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The Asian continent is home to the most diverse collection of ethnicities, cultures and traditions on the planet. Whether you’re perched high above the clouds in the kingdom of Bhutan, relaxing in a wooden skiff on Myanmar’s Inle Lake, fort hopping through Rajasthan, or diving into a bowl of piping-hot pho noodles in Hanoi, you’re bound to encounter traditions, rituals and beliefs that ... Exploring Asian culture, relationships, dating, travel and the life in South East Asia. A Guide to WeChat Emoticon Meanings. by Panda B on February 18, 2020 in Messaging Apps. Asian American Dating Tips for Asian Singles by EastMeetEast. The world of dating and relationships can be tough to navigate. And if you’re looking to step foot into the world of Asian American dating, you may find yourself struggling to find a balance between two very different worlds. 3 Major Asia Dating Differences You Must Know. In my experience the most shocking things you'll discover about most of your Asian dates are: Their friends and family influence who she dates. Did your potential Asian girlfriend just disappear? Chances are that her family and friends had something to do with it. The dating practices in China has gone from being dependent on matchmakers to relying on their freedom of choice. The innovation of dating in general and the different western influences played a huge role in changing the Chinese courtship etiquette. Both old and new Chinese dating cultures dramatically depended on region and province. Asian dating – I dag, de fleste piger i Kina er velhavende & udsat for den vestlige kultur. Men de bevarer deres gamle værdier. De dating ritualer i Kina er helt forskellige fra dem i andre dele af verden. Nedenfor er de 3 vigtigste regler på en Kinesisk dating side. Første etape: Et venligt begyndelse Asian culture is a melting pot of traditional and modern day values that Asian dating has developed its own unique flavor. Now we are used to the typical western dating practices but here are a few Asian dating rituals that are generally followed around the Far East countries. As you may expect, dating is a little bit different in China than it is in most Western countries. The basics are the same—people are people everywhere—but there are still a few differences regarding culture and social cues to note. A new era of dating. In order to find love, people try all kinds of comprehensive strategies, yet we have decided to make everything simple. With all those dating apps and the number of interracial dating websites, we are here to bring you an experience that is simpler than others and more exciting. Chinese dating etiquette is one of the well-known particular dating culture in the world of relationship. They are indeed different in many ways compare to the common dating etiquette in Western countries, even the rest of the countries in East Asia. Strongly influenced by their culture and tradition, Chinese has their own rules of dating.
A cult of cannibals have a weekly meeting about their various meals -
2020.09.11 20:17 SlooudjA cult of cannibals have a weekly meeting about their various meals -
And this weekly cannibalistic meeting has became a staple for the cult. Basically, this group of cannibals from a common and clean suburb would don fancy robs and meet up in a secluded room in an abandoned underground subway once a week. This cult liked to be a bit different from the rest, however. Every week, when they gathered around a round table and a single lit candle, they each take turns reporting on a meal they've eaten. Usually, it's a human limb, alongside something special - an item they've never eaten before as a side. This is their attempt at making themselves unique and spicing up their dishes. One week, the group gathered together and began heading down to the underground station, as per usual. David, the cult's leader, led a line down the stairs. Behind him followed Linda, another devote follower, and behind her was a fellow named Jack. While everyone was quite orderly and professional when it came to their meetings, Jack's demeanor often remained jovial. As they headed down the stairs, Jack clumsily banged his head on an overhead pipe! "Yeowch! Damn!" shouted Jack, clutching his skull. The other cult members paused for a moment to make sure Jack was alright. "Yeah, yeah, I'm cool," Jacked groaned. "Just... just really got to take it easy from here... my head's pounding now!" So, everyone kept moving. Downward and downward, until they finally reached the ceremony room. There, everybody sat at their assigned seat around the table. David formally squatted into his seat and dusted off his lap. Linda gracefully sat on her chair and adjusted her hood. Jack staggered towards his chair, tripping almost twice. Finally, he managed to lay sideways on his chair, and then slowly sit up straight, still clutching his pulsing cranium. David decided it was time to commence the discussion. He stood and bowed, and then began. "This Wednesday, I was chatting with an old war vet at a park." David started. "This man was articulate and full of passion. His stories were long and remarkable. I'd say he talked my ear off. So much so, in fact, that I cut off his ear and took it home. Then, after boiling it, I had it with a fresh apricot. It may seem odd, but I've never really had an apricot, so I decided that the Ritual Meal would be a great time to experience it. So, in the end, I had an old vet's ear with an apricot. Thank you." David bowed again and sat down. There was a round of golf claps and murmurs of agreement. Next, Linda stood, bowed, and cleared her throat. "My Ritual Meal this week was one of the most exciting ones I've had in a while. I woke up and had some coffee, and then went to sit on my porch. As I sat outside, enjoying my brew, the neighbor began her morning jog. I could see the meat in her young calves. Juicy!" she shouted. "So, after her jog, I invited her to my place, where I let her sweat really gloss over her skin. Then, I took the calf in her left leg. I grilled it up and laid out a cooked eel I bought from the Asian food market. I've never had eel before, especially next to grilled calf, so the Ritual Meal was wonderful. Thank you." She bowed and sat down. Again, another round of quiet golf claps. Finally, it was damaged Jack's turn. After a moment of sharp inhales, he slowly, slowly stood. Without bowing he stuttered, "Sorry, guys, I, uh... I definitely ate my Ritual Meal on Tuesday... but after hitting my dang head... yikes, I can barely remember... uh... it hurts to even try to think back..." "It's alright, Jack," David said, "just take your time. We do have all day. Maybe we can help you remember." "Just try to recollect some of the tiny details." suggested Linda. "Alright..." sighed Jack. "Well, it was... a female. Young... ish. I think she came to my house for some reason... oh! Girl scout! She was a girl scout! And her name... her name was... Dusty? Dezzi? Uh... hm... ah! Desti! It was one of those new generational names, or something. It was Desti!" "Ah, okay, so you had some of Desti, then?" asked Linda. "Right. In fact, when she came into my house, she hit her leg on my table, and I looked down, and just saw this... glistening... bumpy... thing... in the middle of her leg. I can't remember the word for it. It just looked great, so I... that's what I did. I cut it off and used it for my Ritual Meal." "Sounds good so far..." said David. "Then," continued Jack, "I remember preparing something small. Something small I've never had... it matched the Desti thing I ate in size... it was... a raisin! No, not that... a prune? No, no... damn! I really can't remember! I'm sorry, guys, I've tried as hard as I could. I promise I had a Ritual Meal, and I remember it was... at least, kind of good. Thanks." Jack performed a flimsy and quick bow, and then plopped back into his seat. There was a smaller, more confused round of golf claps and murmurs, and then a bit of silence. Just before the crowd was about to decide to let the next person go, David jumped up with a shout of exclamation. "Ah ha! I believe I figured out what you've had for your Ritual Meal, Jack!" he shouted. "Really? Do tell!" pleaded Jack. "Well, with all of those details, however fuzzy it may be," exclaimed David, "it sounds a look like you a date with Desti's knee!" (I made this joke up while bored at work about a month ago. Hopefully it's to your liking! Thanks for your time!)
2020.09.09 23:53 highvaluefemale2020Reasons why it can be amazing to be in a same sex relationship?
Of course there are individual differences and not all women will be like below and with any relationships there can be misunderstandings/cheating etc but these are the amazing things that can be experienced and just want to put it out there for anyone struggling or facing homophobia, heterosexism or compulsive heterosexuality. it does get better and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Personally i needed these reasons as a closeted south asian origin girl where compulsive heterosexuality is really strict. But i know love women and only want to be with them. I want to wake up in the arms of the softness of a woman, feeling her soft lips, breasts and body against me. Ive had that before and its worth the wait. So here is this list
Being able to solve conflicts often occurs with power struggle and with a sense of humour. Something heterosexual couples can learn. Same sex couples use less fear based, less domination, controlling and hostile tactics. Better at resolving issues “When it comes to emotions, we think these couples may operate with very different principles than straight couples. Straight couples may have a lot to learn from gay and lesbian relationships, "The difference on these ‘control’ related emotions suggests that fairness and power-sharing between the partners is more important and more common in gay and lesbian relationships than in straight ones,” Gottman explained. https://www.gottman.com/about/research/same-sex-couples/
More equal household especially with kids - in terms of less controlling, manipulative, possessive behaviour - more equality in household chores/childcare/finances - more use of orgasms to de-escalate conflict - decision making is more equal The article states " Well, what we found consistently in our research is that same-sex couples tend to be much more egalitarian in their relationships. They share decision-making more equally, finances more equally, housework more equally, childcare more equally. Basically every dimension we looked at, same-sex couples are dramatically more equal in the way they function together as a couple compared to heterosexual couples. "
Female love is in general more nurturing, more sensitive, compassionate, generous, sweet and can be unconditional. More likely to be there for you when sick, to encourage you when you are down and to motivate you when things aren't going as well. Ive heard many dating coaches mention how love that females give is different to male. Ive personally found this in my relationships with women compared to superficial relationships i had with guys. It could also be because im pretty gay.
Flexibility to make your own rules, rituals with your partner then need to follow traditions which could be toxic.
21. Expectations and conformity to heteronormativity in heterosexual relationships
after marriage an opposite sex couple may cling to what is expected of them. maybe children and work. They might not necessarily make time out for travel as much or going back to uni to have a change of career
Masturbation = practice for sex 25. Big spoon and little spoon versatility
Soft skin and lips 28. Breasts (better than man boobs anyway) 29. checking out other girls together 30. No unexpected surprises or pregnancies. When you want a child it's a chosen and joint decision. 31. Women make more active attempts to remember dates like bdays 32. Males in general but not all have a higher rate of intimate partner violence, domestic violence etc
Of course this can happen in a same sex relationship but i think its rarer. 33. Women appreciate you for who you are above just looks and they see your "flaws" as perfect. Like I have small breasts and guys have pointed that out . All the girls I've been with who have bigger breasts have said my breasts are perfect and I don't need to change anything about me.
Women love to give cunnilingus more and don't see oral sex as a competitive thing in terms of who does it more.
Please feel free to add more if you have any others. Maybe there are guys who might have all the above but it's more common and frequent in females and female relationships. It's not always easy being in a same sex relationship but that's not because of the relationship but because of society and straight presenting privilege. That's something we can work around. We can choose who we consider negative and toxic influences to exclude from.our life and build a positive and supportive network of chosen bi/febfem/gay/straight allies family. I have made my chosen family online and offline which is important since I'm from south Asian background and the patriarchy/pressures to settle in a heterosexual relationship are massive https://thefrisky.com/6-major-differences-between-gay-and-straight-dating-according-to-a-bisexual-woman/
2020.09.08 18:19 icedcoffeefordaysSoftmaxx/Healthmaxx/Careermaxx tips, products, resources that worked for me and my sister and the trial and error of what didn't! Open to suggestions for next steps! [long post]
Softmaxx: Everyone has their own goals and perspectives, i've really been trying to evaluate my decisions from a place of sustainability. I have decent cashflow but am still trying to be strategic and really do my homework. I haven't ruled out hardmaxxing but i'm not there yet! I restarted this journey at 29 after getting out of a bad marriage, looking for ways to reinvent myself in a healthy, productive way hoping to renter the single world as the best version of myself. If i put some basics in here its because I'm trying to cover as much as I can and start with the foundation! Skin I can't recommend /SkincareAddiction and /AsianBeauty enough. On Youtube look up gothamista and Dr. Dray, so informative! Start with staples, a quality sunscreen and cleanser and build from there. Don't rush the process in building the routine that's going to really give you the glowing, youthful skin you want! Don't over dry/strip out your skin with astringents and acids if its stressed out, that will break you out. Learn about your kind of skin and the consistent routine you need for balance, it will change everything I promise.
Don't: skip patch tests and rotate in one product at a time to see how your skin responds, don't over exfoliate!, don't skip sunscreen seriously, don't sleep in your makeup, don't sleep on dirty pillow cases, don't skip washing your makeup brushes!
curology prescription - really the HG for me was the custom tretinoin combination, it was a little irritating at first but really did so much for my skin. Look into it especially /tretinoin , it's the gold standard for anti aging, glowing skin and acne. Curology makes it easy and custom, specific to your skin care needs! Best investment hands down.
find a good occlusive layer at night that works for you, I use raw shea butter and jojoba from trader joes. It seals in all that great night time skin care and really moisturizes overnight, especially since im on perscription tretinoin from curology. Your mileage may vary, patch test but find the heaviest last step that works for you!
a good facial with microderm or chemical peeling a couple times a year goes a long way, and getting input from a professional.
find a good AHA that works for you, I like the ordinary peeling solution for that glow, but start at a low concentration and work up.
body skin: italian/korean exfoliating towels are so cheap and a game changer, just insanely soft skin you'll want to show and touch. Then do a lotion and a body oil, I like the neutrogena sesame oil. Get a good mani-pedi when it works for you but in between I pumice my feet every single shower and I never get cracked heels anymore.
hair this is my biggest halo IMO.
dont: over do heat styling, don't wash more than you need to, don't do anything to your hair you dont want to, dont' skip professional trims every 6 weeks or so!
I oil it with castor oil, almla oil, and coconut oil before I shampoo.
I have a heat cap from amazon. I try different hair masks all the time.
If you haven't found a good deep cleansing/chelating shampoo and use once a month. I like the colorwow dream filter spray before shampoo for hard water, but only once a month! Other than that I use a gentle/non sulfate shampoo and tons of conditioner.
Get an aquis hair towel, strange but so much gentler on your precious hair when its fragile and wet! I have done so much research on hair tbh, happy to talk more.
Sleep on a silk pillowcase with your hair in a loose braid or bun.
styling: Heat style as minimally as possible, there are lots of go no heat styles on youtube. Obviously when you want to be maxxed the most heat style, I love big hot rollers for incredible bouncy waves.
honestly, updos give me the most polish and are not hard if you practice. Keeps my hair up and elegant at work, looking put together in a way that I don't have to maintain all day. Spin pins and good hairspray, the right little braids/bands and I can do a classy/romantic updo in 5-10 minutes that I get so many compliments on.
Also learn to do or go get some good blowouts! I love colorwow's dream filter and shine spray for when I need the shiniest, sleekest hair.
Second shout out to loreal elenett hairspray for flexibility and gentle hold.
teeth One of those subtle, classy, things that can really age you. I love red wine and coffee and it showed, I asked my dentist about professional whitening and they did it in the office. I keep it up with crest white strips and the two step toothpast system they have. I know it sounds silly but floss pics, once you start you'll never go back. If you're not flossing your breath stinks :( makeup
youtube is your friend! Honestly old Jaclyn hill videos taught me a lot about technique. Get a gentle, day to day routine going that you can do in 5 minutes. I love glossier skin tint for gentle, easy every day perfection and hourglass vanish stick for night time and bigger events.
*if you dont have one, get a ring light for your vanity. It will CHANGE how you do your makeup.
Ben Nye final seal setting spray is AMAZING. It's stage quality, what good is all the effort in make up and it wont stay? Seriously I have suprised my friends after wild times, dancing, sweating, activities... SLEEPING and not been a mess the next day.
Thrive Causemetics tubing mascara - insane results. Not that expensive.
bausch and lomb LUMIFY eye drops as your last make up step? INCREDIBLE. Makes your eyes just light and twinkly and beautiful. 15$, lasts awhile. Try it!
I skipped latisse, I looked really hard a subscription from rory, I even bought generic from a pharmacy in mexico and brought it home to throw it away. I just read a lot of things about the side effects of orbital fat loss and darkening green eyes and decided it wasn't worth the long term risk for me. I use castor oil which isn't as effective but definitely makes my lashes conditioned a shiny and thick. Get good quality lashes and practice, I invest in faux mink strip lashes that are like 30$ but the quality is unreal and i get more wear out of them than cheaper ones. Day to day I use just mascara or sometimes the individual clusters at the corners. My sister got extensions religiously but they were a lot of upkeep and when she needed a fill they honestly looked distractingly goofy (to me) but when they were on point she looked amazing. When she transitioned out of them because of the money her natural lashes were trashed for six months, your mileage may vary!
CICO - honestly myfitness pal free version I lost a lot of weight and got to a healthy BMI that made the biggest difference in my looks, health and well being. My face changed so much. By learning to count calories I learned a lot about portion control and whats a reasonable, healthy amount of food for my height and activity level that helped me keep it off. If you need a beer or a cupcake you can fit it into your calories without guilt. Really taught me sustainable moderation :)
HIIT - I loved orangetheory fitness and hot yoga. Quarantine was hard but I started running. I got one 25lb kettlebell and I keep it in my apartment and I do random kettlebell swings and excercises for like 5 minutes at a time.
cut back on sugar and eat lots of whole foods! Treat yourself sometimes. Honestly cutting back on alcohol made the biggest difference. I find when I want it red wine affects my weight/skin/mindset the least :) Everything in moderation!
I highly reccomend ritual vitamins but do your research! A lot of vitamins are a waste or just aren't in a form that's bio availible. I love the ritual prenatal, i noticed the biggest difference in my skin/hailashes/energy and it doesn't make me nauseous. 40% of women don't process folic acid effectively due to genetics, i have one mutation and my sister has two. The right vitamins made a huge difference in our health/wellbeing becuase we have been tested for the deficiency. Talk to your PCP or do your homework. Omegas are important too.
beta carotene - i take 25000 iu every other day and it honestly gives me a really gentle glow, more of a tanned undertone all over.
Personalitymaxx/Careermaxx/Moneymaxx (because they're all so related)
Therapy: I know I'm biased because I'm a therapist but therapy is a big investment in yourself, your future, your wellbeing. Your insurance might cover more than you think. Talkspace or Betterhelp are very availible, you don't have to do it forever but its worth a try! Don't be afraid to "date" around to find the right fit. My sister did therapy for six months and changed so much about her approach to dating, men, her responses and reactions and anxiety.
read: rising strong and the gifts of imperfection by Brene Brown
Make a real budget and try to plan for savings. Use a spreadsheet or Mint or YNAB for tools. Talk to your bank/credit union/lending club about refinancing any outstanding credit card debt into fixed payments to pay things off more quickly.
if you're looking to meet someone special and burning out on dating apps consider the counter intuitive but effective break? My sister took a year, I'm on my second 6 months break and its weird at first but makes all the difference. It can sort of break that dependence on attention, the high low of matching/dating and lets you invest that energy in yourself! Then when you come back to it you're a lot clearer and there are new matches you haven't seen before! Sometimes even the algorithm prioritizes you on Hinge and Bumble as a new user. Take new pictures of your wonderful new self with good lighting. Have a friend take them outside when you're looking your best :)
When my divorce was finalized I moved to a new city with a new job, it was scary at first but honestly was the best thing I ever did. My mental health got better, I was invested in new routines and realized I could let go of old coping skills. I had been drinking a lot of wine and eating a lot of take out, I was frustrated at work. We both listened to a lot of Girls Gotta Eat podcast which has episodes on EVERYTHING. Beauty, health, dating, resets, fitness, etc. Trying to maxx every area of my life is an ongoing journey but I hope some of what did and didn't work for me and my sister will help you in your process! The response I get from men is wild, it's so different. How they respond to me talking about my career, how they touch my hair, what they say about my clothes... the places they choose... wild compared to me a couple years ago. The biggest change is how I feel about myself :)
2020.09.02 18:23 KellyNewbie[SPOILERS!] Goedam (도시괴담) (2020 Netflix Korean Horror Anthology) Explained (+ Original Korean Urban Legends)
(Warning: HUGE SPOILERS!) Goedam is a recent Netflix Korean horror anthology. Each episodes are really short and I personally really enjoyed it. But it seems like some Western people were unable to fully understand due to cultural differences. I'm originally Korean myself (Canadian now), went up to Korean middle school, and love horror stories and urban legends, so I already knew about Korean folklore in this drama. (Some titles were localized in English ver.) (Was unable to hide all the spoilers :( Don't know what happened to the spoiler texts) EP1. Crack (틈) Original urban myth: 콩콩이 괴담 (Kongkong-i horror story) There were 2 students: the top first and the top second. The top second got jealous of the top first, so she killed the top first by pushing her off on the school/apartment rooftop. The top first died, hitting her head first on the ground when she fell. Later as an upside-down ghost, the first haunts the top second and kills her as revenge. The name 'kongkong (콩콩)' means an onomatopoeic word for bouncing sound. The ghost literally moves with her head. It's a pretty old horror story - I even heard that in elementary school (2000s). In this episode, the top second student bites her nails, implying that she felt something guilty with the top first's death. Also Korean school washroom/bathroom = the perfect horror spot (it is creepy, filthy and smells terrible!) EP2. Destination (목적지) Original urban myth: 자유로 귀신 (Jayuro ghost) There is a road called Jayuro (자유로). People frequently reported that they saw a lady standing alone on Jayuro road at night (or almost got a car accident due to this lady). She seemed to wear huge sunglasses - but turned out that she didn't have eyes. But this episode had its own variation: the ghost actually killed the driver in the end. This doesn't happen in the original story. >!(Tbh I don't know why she killed the driver - he was just working! :( )!< EP3. Special Guest (합방 = Co-op Broadcast) Original urban myth: 손 없는 날 (Guestless day) "Son" (損) (the guest) is an evil spirit that wonders all 4 quarters (East West North and South) depending on certain dates and disturbs or harms humans. The "guestless day" means the day when this ghost is not "active" (no harm for humans). People still believe in this today and the cost of moving is even more expensive in this guestless day (just because many people prefer this day). In this episode, the streamer somehow brought(?) a lot of ghosts because she moved in the "guest-active day". *The term BJ here means Broadcast Jockey (= streamer) - it's not a sexual word we think in Western culture... There is a Korean broadcast platform who called the streamers as BJ - it was very popular once, but now a lot of streamers moved to either Twitch or Youtube, thus now we call them as streamers or Youtubers more often. Also I think the streamer girl was actually not a clean streamer - she seemed to use her stream and prank just to earn more money from her audiences. EP4. Curiosity (장난 = Prank) Original urban myth: Not sure about this one exactly, but I think it's like "Do not pick up what you find in the street - it may brings you misfortune" or something. There are a lot of Asian horror stories about picking something up (usually dolls) at outside and things go horribly wrong because the object has spiritual influences. ...I assume that something was possessed in the doll and haunted the two girls? (Just a typical horror story of the ghost with awkward joints.) EP5. Red Shoes (맞춤 신발 = Custom-made Shoes) Original urban myth: 테케테케 (テケテケ/Teketeke) (Originally from Japan) A woman got an accident or committed suicide and died, upper and lower bodies being separated. She lost her legs so she walks with her arms/elbows instead with crazy speed (100km/h (?!)). She cuts the lower body of the "victim" and haunts the next target. In this episode, the ghost girl (Jin-gyeong) was a poor student and was bullied by her classmates ("go die yourself"), and eventually committed suicide. >!Hyae-su was actually one of the leaders of bullying her, and the teacher also covered up the bullying issue by removing evidence (students' group chat), instead of helping Jin-gyeong. (The teacher was a bystander, too.)!< Sadly this happens A LOT in South Korean schools: the victims get severe bullying and mental health issues or even suicide; and many teachers/schools try to cover up problems/rumours not to get in socially trouble or harm their images. There are reasons why Korea has a lot of horror stories related to schools (too competitive, depressive, bully, etc.). Life is not like a Japanese anime or Korean drama... EP6. Dimension (엘리베이터 = Elevator) Original urban myth: 다른 세계에 가는 방법 (How to go to another world/dimension) Originated from a Korean chat website (I still go there too, similar to Japanese 5chan), this is a very recent and modern urban legend (been only few years?). Someone posted how to reach to another dimension (the afterlife) using an elevator. (Not gonna explain the methods here because it's pretty long and complex.) The lady in the fifth floor is not a human in this world. You must not talk to her, or you...probably won't be able to return to your world safely? >!Also the two girls in the end (those who die in EP4) actually seemed to fail the "ritual" because only one person must participate to succeed (more than two people will fail).!< This urban myth is 100% fake anyway, so don't even try. (Costs lots of electricity!) EP7. Threshold (문지방) Original urban myth: 문지방 (Door threshold) There is an old myths of door threshold that it is actually the borderline of our world and the afterlife. There is another superstition that you get misfortuned if you step on door threshold. In a realistic view, your foot might get hurt if you step on it since it's the borderline of room to another room. >!(Tbh I have no idea why the dad got killed in the end all the sudden :( )!< EP8. Birth (생일 = Birthday) Original urban myth: 염매(厭魅/Yeom-mae) (A strong ancient Asian curse using a child. Similar to Kotoribako (子取り箱) in Japan) The perpetrator kidnap (or "buy") a child, make him/her suffer into starvation, and eventually kills the child, trapping in a jar or bamboo tube. This child spirit has a very strong spiritual power, but also very fickle. Sadly this really existed in ancient East Asian history records (similar of using dogs and cats in ancient Japan and China). The government strictly prohibited this black magic with heavy punishment. A misunderstanding fact is that a shamanese can amplify her spiritual power with this horrible black magic. This is NOT true. Instead, she may be abandoned by her god/spirit for crossing the line. Also most shamaneses refuse to do the work of "curse" (because they know that it is a wrong thing to do and they will be punished as consequences). In this episode, I think the shamanese received an evil god/spirit and crossed the line. >!Some say the kidnapped child in this episode is actually the boy from EP7. And the shamanese is definitely the one from EP2 radio news (shamanese's death)!< I hope this is helpful for those who were unable to understand the story due to cultural differences. Thank you for reading!
2020.08.31 11:28 RevolutionaryCommandCopying Mount Readmore: Reading Our 2020 Top Novellas, Part 1 – Those I’ve Already Read
So, when I first saw u/kjmichaels’ “Climbing Mount Readmore” posts I thought it was a magnificent idea and something I’d really like to try myself, but never would actually manage to do. When the poll for the novellas was posted here it immediately came to my mind that (since novellas are way shorter, and a format I’ve only read a few of, but I greatly enjoy) I could give it a shot. Compared to what u/kjmichaels has done it’s less of a mount, and more of a hill (and a short one at that) but it’s still going to be a challenge for me. I hope I’ll complete it, but I may abandon it. Here's the list for anyone who hasn't seen it: https://old.reddit.com/Fantasy/comments/ijt3ed/the_2020_rfantasys_top_novellas_voting_results/ I’ll mostly use the same format as u/kjmichaels has done (here I should thank him/hethem for being completely cool and eager to let others use the name and the format of their “project”), with a couple exceptions.
I think I’ll read out of order or I’ll use some short of “thematic order”. I’m not 100% sure about that, I’ll think about it until the next post (anyone who wants to share their opinion on this matter is more than welcome).
I’ll probably stick to having one post per month, but the number of novellas reviewed in each post isn’t going to be specific.
As is evident by the title, I’ll not reread some of them, so I’ll review them here. The reason I’m doing this, is because I have read them relatively recently (in the last couple of years tops, some of them even in the last few months), remember them quite well, and don’t think my opinion for them would be significantly different if I read them now.
Not exactly a difference in format, but are there any novellas I should skip/there's no point in reading if I haven't read the series they are part of? I ask this because in the list there's Mistborn: Secret History, which I'm pretty sure I've seen people claim only makes sense after the Mistborn trilogy. It this true? Are there any other novellas in the list that I'll have this problem with?
Why is it a top novella? Distinct, high quality writing, that’s not tiring or “purple”, and an easy-going, relaxed, fell good story set in a (South)East Asian inspired setting.
Do you wish there was a sequel? I’d read a sequel or another story in the same setting, if it was available, but I’m fine without getting one.
35/50. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman: This takes place in the same universe as Pullman's His Dark Materials, and describes how two (of my favorite) characters from it, Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison, met up ad became friends. Although I really like this novella, and enjoyed it quite a bit I'm not sure it has much to offer to people who are not already familiar with the characters or the world. It has lovely writing, a winter-y, picturesque setting, some slight western influences (as should be evident by the title), and a few really well done action scenes. Everyone can read and enjoy these, they are all definitely there, but I believe my investment to the story came mostly from already being familiar with the two main characters, and to a lesser extend the setting. Technically it could be read on its own, and, there are worst places someone who has not read His Dark Materials yet could get a taste to see if they enjoy Pullman's work, but I believe this novella strongly benefits from having prior knowledge of His Dark Materials. The good news it that His Dark Materials is a great (and relatively) series. Of course I should mention, that I don't think there's any case a fan of the series, won't enjoy this one.
Why is it a top novella? A nicely written story, set in an evocative part of a beloved fantasy world, following fan favorite characters.
Do you wish there was a sequel? If by sequel we mean more adventures of the early days of Lee and Iorek, then definitely yes.
30/47. The Word for the World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin: An anti-colonial and anti-militaristic space-opera, which it’s a rare unicorn on its own, but extremely rare given its publication date. Also it’s a very clear critique to the US side of the Vietnam War, so if stuff that’s openly political it’s not your jam you might want to avoid this one. Though you’d do yourself a great disservice, since this one in an excellent novella. It’s part of Le Guin’s Hainish series, but as do all of the books in the series (to my understanding) it works perfectly as a standalone. The thing about it is that it was so innovative, and ahead of its time, and many people have borrowed elements of it, that it might not feel so fresh anymore, but it’s still a damn fine read. Up to its publication most space opera portrayed the humans as the good guys when they invaded the various alien planets they encountered, which is definitely not the case here. It also has some concerns about how we treat and perceive the environment. There are people claiming George Lucas took some inspiration for Star Wars (specifically Retun of the Jedi) from this one. If true, unfortunately, it took only surface level inspiration, and nothing of its though provoking nature. The only negative I can think is that the main villain is, in my opinion, somewhat exaggerated. I’m pretty sure that a little more complexity regarding him, would give the novella some extra nuance and subtlety (not that it’s lacking any, far from that). As it is he is just a loathsome and hateful personification of everything wrong about colonization (and maybe capitalism?). I think I have to say that this is an angry, and depressing book, do not expect easy/happy resolutions going in. Needless to say, since this is a Le Guin book, that the prose is magnificent.
Why is it a top novella? I don't see how it wouldn't be. Go read it people!
Would you continue on? Yes, I intend to read all of the Hainish books (I’ve already read the Dispossessed, and it’s excellent).
22/47. The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin, Book 1 of the Tales of Dunk and Egg: This is set in Westeros about 100 years before the events of ASOIAF. In contrast to ASOIAF it’s a pretty simple, straightforward, and relatively light-hearted story. We just follow a poor hedge knight and his squire during a jousting tournament. As is always the case, Westeros feels like a lived in place, full of history, and populated by real people. Actually this novella (and the two sequels, all three being standalone adventures) would work perfectly fine as either an introduction to Martin’s ASOIAF, and as a “solution” for people who appreciate Martin’s craftsmanship, but feel that his ASOIAF series is too dark, and/or doesn’t have likeable characters. Needless to say that fans of ASOIAF will find lots of stuff to enjoy, as well as some -lets say- easter eggs. Actually there’s lots of stuff to enjoy here in general. The pacing is perfect, the world is great, there’s some nice humor (something that’s also true for ASOIAF, but for some reason is almost always overlooked when people talk about it), the protagonists are very likable, the story although relatively simple does have a few twists and takes some left turns that help keep things exciting. All in all a great novella.
