The Pipwick Papers

The Pipwick Papers

Once again we will commence staring outside the sphere of videogames and into the world beyond. A world filled with ice palaces and internet shaming, with emotionally intelligent dogs and with people dressed up as tigers being fake-tranquilised… Think of me as your friendly milkman, except all the bottles are full of web links you can’t use in your cereal and I only bother showing up on Sunday.

This is not the Sunday Papers.

  • Jon Ronson digs into the culture of internet shaming for the New York Times

    The furor over [Justine] Sacco’s tweet had become not just an ideological crusade against her perceived bigotry but also a form of idle entertainment. Her complete ignorance of her predicament for those 11 hours lent the episode both dramatic irony and a pleasing narrative arc. As Sacco’s flight traversed the length of Africa, a hashtag began to trend worldwide: #HasJustineLandedYet.

  • Ronson references Sam Biddle in his article – Biddle was the one who posted Justine Sacco’s tweet on Valleywag and towards the end of last year he wrote about the experience from his point-of-view on Gawker. Ronson doesn’t link to the piece so it’s here if you’re interested.
  • I’m in love with this Frozen Fortress video about ice palaces:

    Gizmodo has a piece about how ice castles work and are made – which is where I saw the video – but there is also a short story called The Ice Palace by F Scott Fitzgerald. I love the language he uses. The story starts, “The sunlight dripped over the house like golden paint over an art jar…”

  • Julie Twitchell has written an FAQ for The Toast about working in an ant laboratory

    They cut the leaves into discs, which they bring back to their nest and chomp them up into tinier pieces so they can grow a fungus on the leaves, and they eat that fungus.

  • Here’s Anthony Lane’s review of 50 Shades of Grey for The New Yorker – it’s utterly delicious, particularly this part, which cuts right to the core of the human condition:

    Yet we should not begrudge E. L. James her triumph, for she has, in her lumbering fashion, tapped into a truth that often eludes more elegant writers—that eternal disappointment, deep in the human heart, at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own helipad.

  • Fashion Week has just started with the New York leg of this tightly packed season of shows and spans the best part of an entire month. If you’re curious about how fashion week works I wrote an FAQ about it years ago, but for the current latest shows Style posts the full collections as well as a review on its site. FW is a thing I miss in the abstract because I like seeing what designers are doing, but in reality it’s a swamp of writing, photos, and desperately rushing (in heels) from one end of town to another. I miss being able to talk about it with people though so there are the links if you fancy prodding about and seeing what you like.
  • You can now name a kind of Facebook next-of-kin.
  • The dogs in this study could tell the difference between happy and angry expressions. James Vincent’s take on it is over at the The Verge, while the original study is published in Current Biology.
  • The pictures from these zoo animal escape security drills are ridiculous. Fine photo work from The Atlantic.
  • And finally, I really like that the Museo del Prado is continuing its work on access with this exhibition of famous paintings with visually impaired people in mind. Hyperallergic’s Laura C Mallonee has more details and, if you’re in Madrid, the exhibition is on until 28 June, 2015.

    1. AngoraFish says:

      Quite a few parallels between the internet shaming article and our recent PM pile-on.

      It never ceases to amaze me how easy people find it to get all holier-than-thou over the internet although in reality, I guess, it’s just typical mob-mentality in action.

      And no, not interested in continuing that debate about why he does or does not desserve it here, please take that off to the Godus article.

      • zarniwoop says:

        Don’t you think there’s a big difference between someone who’s constantly in the public eye, and who uses his position as a public figure and uses press coverage to get people to give him money for projects that never deliver over a period of many years, and a fairly ordinary person who just mades a poorly judged joke, that, out of the millions of others on Twitter, happens to get picked out?

        One is a journalist calling out a powerful figure, who’s taken a lot of money, and consistently makes promises to investors, backers and the general public that he either knows or ought to know he can’t keep, in an interview that he’s free to leave at any time and which gives him a chance to put his side across; the other is a mass worldwide witchhunt against someone who made a terrible joke, and is currently on a flight sans signal, completely unaware of what’s going on.

        • zarniwoop says:

          Actually having read that piece, I take it back. Justine’s joke wasn’t even that terrible. It was just that a lot of people didn’t understand it. Badly judged for Twitter, but that’s hardly a moral failure.

