Saturday, May 31, 2014

Because Cake!

I think more people should be ordered to make cakes as a punishment for civil rights violations. It would just make the world a better place, don't ya think?
It would be discrimilicious!
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you
do, do it all for the glory of Cookie Puss..."
-Paul's First Letter to Carvel
Check this out, a Colorado Civil Rights Commission reaffirmed a judge's ruling that cake store owner Jack Phillips needs to shut up about Leviticus and just bake goddamn wedding cakes. What does the Bible have to do with wedding cakes? Nothing. That's kind of the point. Two years ago, the baker refused to bake a cake for the wedding of Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig because their gayness directly conflicts with the divine cake law that Phillips imagines is in the Bible somewhere. The couple sued and won, because that is some serious bullshit.

"Ok fine, you're shut down."
-The Honorable 
Any Judge in Colorado
The panel has also ordered Phillips to turn in quarterly reports about anti-discrimination training for staff and a list of any customers he refuses to serve. Phillips however remains defiant and will be in appealing the ruling, there's nothing appealing about this douche.

"I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down."

picking his hill to die on

Let's Root for the Overdog!

He hit that guy and now his team
gets the, hurray?
There are totally some shitty things about having a Y chromosome. We tend to die sooner. We can get
drafted. Sometimes the men's room just has this drain thing running along one wall that we're all supposed to pee in. Oh, and sports. Everybody just sort of assumes we're into sports. I can't express in words how quickly my higher brain functions shut down when someone tries to start a conversation about some team I don't care about playing a game I don't understand.

Pee-troughs aside, being male can probably be seen as an advantage. We're not actually better than women, it's just that virtually every society that has ever existed has been male-dominated with women usually being relegated to the role of sex object/baby factory/food prep. Women have taken the brunt of history's bullshit and it's only very recently that things (in some parts of the world anyway) have begun to change.
A notable exception would be Wonder Woman's home island of Themyscira
which, while populated entirely by Amazons, is goddamn fictional.
Women have trounced
men in the uterus-having
contest, 3.5 billion to 1.
Turns out that not everyone thinks this is a good thing. A Voice for Men is a website/men's movement that's sick and tired of the agonizingly slow, yet painfully incremental progress women have made towards social equality and they're ready to put dudes back in charge, um, again? More so? Look, I don't really understand what their beef is, but they have a blog, so they must have a valid grievance, right? They don't just let any crackpot put shit up on the internet, do they?

"The problem we see is a culture that still puts women first in so many ways and men come in last...Whether people want to acknowledge it or no, if you look at the numbers, men come in last every time."

and possibly the world's worst statistician 

Pictured: the best thing to ever come
from Detroit. Also goddamn fictional.
What culture? What numbers? I guess they do let any crackpot put shit up on the internet. They're even holding an International Men's Conference in beautiful Detroit where speakers will discuss things like paternity fraud, false accusations of rape and misandry.* Detroit, according to Elam, is a symbolically appropriate choice for his man-moot, since it, like men in general, have been ruined by feminism. Not the greed and shortsightedness of an auto-industry adverse to change, but feminism. 

A Voice for Men is part of the larger Men's Human Rights Movement, whose central tenet is that despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it's men who throughout history have been the victims of oppression, sexism and discrimination. Yikes.
Henry VIII: another victim of feminist smear campaigns.
I mean, he only murdered two of his wives...
The vote? But what if they go into labor
 in the booth? So they get 2 votes now?
Look, I am in no way trying to minimize the experiences of men who have been discriminated against, or been falsely accused of rape. That sucks, but examples of that kind of thing are dwarfed by the overwhelming numbers of women who have been discriminated against or who have been the victims of sexual assault. Elam's website is full of articles and cherry-picked news stories designed to show how women have abused the feminist movement to make the world a hostile place for men. One guy actually posted a rant blaming Elliot Roger's recent killing spree in Santa Barbara on feminism. Do you suppose that when one of your fellow man-fans leaps to the defense of a mass murderer, it might be time to re-evaluate?

I'm sure Paul Elam worked very hard on his website and on his big stupid conference and everything, but it's not like there has to be a limited supply of justice in the world. Doesn't he know that he can support men while at the same time supporting equality for women? Like, it might even be the same thing.
"Nope, it's us or them."
-Paul Elam,
An Angry, Shouty Voice for Men

*Yeah, misandry, it means a hatred of men, I had to look it up, that's how often in comes up. Even my spell check flags it as not really a thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Let's plumb the depths!