Why is it a top novella? Greatly paced, fun adventure, with very likeable characters, set in one of the most beloved worlds in the genre.
Would you continue on? Yes, I’ve already read (and greatly enjoyed) all of the available Dunk and Egg novellas. I’d very much like to have a lot more of them.
16/47. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle: This is a retelling of one of Lovecraft’s most notorious stories, The Horror at Red Hook. This notoriety stems from the reason it’s one of the most racist stories Lovecraft have written, and that’s saying a lot, given his well recorder racism. I’m more than happy to report that LaValle’s take of the story not only addresses the racism found in the story (and Lovecraft’s work in general), but it’s also a damn fine story of cosmic horror on itself. That said, and although it definitely can be read without any prior knowledge of Lovecrat’s work, having read The Horror at Red Hook first will greatly enhance a reader’s experience with this story. On the other hand The Horror at Red Hook is, in my opinion (regardless of the racism found on its pages), a horrendously bad, and boring story, so someone would be perfectly justified to skip it. In this story we follow a young, struggling, black musician (who also has some occult-retated side jobs), and see his plight leaving in America in the ‘20s. Of course this, Ballad being a cosmic horror story, doesn’t even begin to describe what’s really going on. The protagonist is instantly relatable, and I cared for him from early on the story. He goes through some very shitty situations, and although his decisions aren’t always the best they are completely understandable given said situations. The story also keeps all the good stuff usually found in cosmic horror. Unknowledgeable shit, weird rituals, an oppressive, dreadful atmosphere, and a sense of mystery. It excels in all of them. Finally, the way LaValle expands, remixes, and retells the story is really inventive, and works very well, providing us with a story much better than anything I’ve read written by HPL [although I have to admit that I’ve not read a lot of them, and that I find him to be a very poor author in general (with lots of awesome ideas though)].
Why is it a top novella? A top-notch cosmic horror novella, that also addresses the racism that can be usually found in some of the subgenre’s most well known stories.
Do you wish there was a sequel? I don’t think a direct sequel would work, but I’d, sure as hell, love to read either more stories set in the same world, or LaValle’s take on other Lovecraft(ian) stories.
6/22. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Ngi Vo, book 1 of The Singing Hills Cycle: This one was very interesting, but I didn’t really enjoyed it. That’s entirely because of some stylistic choices Ngi Vo made, which although 100% intentional and well executed (in what they tried to achieve) did not work for me. Though I seem to be in the minority. Long story short, it’s a very intriguing story about an empress (re)claiming her lost political power, but it’s intentional told through abstract details and small hints here and there. This is highly impressive, because it manages to tell a big scale and relatively complex story that way. Unfortunately it also failed to make me care about anything or anyone, it felt more like a summary than a “proper” story, and made everything feel like it needed a lot more fleshing out (character, plot, and world-wise), thus a lot more pages. There’s a framing device around the whole thing, which I found more engaging than the main story, not because it wasn’t more interesting, but because it felt more fleshed out. It also resulted in the world feeling rather “foggy”. It was an interesting setting, I’d be interested in seeing more about, under different circumstances, but this way it didn’t felt exact like a real, living place. The same goes for the characters, what we see of them it’s pretty cool and intriguing, hinting there’s a lot to unpack under the surface, but we never really go there. Of course giving it more space, and fleshing it out more would defeat the purpose of telling the story in the rather unique way Vo, very clearly, chose to tell the story. I don’t really know what could be done for this. I’m really conflicted about this novella. I’d really urge everyone to give it a shot, and decide for themselves if Vo’s approach works for them or not. It didn’t work for me, but I at least respect the ambition of choosing to write a story this way.
Why is it a top novella? A very different, and interesting approach to story telling, and an Asian inspired world with lots of cool bits of various characters and ideas regarding the setting.
Would you continue on? I really don’t know. I’m definitely not in a hurry of picking the next novella up when it’s going to be released, but (depending on what people say about it) I might give it a shot eventually.
3/47. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson: This one is the first (and to this point the only) Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read. I chose to read this because, other than being short, is also most commonly regarded as his most “literary(-ish)” and least “blockbustery” story. To my disappointment it was not really “literary(-ish)” and pretty “blockbustery”. That said I think it was a fine novella, and both the characters and prose (which are two of the things most Sanderson critics dislike the most about his work) were pretty solid. In general that’s my take on the novella, it’s pretty solid in almost everything, but in my opinion it’s great in almost nothing. The “almost” part goes both ways though. It does an excellent job at providing (new) information to the reader, be it either plot relevant, or world relevant, it’s extremely well paced, and it has a rather unusual plot (more or less a prison-but not exactly-break) for a fantasy story. On the other hand, the ending is, in my opinion, extremely convenient and unconvincing, and somewhat sappy. Also the (thankfully very few) action-scenes are painfully video game-ish and PG-13. Again, I think it’s a good novella, but I don’t really care about it. I’d urge anyone interested to give it a shot, but wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, though neither would I try to convince someone to skip it.
Why is it a top novella? Very well paced, with a different and intriguing main plot-idea. Also it’s written by Brandon Sanderson, which -lets be honest- means a lot of people have decided it’s absolutely great before even reading it.
Do you wish there was a sequel? I don’t really care.
2/47. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: If I didn’t intend to use this one for this year’s Bingo I’d have DNF it. In some ways I wish I had. This one was one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever experienced as a reader. The main idea, and the way the story was structured around it (two people on the opposite side of a war, that takes place though time and space, begin a correspondence and we mostly read their back and forth letters), even the fact that it was written by two authors, were absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the execution was extremely lacking. The characters are completely bland, and most importantly they don’t have distinct enough voices or personalities. If I didn’t knew I’d be pretty sure it was written by one person. Also for about the first two thirds the book is completely plotless. That would be ok, if the characters were interesting, or if it did anything intriguing with the setting/time-travel aspects of it, but it really didn’t. By the time it started developing a plot I was bored to death, and didn’t care even the slightest about any of the characters. One other aspect of the story lots of people seem to focus on is the prose. Everyone seems to think it’s one of the most beautifully and uniquely written things they’ve read, which I honestly don’t get. Yes, I understand that this is 100% a matter of taste, and the prose is indeed pretty good, but I don’t see anything different or unique or really that great about it. To say that the claims around it are hyperbolic would be an understatement. I know it’s rather petty of me, but I was really upset by the fact it won so many awards.
Why is it a top novella? Brilliant combination of main premise and structure, plus some nice writing.
Do you wish there was a sequel? Absolutely not.
1/47. All Systems Red by Martha Wells, Book 1 of the Murderbot Diaries: I know I’m going to piss off a lot of people, but this was another one I didn’t enjoy. Actually I really, really liked Murderbot the character, and the humor in the novella, but I absolutely disliked everything else. The plot, the other characters, the setting, all were as uninteresting to me as possible. Oh, I guess I like Martha Wells’ writing as well, but not enough for it to make a difference. When I think about this one, the two things that come to my mind are “lost potential” and “boring”. I think I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it felt pretty bland. Something I find interesting is that, soon after I finished this book I gave her Cloud Roads book (the first in the Raksura series) a shot, expecting it to be another case of “lost potential”, but I greatly enjoyed it. I have recommended it in the sub lots of times without hesitation (probably will do again) and definitely intend to read further in that series. Maybe I should give Murderbot another shot, but I doubt this is going to happen anytime soon.
Why is it a top novella? An extremely relatable, and likable protagonist, plus some nice humor.
Would you continue on? Probably not (at least for now).
BONUS REVIEWS: Two novellas I really wanted to see on the list, but they didn't make it. A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny: This one is probably one of the books I’ve recommended the most in this sub. Also it’s a story I’d have never read if it wasn’t for this sub, so a big thank you for that. It’s centered around Halloween and features various (mostly) horror icons of the Victorian era, with a little bit of Lovecraftian-stuff to make things even more interesting. BUT it’s a comedic, really charming and whimsical story, told from the POV of someone’s talking dog/familiar. It’s pretty funny, with a very lovable and interesting cast of characters (and familiars). The writing is very nice, but simple, and flows very nicely. Although it’s comedic it never loses its horror identity, and it’s a very intriguing mystery. At its core though it’s a story about friendship found in unexpected places, and during unexpected circumstances. Finally, as a bonus, it has 31 chapters, each one taking place during one day in the titular October, so it makes for perfect Halloween reading.
Why should it be a top novella? It’s utterly charming, horror-comedy is very rare (and rarely done well), and people love Halloween.
Do you wish there was a sequel? Not really. I love this novella, but it does not need any sequel, prequel, or whatever else, it works perfectly as it is.
2020.08.29 21:56 confessamurder1.6 The Supernatural Horror Challenge
[The competitors walk into the writing room.]
[CLAUDETTE]: Congrats to Two on his first win! [TWO]: I nearly passed out from excitement when Confessa called my name as the Winner. What a journey to get here. [GREAN]:[He twiddles his thumbs and looks down, lost in thought.] [BEE]: Are you okay, Grean?
[He looks up and nods politely.]
[GREAN]: Yeah, it’s just…I thought this week would be it for me, to win, I mean. Congrats, Two. Not that I don’t think you deserve your win, but honestly, I think I’m getting frustrated. [TWO]: Thank you. [He gives Grean the side eye.] Just hang in there. You’re still here, just keep at it.
[Grean nods solemnly.]
[SIMONE]: I’m genuinely bummed to have lost The Suen. [TWO]: He was tough competition. I hope to be in the pits against him again.
[Confessa’s voice comes over the intercom.]
[CONFESSA]: I have an announcement! After some thinking, I’ve decided to throw a little...plot twist in your direction. One of your previously eliminated competitors is returning to the competition. [TWO]: If it’s The Suen, I swear— [CONFESSA]: Everyone, please welcome back… The Suen! [SUEN]: Hey everyone! [TWO]: What the fuck! I mean, welcome back, Suen. [A look of worry has spread over his face. He darts a look at Grean, then over at Claudette.] This isn’t what I meant about what I said earlier. [GREAN]: W E L L. [SIMONE]: Holy shit, Suen! I’m so glad you’re back! [CONFESSA]: Two, because The Suen returning to the competition invalidates your elimination vote this week, you will be given immunity. Alright, everyone! Good luck! Especially you, Suen! Last week was a wake up call. Consider yourself warned. [SUEN]: I literally feel like my arse has a new hole.
*** THE PROMPT Supernatural Horroris a type of horror subgenre that includes and centers around supernatural or paranormal occurrences and beings, such as ghosts, demons, witchcraft, miracles, and curses. Supernatural horror tends to deal with the unknown questions of life, death, and the afterlife, and therefore tend to incorporate religious or folklore elements and iconography into the plot, though this is not always the case. As they emphasize the unknown, the mostimportant aspect of Supernatural Horror is raising suspense and mystery while also being able to contain more graphic and visual gruesome violence. This style of horror storytelling is meant to create a nightmarish otherworld of harmful beings cohabiting with mortals, stoking fears of the unknown and unexplained. Supernatural Horror stories became more commercially prevalent in the 1920s and 1930s with the Universal Classic Monster films, which were set in a shared universe of powerful creatures and set in mythical Transylvania or some other Eastern European location. As the 1940s drew closer, these settings became more contemporary, however, the subgenre’s popularity declined and was eventually eclipsed by psychological horror. Supernatural horror met its general demise by the end of World War II, but started reviving by the turn of the 1960s with films and stories such as psychologically-centered The Innocents (1961) and Rosemary’s Baby (1967). These stories included supernatural themes to highlight sexual repression and reproductive rights, spinning narratives around censorship laws and bringing more attention to social and religious issues. By the 1970s, and thanks to the popularization of Rosemary’s Baby, Supernatural Horror saw a complete revival, using literature as a source of inspiration to create suspenseful, engaging, and frightening films--stories and ideas which had never been seen or done before. These earlier stories included:
(The Legend of) Hell House
The Amityville Horror
The modern popularity of Supernatural Horror is due in part to the 2000s rise of torture porn and rising cultural fears in today’s society. Although underlying archetypal sources of fear can move across geographical regions, Supernatural Horror is arguably the most subjective of all horror sub-genres, as every culture’s fear response is vastly different from around the world, country-to-country, and subculture-to-subculture. Common themes and ideas found within Supernatural Horror are:
The occult and extrasensory perception (divination, rituals, spirits, astrology, numerology, etc.)
Psychic abilities or phenomena
Non-mainstream religions labelled taboo by an Abrahamic majority, such as WitchCraft, Voodoo, Shinto, and Shamanism
Demonic and spiritual possession
Psychological themes of repressed sexuality and paranoia
Rituals, beliefs, and conspiracy theories surrounding religious and political influence, such as those found within the Catholic Church, the Satanic Temple, or the Illuminati
“Based on real or documented events” that involve hauntings or other preternatural disturbances
Other examples of Supernatural Horror:
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
What Lies Beneath (2000)
The Others (2001)
The Ring (2002)
The Grudge (2004)
Your Turn 🔮 Write a short story in the Supernatural Horror subgenre, incorporating elements of suspense and mystery with “suggest, don’t tell.” Your requirement for this challenge is to spin a narrative around the unknown and unexplained, including some, most, or all common themes of this subgenre listed above. Word Count Maximum: 3600 **\* THE CRITIQUES BEE Is it just me, or does yours and Simone’s story feel like they could be part of the same shared narrative? If so, brilliant. I really enjoyed the bulk of your story. It’s engaging and your characters seem like real people, especially your main character. The supernatural elements are also all there, and I really liked how psychological you got with this story. In some places, I noticed a large disconnect. While the intention seems to be to make your narrator unreliable in some ways, a character who is constantly guessing whether something is really happening or not, I think this approach could be refined, or less “in your face” about it and focus more on the terror of the vengeful spirit and reflect more the character’s struggle with his failure that resulted in the death of someone he couldn’t save as your story’s climax draws nearer. While there are very strong and carefully placed elements of your story, some others seem disjointed, maybe due to editing a much longer story down to a smaller version. When this occurs, the best thing to do is to smooth out those cuts with your writing and try not to let the seams of those cuts show too much. ****\* CLAUDETTE BOUCHARD Trigger Warning: Story contains violence towards babies At first, your story reads much like a moral lesson about abortion, and discusses from your main character’s point of view the valid reasons of having one, such as maturity, readiness, complicated long-term goals, and just not wanting to be a mother. Admittedly, I have not heard of a spirit called a Krasue, and after researching what it is, the pieces of your story all make better sense as to why cacti were dispersed around the house to ward it away. Since you kept to folklore for this story, its supernatural elements are noticeable. What I really wish you had done with this story is expanding more on what the Krasue is to those (like me) who aren’t as well-versed in South Asian folklore. We need to have a clear idea of what the being is so that the horror translates well. Consider Asian folklore stories that have been adapted to screen for Western audiences such as The Grudge. The film has a way of communicating/explaining what a Ju-On curse is to those who have never been exposed to it and can understand very clearly that it is pure rage manifested that expands endlessly and takes whoever it touches into it. In Supernatural Horror, we need a build up of tension as its defining mark on horror is that it tricks the mind into thinking whether something is real or just an exaggerated bump in the night. This story, I find the suspenseful tension to be lacking; and comes across more so like your Rougaru Creature Feature story than something I’d expect from a Supernatural Horror like those that currently exist in Thailand or Cambodia. The baby death and the process of him dying in the way he did, while it doesn’t affect your placement this week, went overboard. If you consider The Suen’s last alien piece and see how he went a tad too hard on its very vivid descriptions, you can begin to see why I am growing weary of babies being victim to horror. I think in the future, if you are going to be writing stories about this subject matter, you have to realize who you want your audience to be. Since Supernatural Horror has a big way of appealing to the masses (see: Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring), I would consider handling this just a tad less vicious and gut-punching in the future. ****\* GREAN Trigger Warning: Story contains topics of rape during intoxication. I think it was smart to undersell your story before you submitted it, because I came into this story without a lot of expectation to be your very best piece of writing— but in fact, this may have been your best one to date, aside from your Mystery Challenge submission. Everything about your story encapsulates mystery and delivers a gut-punch at the very end. You were able to deliver a plot twist successfully due to little moments here and there that drop hints of where your main character could be, such as the smog from the ceiling and the people outside who don’t seem to notice the goings on inside the house. However, some confusion lies in where you describe the characters as being stuck inside one room, then it becomes a whole house, back to a room, and a house again. The inconsistency really blurs the significance of your setting a bit, but all in all, your story holds up very well. ****\* SIMONE LE ROUX Your story is full of suspense and tragedy, and really captures the spirit of the supernatural subgenre. The premise of the story—a sole survivor of a mass death who meets the conductor of the tragedy at a local bar—is a great one, and something you would actually see printed somewhere or turned into a movie, á la “Red Eye” or “The Devil’s Advocate.” The writing is sharp, and although you may have stumbled in some description choices here and there, the story sells. It’s unnerving, suspenseful, and eggs the reader on to keep reading. From the very first moment to the last, you are able to hook your reader and keep them hanging onto every word. With all that said, I would like to talk more about some of your choices, which, honestly, I’m not totally sure cheeses the plot or not. With all of the suspense you built, the way you release the tension doesn’t necessarily feel satisfying when you realize that the main character has made a Faustian deal and the deal was “If you win, you get my soul, If I win, you just don’t do things anymore.” I get the idea was to basically neutralize the demon’s influences on the world, but you painted your main character as lucky, smart, loyal to her company, and insightful but an alcoholic and someone who is self-serving. In general, the inference of the demon being attracted to her darkness seems correct, but her end of the deal she makes comes across as a little flat. I would have loved to see her get more wild, or more self-serving if she won, even if it was to reverse the disaster to get her job back. What I think this story lacks in part is a more well-rounded ending. The fact that she correctly guesses his name (someone’s favorite fairy tale is probably Rumpelstiltskin here), I would expect the demon to become more aggressive towards her than a “I’ll get you one day, my pretty! And your little dog too!” Perhaps you mistitled your story, as I expected the main character to lose too. I would suggest altering it to something that doesn’t hit you in the face with a false expectation right out the gate. However, aside from all of this, your suspense is crackling. It had me on edge until I hit some of these landmarks I described above. ****\* THE SUEN So...where do I begin? I loved this story. It’s modern, it’s realistic, and it perfectly captures a supernatural vibe. Admittedly, like in past stories, I’m pleasantly surprised to see how you made it all come together. Everything exudes discomfort from the get-go. I had had an idea that Careful Saint was going to be a Satanic cult due to the obvious inverted pentagram imagery, but I ended up overlooking that altogether once you started bringing in other ideas and thought of the imagery as a red herring. Looking back, I would say there are more careful ways to include imagery like this so it doesn’t seem too obvious such as a more seemingly accidental way to view the symbol. However, something I find the most problematic is your main character’s personality and voice. He begins to come across as much older than fifteen, so when you described his One Direction crush, it made me pause to think how old your character really was. Later on, after you describe his age, he regresses in maturity and seems more like an early teen and not someone midway to adulthood. Because he's the voice and narrator, this puts your story out of balance since it starts out as kinda punkish and gritty, but then becomes a Goosebumps book midway, after which, it jumps back to a better balance between both tones. I think you undersold his character traits a bit too. It’s a tad obvious that his dialogue and personality traits were “winged” and not taken into huge consideration. And although I know that this was a last minute story, there are ways to review and clean up your story so that the tone stays consistent throughout. Surprisingly, this has been the first instance for you throughout Cycle 1, so whatever the process that occurred for this story, I would re-strategize. ****\* TWO_SENTENCE_CRITIC Trigger Warning: Story contains topics of rape and violence associated with white supremacy Reading your disclaimer, I was prepared to read something more graphic than I would have liked, but i'm glad that this story got to the point of things and didn’t linger around the rape scene. The racism elements are also not overboard. Also, I’m glad to see a spooky and gruesome, yet respectful, view of Native American rage towards the white man. Your poignancy was refreshing to read and doesn’t beat around the bush. Your story, while well-structured and well-written (save for several spelling errors), gave me mixed feelings as once the pattern was established, I knew where the story was already going and any or all suspense that was previously built to that point dissolved. While the structure is strong, the predictability of the ending was no real surprise. I think if there were more unpredictable elements to this story, it would shake up the reader’s expectations, so that they couldn’t gues the ending. I am unsure about your ending. From the penultimate scene into the last one, Wynona is in a medically-induced coma, and her parents are dead, but the way you wrote the last scene makes it seem like they are actually alive. If say, the three of them are actually dead and living in an afterlife together, or if their deaths never really happened, I would find a way to make it more apparent to the reader. Overall, your piece this week stands out as one of my favorites. **\* THE PLACEMENTS
[CONFESSA]: Based on this week’s critiques, I have made some decisions. As a general reminder, I am not here to define your writing style nor instruct you on how to write. You are merely being judged on how it pertains to this competition which is to interpret your style to fit the challenge prompts that have been asked for, and whether or not you fulfilled the assignment. Alright, let’s begin. ... Bee, in past prompts you have delivered some great stories, but this week, the fire seemed to dwindle. … I’m sorry, Bee, but you are in Danger! … … Simone le Roux, you really turned it out this week with your devil may care story. … Two_Sentence_Critic, your story was poignant, dark, and mystical. You sold me a nightmare, and I died…but in a good way. … Congratulations, you are both in the Top! … ... Claudette Bouchard, you have a knack for taking us to a deep and dark place, but this week, I was lost. And so was the baby. … The Suen, while your Satan’s School for Gay Boys tickled my fancy, your Goosebumps story inside a mature one left me wanting...for something else. … I’m sorry, but both of you are in Danger! … … That means, Grean, this week you are in the Top! You took me to hell and back and I was comfortable living in your purgatory.
… … …
Congratulations, Grean, you are the Winner of the Supernatural Horror prompt!
[Grean’s eyes light up with excitement.]
[GREAN]: Oh my God, I won? I’d like to dedicate my win to The Jersey Shore’s Snooki and Jaida Essence Hall, because we only worship talent here, maw. [CONFESSA]: Right. Okay. Grean, please make your way to The Dark Altar and make your decision on who to eliminate. [GREAN]: Righty-Ho.
[Grean makes his way over to the Dark Altar. After peeking over his shoulder a couple times and ten minutes of hard thinking later, he scribbles something on the paper and folds it in the envelope, sealing the envelope with wild abandon.] [Confessa takes out the paper and reads. He has written a list of reasons why he chose who he chose on the paper.]
[CONFESSA]: “Just so everyone knows what my thought process is: it’s a combined judging off of the critiques, past placements, and...my personal opinion. So, I choose The Suen.” … … [SUEN]: I had a feeling. Thanks, Confessa, for giving me another shot. ‘Bye everyone! It was nice being here and writing. Good luck to everyone else, y’all are great. [CONFESSA]: I’m sorry to see you go once again, Suen. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future! You...have been cut.
2020.08.27 14:49 vesrynk45Bad History of India, the Mughals, and especially the early modern Indian economy in Steven Johnson's *Enemy of all Mankind* (2020)
After hearing an entertaining interview on the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs with Steven Johnson, concerning his new book Enemy of all Mankind, I naively anticipated a light and narrative-focused book which would nonetheless offer some interesting and decently researched contextualization of the encounter between English pirate Henry Every and a Mughal treasure ship in 1695. I did not expect Johnson’s engagement with the Indian aspects of the story to involve deep primary source reading, but upon starting the book I found that, unfortunately, his engagements with Mughal and wider Indian history are not only shallow but deeply flawed, often in basic factual terms.
For one, he refers to the Mughal dynasty as “five-centur[ies]-old” (p. 113) at the time of Every’s piratical career, a rather baffling claim I can only ascribe to possible conflation with the Ghurids. Earlier he also conflates the Ghurids with the Delhi Sultanate, which he claims Muhammad Ghuri established (p. 36). The Delhi sultanate in fact emerged as a successor to the Ghurids following both the death of Muhammad Ghuri in 1206 and a protracted contest between his slave-commanders in different regions of India. The Mughal Empire was established by Babur, who conquered a stretch of North India in 1526; if one takes up the idealized Mughal claim to Timurid dynastic continuity, one could place the dynasty’s origins in the late fourteenth century, but as far as I know this is not an approach taken in any literature. As a discrete ruling dynasty, the Mughals emerged in the sixteenth century. Even the strained Timurid timeline is nowhere close to Johnson’s five hundred years.
He also appears to think of the word ‘Mughal’ as an imperial title interchangeable with ‘king’ or ‘emperor,’ as in this line: “declare yourself emperoking/mughal” (p. 51). My thinking is that this arose from his use of European sources which refer to the Mughal emperors as ‘Grand (or Great) Mughals’, a formulation he repeats often; he also refers only to rulers as Mughals. Mughal is not at all an imperial title, but an ethnic or cultural identifier meaning ‘Mongol’ in Persian. On the theme of ethno-cultural confusions, Johnson refers to Mahmud of Ghazni as “Afghani” (p. 36). Firstly, Mahmud was of Turkic origin. Secondly, the conventional term for someone of Afghan origin is ‘Afghan’ rather than ‘Afghani’. Another odd moment worth mentioning is his description of the Mughal state as a “theocracy” (p. 8).
Beyond these basic factual errors, there are some serious issues with his representation of the role of Islam in Indian history, especially his assertion that “some” (who exactly is not made clear) call it “the most devastating genocide in world history” (p. 36): his only attempt to back up this statement is a quotation from Fernand Braudel’s A History of Civilizations (1988) which asserts that Muslim dynasties could only rule India using “systemic terror”. Johnson breezily elides the earliest caliphate with the Ghaznavids and Ghurids as representatives of Islam in general (pp. 35-36) and seems to think that ‘India’ remained totally separate from ‘Islam’ throughout history: he states that commerce on the Indian Ocean became dominated by Muslims and not Indians well into the second millennium (p. 34), apparently unable to consider that those traders could have been both. He also parrots accounts of the reigns of Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb focusing on supposed Islamic iconoclastic zeal (pp. 36, 64-67), which are by now well criticized and qualified even in more accessible works like Richard Eaton’s India in the Persianate Age (2020). All these points deserve long write-ups, but I will focus on a rather more niche aspect of Johnson’s treatment of Indian history which aggravated me, since I have been reading up on it for research: the issue of specie and the economy.
Johnson rightly mentions that India took in a huge amount of precious metals in the early modern period, with some scholars estimating around twenty percent of the world’s output from 1600-1800. However he asserts that these precious metals’ economic value was nullified in India as they were melted down to make “bracelets, brocades and other ostentatious heirlooms.” (p. 50). This phrase is a direct quotation of John Keay, a popular historian and journalist whose book on the East India Company has, according to one review, “more in common with the chronicles of Harry Flashman than with the standard academic works on the East India Company” (Ó Gráda, p. 236). In Johnson’s formulation, Indian and specifically Mughal conceptions of wealth as a measure of precious ornaments would run up against the modern economic ideas of the East India Company, a joint-stock corporation: little did the opulent court of the sultans know that the latter would transform the politics and economics of the whole world. While there is something to the idea of the Company’s novelty in terms of structure and mercantilist economic ideology in the Indian context, to support it with the claim that India simply absorbed and sat on specie in the form of baubles flies in the face of years of research on early modern Indian economic history. The immense intake of precious metals created a large moneyed economy. States minted and were engaged in the exchange and regulation of a huge number of coins; large and sophisticated financial firms centered around families operated networks of credit, trade and investment as far afield as the Russian steppe; metal currency can even be seen in the religious rites of common people.
Perhaps crucial to Johnson’s apparent ignorance of the immensely important role of specie in the huge and active economy of early modern India is his focus on the Indian Ocean, and his all-too-easy use of one apparent Hindu prohibition of seafaring to conclude that Hindus simply did not trade and that India was totally passive in terms of trade and wider economic networks (pp. 34-35). This once again ties to his strange equation of all India with the same, immutable “Hindu culture” (p. 36). While older ‘traditional’ literature treats early modern overland trade as in terminal decline, overtaken by European-dominated overseas trade by the eighteenth century, a large body of literature has argued that overland trade systems, such as the horse trade or the trade in textiles to Central Asia and Iran, retained or even expanded their importance in the early modern period.
Especially ironic given Johnson’s sharp dichotomy between pre-modern Indian/Mughal ideas of wealth and modern Company ones is that the rule of the Company in India was significantly bulwarked by the credit extended to it by Indian banking firms. Such financiers had invited Company rule in Surat in 1759 in response to their conflict with the local nawab. In the first war between the Company and the Marathas, it was these firms’ loans that allowed the supply of soldiers in the field. Decades later, Indian banks had a major stake in the invasion of Afghanistan (1839-42). Besieged in Kabul, British officer Eldred Pottinger attempted to secure cash by issuing multiple hundis (bills of exchange) worth over 1.3 million rupees to Indian treasuries to pay for a retreat to Peshawar. However the banks restricted payments into British treasuries, seeing the Kabul occupation as moribund: its failure threatened several banks with collapse. This in turn threatened the stability of colonial government at large.
The lack of up-to-date, accurate information on Indian history in Enemy of all Mankind is not all that surprising when one considers that, for a 250-odd page book, the bibliography is less than four and a quarter pages, or 69 entries, long. Many of Johnson’s claims are uncited, or at best supported by older books, often by non-specialists. As a result, every chapter focusing on India becomes a frustrating exercise in running into one error or misinterpretation after the other. Popular history can be entertaining and thought-provoking, but it must be held to a better standard.
Steven Johnson, Enemy of all Mankind: a True Story of Piracy, Power and History’s First Global Manhunt. Riverhead Books, 2020.
Aniruddha Ray, The Sultanate of Delhi (1206-1526). Routledge, 2019.
Richard M. Eaton, India in the Persianate Age 1000-1765. Allen Lane, 2019.
Stephen F. Dale, Babur: Timurid Prince and Mughal Emperor 1483-1530. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Cormac Ó Gráda, “The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company. By John Keay,” The Journal of Economic History 56, no. 1 (1996).
Jos Gommans, The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire c. 1710-1780. Brill, 1995.
Lakshmi Subramanian, "Banias and the British: The Role of Indigenous Credit in the Process of Imperial Expansion in Western India in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century," Modern Asian Studies 21, no. 3 (1987).
Prasannan Parthasarathi, “Money and Ritual in Eighteenth-Century South India,” The Medieval History Journal 19, no. 1 (2016).
Scott Levi, The Bukharan Crisis: a Connected History of 18th-Century Central Asia. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020.
Scott Levi, “The Indian Merchant Diaspora in Early Modern Central Asia and Iran," Iranian Studies 32, no. 4 (1999)
Shah Mahmoud Hanifi, “Impoverishing a Colonial Frontier: Cash, Credit, and Debt in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan,” Iranian Studies 37, no. 2 (2004).
2020.08.23 11:44 OneSilverRavenRaven Reviews: Huniepop, The Best Example of What a Visual Novel Can Do Wrong.