          • aoanla says:

            Yeah, one of the more depressing things about a lot of twitter “pile on” campaigns is that they’re often based on people just misunderstanding the original tweet. (Either missing the joke, or not parsing a sentence correctly.) What’s especially sad is that you can be forced out of a job just because the mob misreads a sentence.

            • Shuck says:

              There was an element of that with the Molyneux attacks, except the misunderstanding actually felt more disingenuous. Here’s a fellow who is well known for making public statements where, when he talks about the game he’s working on, he talks about what excites him and what’s currently being worked on, not features that have been locked down for the final game. And we all know from experience that much of what he’s talking about is in the early stages (i.e. things will change before the game is finished) – he’s laying bare the process of how game design changes over time. Yet in this case his every public utterance was suddenly parsed and scrutinized and every element treated as if it was a promise graven in stone, as if no one knew who Molyneux was and how he talked about his projects. Molyneux and 22cans have had some pretty obvious failings, but the discussion isn’t helped by ignoring the context for Molyneux’s statements.

            • aoanla says:

              Sure, Shuck, although I’d argue that the situation with 22Cans is worse as Peter made some of his usual “overpromising” into actual contractually-obliged-products (via the Kickstarter Rewards).
              If Peter had just done the usual “oh, and every copy of Godus will give you the literal power of a Greek Deity in Real Life as well” hyperbole, we wouldn’t be in this situation – what he’s done this time is actually *let people pay money for the promise that his hyperbole will be made real*.

            • Shuck says:

              @aoanla: Sure, but much of what was being used against him were all the comments he made subsequent to the actual Kickstarter. (And honestly, anyone familiar with Molyneux should have been taking the “promises” of even the Kickstarter with a very large grain of salt. We know what he’s like.)

          • AngoraFish says:

            I’m only commenting on the mob-mentality.

            I guess I knew that it was always going to be a difficult task to keep the mob away from my comment, despite my request. Sigh.

            Congratulations, however, on maintaining the rage Sir. I trust that it’s been cathartic for you.

            • mattlambertson says:

              I like your style.

            • LionsPhil says:

              You didn’t even slightly try, and there’s no rage in that post.

              If you’re going to go on about holier-than-thou on the Internet, take a good long look in the mirror first.

            • Babymech says:


            • zal says:

              How uncivilized right?
              It was CLEARLY stated that while the poster saw parallels worthy of mention between point 1 and point 2.
              A speaking moratorium was clearly placed on them. Clearly point 2 was the only worthy topic, because AngoraFish was not INTERESTED in talking about the others. And what happens? people discussed them anyway.

              Terrible! He wasn’t interested in discussing the other points, only making them! Show some respect.

          • shaydeeadi says:

            I actively avoid twitter as it seems like an awful and meaningless place. Seeing how everyone on there can’t wait to jump on the next poorly worded soundbite reminds me of bullies at school (and is mentioned in the article) looking for the tiniest crack of weakness to exploit and embarrass you for.

            I couldn’t help but feel that the lady who photographed some dev having a private joke with his friend and got him fired over it kinda got what she deserved in losing her job as well. She could of asked about the context of what he was saying, laying it down that she found it offensive instead of taking it to the unwashed masses to brigade with. But I suppose it’s easier to just put it to the public and feel you made a positive change to the world by ruining someone you have never met before’s life. I don’t agree with the death threats, the going in to hiding bit and there is a massive minority on the internet that need to stop that (despite them likely being a bunch of kids with little else to do.)

            • wu wei says:

              So you don’t agree with internet shaming except for when you do?

            • Gap Gen says:

              It really depends who you follow. If you follow the right people you can learn something about places and perspectives you’d never encounter in the physical world. If you follow the wrong people you could have Richard Dawkins in your feed.

          • NotGodot says:

            That’s kinda bullshit, and here’s why:

            Justine Sacco wasn’t just some normal person. She was head of communications for a multinational media corporation that owns prominent brands like CollegeHumor, Tinder, OKCupid, the Daily Beast, and on and on.

            When the head of PR for a major company makes an ill-advised joke in a public setting where it’s potentially broadcast to millions? At the very least it’s a sign of grotesque incompetence. She should have been fired and shamed.