UIKEYINPUTDOWNARROWListen, you may have caught a news story about a couple of radio hosts who went on an eye-searingly heinous tirade against the transgender community. No? Here's the Slate article about it. There's a link there to the clip, but if you enjoy clinging to your last shred of faith in the human race, you might want to pass.
If you do listen to the clip, please do so while looking at this adorable photo of a kitten and a puppy.
It will help you maintain your tenuous grasp on sanity as you plumb the depths of morning radio awfulness.
Above: Rochester in winter. That urge
you feel? That's the urge to murder.
Don't worry, it passes. Usually. 
Anyway, those radio hosts? They're from my hometown. Yeah. I know, right? Rochester, as I may have mentioned before is a medium-smallish city in Upstate New York. It's famous, well to people who live there anyway, for serial killers (four of them!), long, sunless winters (which might explain all the murder) and a grocery store chain so awesome that Alec Baldwin does commercials for them. Well now it's also known for being that place where local radio hosts Kimberly and Beck made fun of transgender people for 12 full minutes.

Here you go, Kim. Just so you know, looking
that up took like two seconds. Not telling
you how to do your job, but for real.
What's their beef with transgender people? Here, I'll let recently canned host Kimberly of The Breakfast Buzz explain:

"Hey, the uh City of Rochester, you should, uh be feeling good about this, using your tax dollars, to extend transition-related health care coverage to its employees who are transgendered and gender non-conforming. What does that mean?"

-Kimberly, opening her mouth 
and removing all doubt

Take that, abstract
concept of irony!
Of course not knowing what the terms transgender and gender non-conforming mean doesn't stop the two from spending the rest of the segment blindly and viciously attacking people for struggling with that thing they don't understand. They pick on a local transgender teen who plays on the girl's softball team, they dismiss the medical value of reassignment as a treatment for gender dysphoria and then, as if to wave an ignorant middle finger in the face of irony itself, Kimberly says this:

"The uh services that will be paid for under the new coverage: gender reassignment surgery, psychological counseling because you're probably a nut-job to begin with."

-Doctor Kimberly, radio host and expert on things

Pictured: Cancer. Kimberly and
Beck are up there with cancer.
Among transgender and gender non-conforming people, 41% have attempted suicide at some point. 41 goddamn percent. I'd like to think that if Kimberly and Beck knew that the climate of unrelenting ignorance and hostility they help to create is a huge part of why this health plan now covers psychological counseling, they wouldn't have spent so much time complaining about their tax dollars and picking on transgender teens. I'd like to think that. Anyway, congratulations guys, you are a social ill.

Kimberly and Beck's bosses, sympathizing with seeing their hard-earned tax-dollars go towards such frivolous expenses as healthcare for city employees, have solved the problem by firing their collective asses. No insincere apologies or fumbled attempts to walk back what they said, just indefinitely suspended. So thanks Entercom Media for explaining to everyone that Rochester doesn't tolerate shit like this.
Rochester does however tolerate shit like this, but I'm not sure you can fire snow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Of Rats and Cyborgs

Their dead, soulless eyes will fuel
your nightmares for decades to come!
Chuck E. Cheese's is adding Oculus Rifts to their repertoire of rat-themed fun and entertainment. Goddamn Oculus Rifts. What the shit am I blathering about? For those unfamiliar, Chuck E. Cheese's is sort of like if the island from Lord of the Flies had ski ball. Parents bring their kids there for birthday parties, to celebrate softball victories, really anytime they have to entertain a group of children and don't want to clean up after them. It's got video games, pizza, and an animatronic animal band that spasmodically flaps their mechanized mouth-analogues to a jerky, royalty-free version of the happy birthday song. 

Oh, and did I mention that in a stroke of Omega-level genius, this wholesome, family friendly entertainment fun-center serves beer? Yes, beer. Wine too.

"To responsible parenting!"

Above: a window into our priorities
as a species. Brought to you by Google!
I suppose it makes sense. Like, if you're going to be in charge of a birthday party's worth of other people's kids, then you're going to want to have a drink or five. Behold this Google search on the left. I wanted to see if they still had the dimly-lit, smoke-filled bar of my childhood, and I couldn't even finish typing the question without hearing the echoing, anguish-filled queries of a million chaperones who'd drawn the short straw. 