TL;DR Huniepop is the perfect storm bad visual novel and the example I point to when someone asks me to explain how to tell a good novel from a bad one at a glance. The experience of playing it is an exercise in frustration for an experienced visual novel reader and a terrible representative for an inexperienced reader. The rest of this review is me picking apart every aspect of the game in detail and arguing why it serves as such a great example despite the fact it does not qualify for the title of a “true” VN. A WORD ON VISUAL NOVELS If you were to search for Huniepop on VNDB you would be met with this screen, displaying that the game had once been considered, but was removed at some point after its inclusion. Following the link posted in the notice, you come across this thread which seems to broadly favor the ultimate decision to remove it.1 Another link leads you to this screen, where the database firmly sets guidelines for what may be added to the collection and in no uncertain terms Huniepop fails to meet them. This review is not an argument that Huniepop be considered a visual novel nor is it meant to say anything about VNDB as I'm sure the majority of people reading this (myself included) respect the thorough nature of the site and its authority. What I do intend to do however is use Huniepop as an example in place of a more traditional novel2 because despite not qualifying for the genre it manages to embody every single pitfall a poorly presented novel could fall into.3 Before I explain however it's important to note that Huniepop is a well known game and mainstream in a way that more “traditional” visual novels are not. Meaning that whether or not we like it Huniepop is a representative of the visual novel genre to the mainstream world. Poll a random gamer about their favorite visual novel and you're likely to get one of three responses. That they have never heard of the genre, that they don’t play dating games, or a minority that will list one of the few popular titles. Dangan Ronpa, Gyakuten Saiban, 999, and Doki Doki Literature Club! are the ones I hear most often.4 Now an astute observer familiar with these titles will immediately notice that they all share a feature with Huniepop and each other that I think is key to understanding their mass appeal, and that is that they all hybridize the visual novel style with another genre of game. Dangan Ronpa and 999 are puzzle solving mystery games with game play dotted between novel sections. Phoenix Wright is a different breed of puzzle game but follows the same format. Doki Doki is the closest to a “traditional” VN but mixes heavily with horror elements and meta game play so the point still stands. Clearly, mainstream audiences more readily adopt VN’s that provide some kind of game play element.5 Because of their popularity this relatively small pool of games is what we have to draw from when talking about how Visual Novels are perceived by people unfamiliar with them. Overwhelmingly to an outside observer this genre would look to be composed of sexualized (Doki Doki, Dangan Ronpa to an extent,) simple (Puzzle games don’t exactly require twitch reflexes, just patience and time,)6 anime art games with a disproportionate amount of romance themes.7 Not a bad description for Huniepop if it was necessary to give it one so short. I think it's a good idea to keep in mind that the western idea of what a VN is typically about was the mindset behind this game's creation. The author of the game has even openly voiced that he does not believe Huniepop should be considered a visual novel at all.8 That being said it’s hard to ignore the parallels. Strip away for a moment the lack of actual text (the NOVEL portion of this visual novel) and you’ll be hard pressed to point out a significant difference between this game and one of the earlier examples.9 Sure the gameplay is different but “puzzle” is a wide genre. The art styles vary but that is true between any two games and even the 999 trilogy went from 2D to 3D between titles and that didn’t disqualify them. Huniepop actually has a few ADVANTAGES over some of these games with a wide variety of outfits for the heroins and a huge amount of CGs dwarfing Doki Doki and 999’s numbers. If you wanted to be purely objective then yes, Huniepop is not a visual novel, but it shares a lot in common with the genre and those similarities are fascinating to look at when judging its quality. IF WE COULD READ A BOOK IN ONE PAGE I have always maintained that the most important single feature of a visual novel is the title screen. Writing, which one can argue is more important broadly, can have good and bad moments and be incredibly inconsistent with even the best novels in this genre having individual scenes far below par.10 I can’t recount how many times a good novel has had a protagonist that brought down multiple scenes they were in.11 Art is divided into multiple sub-groups so I think it's unfair to lump every visual aspect together. Backgrounds, sprites, CGs, chibis, if all of these are bad then a novel is unlikely to gain much of a readership but if one or two suffer for the others there is a good chance it can be overlooked. Doki Doki had very simple sprites and backgrounds but made up for it with strong animations and clever use of audience expectations to use their sprites creatively. 999 has downright HIDEOUSLY choppy art in its first installment and subpar character models in later games (as well as almost no CGs in the second game and none in the third)12 but used its assets sparingly and spread out its best looking moments to compensate. Point being, as long as the writing and art isn’t so bad you can hardly look at it and enough of it is of a quality to catch a reader you can get away with focusing on a few points over others when necessary. Without a doubt though your title screen is one of those points that needs to be top of the priority list. A bland or uninteresting title screen is a red flag larger than the banner on the Kremlin during the October parade. Why? Because it's the first thing you see, it sets the tone for the entire rest of the novel. The old adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” exists because it is ridiculously simple to take a single look at something and let that first impression color your view of the entire work. Perhaps the saying is correct, but it can't be helped that this first screen sets expectations and a catching or interesting title presentation can make or break a reader's interest in what follows. Let’s look at an example from one of the greatest western VNs Katawa Shoujo and the subtle way it plays with your expectations.13 Upon booting up the game you see this image. Which is relatively plain. The three features are the central canvas like space, the isolated options in the lower corner, and the game’s symbol in the upper corner. The eye is drawn to the center of the screen where the negative space causes a reader to search for something to latch onto. The option text is simple and uninteresting so the only real object to engage with is the heart. If you had never heard of Katawa Shoujo before starting this game it's easy to see this heart at the edge of all this negative space and take away that symbol as the only feature. This actually primes you for the novel you are about to read because Hisao, the protagonist, is only moments away from a heart attack, which will become the major defining feature you as the reader will see him as until he is fleshed out over the course of the novel's entire length. Katawa Shoujo then slowly introduces the reader to the idea that the heroines Hisao meets, who he first describes and views as extensions of their disabilities, are not defined by the features they possess but the people that they are. In line with this as you complete more chapters the title screen shows a branching group of pictures stemming from that first title card of act 1. These reminders of your story with each route fill the once negative space with a bouquet of deeper memories. The theme of Katawa Shoujo is ultimately that people are more than the surface level we can see and making judgements on one trait, one object, like the heart in the corner is ignoring that more lies below the surface then being “The blind girl” or “the girl with no arms” or “the guy with arrhythmia.”14 Doki Doki Literature Club also has a great example of a title screen because it hides the horror elements the game is eventually going to spring and the twist that this novel is going to be unconventional in plain sight for a careful observer. The first thing I noticed when first reading this novel and something that a new reader would probably never guess is that there is no “extras” option, which means there is no gallery. Now this isn’t exactly something to be worked up about, I can name dozens of novels that don’t immediately allow access to the game’s extras. But normally the option is left on the title screen grayed out (Katawa Shoujo, Muv-Luv Alternative, Aokana: Four Rythems Across the Blue) not absent entirely. Secondly, the game's name has a tell that will definitely go over the head of someone unversed in Japanese culture, but the O in each Doki are pushed together to form an 8. This is an unlucky number in Japan like 13 would be considered unlucky in America. If you notice that detail you can probably also figure out that Doki Doki, the Japanese sound word for a heartbeat, has a double meaning as both a fluttering heart and a nervous heartbeat. The inclusion of unlucky 8 points the reader’s interpretation to the negative connotation, the game is literally telling you on the first screen “be prepared for unfortunate nerve racking events.” Combine this with the lack of an extras option and you can deduce rather easily that this otherwise cutsie looking VN is going to pull some tricks on you. Now obviously I don’t expect that everyone who picks up a given novel is going to over analyze the title screen like I do. I doubt most people notice they are making judgments about a novel that early in the experience. But from an author's perspective you have to assume that your reader IS going to be that picky about your game and so they put a lot of effort in to showcase the worth of this highly visual medium right from the start. Huniepop opts to do a very common style of title called an ensemble shot where all the important characters are on screen in a group. Lots of novels do this from Muv-Luv to Kindred Spirits on the Roof, not uncommon at all, but just like how a careful observer will notice the detail in the Doki Doki logo an experienced novel reader will immediately see a problem in this particular picture. That being the sheer number of people on the screen. In total Huniepop has 9 characters present on the title shot and that is well over the average number for a romance focused game where typically there are only 3-5 routes.15 Now I used Kindred Spirits as an example of another ensemble shot which has an ungodly 16 characters16 but that is the exception rather then the rule as EVERY character in the game is included and Kindred Spirits follows a unique story telling style that doesn't fit cleanly into the normal progression of traditional VNs. Almost always ensemble shots showcase only the heroines of a novel and cut out any that aren’t romance options. Suki to Suki to de Sankaku Ren'ai actually goes a step further and despite having two characters that are both options for menu voices (something else usually reserved for romanceable heroines only) and two ecchi scenes apiece included only the four main route heroines in their ensemble shot. Muv-Luv also follows this trend with three ensemble shots on its title screens featuring the six main heroins and neglecting the two characters that play critical roles in the story despite the fact they also have one ecchi scene apiece, which hilariously is half as much as five of the heroins and equal to the sixth but that's neither here nor there.17 Just by counting the number of people on screen a reader can infer one of two things is almost certainly true. Either this novel is going to be lengthy, as many as 30 hours minimum and up to 100+ hours if properly paced.18 Or the characters in this novel aren't going to be given nearly enough time to be fleshed out because the novel simply has too many people19 to properly explore them all. Given the remaining details of the title card, the spinning pink background behind the logo and the floating shapes that invoke the same feeling as looking at a box of store brand marshmallow cereal my money would be on the later. BECAUSE MAGIC IS UNIMPORTANT ENOUGH TO BE USED TO GET YOU LAID For the sake of argument let's say you either didn’t notice or didn’t care about the pretty big warning sign I just pointed out and decided to start a new game. After selecting a save file and a gender the player is immediately thrown into the games potentially longest string of connected dialogues but for this section I’m only going to focus on the scenes you’re FORCED to do. The story opens with the reader’s character approached by a woman at a bar who berates you for several sentences about your inability to properly socialize while you demonstrate that you have just learned the English language and are having trouble remembering the difference between thank you and good morning. Without warning you are forced to make several choices in a row that all effectively say the exact same thing and then the woman leaves. The next morning in your bedroom a lingerie model set to appear in Katy Perry's reshoot of California Girls wakes you up and you rightfully tell her that sleep is a gift bestowed by the gods and you are not going to be roused by what is clearly an illusion. Disregarding your valid skepticism the protagonist from the worlds sluttiest magical girl anime takes you on a date. This brings us to the screen you will be staring at for roughly 70% of the time you play this game, but I’m actually going to skip over it just to finish the tutorial so table that for now. After your game play demonstration the Good Witch of the West’s rebellious daughter returns you to your room, gives you your menu screen and presents you with the only choice that has literally any bearing on your play through. Which place sounds like the best spot to pick up chicks? Now I, as a twenty something man, have attempted at least once to engage with a woman in all of these locations, but something tells me this games targeted demographic of horny high schoolers that strangely like doing puzzles they paid a ten spot for more than using google to find free videos have not. How many people actually chose the park on their first play through? This brings us to the one and only thing that I can compliment about this game unapologeticly so prepare your angry comments. The introductory scenes for the various characters, while admittedly rushed and simplistic, are generally really good. Some are better than others, but the worst one of the bunch Kyanna still gives you the bare minimum to get a sense for their character and in a better novel that actually cared enough to flesh out these girls this would be a pretty good opening. I like the circular nature where meeting one girl leads to the next and essentially gives us two introductions to each character as we see them interact with one of the other flat pieces of cardboard we’re supposed to pretend are people. Oh shoot didn’t quite have enough positivity to make it to the end of that paragraph did I? Yeah these characters are all terrible and exist solely for player gratification. I can boil them down to one word each and I bet you’ll have no trouble guessing which one I’m referring to. In fact let's test that out shall we? Asian, Tsundere, Shy, Cougar, MILF, Black, Nerd, schoolgirl, Neko, Alien, Slut, and dominatrix. Think you got 'em all? Of course you did because as far as the game is concerned these single words are all these characters are. In a way this game is disturbingly meta because the protagonist treats these people in a way that seems almost clinically designed to mirror how you the player were always going to treat them.20 You ask superficial questions about them (Age, weight, height) and then answer those questions when prompted. No, actually, you have the OPTION to ask superficial questions about them because talking to the heroines is literally optional, there is a steam achievement for completing the game without ever doing it once. You have the OPTION to buy them things, from the insultingly basic preferred items that literally just cater to whatever fetish the character was made to fill to general food items and alcohol that force them to talk to you more and romance easier. And of course you have the OPTION, but are really forced to take them on dates. But I’m still not ready to talk about the dates yet so let's switch topics. HOW TO FAIL AT AESTHETIC DESIGN Let's talk about the music. There are twenty three tracks in this game and all of them are forgettable garbage. One of those tracks is the opening theme and if you ever played this game with headphones you know EXACTLY what the opening notes of that song sound like because it was the last thing you heard before going deaf for three hours. For anyone who hasn’t had their hearing destroyed follow this link and you’ll see what I’m talking about, they set this theme about three times as loud as it should have been and what makes it worse is they put it over that off putting title screen to make this game as unappealing as possible! Of the twenty two remaining tracks two of those only play in your character's bedroom during and after the romance game. That leaves twenty tracks of music, not an bad amount. So when do those play? Well you might get a clue by looking at the titles, with such riveting names as Dagwood Park, University Campus, Fitness Club, and my personal favorite Hot Springs, because Onsen was apparently too complicated a word. They all just pertain to the location they’re named after. No variety, no variation, and each time you return to the location they loop from the beginning so I hope you enjoy the first thirty seconds or so of these two and a half minute tracks because that's the part you’re going to hear. You know what was one of my favorite parts of Katawa Shoujo? Something I always remembered even years after I read the story. The two rattles at the beginning of Kenji’s theme Out of the Loop. Kenji is insane by the literal definition, he has undiagnosed paranoia and is going to kill someone if not properly medicated21 but I was never upset to see him because this song loop always made me chuckle. The game is self aware enough to tell you Kenji is clearly wrong about everything he says by using his own theme to show the motif. He’s out of the loop, disconnected, thoughts rattle around his brain but nothing worth knowing. Now Kenji is actually one of the more interesting characters in Katawa Shoujo and much deeper then his introduction might lead you to believe but that's a topic for another day. What I wanted to illustrate is that music in a visual novel is one of the most important details you need to get right in order to have a good play experience for your reader. Authors of films, TV shows and VNs don’t give characters their own themes because it's just tradition and saves time when you can copy paste someone's theme over every scene they’re in. They do it because music is an ingrained and easy to access part of human culture and can have a huge variety of effects when we hear it. Everyone knows what a “wild west” song sounds like. Everyone knows what jazz, and classical, and eastern music sounds like and if you don’t think you do you actually do but just can’t think of an example. I can play just five seconds of organ music and everyone who can hear it will immediately start thinking about vampires and cheesy cartoons about Gothic horror. When you are planning your musical accompaniment for a visual novel it is imperative you understand what you are trying to SAY with your choices and where they play. When I’m in the forest with the shy girl I should not be hearing the same music as when I’m in the forest with the obnoxious party girl. Going to a club with Cougar should not be the same as going with MILF because the atmosphere of the scene is completely different. I should not be thinking “I am at Lusty’s Nightclub with girl X.” I should be thinking “I am at a club with this girl who is _.” But when the music is always the same no matter what girl I bring it makes the place feel static and lifeless and the heroins uninteresting. Another problem with Huniepop is the terrible UI which just bogs down the whole game. Granted, everything is straightforward and easy to understand, but the damn thing takes up three quarters of the screen! Now maybe you’re a speed reader and don’t care much for background art and fine details and if so i guess you can skip to the end of this section this complaint isn’t for you but for everyone else everything about this UI is chunky in the worst possible way. Of the six options on the screen at any given time the only two that REALLY need to be there are “talk” and “go on date” and the rest are just shortcuts to your menu. Now I'm not opposed to shortcuts, far from it, I love them, but that's what key binding is for. All you do by forcing these options on the screen is cater to the lowest common denominator of players and give the game a claustrophobic feel. It makes me wonder why you even bothered making the backgrounds at all if you were so ashamed of them you just had to shield as much as possible from view after the static sprite slides into place and we get half a second to look at the art. That is when the entire screen isn’t taken up by the glorified pachinko board which I’m still avoiding but I’ll get to it don't rush me next topic! A SILENT CHARACTER TRAGEDY So if I’m being honest everything I've said so far is kind of superficial. So the title screen isn’t great and the intro was hilariously rushed with unfunny jokes and the music is lame and the UI is chunky. Big deal, why do I care enough to talk about it? Well the truth of the matter is that Huniepop commits a cardinal sin that I think more people need to be cognizant of, and when I first realized why this game had always felt kind of off in my mind, I knew I had to say something. It’s not revolutionary to say Huniepop is a bad VN, or even a bad game. But those arguments have come to overshadow a bigger issue, one that affects people in the real world every day. This game at its core is fundamentally dismissive of the fact that your character is taking advantage of these girls and ultimately abandons them. Now I know what that sounds like, I can already hear people calling me out as an SJW and laughing at the fact that I even brought this up in the first place. Visual Novels aren't exactly known as pillars for social equality and far more often than not the mistreatment of women isn’t even a thought that enters the head of the author or reader. These novels are after all works of fiction, and contain scenarios that could (hopefully) never take place in real life. But I’m not talking about every visual novel. As far as i’m concerned art is something that should never be censored regardless of its subject matter with even and perhaps especially the most despicable and depraved acts being showcased. As vile and terrible as it may be to commit sexual and physical crimes in reality a book is nothing more than a book, and it is up to the individual reading it to process the morality of its contents. I don’t care if the other lessons that can be learned from this game go completely ignored or if everything else I've said here gets forgotten. If you take one thing away from this now eight page and climbing review, take this sentence. If you never sat down and thought about what is going to happen after you put down Huniepop for the last time to the girls in the story, then Huniepops message to you was the disgusting idea that it was a fun game to deceive twelve people into sleeping with you through lies, manipulation, and sometimes debatable force. Let's break it down. Aiko is a gambling addict who at least dislikes her job and giggles when you give her Japanese objects playfully calling you “so racist.” Admittedly she is probably the one least affected by your actions and I don’t have a bunch to say about her but you are definitely not a healthy choice for her to date or have sex with or whatever you want to call your relationship because you’re not solving any of the issues she’s dealing with, you just make her laugh and look cute. Audrey is a drug addict who is failing her classes, abuses others, and at best has a tenuous circle of friends who all call her a bitch behind her back. When you take her virginity she tries to open up to you but falls back on her aggressive personality because she can’t force herself to be vulnerable like that. She’s self destructive, lonely, and on a life path to a terrible future. Beli is a shy girl with body image issues and given the fact her two interactions when you meet her are with older women probably finds it difficult to relate to her peers. She’s easily pressured, a lightweight, and it is going to absolutely break her heart when you reveal to her you’re seeing other people. More than anyone else in this roster she thinks the two of you are going steady and it is simply deceitful to pretend that's what's happening and lie to her face. Jessie is a single mom who turned to porn to support her daughter and earned her daughters ire instead of her love. She hooks up with random men, like you, because it’s what she knows how to do. She’s a chain smoker, and probably also an alcoholic. Now unlike Aiko where her gambling addiction is literally debilitating and Audrey who is a serious hard core drug user Jessie isn’t that bad. Any one of these vices isn’t enough to mention, but all together it shows she has incredibly self destructive behavior. Again, not as bad as Audrey, but if she truly wanted Tiffany to forgive her and rekindle their relationship don’t you think she would have stopped smoking and doing the porn shoots? I don’t think she’s still going because she wants to, but because she can’t stop herself. Kyanna is a single mother who you drag out to clubs and outings, keeping her away from her child, and reintroduce to alcohol knowing she has a history of substance abuse at parties. Now unlike some of the other girls Kyanna is going to be just fine when you leave, she’s got herself together and a good stable life, but you are absolutely not a good influence on her and only going to cause problems for her and her child. Lola… alright you got me Lola is probably going to do okay. But pretty much every single dialogue option you have with her is a straight up lie unless you’re asking for her measurements. Nikki is an introvert who at first pushes you away but eventually warms up to you to the point she poses sexually on her bed just to get your attention. The pleading nature of that text makes me shiver as this girl who complains about her small chest to you THE NIGHT YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE SEX is trying her hardest to get you to like her. She wants you to see her sexually so badly she throws her caution aside and goes all out just to have you cheat on her with her abusive friend that drug her to a club against her will. Tiffany is the saddest story for me because she is on the exact same path as her mother and doesn't even know it. She’s hypersexualized, choosing to wear a fetishistic schoolgirl outfit, sending you panty shots she pretends her friend took without her knowledge, calling you a perv as she sends you nudes, just all kinds of stuff she hates her mother for. As far as we know she has no contact with her father so she’s basically going solo through college and here you come, lying to her face when she asks you if you’re seeing other people. Too afraid to ask you to go steady, too lonely to dump you when you can’t be faithful. I can only imagine what she’ll say when she finds out who you’re cheating on her with… Celeste is literally an outsider to your planet and I will never be convinced your relationship with her isn’t rape. Her species experiences heat, she doesn't know your mating rituals, and she's literally a prisoner on Earth. This is rape. Point blank, no arguments, you rape her, I don’t give a damn if she’s smiling. Kyu is a nymphomaniac and is definitely going to lose her job at some point. She’s got the whole gambit honestly with body dysmorphia, drug addiction, porn addiction, an abrasive sarcastic personality brought on by attachment issues and to top it all off she knows she’s in a video game about dating girls for sex so that can’t possibly be fun. Hell I’d turn to drugs too at that point. Momo is a child. She’s literally 6, younger if we convert that to cat years. She has the mind of a child, she talks like a child, she's a child. This is pedophilia. Not even Loli just straight up pedophilia. Venus is the literal god of love and seducing her is a feat of unimaginable consequences. I literally can not even begin to fathom what it would do to the world but I can tell you one thing. The fact that she was not always the god of love means somone else had that position before her and I can’t think of a better way to lose your job then to be reported for having sex with a minor, which is absolutely what you are to her being 2% her age. Do I think the author intended any of these things to be taken this seriously? No of course not, but I think that's kind of the point. I don’t think ANYONE is taking this seriously because this game is a bad clone of bejeweled. And to be honest I’m not that upset about it either, at least not in this specific game, but I think it's worth thinking about because how many other visual novels have you played where you didn’t bother to think about what came next for the characters? Games that took themselves far more seriously than this one? If you’re reading this and I've somehow struck a chord with you maybe you should consider thinking back on some of the stories you’ve read and asking yourself to analyze them a little deeper. Or not, because that's hard and no fun. Alright fine let's get the damn bubble pop out of the way. NO, I AM NOT GOING TO REFER TO IT AS CANDY CRUSH The main focus of Huniepop is on courting girls through seducing them with bejeweled. You play bejeweled to do this. It’s bejeweled.22 What am I supposed to say about it? This is a game 50 something moms play before they get their kids from tap recital. This game is literally one step up in complexity from PONG. Yeah I know there's Alpha mode23 and it gets harder and you have to use date gifts and alcohol and and and- Yeah I don’t care. I’ll admit the number of mechanics makes it more interesting then vanilla bejeweled because at least you have to kind of think around what each girl responds to and the passion mechanic is nice I guess but once you have everything unlocked it's really just a matter of picking one strategy that works and brute forcing your way forward. I appreciate that there isn’t a time limit because I like to play games planning several moves ahead, but that all goes out the window for the bedroom scenes which are awkward at best and distractedly off putting at worst. You know what really gets me though? Why bother censoring this game. If little Timmy gets on dads steam account and buys a porn game for ten bucks little Timmy can learn to google the porn hub compilation of the sex scenes. It's different when the novel is otherwise child friendly like If my Heart Had Wings, still stupid but at least understandable, but we all know why people are playing this game and its not for bejeweled! So why bother? Why even go through the dance? They didn’t even patch out the scenes; you just have to rename the file and everything unlocks. Literally, look it up. Anyway I guess that's all I have to say about it. For something that takes up so much of the game it certainly isn’t much to talk about. It’s just fucking bejeweled. WHY THIS GAME IS WORTH TALKING ABOUT So at this point i’m eleven pages exactly into this review and god knows how many footnotes but I wanted to quickly summarize my thoughts before putting this review to bed. Obviously a reader can not be expected to have access to all the information about a novel before reading it, and most of my criticisms about Huniepop require that someone have at least started the game to notice them. Usually by that point you’ve already invested your time and money into acquiring the novel and its quality is unimportant. But even if they have your money I hope that referencing the things Huniepop so catastrophically failed at lets you figure out you’ve got a bad experience coming in time for a refund or at least lets you get out before wasting too much time. I know I said at the top of this review that Huniepop is not a visual novel and I still believe that. But I can’t say there is no possible version of this game that I wouldn’t consider making the grade. If the developers had focused less on mass appeal and made the story longer. If there had been more effort put into the presentation. If they had just given the girls one or two more sprites each and replaced the dialogue options with structured conversation there could have been a real hidden gem here. I want to leave on that note. Imagine what this game could have been if they had spent a few months altering things about the flaws I pointed out. Maybe this game would have made it on the exceptions list. If you have 10 dollars you really hate looking at and want to set a bar for yourself at the low point of what a visual novel can be then give Huniepop a try. Everyone else, just stay in bed. FOOTNOTES
This thread is actually genuinely hilarious because a user named Usagi goes on an absolute RANT about Huniepop not making the cut. I honestly recommend it to anyone in need of a laugh this is GOLD.
Traditional as in standard formatting but also in general genre expectation.
Or at least the ones I care about the most.
Obviously this list isn't exclusive and my sample size is highly biased toward western gamers but you get what I mean.
For the purpose of this review i'm going to ignore the fact that making choices is definitely a game play element because 99% of a traditional visual novel is non-interactive but VNs are absolutely still games I will not dispute that.
Again this is a generalization if you're some kind of quick draw Sudoku solver don't fill the comment section with a rant about fast paced puzzle games you're hobby is valid calm down.
This might be because the mainstream often confuses dating simulators with visual novels (which honestly I can't blame them for their is a LOT of crossover) but nonetheless it IS something the genre is known for and participates in.
Originally I intended to provide a link to a tweet from the creator supporting this but it has since been deleted so unfortunately I can not. I pinky promise i'm right though so you have to trust me.
Ya know, except that those novels are actually GOOD.
Why Kindred Spirits needed to tell the story of Tsurogermine running from her teacher from TWO perspectives i'll never understand. I literally just saw it from Yuna's perspective and she has more information then you I don't need to know why you said GAH instead of AH.
Takeru from Muv-Luv Extra anyone? Honestly couldn't stand that selfish prick till halfway through Unlimited and he didn't win me over till Alternative.
If you want to get really technical the second game in the trilogy had a lot of CGs that just showed the posed character models but I hardly think that counts. Its not something worth arguing about but I personally don't count them.
That isn't a controversial statement is it? I mean it doesn't exactly have a bunch of competition.
If I ever feel brave enough I'll do a full review of that game to really delve into the themes but some great reference videos can be found on YouTube if you're curious.
This is just in my experience and doesn't include "joke" or "bad end" routes. Numbers may vary but this is a good standard estimate.
Kindred Spirits actually does a pretty good job of dividing those characters into groups and presenting them as units rather then individuals which helps to mitigate that number but still 16 is HUGE for a visual novel even harem games don't usually have that many.
Yes, I am aware that Mikoto is not a valid romance option in Extra and saying that Muv-Luv has three title screens is kind of misleading but that isn't the point of this review and honestly not a huge deal.
This estimation of time is taken from average novel lengths and my personal time to read them, it's only an estimation and not to be taken as a statement of fact.
Especially when we count the unlockable characters.
Namely, as disposable.
Let me know if you got the reference, I'm curious.
A game that can be found for FREE I might add.
No joke their are half a dozen Steam guides on how to best beat Alpha mode and apparently it goes all the way up to lvl 100 which is INSANE! Who would play that much Huniepop that is like hours of work!
2020.08.22 12:19 EnclavedMicrostateTartaria: The Supposed Mega-Empire of Inner Eurasia
For those not in the know, the Tartaria conspiracy theory is one of the most bizarre pieces of pseudo history out there. Its core notion is that the region known as ‘Tartaria’ or ‘Grand Tartary’ in Early Modern European maps was not simply a vague geographical designate, but in fact a vast, centralised empire. Said empire emerged… at some point, and it disappeared… at some point, but for… some reason, its existence has been covered up to suit… some narrative or another. As you can tell, there’s a lot of diverse ideas here, and the fact that there hasn’t been the equivalent of a Christological schism every time a controversial thread goes up is really quite impressive. While this post will primarily address one particular piece of writing that is at the core of Tartaria conspiracy theorising, I’ll include a few tidbits to show you just how much madness its adherents have come up with. But first, some background.
State of Play, and why I’m doing this
The Tartaria theory has a small but active following on subreddits such as Tartaria, tartarianarchitecture, and CulturalLayer, which as of writing have around 5,300, 2,400 and 23,000 subscribers, respectively, but it’s clear from the 8 questions on the topic asked at AskHistorians since January 2019 and this debunk request from June that it’s a theory that has somewhat broad appeal and can reach beyond its core niche. This is unsurprising given how little education most people in the West receive about basically anything east of Greece: simply put, the reality of Eurasian history is just not something most of us are taught. And if we don’t know the reality of Eurasian history to begin with, or if we do then it's all in bits and pieces where we might not even know a basic set of dates and names, then what seems to be a pretty developed narrative about a lost empire actually turns out rather plausible. Unfortunately, many debunks of the Tartaria narrative come from people pushing competing conspiracy theories, like this guy claiming that there’s a global Jewish Phoenecian conspiracy and that Tartaria is simply rehashing the notion that Khazars were Jews in order to distract from the real Phoenecian threat at the heart of global society or some nonsense like that. (I don’t really care, I died of laughter after page 3.) Now, there are those coming from serious perspectives, but they focus largely on the problems with Tartaria as a concept rather than addressing the more specific claims being made. This is of course valuable in its own right (shoutout to Kochevnik81 for their responses to the AskHistorians threads), but we can go deeper by really striking at the roots of this ‘theory’ – what is the ‘evidence’ they’re presenting? But to do that, we need to find out what the origins of the ‘theory' are, and thus what its linchpins are. Incidentally, it is because of some recent events regarding those origins that I’ve been finally prompted to write this post.
Where does it come from?