        • amateurviking says:

          I think the parallels lie rather in the similarities in the contextless second, or third hand outrage that occurs inevitably in these situations. The internet echo chamber only returns binary output. So John was overly aggressive or PM is a liar or Sacco was just making an arch joke or she’s a racist. You lose all context and people are delineated into camps and all sorts of nonsense. And then there are the professional shit stirrers and people with undeclared agendas etc etc.

          • zarniwoop says:

            But what I liked about John’s interview, was even though on first reading I thought that opening question was very harsh, as the interview continued I began to understand it.

            Moreover, many of the comments after the interview, weren’t binary responses attacking one side or another, but responses from people who, like me, found the interview made them on the one hand, sympathise with the pain that PM is finding himself in (practically none of it caused by John’s questions), but on the other hand see the flaws in his personality and working methods that not just caused him to be in his current situation, but also have harmed, and will continue to, harm his employees and backers.

            It was an altogether more nuanced, interesting, and, as another commenter put it, ‘humane’ a piece than any Twitter storm I’ve ever encountered. I have no particular interest in PM, I’ve never played any of his games, and I didn’t back Godus, but I found that interview an insightful, painful and valuable piece. I didn’t get the impression from the interview that PM was quite a deliberate con artist, but he seemed to be a deeply self-involved fantasist, and while one can have a lot of sympathy for his enthusiasm, people like that hurt those around them. And it doesn’t do them any favours not to confront head on, the discrepancies between what they proclaim to the world and reality.

            The kind of Twitter storm that this article addresses, is nothing like that. It’s a bunch of people, attacking someone they don’t know, for a 140 character post taken entirely out of any context. More than that, it’s deeply arbitrary, because you know there are thousands, if not millions of other people, who’ve said things that could equally be subject to such an attack but don’t get noticed. It’s like a shit lottery, and is so disproportionate, uncontrolled, and unfair that it doesn’t bear any comparison to John’s interview, which was based in a well-known context spanning years.

        • Bradamantium says:

          Well said. I think it’s additionally different in that Molyneux’s life isn’t going to be ruined by RPS’ interview. He will not be forced out of his job to placate a raging public, he won’t be run out of the industry – most that happens is his feelings might be hurt for awhile, and people don’t trust him. Or nothing at all bad happens! He wins ten tons of sympathy from people who act like that interview did more than confront Molyneux with a handful of unfortunate truths he himself made.

          There’s really no comparison between the two except “Well, people were rather mean…”

      • Gap Gen says:

        Someone made a point about this with reference to the Benedict Cumberbatch PoC/CP row, and the ensuing series of articles in which middle-aged left-liberal commentators somehow found themselves condemning political correctness, as if there’s a point in everyone’s life when they unironically become the Daily Mail. (I forgot the link to the article, which I’m super sorry about, but it’s probably well buried in my Twitter feed by now)

        They argued, amongst other things, that the mob is a part of how the internet, and in particular social media like Twitter, works. Most tweets get a handful of retweets at best, but some hit hundreds or thousands, leading to a kind of focusing that’s made stronger by sites like Gawker or Buzzfeed looking for minimum-effort-maximum-impact stories. Part of the key to responding to these sorts of things is to remember that individuals in the mob might not even care that much, but that the response seems greater purely because it’s a collection of individuals whose voices merge into one chorus of disdain.

        What we do need, they argued, is an atmosphere in which people can criticise and be criticised in a way that’s constructive and understanding, where if someone says something wrong they can be told so, apologise and learn from the experience. Obviously it’s hard if you’re receiving a wall of said criticisms, and emotionally it’s tough to deal with. Cumberbatch apologised quickly, and people accepted that it was an innocent mistake and that he’d learned from it, which is great. Equally, if someone feels strongly about something (say, in the case of Sacco, a black person who has AIDS or knows someone with AIDS) it’s hard to be constructive and not be angry at the person.

        To some extent the media doesn’t really help with this. Sensationalism sells, and whipping people into a frenzy sells, whether you’re getting people so mad they trash a paediatrician’s house because they think every word that starts with “paed” is the same, or getting people to expose their children to potentially lethal diseases because fuelling the anti-vaccine movement is good for business. It’s our collective responsibility to look past the anger and try to approach these issues sensitively and not just jump onto the first hive mind bandwagon that appears.