And now Oculus Rift. What's an Oculus Rift, you ask? Where have you been? An Oculus Rift is the fulfillment of that most splendid vision of the future as imagined in the mid-1990's: a heavy pair of virtual reality goggles strapped to your face and tethered to a computer. 
Wow, the future of yesterday is here tomorrow!
A good six-inches of the depth of any ball
-crawl is actually puke. Sorry, but it's true.
Anyway, Chuck E. Cheese's plan is to introduce Oculus Rift games starting with Virtual Ticket Blaster. A non-virtual version of the game already exists in which children stand in a tube and flail their arms trying to catch tickets being blown around by a big fan. Now they'll be doing the same thing, but without having to move around as much. Look, I've never run a national chain of pizza restaurants/screaming children anarchy fun-zones, but is this really the best idea for them?  

I think the company may be overestimating
the drawing power of a creepy guy in a rat suit.
I'm not just talking about the questionable wisdom of inserting a nausea-inducing virtual reality headset into an environment already saturated with greasy food and flavored sugar water. It's just that sooner or later Oculus Rifts, or something like them, are going to be so affordable that everyone will have one. Like, why endure the trauma of going to Chuck E. Cheese's when you can simply plug your kids into a glorified video game and then get plastered with the other parents in the comfort of your own home?

For the price of a few headsets, diapers and feeding tubes,
you'll never have to interact with your children again!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Because Texas

Pictured: Assholes.
Look out gun nuts, Chipotle has just joined the list of things you should be irrationally angry about. The fast food chain released a statement today asking that their customers please be so kind as to not bring guns into their restaurants. Because that's a thing people do. Bring guns. To Chipotle. How come? People can be assholes that's how come. These guys (right) are from Open Carry Tarrant County, a pro gun advocacy group who, I shit you not, love their goddamn guns so much that they insist on bringing them into fast food restaurants.

Why would they do such a thing? To raise awareness, of course. Of guns. In Texas. I mean, even for the state that gave us Rick Perry, this is batty, right? It's even too insane for Open Carry Tarrant County's parent organization, Open Carry Texas, who've distanced themselves from OC Tarrant County for being too fringy.
Because Texas.
"Ok, table for four, 8 o'clock. Would you
prefer the patio or the sniper's perch?"
Their issue wasn't so much that the Tarrant County guys were bringing guns into restaurants, it was that they didn't call ahead.

"We don't go there just to carry guns into a restaurant, we always let the manager know we're coming."

-Open Carry Texas Founder C.J. Grisham,
advocate for responsible brandishing

Yeah, so that's OC Texas trying to cling to some semblance of respectability by asking that its members please try and make an effort not to look like a coup d'etat. Is that really so much to ask? Sure is. Here's OC Tarrant County Coordinator Kory Watkins rebuttal: "We don't ask permission or call anybody. We're trying to make this as normal as possible..."
You see, there's normal and then there's Texas Normal.
"I said guac on the side.
Guac on the side!"
Look, I'm not arguing against gun-owners and their Jesus-given right to arm themselves to the teeth in the privacy of their own rapture-shelter, but seriously, why do they think it's necessary to freak the rest of us out? I know open-carrying is legal in Texas, but there will never come a day when standing next to someone who holds in their hands the power to end you and everyone else in line at Chipotle isn't totally fucked up.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Princess is never in the first castle...

Hey! Listen! Nintendo has apologized for that whole 'no gay couples in Tomodachi lifething and the subsequent 'ham-fisted and slightly offensive apology for the whole no gay couples in Tomodachi life thing.' Cool, right?
We're still waiting on an apology for the Power Glove.
I mean the goddamn thing never worked. Like, ever.
"We put our best PR people on this one.
It actually means less every time you read it."

-Nintendo President Satoru Iwata
Here, check it out. I think you'll find it full of the vague language and noncommittal statements we've come to expect from corporate apologies:

"We pledge that if we create a next installment in the 'Tomodachi' series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players."

So if there's a sequel, then they'll promise to pledge to strive to...uh, wait, what were we talking about?

Zombies? No prob. Gay people?
You might as well ask for a holodeck.
Unfortunately for fans of Nintendo and pretend gay relationships, it looks like it's too late for Tomodachi 1 to add a same-sex relationship option. The company explained that such a major change to the game would be too big for downloadable content or a patch, but I'm not sure I buy that. Developers add stuff through DLC all the time. Rockstar released an expansion for Red Dead Redemption that added zombies, but somehow gays in Tomodachi Life are beyond Nintedo's technological grasp? Seriously?

But hey, it's a start. The Princess is never in the first castle, right? Anyway, congratulations to Tye Marini and his social media campaign. He's shown us all that there are ways to fight inequality that don't involve stabbing things three times in the big glowing eye.
But stabbing things in the eye is all Link's good at...


