night, I was in the bathroom. It was too stressful to be anywhere else.

What Twitter does best, and that has always been the case, is link people together whilst watching events. Whether this is a football game or a niche music band, it allows a shared, participative experience to take place when one is alone. You can feel part of a collective whole whilst stuck in the bathroom. It gives those of us who have issues with large groups or social situations where you can’t trust yourself the vital ability to experience that moment, and it to be valid whilst doing so.

On the flip-side, it makes everybody capable of not only having an opinion over that same experience, but the confidence to challenge validity of others’ participation. Of course, that opinion doesn’t need to be shared, but if you’ve spent all day wading through people’s terror at their own existence, being buffeted by horror over child internment camps and the subjugation of minorities wondering how they’ll survive the rest of the year… there are going to be flash-points.

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Eventually, you’re going to disagree with someone. How that works out isn’t all about you, either, but if the other person matters and you’re smart enough to grasp you could make things worse by pointing out more contention? You don’t do it. That’s the key, and that’s why last night I made a generic, non-specific point. The people I could have targeted should now know what to expect from me: it can be their choice as to how they react to this. I know certain people will mute and come back, some will leave, and for a couple this love of football will become a great way to pick a fight.

Except, I’m not playing that game any more. If you’d like a fair, adult discussion on football, or how ‘sportsball’ is a pejorative term, I’m utterly there. If I make disapproving noises over things I don’t like, then there is an acceptance that by doing so there will be consequences. If you wonder why I stopped talking about certain subjects, it has nothing to do with ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and everything around knowing which people will accommodate reasoned discussion, and who should be left well alone. As a wise computer once typed: the only way to win is not to play.

Sometimes, you make things better by doing nothing.

Have Fun

I’m not feeling great today so this will be my only foray into Online Reality as a result.

There’s a disturbing trend of late, amongst ‘high profile’ people that I follow: by that, people with high four or low five-figure follower counts. It’s become fashionable to bash Social media when people try to use it for good. Some also seem to love to highlight the bad stuff you can find online without grasping any kind of flipside. It is disappointing to watch this happen, especially from those who I respect or admire. What the process does is further devalue positivity that does exist in places such as Twitter. Ignoring the good to further personal agendas, whether unconsciously or otherwise, is not a great idea; ultimately things only get worse as a result.

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Some of you may baulk at ‘artificial motivation’ or ‘false positivity’ that gets thrown around too but really, truthfully, that shit actually works for those of us who often have to fake it for the cameras. You might shudder at pages of stuff for meditation or relaxation online, or wonder how anyone could learn stuff from the Internet that is of any use but people do and are. The bad stuff is simpler to highlight because that’s more profit for other people to report and make money from. Cute stories only make you feel good to a point, and often they won’t get the kind of reaction certain Social media users are angling for.

I see you people. You’re smart and intelligent human beings but can’t help jumping on a bandwaggon which, ultimately, drags all of us further down into oblivion. It goes back to the posts I’ve written in the week: sometimes saying nothing is far preferable to diving in and contributing. Let people enjoy their stuff without holding it up for ridicule, however well-meaning you may believe that to be. Sometimes, being stupid and pointless has a point. Sometimes, by pointing out what appears to be stupidity, you become part of the problem.

[See: Vegan Ice Cream Girl]