        • DrollRemark says:

          But the other important difference was that Cumberbatch made his mistake in old media (even if the storm was online), and so the old media at least gave him the chance to apologise, quickly and simply. Tweets are so isolated, such self-contained statements, that no-one can see if you make an apology for something, and the general public don’t have the time, or inclination, to provide right of reply.

          I was thinking about this a while ago, whether there should be some way, if not to edit tweets themselves, then to at least allow you to append a second tweet to another, so that it shows up straight after the latter (or inline). Some way to provide a postscript to your statement that doesn’t lie either miles down a list of replies to that original tweet, or entirely separate, on your timeline, where it soon becomes buried with everything else.

        • Llewyn says:

          as if there’s a point in everyone’s life when they unironically become the Daily Mail

          I’m not sure I agree with your interpretation of that response. I think the issue was that the political correctness was itself in this case being used in a Mail-esque way; it’s easier to talk about an actor using a dated and inappropriate phrase than it is to talk about under-representation of non-white males in Hollywood*. It’s political correctness as lip service, it allows those who don’t give a shit about racism to sound like they care, and to be very disapproving of someone who was primarily making a point about (his own) white male privilege.

          In short, use of inappropriate terms is important, but perhaps it’s not always necessarily the most important thing.

          *Or anywhere else, but Hollywood’s the relevant target here.

      • bill says:

        I was thinking the same. The Gawker article is also good, and contains this snippet at the end:

        “This is the one thing no one in public relations—pretty much a sham industry anyway, sure—has figured out, or is smart enough to put into practice. When you fuck up on the internet, do nothing. Say nothing. Remain motionless as best you can, no matter how much you want to explain, or argue, or contextualize. Shut up! Just shut up. It’s what someone would have said to Sean Parker if he weren’t so alienated in a big tumor of tech money.”

        Reminded me of RPS’s campaign against “The Silence”. I can’t really blame them for The Silence when attempts to be honest or open or jokey bear such a risk of public flogging.

    2. Jamesworkshop says:

      Justine Sacco, never heard of her.

    3. celticdr says:

      More Pipwick Papers, yay!

      Keep em coming Pip ;)

    4. jnik says:

      I think Ronson misses, if not the point, at least the solution. We don’t need to stop pointing out people who say stupidly hurtful things. First a lot more stuff needs to be visible only to people who actually care about us rather than the entire world. That means thinking before we post and having social media that makes it easy rather than a constant uphill battle to control who sees what we say. Second, it needs to be possible to correct someone who said stupid stuff in public without it instantly turning into ruining their life. Somebody needs to be able to say “dude, that was a bit racist/sexist/whatever” and get back “oh, sorry, you’re right” without insta-firing or life-ruining. Example of how it shouldn’t be: donglegate, where someone trying to point out something that genuinely sounded like a problem, with “let’s be better” turned into someone else getting fired. Better example: shirt gate, where the offender apologized and everybody moved on.

      People should be able to screw up without ruining their lives. But they should have their screwups pointed out to them.

      • mattlambertson says:

        But then people wouldn’t be able to revel in their righteous fury, their pleasure in having any possible focus taken off their own misdeeds, and their delight in feeling they are making the world a better place when in fact they are making it a worse one, one where no one can say anything interesting, ever.

        • DrollRemark says:

          What’s amusing about this line of thought is that you’re essentially applying the same dehumanising approach that the “outraged” twitter mob do on their targets.

          “Let’s not understand the context of people’s thoughts here! Let us demonise and castigate those who do something they dislike. Yah boo hiss!”

          • bill says:

            Doesn’t make it any less true.

            • DrollRemark says:

              Actually, it basically does.

              Condemnation is not censorship. Short form posts are not great at expressing a fully formed thought, for any party. People often seem to have a tendency to see extremes of emotion in posts online when the true feeling is impossible to actually discern (and likely much less severe).

              These were the most obvious actual counters I could come up with off the top of my head.

      • Baffle Mint says:

        My mother, like a lot of people, says “Kids today don’t understand that everything they say on Facebook is out there in public”

        My private theory is that they’re fully aware of it; what they really don’t understand is that people will form a complete opinion of their entire character and worth as a human being based on one tweet.

        Have you ever said something stupid or offensive? I have, and usually, instead of being completely ousted from my job and social circle and having to constantly wear disguises, people confront me about it and we discuss it like human beings.

        People, I believe, understand that what they say on twitter will have consequences. What they don’t understand is that the consequences will be more insanely severe than anything they’d receive for saying the exact same thing offline.