You remember Wedge, he was one of
the X-Wing pilots who didn't explode.
Denis Lawson turned down a role in the new Star Wars movie. Turned it down. Like, said no. Can you believe it? Oh, you don't know who he is? Ok, here, he played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy. He doesn't have a lot of screen time, but he's in all three movies and has a huge fan base. There's comic books and novels about him and holy shit check out his Wookieepedia page. It's actually longer than the Wikipedia page for Jonas Salk, and he cured goddamn polio.

Above: It's like a Jedi Mind-Trick,
except with trace amounts of cocaine.
Anyway, J. J. Abrams asked the actor to don the orange space suit once more and reprise Wedge Antilles for the new movie. Mark Hamill, Carey Fisher, even Harrison Ford agreed to return, but Lawson said no. I mean, what is that? Harrison Ford was so sick of playing Han Solo that he wanted George Lucas to kill him off at the end of Jedi. He'd rather (Han) die than do another Star Wars, yet Abrams managed to talk him into it...presumably by offering him mountains of cash, but still, he's in the damn movie. 

"I've got quite enough money and
fame, thank you very much."

When someone asked Lawson why he refused he replied in what must certainly be a delightful Scottish accent:

"I'm not going to do that...They asked me but it just would have bored me."

-Denis Lawson, 
turning down fucking Star Wars

The woman who played Aunt Beru
took a shot at Gerald Ford to get the role.
Crazy right? I mean, how can this guy turn down an opportunity to be in a Star Wars movie again? Most of us would gladly carry out political assassinations just to get a walk-on role (what, is it just me?). But not Lawson, it's like he has that, oh, what's it called? Perspective! He has perspective. To him it was just a couple of movies he did thirty years ago, and he's moved on. Sure, it means we won't get to see Wedge on screen again, but on the other hand, we won't see Wedge on screen again.

Yeah, while we're all watching a 71 year old Han Solo explain to a bunch of whipper snappers about flying through hyperspace, and complain that blue milk used to only cost a tenth credit, Wedge Antilles will still be that one X-Wing pilot who managed to survive long enough to play Storm Trooper bongos with the Ewoks. Well played Antilles, well played.
I think this scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
is a prefect example of why Denis Lawson just made the best move of his career.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Hoosier State? More like Loosier State...

Take a moment to find that warm, glowing ember of unshakeable faith in humanity within yourself. Have you got it? Can you feel its soft light? That reassuring luminescence that reminds you that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how horribly people behave towards one another, there is still, deep down at the very core of our species, some basic human decency that still shines in the darkness? Ok, now hold on to it, because there's a decent chance that this is going to douse that light like a smoker's last match in a stiff winter breeze.

Indiana circa 2014. They still
have some catching up to do.
Ready? Here goes. The Indiana attorney general's office has asked federal judge Richard Young to hold off on requiring them to recognize a same-sex marriage. That's right, one marriage. Amy Sandler and her wife Niki Quasney were married last year in Massachusetts and are the only gay couple to be legally recognized as such by the State of Indiana. So what makes Sandler and Quasney's case unique? Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer and can't wait for Indiana to join the 21st century.

Last month, the judge issued an order requiring the state to recognize their marriage while legislators continue to debate marriage equality. Yesterday he extended the order indefinitely. The order applies only to Quasney and Sandler and is the only way Sandler will be able to collect death benefits when her wife dies. What's the problem? Why is the state fighting this?
According to gay-marriage opponents, Indianapolis was consumed by God's wrath
shortly after recognizing the marriage. Critics point out that this is untrue and batshit crazy.

The outcome is uncertain in the same
way that Blockbuster's future was
uncertain about a year ago.
The attorney general's rational for what can only be described as an Omega-level dick move, is that recognizing Quasney's and Sandler's marriage only offers false hope to other gay couples.

"The traditional definition of marriage has been around for a long time. Its validity is hotly contested, but the outcome of these legal disputes is uncertain."

-The Indiana AG's office,
on why it can't suck up and deal 

The thing is, it's not all that uncertain. Predicting that Indiana will have marriage equality someday isn't like predicting jetpacks or ape-domination. It's kind of a foregone. A year, maybe three at the most. The question here is why can't the state of Indiana handle having a legally recognized lesbian couple for a little while and let Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler enjoy the time they have left together?
Well I don't know about you, but I'm bummed. Here, look at this picture of a kitten and a
puppy getting along. I mean, just look at them, getting along despite their differences.
Goddamnit, Indiana State Attorney General's office, why can't you be more like them?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Right trigger it is...