My attempts to find the exact origins of the Tartaria conspiracy have been not entirely fruitful, as the connections I’ve found have been relatively circumstantial at best. But as far as I can tell, it at least partially originates with that Russian pseudohistorian we all know and love, Anatoly Fomenko. Fomenko is perhaps best known in the English-speaking world for his 7-volume ‘epic’ from 2002, History: Fiction or Science?, but in fact he’s been pushing a complete ‘New Chronology’ since the publication of Novaia khronologia in Russian in 1995. While the New Chronology is best known for its attempt to explain away most of the Middle Ages as a hoax created by the Papacy on the basis of bad astronomy, it also asserts a number of things about Russian history from the Kievan Rus’ to the Romanovs. Key to the Tartaria theory is its claim that there was a vast Slavo-Turkic ‘Russian Horde’ based out of ‘Tartaria’ which dominated Eurasia until the last ‘Horde’ ruler, Boris Godunov, was overthrown by the European Mikhail Romanov. This, of course, is a clear attempt at countering the notion of a ‘Tatar Yoke’ over Russia, as you can’t have a ‘Tatar Yoke’ if the Tatars were Russians all along. Much as I’d like to explain that in more detail here, I don’t have to: in 2004, Konstantin Sheiko at the University of Wollongong wrote an entire PhD thesis looking at the claims of Fomenko’s New Chronology and contextualising them within currents of Russian nationalism, which can be accessed online. But I personally suspect that if there are Fomenko connections as far as Tartaria specifically is concerned, they are limited. For one, at one stage users on the Tartaria subreddit seemed unfamiliar with Fomenko, and there are those arguing that Fomenko had ‘rewritten’ Tartarian history to be pro-Russian. This is why I said that the evidence was circumstantial. The only other link to Fomenko is indirect: the CulturalLayer sidebar lists the ‘New Chronology Resource Collection’ and the audiobook of History: Fiction or Science? under ‘Essential Resources’, and Tartaria in its ‘Related Subs’. As far as I can tell, the ultimate origin of its developed form on the Anglophone web traces back to this post on the StolenHistory forums, posted on 17 April 2018. This makes some chronological sense: only one post on CulturalLayer that mentions Tartaria predates this. Moreover, KorbenDallas, the OP of the thread, was also the forum’s chief admin, and given that StolenHistory is still (as of writing) the top resource on CulturalLayer’s sidebar, that suggests significant influence. However, using the search function on camas.reddit.io, it was mentioned at least 9 times before then, with the first mention, on 10 January 2018, mentioning that the ‘theory’ had been doing the rounds on the Russian web for at least 5 years. Nevertheless, as the detail in these early comments is sparse and generally refers only to speculation about maps, it is probably fair to say that the first in-depth English-language formulation of the Tartaria ‘theory’ was thus the April 2018 forum post. Funnily enough, it is not cited often on Tartaria, but that subreddit was created on 27 December, long after discussion had been taking place on places like CulturalLayer, and combined with the ‘mudflood’ ‘theory’ and the notion of giant humans, which are not significant features of the StolenHistory thread. This more convoluted and multifaceted version of the Tartaria theory doesn’t really have a single-document articulation, hence me not covering it here. It is this StolenHistory thread which I will be looking at here today. Not just because it seems to be at the heart of it all, but also because it got shut down around 36 hours ago as of writing this post, based on the timestamps of panicked ‘what happened to StolenHistory’ posts on CulturalLayer and Tartaria. So what better occasion to go back to the Wayback Machine’s version, seeing as it’s now quite literally impossible to brigade the source? Now as I’ve said, this is not the most batshit insane it gets for the Tartaria crowd, in fact it’s incredibly tame. But by the end of it, I bet you’ll be thinking ‘if this is mild, how much more worse is the modern stuff!?’ And the best part is, I can debunk most of it without recourse to any other sources at all, because so much of it involves them posting sources out of context or expecting them to be read tendentiously. But that’s enough background. Let us begin.
Part 1: The Existence
Exhibit 1: The Encylcopædia Britannica, 1771
”Tartary, a vast country in the northern parts of Asia, bounded by Siberia on the north and west: this is called Great Tartary. The Tartars who lie south of Muscovy and Siberia, are those of Astracan, Circassia, and Dagistan, situated north-west of the Caspian-sea; the Calmuc Tartars, who lie between Siberia and the Caspian-sea; the Usbec Tartars and Moguls, who lie north of Persia and India; and lastly, those of Tibet, who lie north-west of China.” - Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. III, Edinburgh, 1771, p. 887.
Starting a post about the ‘hidden’ history of Central Asia with an encyclopædia entry from Scotland is really getting off to a good start, isn’t it? Anyone with a sense of basic geography can tell you that Tibet lies due west of China, not northwest. But more importantly, this shows you how single-minded the Tartaria advocates are and how tendentiously they read things. ‘Country’ need not actually refer to a state entity, it can just be a geographical space, especially in more archaic contexts such as this. Moreover, the ethnographic division of the ‘Tartars’ into Astrakhanis, Circassians, Dagestanis, Kalmuks, Uzbeks, and, for whatever reason, Tibetans, pretty clearly goes against the notion of a unified Tartary.
Now compare to the description given by Wikipedia, ”Tartary (Latin: Tartaria) or Great Tartary (Latin: Tartaria Magna) was a name used from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century to designate the great tract of northern and central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, settled mostly by Turko-Mongol peoples after the Mongol invasion and the subsequent Turkic migrations.”
Obviously, Wikipedia is not a good source for… anything, really, but the fact that they’re giving a 349-year-old encyclopaedia primacy over the summary sentence of a wiki article is demonstrative of how much dishonesty is behind this. And it only gets worse from here.
Exhibit 2: Hermann Moll’s A System of Geography, 1701
THE Country of Tartary, call'd Great Tartary, to distinguish it from the Lesser, in Europe, has for its Boundaries, on the West, the Caspian Sea, and Moscovitick Tartary; on the North, the Scythian, or Tartarian Sea; on the East, the Sea of the Kalmachites, and the Straight of Jesso; and on the South, China, India, or the Dominions of the great Mogul and Persia : So that it is apparently the largest Region of the whole Continent of Asia, extending it self [sic] farthest, both towards the North and East: In the modern Maps, it is plac'd within the 70th and 170th Degree of Longitude, excluding Muscovitick Tartary; as also between the 40 and 72 Degree of Northern Latitude.
Immediately underneath the scan of this text is the statement, clearly highlighted, that
Tartary was not a tract. It was a country.
Hmm, very emphatic there. Except wait no, the same semantic problem recurs. ‘Country’ need not mean ‘state’. Moreover, in the very same paragraph, Moll (or rather his translator) refers to Tartary as a ‘Region’, which very much disambiguates the idea. Aside from that, it is telling that Moll refers to three distinct ‘Tartaries’: ’Great Tartary’ in Asia, ‘Lesser Tartary’ in Europe, and ‘Muscovite Tartary’ – that is, the eastern territories of the Russian Tsardom. If, as they are saying, ‘Great Tartary’ was a coherent entity, whatever happened to ‘Lesser Tartary’?
Exhibit 3: A 1957 report by the CIA on ‘National Cultural Development Under Communism’
Is a conspiracy theorist… actually believing a CIA document? Yep. I’ll add some context later that further complicates the issue.
Or let us take the matter of history, which, along with religion, language and literature, constitute the core of a people’s cultural heritage. Here again the Communists have interfered in a shameless manner. For example, on 9 August 1944, the Central Committee of the Communist Party, sitting in Moscow, issued a directive ordering the party’s Tartar Provincial Committee “to proceed to a scientific revolution of the history of Tartaria, to liquidate serious shortcomings and mistakes of a nationalistic character committed by individual writers and historians in dealing with Tartar history.” In other words, Tartar history was to be rewritten—let its be frank, was to be falsified—in order to eliminate references to Great Russian aggressions and to hide the facts of the real course of Tartar-Russian relations. [similar judgement on Soviet rewriting of histories of Muslim areas to suit a pro-Russian agenda]
What’s fascinating about the inclusion of this document is that it is apparently often invoked as a piece of anti-Fomenko evidence, by tying New Chronology in with older Russian-nationalist Soviet revisionism. So not only is it ironic that they’re citing a CIA document, of all things, but a CIA document often used to undermine the spiritual founder of the whole Tartaria ‘theory’ in the first place! But to return to the point, the fundamental issue is that it’s tendentious. This document from 1957 obviously is not going to be that informed on the dynamics of Central Asian ethnicity and history in the way that a modern scholar would be. In a broader sense, what this document is supposed to prove is that Soviet coverups are why we don’t know about Tartaria. But if most of the evidence came from Western Europe to begin with, why would a Soviet coverup matter? Why wasn’t Tartarian history deployed as a counter-narrative during the Cold War?
Exhibit 4: ‘An 1855 Source’
This is from a footnote in Sir George Cornwalle Lewis’ An Inquiry into the Credibility of the Early Roman History, citing a travelogue by Evariste Huc that had been published in French in 1850 and was soon translated into English. From the digitised version of of Huc’s book on Project Gutenberg (emphasis copied over from the thread):
Such remains of ancient cities are of no unfrequent occurrence in the deserts of Mongolia; but everything connected with their origin and history is buried in darkness. Oh, with what sadness does such a spectacle fill the soul! The ruins of Greece, the superb remains of Egypt,—all these, it is true, tell of death; all belong to the past; yet when you gaze upon them, you know what they are; you can retrace, in memory, the revolutions which have occasioned the ruins and the decay of the country around them. Descend into the tomb, wherein was buried alive the city of Herculaneum,—you find there, it is true, a gigantic skeleton, but you have within you historical associations wherewith to galvanize it. But of these old abandoned cities of Tartary, not a tradition remains; they are tombs without an epitaph, amid solitude and silence, uninterrupted except when the wandering Tartars halt, for a while, within the ruined enclosures, because there the pastures are richer and more abundant.
There’s a paraphrase from Lewis as well, but you can just read it on the thread. The key thing here is that yes, there were abandoned settlements in the steppe. Why must this be indicative of a lost sedentary civilisation, and not instead the remnants of political capitals of steppe federations which were abandoned following those federations’ collapse? Places like Karakorum, Kubak Zar, Almaliq and Sarai were principally built around political functions, being centres for concentration of religious and ritual authority (especially monasteries) and stores of non-movable (or difficult to move) wealth. But individual examples of abandoned settlements are not evidence of broad patterns of settlement that came to be abandoned en masse. Indeed, the very fact that the cited shepherd calls the abandoned location ‘The Old Town’ in the singular implies just how uncommon such sites were – for any given region, there might really only be one of note.
Exhibit 5: Ethnic characteristics in artistic depictions of Chinggis and Timur
I… don’t quite know what to make of these.
Today, we have certain appearance related stereotypes. I think we are very much off there. It looks like Tartary was multi-religious, and multi-cultural. One of the reasons I think so is the tremendous disparity between what leaders like Genghis Khan, Batu Khan, Timur aka Tamerlane looked like to the contemporary artists vs. the appearance attributed to them today.
Ummm, what? These are apparently what they look like today. These are ‘contemporary’ depictions of Chinggis:
In what bizzaro world are these contemporary? We’ll get to Batur Khan in a moment because that’s its own kettle of worms. But can this user not recognise that artists tend to depict things in ways that are familiar? Of course white European depictions of Chinggis and Timur will tend to make them look like white Europeans, while East Asian depictions of Chinggis will tend to make him look Asian, and Middle Eastern depictions of Chinggis and Timur will make them look Middle Eastern. This doesn’t prove that ‘Tartaria’ was multicultural, in fact it you’d have an easier time using this ‘evidence’ to argue that Chinggis and Timur were shapeshifters who could change ethnicities at will!
Exhibit 6: Turkish sculptures
Why this person thinks modern Turkish sculptures are of any use to anyone baffles me. The seven sculptures shown are of Batu Khan (founder of the ‘Golden Horde’/Jochid khanates), Timur, Bumin (founder of the First Turkic Khaganate), Ertugrul (father of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman empire), Babur (founder of the Mughal Empire), Attila the Hun, and Kutlug Bilge Khagan (founder of the Uyghur Khaganate). They are accompanied (except in the case of Ertugrul) by the dates of the empires/confederations that they founded – hence, for instance, Babur’s dates being 1526 to 1858, the lifespan of the Mughal Empire, or Timur’s being 1368 (which seems arbitrary) to 1507 (the fall of Herat to the Shaybanids). To quote the thread:
A few of them I do not know, but the ones I do look nothing like what I was taught at school. Also dates are super bizarre on those plaques.
Again, Turkish sculptors make Turkic people look like Turks. Big surprise. And the dates are comprehensible if you just take a moment to think.
Do Turks know something we don't?
Exhibit 7: A map from 1652 that the user can’t even read
The other reason why I think Tartary had to be multi-religious, and multi-cultural is its vastness during various moments in time. For example in 1652 Tartary appears to have control over the North America.
The official history is hiding a major world power which existed as late as the 19th century. Tartary was a country with its own flag, its own government and its own place on the map. Its territory was huge, but somehow quietly incorporated into Russia, and some other countries. This country you can find on the maps predating the second half of the 19th century.
You know, a common theme with historical conspiracy theories is how badly they’re laid out, in the literal sense of the layout of their documents and video content. Don’t make a header called ‘The Coverup’ and then only have one thing before jumping back to the evidence for the existence again.
Exhibit 9: A Table
Yet, some time in the 18th century Tartary Muskovite was the biggest country in the world: 3,050,000 square miles.
You can look at the images on the thread itself but here’s a few highlights:
1654: Bellum Tartaricum, or the Conquest of China By the Invasion of the Tartars, who in the last seven years, have wholly subdued that empire
1670: Historia de la Conquista de la China por el Tartaro
Histories of the Qing conquest of China, because as far as Europeans were concerned the Manchus were Tartars. Proof of Tartaria because…?
1662: The Voyages and Travels of the Ambassadors of the Duke of Holstein, to the Great Duke of Muscovy, and the King of Persia… Containing a compleat History of Muscovy, Tartary, Persia, and Other Adjacent Countries…
An ambassador who never set foot in ‘Tartary’ itself, cool cool, very good evidence there. There’s also three screenshots from books that aren’t even specifically named, so impossible to follow up. Clearly this is all we need.
Exhibit 11: Maps
The maps are the key think the Tartaria pushers use. All these maps showing ‘Grand Tartary’ or ‘Tartaria’ or what have you. There’s 20 of these here and you can look for yourselves, but the key thing is: why do these people assume that this referred to a single state entity? Because any of these maps that include the world more generally will also present large parts of Africa in generic terms, irrespective of actual political organisation in these regions. And many of the later maps clearly show the tripartite division of the region into ‘Chinese Tartary’, ‘Russian Tartary’, and ‘Independent Tartary’, which you think would be clear evidence that most of this region was controlled by, well, the Chinese (really, the Manchus) and the Russians. And many of these maps aren’t even maps of political organisation, but geographical space. See how many lump all of mainland Southeast Asia into ‘India’. Moreover, the poor quality of the mapping should give things away. This one for instance is very clear on the Black Sea coast, but the Caspian is a blob, and moreover, a blob that’s elongated along the wrong axis! They’re using Western European maps as an indicator of Central Asian realities in the most inept way possible, and it would be sad if it weren’t so hilarious. The fact that the depictions of the size of Tartaria are incredibly inconsistent also seems not to matter.
Exhibit 12: The Tartarian Language
There’s an 1849 American newspaper article referring to the ‘Tartarian’ language, which is very useful thank you, and definitely not more reflective of American ignorance than actual linguistic reality. The next one is more interesting, because it’s from a translation of some writing by a French Jesuit, referring to the writing of Manchu, and who asserted (with very little clear evidence) that it could be read in any direction. In April last year, Tartaria users [claimed to have stumbled on a dictionary of Tartarian and French](np.reddit.com/Tartaria/comments/bi3aph/tartarian_language_dictionary/) called the Dictionnaire Tartare-Mantchou-François. What they failed to realise is that the French generally called the Manchus ‘Tartare-Mantchou’, and this was in fact a Manchu-French dictionary. In other words, a [Tartare-Mantchou]-[François] dictionary, not a [Tartare]-[Mantchou]-[François] dictionary. It is quite plausible, in fact probable, that the ‘Tartarian’ referred to in the newspaper article was Manchu.
Exhibit 13: Genealogies of Tartarian Kings
Descended From Genghiscan
Reads the comment above this French chart. How the actual hell did OP not recognise that ‘Genghiscan’ is, erm, Genghis Khan? Is it that hard to understand that maybe, just maybe, ‘Tartars’ was what they called Mongols back in the day, and ‘Tartaria’ the Mongol empire and its remnants?
Exhibit 14: Ethnographic drawings
These prove that there were people called Tartars, not that there was a state of Tartaria. NEXT
Exhibit 17: Flags of Moscow on one particular chart
It is also worth mentioning that in the British Flag Table of 1783, there are three different flags listed as a flag of the Tsar of Moscow. There is also an Imperial Flag of Russia as well as multiple naval flags. And all of them are proceeded by a flag of the Viceroy of Russia.
By that logic, the Royal Navy ran Britain because the Royal Navy ensigns precede the Union Jack. It’s simply a conscious decision to show the flags of individuals before the flags of states. The ‘Viceroy’ (unsure what the original Russian title would be) and ‘Czar’ of Muscovy would presumably be, well, the Emperor of Russia anyway, so as with the British section where the Royal Standard and the flags of naval officers came first, the same seems true of Russia. Also, as a side note, the placement of the USA at the end, after the Persians, the Mughals and ‘Tartarians’, is a fun touch.
Significance of the Viceroy is in the definition of the term. A viceroy is a regal official who runs a country, colony, city, province, or sub-national state, in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. Our official history will probably say that it was the Tsar of Russia who would appoint a viceroy of Moscow. I have reasons to doubt that. Why is the flag of the Viceroy of Moscow positioned prior to any other Russian flag? Could it be that the Viceroy of Moscow was superior to its Czar, and was "supervising" how this Tartarian possession was being run?
Part 3: 1812
This, this is where it gets really bonkers. A key part of this post is arguing that Napoleon’s invasion of Russia was a cover story for a joint invasion against Tartaria gone horrendously wrong. All the stops are being pulled out here.
There is a growing opinion in Russia that French invasion of Russia played out according to a different scenario. The one where Tsar Alexander I, and Napoleon were on the same side. Together they fought against Tartary. Essentially France and Saint Petersburg against Moscow (Tartary). And there is a strong circumstantial evidence to support such a theory.
Oh yes, we’re going there.
Questions to Answer: 1. Saint Petersburg was the capitol of Russia. Yet Napoleon chose to attack Moscow. Why?
2. It appears that in 1912 there was a totally different recollection of the events of 1812. How else could you explain commemorative 1912 medals honoring Napoleon?
Because it’s a bit of an in-your-face to Napoleon for losing so badly?
And specifically the one with Alexander I, and Napoleon on the same medal. The below medal says something similar to, "Strength is in the unity: will of God, firmness of royalty, love for homeland and people"
Yeah, it’s showing Alexander I beating Napoleon, and a triumphant double-headed Russian eagle above captured French standards. Also, notice how Alexander is in full regalia, while Napoleon’s is covered up by his greatcoat?
3. Similarity between Russian and French uniforms. There are more different uniforms involved, but the idea remains, they were ridiculously similar.
Ah yes, because fashions in different countries always develop separately, and never get influenced by each other.
There was one additional combat asset officially available to Russians in the war of 1812. And that was the Militia. It does appear that this so-called Militia, was in reality the army of Tartary fighting against Napoleon and Alexander I.
4. Russian nobility in Saint Petersburg spoke French well into the second half of the 19th century. The general explanation was, that it was the trend of time and fashion. Google contains multiple opinions on the matter. * Following the same logic, USA, Britain and Russia should've picked up German after the victory in WW2.
Clearly never heard of the term lingua franca then.
5. This one I just ran into: 19th-century fans were totally into a Napoleon/Alexander romance
I am pleased with [Emperor] Alexander; he ought to be with me. If he were a woman, I think I should make him my mistress.
But Napoleon’s ‘honeymoon period’ with Russia following the Treaty of Tilsit should not be seen as indicative of a permanent Napoleonic affection for Russia. Notably, Napoleon’s war with Russia didn’t just end in 1812. How are the Tartaria conspiracists going to explain the War of the Sixth Coalition, when Russian, Prussian and Austrian troops drove the French out of Germany? Did the bromance suddenly stop because of 1812? Or, is it more reasonable to see 1812 as the end result of the bromance falling apart?
So there you have it, Tartaria in all its glorious nonsensicalness. Words cannot capture how massively bonkers this entire thing is. And best of all, I hardly needed my own sources because so much of it is just a demonstration of terrible reading comprehension. Still, if you want to actually learn about some of the history of Inner Eurasia, see below:
The Cambridge History of Inner Asia – 2 volumes so far, covering up to 1886. Not really a single contiguous narrative, as each chapter has its own individual author, but a good general coverage.
Scott C. Levi, The Bukharan Crisis: A Connected History of 18th Century Central Asia (2020) – A book about actual Central Asian history, focussing on the global and local factors that led to the weakening and collapse of the Chinggisid state in Bukhara and the rise of the Uzbek-led Emirate. Also a very good historiographical examination of lay understandings of the period.
Mark C. Elliott, ‘The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies’, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 59, No. 3 (2000) – A discussion of conceptions of Manchuria by Manchu, Chinese, Japanese and European cartographers and geographers, with the section on European geographers being important for getting at the ‘Tartary’ aspect.
David Christian, ‘Inner Eurasia as a Unit of World History’, Journal of World History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1994) – A somewhat older view, presenting Inner Eurasia as a distinct unit in world history, but largely in terms of effects on the rest of Eurasia.
Nicola di Cosmo, ‘State Formation and Periodization in Inner Asian History’, Journal of World History, Vol.10, No.1 (1999) – A partial response to Christian, offering an alternate periodisation based more on the internal dynamics of nomadic state formations and stressing viewing Inner Asian history in terms of those internal dynamics, rather than relegating it to a subordinate place in the histories of ‘Outer Eurasian’, sedentary states.
Konstantin Sheiko, ‘Lomonosov’s Bastards: Anatolii Fomenko, Pseudo-History and Russia’s Search for a Post-Communist Identity’ [PhD Thesis] (2004) – Specifically deconstructs Fomenko’s version of Tartaria.
2020.08.21 14:56 Future_VictoryCriticism of Netflix's The Witcher
A very incomplete list of inaccuracies made by Netflix:
Half of the cast (or more) are people of color when the books were not like that at all
Fringilla has nothing to do with her book character besides the name. Again, at least CDPR didn't make Fringilla rip the guts open to find Ciri. She is also now not of a Toussaint origin, but Zimbabwe. In books, it was mentioned several times that she's white and looks like Yennefer. She was not a villain, and did not interact with Cahir and never made conquering plans like that. Maybe someone is shlicking to the character or actress?
Also, Cahir has nothing to do with his book character besides the name. I highly disliked him and the look of the actor to high degrees. He was so likable in books, almost a Disney prince in my opinion, who genuinely loved Ciri. In books, he never did single villainy at all, he only followed the orders of Emhyr. There is not even a hint that he likes her, he is portrayed as a villainous bastard who killed poor Mousesack. His armor is laughably pathetic and it looks like a shrunken scrotum, plus his helmet is also pretty crappy.
Geralt also bears little resemblance to actual Geralt, they made him a rude (to Dandelion) bodybuilder, rather than a true witcher. Also, Henry Cavill plays the role really badly. He is such a moron who doesn't know where Temeria is (one of the most important kingdoms in the North). Also, gone is Geralt's subtle jokes from books, they are changed to unicellular mommy jokes instead when he was with Sylvan
Yen's backstory is taken from ass, there was no such thing in books at all, there were some very few mentions of her being the hunchback back then, but nothing more than that. On top of that, the backstory was pointless, Yen just magically becomes powerful, no explanation or origin at all
Dara the black elf is also taken from ass. He is so useless, that you can clearly see that he is an additional character. Likewise, I think all of the elves are nothing different from regular humans, except the poorly glued ears from the closest masquerade shop
The plots and contexts of nearly all stories are heavily altered, and similarly, bear little resemblance to the source material. Renfri is made into a tragic hero, rather than a brutal bloody killer. Geralt's killing of her looks like villainy, rather than Lesser Evil
Vilgefortz is so much of a pathetic cuckold, that he also has nothing to do with his character in books. He is constantly henpecked by Yen and loses to Cahir like he has penis hands
Lytta Neyd is made into a repulsive old lady when in books she was a sex bomb
Triss is of a different race, looks older and uglier. I think this is far more extreme than a change of hair color obviously. They also changed the color of her hair BTW
Geralt's first meeting with Ciri in Brokilon is omitted, therefore their first meeting at the end of the season is so stupid. Why would Ciri hug a stranger she never knew? She only has seen him once by a glance, but nothing more. (This one is one of the biggest deviations). After this, Ciri says something that only autistic kid would say: "Who is Yennefer?"
Dryads are made into a comical female African tribe when they clearly had white hair (not all of them but Eithne does) and green skin (all of them are green-skinned) in books. Eithne is made into Oprah Winfrey, therefore they also have nothing to do with their book counterparts. Why do they hurt the trees? Why do they use crossbows? Why are they willing to accept a male black elf into their tribe? Will they castrate him then? What are the odds?
Calanthe is made into an arrogant idiot, rather than a powerful woman-warrior. She goes to a royal ball with all of her bloody armor like a stupid swineherd, then she easily loses the battle with Nilfgaardians like a wimp. Also, her hair color is not like that in books.
Yen's being unable to have children is done by simply cutting off her womb. But this ritual is never mentioned in books, mages and sorcerers are sterile due to the changes in their organisms during the usage of magic, not just because of castration, but Netflix reduced it to this shit. Does it mean that Vilgefortz or Stregobor are castrated? If yes, I will laugh all my lungs out
Dandelion is reduced to a Shrek's donkey type character. Again, nothing like in the books. Nobody likes his songs in this show when in books they were loved by both villagers and royals. He was smart and sophisticated in books (it is seen from his philosophical sayings), but there he is just stupid and his function is to deliver some moronic jokes. Besides that, Geralt treats him like trash, when in books, they were always very close and good friends for life from the very beginning. Therefore another ton of inaccuracies
Foltest is reduced to a fat swine in this TV show rather than a young and wise ruler
It turns out in this show that Tissaia de Vries has a fetish of turning young female mages into snakes or something. She was not a cold-hearted villain in books. Also, Aretuza and nearby Thanned don't look like a royal palace (or at least a beautiful building from outside and inside), but like a barn for cattle
Why are people are so okay living with people of a DIFFERENT race in a non-progressive and xenophobic Medieval age? The forced diversity is such nonsense here, you can see Latinos, Mexicans, Indians, Asians in a single place here! Even modern Europe isn't so diverse in some places. It blocks a suspension of disbelief.
I really cannot believe that such a grey mouse Ciri in this show could be made up to a powerful main heroine. I think in later seasons she will become a full-on Mary Sue just like Rey from Star Wars. The actress doesn't really show a face other than "being scared and confused". Her eyes should have been just emerald green, but Netflix made them look like of heavily drug-addicted people.
It was such a shame that they killed off Mousesack. But you know what? I don't really care because that character portrayed isn't really a true Mousesack. He is not a druid but just a castrated assistant of Calanthe. He also hated Skellige. Hated. The Druid. What else Netflix?
The killer of Mousesack was Doppler (although killed by proxy of Cahir). None of the dopplers were vicious or villainous in books, the writers added a Hannibal Lecter-type maniac here.
Lastly, Yen and Geralt were supposed to be one true love for the whole saga. Yet there is no chemistry between those two. I cannot believe that there is something between them. They just randomly kiss and arbitrarily have sex, but this not for a good relationship, it's just random crap. Even Bella and Edward from twilight could be a better couple. Besides, they made Yen into a slut, because she was totally fine flirting with Istredd and Eyck at the same time when she is dating Geralt. Also, Eyck is made into a stupid moron.
All of this is something seen obviously, there are an additional ton of inaccuracies. The show is almost In Name Only to the source material. While the games are highly accurate like a true continuation, if there are some changes they are negligible, while those changes in the show are not, they are clearly going in a very different direction. Therefore, the games are 100% accurate while the show is In Name Only. Also, the battles are terribly bad like in Game of Thrones, especially Sodden Hill battle (it's not even a hill in Netflix, more like a hut with bums!). Geralt fights like a rookie with his sword (he doesn't hold it properly, especially with Stryga who just easily knocks the sword out of his hand). The special effects are bad (particularly Borch the dragon). The practical effects look like garbage. There is a ton of bad acting. The script has nearly nothing to do with books. There are a lot of plot holes due to inaccuracies. In comparison with this shit, CDPR games are the most accurate adaptation I've ever seen.
2020.08.10 05:21 AaronMcCarterPorn and Me (A personal essay)
Hi all. My name is Aaron McCarter, and like most of you, was addicted to porn. I started when I was around fourteen years old and continued well into my twenties. It was only when I watched a Your Brain on Pornpresentation that I was able to quit. My life and mindset have drastically improved since. I was recently inspired to write an essay about my thoughts and experiences with porn, as well as some of my own suggestions on how to quit. I am by no means an expert, but perhaps reading this piece could offer some value. In addition to publishing it on my blog, Below the Shallow, I've shared it below for you. If you have any thoughts or comments, I'd appreciate hearing them.
Porn and Me
I remember her clearly. Asian with a perfect figure. Lean. Pale skin. Long black hair. Large yet firm breasts. I could see them because she was nude. She was lying down on a bed with a seductive smile, her legs wide open for my teenage eyes to devour. This was my first taste of pornography. She was a photo I found on the Internet. This was before fast cable, during the dial-up days when loading images took minutes, not seconds. Because of this long wait, and the only computer available was in my family’s living room, I printed her out onto paper, among a few other women I selected. These printouts became my most prized possession. I hid them in a drawer under my clothes, only to take them out from time to time to feast upon their naked glory. Eventually I acquired a computer in my private bedroom, as well as a speedy Internet connection. This changed everything. Long gone were hidden printouts and sneaking around on my family’s shared computer. Now with my new setup, I could indulge myself in whatever fantasy I desired, whenever I wanted. At my fingertips I had access to thousands of free explicit videos of all types. As a hormone raging teenager who craved sex, this was a dream come true. I was not without guilt of course. Growing up in a strict Mormon family, I was taught by church leaders about the evils of pornography and masturbation. They told me to never succumb to those temptations or else I’ll be damned to Hell. This moral shaming didn’t stop me, but it did make me feel guilty. After every session I felt disgusted with myself and promised I’d never do it again, which never worked. I always found myself back to where I started. This continued for years. Viewing pornography and masturbating became a daily ritual for me, if not multiple times a day. I had my favorite websites and favorite videos with my favorite porn actresses. They were like my personal harem. I would choose whichever body I fancied that day to serve my needs, as well as continually searched for more fresh meat. I was always on the hunt. With a near infinite supply of digital women, requiring no effort to court or seduce, the only limit to my indulgence was me. I would click through 10, 20, or even 30 videos each session which only lasted fifteen minutes or so. I wouldn’t watch the whole videos of course, but only skimmed enough to find the perfect scene worthy of my orgasm. As videos became familiar, they became boring. I constantly needed new and more exciting content to arouse me. This led me to a dark path where I began to search for novel videos of risqué or obscene nature. Thankfully, I stopped before it got too dark (e.g. child porn), a wretched pit where many porn addicts eventually find themselves in. I was a porn addict, but I didn’t think so. I thought I was a normal guy doing normal things. I was just satisfying a natural urge that all men have. And since I didn’t have a real partner to satisfy this urge, it was fine for me to look. I wasn’t hurting anyone. All I was doing was just watching videos and pleasuring myself. Porn is acceptable and healthy, right? No, it’s not. Pornography is harmful for you in diverse ways. It’s not acceptable and healthy. It is deceptive and pernicious. On the surface it may seem harmless, but in reality, it distorts your mind to tragic ends, leading you down a path to addiction, divorce, and even prison. While the majority of men do look at porn and aren’t afraid of admitting it, what they don’t share are the problems that secretly plague them. Before I get into the problems and offer suggestions on how to quit, I’ll tell you how I stopped. As I said before, I tried to stop porn on my own, but couldn’t. No matter hard I tried, it always pulled me back as if I was under a spell. I knew deep down it was destructive and hollow, but I couldn’t resist the endless supply of women and the quick, effortless release of an orgasm. I practically gave up until I stumbled upon a video, Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. Watching this presentation inspired me to quit. I don’t know how exactly, but I think it was because it taught me a new perspective. Rather than perceiving my porn addiction as a personal and shameful problem, I was able to see it from an objective, scientific point of view. Instead of trying to quit out of guilt and shame, I quit because I understood its adverse effects on my brain and decided it wasn’t for me. After years of daily porn use and repeatedly trying to quit, I was finally able to stop for good. I highly recommend you watch this video. It may be what you need to break free from that addiction. Porn is misleading. It provides you with instant and exciting pleasure, but at the same time, produces a slew of damaging and embarrassing problems. These problems develop over a long period of time, so you don’t know you have them until you do. At this point, you might just think you’ve always had them and porn is unrelated. That is what porn wants you to believe. Here are some problems of pornography, written for straight men, but applicable to everyone.
