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Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Green Screens: Nine Perfect Strangers and Manipulation

Nine Perfect Strangers brilliantly explores how savvy operators manipulate people--and audiences. Unless... it doesn't. What do its bewildering and contradictory story choices say about self help, cults, hippies, and the harm art does?

Sunday, October 31, 2021

We Were Too Stupid For Jennifer's Body

As Jennifer's Body goes from flop to feminist cult classic, its failure gets blamed on lousy marketing. But the film's cynical jokes about 9/11 memorialization suggest the fault was with audiences: we were too stupid for Jennifer's Body.

content warning: spoilers for Jennifer's Body a decade old movie and also discussion of all the possibly traumatic contents of Jennifer's Body

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Feels Dumb Man: I Really, Really Hated The Pepe The Frog Documentary

"Feels Good Man" reveals a lot about how Pepe the Frog and its creator Matt Furie suck... accidentally. When faced with that inconvenient truth, the film and its audience will go to astonishing lengths to pretend our cultural grift economy is doing just fine.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The NFT Rube Goldberg Machine, or, Why is NFT Art So Lazy?

Art and automation's merger long predates cryptoart's use of procedural generation.

You'll never hear NFT sellers talk seriously about that history, though, cause it reveals not just NFT art's contradictions, but also its cynical laziness. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The NFT's Aura, or, Why Is NFT Art So Ugly?

NFT art is bad for the environment, and bad for artists, but critics and supporters of NFT art are both missing a key fact: it's also just bad art. Whether Beeple or Bugmeyer, it's time the stars of the NFT revolution experienced some real art criticism.

Monday, June 21, 2021

In Search Of More Applause: 'Inside' And The World Neoliberalism Promised

Bo Burnham's movie "Inside" stretches the term "comedy special" till it shatters. Why does its clutter of fragments cut so deep? Maybe because of how it reflects the world neoliberalism promised us...

content include: spoilers for Inside, neoliberalism, suicide, jokes about suicide, jokes about jokes about suicide, self-referentiality, audience hostility, alienation.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Chorby Prefers Not To: Blaseball, Bartleby, and a Fandom's Malicious Compliance

Chorby Short is an adorable frog girl who is also sometimes a witch. Or perhaps, she's just some data in a game taking the internet by storm called Blaseball. Or perhaps, she's a new example of an idea from an 1853 Herman Melville story. Or perhaps, she's all this and more? 

Monday, January 18, 2021

[0/3]: House

After the flood, what ideal endures? An empty one with potential to someday be filled again.

Part [0/3] of 2

An epilogue written a year before the main text. Major spoilers for Homestuck and Kentucky Route Zero, Gothic Marxism.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2: Flood

When a reactionary tide floods the world, can the critic or artist salvage anything before being sucked down?

Part 2 of 2

Content warning: TERFs, dunking on bad art takes, systemic doomerism

Thursday, December 31, 2020

1: Storm

What is criticism good for at the end of 2020? At most, letting us pretend we can drown out the noise the coming storm.

Part 1 of 2

content warning: systematic doomerism.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Culture Kept In Its Coffin: How The Netflix Model Buries Our Media History

Classic anime like Revolutionary Girl Utena could get a new lease on life if released serially in the present day... but Netflix and its many competitors aren't in the business of preserving or selling art. What do we lose when our media history becomes #Content?

Monday, November 30, 2020

What I Learned Painting 2,047,500 Pixels of Homestuck Fan Art

I didn't expect painting a series of illustrations for Sarah Zedig's Homestuck novel Godfeels would involve so much deconstruction of my identity and how I make art! Here's what I learned from the experience.

content warnings: depictions of physical assault and gun violence, abstract depictions of violence, soviet constructivism, suicidal ideation, homestuck, internalized transmisogyny and ableism, aggressive colors, self doubt

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Galaxy Brained: Annihilation and Queer Cosmic Horror

Annihilation: The Ending Explained!!!

content warning: body horror, spoilers for Annihilation, cosmic horror, mad ravings, closetedness and detransitioning, homophobia, slurs

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Webworks: The Magnus Archives and the Powerful Failure of Diverse Horror

The Magnus Archives made a name for itself as inclusive horror. But when even a schlocky tale of giant spiders takes on resonances with transgender oppression and sexual exploitation, can the show's listeners evade the webs of trauma?

content warning: spoilers for The Magnus Archives, spiders as metaphor, spiders as monster, coercive dynamics (interpersonal, professional, sexual), transmisogyny, uncomfortable bargains with power, content warnings. 

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