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The presidency of twice-impeached Donald Trump is over. Since the time he stepped into office, there have been recurring conversations about how historians will write about the Trump legacy.

Some are confident that future Americans will feel shame over shit-hole countries, grab them by the pussy, calling Mexicans “rapists,” saying “Islam hates us” and Muslim bans, asserting that President Obama wasn’t born here, making fun of a disabled reporter, lauding the “good people on both sides” in Charlottesville, “Stand-back and standby” to vigilante groups and white supremacists, a shameless response to a global pandemic, inciting insurrection and so many other things. …


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Many people are critical of social media sites banning the president for the events of last week.

Critics span the political divide, ranging from those who see this as an assault on free speech to those uneasy at the prospects of tech companies, Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey deciding what people can or can’t say. Though I’m sympathetic to some critiques of the ban, I think they highlight some glaring contradictions.

We live in a society where the market is sanctified. We’re terrified of government bigger than a cow, but allow corporations to grow the size of megalodons; companies too big, wealthy and powerful to fail. And then when the market makes a decision to moderate itself, we are reactively fearful of bigness and centralized power, shocked to realize that the market’s wisdom isn’t so grand. …


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The zombie virus hit another one-day high with over 10,000 people bitten.

With the world’s nations on edge over the specter of zombie bites, lawmakers can’t agree on how to effectively deal with what many are calling “the apocalypse.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Gonzales introduced a bill to send machetes, baseball bats and ammunition to every American.

“We have to stick together during these troubling times,” Sen. Gonzales said. “I think the bill will go a long way in providing aid to Americans whose lives have been affected by zombies.”

But the opposition, led by Dick O’Malley, says he is concerned about how the bill would affect the deficit. He also cited emails he has received from of his constituents, many of whom feel that the Gonzales bill would move the country closer to “socialism.” …


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Language can be a double-edged sword — revealing some truths while concealing others.

The term “white privilege” can illuminate the ways in which born into whiteness (the social experience not the skin color) affords certain advantages in our society; advantages which often manifest as protection — folks generally don’t assume you are criminal if you are walking around a neighborhood, or that you’re underserving of your job or college admission based upon your race. People don’t follow you in stores, doctors listen empathetically when you are in pain. …


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Former NFL player and ESPN commentator Booger McFarland caused a stir today.

In a segment on ESPN, McFarland lamented the lack of professionality and self-centeredness of young African American professional NFL players. He said:

“Often times young players, especially — I’m gonna go ahead — especially young African-American players, because they make up 70 percent of this league — they come into this league and ask themselves the wrong thing. They come into the league saying not ‘how can I be a better player?’ They don’t say ‘how can I be a better teammate?’ They don’t say ‘how can I be a better person; how can get my organization over the hump?’ Here’s what they come in saying. They come in saying ‘how can I build my brand better? How can I build my social media following better? …


How social media design choices help us shame each other

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Launched in 2015, Twitter’s retweet with comment or “quote tweet” feature is now pro forma. Those of us on Twitter quote tweet for all kinds of reasons — to recommend a great podcast, amplify other voices, dunk on political opponents, or share cat videos with approving heart emojis. Quote tweets are useful in providing reference and sharing information.

But when we quote tweet, we’re also creating a kind of meme. And while memes can be fun, they also can make online conversation a lot more snarky and a lot less civil.

We tend to think of memes as self-contained visual objects (a picture with some text on it). We think of images like the “Distracted Boyfriend” or viral TikTok videos. Though they don’t follow the format of “text plus picture,” quote tweets are like memes because they repurpose other texts and make them their own unique visual object. …


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In this essay, I’m talking about heterosexual, cis-gendered men. When you come across terms like men, male, masculinity, etc. the “cishet” is implied — though to be clear, women and LGTBQ otaku do, have always, and always will, exist as integral to otaku culture. Though the topic is narrow, please don’t take the scope of this essay as an erasure of those identities and experiences.

In Japan, there’s been a good amount of discourse about “otaku” and what they represent.

The word sparks different ideas: from pop culture nerds to fanatics to anti-social to sexual perversion, even pedophilic. Others argue that otaku reflect the Japanese “kawaii” culture— from cat-eared girls to Tamagotchi pocket pets to cosplay — an “obsession” with cuteness, childhood, and media that “postpones the pressures of adulthood.” …


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When I was about 14 or 15, I played this computer game called SimGirls.

It was story-based game where you play as a male student at Fukoma High School who was trying to get a girl to date and eventually sleep with you. At the beginning of the game, you choose what “style” you want to have: Criminal, Playful, Intelligent, or Casual. The goal is to increase your Charm, Strength, and Knowledge attributes to get a girlfriend.

You go up levels the more you answer your love interest’s questions correctly and do nice things for her—flirting, buying her gifts, talking on the phone, dating, etc. …


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Cropped image from book cover

Adrian Daub’s “What Tech Calls Thinking” is one of the most insightful critiques on the tech industry that I’ve read. The book identifies, deconstructs and challenges the ideas, values and philosophies that permeate Silicon Valley. Daub unmasks terms like “innovation,” “disruption,” “risk-taking” and others, asking us to wrestle with their true foundations and implications, as opposed to tacitly accepting them.

“What Tech Calls Thinking” open with a discussion of “dropping out”; on figures like Elizabeth Holmes, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and others who attend prestigious universities but drop to found innovative companies that make them billions of dollars. When connected to the chapter deconstructing the tech world’s “genius aesthetic,” Silicon Valley promotes a view of education that is utilitarian and “pretty openly transactional.” …


Who needs a weapon when you are a weapon?

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Balrog (left) and TJ Combo (right) from ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Killer Instinct.’ Photo: Capcom

When I was young, I was a big fan of the original Killer Instinct games.

My favorite character was Glacius, a powerful being made of ice. You could turn his hands into weapons or melt down to a puddle, reemerging with an uppercut to opponents. Other characters in the game were the sword-wielding warrior monk Jago; Sabrewulf and Riptor, a werewolf and fighting raptor; Spinal, a skeletal soldier; and a brutal cybernetic soldier named Fulgore.

There was also TJ Combo. Though this boxing champion has one of the illest Ultra combos in fighting game history, he seemed a bit mundane compared to the other characters. …

About

Joshua Adams

Joshua Adams is a writer and journalist from Chicago. UVA & USC. Taught media and communication at DePaul & Salem State. Twitter: @journojoshua

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