Porn corrupts your mind
You probably understand the difference between a woman in a video and a real woman. A woman in a video is just an array of colorful pixels on a screen, while a real woman is an independent human being you can interact with and physically touch. This is common sense knowledge for everyone, but for your brain, it’s not. Your brain believes they’re the same. When you watch women in erotic content, your brain believes they’re real. This is why you get aroused. Your brain actually believes that video or image is a flesh and bone female body, otherwise you wouldn’t get aroused. While she is real somewhere on the planet, she isn’t real for you. She’s just a picture on a screen, like a painting on a wall. This takes its toll on your brain. As you masturbate to hundreds of virtual women, your brain thinks you’re actually having sex with all of them. Since it doesn’t know the difference between a picture and an actual person, as well as your hand and a vagina, your brain believes all those titillating females on the screen are real and that you’re having your way with all of them. Moreover, because you have so many “women” to pick and choose from, you have the privilege to select the most attractive ones while discarding the rest. This makes you develop unrealistic standards of physical beauty, which is deluding. Real-life women at that level of beauty are uncommon and they’d probably never consider you as a mate. You are doing yourself no favors by developing these impossible and impractical standards. This abundance of choices produces another detrimental effect. Since you have an endless supply of sexual partners, you’re always searching for new and fresh bodies. Because of this derangement, no single woman will ever make you content. You’ll always want more and more, no matter how much you have. Unless you quit porn, all these distorted views leak into your real world. While you may think your secret porn habit is separate from the rest of your life, it isn’t. How you view women in pornography is how you start to view women in real life: mere objects to satisfy your lust. This mindset causes serious problems when it comes to relationships, whether if you’re single or have a girlfriend or wife.
Problems for Single Men
If you are single and looking for a partner, porn produces problems that make it difficult for you to find one. The first problem is that because porn trains you to view females as objects, instead of unique individuals to be respected and appreciated, you become creepy around them. You’ll say awkward things and unconsciously stare at their bodies like a ravenous animal. Women can sense this from a mile away. They intuitively know something is wrong with you and keep their distance, both physically and emotionally. If you can’t talk to them, you won’t be able to court them or even become friends. The second problem is that porn makes it difficult for you to settle. Since porn conditions you to obsess over physical beauty, you’re always searching for someone more sexy and attractive. Even if you find an amazing woman to date, you’re hesitant to permanently commit to her because you’re afraid of “missing out”. You tell yourself that you can find someone with a better body or prettier face, and then you will be finally content. But you won’t. Porn has brainwashed you to keep looking, and looking is what you’ll do until you quit porn. The third problem is not so much about finding a partner, but rather, about finding the right one. As you objectify women in erotic videos every day, you train yourself to prioritize physical appearance over everything else. Unfortunately this mindset creeps in to your dating life. When you search for a potential partner, you fixate almost exclusively on her body’s attributes, instead of her values, character, shared interests, and everything else necessary for a healthy relationship. You won’t care if you marry a woman with a terrible or incompatible personality, just as long as she is sexy. It is only after years together, when her beauty fades and true self comes out, that you realize you made a huge mistake.
Problems for Men in a Relationship
If you already have a girlfriend or wife, porn creates problems with your relationship. The first problem is that when you regularly use porn, it drives a wedge between you and her, splitting the foundation of your relationship. This happens because watching porn is the same as cheating. As you masturbate to women in videos, you are essentially having sex with them. While your partner may say she is fine with porn, she’s not. As she notices you looking to other women to satisfy your sexual needs, she questions her own value as your significant other. “Why does he do that? Am I not attractive enough?” Those questions get worse as you become consumed with porn. Tensions increase and arguments magnify. You find yourself more disconnected from her as that tiny crack between you both has become an immense canyon. Over time you transform into a different person, a selfish and obsessive addict who is unable to stop. Eventually there’s a breaking point. Your issues are too massive to ignore and you’re forced to quit porn or separate. You don’t want to divorce or break up, so you promise to quit, but you can’t. You always find yourself back to the computer or phone. So you try to hide your addiction from her and pretend everything is fine. Guilt drowns your soul until everything falls apart. She leaves you and you have nothing, except for terrible guilt, alimony payments, and some fake women on a screen. Porn produces this future. Is this what you want? The second problem is that porn negatively impacts your sex life. I recently heard the sad story of a young man. He first encountered pornography at four years old while watching a kids video on a tablet. When his mom left the room, a pop-up advertisement appeared. He clicked the pop-up and it took him to a hardcore porn website, one that immediately showed him a video of anal penetration. Since that encounter he has been addicted to porn, giving him a variety of issues. Now at twenty years old, this man is a virgin but can’t get an erection naturally. Ordinary erotic videos don’t arouse him at all. Even the more extreme stuff rarely works. He needs Viagra, a medication for erectile dysfunction, to barely get a half erection. His life only consists of video games, sleeping, and clicking through porn. He’s unable to talk to women and views them in bitter and degrading ways. This man’s life and mind have become a mess and it’s likely because he started porn at such a young age. A porn addiction leads to problems like this. Due to the overstimulation and overabundance of virtual women, you develop sexual performance issues such as arousal disorder and erectile dysfunction. With these problems, it’s difficult for you to get excited and have an erection, as well as even being able to orgasm. Your brain and penis are so used to masturbating to porn that regular sex with your partner is impossible. This damages your relationship. When you try to have sex and find out you can’t, you feel less like a man since you’re unable to pleasure your girlfriend or wife. This makes you embarrassed and ashamed, but she says it’s okay. However, deep down she’s probably frustrated as well. She has her own sexual needs that you’re not fulfilling. A few times is understandable, but indefinitely? This is a serious issue that can lead to separation. The third problem is that porn encourages you to cheat. If you’re looking at dozens of extremely sexy nude women every day, your partner seems less and less attractive. Compared to the youthful and perfectly proportioned bodies of those digital females, your partner’s body seems dull in comparison, even if she is relatively attractive. This gnaws at the back of your mind. Your spouse isn’t that enticing anymore. She doesn’t arouse you like those other women. You want someone younger and sexier, someone who will eagerly do the naughty things the women in the videos do. But you’re comfortable in your relationship. You’ve been together too long, building a life together. While she isn’t the sexiest or most exciting partner, she’s nice and cooks excellent food so you stay with her. One day you meet a young and attractive woman at work. She’s interested in you. You talk and occasionally flirt, but you tell yourself it’s only as friends. Time passes. You get closer and closer. During conversations with her you complain about how your partner has gained weight, and how she never does anything special for you. And then finally one day, when you go out to get drinks with this new “friend”, you cave. You cross the line and cheat. There’s no need to describe what goes on further. Adultery leads to nowhere good. Either your partner finds out and leaves you, creating a nasty mess in the process, or you keep this lie up indefinitely as guilt tortures and numbs your soul. All this started because you watched porn. This addiction prevented you from being content and grateful for your significant other. You felt like you needed someone new, even if it cost you everything.
Porn can get out of control and destroy your life
Out of all the problems that porn brings, the following problem is the worst. It is the worst not only because it can destroy your life, it can destroy the lives of other people, including children. This problem is the very real possibility that your addiction can spiral out of control, forcing you to do terrible and unforgivable things. Here are three Wikipedia articles about three men. I want you to click each link and read their story and what they did. After you’re finished, come back here and continue reading. Reynard Sinaga Larry Nassar Richard Huckle These men have done terrible things, but we share something in common with them. They are human beings like you and I. Because of this, we are capable of doing what they did. This is a fact. Denying this reality is naïve or ignorant of the evil that resides in all of us. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. We all have done some bad things in the past, and we can yet do more. While this is true, these individuals are extreme outliers. They somehow fell off into a deep chasm where few other people have, and this has cost them dearly. They will never breathe free air, experience the joy of a loving hug, nor participate in the affairs of this world. Their lives and souls are gone forever, all because they let darkness and desire consume them. I suspect their downfall started with a porn addiction. Perhaps they were regular people at one point, pursuing careers and relationships like the rest of us. During their private time they began to masturbate to porn, satisfying those “natural urges”. Whether if it was their personality, past traumatic events, or personal choice, this porn habit became an unmanageable addiction. They couldn’t get enough of it, always searching for more and more, getting so deep that they fell through the bottom. When porn stopped arousing them, they sought other thrills to get the same high. They began to look beyond the screen and into the real world. With their manipulative skills and wicked desires, they found opportunities to sate their lust, though momentarily. Graduated from pornography, they began abusing real people. I don’t know if they touched their first victim by accident or not. No one knows except for them. However, when they did, they chose to cross the line. I imagine after feeling the thrill of violating their first victim, they became obsessed with finding the next one. It was at this moment they stopped being a porn addict and became a sexual predator, driving them deeper and deeper into the abyss. Two of these men are now locked up in prison for the rest of their lives. The other was also sentenced for life, but was strangled and stabbed to death by another inmate. I bet these three individuals never expected this outcome, but here they are, trapped in real world hell, both as a physical place and within their own soul. Perhaps my old church leaders were right. Prison is dangerous and wretched place for sex offenders. I say this as a warning. If you are sentenced to prison for sex crimes, such as viewing child porn, your life becomes even more miserable than it already is. In the minds of other prisoners, you are the lowest of the low, even lower than animals. They won’t make your life easy. In fact, they will do everything possible to make you suffer, even rape you. After prison it won’t be any easier. You’re shunned by all aspects of society. With a record as a Sex Offender, finding a job is next to impossible, as well as ideal housing. No one wants to associate themselves with you, even your old friends and family. You are forever an involuntary outcast, scorned and feared by the rest of humanity. This isn’t the worst of it. If you are a decent person, you’re burdened by the guilt and shame of the victims you abused and the damage you created. Their lives will never be the same. You inflicted immense pain and suffering on them, causing mental, spiritual, and even physical anguish. And all this for what? Your lust for pleasure? Keep of this in mind as you look at pornography. By continuing the habit and allowing it to infiltrate your mind, the situation I described above could be yours too. You could gradually become like them, demented and loathsome individuals who lost their lives and souls, stuck in a hell they can’t escape. This is the reality of addiction. It does not get any better. It only gets worse and worse until you lose control and everything comes crashing down. Because of this reality, you only have one choice. You either choose to control it or allow it to control you. This reminds me of a saying I once read: There are two types of men in this world. Men who are addicted to porn, and the men who refuse to look. Which do you want to be? If the later, I have some suggestions on how to quit for you.
Understand the effects of porn
The first suggestion is to understand the effects of porn using your own mind. This means that you think for yourself instead of relying on me or anyone else. One effective way to accomplish this is to write. Below are a few questions I want you to answer. They concern your personal relationship with porn. By answering them with your own words, you develop and refine your own understanding of the matter, transforming your mind in the process. Get out a piece of paper and pen. Go to a private room and close the door. Don’t listen to any music, but sit in silence. Write down the following questions on the paper, then begin to answer them. Don’t be ashamed of anything that comes out. Just answer as truthfully as possible. This is for you, not me. Why do you look at porn? What are the pros of porn? What are the cons of porn? Why do you want to quit? How has porn negatively affected your life? What have you learned from reading this essay? In order to quit porn, you need to change your attitude regarding porn. Answering questions like the ones above, as well as doing your own research, helps you achieve this. With this newfound knowledge, you can decide for yourself if watching porn is an activity you want to continue or not.
Clean up your home
Habits are notoriously difficult to change, especially if they’ve been a part of your daily ritual for years. A strategy to thwart this to intentionally disrupt your usual routine and environment. When you force yourself into a new situation, you’re better able to break old habits and replace them with new ones. To do this, I suggest you clean up your home and do a week-long detox. You might not believe this, but your home is a reflection of your inner self. How you live reveals the state of your mind. Because of this, if you clean up your home, you are also cleaning up your mind. In this refreshed mental state, you’re better able to resist your old addictive habits and act as a new and improved person. It’s like in the movie, Limitless. Eddie Morra, the main character, swallows a pill that temporarily transforms him into a focused and industrious genius. After returning to his messy and dirty apartment, the first thing he does is clean. He washes the dishes, throws out the trash, gathers and disposes unnecessary junk, and then straightens up everything. After doing that, he sits down in relief and proceeds to write a bestselling book. While that magical pill probably doesn’t exist in real life, the principle remains true. If you want to be more productive, focused, and calm, as well as leave that porn addiction behind, you should clean up your home. Cleaning up your home means the following: Get rid of all useless junk, do a deep clean of everything, and organize your furniture and belongings to produce a feeling of peace and purpose. Just like Eddie. Also, make sure the places wherever you looked at porn are radically changed. Doing this helps you interrupt old habits and form new ones, as your brain must adjust to the new environment. In addition to your physical home, clean up your computer, phone, and any other device you have. These electronic tools are as much a part of your home as your apartment or house. They’re also integral to that porn addiction, so it’s imperative you clean them up. You do this by doing a full factory reset on them (after saving any documents you want to keep), bringing them to a clean, blank slate. Once you’ve done that, try to avoid a cluttered home screen and only install the apps you really need on a regular basis. With this fresh start, you’re better able to act as a new and superior person, one who refuses to look at porn.
Detox for a week
After cleaning your home and devices, I recommend that you undergo a digital detox. Take a week off from work. Go on a camping trip to a nearby forest, an area where there isn’t phone service. Keep all your gadgets at home, and leave your phone turned off and locked in the car the moment you arrive at the campsite. Just relax during this week. Go hiking and fishing. Read a few books. Cook and eat delicious meals. Roast marshmallows over a campfire. Write down your thoughts in a journal. Create art or music. Sit silently in the forest and allow your mind to heal. Truly heal. The first couple days are tough. You feel anxious and bored; it’s torture. The reason for this is because of your addiction. You’re experiencing withdrawal. Your brain has become so dependent on porn that it’s begging you to return. Endure those feelings. Eventually your brain starts to recover and return to a healthy state. It is then that you begin to enjoy yourself and feel a sense of peace you’ve never felt before. As the week comes to an end, you’re surprised you haven’t looked at porn in days. You might even think you’ve overcome the addiction. This is a trap. The real test arrives once you return to your old environment, the place where your addiction was strongest. Even though you had this week-long detox, the time will come when you’re horny and alone and feel the urge to visit porn websites. When that happens, what will you do? Return to your old ways, or refuse no matter what? If you submit to those urges, you’re almost certainly returning to your old, ingrained habits. However if you resist those urges, regardless of how tempting it is, you’re one step closer towards becoming a free man.
Keep track of your success
The third suggestion is a simple one. It’s easy too, and only takes a second each day. Once you’ve decided to quit porn and are fully committed, keep a tally of the days you’ve successful resisted porn. You can do this by creating or buying a calendar. Note the first day you decide to be porn free. From that time forward, write down an “X” for each day you refrained from looking at porn. If, for some reason, you slipped up and peeked at porn, write an “O”. While this is a failure, don’t let it deter you. The next day is a brand new day. Try again as if that mistake never happened. Challenge yourself to earn an unbroken chain of X’s for as long as possible. Keep doing this and you find that the days quickly pass by. Soon you have a week of X’s, then two weeks, then months. The key is to reach 30 days of continual success. After you hit this point, it’s likely you’ve subdued your porn habit to a point where you don’t struggle as much. You might even feel so confident that you stop worrying and relax, but this can be a disastrous mistake. All it takes is one weak moment to reignite your old porn addiction. The habits you developed in the past are always there. While you can bury and replace them, they can never be destroyed and are ready to come back with a vengeance. This is why many drug and alcohol addicts die from relapse. When they relapse, they end up going on an out-of-control bender for days. Their brain is so excited for drugs and alcohol that they don’t know their limits. This same response will happen to you if you relapse with porn. If external incentives are useful, you can set goals with rewards. For example, if you get to 30 days of unbroken X’s, you can reward yourself by buying something nice. And if you get 90 days, you can buy something even nicer. This works great for some people, but I don’t recommend it. Relying on external rewards is dangerous because your motivation is dependent on them instead of yourself. If those rewards somehow become unexciting, you have less reason to resist temptations of porn. Try to quit based on your own volition and understanding, rather than relying on anything or anyone else.
Commit to a higher self
The last suggestion is not a task, but an idea. As human beings, we can develop in a variety of directions. Our experiences, environment, and choices all do their part in molding us over the length of our lives. Some of us become noble and great, while others become savage and despicable, like those three men. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, neither extremely good nor evil, but mediocre and common. This happens because most of us have no idea who we want to be. We just go through the motions of life without a long-term goal or higher ideal to work towards. Instead of becoming someone we admire, we end up becoming whatever external forces made us. This lack of vision creates a problem that enables porn addiction. Without a higher ideal to sacrifice for and work towards, there’s very little motivation to resist immediate pleasure. Because of this, whenever you’re offered two separate choices, like to eat or not eat cake, you always choose the easier and more immediately gratifying choice, also known as the path of least resistance. This comes at a cost. When you go with the easier choice, you miss out on the benefits of the harder choice, which are usually long term in nature. So if you want those long-term benefits, you need to choose the hard path, even if it means sacrificing short-term pleasure. This same occurrence happens with porn. If you have no future ideal to strive towards, what’s stopping you from indulging in sexy women and a quick orgasm? Nothing, really. Your partner may want you to stop, but that won’t do anything. The urge is too demanding in the heat of the moment that you forget her. There’s only one way to resist this urge: You must decide to resist it. And to do that, you must have a reason. One powerful reason is to create and commit to a future ideal you want to become. In doing this, you know exactly who you want to be and what you must do. You understand that this ideal won’t come on its own, but requires that you work diligently and make personal sacrifices to forge it into reality. You also understand how submitting to short term pleasure takes you further away from this ideal. So with this earned knowledge and understanding, you choose to resist all temptations that veer you away from this path. You are now in control. You command yourself. The next question is, what is this ideal? There are countless ideals, often which are opposing. Some people believe George Washington was a noble patriot who helped create an amazing country, while others think he was just an evil white man who owned slaves. So which is it? Is he good or evil? That’s up to you. You must decide what your ideal is. While this is the case, I can tell you what my ideal is. I want to be man who is moral, wise, disciplined, courageous, humble, compassionate, and selfless. He embraces virtue, not vice; self-control, not self-indulgence. He takes full responsibility for his choices as an individual, as well as for mankind. This individual wakes up early each morning to start his day and exercises, only eats the healthiest food available, avoids all mind-altering substances, and uses his free time to improve himself and serve others. He is living a purposeful life, not an empty or destructive one. He recognizes the utility of worldly things, but refuses to allow fame, riches, and pleasure to enslave him. He refuses to look at pornography, instead, devotes all of his love, passion, and attention to an individual woman whom he works to build a deep and lasting relationship and life with. He is in control of himself. No one or nothing else. He is the master of his soul. I could go on, but that’s enough for now. I am nowhere close to being the man I described, but with every day I am given, I am trying my best to become that. This ideal gives me strength and purpose. He is someone I want to be. And because I truly desire this, I have a reason to resist temptations that come my way, including the siren songs of porn. Who do you want to become?
Porn is evil. It twists your mind, ruins your relationships, and can destroy your life. If you allow this addiction to run rampant, it can take everything and more away from you. Transcending this beastly habit requires that you understand its effects and potential consequences. Only then you can decide for yourself. Additional tactics that aid change include cleaning out your home, going on a week-long detox, tracking your success, and visualizing and committing to a higher self. The outcome of this venture depends entirely on you and no one else. This is your life, not mine. You alone must choose how to live. I leave you with a poem that rings true to my heart. I discovered it years ago on an adventure in Asia. Read it out loud a few times and let it seep into your soul. Perhaps it will spark something deep within you. INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
2020.08.01 00:47 rumrumqThe Golden Child Gets Married
I forbid you from stealing my crap and posting it elsewhere. GTFO and find someone else to steal from dammit. I flaired it success because my Egg Donor is a right bitch and her bitterness is making this day bloom in happiness for me. Background: We are South Asian Muslims. My brother is the Golden Child because of his magical penis. It's a "normal" South Asian thing. So my brother just got married to his long time girlfriend. She is Hindu. The conflict between Hindus and Muslims in South Asia is ridiculous and centuries old. My parents, particularly my egg donor holds these views and clutches them to her cold, dead heart. My brother being the GC my egg donor has been particularly concerned with his finding a "worthy" woman to marry. Essentially she wanted to approve his wife and get someone she could control and manipulate. So she FLEW back to South Asian and got him engaged to a girl he'd never seen or met. DESPITE HIS OBJECTIONS. She thought she could get away with this because "He's my favorite! He would never not listen to me!" Dear reader, her delusions run deep. She found out about my new SIL by going through my brother's mail while he was away and about had a heart attack. Alas, he remains the GC so she chose to overlook this "lapse" and decided the only possible way forward was to PRAY AWAY THE DEVIL (aka my SIL). She was sure that she could get rid of my brother's GF (at the time) through her bitchy ways. She kept telling everyone and anyone that he was already "promised" and my SIL was tempting him to sway away from HIS promises to this random girl. She doubled down on the praying, begging, pleading and crying. My brother was not swayed. He ignored it all and continued to date my SIL. My SIL (also an Amazon of a woman) being made of stronger stuff than that was not about to be run off by a crazy woman. She stuck by my brother's side and attempted to form some kind of understanding with my egg donor before abandoning all hope. My egg donor continued her prayers, whining and moaning about this union. She cried how his soul was lost. She tried to convince him that she was the devil's temptation and was trying to lead him astray. My brother didn't listen. Her tears meant less than nothing to my brother. Both my egg and sperm donor attempted to "talk sense" into my brother. He was not swayed. Today he married the woman of his choice. At first they were going to honour both religions in their ceremonies, but the shenanigans over the last few years made them decide that was a waste of money. So they only had a Hindu ceremony and followed only Hindu rituals. The bitterness and anger that my egg donor feels about this brings me such a pure joy I can't explain it. The GC turned his back on everything they stand for and try to perpetuate. He abandoned them for someone else. Someone HE chose. They have no place or worth in his life. The irony is they fail to see where they went wrong and cry about my SIL bewitching him using her "magic". Of course their precious, wonderful, can do no wrong baby boy would never have acted this way on his own. All my life I've been told how I can't measure up to him. How nothing I do is as good as what he does. How he is the son and I'm a daughter. I have always been keenly aware that I was a second class citizen and I tried so hard to win their love. Seeing my brother's giant F*CK YOU to them was everything to me. I hope they both live a long, happy life together and every moment of their happiness burns this rotten, bitter woman. I know it's bad to wish suffering for another, but she literally brought this to herself and I can't help feeling such a sense of satisfaction. I'm not the only one am I? It feels like justice. Edit: I forgot to add the best part! Due to their shenanigans like being dicks and trying to force a conversion on my SIL or demanding that the yet unborn children never be around that "devil worship" (a.k.a my SILs actual freaking religion). My brother decided to move into HER parents house rather than live with them while their (my brother and SILs) house is being finished. The horror and mortification!! Their GC leaving them for a woman. A HINDU woman no less. Just the mere thought makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Edit: For some reason I can't reply to anyone anymore, but please know I read every single comment and I truly appreciate the time you took to write me a message. Some people are concerned that I may be stuck in hell. Please rest assured I escaped through marriage (to a freaking gem of a guy) many years ago and am completely NC with the egg and sperm donor and my extended family for some time now. We also all live in the Great White North so please don't be concerned about religious violence. It's not a factor, but thank you for your concern. I appreciate your good heart.