So remember that video game we talked about the other day? Tomodachi whatever? Just click here or scroll down or something, it'll save us some time. With me? Great. So it looks like Nintendo has decided not to add a same-sex couple option to the game despite Tye Marini's Facebook and Twitter campaigns and the fact that it's just the right thing to do.
"We here at Nintendo believe that pretend marriage should be
between one imaginary man and one imaginary woman."
Lame right? Yes, but it's also bullshit. Behold:
Basically what they're doing.

"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life...The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation... Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary."

-Nintendo, dancing around the 

See? Bullshit. Whimsy and quirk are goddamn elements on the periodic table of gay and what exactly is a playful alternate word and why can't there be gay people in it? Is the game set in Tennessee or the 1950's or something? 
Above: A quirky alternate world where divorce was illegal
and some people had to use the other water fountain.
Chicken abuse: totally fine.
Gay marriage: social commentary.
No? Then what's the problem? Look, nobody was accusing them of providing social commentary, it was just some fans asking to feel included. And for real, what's the big deal? It's like a software patch or maybe some DLC. At the very least they could have said something like: You know what? You're right. Our bad. Tomodachi 2 will totally have hot man-Mii on man-Mii and lady-Mii on lady-Mii action. Thanks for playing! Now was that so hard? Instead of seizing an opportunity to do something cool and maybe expand their audience a little the company has decided to stay the course.

Eyestrain and nausea:
The future of gaming is here!
Aside from being kind of a dick move, is this really the time for Nintendo to be alienating people? They just posted a huge $229 million dollar loss and I'm not like a business guy or anything, but I think they can chalk it up to the company's poor communication skills and stubborn refusal to change with the times. It's sort of their thing. Remember Virtual Boy? No? Exactly. It was a semi-portable 3D console with an all-red display, incredibly shitty battery life and a tendency to make people puke if they play for more than a few minutes at a time. So it's not like Nintendo is unwilling to take risks.

Dave and Kevin making
a social commentary.
I think what they were trying to say with their statement is that Nintendo wants to stay away from politics and that's cool. I get that. The point I think they're missing is that for a lot of people, same-sex relationships have moved away from politics. People don't want to feel like a demographic, people want to feel invited to the party. By creating a quirky alternate world that doesn't include gay and lesbian couples Nintendo is implicitly saying that the LGBT community is a political issue to be avoided in polite company.

"If you buy a Wii U, I will totally marry a dude. Seriously."
-Nintendo President Satoru Iwata,
again, kind of missing the point

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's the left trigger thing to do...

Hey, go read this thing! Click on the link, it's not that long. No? Fine, I'll explain. So there's a new video game coming out for 3DS which...what? Really? It's a handheld game console, like a fancy Gameboy, look, just go ask your kids.
"Suck it Robert! I just pwned your ass! The kids still say that, right?"
What are these people doing?
Haven't they heard of Skyrim?
Anyway, the game is called Tomodachi Life and-no, not Tamagatchi, that's-just stay with me. Tomodachi Life is life simulation game sort of like The Sims or GTA V (if you're a sociopath). In it, you create an avatar of yourself called a Mii and then watch it do stuff like dance, go outside, and have a social life, you know, the kind of things you avoid in order to have more time to play video games. Here, watch the trailer. Nothing explodes, nobody gets blue shelled, you just watch them act out their little, meaningless, computer-generated lives.

So why do I care about Tomodachi Life? Well, I don't. See that? That was a twist.
You can even make your character chase a bowl
of cornflakes around a table because Japan.
Super Mario Bros, or as it is known
in the Mushroom Confederacy,
'The War of Plumber Aggression.'
Yeah, I don't care about the game per se, but rather Tye Marini's Twitter and Facebook campaigns to get Nintendo to change the game so that his Mii can pretend marry his real life fiancé's Mii. Sounds insane right? Yes, it is a little, but he's got a point. You see Tye and his fiancé are both men and Tomodachi Life won't let same-sex Mii's get married. You could watch Tye explain, but I know how you feel about clicking on things so I'll sum up: some of the game's content requires your Mii to get married, something Tye's and his fiancé's Miis cannot do. Bullshit, right? I mean, is it really asking too much of Nintendo that their games be more inclusive than say, South Carolina?

Look, I like Nintendo and I don't think they're being intentionally anti-gay or anything, but since they're releasing a game in which relationships are a crucial element of gameplay, not allowing same-sex connections seems like an pretty big oversight. It's especially glaring now that a same-sex option has come to be expected in sandbox games and RPG's. So like maybe, go click on 'like' if you have a sec?
Pictured: Captain Shepard from Mass Effect 3.
Not pictured: all the hot gay space captain sex you can totally
have while playing as Shepard in Mass Effect 3.