John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 148: Stop Being So Lazy

by on Nov.20, 2013, under Rum Doings

Episode 148 of Rum Doings is an argument. While we certainly don’t discuss why we’re copying America’s Halloween, we instead briefly cover topics of kittens pooing in sinks, the bitterness of coffee, and then we fight. It’s that one where Nick argues that being offensive is good, and John argues that he should be allowed to express when something is offensive, and then we start shouting at each other.

It goes on for about half an hour.

When it finally ends, John gets around to asking Nick to become a Christian.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

:, ,

14 Comments for this entry

  • Alex

    I think I see Nick’s point. In a liberal society, blatant, dumb prejudice is like an overly virulent pathogen; the greatest potential for damage comes from the things with a degree of deniability to them. Any prejudiced messages in Deponia would burn themselves out before they could reach a new host; getting all hot and bothered wouldn’t accomplish anything.

    After all the arguing, though, what did we learn? Die hard Deponia fans would probably still see John’s Wot I Think as self-righteous Ebola, but Nick seemed willing to admit that it also might not be a case of weaselly anti-bigot bigotry. Any other takeaways? Well, just the same lesson repeated AGAIN. John’s well-intended outrage seemed to peter out near the end of review, and he ended the piece by wondering if the studio could live up to its potential in the future. Nick’s reaction to John’s reaction was just as unnecessary as he’d thought John’s reaction was.

  • Ashish

    This episode made me want to read some Barthes. Which book should I start with?

  • Geetoo

    The two arguments can be encapsulated as follows:

    Shortly after the Danish Cartoon prophet furore, president Ahmadinejad retaliate against the Danish by (weirdly) launching a national Iranian competition to find the most offensive holocaust cartoon possible (the intention, I think, was to say “see how you like it when offensive cartoons are published”).

    The winning entry was a cartoon of Hitler in bed with a little girl. Hitler was smoking a cigarette and the girl was flushed. The caption was “why don’t you put THAT in your diary Anne!”

    The Iranians expected outrage and shocked fury from the world. Instead, most right thinking people said “actually, that is quite funny”. I thought it was amusing, and I am Jewish. Ahmadinejad didn’t realise that the worst type of anti semitism is the insidious and subtle innuendo, not the clearly outrageous and overt kind, as demonstrated in his cartoon. Anyone offended by a cartoon needs to get a grip. Offence at cartoons should be reserved for religious fundamentalists.

    On the other hand, a recent channel four documentary about tattoos included a supposedly shocking radical tattoo artist, who fancied himself as a bit of a provocateur. He tattooed various awful images on people. He gleefully told the interviewer that he had planned his most offensive tattoo yet, and kept it a secret until the end of the show. At the end he unveiled it: a tattoo of hitler with a piece of paper in his hand reading “gas bill: 6 million Deutschmarks”.

    I was not offended, just a little disappointed. I sighed, as it was such a clumsy and cackhanded attempt to be provicative. It was unoriginal, unfunny, and a little banal. The hitler tattoo is analogous to the computer game-it is ok to be shockingly racist, as long as it is done in a fresh, clever, and interesting way. However, they are both so blatant and reductio ad absurdum, that neither is capable of being truly offensive; merely a bit lame and trite.

  • NM

    Exactly, Geetoo: John was offended by the semantics; whereas he should have been offended by the paucity of the *execution* of this epater la bourgeoisie.

  • mister k

    Oh that was your point Nick? Because your argument changed several times during this podcast. I think John was correct to get annoyed with you, because every time he made a reasonable point you shifted the goalposts. Early on we are not meant to get offended by any kind of racist content, but later it transpires that there are portrayals of race you don’t like (the play about the holocaust survivors). John’s point was that the content was racist because it was not excused by good writing, which was pretty clear in the article. Its obviously the case that any story can end up being satirical or clever if the author is smart enough: John argues pretty clearly in his article that the author simply isn’t.

    A moment on the idea that if we find racist stuff bad we shouldn’t write about it because homophobes might write about how they find two men kissing bad. Well there is a difference there, and that is that the homophobes are wrong. The aesthetic dislike doesn’t spring into existence from nowhere, it comes from a contempt of racism, which is a defendable viewpoint. It is much harder to defend being a racist or a homophobe, and I hope you’d agree that those people are wrong, as you seem to think that anti-semites are wrong.

    I’m OK with discouraging racist and sexist content in media. I think television is better with less racist content on, and I think that does change attitudes for the better (I think teh two are circular and reinforce the other). I suspect you feel the same way too.

  • Nick Mailer

    You miss the point;

    “Early on we are not meant to get offended by any kind of racist content”.

    Offended? What’s that?

  • Steven Chicken

    I suspect, Nick, that had John said early on “Yes, it is an aesthetic judgement”, the response would have been “fair enough”.

  • Steven Chicken

    I agree that openly racist and/or sexist and/or violent portrayals in artistic forms, no matter how witless they may be, are much less offensive than more subtle and therefore much more insidious expressions of misogyny and racism.
    I think there is a tendency amongst lefties like me to point at the grotesque and say “LOOK HOW OUTRAGEOUS THIS IS!”, with the implicit assumption being “well, you won’t have noticed how dreadful this is, so I need to point it out”; or else it’s an expression of “look how culturally sensitive I am, I think this thing is BAD”. The Daily Mail gets millions of hits using this tactic; they know that people would rather angrily share an openly contentious article than, say, spend the same amount of time and effort looking through Hansard for more genuinely harmful expressions.

  • Steven Chicken

    A concession… John’s job as a reviewer consists of two parts: to discuss whether the game has artistic merit (and if so, how so); and to discuss whether the game is worth buying (and if not, why not).
    As a fan of the adventure game genre who could conceivably have been led towards Deponia, it’s good to know what kind of tripe we are dealing with. The tone of John’s Wot I Think is pretty much necessary to convey that the game is tediously provocative, rather than being provocative in an interesting and worthwhile way.

  • Jambe

    I enjoy the contentious Doingses.

    If indeed the game is drudgery borne by overt caricature and uninspiring narrative, what makes it “horrible” as opposed to banal? I understood what John meant by “bland, overlong and unamusing” – the game wasted his time. I don’t see why it was a “foul” experience, though.

    If I’m to endorse Nick’s position I must feel the game’s OTT racism and misogyny are silly/absurd instead of horrible, foul, or ugly. I do; I believe they’re dull and uninteresting representations of the overt edges of deeper, more insidious bigotry. They’re more eye-rolling than offensive.

    John’s review remains effective if one ignores his offense-taking. It says the issue is a failure to communicate anything of value, not essentialisms of caricature or trope. It says the game doesn’t deliver any worthwhile experience beyond a few quickly-deflated hints of narrative verve, i.e. it’s less “adventure” and more “humdrum errand during which one briefly mistakes a stranger for an old friend”.

  • Nick Mailer

    Ashish: I would recommend Barthes’ “Image Music Text”.

  • Jens

    So can we look forward to more podcasts or are you guys no longer on speaking terms ?

  • Nick Mailer

    More soon

  • play thing thing arena 3 game

    The biggest part of the games is based on this principle,
    to shoot the enemy you’ll have to make a certain strategy first (shoot with
    certain order, measure the distance’). The targets of the Olympic
    shooting games include clay targets, trap and skeet events and stationary targets which have been positioned at different ranges as well.

    In these kinds of game, you can either take another player as an ally or for being an enemy, messaging systems within
    the game help you talk to many other players and keep these things join your navy.