Last month I posted the outline of my dissertation in this sub. Today, I'm posting about my dissertation was has been classified as a 1st degree worthy essay (82 for those curious) with my head held high and expecting a free dinner with my boyfriend. First off, I want to thank you everyone for showing so much support and enthusiasm to read my dissertation. I honestly thought no one would be interested in it but I am sincerely glad that I was proved wrong. Whilst being able to write about Ace Attorney, reduced the monotony of process, until unfortunately the stress and anxiety of writing 12,000 words got to me multiple times and many time I considered giving up or half-assing it to get a passing grade since only a few toffs in suits would read it and then never give it a second thought. However, your comments really touched me, almost brought me to tears. I am thankful that my hard work will not go to waste and will be immortalised for everyone to enjoy. Academically, I doubt this dissertation will get any attention. I don’t plan on posting it to any official journal due to all the copyrighted material, but this started as a passion project and I’m okay if it stays that way. I am posting my dissertation on to a blog I made: baaceattorney.blogspot.com, and will be posting the dissertation throughout the day. So, here’s a formal introduction. My name is Mary if you have any questions. Anyways, this post is meant to act as supplementary material and summaries for chapters for those who don’t/can’t/want to read all 12,000 words. Also, some definitions for non-sociologists in the sub. I don’t think I’m ever going to talk about a game in this much detail ever again (since I’m not comfortable making 1hr long video essays on YouTube e.g. ‘[insert franchise] is GARBAGE’ - 02:30:14). However, as a pseudo-academic who won’t do a masters until its £9 per year instead of £9000, I guess this is my only opportunity to do this and it’s only worth it to share my thoughts with all of you who care about games and don’t just write nonsense of academic clout. Again, as previously stated in my original post, when I critique the games I hope it came across that I was accusing Takumi, Capcom, or the localisers of being sexist/racist etc. I believe my critiques of the representation of certain characters were fair and while some characters can be seen as offensive stereotypes now (coughJeanArmstorngcough), I do acknowledge that this was mainly the fault of poor knowledge and awareness that these characters COULD cause offence in the 2000s and now in the 2010s/2020s and Capcom have acknowledged this. But enough pleasantries, let’s get to the notes: Introduction Standard stuff. I do my best to introduce AA and why visual novels grew in popularity. Usually, visual novels have limited animation yet Ace Attorney (however much we mock the 2 frame animations) have loads compared other visual novels, and it’s clear that PW:AA had lots of ambition behind it even on the GBA, RftA in the DS version and Apollo Justice, they upped their animation budget and were really proud of it (so much so that they have flashbacks to them every 10 mins). Most games like Ace Attorney want to be movies or anime so badly, and in AA’s case, it eventually did crossover to those mediums showing they were destined be. Yet, with realism comes realistic characters, which leads to characters looking and acting like real people we see on the street, or in Ace Attorney’s case, in a soap opera. However, when you make characters realistic, writers are victim to potentially portraying a character stereotypically or borderline offensively and then create controversy such as [insert whatever feminist or violence-based controversy you were probably thinking about]. Video games, now becoming more realistic and story-driven like literature or film is now exempt from the ‘it’s just lowbrow entertainment for babies’ excuse. We all play games whether casually or hardcore, engaging in fandoms (like this one) and, subconsciously or not, it does affect us. We internalise and interpret characters differently the same way we do offline with strangers and gaming is a part of that process now if done regularly. I didn’t say it in the dissertation, but I’d argue Video Games have replaced TV in terms of major influences in my life and for others too. For instance, I wouldn’t be writing this if Ace Attorney did not impact me in some way to think critically about its content and rethink my opinions after finishing my dissertation. Takumi is not a sociologist, but he definitely writes like one. Chapter 1 I’m not a law student, so I couldn’t comment on the judicial specifics of the AA universe, but its implications I could. I do not know Takumi personally so I cannot psychoanalyse his life and ideologies, but his experiences from his class trial and first-hand exposure to court proceeding are transparent in AA when thinking from sociological perspective. Takumi’s writing really makes you empathise with Phoenix and the juridical system even if you know nothing about law or have a distrust for lawyers and/or the system, especially in Japan where even the best lawyers can show their wins on one hand. I interpreted traces of Althusserian and Weberian ideas (see Louis Althusser and Max Weber, prominent Marxist theorists) about class and institutional biases. Making Phoenix, a Japanese/Japanifornian lawyer the main protagonist is significant. In Japan and in AA, defence lawyers, whilst educated, have lower salaries compared to prosecutors, are less respected and are initially distrusted by police and witnesses. However, Takumi creates a fantasy within the real world, a fantasy where lawyers can win, and innocents avoid conviction. Thus, Phoenix becomes a likable character who wants to reform the system (which he does in AA:AJ) not dismantle it. Outside of law, Phoenix himself is relatable, whether players identity with or as him. I mean considering this sub isn’t about extensively discussing the ethics and laws of the AA world. AA’s main draw is the characters and fan’s investments in the characters as people and their lives. Seriously, go on the subreddit and I guarantee the most popular post will be of Maya looking cute or someone suggest a plot for AA7. Even though I just wrote 50 pages on it, the political/social commentary of AA is irrelevant for the most part. If Takumi genuinely wanted to make a radical commentary on the Japanese judicial system, he should either sold the script to a TV studio or wrote to his local councillor. However, the subtext is present, and it builds the foundation for the series’ characters and motivations. Chapter 2 Okay. This is the big one. I initially wrote this chapter last before the conclusion, but I realised that the localisation prefaces most of not all the racial/gendereligious interpretations I make in this dissertation, so it was moved up. Sooo… many people like myself in gaming/anime fandoms detest localisations and sometimes for good reasons. Some localisations like the 4kids Pokemon dub with its jelly doughnuts debacle really grind my gears. Do they think we’re blind, stupid, and/or racist/xenophobic? I’ve been playing Yo-Kai Watch recently and they also changed the location from Japan to America and while it is less egregious than Pokémon’s anime localisation, it just baffles me more than anything why they still do this archaic practice like… people know about other places besides America right? It is really necessary to localise a character’s race as if Japanese-American people don’t exist. I know that White Americans probably make up most consumer demographics just by probability and numbers but… do companies really think it’s impossible to identify with a character that’s not the same race as you (the answer the yes, as a black person I do it all the time). However, my research did widen my perspective a bit. Before the Japan explosion of anime/manga in the 80s and 90, it was difficult for foreign media to break into American culture and therefore, the mainstream. Iwabuchi’s research shows how Japanese products like Walkman’s were made in Japan and popular in the West but consumers could not tell they were distinctly Japanese. He uses the word ‘odour’ to describe the symbolic smell products give off. For example, every drinks Coca-Cola and knows the brand’s American, whereas Mario is Japanese made yet revered as an American/global icon (whilst looking Mexican). Therefore, companies were willing to compromise and allowed American distributers to make edits/cuts to make global expansion viable and not allow consumers to discriminate against their media based on foreign ‘odour’ since well… Japan wasn’t perceived as a favourable nation post-WWII aside from exporting good electronics. Stuff like editing out guns and alcohol is ridiculous to us but do keep in mind that if you want to market to children in certain countries, the tolerance of this stuff varies. I know this is a touchy subject, but if you making a show marketed for a global audience but maintain the cultural standards of the source country, you risk alienating or worse, offending the audience. This can range from cutting episodes due to toilet humousex jokes (e.g. Yo-kai Watch or adult/teen anime marketed towards young children) or more political things e.g. conservative countries censoring LGBT themes in Steven Universe. Whether it’s morally right or wrong to censor these things is up for debate and varies from nation to nation, but the bottom line is if the causal audience can’t connect with it culturally then hype/monetary gain is lost and becomes a niche product, which is not bad. I consider AA to be a niche franchise with mainstream appeal however lots of media will slip through the cracks if it doesn’t conform to audience expectations and trends. This trend isn’t restricted to globalised media from East to West, this happens to products exported from West to East and also local/national media. It’s a shame if a product isn’t a (inter)national phenomenon, then it’s considered a failure. Ironic considering Japan’s version of the ESRB/PEGI is harsher than ours. It saddens me to think of all the Japanese games/anime etc we would not be exposed to if creators didn’t allow their works to be ‘censored’. Honestly, localisation is unfortunately necessary ‘evil’ and a damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Either you run the risk of alienating foreign audiences and devolving into a Japanese culture class or ruining the cultural integrity of the work and coming off as racist/imperialistic. AA’s localisation is inventive and clever given the constraints to appeal to Western audiences without alienating causal who aren’t exposed to Japanese culture/iconography compared to people within Western gaming/anime/otaku subcultures who can identify the iconography, even if they are ambivalent to Japan itself. Although the ‘Japanese-immigrant village in L.A.’ line is hilarious and similar attempts to act like LA isn’t secretly a Japanese city is silly, I appreciate the effort they went to keep all the Japanese iconography whilst making something original. Also, Asian representation in Western media is pathetic outside the exposure of K-pop, anime, and (Japanese) video games. AA’s Japanifornia mixes the homogeneity of Japan and the diversity of America to allow players to interpret any racial/ethnicity the characters have. AA’s art style makes the character’s racially ambiguous so if you can headcannon anyone to be any race. Personally, before DGS, I just assumed Phoenix was white. Again, like I mention in the essay, different cultures have their own way of interpreting race and labelling people. I’ll admit that when I see paler characters who do not have realistic designs, I just assume they’re Caucasian (unless stated otherwise) and move on. This more of a personal issue for me since as a Black British person since outside of African-American live-action TV and movies, there is a lack of non-white/pale representation in anime and other media, although I do acknowledge that Japan has a significantly less of an African population compared to other Western countries, so as a black otaku I am aware that this is not due to any ignorance or malice on their part since Japan is very homogenous. The only ‘black’ people who I could even argue for in AA would be Nicole and Rooke from AAI2. However, that’s for another dissertation entirely. The point is that any character in AA, unless coded or presented otherwise (e.g. the Feys, Godot, Juan Corrida, Nicole, Rooke and Lotta), most characters are up for debate on their heritage, so the race of the characters don’t matter unless the player notices and cares. I do not think that all white, western players assume most pale anime characters are white and I hope that is not the message I portrayed. However, on the internet and my cited research found that this is a common opinion, even among non-White/Asian fans too. Also, I never got to mention DGS since I only saw a playthrough of it during the cutting stages of my essay, but it is interesting how DGS does not use mukokuseki (racially ambiguous) design so it obvious to differentiate the British characters from the Russians and Japanese since the DGS actively revolves around globe-trotting and cultural differences/learning. While, SoJ does use mukokuseki designs but has more darker-skinned characters to display the difference between South Asia and Japan (Southeast Asia). Furthermore, I do not think Khura’inese names are racist or anything if anything they just piss me off since some of the puns are so blatant and lazy. I understand the localisers must make puns that English-speaking audiences would get and not everyone could infer puns from actual South Asian names/culture but still it’s just annoying. TL;TR: I don’t think AA’s localization is racist, most characters are not racist caricatures and they can be any race you want with enough imagination. Whether you think Phoenix is Japanese or not, it doesn’t matter. AA can be diverse or homogeneous as you want. The series would probably less popular if they didn’t anglicize most the names. Chapter 3 Great on to another can of worms. I hope I don’t upset the GamersTM. For a law-simulation AA takes a lot of liberties and gender representation is one of them. Women are underrepresented as lawyers, police officers and criminals. Really think about, for every male lawyecop/prosecutowitness/defendant, there’s at least one female counterpart and while that doesn’t sound impressive, compared to other media, AA has a decent gender ratio, so much so that I didn’t notice until I went the AAWiki character section and counted the numbers myself. With 509 characters (counting exclusive manga/theatre characters, the gender ratio is about 70:30 which most games can’t compare. But the numbers aren’t important. Are the characters portrayed equally and avoid sexist tropes? And the answer is… sometimes. The fact that Mia is a mentor to Phoenix and a significant influence in his lawyer career is subversive since many women aren’t in those roles irl. Dahlia, the cute, dainty girl as a mass murderer. Ema, a geeky girl who wants to study STEM. Athena, being a playable character (that isn’t dead). Although I still have an inkling Athena was created was to say they had more than one female defence attorney (that wasn’t evil) and by 2013 it was like ‘oh crap still we don’t have a playable female lawyer that ain’t dead and we don’t sexualize every 10 minutes’. Granted, other crime shows have female characters in high-profile careers so it’s not special in that respect, but in video games where most women (and men) are royalty or martial artists, it’s a nice grounded difference. Having a multi-gender usually prevents really pervasive stereotypes since if there is more than one of [insert demographic] than it reduces the chance of horrible stereotypes rearing its head, because you can focus on character and not quotas. In AA, some men are tough and aggressive whilst some are effeminate and meek with characters like Phoenix acting as the middleman on the masculinity scale. He’s assertive and sometimes an asshole, but we see him get emotional, get angry and sad (see the beginning of Chapter 5 of Layton vs AA), without even seeing his face sometimes. Being emotional, intelligent, strong, or sexy is not exclusive to any gender in AA, and many characters overlap when describing them based on traditionally feminine and masculine traits. Hell, I think Edgeworth and Franziska are polar opposites on the masculine and femininity spectrum. Idk what the gender divide for the AA fandom is, but I’ll make an educated guess that there’s a 50/50 split, with a slight unbalance depending on the social media platform (I assume more men use Reddit but all the female Redditors may reveal themselves in the comments if I am wrong). Nevertheless, gender stereotypes and sex jokes do persist in the series, ESPECIALLY in the OG trilogy. Almost as Hsu pointed out in her blog, this is usually due to archaic Japanese norms towards gender and leniency for sex-based humour. Jean Armstrong’s character speaks for itself and Mia’s tits can be considered their own characters considering how often we see them, but elements like Dr Hotti’s EXTRA creepiness was localised out in Western release which I am personally thankful for. Again, I know localisation is controversial, but at the same time, NOT localising taboo dialogue like Hotti’s also runs the risk of controversy as well. While I doubt many soccer mums play AA, I would rather censorship than news outlets finding another way to scapegoat video games. AA is a comedic series and most of the sex jokes are funny such as the 50 shades of Gray, BDSM and milkshakes references in DD and TT respectively. It’s just that to a Western audience where feminist influence is greater here and in Japan, things can be interpreted as sexist (which Takumi jokes about ironically (p.26)) and so a message can be misconstrued from a joke to anti-feminist propaganda depending on the player, but that’s an extreme example. In terms of family, it’s cool how adoptive parents take centre stage in AA since crime can cause family breakdown and kids in those situations end up in foster care/adoption or stay with other relatives (Kay mentions she stayed with her aunt after her father died). Adoption in AA mostly symbolizes change. Changing parents and relationships is denoted by their animations and design. The most obvious example is Trucy. When we meet her, she wears a pink magician outfit, matching Zak’s but when Phoenix adopts her, she changes to a blue outfit to complement Phoenix. Similarly, Edgeworth gets his motif from Von Karma and Turnabout Memories shows that he copied Von Karma’s animations reflecting Von Karma’s strong influence on him over Gregory, his biological father. For biological family, however, it’s much more complex. Biological family members fall into 3 categories: they are present but terrible, nice but dead, or not mentioned. Fathers, brothers, sisters, and mothers are equally dickish so there’s no gender gap here. The Fey’s and Khura’in’s bloodlines and powers are matrilineal is interesting, but the implication that many men abandon their wives and kids or use them for power over it is sad. For the Fey’s I imagine the secluded nature of Kurain Village doesn’t help matters and SoJ mentions many women leave too, but I don’t know, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way since, to me, it implied that a society centred on women was more or less oppressive than whatever society everyone else lives in (I would’ve said patriarchal, but that would upset the gamersTM) but either way I understand that the isolation and uneven power structure would force men out figuratively and physically, which again is sad. However, one thing I did notice was that there are significantly less brothers than there are sisters. seriously, the only male relationships that aren’t friendships or fatheson (in the main series) are KlavieKristop, Acro/Bat and Nuyhuta/Apollo. That’s it. I came to the conclusion that since Turnabout Sisters is such as big motif musically and narratively, women generally have sisters to rely on while men have friendships but still I honestly don’t know why this the case otherwise. Also, no one… uh fornicates in AA. I mean, people have kids but no one we play as secondary characters do. Character express desire, lust, and make innuendos… but no one pairs up. Other than Godot and Mia, I don’t think there’s any canon pairings at all. Yes, characters have gotten married but usually one or both are dead, and do not remarry (except Thalassa). Maya and Phoenix are just friends. Phoenix has feelings for Iris but never formally dated after 3-5. Edgeworth and Phoenix have all the homoerotic tension of a BL doujin but that never goes anywhere. The fans do the pairing for Capcom so what’s the point. It’s funny how in AA all the characters have decent relationships one another that almost all romantic relationships are viable. AA7 could have Phoenix settle down with Maya or Edgeworth and I’d be fine with either pairing. It’s kind of nice that most heterosexual relationships in AA aren’t explicitly romantic and most homosexual pairings are viable whilst still showing sisterly/brotherly/bromance bonds. Any other writer would have had Phoenix confess his love for Maya the second she became legal in JFA, but no Takumi makes everyone social distance inside and outside of the court lol. TL;TR: AA’s gender representation is better than most games. Men and women are equal, but Capcom is still contractually obligated to at least one tit joke per game (although post-AJ it’s with Athena’s lack thereof). Friendship triumphs over everything even over romance. Most parents are murderers, victims of murder or just horrible people overall. Phoenix may be bisexual who knows. Idc, Capcom please release an official AA dating sim (its only sexist if male opinions aren’t available) Chapter 4 Religion and science are two majors, contrasting elements in AA. Both utilized for practical purposes by Phoenix. Forensics serves as a method of validating the defence or prosecution’s claims. It can’t be disputed, manipulated yes, but rarely faulty when under perfect conditions. Religion or the spiritual is ironically similar. Spirit channelling as an act and ritual is real. As shown in 2-1, the act can be manipulated. Spiritual power is biologically innate in Fey women and the Khura’inese royal family. The act requires physical and mental training like studying forensics and conducting fieldwork. Both forensics and Khura’inism are validated by their oral and written proof of their existence, and their shortcomings and advantages are explored in various cases. Both have strict rules and guidelines for users to follow or else the technique doesn’t work. Honestly, the fact the religion/mythology is so openly validated in AA is weird but after some research its not hard to see why. Apparently in Japan, society is secular, but spirituality is still high. Old temples and shrines are still present and festivals which celebrate Japan’s religious past still occur but are mainly ceremonial and done for tradition (but obviously there are still devotees to religions in Japan). People who play Final Fantasy and other Japanese games will find that religious themes and designs are based on Gods in Buddhism and Shinto and other non-Asian-based religions (which have been subject to controversy for obvious reasons). Okami and Yo-Kai Watch are just some games are just devoted to the fictionalisation/validation of Japanese mythology in the context of their respective games. Are Yokai real? I don’t know but according to the games, people have been able to communicate with them for centuries (and some exist in America apparently). By all metrics in AA, Khura’inism is the ‘one true religion’ or at least the only religion with proof of its founders’ existence and hereditary powers. I was actually disappointed Amara or Gar’an didn’t channel the founder at the end. Would have shut all the sceptics up, because I was really annoying how all the American/Japanese characters kept calling Khura’inism stupid yet they’ve all witness proof of its authenticity (Phoenix especially considering he’s seen Mia DEAD more than Misty saw her alive). TL;TR: Science or religion are equally beneficial to Phoenix. No one method is the best way to solve a crime, so AA teaches players to use anything at your disposal. Mia was already hot but the second she was channelled in Maya/Pearl’s clothing, she had rule 34 written on her tits. Maya’s so cute to a point where she can still be lewded regardless of whether she’s dressed as a nun or not. Amara probably stopped WWIII from happening. If you don’t believe in the Holy Mother you’re an infidel. Chapter 5 This series is so intriguing. For a visual novel where you can only see one character at time over a background, this series captures so much heart and emotion. Even if you don’t know anything about law you’re able to empathize with the victims and grow to hate the villains yet understand their reasoning for their actions (except 2-3). I don’t plan on going to law school because of AA, but some of you on Reddit said it gave you a spark of interest to study criminology and forensics and go law school. It’s amazing that one game could inspire so many great sequels and spin-offs as well as player’s imaginations. The fan-art, cosplay, Let’s Plays, all to express passion and talent for one series. AA is one of the few series which classify as popular by numbers and in gaming pop culture, AA’s depth and length as a visual novel makes it so only the memes and OBJECTION! are well known as outside the periphery of this fandom. This makes the fandom culture online/offline 100% less toxic compared others and fortunately the enthusiasm of the community is not diminished by lack of recognition. Fan-made localizations (Shout out to Scarlet Study) and translations done by the community are amazing. Quite frankly, AAI2’s fan localization is the most impressive ‘fan work’ of I’ve seen done by an indie team. Keeping the localised puns and added voices clips really set it to a high standard. It’s amazing to see fans so dedicated and productive. Doing this dissertation and observing the fandom from afar was a great experience. I only wished I’d told the sub about my work earlier so I could get direct quotations from all of you about the topics I’ve discussed, but unfortunately I was (and still am) quite shy and anxious about sharing my work with others, especially online given how SOME gamers can be about any critical analysis of video games, positive or negative. Lots of academic works analysing video games focus on the violent, misogynistic/GamerGate nonsense, and the toxic culture associated with gaming spaces and while some studies and analyses are truthful, it not reflective of every series or fandom. I tried my best to do something different beyond this paradigm that games are just toys that cause people to kill or hate women. AA the series and the fandom really tested my critical thinking and opinions of video games as I wrote this. Gaming means a lot to me and to a lot of you I’m sure it’s gotten you through tough times, frustrated you or encouraged you to do something new, whether it be law or post your fanart to this sub. In sociology, identity is a personal yet collective concept. We all have one but sometimes have different ones we present to others. AA’s characterizations reflect this. AA’s characters may not be real, but their real-world influences and parallels can be ignored or understated. I don’t know how much individual characters made you reflect on your race, gender and religion in a positive/negative/neutral way but personal for me, it reaffirmed and challenged most of my thoughts on things. Most of this was due to the cultural differences between Japan (Eastern) and Western values/mores. From minor questions like ‘Why is Will Powers seen as unattractive when he looks like a meeker Hugh Jackman?’, to major ones ‘Why was the Fey clan up their own arses when they allowed Misty to banish herself and abandon her kids?’ and ‘Why is Phoenix’s school’s encouraging fascism/public degradation to children. Both questions can be justified by simple cultural differences surrounding gender, family, and punishment (explained in Chapter 1/2). All my personal interpretations of race and sarcastic ‘where are all the black people?’ and ‘Why the f*** is Acro is bright red and dressed like a (stereotypical) Native American when he never mentions his heritage?’ questions mean nothing when Japan is a homogenous society/culture and generally do not always portray other races/ethnicities (positively or negatively) unless creators have an interest in doing so (For example, according to Soul Eater creator, Atsushi Ōkubo created Kilik to improve the representation of black people in manga). The proliferation of women in law or in court wearing skin-tight/low cut clothing that would make your local pervert blush is annoying, but is for all intents and purposes, is meant to be amusing and not demeaning (And I also do find them all attractive so I’m just as horny guilty for enjoying the view). What we as westerners might deem ignorant and take the moral high ground for is due to living in a melting pot of cultures or personal exposure, is perfectly innocent to the Japanese public. Of course, NOT all Japanese raging are racists/xenophobes (we have enough in the West as it is) and when you actually go beyond amine/weebs talking over actual Japanese people, you may learn that many ‘ist’/’obic’ rhetoric is not condoned there and is increasingly resisted against as many people globally are more socially aware of each other and other cultures. While I doubt there’s a Japanese woman writing her dissertation in parallel to me, and I’ll naively assume that the critiques I spoke about would be similar but who knows. I would be interesting to see how Japanese people would react to this dissertation but unless someone is generous enough to translate 12,000 words for free (or £10 Nintendo eshop voucher) I doubt it, but I will hopeless wait in my pm box if anyone’s willing to. TL;TR: Ace Attorney’s awesome and I opened my mind about how different cultures perceive identity and culture. You have the ability to enjoy media and still THINK critically about it and what messages it conveys, but at the end of the day, AA among other games, are made for our enjoyment. If AA made you smile, laugh, or cry or go out and get a law degree, then it has fulfilled its purpose. Acknowledgements Special thanks to the AA community not only on Reddit but everywhere on social media. THANK GOD! I’m so glad a franchise I only got into a year ago doesn’t have a toxic fanbase I accidently ran into (late stage Steven Universe fans know what I’m talking) and everyone on the sub talks and acts like NORMAL people who are civil with each other unlike other gaming communities I’ve seen. I feel very comfortable posting here, which is a rare feeling since both offline and online I’m very shy/lonely person, and the volatile examples of social media drivel, fan wars and cancel culture have unfortunately heightened my anxiety x10000. (Seriously, I purposely ignore live chats on official gaming streams for this reason) I have always been hesitant to share my thoughts online or at the very least chat and make meaningful friendships. But everyone on this sub, close friends or not, is very nice and civil, even when making jokes and debating one another. Even though I wished I had asked the sub earlier to contribute first-hand opinions of the series, I am still happy this sub was an important part of my citations. Seriously the mods, do a fantastic job, keep up the great work! Janet Hsu and the localisation team. Hsu’s blog was instrumental to getting developer’s and localizers’ insights on AA’s development. These people are single-handedly response for all the weird representational oddities in the franchise and I’m in great debt to them. Within the corporate restrictions they made an American-Japanese California hybrid work. I still believe they are a textbook example for who a globalised localisation CAN work with insulting the creator or foreign audience. Regard less of its own silliness at times, Japanifornia makes the AA world much more interesting compared to if it just was Tokyo or California. Court-Records.net. and Ace Attorney Wiki Contributors. I would be nothing without you. All the images, notes, trivia, translated material and citations in my dissertation, that I did not find on my own, I got from you. Fans make a fandom, but fans who maintain records and articles about a franchise for others to enjoy and learn from maintain a legacy. I’m honestly astounded by some of the info kept on these sites after so long (I wasn’t even in the double digits when people started posting in the CR forums!). Their dedication is something to admire. Thank you. My Boyfriend. I remember when you suggested we play AA together after finishing the Layton series. We spent the whole summer the series in my small uni room playing snuggled together in the blistering heat. When I was contemplating my dissertation topics, you immediately suggest AA and I sent my outline in. My tutor was impressed. Even if Capcom never releases AA7, the series will always be in my heart since AA combined with Layton, brought him and I closer together as friends, S/Os, gaming partners, and soon roommates. If I never accepted his FB request don’t think I’d give this series a chance let alone write a whole paper about it. I love you honey and I hope AA7 comes out before our 50th wedding anniversary. If you would like to share my work on other platforms, please ask before doing so, or at least redirect/link people back to this page for credit. Also, if anyone is insane nice enough to translate my work in Japanese or any other language for non-English language fans to read that would be amazing too. Thank you all for taking interest in my work. Enjoy the dissertation and keep enjoying Ace Attorney!
2020.06.18 22:15 BudRock56BUD & STEINER’S ADVENTURES: Bud Tries To Prevent Steiner From Being Raped By A Sasquatch, But Fails!
It was back in 1993 or so when I received a phone call from Kentucky. It was my good buddy, Steiner. “Bud!! Bud!!! You got to come up here right now!!! There’s a huge creature on my property!!! I’m scared shitless!!!” It was Steiner, and he was hysterical. He is always calling me when he gets a little Bigfoot activity on his property. He is a bit of a pussy, if you know what I mean. I had to work at it, but I finally calmed him down. I told him to tell me exactly what happened and to do so both slowly and succinctly. Apparently, one of those bigfoot he thinks is haunting his homestead turned out to be real. Then son of a bitch came crashing through the woods at Steiner in the middle of the night while he was outside taking his dog to piss. Steiner managed to scoop up his mutt and run into his house ahead of the charging beast just in the nick of time. Later that night Steiner was harassed by the monster. It repeatedly banged on the side of his trailer home and aggressively vocalized. Steiner was virtually catatonic. Then, not long before sunrise, he finally glanced out a window. That’s when he saw it. A huge black shadow of a hairy creature standing 10 feet tall, arms hanging down to its knees, conical head, no neck, and glowing red eyes. Steiner claims that it scared him so badly that he lost control of all bodily functions. “Bud, I was so scared I pissed myself!”, Steiner told me. I said “Keep your bodily functions to yourself, asshole.” He begged and begged. Finally I said, “ok, ok. Let me grab some guns and gear and I will be there before nightfall.” Steiner started thanking me and telling me how much this meant to him as I was hanging up the phone. “What a putz”, I said. It was 6:00 am. Steiner has just experienced this bullshit. I wondered whether it was real or if he was snorting Sudafed again. Then I glanced over at the young, hot Asian chick in my bed. I said “fuck Steiner”, then I fucked the Asian beauty once again. In fact, we rolled around in bed until around noon. Then she cleaned my house and left for work. I passed out and woke up around 4:00 pm. My cell phone was ringing, playing “Hammer Smashed Face” by Cannibal Corpse as the ringtone. I picked up my phone and looked at it. It was Steiner. So I silenced it and went back to sleep. Now your old Buddy, Bud, ain’t gonna lie to you. Back in the day it was not unusual for him to get coked and liquored up then go on wild sex and coke binges for days on end. Since I was just crashing from one of these binges I slept for hours. Sometime around 5:00 am I woke up and got a bite to eat from the kitchen. I made a sandwich for myself, then sat in my recliner to eat it while I watched the VHS video I recorded earlier of me and the Asian chick fucking. It was fucking SPECTACULAR! You never look as big as when you are coke-horny and fucking a chink! I was thinking about sending this one to Vivid as an audition tape. In fact, it was almost too good! It got me aroused all over again and I had to rub one out to my own video! I am a fucking hardcore sexual athlete! Then something hit me. Something was missing. I knew what needed to be done. That video needed MORE Asian bitches! Oh, and they all needed to be crying! I figured that with me and my rod, and then 3 Asian bitches, I was sure to get signed to a porn contract out in L.A.!! I snatched up my phone so I could call my date from last night, sweet little Bang-Mee, and get her to round up a couple more sluts from the Sushi joint where she works so we could shoot a MFFF 4-way sexual bonanza! But when I looked at my phone I could see that I had received 97 phone calls, 42 voice mailed, 103 texts, and 78 emails, ALL since the last time I checked. My phone was BLOWN UP! They were all from the same person too: Steiner. “Oh shit!”, I thought, “I totally forgot about that sumbitch!” So, a couple hours laters I had Bang-Mee at my home, along with her slutty friends Bend-Mee and Bang-Ho. We shot hardcore fuck sessions for hours. At one point all 4 of us were sacked out together on my bed resting, exhausted, battered and bruised. I vaguely remembered hearing my phone’s ringtone. Then one of the whores answered the phone. “Ha-Row? Ha-Row?” The dumb slut was trying to answer my fucking phone but she barely spoke a word of English. I came to, yanked my phone from her paw, and then slapped the shit out of her. “HELLO?!?”, I barked into the phone. It was Steiner. “Bud?!? Where are you?!? You promised you were coming. Where are you?!?”, he asked. I said, “Look dude, I got held up by some Asian pussy, you know what I am saying?” There was a pause, following by an impatient sounding Steiner asking “Bud, you’re doing coke again, aren’t you?” I immediately felt ashamed. You see, the last time I got together with old man Steiner I went off on a coke-fueled binge while we were in western North Carolina hunting the Cherokee Devil. We stumbled upon a campsite where a couple sweet young things were on an overnighter. I ended up staying with them and fucking them both all night. Steiner got mad and wandered off. The next morning when I woke up the two campers were dead and I had no memory of what happened. I panicked, grabbed my rifle, and took off running through the woods naked and looking for Steiner. I finally ran into old Steiner about a mile from the campsite. Old man Steiner was able to calm me down and convince me that the two sluts and their campsite had to be set on fire and burned to destroy the evidence, especially the DNA evidence I most assuredly left all over and inside those two whores. I could not bring myself to return. I was catching a mighty bad case of the fear. Like a man and a true friend, Steiner said he would take care of it. So he set off toward the camp to take care of the problem, and I sat down at the base of a big ass pine tree to await his return, naked and clutching my AR-10. But Steiner never returned. The day started to grow late. I had calmed down and started to get hungry. I started to worry about Steiner. I mean, either he ran into problems or he just left me out here as payback for ditching him last night to fuck whores. The more I thought about, the more convinced I became that the sneaky rat-bastard, Steiner, just walked out of the woods and left me. He was punishing me. He was getting even, which was incredibly petty given that my little romp at the campsite turned into a fucking crime scene. Could Steiner REALLY be this fucked up and shallow? YEP! I decided I was going to get the fuck out of there, find Steiner, and put my foot up in his ass. I stormed off. But then I started thinking about the dead bitches and the fact they are covered in my DNA. “Steiner was right”, I thought to myself, “I need to destroy the evidence”. So I headed to the camp first to take care of that. Afterward I would go beat the shit out of Steiner. So, I headed toward the campsite. The bitches had some cooking oil. I figured I would just throw some oil on them and their shit in their tent, cover them with as much flammable shit as I could find, then set it all on fire. Hopefully the ground and trees would all catch too. I am like Peter North on Steroids. I blast ropes all over the fucking place. There was probably dried jizz from me in the fucking trees. As I approached the campsite I began sensing that something was wrong. I heard strange noises, muffled sounds, and a low whimpering noise. I immediately went on high alert. I also recalled that these woods are the lair of the feared Cherokee Devil, an ominous and deadly Sasquatch that has struck fear in the Cherokee Nation for generations. I went into tactical mode seemlessly, hit the ground, and belly crawled the rest of the way. It was already getting dark when I reached the edge of the campsite. As I approached the odd sounds grew louder and clearer. I raised my rifle and pointed it in the direction of the camp. I could see movement, but I could not make out anything. I engaged the night vision scope I have mounted on my rifle. I could now see, but the view was still rather obscured. I slowly rose up off the forest floor. Then I saw it. It was absolutely fucking horrible. I mean, I was already more than half-way at full erection because I thought I was about to engage an enemy and get to shoot someone. But when I saw THIS, both my heart and my wang dropped! There was old Steiner, bent face down over a log. His pants were around his ankles. There behind Steiner and on its knees was a HUGE Sasquatch, pounding his cock into Steiner’s ass. It was vicious too. That Bigfoot’s dick was as big around as a fucking gallon milk jug. Then, apparently sensing my presence, the creature turned its upper body and faced toward my position, staring right at me. It’s eyes were red and glowing with hate. It was the Cherokee Devil! The beast of a million nightmares was looking right at me! I opened fire, immediately dumping my 20 rd mag into the beast. I then dropped my rifle, charged into camp, and retrieved my .44 magnum from my backpack which I stupidly left behind when I evacuated the camp earlier. The beast was just getting to its feet, not 10 feet from me, I took aim at the red eyes and started blasting. That big fucker let out the most horrible, sobering cry of pain I have ever heard in my life. Clearly I had hit it and caused major damage. It then instantly turned and crashed off into the woods. But I was in no condition to pursue, so I let it go. But I will note that since that night there have been no more sightings reported from that area of a beast with glowing red eyes. I never saw the Cherokee Devil again after that. I got dressed, walked over and kicked Steiner, then said “Get the fuck up, bitch. We got work to do. Stop afterglowing and be a man.” He struggled to his feet. I have to say, I was actually glad that I found Steiner out here being raped by the Cherokee Devil. It means he did not run out on me like some chicken-shit, rat-bastard. Instead, he had, in fact, came to the camp to do the job he set out to do - to do old Bud a solid. A wide smile came to my face. I looked over at Steiner, who was rubbing his butthole, and asked “Did you enjoy that monkey cock up your ass, faggot?” He shot a disgust look my way and I laughed. We burned up the campsite and surrounding woods pretty fucking good. Certainly, it was good enough to get rid of all my DNA. Old Steiner and I hiked out of there. I made gay jokes about him the entire way, and he just took it, like a bitch! So I am a little sensitive about my personal shortcomings around Steiner. If not for my then affinity for coke, booze, and pussy, poor old Steiner would not have been raped by the Cherokee Devil. Steiner now knew, just from our brief telephone interaction, that I was lit up again. I took a deep breath, sighed, and said to Steiner “It does not matter, dude. I am on my way up there now.” Steiner immediately perked up. “REALLY?!? THAT’s AWESOME, BUD!”, Steiner was about to piss himself like a dog when his master returns home from work. I hung up. I did not really want to blow off my porn film with the Asian sluts. It was a great opportunity and I wanted to pick up where I left off. So while they were passed out I hog-tied the three of them, wrapped duct tape around their eyes, and locked them in my closet. They are so coked up and such depraved cum-sluts that this will just make them hornier for when I get home. I grabbed some gear and my guns, then took off for old Kentucky. As I neared the Tennessee Border I decided to listen to the voice mails Steiner left for me why I was gluing the snitch. Most of them were pretty pathetic, like a little kid waiting on his best friend. But a couple of them were whacked out crazy. One, for example, had Steiner’s pathetic message interrupted by what sounded like a demonic lion’s roar, followed by Steiner screaming like a fucking woman. Another one was Steiner begging for his life while some loud and aggressive clawing sounds were in the background. I thought to myself, “Shit, maybe the ugly fuck-face actually DOES have an aggressive Sasquatch up there.” I sure would hate to hear about Steiner getting raped by a Bigfoot again, especially when I could be there to stop it. The fact is, that Sasquatch could at any time catch, kill, and eat poor Steiner. It could also catch him and rape him anytime it wanted to. So, why all the torment? Only one thing made sense to me: this is the Sasquatch Mating Ritual. Just as I was reaching for my phone to call Steiner it rang. I had assigned “Creep” by Radiohead as the ringtone for Steiner. I could tell by Thom Yorke’s melon collie tones emanating from my phone that Steiner was on the line. “BUD!!!! HE’S BACK!!!!! HE’S HERE!!!