We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Witcher 3, racism, misogyny

The Witcher 3, a much anticipated computer game from a Polish studio based on a series of Polish fantasy novels, is released next Tuesday. Reviews of it are already being published and I have been reading a lot about it, including one review on Polygon by Arthur Gies that spent a lot of words complaining about the lack of black people and the treatment of female characters in the game.

Another Polish developer, Adrian Chmielarz, whose studio made the acclaimed adventure game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, has responded. On the complaint that there are only white people in the game:

the fact that a post-modernist remix of fantasy and the Polish folklore made by Slavs does not feature non-white characters, is a non-issue.

Note that I am not sure that adding “strangers from the strange lands” to the game would solve anything for the chronically offended. Based on everything I learned about them in the last year, and I learned a lot, if you put a person or a few from any non-white race, they would be called “token characters”.

The Polygon review goes on to complain about the women in the game:

the world CD Projekt has created is oppressively misogynist. In some ways, the game deals directly with this — characters acknowledge again and again that it’s hard to be a woman there, that it’s a place of violence and terror and that women must work harder to be recognized and respected.

Then it kills them, over and over.


I get that the setting of The Witcher 3 is meant to be a dark, dirty fantasy. But in a world that so explicitly goes out of its way to build a believable, distinctive take on the genre, the inclusion of so much violence explicitly directed against women feels like a clear, disconcerting choice. It’s not just present, it’s frequently a focus.

When they’re not being murdered, women in The Witcher 3 are comically sexualized. Nudity is everywhere…

Chmielarz responds:

As we can see, The Witcher 3 apparently simply mirrors the real world (as according to Feminist Frequency).

This is a group whom the reviewer admires, and who argue that “violence against women is a serious, global epidemic”.

I have to assume that Gies understands that when compared to the actual real world, the violence is exaggerated in The Witcher 3. That it’s basically an often grim, often cruel fantasy world.

But …why is such a world a problem? Is the reviewer confusing portrayal with endorsement? Should art be propaganda for a peaceful life? Should art avoid disturbing universes?

There is a lot more; this is just a flavour of the debate. It is good to see people like Chmielarz standing up to this kind of criticism, because for a while it looked as if everything was going the way of those who would be offended by everything.

Also encouraging is that, if you read the comments on a news story about this debate at Gamezone, it appears that nobody really cares. They just want to enjoy games.

Age of Adaline

Friday night is usually my movie night out here in the desert and there was nothing in particular I really wanted to see. After perusing the options, I settled for ‘Age of Adaline‘, the story of a woman of the 1920’s who through an accident and a process explained through a bunch of made up technological gobbledygook stopped ageing at twenty-nine.

Part of the movie was fairly good, a study in the fear of being different and the pain of watching those you love grow old while you remain the same and try to stay under the radar.

There were two things I found wrong with the movie, both of which are ignorable if you just want an unusual love story. Whomever came up with the narrated ‘scientific’ explanations should be taken out and shot. They were painfully idiotic. The script writers would have been better off if they’d just said she had a genetic mutation which did not kick in until her body was put under a life threatening stress she’d never before experienced.

And second of all… Hollywood cannot deal with the idea of people living long lives. They believe that healthy extended lives must by necessity lead to boredom and emotional problems. They nearly always fall back on a plot device that anyone who has it will yearn for a return to the Mayfly life or even immediate joyful death as in “Zardoz”. This movie is not as bad as some. It hints that the accidental process which gave her long life would be discovered in 2035, with the implication that perhaps it was then used.

What I find humorous is that very wealthy A list actors, producers and directors will be among the first in line to embrace the initially very costly technologies of life extension and anti-aging technologies, perhaps right behind the techies who are already inventing it for real in labs all over this planet. They will sing a wholly different tune when it is they who face age and death as fashion options.

Personally, I long for the day when we eliminate both of the presently unavoidable scourges of humanity: death and taxes!

The farce is strong in this one!

It would be hard to overstate how wonderful this is…

“There’s a lot of social problems with [Star Wars], rooted in casual racism, homophobia,” he claimed, before asserting: “Star Wars reeks of misogyny.” Darth Vader, the primary antagonist of the original George Lucas trilogy, came in for special criticism: “The main bad guy, what’s he called, Dark Raider. He’s all black. He listens to rap music. He’s just a real bad racial stereotype.”

Simply magnificent :-D

Seems perfectly reasonable to me…

I was going to label this as “humour” but it is more of a “future documentary” really.

Sad Puppies are taking back Science Fiction

Many thanks to Rand Simberg who has been covering this ongoing battle…

The Elites fight tooth and claw and with whatever lying, cheating, libel and threats they can get away with… and the more you shine the light on them while they do so, the more they self-destruct.

I suspect the Sad Puppies have been having the time of their life giving these people all the rope they need to make total idjts of themselves. So bring out a bag of popcorn, sit back and watch the battle.

What a truly horrifying thought!

A overtly Marxist Guardianista wants to replace Jeremy Clarkson. The Horror. The Horror! You would think someone with a Russian name would know how well Marxism turned out the last time…

Good news from the western front of the culture war

I have been watching the ‘Sad Puppies’ campaign in the world of science fiction and fantasy writers for a while now, with mounting amusement. If you are unaware what it is, think of it as a backlash against the overt cultural Marxist ‘Social Justice Warrior’ clique who have been dominating the Hugo Awards for many years now.

Well this year it looks like some folks are aiming to blow up the SJW Death Star.

Several on the left have remarked the sudden slew of anti-authoritarian nominees has been due to an influx of GamerGate supporters. Yet as the number of votes has only increased slightly, it would appear the GamerGate people were already there, they just finally decided to stand up, form two ranks and figuratively shoulder their Martini-Henry rifles, whilst facing the podium occupied by the establishment.

Anyone who thinks the Culture War is unwinnable or not even being fought by our side is not paying attention.

The force is strong in this one!

Why? Because this is just too damn good…

Volkswagen / The Bark Side from Caviar London on Vimeo.

You are welcome.

The echo-gnomics of Terry Pratchett

Yet in Guards, Guards, a reign of terror begins with attacks on small businesses driven by envy and resentment whipped up by a cynical politician. In later books, a conman redeemed through entrepreneurship becomes the hero who saves the day. It is the rich, human mess of the marketplace, under the rule of law, that his heroes strive to protect. Through Pratchett’s generous gaze we see not only the absurdities of a commercial civilisation, but also its abiding value.

Marc Sidwell

The unadulterated Sir Terry

Animals loose in a car are never a good idea. Goats are generally the worst, but until you realise there’s a tortoise stuck under your brake pedal you’ve never known the meaning of fear, and possibly not the meaning of ‘old age’ either.

– Sir Terry Pratchett, The Unadulterated Cat. Sadly Sir Terry never really got to know the meaning of ‘old age’ himself. I think he did know the meaning of fear when contemplating a particularly cruel death for a writer, but knew even better the meaning of courage. I would link to the famous “embuggerance” statement to illustrate this point but so many other people are doing that right now that it has melted the internet.

When I think of all the people the world would be a better place without…

When I think of all the people the world would be a better place without…

Sir Terry Pratchett was not one of them.

Samizdata quote of the day

Translation? If you’re not left-wing, keep your mouth shut. What’s becoming clear is that under the false premise of making spaces “safe” for minorities, the only people whose safety is really becoming at risk is right-wingers and basically anyone who doesn’t wholly subscribe to the doctrine of political correctness.

Virginia Hale