News Update

Posted on October 14, 2011


Every once in a while I get the urge to comment on various news stories.  As I turn my attention away from my game projects for a moment, it occurs to me that I haven’t had the news urge for some time.  So here it goes…

Good Morning America reported a short piece on the performer Rihanna.  She did a cover photo shoot for Esquire.  GMA had a few comments about it.  Now, I can’t recall the exact wording (and I’m just too lazy to find the clip), but the impression I got went something like this: Here’s a woman who presents a strong image of control and independence in her life.

Right.  ‘Cause that’s what we want to tell our daughters.  “Honey, if you want to be a strong, independent woman, you have to bare your body to every single person on the planet.”  The problem with this may not be immediately apparent; after all, if Rihanna wants to do the shoot, who am I to say she can’t or shouldn’t?  Well, try to keep up with me for a moment.  I’m a man.  I have an idea of how men think.  Sure, not all men think the way I do, but I think most men will agree with me (if they’re being truthful) that they do think this way, at least a little.  When I see the image of Rihanna on that magazine, I’m not thinking about a strong, independent woman.  I’m thinking that she looks good naked.  Then I start thinking about what I want to do to her.  And that’s bad.  It’s bad because I’m married, and such thoughts are dangerous if not reigned in; it’s bad because I shouldn’t be thinking of her as just a sex symbol; it’s bad because I don’t want my daughter thinking that the only way (or the best way) to get somewhere in life is to take her clothes off.

Counterpoint: as an artist, I appreciate the human form as an expression of art.  I appreciate the finished piece on Esquire from an artistic view.  But should it be so easily available to the public?  In other words, shouldn’t that sort of art be limited to people who are old enough and mature enough to appreciate it for what it is?  I know, I seem to be arguing for a puritan-esque view on publishing and art.  Or maybe I just want our media to stop treating this kind of behavior as exemplary; maybe they should take a more neutral approach.

As I was browsing websites yesterday, I came across this piece, which only makes me think, “The Watchmen Cometh.”  I’ll give you a moment to soak this in…


Good?  Okay.  Now realize the significance of this.  Watchmen was published in 1986-’87.  It’s now 25 years later, and it’s happening.  People are dressing up in costumes and “fighting crime.”  And the arguments against it as exactly as predicted.  As are the arguments for it.  It boggles the mind… well, it boggles my mind, but I’ve always been a fan of comics and superheroes.  What’s really interesting to me is my reaction: I think I’m against it.  I’m certainly in favor of people pushing back against the more unsavory elements of society, but on an intellectual level, I’m uncomfortable with individuals stepping up and taking action outside the bounds of social structure.  Vigilantes aren’t sanctioned by the public; they aren’t funded by tax dollars; they aren’t voted into office.  A vigilante just decides to bring retribution against someone who offends them.  Maybe the offender deserves it.  But maybe (and this is often just as likely) the vigilante is crazy, and doesn’t really see things the way the rest of us do.  But all of these arguments have been discussed already, in literature from at least the early 1900s, but the concept of vigilante justice has been around since the founding of America, and probably before.

Yeah.  That’s about it, I guess…