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!?!”, screamed Steiner. I yelled at him to lower his voice and calm the fuck down. I explained to him that all the creature wants to do is impregnate him. I said, “Look, worst case scenario, just bend over and give up a bit of that man-pussy. Then it will leave you alone.” My advice did nothing to calm Steiner. I started hearing pounding on the walls in the background. Clearly the beast was there and it was trying to get in Steiner’s house. I told him I was still two hours away and that he was going to have to hold off the Bigfoot until I get there. Steiner asked me how to hold off the Sasquatch. I told Steiner to stick a finger up it’s ass while he is blowing the monster. Then I laughed out loud, satisfied with the humorous nature of my joke. However, Steiner was not amused. Finally I asked, “Well shit, Steiner, do you still have that five-seven pistol?” He said he does. I told him to let the Sasquatch in, aim it at the monster’s sperm-engorged balls, and blast them to shreds. At least that way it will not be in the mood to fuck him. A pause ensued on our phone call. I could tell that Steiner was considering it. “Will do!”, exclaimed Steiner. I commended him. I said, “Ok, dude, you blow his balls off. He will run off holding their bloody pulp between his hands, screaming like a bitch. By the time it gets composed and all worked up in a rage to return and kill you, I will be there.” Steiner agreed. I hung up and increased my speed from 100 mph to 120 mph. Well, the plan fell apart immediately. That old Bigfoot busted straight through the door on its own, knocked the pistol out of Steiner’s hand, threw him face down on the floor and then pumped about 10 gallons of gorilla jizz up his ass. When I got there Steiner was still unconscious and Sasquatch jizz was coming out of his mouth. The monster was long gone. Honestly, it looked like Steiner had rabies with all that foam dripping out of his mouth. That squatch must have shot so much monkey love up into Steiner that it backed up into his esophagus and then out his mouth. He was saturated in it! After about 15 minutes I was able to stop laughing and compose myself. Steiner was crying about wanting to go to the hospital. I called him a “pussy” and told him to lie face down on the floor. I was going to sew him up. Steiner tried to protest. I kicked him in his sore ass, told him to shut up and get on the floor like I told him to. He obeyed. I managed to scavenge up an old rusty sewing needle from Steiner’s junk drawer there in his little ramshackle abode. His kitchen was merely a card table with a hot plate sitting on it. Pathetic, I know. Then I found some 20 lb test fishing line. Then I went to work. Old Steiny’s hiney was torn wide open like a sack of KFC chicken-n-biscuits at a negro titty bar. I threaded that fishing line through the needle eye. Then I looked for some anesthetic. The simplest thing would be booze. I asked Steiner what kind of booze his sorry ass kept. “Well, I got a six-pack of Pabst beer in the ice box”, Steiner said. I looked around. It turned out that his refrigerator was an Igloo cooler sitting on the floor near his “kitchen”. “Fuck that pussy shit”, I said. I pulled out my flask of Jack Daniels, took a good, deep slug, swished it around in my mouth to enjoy the sweet goodness of old JD’s product, then spit it on Steiner’s ass. I told Steiner he needed to bite down on a spoon while I stitched him up. Time was becoming an issue, as the bleeding was profuse and his colon was about to fall out. Unfortunately, that white trash bastard didn’t have any silverware. So I gave him a dirty plastic spoon covered in dog hair I found behind his sink. Then a thought hit me. I asked, “Hey, Steiner... where the hell is your dog anyway?!?” Old Steiner started whimpering, then balled his eyes out. Then, through all the tears he said “The Bigfoot ate him!” Well, that didn’t sit too well with me. It’s one thing to get a little piece of ass from a neighbor when you are feeling frisky. But killing a man’s dog is never acceptable. Ever! I told Steiner that we would kill that bastard Sasquatch just as soon as I get him stitched up. Still whimpering, Steiner said “H-h-h-hurry...” I stitched up that sumbitch with fishing line then sat him down on his skeevy futon. “Ok, let’s get locked and loaded and go kill that monster!”, I said. But old Steiner was having none of it. He was still bitching about his ass hurting. I looked at him a moment then said “You fat faggot! Are you just going to let that Bigfoot get away with killing your fucking DOG?!?!??” Shit, man! I know bitches with bigger balls than you got!” But old Steiner just closed his eyes and moaned. It was time for an agonizing reappraisal of the entire situation. Steiner was a bowl of Jello. He was not good for shit. So I decided I would go it alone. I grabbed old man Steiner’s cheap piss beer and handed it to him. I then patted his left shoulder and said “Ok, old man. You have been brave enough for one night. Drink a cold one or two and relax while I go out there and get that damned old monster for you.” Steiner looked up at me and smiled the best he could. Then I turned and walked through the door. Before heading out I rigged Steiner’s front porch with some C-4 explosives I had laying around in my truck, and then jiggered together a device for remote detonation. I used an old cell phone for the detonator. When I hit “call” it will detonate the C-4. What I did not tell Steiner is that the Sasquatch would be back. They always drown a bitch Sasquatch with jizz in order to ensure procreation and, thus, perpetuation of their infernal race. Left alone, that damn monster would come back to rape Steiner 5-6 more times, whether he was dead or alive. My plan was simple. I set up a blind just off from Steiner’s shitty little shack. While I was armed to the teeth, my plan was to let the beast walk up onto the porch when it returned to fuck Steiner, then blast it all to hell with the explosives. I made up a little blind of bushes and trash, the latter of which was strewn about all over Steiner’s yard. “What a fucking sloppy pig...” I thought to myself. But, whatever. I would kill fat-boy’s Bigfoot, then haul ass out of this dump with the corpse. I have a connection I sell my Sasquatch corpses to. He harvests the glands and uses them for all sorts of weird shit. But that’s none of my business. I am only interested in his cash, which he seems to have in excess. The night was quiet. In fact, it was too quiet. All I could hear was Steiner moaning and crying in his shack. My God, he is a big fucking baby! Then out of nowhere I heard footsteps!! “BOOM..BOOM..BOOM...BOOM!!” They were loud and they shook the ground. It was definitely the monster, and it was returning for Round 2 with Steiner. The old man must have heard the footsteps too, because his weeping became louder and more agitated. It crossed my mind to walk straight into Steiner’s hut and just put him out of his misery altogether. But it would be impossible with this hefty beast approaching. I kept my eyes fixed upon the tree line as the steps grew closer. Suddenly the monster appeared! It stepped out of the tree line and continued its march toward Steiner’s place. That son of a whore was at least 10’ tall. It was built like a brick shithouse, at least 5 ft across the shoulders. It’s fucking knuckles nearly dragged the ground. It was covered in hair and was absolutely ghastly! Then a thought hit me. Maybe this is not even a fucking Bigfoot. Maybe it’s a goddamn troll or something? One thing was for sure, it was primed for action. It had an erection about 4 foot long and as thick as a milk can! That sumbitch was hung! I didn’t care what the fucker was. I was going to kill it. It walked straight to the trailer, right past me to the porch, then up onto the porch. Steiner’s shoddy craftsmanship was exposed as the porch shifted and creaked under the beast’s wake. I could not contain myself. This was it! As I hit the remote switch to set off the C-4, I jumped up out of my blind as I excitedly yelled “DIE N!GGER!!!!!!!! But the explosion never happened. I pressed the button on my cell phone trigger again. Nothing. “Motherfucker”, I mumbled under my breath. Of course, the monster saw and heard me. It was now standing on Steiner’s porch, looking at me, growling at me. and baring it’s teeth. “Shit”, I said. I did not have the right fucking phone!!!!! I must have dropped my trigger phone!!! I whipped up my AR-10 and immediately dumped a mag center-mass. The beast fell backwards into the front door as a result of the powerful blasts. The door flew open, giving Steiner a clear view of the beast. He went bat-shit crazy! He was screaming like a woman and flapping his arms around like a fucking retard. As the beast lay stunned by my initial assault, I whipped out the .480 Ruger revolver from its shoulder rig, walked right up to that big motherfucker, and “BOOM!!!!” I put an entry wound in the front of that fucker’s head the size of a golf ball, and an exit wound the size of a grapefruit! I smoked that fucker!! About that time old Steiner wanders out into the porch to look. “Man, Bud! You killed it!” I said, “Fuck yeah, I did.” Steiner and I got the corpse of that big bitch loaded into the back of my truck. He said he wanted something to remember this by, so I cut off the Sasquatch’s dick and gave it to Steiner. He hinted around about wanting a cut from my sale of the beast. But after I bitch slapped him he settled down. “Well, old man, I guess I will be seeing ya!”, I said. He replied, “Hey, Bud, thanks for helping me out, you know. You are welcome back here anytime.” Then he did the damnedest thing: Steiner opened up his arms like he wanted to hug me, then proceeded to walk toward me! I punched that silly Teutonic twit in his fucking throat, then left him wallowing around on the ground and gasping for breath as I drove off. What a fucking faggot!! Well, that’s about it for this story. Though, it is not entirely the end. Ya see, I stopped in Chattanooga on the way home to have a beer and a burger at a titty bar. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself in a hotel room in Nashville coked to the gills and banging two whores. As we were taking a break from fucking I got a call on my cell phone. When I saw that the call was from Steiner I rolled my eyes and sighed. “JEEEEEEEEESUS FUCKING CHRIST”, I said. One of the bimbos asked what the problem was. I told her to shut up and then I answered the phone. “What the fuck do you want now, you degenerate faggot?!?”, I asked. But Steiner was all sweet. “Hey, Bud, look, I found your extra cell phone here in my yard. You must have dropped it when you were up here. Do you want me to mail it to you???” I said, “Hey buddy, do me a favor. Press the button marked “call”. That will let me know if it is mine or not.” Steiner said “okie dokie!”. I heard a loud, though brief “BOOM!!”, then the phone went dead. “Yep”, I thought to myself, “that’s my phone.”
2020.05.25 16:59 squashnmergeChildhood and family had more influence than I thought, and I can still feel it
Just when I finally feel independent for the first time in my life, I'm beginning to realise that they influenced my personality, habits, insecurities, and many other kinds of stuff more than I thought. I've almost never been socially confident, and I always thought that I was born that way. But when I think about it, a lot of things that happened in my childhood kind of directed me towards being this kind of person. I can think of some random examples. Like, I was bullied in kindergarten and primary school (I thought I had gotten over it though). Also for some reason, I don't like inviting people to my house because (1) My grandma once told me to not let my friends into the house, and (2) I thought my home was a mess and my rich friends (or I thought they were, relatively) were going to look down on me, and (3) We fought a lot between siblings (not anymore, thankfully) and I was kind of ashamed if people found out. More on socialising, I always had a feeling that my family won't let me go out with friends. Well, the restriction got looser and looser, but it's not so obvious. Sometimes though, I think it might be just my feeling, maybe I was too afraid to even ask. A bit of context, my family is Asian and quite religious. And growing up, I practice religion as well. Don't get me wrong though, I don't really despise the religion or anything. It's just that, somehow it unconsciously takes quite a priority. There are a lot of people with the same religion that doesn't really practice, and I wonder quite often, how can they do that? Like for example, everywhere I go I would always be conscious of what I can eat, what I wear, how should I do my daily rituals today, and so on. My family also told us to not go on dates, interact too much with the opposite sex, or stuffs like that. When I heard it the first time, I didn't really mind. Whatever, right? Maybe because I wasn't too socially active anyway, and I don't have any female friends. Of course, I found out I was wrong when the hormones kicked in during my late teens. And when I tried to go into relationship stuff (secretly) during my high school, I acted like a middle schooler (I cringe every time I remember this part). There is some other stuff too that seemed small, but quite influential now that I think about it. Like how we don't really spend money on fancy stuff, which seemed like a good idea, but sometimes I think it might be a bit too much when we grew up stingy instead of financially literate. TL,DR: childhood and family still have an influence on my personality and the way I live
2020.05.18 15:08 partypastorUnreached People Group of the Week - The Comorian people in France (30 Days of Prayer Week 4)
Since some people always are saying that many of the countries and places I list seem so inaccessible (hint hint that is the point) "Unreached peoples are unreached for a reason. They're hard, difficult, and dangerous to reach. All the easy ones are taken." (David Platt). I decided to find a people group that is unreached in the western world for the people that want "easy". But first a little housekeeping. First I want to remind you that some of us are fasting every Monday to fast alongside our fellow image bearers that in their time of fasting for the wrong reasons, we can fast and petition our Lord for their salvation. Second, I want to encourage you to follow 30 Days of Prayer on instagram. Im sure they have something on Facebook or Twitter too but idk. Anyways, they post a different Muslim people group every day to pray for. Third, just some reminder facts about Islam and Ramadan. Islam makes up 24% of the worlds population. Thats estimated to be 1,830,983,000 people. That means nearly 1/4th of the world will be participating in Ramadan. Out of that, 85% of those people are considered unreached. That is just staggering.
Called Ramadan (or Ramazan), Muslims fast during this month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset. They fast as an act of faith and worship towards God, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community (Ummah) affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before God. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God (Allah is the Arabic word referring to “the one God”) as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes. The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning “sunbaked sand” and the famous proverb kal mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar — to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground. 30 Days of Prayer
Here is my post about 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World if you want to recap fully.
Now, introducing the Comorian People in France.
How Unreached Are They? The Comorian people are 0% Christian. That means there are no Christians among them (though it is. very possible for there to be small handful that is not counted). Out of their 97,000 people, none of them believe in Jesus. There is a complete New Testament in their language but not a complete Bible yet. What are they like? This one was tricky... Its a lot of people in one place from a different place where even then they are probably from a different place. So here is what Comorians on the Comoro Islands are like.
Over the centuries, diverse peoples have come together to form the complex cultural mix of Comoros. Contemporary Comorian culture reflects these many influences; the islands’ towns, for example, blend the architectural styles of mainland Africa, France, and the Middle East, and Comorian cuisine draws on many traditions. A culturally liberal form of Islam is the basis for religious observance during the year, and it provides the framework for daily life. Traditional Comorian women wear colourful sari-like dresses called shiromani (French chiromani) and adorn their faces with a paste of ground sandalwood and coral called msinzano (French msindanu). Social organization is generational, with religious and ritual duties falling mostly to elders, who also enjoy political dominance. Elaborate and expensive public weddings lasting as long as three weeks are common. Typically, the unions are arranged between an older man and a younger woman, and it is the man’s responsibility to pay for the festivities as well as to provide a dowry for his bride. These events often feed the entire community, and tourists are generally welcome to attend. This custom, called grand mariage on Grande Comore, is so expensive that only the wealthiest can afford it. A man who hosts a grand mariage is thereafter considered to be a grand notable—a person of high social standing. Ali Soilih, who was president of the country in the mid-1970s, attempted to ban this practice on the grounds that it imposed needless financial stress on an already impoverished society and kept the poor from participating in political life, but he was unsuccessful. The religious centre of Comorian culture is the mosque, but the centre of daily life is the public square, often merely a tiny plaza nestled behind apartment houses at the end of a maze of alleyways. In the public squares on Grande Comore, men gather to one side, ranked by clan, age, and social status, so that the most-honoured have the best seats; on another side, sometimes separated by a wooden or fabric partition, sit women, similarly ordered by status. There they meet to share news and opinions, drink tea, and play chess and the game of mraha wa ntso. Students of Comorian society note that younger people of both sexes often prefer to gather in restaurants, clubs, and discotheques, and there is concern that the public square will dwindle in importance and perhaps even disappear within a generation or two. Comorian cuisine is a mix of East African root-based stews and Indian Ocean (in particular South Asian and Indonesian) rice-based curry dishes. Locally grown spices such as vanilla, coriander, cardamom, and nutmeg figure heavily in regional cuisine, as do fresh fish and mutton. French styles have also influenced the Comorian table. Britannica
And in case you don't live in the West, here is what the French in France live like
France functions like most of the developed countries of the world. The larger cities are more metropolitan and offer the most modern conveniences while the rural areas are more sedate and modern conveniences are less plentiful. French people are known for possessing a bit of an attitude when it comes to receiving tourists and visitors. A visitor who attempts to converse in the French language may find a more enjoyable exchange with the locals. France, like most of Europe, is considered 'post-Christian' by many evangelical theologians. What many would consider as 'Bible believing' ministries may be hard to find in most cities. However, small groups of grass-roots missionaries and evangelical church planters may be found in some areas. Joshua Project
So I am not saying this is by any means an accurate look at life of the Comorians in France, but I imagine that these two mixed gives you a good idea. Keep in mind that minority populations usually always experience persecution of some sort, as well it is likely that the Comorians see trouble getting work or establishing themselves in the country. History Lesson
Comorians are a blend of settlers from the past: Iranian traders, mainland Africans, Arabs, and Malagasy. Because of poor economic conditions, the Comoro Islands receive monetary and technical support from other countries. Some Comorians move elsewhere to earn a living. The Comoro Islands were a French colony between 1841 and 1975, so it's much easier for Comorians to go to France than other Western nations. Joshua Project
What do they believe?
Local legends claim that Islam came to the Comoros during the days of the Prophet Mohammed, suggesting that the people identify with Islam. Islam probably came to the Comoro Islands with Muslim traders, just as it had in many other parts of Africa and Asia. There have been powerful Comorian leaders in both the 1700s and the 1900s who have actively tried to see their subjects convert to Islam. Today the Comorians in the Comoro Island and France are Muslim. However, France is a very secular environment, and that mindset could be affecting Comorians. Comorians in France are either depending on following the ways of Islam or forsaking religion altogether. Both groups have not put their faith in Jesus Christ. Joshua Project
How Can We Pray for Them?
Pray for believers with good job skills to make it their ministry to train Comorians the skills they need in urban France.
Pray for the Comorians to open their hearts to Jesus Christ, the One who is both Savior and Lord. Pray that they will understand that He came to give them life to the full.
Pray for the few Comorian believers to be salt and light to their neighbors.
Ask the Holy Spirit to grant favor to Christians currently ministering to the Comorians.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the people toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Comorians who will boldly declare the Gospel.
Pray for cooperation among missions agencies that are ministering to these peoples.
Pray that strong local fellowships of believers will be planted among each of these peoples.
Pray that in this time of chaos and panic that the needs of the unreached are not forgotten by the church. Pray that our hearts continue to ache to see the unreached hear the Good News.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Here are the previous weeks threads on the UPG of the Week for Reformed
As always, if you have experience in this country or with this people group, feel free to comment or PM me and I will happily edit it so that we can better pray for these peoples! Here is a list of definitions in case you wonder what exactly I mean by words like "Unreached"
We don't know much about Vasubandhu, but there are some aspects of his story that are widely circulated and probably have some relation to the actual events.
The records we have date Vasubandhu's life to the fourth century. He was born to a brahrnin family in India and became one of the most revered teachers of Abhidharma, which systematizes and analyzes the earliest Buddhist teachings. Later in life, he became a devotee of Mahayana, with the help of his half-brother Asanga. the other great genius of Yogacara. Vasubandhu's ability to integrate his extraordinary understanding of both Abhidharma and Mahayana thought and practice, and to express them in his numerous writings. helped give birth to the new tradition of Yogacara. ...
He is included in all Zen lineages in China and Japan, and is revered and quoted in texts from many other Tibetan, East Asian, and Indian schools of Buddhism. In the Soto Zen tradition, Vasubandhu's importance is expressed during the ancient ritual of chanting the eighty names of the ancestral lineage, dating back to the Buddha. As the community intones the names amid the candle glow and drifting incense, the head teacher does deep, full bows at the names of the six most influential figures in the Soto tradition: Buddha, Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Bodhidharma, Huineng, and Dogen Zenji.
2020.05.14 03:38 u-donYour thoughts and opinions on the history of Kun Khmer and Muay Thai
I was doing a bit a research on the Cambodian martial arts and I came across this piece under a wiki page even though his name not on there. I was able to track the person who wrote this who is apparently from Hong Kong. If anyone is into khmer history or Southeast asian history, I would like to know what are your thoughts and opinion on what he wrote. If you want to refute on what he wrote, I would love to read on what you have to say and support evidence. Who's first : Muaythai or Boxkator (Cambodian) written by Alex Tsui Alex Tsui (Muay Thai historian)- The debate on Muaythai vs. Cambodian Boxe Libre seems to be everlasting. I am a friend of Grand master San Kim Saen since the early 2000, before Bokator became known outside Cambodia. I am a historian on fighting arts — majoring in Muay Thai and other S.E. Asian disciplines, and actually began 1n 1965. The views below are part of my findings and I draw no race lines, being Chinese raised in the former British colony of Hong Kong. I taught (since 1975),wrote, commented, promoted and officiated, in Hongkong, China, Thailand & Myanmar. First, I believe the combat arts of Thailand, Cambodia, Laoos, Vietnam, and Burma all had a common root in the distant past — probably when their forefathers were inhabiting various regions as minority groups in Yunnan. We are talking about the time of Gautama, the Buddha, i.e. before B.C. 544 or 2,500 years from our time. Fusion and cross-pollination of the tribal cutlures had been taking place since time immemorial, through war and inter-marriage. We only have different names such as Muaythai, Kun Khmer or Myanmar Let Whyat and Tu Luyen Vo Tu Do ( free-style boxing art ) because of political preference – often dictated by nationalism – and/or regional cultural and conceptual / linguistic inclinations. These elements, over the face of changing history, have influenced the arts in diffrenent ways and to varying extents. Indochina, in the most ancient times, was known as Suvannabhumi ( the Golden Land ), and tribes of settlers and migrants, from China as well as the oceanic islands, were roaming freely with no recognizable boundaries. The ancient Yue ( Southern Barbarians in Chinese History ) , and the Wa people were there, preceded by the more indigenous or native Negroid and primitive Paleo-Caucasoid groups. Ancestors of the Thai, Khmer, and Mon-Burmans were all in Yunnan, around the region of Erhai Lake, as tribal confederates, and each, invariably, had been subject to Chines influence at divers times and to different degrees dependent on the extent of the Chinese rule over or interaction with the particular people. Tribes of the primeval Shan-Tai, for example, goes way back, to the age of Emperor Yaodi (B.C.2282). They had been on the move since, progressively sidelined as the power game in the cental mainland changed its political complexion. The ancient Shan-Tai groups were migrating into the Indochina peninsula as early as B.C.425. The Cambodians, on the other hand, founded Funan ( A.D.85 ), which was annexed by Chenla in A.D.657. Chenla was a state of mixed races. The primary ones being Cambodians, Indonesian, and the ancient Shan-Tais. In A.D. 707 Chenla split up with the southern part ( Water ) dominated by the Khmers, and the upper ( Land ), by the Shan-Tai-Lao groups. Chinese chroncles attest that Land Chenla, also known as Wen Shen ( Thai language Vieng Shan ), was a glamorous state, and its capital, as we can ascertain today, was Ubon Ratchathani, in northeastern Thailand. Chenla, as far as one can establish, was from the line of Funan, and founded by an Indian prince ( Ksatriya caste ), but constituted by Thai-Lao & Khmer tribes. A unified Cambodia only emerged in A.D.902, after which the Great Empire of Angkor took over almost the whole of the Menam basin. It is public knowledge that before Siam was officially founded at Sukhothai, the Thai people had been living under Khmer rule, and also, after the fall of Angkor (A.D.1420), a century of Khmerization occurred in Siam. There can be little dispute that the best of Cambodian art and culture had not only continued to develop in the land of its conqueror, but things such as language, architecture, Court rituals, astrology, drama and dancing were received with great passion. It was so intense that the arts and religion of the two civilizations began to merge to a degree never so visibly before. Noteworthy is the fact that, five centuries later, Cambodia, having lost in the traumatic dark age of the Khmer Rouge almost entirely her classical dancing tradition, managed to re-import the art from Thailand. So, the question of who has stolen from whom, or who owes her art to whom ? is just too emotive — and perhaps complicated — a subject to resolve by martial art fans. Insofar as historical information is concerned, the points below maybe useful to all those endeavouring to determine the truth, or what came closest to it : 1) The Shan-Tai racial family had a history traceable to the dawn of Chinese civilization. The Cambodians, however, first appeared in around the Eastern Zhou dynasty ( after B.C.770 ) although as a people, they may be some 3,000 years old. The Mon people were in Indochina before the Tai migration and dominated over the other settler groups with the founding of Dvaravati in 500 A.D., and the Burmans, like the Tais, had been inhabiting southwestern China, before moving down to the Golden Land much later, in around the 6th century. 2) The Shan-Tai men were always a fighting race, with a long custom of assigning soldiers (warriors) to watch their village. These were men trained in fighting, with swords or fists. 3) A custom of martial contests at festivals, held to celebrate victory at war, alongside liberal drinking and ecstatic dancing, prevailed in the Kingdom of Ye Lang ( around 400 B.C. ) in Yunnan. It was the largest of the confederates of minority races, with the prime rivals being the Tai and the Yi ( karen ) groups within the state. 4) Indian fighting arts came into the Suvannabhumi region when traders, warrior princes ( Shakya ), and religious missions came east. The first city-state, Ta Gaung, in upper Myanmar, was founded in B.C.850 ( my reckoning is B.C.424 ) by a Shakya prince, Abhi Raza. The state became Tai centuries later. The word “muay” had its origin in the Sanskrit name, Malla, a fighting clan in northeastern India, which has been taken to mean pugilism or a professional wrestler – fighter. 5) Freestyle boxing as a tradition in Southeast Asia possibly took root first in the Korat plateau, during the Chenla period. It is now known to the Thais as the Upper Cambodia region, and the territory has produced many of the premier muaythai fighters in history. Conversely, Battambang, the best known place for its kickboxing culture in Cambodian, has been a Thai province for centuries until 1907. Van Shen ( capital of Land Chenla ), as the name implies, was Town of the Shans. One tribe, the Xang Khao (white elephant ), was recorded in a Chinese document dated 638 A.D. as ” men are, by custom, savage, and brave in combat.” Subsequently, it became the Lao city of Lanxang. 6) At the annual temple fair at Bakong, likely from A.D.889 onwards, boxing became a popular event. Was it Cambodian, or Shan ? Perhaps there was no distinction then. 7) Thailand’s muay tradition was already a known national heritage by the 50′s. The best of Boxe Libre ( in the 60′s ) were nowhere as potent as the the top Thais, due to difference in the industry’s economy on each side, and the comparative popularity in result. Sar Sary, the Cambodian legend, was kayo’d in R2 by Nilpad Lukthon of Thailand at Phnom Penh in 1958, and in March, 1974, at Bangkok’s Rajadamnern Stadium, a Thai vs. Khmer card concluded with 5 : 0 result. Amongst the defeated were the best of Cambodia, including Chea Sarak (148) ( who died a victime of the Khmer Rouge regime ),and Chhith Sarim (118), National Coach for Cambodia’s revived kickboxing in the past decade. I cannot see they could made a wothwhile comparison with the likes of Somdej Yontarakit, Apidej Sidhiran or Puth Lawlek. Wrestling, presumably Hindu, was part of royal court entertainment in Siam until the 19th century, after which it has been Muay all the way. It was, based on the logic of evolution, eliminated and assimilated by the surviving art, which has been enriched in technological contents in that process. Sport muaythai, what we see today, is only the permissible part of Muay. The Muay Boran — red uniforms and yantra-marked vests — much talked about nowadays is actually Classical Muaythai ( Kadcheuak or bare-knuckled ), whereas real Muay Boran (Muai) is the amateur form of ancient boxing embodying forms and patterns of animals. They are still around, with grappling and fingepalm strikes, locks and throws, body drops and takedowns, in remote regions of Lao, Thailand (north) and Yunnan. 9) Unfortunately people are just subjective in their own perception. I dare say there is no bad martial arts, only folly of ignorant people who cannot see the wood from the trees.
2020.05.04 21:11 FujiamanA SHORT NOTE ON THE ETHIOPIAN CHURCH MUSIC by Tadesse Tamrat
YARED (Saint), 505-571 AD, Axumite Empire. The origins of the Ethiopian church music are still very obscure. Very little scholarly attention has been given to this aspect of Ethiopian Christian culture, and the huge compendium of the hymns known as Degwa still remains unedited and almost completely inaccessible except to some of the more studious functionaries of the church itself. According to Ethiopian traditions, it was Yared, an Aksumite priest who lived in! the 6th c. A.D., who invented the three basic modes of the Ethiopian church music, namely Ge'ez, Ezl, and Araray. it is claimed that all musical notes, "even the sounds of animals and the songs of the birds, fall under one of these modes of Yared the Priest". Yared is said to have been supernaturally inspired in inventing his three modes which are believed to have been a special divine gift to Christian Ethiopia: "For God did not reveal [them] to others except to the people of Ethiopia." These traditions are accepted in Ethiopia as almost religious truths, which has apparently discouraged any attempts to look for a more historical origin of the Ethiopian church music. The church in Aksum was established in the fourth century AD. as a small bishopric of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the Ethiopian church remained in this dependant status until about three decades ago. It is, therefore, Egypt that one must consider as the most important source of inspiration for the major aspects of Ethiopian Christian culture. As regards church music, it is interesting to note that there are distant echoes of Yared 's musical modes in the medieval records of the Coptic Church. Yared 's modes — Ge'ez, Ezl, and Araray ... are sung at particular types of religious ceremonies depending on whether these are sad or happy occasions in the calendar of the church. In the same way, the Copts also had different tunes that change according to the nature of their feasts and according to the time of the year. Their happy tunes were used for major festivals such as Christmas Day and Easter. The sad and melancholic tunes were sung in times of sorrow such as Passion week. They also had other sad tunes used for funeral services and commemorations. Although the technical terms for the modes or tunes, and the number of these tunes are different in the Ethiopian and Coptic churches, the liturgical purpose for which they are used seems to be the same. This may at least point to the same origin for both the Ethiopian and the Coptic church music. Just like the Ethiopians, the Copts attribute the origin of their music to the divine inspiration of one of their holy men. This saintly man, they say, was originally a layman and a mere potter; and he invented their sacred music when he later joined the monastery of St. Macarius. Essentially, the same theme runs through the Ge'ez story of the life of Yared. It is related that Yared was born of an ordinary family in Aksum and that he was not a particularly brilliant pupil in the local church school where he had difficulties in mastering the simple reading lessons. At one stage he gave up all ambitions of developing his ecclesiastical learning; got married and started a more or less secular life even planning, on one occasion, to kill a man who had coveted his beautiful wife! But he was gradually and irresistibly drawn towards the spiritual calling. He abandoned the world, withdrew into an isolated area as a hermit leaving his. family, and started a life of religious devotion and contemplation always trying to improve his literary accomplishments. One day, while wandering in a forest, he was greatly impressed by the persistence of a small insect trying to climb a tall tree. The little insect repeatedly fell to the ground; but it started climbing all over again, gradually attaining greater heights. If an insect could do this, Yared thought, a human being should achieve much more. This, he set out to do and began to bé inspired by the beauty of nature and the songs of the birds which became the bases for his poetic and musical compositions. Hence, we are told, the origins of the Ethiopian church music. Thus, there are close similarities not only in the general significance of the different musical notes of the two churches but also in the details about the lives of the Ethiopian and Coptic clerics to whom the invention of the tunes is attributed. If this was a result of one church influencing the other, it seems almost certain that it was the traditions of the mother Alexandrian church which had a lasting impact on the formation of the Ethiopian tradition about Yared and his musical talents. Like the monastic traditions of the Ethiopian church which derive their origin from Egypt, the story of the life of Yared and his musical talents may have also been, essentially, another result of the close cultural interaction between Christian Egypt and Ethiopia. All this seems to point to the same origin of the sacred music of the two churches. It is nevertheless apparent that the Ethiopian liturgical chant [Zema] became much more elaborate during the medieval period. At this stage of its cultural history, the Ethiopian church gradually developed a deep sense of self-identity, and there are a number of indications that show that the Alexandrian and the Ethiopian Churches were at variance on many points of religious practice. This became increasingly obvious after the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641 AD when the Copts were gradually required to cut down many of the public manifestations of their Christian worship, while the Ethiopians added further elaborations on theirs. As a result of the growing pressures of Islam along the Red Sea coast after the seventh century, Aksum declined and its church became more and more isolated from the rest of the Christian world. Only a very slender line of communication was maintained with Egypt and the Holy Land along very precarious routes and through hostile territories. It is apparent that in this period the Holy Bible and particularly the Old Testament began to serve the Ethiopians as an inexhaustible source of cultural inspiration. Being the only Christian people in the Horn of Africa and surrounded by pagan or Muslim territories, the Christians of Ethiopia began to identify themselves with the chosen people of Isra'el. This vital development was accompanied by a deliberate process of imitating and adopting the cultural and social institutions of the Old Testament. The highest form of expression for this religious and national tendency is the Kebre-Negest, the Ethiopie version of the legend of the Queen of Sheba. Written in the thirteenth century, the Kebre-Negest finally achieved identification of the Royal Family of Ethiopia with the House of kings Dawit and Solomon of Isra'el. The Kebre-Negest also created close ancestral relationships between Solomon's high priest Zadok and the priestly families of Ethiopia. From that time on, the kings of Ethiopia modeled their court on that of King Solomon of Israel, and the local saints posed as the veritable prophets of the Old Testament. It is apparent that the characteristic forms of the Ethiopian church music as we know it today also took shape during the same period. There seems to be no doubt that some of the hymns of the Ethiopian church were already in use during the Aksumite period — even as early as the sixth century when Yared is said to have lived. Although Gedle Yared, the story of the life of Yared, is almost certainly a work of the 15th century, the traditions which it presents no doubt reflect developments since Aksumite times. There are indications that, by the middle of the 14th century, one of the highest accomplishments among Christian Ethiopians was being well versed at "the songs of Yared." The chronicler of King Beide-Maryam (1468-78) also gives the impression that the Ethiopian Church music had already assumed some of its later characteristics by the middle of the 15th century. On one occasion he describes both secular and sacred musical performances in Angot, in the presence of the king:
መሰብአ አንጉት ኩሎሙ ምስለ አንስቲ ያሆሙ ተቀበልዎ በዘፈን ወበከበሮ:: ወደብተራ ብዙኃን በገቢረ ማህሌት እስከ ይደምፅ ጥቀ ቃላቲሆሙ:: All the people of Angot with their women welcomed him singing, dancing and beating the drum; and many dabtara performing mahlet until their voices could be heard far and wide.