      • pepperfez says:

        The symmetry of hideous internet mob reactions is really a problem. If your intention is to cause as much harm as possible, great! Just identify a person (preferably a woman, but not necessarily) and a bunch of degenerates will harass them forever. Want to point out that someone said something dumb and should feel kinda bad about it? Too bad! Pointing that out will cause a bunch of degenerates to harass them forever (and, if you’re a woman, very likely you too!).

        • uh20 says:

          Could this be countered by the male-dominated troll culture: they would fill your twitter account with terrible comments and then backtrack into directly insulting everyone who posts you a comment. Thereby collecting all of the mob mentality and leading it away from your account.

      • All is Well says:

        I very much agree with this. Though massively disproportionate and potentially misguided, the bullying campaigns discussed in the article mostly seem to be genuine attempts to address harmful statements, and I think it’s important not to forget that they are harmful. Like you said, it’s important to be able to correct stupid remarks or jokes (without ruining someone’s life over it, of course).

        I’m in no way trying to defend the pile-ons, it’s just that it’s a tactic used among racists in my country to try and deflect criticism by shifting focus away from themselves and their racism, and towards the critics: they try to reframe the discussion as being about how they are bullied, that they are being silenced or “censored”, rather than address the content of the criticism. By complaining that they are under more scrutiny and criticism than other political groupings and that this is unfair, they’re not only avoiding discussing the content of their politics and the issues people have with it, but they’re reframing their opinions as being as valid as any others (without actually justifying this) and criticism, regardless of it’s actual content, as being invalid because it’s “discriminatory”.

        Basically I’m just saying that while massive hate campaigns against individuals who’ve happened to have said something stupid are definitely out, let’s please not forget that saying these things is neither normal nor acceptable.

        • Flatley says:

          “Though massively disproportionate and potentially misguided, the bullying campaigns discussed in the article mostly seem to be genuine attempts to address harmful statements,”

          followed by

          “I’m in no way trying to defend the pile-ons, it’s just that…”

          is immediately self-contradictory. Of course you’re defending the pile-ons. Most of all, I take issue with your closing statement:

          “let’s please not forget that saying these things is neither normal nor acceptable.”

          Mildly off-color jokes (in the vein of “That’s a big dongle”) have always been entirely normal, and always will be. What’s not normal is that people’s lives – and by extension the lives of their immediate family – are ruined as a result.

          What’s not acceptable is that, in many cases, these morality crusades are often spurred by ignorant and self-serving misreading, as in Justine’s case.

          What enables this is the toxic idea that even the most banal online statement can be classified as “harmful.” Once the mind accepts this, then any reaction is acceptable, and there’s no stopping the ensuing life-ruining pile-on. Most such statements are simply not at all harmful, end of story. We should strive for the maturity to admit this.

          • All is Well says:

            I don’t believe it is self-contradictory. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to condemn both internet hate campaigns or whatever we should call them and racist/sexist/etc. remarks. There’s no real dichotomy here. That’s sort of the point I was trying to convey, although not very effectively it seems. I don’t really think the remarks discussed in the article are actually harmful (should have said perceived as harmful in regards to this), nor that the “most banal online statements” ought to be understood as such. I do however think that statements made online can be harmful and that this needs to be a thing we can take issue with.
            And let me reiterate, because it seems so very necessary to do so, that I do not agree with ruining people’s lives over stupid comments.

            • joa says:

              Or you could just give your high horse a rest and chill out. The comment that woman tweeted is not even racist at all, it’s obviously sarcasm. How can people be so dense?

            • All is Well says:

              “The comment that woman tweeted is not even racist at all, it’s obviously sarcasm.”

              “I don’t really think the remarks discussed in the article are actually harmful”

              “How can people be so dense?”

            • joa says:

              So what’s the point of your post exactly? There’s nothing wrong with what those people said, and yet you’re still subtly implying they had it coming and defending the internet pile-on mobs.

              And in response to your original post, everyone’s opinions are equally valid, because opinions by definition are not statements of fact – just statements of one’s own thoughts. So unless we have some kind of standard by which to judge correctness of thoughts (which extreme left and right-wingers seem to be under the impression they do) we should all just be tolerant.

