Sunday, 8 July 2012

I haven't posted much lately, for various reasons ranging from the personal-life-collapsing-holy-shit-fuck-gods-why sort to the jesus-christ-I-haven't-slept-in-a-week-and-all-my-assignments-are-due-now sort to the eh-I've-got-nothing-to-write sort, and for that I'm vaguely regretful.

The lack of regular posts will probably continue for a while.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Backseat Gaming, and why I hate it

(I know, this is a mostly asexual blog, but I'm also a nerd and a gamer, so put up with it)

Back seat gaming has got to be one of the most annoying things someone can do, yes? That a physical person in the room with you who is (usually) just watching you play the game can do, at least. For anyone who's got not a clue about what I'm talking about, firstly you are either not a gamer, never play around other people ever, or so goddamn lucky, and secondly, it's when someone who is not playing the game with you tells/tries to tell you what to do in a game, without you asking or indicating you want their help. E.g. - "Please tell me how to shoot a portal on that wall" "Well you have to go over there and portal up to there and then..." is not back seat gaming. You have asked for help and they are giving it to you. Back seat gaming is when you're playing a game and someone watching starts saying "No No No you're doing it wrong you have to go over there there's no point going there to solve the puzzle you just flip the middle leaver twice and the right one once..." and so forth. You did not ask for help, and they have stopped you working things out for yourself and/or discouraged you from exploring.

Most of the time, it's not an intentionally malicious thing - the back seat gamer in question probably thinks they're helping you. However, I tend to find it's like someone who tries to 'help me' read a book by telling me the entire plot when I'm three pages in. It totally spoils the book - now I know what's going to happen, so nothing's surprising. A game example is like if you were playing Portal, and someone walked by and told you how to solve the puzzle just as you walked into the test chamber. More than slightly annoying.

Except with games, I find myself even more annoyed by back seat gamers, because they tend to make me feel like I've cheated -I get no sense of accomplishment from doing exactly what someone else told me to do. It just followed instructions, I didn't work it out for myself or have the chance to try before deciding I needed help.

And, I find, I get really annoyed and kinda hurt because it feels like they're telling me I'm not good enough, not smart enough, to play a goddamn game. I feel like they're saying "Wow, you suck, here, let me help you because you'd never be able to work that out on your own, and there's no point in letting you try because you won't be able to do it". It makes me feel like they think I'm not capable.It makes me feel doubted. And I get enough of that in real life - I really don't have any reason to have to put up with it while I'm just trying to enjoy myself in a hobby.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Tonight (or, the substitution of words)

WARNING - herein lies much swearing, discussion of rape (briefly)

There's a song which has two versions. I'm sure most people have heard the "clean version" of it, I'm not sure how many people have heard the "original" version of it. I'm sure not all that many people even know there's an original version.

The song(s) in question, of course, are "Tonight (I'm loving you)', and the original version of it, "Tonight (I'm fucking you).

This isn't meant to be a discussion of the artistic merits of the songs, or the musical construction. Rather, it is an exploration of the word choice, and it's implications.

In the original song ("Tonight (I'm fucking you)", lyrics here), the singer is, quite obviously, stating his intent to fuck someone. That's it - the video clip also makes this pretty plain, though it becomes intent to fuck multiple women. Fair enough, most people like to fuck, although many probably wouldn't state it so plainly. The lyrics can be a bit creepy from some perspectives ("You know my motivation/given my reputation" springs to mind - sexy or really goddamn creepy? I think from one perspective it could be "sexy" - guy known for fucking, is flirting, you probably know what he wants. On the other hand, could be really goddamn creepy, along rapist lines.), but that's not what I find interesting.

I find the "clean version" interesting. In order to "clean up" the song for radio, the choice was made to change all instances of "fucking" to "loving" (Thus the song becomes "Tonight (I'm loving you)", lyrics here). As if this cleans up the song, instead of giving it an air of "nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean".

It's interesting, because the choice of word to substitute one word for another, "cleaner" word is usually, where possible, done with a word that means the same thing/is understood to mean the same thing. Obviously, some words can't have this done. But here they've substituted "fucking" with "loving", yet kept all  (corrected) most of the other lyrics. Somehow this has magically made the song "clean" enough for radio, which seems very odd to me. Surely the all the lyrics must be considered before something is "clean" or not - one word shouldn't make a difference. But I digress - "loving" is an odd yet understandable choice for "fucking".

It's an odd choice because "love" is often viewed as pure, romantic, familial or platonic, and not something that is a "one time thing", but rather a  long, gradual thing. You "love" your SO, your god(s), your country, your family. Love is an emotion, a feeling, divorced from action (you can love someone while not near them, while going about your day, etc).

"Fucking", on the other hand, is not really seen as gentle. It's rough, it's raw and sexy, it's divorced from romance, it's what people do with strangers. It's something you don't do with those you love - it's short term, not long term.  It's vulgar, slang, dirty. It's a young person's thing, it's wrong, it's done before marriage. That's the implications of fucking - sexy, but somewhat forbidden/wrong/other weird societal things.

And despite the recent acceptance of fucking as acceptable, the recent attempts to drop some of those implications, it's still got them. It makes the original song a club song, to be played at clubs and parties in "not family friendly" areas - places people are expected to be either fucking (though please stay out of bathrooms, those are dirty and not really healthy, please don't fuck in public unless everyone in the area is cool with that [i.e. if it's that kind of club, go for it, if it's not, don't]) or wanting to fuck, and the dance style is very close to upright fucking/is grinding/is meant to imply fucking.

The substitution of the word "loving", on the other hand, makes the song playable for radio, while listeners can still understand what's implied by loving. Which is interesting, because on the one hand we have the generally accepted view of love (romantic etc), yet we also have the general understanding that "loving" = "fucking", which, obviously, it doesn't always. There's a reason "making love" is understood common slang for fucking. Yet it's this common acceptance that "loving" includes "fucking" that alienates people, that causes fear and shame and pressure on people, both asexual and sexual, who don't want to fuck (now or ever). It's an implication that has to stop.

Love is not always physical, fucking is not always without love. They can be, but not always.

(also, can I just state that the concept of "clean words" and "not clean" words is really goddamn weird? There are words you shouldn't use because they're insulting slurs [I'm sure you can think of them], and then there are other ones. I can see the whole "some people aren't used to swearing", and that's cool, but the concept that we should avoid some words because they're inherently "dirty" is really goddamn weird. Also, I think, probably a product of a mostly sex-negative society - there's a reason "fucking" is considered dirty, and it's not because it originally meant to plant seeds)

Fun fact to end this : the words "fuck" or "fucking" have been used 25 times in this post, and "love" or "loving" has been used 11 times.