Mahlet is the usual terminology used for the songs of Yared and the whole atmosphere described by the chronicler evokes images of the relatively modern forms of the musical performance in the Ethiopian Church. It is, however, very difficult to follow up on the specific developments of the Ethiopian Church music because of the paucity of the relevant source material. None of the Degwa known so far can be dated earlier than the 14th or 15th centuries. The Degwa is a collection of Ge'ez hymns for all the days, feasts and seasons of the Ethiopian year. No extensive or critical study has been made of the text of the Degwa as yet. Only Dillmann has published a short extract in his well-known Chrestomaihia, Aethiopica, 1866. Cerulli has also translated four short hymns in his Storia délia letteratura etiopica, 1956. A few years later Velat has devoted a more intensive study of Me'eraf which is an important part of the Degwa. Except for these isolated attempts, the Degwa still remains an untapped source which, if systematically studied, would no doubt shed a lot of light not only on the music and liturgy of the Ethiopian Church but also on the history of the Christian nation at large. But enough is known of the Degwa to indicate that it is not the work of one single individual or the product of a single period '. An early MS. of the fourteenth century without the simple Ethiopie notations (Meleket) is reported at the island monastery of Tana Qirqos. King Gelawdewos (1540-59) is said to have ordered two clerics of his court to systematize the collection and the notations of the Degwa. Two other revisions are also reported in the 17th century at the orders of Echege (Abbot) Qale-Awadi of DebreLibanos. Thus, in its present form, the Ethiopie Degwa is a cumulative product of many centuries. A major aspect of the Ethiopian Church music is the ritual dance that always accompanies the liturgical chant. Monneret de Villard, a well-known student of Ethiopian Christian art and of the history of the Nile Valley, has suggested that the liturgical dance of the Ethiopians may have originated in ancient Egypt. There are indeed distant echoes of this ancient Egyptian interaction in the flowing gowns of the dabtara, their use of the sistrum, and even the long graceful prayer sticks which are all represented in the great monuments of the Nile Valley. However, in its contemporary manifestations, a religious musical performance of the Ethiopian dabtara reflects yet another and a more recent layer of cultural interactions with the world of the Old Testament. The songs, the chants, and the ritual dance in front of the tabot are strongly reminiscent of the dancing and the merriment of the Lévites in front of the Ark of the Covenant (cf. 2 SAM. 6: 2-5). A casual look at the musical instruments used by the dabtara — who are sometimes explicitly called 'Lévites' — clearly shows that the Ethiopians have also drawn much inspiration from the Old Testament. The whole atmosphere created during a religious service in Ethiopia evokes the old biblical scene transmitted in the last chapter of the book of Psalms:-
"Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals."
Nevertheless, like all other aspects of Ethiopian history and culture, it is impossible to get a complete picture of the evolution of these musical traditions in isolation of developments in neighboring regions. In the final analysis, it is only if we look at the Ethiopian Church music in comparison with ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Central Asian and even Indian traditions that we can get a more wholesome picture. Source: see here For more info, see St. Yared, the great Ethiopian composer. Edit: Spelling error.
Tell us a little about yourself. Well, i'm TJ but everyone calls me Teej. Best known for penning "The Expressionless" CreepyPasta and if you've not somehow clicked off in disgust at that revelation, I'm 28 years young and hailing from the land of tea and biscuits, sporting a big beard, covered in tattoos and a huge nerd for all things gaming, anime and morbid history. I write full time and i'm heavily involved in the BritWres scene as a commentator and manager. Oh, wow! "The Expressionless" was one of the first creepypastas we stumbled across ages ago. It is quite a well known tale. Was that your first story to attract a fair amount of attention to your writing? It was, I submitted it on a summers day in 2012 at the behest of a classmate on my University course, I'd been a big fan of CreepyPasta's since the days of browsing /x/ and looking into Ted The Caver and Russian Sleep Experiment, so I thought nothing of adding my story to the pile in what was, at the time, a golden age. I had no idea it was going to blow up to the degree it did and I actually switched off my phone for a solid week as I couldn't take the pressure at first. But, for all the "Michael Jackson", Kristen Stewart Twilight" and "This is poorly written" comments I still get 8 years on, I wouldn't be where I am without it. Pssh, everyone fancies themself a critic. When did you first become interested in horror? I was about 5 years old when I was first exposed to it, my wonderful father put on a copy of Stephen King's IT and it scarred me for life. The ensuing nightmares eventually became so frequent I was advised to start writing them down, which I did when I was around 10 years old. At first, like any kid, I was terrified by my nightmares/night terrors, but eventually I grew to find them interesting and when I started looking into it more, I was morbidly interested in the subject. Have you revisited your childhood trauma and watched "IT" again? I have, but I still cannot watch the scene with the old woman and the soup in the original '93 adaptation, it's left way too strong an impression on my brain. I absolutely loved the remake and thought they captured a perfect blend of horror vs terror, albeit maybe a couple too many jumpscares. But the refrigerator scene with Pennywise and Eddie, the awkward walk and the imitation of crying as he holds Eddie in his hands is sheer fucking terror and I live for that. Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted to write in that genre? I'd say it came initially after a writing contest I won when I was in middle school, I'd written something fantasy based for a hot air balloon competition and my first draft was incredibly dark and creepy (and i'm 99% sure I was ripping off The Blair Witch Project), but it really pushed my interests in just trying my hand at it for fun. In terms of writing and publishing it, that came when I started university and my amazing lecturer Professor Armstrong pushed me to explore darker parts of my fiction. That was just shy of a decade ago and i've never really stopped! Being as you won the competition, did you get a hot air balloon ride out of the deal? I did! I still have the newspaper clipping of that event, my folks have collated any and all media mentions of my work as a kid and as an adult, I try not to keep too many of them around. My ego is big enough as it is! That is so awesome and must have been such a rewarding opportunity for your younger self! So, where do you find inspiration? Have real life experiences ever made their way into your work? Oh absolutely, I'd say it's a solid 50/50 split in my work these days. While I can point to some of my series-based works and know that shows like "The Adventure Zone" or video-games like Bioshock helped inspire elements of the plot, other times it's previous jobs working as a bartender at University or working in a Hotel. Some of my more well known pieces here however have been inspired by real life events that I found helped the grieving process. My Christmas story was a "greatest hits" of my worst moments and i've made no secret that the two worst incidents in my life in my dads alzheimer's and losing my daughter became huge vocal points for shaping my brand of tragic horror. In fact, one of my proudest works "There Is A Mass That Never Leave Me" is extremely under the radar, but is easily the most raw piece I have ever written and subsequently to me, the most horrifying. "There is a Mass that Never Leaves Me" discusses the most painful aspects that anyone can imagine as you lose both a partner and a child. Did you have any doubts about sharing something so personal? How did this effect your views on mortality and spirituality? "There is a Mass that Never Leaves Me" discusses the most painful aspects that anyone can imagine as you lose both a partner and a child. Did you have any doubts about sharing something so personal? How did this effect your views on mortality and spirituality? Yeah, there were huge doubts about whether or not I should actually tell that story. It's not something i'm totally comfortable talking about even now, but having it out there in the creative space means it's meant to be discussed and that's largely a part of the healing process. I talked it over with my family, trusted friends and my therapist before doing it. I was still "tuning up" in the summer last year ahead of transitioning to a full time position in writing and I wanted to make sure I hadn't lost any of my zest for both tragic and uncomfortable horror, so I elected to take the worst thing i've ever experienced and turn it up to 11. Mortality is something I love exploring in both personal and fantastical stories. It's the great unknown from which no man returns and that journey is something we do both alone and in a collective walk with strangers and, if we're lucky, loved ones. I have absolutely NO idea what waits me and while I can make guesses, as we can all, we don't really know. So the fun (and if you're anxious like me, the horror) of it is putting those pieces together while we're alive in whatever way makes sense to us. Some choose god, others choose science, I choose stories. I know that my work will outlast me when I'm gone to wherever it is and that's all I really need to know. I've never been a very religious or spiritual man, I have great interest in the former and largely disdain for the latter, but I will always respect ones beliefs so long as they don't hurt anyone else. For me, however, I was never able to reconcile with the fact that my friends or my daughter were somehow floating in the fluffy clouds around me or burning in an eternal fiery pit for arbitrary reasons we mere humans cannot comprehend. I totally understand if anyone wants to tell me in the comments they're with god, but that's not a sentiment I share. To me, people never die so long as we keep their memory alive. The notion of immortality is always seen as someone who never meets death in the literal sense, never gets sick or injured. I like to think of it as when we speak their names or picture them in a story, they are continuing on their own trajectory. Writing this story was my way of keeping my little one alive and telling the world that she existed, she mattered and she was loved. How did you discover NoSleep? What prompted you to begin writing for it? I stumbled across it in 2012 after posting The Expressionless to a few CreepyPasta wikias and looking to strengthen my writing skills at university. Like many from the original days, it was seeing incredible works by my good buddy u/wdalphin and his "She Found Her Way Into Our Home" which I legit believed was true at the time (as did SO many). The primal kind of fear of "these stories are true" inspired me to make my own, blending some real life experiences with what I considered at the time to be professional writing. I've been on and off ever since! In your opinion, what is the scariest story you have ever read here or elsewhere? Oh boy, can I cheat and shout out an old and a new here? I actually had a couple of oldies, but I went back through my archives and found the one series that, at the time, shook me so much and I still think about it from time to time. I won't spoil anything about it and it's not for the easily anxious, but the sheer realness of it to this day has me wondering. The best thing a writer can hope to achieve is that someone cynical thinks it may be real and 7 years ago, this person did just that: I found some old documents at work that reveal something very disturbing by 300PtrlRdFrsythG. Honourable mentions to Boothworld, Woman Holding An Orange, Footsteps by 1000Vultures and literally ANYTHING by Christopher Bloodworth, man is a fucking genius. For the new age, very few things spook me now, but I will say They paid me 5000 to go through hell is the best kind of horror for someone like me; it preys on the fear of nothingness, of absentia. I cannot think of a worse kind of hell and I applaud Jaksim's skill in bringing that visceral kind of psychological terror to life. What NoSleep stories and/or authors have had the strongest impact on you? Oh man, there's a ton but i'll just keep it to the main 5: Dathan Auerbach (1000Vultures)PenPal series was for the longest time the greatest NoSleep horror series i've ever read. It preyed upon the most basic and realistic fears we all share and didn't try to be anything more than what it was. I don't think i'd be who I am without reading that series so long ago. A Dark Road Trip Down Memory Lane by StealthFiction, again another "too real for me" series that made me legitimately uncomfortable and pushed me to do better, a lot of newbies won't know this series but I encourage you to check it out. The ending is utterly devastating. What Happens When The Stars Go Out by Jesse Clarke because it did more to me emotionally in one entry than most authors do in 12 parts. Still one of the best. Gas Station Jack because he proved NoSleep can be more than just tragedy and violence, it can be a great way to weave a fun narrative with uncomfortable concepts and lighthearted, almost black comedic tone. He was the original architect for what is now a meta in Fantastical NoSleep Series, all of us owe that to him. And finally, no list is complete without a shoutout to CK Walker, she is in my opinion the best indie horror writer on the planet and has been a phenomenal mentor to me with professional advice. Room 733 is still one of the most uncomfortable pieces i've ever read. What is the most terrifying thing you have personally experienced? The emotional, visceral feeling of fear was absolutely the moment I stepped into a brain injury ICU for the first time when my dads brain surgery went wrong. It is literally a sea of beds filled with bodies that are neither dead or alive, the smell of disinfectant is so strong, the lights are down low and there's no sound save for hospital equipment. Because they're all in comas and pumped full of chemicals, their skin is stretched back and they look SO different, to the point I walked past my own dads bed at the time because he was unrecognisable. I swear that if Death was a physical entity, they walked those halls. Your story"Locked Away"is not only your first post on Nosleep, but also the first of a 6 part series that delves into the narrator's experience with anotherworldlystalking. Was your real life experience with a stalker your inspiration for this tale? If so, was it cathartic for you to write? So back in those days, NoSleep was initially conceived as a "Real spooky stories" subreddit and it was still towing the line between real and fake on that believability factor, my skills as a writer were still burgeoning as a 2nd year University student, and I decided the best way to hone those skills was by telling something that actually happened to me with a few legal and logistical alterations. My actual experience with a stalker did indeed happen when I was 17 and they did actually try to break in after an unsuccessful attempt to coerce me outside while my family a year prior. Police were called and it was around a year before they stopped calling me. I'd still get contact from time to time, but that's about it. Writing about it years later was extremely cathartic and helped me reconcile with a lot of anxiety, bringing it to life in a supernatural way was the baseline for what I do nowadays with most of my work; blending real world experiences or jobs with my night terrors. What are some of your biggest influences from media? I consume a LOT of media in my spare time, it's rare that I write about a subject without either researching it or binging something to get inspired first. Right now i'm rewatching One Punch Man & Hunter X Hunter for help with some pacing on fight scenes and monster designs for example. I'm a huge fan of The Adventure Zone and I credit them with rekindling my love for fantasy. ** If you met a new person and could only teach them about yourself and your interests by giving them 1 book, 1 game, 1 movie, and 1 album, which would you choose?** My favourite question! I was waiting for this. Book: Reaper Man By Terry Pratchett - This solidified my writing style and outlook on life, Terry was an amazing human being too. Movie: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters - Raised on Kaiju movies, this was heavenly for me. Album: Sundowning by Sleep Token - Local boys playing Dream Metal, iconic stuff. Game: Skies Of Arcadia - The most incredible JRPG and Jules Verne tribute you'll ever fuckin' see. Other than writing, what are some of your hobbies? What other creative mediums do you enjoy? I love my gaming and i'm currently binging the hell out of P5R, Final Fantasy 7 and Rainbow Six Siege (i'm gold tier, no bully pls), I'm also heavily involved in the BritWres scene and proud to say i'm one of the busiest commentators in the country (alongside my amazing play-by-play commentator "The Mastermind" Olie Spring), extremely blessed to have called matches for guys like Matt Riddle, PAC, Simon Gotch, Will Ospreay, Chris Brookes and David Starr to name a few. I'm also starting up a Podcast in the next couple of weeks designed on helping other writers improve their craft one aspect at a time and providing them with advice on what to do when they reach the industry level. Earlier you said you were a fan of anime and in much of your writing there is fair amount of Asian influence, such as your"Class 77B"series, subsequent spin-offs, and"A Door Once Opened"series. Did you have to do a lot of research into the cultures presented? Did you find more challenges writing from the perspective of a culture different from your own? Ah, 77B, a series I always intended to finish...I try to always make sure i'm researching anything I write about. I do this for locations, dialogue styles depending on the persons background, idiosyncrasies they may have, urban legends from the history and so on. I wrote A Door Once Opened while I was still reconciling with my own personal identity and it bares a lot of reflection on who I was at that time. I met my biological family when I was 16 and it came as a shock to find out my Father was in fact Asian, subsequently discovering i'm Third-Generation myself, though admittedly I am as white as the day is long. So, while I identify first and foremost as British, I enjoy paying homage to my ancestral roots as an outsider. After all, I very much am a westerner looking in on that world. The challenge of writing from the perspectives of any culture beyond my British roots is that I can only have basic understandings of their life, their beliefs, their struggles and how they would approach situations I put them in as a writer. I'm very blessed to have a close knit circle of friends and colleagues from so many walks of life that I can call upon for advice. It is my belief that writing should reflect the real world and I enjoy inclusivity, so when I write a series with a non-binary, transgender, asian, physically/mentally disabled or fervently religious character, I always make sure I do my homework to present them realistically. I think it's also important to not have those things be their sole/defining trait unless the story calls for it, so when I get encouraging messages from the people my characters represent, it means a hell of a lot to me. Do you ever explore writing other genres besides horror? If so, what other styles of writing? Which do you prefer? I do! I find myself loving fantasy writing more and more as I get older, but it is a vastly different world with its own kinds of challenges. I think the world building aspects are a fun challenge and while i've done it on a smaller scale here, it's something you have to fully commit to in a fantastical setting. I love sci-fi too but I think I lack the intellect and scientific prowess to truly bring a world like that to life without undertaking a degree in Physics. How much time do you spend writing in an average day or week? Do you have any rituals that help you focus? I personally try to write every day, but I don't put restrictors or minimal thresholds on myself because it simply doesn't work that way in my mind. If I say "Oh i'll do 500 words" but I do 400, the sense of accomplishment is taken away from me, same as if I over-exceed. I tend to just get my chores out of the way, reply to my emails and then sit down to start. I'm a huge audiophile so I always have my headset on and any number of albums depending on what i'm writing, I switch it up to help put me into the correct mindset. I'm a big believer in musical assistance and I think if I truly want to tap into a characters pain and project that to my audience, hearing a devastating song or album will push that forward. Beyond that, I just ensure i'm sat somewhere comfortable, my phone is on silent and i've had something good to eat so i'm not running on empty fumes. When crafting a piece of fiction, do you generally start with an outline or simply begin writing? It really depends, but usually I have the idea in a dream or when i'm driving and just ruminating on things, I may put down the basics like the title, characters or subject matter, but then i'll let the main plot float around in my head for a couple days and build itself before I write the rest down as a skeleton, then build it from there. Honestly, some of my one-shot stories have just gone from idea to final draft in one go though, so it really depends how much I'm thinking about the story! I've had it happen multiple times before where i'm laying in bed absolutely exhausted before sighing and saying "nope" out loud and taking my macbook to the other room to write. Have any of your stories ever involved research? If so, what was involved? Virtually all of them that didn't embody solely personal struggles have research done. For my twin story, I researched the Kübler-Ross model for the stages of grief, to make sure each subcategory was covered. Even when doing my dog entry, having PTSD myself, I wanted to make sure that I captured it in an organic manner that wasn't disrespectful to anyone else, especially as PTSD comes in all shapes and forms. For some of my more ambitious projects, like The Bartending series, I looked into brewery companies and how they fashioned unique bottle designs, looked into cult groups like Aum Shinrikyo for how their members would talk and re-read Dagon to help with designing some character aspects. I'm currently working on a project called "Be-Spoke" (that by time of this release may be up and done?) which required me to go over my old university notes and familiarise myself with some disturbing albums, bands and personalities to ensure I captured those elements properly. I also had to research deep web urban legends, videos and audio, that stuff is super uncomfortable but I believe in authenticity so i'll willingly suffer through it! Well, it seems all that research paid off! In the story"I run a bar that serves one of a kind drinks to clients in exchange for their stories….this one got to me,"you are a bartender at a very unique bar, serving extraordinary drinks, to many unusual patrons. The level of detail put into your special cocktails evokes such strong imagery. You were also very interactive with your readers in this series, do you feel the level of interaction with your audience helped catapult it into being your most popular series to date? Absolutely, I think if you are looking to become a more well rounded writer and eventually a professional, it's vital you interact with your fans at this level. We are nothing but humble storytellers and if even one person gives us the time of day to immerse in our world or send an OOC message that they love our work, we should try to take the time to thank them or indulge them. It's a fantastic way to build the lore for your series, even if you know your beginning, middle and end before Part 1 even goes up. Fun fact: Cheddar was never intended to be an interdimensional doggo of justice. It came from a spelling error on my part where I referred to him as a Bernese Mountain Dog and a kind stranger not-so-subtly pointed it out in a scathing comment. But, instead of taking it to heart, I ran with it and by Part 2, he was the insane bar protector my readers fell in love with. It works on multiple levels if you want your story to deliver stronger lore, too. I loved interacting with people because they could see themselves coming to a bar like that, a place where they wouldn't be judged and could drink something just for them. The name for Sully's best friend "Krauss" came from a wonderfully supportive reader, as did a few drink suggestions that I tweaked here and there. When I was bringing it to a close (for the time being) and one of the entries was on a cliffhanger choice of who should go, watching everyones reactions before and after was the most gratifying thing I have ever witnessed on this subreddit. To see so many people invested in my characters and their place in that universe was so humbling. When the series ended, I ensured Krauss got back to as many of them as possible to continue the narrative and show them the bar would always be open to anyone with an open mind and a kind heart. Are there any topics you feel are too controversial for you to address or that you prefer not to explore in your writing? I think every writer has their "no go" zone and while I don't believe in telling other people what they should and shouldn't write about, I personally have no interest to write about pedophiles beyond their title. I don't think describing in graphic detail the sexual actions of what they or bestiality enthusiasts do is in any way interesting or horror. It falls into what Stephen King appropriately called "bottom of the barrel" horror which isn't designed to shock or terrify you but to simply gross you out. I've absolutely written about disgusting content before, but the key is in the less is more approach and letting the readers mind run away with it, not glorifying the activities itself. What are your feelings toward NoSleep's immersion/believability rule? What impact, if any, do you think the suspension of disbelief format may have when transitioning your work toward a mass audience unfamiliar with NoSleep? Man, that's a tough one... it's changed a lot since I first joined the subreddit, but given the sheer volume of ridiculous stories we do get on a daily basis, I see the reason for its implementation. it can be very tough as a writer to know where that line is and i've definitely had to reorient my work on numerous occasions to accommodate. But, it's also forced me to find creative ways to circumvent the rule. I've been lucky to write successful stories about bars with fantastical potions and an inter-dimensional dog that's being attacked by otherworldly cultists, a Hotel where every floor houses other realities (a wendigo reality, an insectoid reality etc) and even a series that deals with a modernised ferry for the dead. All of which were acceptable because it's ultimately down to where the "jump the shark" point is. If my main characters suddenly sprout wings and fly or die while the story is going on, naturally the story no longer works. You have to play it as if you're telling a story at a panel to a mass audience who are going to boo you the moment you try to take the piss with their degree of trust in your storytelling. If you try to tell them you were a demon from the 7th realm of hell possessing OP the entire time, they'll feel insulted and stop paying attention. Conversely, if you tell them you were the son of a demon and a SUPER ballsy human man and you're now trying to find out why everyone you look at goes mad, they'll be more willing to stick with you. There is absolutely a place for fantastical/cosmic horror on NoSleep, it's simply about finding that balance. Do you have any favorite reader reactions to your writing? When a reader tells me publicly or privately that their work helped them work through their own personal grief, learn to let go/move on and provided them with fond memories of their own loved ones, I feel the ultimate sense of pride. A lot of my stories are designed in a way to evoke feelings of nostalgia and positivity at the end, even if that requires a few tears. So if I helped someone reconcile with their loss, i've done a good thing. Subsequently, if someone says they literally were unable to sleep because of what I wrote, i'm pretty cool with that too. Your most upvoted story"Yesterday was my best friends birthday, she made me fulfill a wish I will never forget,"serves up a heavy dose of trauma, but with a special friend by your side as you are working your way out of that trench. Between Olivia and Cheddar I have an inkling that you are an animal lover. Is there any furry compadre by your side in real life? Man, I loved that story. I wrote it in one sitting after a very rough counseling session and I was in tears by the end of it. I wanted a way to show how PTSD can manifest in different ways and I knew I could do it justice from my own experiences, but with a different spin. I had a couple of very personal calls with friends who are survivors of CA and it helped make that story as powerful as it was to so many. Every major story since then has included an animal somehow, it became habit. I just find them to be such fun additions in cosmic horror settings, seeing how they interact. They're such a normal part of our world but we seldom include them in horror unless they're the subject of immense suffering or drawn out torture, I aim to change that. I think animals are magical creatures, each with their own traits and desires, their pitfalls and achievements. I fell in love with studying animals at a very young age and my personal hero David Attenborough was already well on his way to being a national treasure by then. Something about how diverse, complex and ultimately gentle animals can be just allured me in a world of very cruel, very distant humans. Dogs, in particular, just make me happier than most people. They exist just to be happy and they have that whole "enlightenment" aspect down to a T from day 1. I was very lucky to be raised around dogs which helped strengthen this world view. My family dog Barney was part of the inspiration for this piece, he died way back in 2010, but I still think about him from time to time. Sadly, my apartment doesn't allow for dogs, but i'll be buying a house next year and the aim is to get a couple of rescues and start building my menagerie of tarantulas, lizards and turtles. My family is noted for animal experts and my cousin has an aviary so I may look into a couple of his barn owls and go from there. Your story I'm an air marshal for a plane that ferries the dead. They all have stories to tell. intermeshes Greek mythology, British literature, and your own imagination in a complex world that drawn on more than what is shown. How do your stories affect one another, and how does that extend to other authors? Another series I must finish... my readers are truly loyal that they see me make these concepts, see them drop off and then I forget about them. I'm sorry! It's one that I absolutely want to continue as it's such a fun little universe and Edgar is probably my favourite animal ever. So the universe technically started with 77B, I based it off of an old British myth about the green children and essentially I wanted every series to deal with two opposing sides. One who always forgets, one who is destined to always remember. This evolved in the Bartending series between Sully & Amos, who had at that point been doing this song and dance for so long. It progressed in Hotel Inertia to being between Sigurd & The Concierge and so on. The idea is that these are loosely connected universes where these two do the same song & dance across different horrific planes of reality (no pun intended) and I have to finish Hotel Inertia, Air Marshal AND Be-Spoke before the summer as I have plans to bring it all to a beautiful end by August. So buckle up folks! You founded the subreddit/TheWritersBlackoutwith the goal of making sure the authors on NoSleep are appropriately compensated for their work. Can you tell us a little more about what prompted you to start that organization? There was a personal and professional desire to see change in the community. I started writing professionally at the age of 21 and I lost anywhere between 10 and 30 thousand dollars in revenue over the last 8 years to content thievery. I've seen it all from a fully realised play being illegally commissioned to a guy actually making an indiegogo to fund the expressionless movie because I wouldn't grant him rights...that was a weird one. But it was during those formative years and my own ineptitude that I resolved I needed to use my influence and position as a amateur turned pro writer to help newer writers in the field get their fair pay. The catalyst however came when my good buddy and recipient of the "nicest yet sickest guy on NoSleep" award u/byfelsdisciple had his work stolen by MiniLadd. Craig had brazenly taken the work, hidden his username and refused to link back to it while just sitting there reading it for one of his livestream segments. Byfel being the nice guy he is just asked for promotion of the book, no revenue. He was summarily ignored and the video hidden. After seeing that and a slew of new Expressionless narrations without credit or permission, I decided to go on the offensive. I lead by example and took down 7 videos over the course of the first couple weeks, rinsed a few big YouTubers on The Watchdogs Blacklists and told others how to do it. The Blackout was immediately popular amongst the writers in the community, and partially inspired NoSleep and many of their sister subsholding their own temporary blackoutfor one week, and setting the subs to private during that time. Were you surprised by the success of the movement, and the results of it? Extremely. I was a one man operation to begin with and we now have an entire team helping to run things from being a liaison with other YouTubers and amateur writers to working with journalists from places like Bloody Disgusting, NSP, Vice, The Independent or Mashable to name a few. I think it's a vital part of any movement to have a team who keeps new ideas coming in and checks on you. I'm proud to work alongside u/onyxoctopus, u/pennytailsup, u/ronniereads, u/byfelsdisciple and of course our NoSleep mom who is a constant source of advice: u/cmd102. What plans do you have for the Blackout going forward? To the surprise of nobody: we're relatively light on plans with COVID-19 altering so much of our own persona lives and goals. But the core goal of ensuring writer pay and assisting anyone who requires advice on what to charge a creator hasn't changed. In addition to moderating the Blackout sub, you're a mod on NoSleep. Has moderating the main sub changed the way you approach writing for it? What have you found most challenging about modding so far? What do you enjoy most? Absolutely, it's given me a better perspective on how to moderate my own work and given me more time to see the amazing things our community creates. So many great works don't do well and that's always a shame, but I feel very fortunate to get to see so many diamonds in the rough before they blossom into the viral sensations we see they are today. I think the most challenging thing overall is ensuring what constitutes something like bandwagoning or plagiarism in an age wherein every idea has been done at least once. You get your generic rules stories where it's just one paragraph, 10 rules and another paragraph that are easy enough to delete, but what do you do when a great story pops up that's almost too close to the identity of another, far older (and often times popular) story? What I love about it most is just finding those unique and fun stories that maybe only 10-20 people see and falling in love with the concept. On one hand i'm always sad for the writer who doesn't get the exposure they so rightly deserve, but on the other I feel lucky that I got to be one of a few who saw it. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned since you began posting to NoSleep? please click
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