            • All is Well says:

              I feel like you’re being very unfair in your interpretation here. I’ve explicitly stated, multiple times and with emphasis, that no-one had it coming and that I wasn’t condoning or defending the pile-ons. If you still want to think that I’m saying “Ruining people’s lives is okay, please do it more”, I really don’t know what else I can do.

              So let me clarify: jnik said that people’s lives should not be ruined over screwups, but that screwups should be pointed out. My comment was, quite simply, that I agree with this stance. I don’t think people should have their lives ruined, but I also don’t think this should mean that we cannot criticize stupid statements made online – just like you’re criticizing me for being “dense”, and someone else further down for being a “leftist loon” or something.
              To put it into incredibly simple terms:
              Pile-ons = Bad
              Lives ruined = Bad
              Not pointing out racism = Also bad
              I’m not sure how I can be any clearer. Sorry.

            • joa says:

              All right, fair enough. My apologies.

              I am not a big fan of language like we need to “correct” other people’s opinions, it is part of a kind of self-righteous leftism that to me stifles any kind of debate and makes people afraid to say anything (because they’ll get this sort of Twitter shitstorm like we see here).

            • wengart says:

              At the end of the day though I think it is generally better to not call people out. Largely because without some sort of rapport between the person calling someone out and the person saying things the natural tendency is to be vindictive. The natural tendency is the pile on.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yes, one issue is how organisations should respond to these kinds of things, which is always a hard problem and resolved differently by different people. A PR firm possibly wants to limit negative press so just firing Sacco might have been the easy solution for them, but it does seem disproportionate even if the tweets were in pretty bad taste. Then again, there are genuinely racist people out there, so in that case you don’t want to coddle that too much.

    5. thedosbox says:

      The ant laboratory article was a great read – if only for (a) the picture of the massive ant farm and (b) the names she gave her ant queens.

    6. celticdr says:

      Just also noticed the change to the header picture… is that photo in the newspaper taken from one of the stories?

      Do I get a prize for noticing?

      Why is the sky blue?

      So many questions.

      • Premium User Badge

        Philippa Warr says:

        It’s a screencap from the ice palace video :)

        I wanted the header image to look different but in a small way from the real Sunday Papers

        • Ramshackle Thoughts says:

          What do you mean? These ARE the real Sunday Papers!

          Dig in your heels, Pip. Never let go!

        • All is Well says:

          What, the large Pip-style red MS Paint scrawl isn’t enough of a give-away? :)
          Seriously though, I liked having the paper sporting a relevant image and request this be included in future editions of the Pipwick Papers.

        • celticdr says:

          Indeed, but you failed to answer my most important question: Why is the sky blue? ;)

        • tigerfort says:

          I like it, FWTW (which isn’t much). Just a little splash of colour, and a nice contrast to the red lettering :)

    7. Muppetizer says:

      I come to RPS for the brilliantly written opinion pieces and intimate insights into gaming culture and life.
      But those zoo escape pictures may very well be the best thing I’ve ever seen linked here, I particularly enjoyed the drunken tale of the stumbling gorilla who was tenderly put to bed.

      • LionsPhil says:

        They’re pretty amazing. It’s like hunting season at a theme park.

      • foop says:

        The rhino escape drill is even better as video than in the pictures. You can find a few videos of their escape drills on YouTube, such as this one: link to

        The sheer un-rhinoness of the people playing the rhino must make the drill almost useless.

    8. RARARA says:

      In spite of not being the target demography, Fifty Shades of Grey (along with all the trendy YA adaptations like Twilight and Divergent) brings me relief.

      We men, with our Transformers and Expendables, no longer hold a monopoly on making terrible cinema wildly successful. Now women have to answer for their taste too.


    9. brgillespie says:

      Lane’s review of 50 Shades of Grey had me laughing at the very first paragraph.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        50 Shades of Grey – the early script drafts.

      • RARARA says:

        The last two lines had me in stitches.

        I wish he would have spent a little time on how the protagonist, an English lit-major, needed to be explained what a ‘buttplug’ is. I guess compound words wasn’t part of the program.

        I also love how the two actors hate each other.

      • Ross Angus says:

        It made me uncomfortable. I’m much more interested in discovering why this sort of thing is popular, rather than smugly proclaiming superiority to it. It felt a hair away of demanding that people present their degrees, before they’re allowed to buy books.

    10. PaceCol says:

      Quite surprised that the work of Liana Kerzer didn’t get a name drop, quite a thought provoking article and keeping with RPS new policy on criticising kickstarter projects that rake in more money than they ask for yet still don’t fulfil their remit.

      link to

      • RARARA says:

        “Am I going to condemn the legitimately great single-player FPS gameplay in Metro: Last Light because of some awkward boobie shots? No. Did I like the awkward boobie shots? No. So it’s silly to condemn someone for liking a game because a couple scenes were badly handled.”

        Uh, no one’s doing that. I haven’t read any article calling for the boycott or condemnation of either M:LL or its consumers. At best, a passing mention of said awkward shot in reviews.

        Now, on the other hand, people who get really cranky and defensive when you make those criticisms… there’s an abundance of those.

        I also like how she ‘refuses’ to be part of the internet that reduces and dehumanizes people to tropes… only to resort to calling Sarkeesian’s defenders all beta white males trying to rescue a damsel-in-distress.

        Also, the article had this line: “I’d be the one woman who wouldn’t sleep with Kratos because I respect him too much.”

        • April March says:

          Yeah, sounds again like the crazy idea that everything needs to be either Sexist or Not Sexist, and you are either an awful person for liking the Sexist thing or an awful person for denouncing the Not Sexist thing. Suprise: everything is sexist, because we live in a sexist society, but there are degrees, and you can enjoy a piece of media that can portray sexism (or racism, or transphobia, or…) while also being aware of what it does, calling it out for it, and wishing it would change.

          tl;dr If you think M:LL is a good game despite having boobies which you felt were awkward, you are not disagreeing with Feminist Frequency’s position.

          • joa says:

            If you live in a world in which ‘everything is sexist’ then your perspective is seriously warped. How about some nuance?
            How many women out there believe they live in a world in which everything is sexist? Very few, except for the ones with victim complexes and batshit insane leftist politics.
            How about some nuance? Why is there only a choice between being a male chauvinist sexist and a postmodern leftist loon?

            • bleeters says:

              I feel like you didn’t even read the post you’re responding to.

        • Josh W says:

          The bit about “beta males” and “damsels in distress” was badly done, it was a poor attempt to play the same trope finding game in the opposite direction, and ironically, it is the bit that people picked out.

          Aside from introducing the basic premise “I’ve been writing on games for ages, and been attacked for it, why is confrontation getting the money”, here’s the bit where she actually starts doing some cultural analysis stuff.

          The point there is interesting, and actually broadly in line with Anita’s ideas; negative portrayals of women in mass culture lead people to both skewed ideas of the acceptability of sexism from those who might do it, and skewed ideas of it’s prevalence for those who do it (leaving aside the issue that media with sexism in them also contribute to part of that prevalence, at least when you are referring to esteem rather than actual actions).

          She then pulls that on to suggest that Anita’s scattergun approach is itself encouraging people to see games as sexist, and so be both feel more persecuted and more identified with particular depictions of sexism (depending on the person). The flaw with this is that it’s almost too powerful a criticism; when is referring to sexism and abuse not cultivating a sense of it’s ubiquity, and so getting the same effects?

          She also makes the point that many people have made, that Anita has a superficial understanding of agency in games, and focuses too readily on negative assumptions based on non-interactive media. Unfortunately, that’s new stuff, so Liana doesn’t do an equivalently clear job of articulating that, but she points in a good direction, pointing out lots of the obvious counter-examples, like dishonoured.

          • Josh W says:

            Agh typo, I meant to say “prevalence for those who receive it”.

            Edit function where have you gone, who will help me write my essays now…

          • PikaBot says:

            I’m sorry but that essay was truly staggering in its academic bankruptcy. The only piece of theory used in it that is not horribly distorted or straight up incorrectly cited is cultivation theory, and it takes some brass gonads to claim that the academy only holds television responsible for passing along pernicious messaging when there are entire departments at any given university dedicated to looking at it in other media.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Three things mate:
        1) These are the Pipwick Papers
        2) Liana K argues in bad faith and could supply a couple of farms wits straw.
        3) Enough with the nonsense about Sarkeesian being a con artist.

        • pepperfez says:

          But obviously she is! She said she would make videos addressing sexist tropes in video games, and where are those videos? Surely if she had made those videos we wouldn’t still have people parroting ludicrous “I don’t even care about boobs in games therefore you’re the real sexist! And also fascist!” non-arguments, so it’s obvious she took the money and disappeared.

          Checkmate. No LIEbral can beat that logic.

      • PikaBot says:

        It probably didn’t get a drop because these are the Pipwick Papers, not the Sunday Papers, and it’s also not a very good article. For one thing, she completely misunderstands the Leigh Alexander article she spends so long arguing against. For another thing, she somehow manages to blather on at great length about the rise and prominence of Feminist Frequency without ever once bringing up the fact that nobody had heard of Anita Sarkeesian until a bunch of reactionary male gamers completely lost their shit at the very idea of feminism in games and catapulted her onto center stage via the Streisand Effect.

    11. ribby says:

      The internet shaming article has some amazing stories

      My disgust at the woman who got this man fired for making a completely harmless and not sexist joke turned to pity when the same thing (only this time coupled with death threats) happened to her.

      • ribby says:

        This is why I’m staying off twitter

        • Cinek says:

          Twitter is fine… as long as you use it only as a news feed / sort-of-RSS channel. But it’s complete garbage for any commenting / discussions / community.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            That is basically how everyone involved in pile-ons uses Twitter.

    12. scannerbarkly says:

      Really glad this has become a regular thing. Thanks Pip!

    13. eggy toast says:

      The dogs in this study could tell the difference between happy and angry expressions. James Vincent’s take on it is over at the The Verge, while the original study is published in Current Biology.

      I see this repeated as news a lot lately, and it just makes me wonder if anyone has ever owned a dog before, because of course they can

      • April March says:

        “Of course it is” is a good way to shut off scientifical thought.

        • Josh W says:

          Yep, science is there to prove the obvious, among other things, because the fact that it is obvious is not any kind of proof.

      • Koozer says:

        Yeah, but getting it down in a nice research paper with reference and pictures makes things more official like!

        (I’m being serious here.)

    14. sinister agent says:

      Ants are the best life form. Message ends.

    15. Monggerel says:

      Ah, “smart” AI. How silly boogers it seems in retrospect.
      I still remember the “Godmode” AI bots from Unreal Tournament. It’s the easiest thing: a glorified aimbot with some pathfinding stuck to it.

      • Monggerel says:

        oh wow this was supposed to be posted to another article
        god damnit

    16. Hahaha says:

      Is this to remind us that rps is just a blog with an abundance of game related posts

      • Josh W says:

        It is to remind you about Ice Caves.

        • Cinek says:

          More like: The world beyond his own cave.

          • Hahaha says:

            I either use sites that weren’t built on being about games (which rps was) or books/tv/face to face interaction for that

    17. Christopha says:

      Being an Aussie, I cannot comprehend that Ice fortress occurring naturally, how big was the freezer they used to make it?

      Also, very pleased to see a link to the Toast.

      Very much enjoying the Pipwick papers.

    18. Stellar Duck says:

      Oi, what happened to the edit button? Did the Valentines Ogre nick it again?

      And Pip, I’m really enjoying these. Thanks for gathering them!

    19. physys says:

      After Saturday comes Pipday. The day before Monday is Pipday.


    20. Frank says:

      Man, I hope Biddle gets what’s coming to him someday; what a terrible human being. Even in his public pseudo-apology, he has the gall to call PR a sham industry, even though he’s nothing more than a tabloid editor. Grr

    21. rahji says:

      Allright, the Pipwick Papers this week made me make an account on RPS. I have been lurkin here around some time, but this time i want to step out of the shadow and say thank you for gathering this great collection of articles/videos.

    22. Premium User Badge

      CdrJameson says:

      Acquiring your own helipad is pretty easy.

      Putting a helicopter on it is more tricky.

    23. DXN says:


    24. bill says:

      I found this very long article on what ISIS really wants/believes to be interesting:
      link to
      They’ve seemed pretty incomprehensible to me, but I think the article is right in that we have made a lot of assumptions about them being similar to other groups.

      If people want something serious that is.

      • Contrafibularity says:

        I highly recommend seeing Bitter Lake if you want to make any sense of this, because you won’t find much of any in today’s media, now that it’s become little more than a for-profit echo chamber for the idiocy of politicians/closet-fascists.

      • Josh W says:

        Finally finished this article, really interesting!