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By Joe Parlock on Polygon:

I racked my brain to think of games featuring autistic characters that have stood out to me, and four came to mind. All of these characters are different kinds of people with autism, and some of them can be interpreted as positive representations. They also bring to light the tropes and stereotypes surrounding the condition that made me so worried about people finding out I have autism.

He uses the "person with autism" wording that a lot of people (like me) find unpleasant. But as long as we're now letting women and PoC talk about those kinds of characters in video games, we should also be listening to disabled people's thoughts on how disability is portrayed.

Personally, as an autistic person who plays video games one of my favourite portrayals is in Final Fantasy XIV Online. Your player character is shown talking to people occasionally, but words are never put in her mouth. And her somewhat-muted, frequently nonverbal reactions in cutscenes make her easy for me to identify with.

At any rate, I can't recommend the last game Parlock suggests enough.

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Content note: Bad religion, intolerant atheism, and implied homo/trans/everythingphobia.

What do I do if I have presented these questions to bishops and leaders and anyone and everyone who will listen to me and nobody has any answers but when I go quietly in prayer to the Lord and I hear the entire and total opposite of what you are asking me to do? And what if that answer gives me relief and peace and makes me a better mom and wife and sister and friend? And what if that peace is interrupted every single time I am “called to the battlefront” for this cause? What if it destroys my family, President? That’s what I am really asking. What if “defending the family” ruins my own?

Sometimes, the people who attack bad religion (or all religion) on the grounds that it's logically abhorrent remind me of people like "Brett," in the comments on the above-linked article. Who replied to the author by telling her that "defending the family" by attacking other people and destroying their families is right, despite the obvious harm it does to her and people she cares about, because the Mormon prophets have said so and God says they will never lead anyone astray. QED.

Logic is useless or even harmful if you are operating from faulty premises. The most abusive religions, in my experience, actually rely very strongly on the kind of logic that "Brett" uses. They have no use for feelings and spiritual experiences that prompt people to abandon this logic even when they don't know how to argue with it, or hearts and minds that are open enough to listen to people they "know" are wrong about everything.

When I am determining whether or not a belief (or belief system) is harmful and abusive, I don't look at whether it's theistic or not, or at which god it worships. I look at whether or not it shuts down questioning, inoculates people against empathy and understanding, and tells them to do things that they feel are wrong.

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[...] pretending that fictional characters have the agency to choose how they’re portrayed is a cheap trick that’s pretty much exclusively used to silence criticism.

- Annalee, Ghost in the Whitewash, the Geek Feminism blog

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Content note: Ablism and strong language in the source link.

Complaints about materialism are bunk, [Kirk Cameron] explains [in his film Saving Christmas], because Christmas is a celebration of God's spirit taking on a material form in Jesus. It's only fitting, therefore, that we give each other material things to celebrate his birth. As for gluttony (only technically a deadly sin), Christmas is our time to celebrate the most important man in the world, and God wants us to celebrate. "So get the biggest ham!" urges Kirk Cameron. "Use the richest butter! Make everything in your house point to Jesus!"

From the stranger.com

I pray to a goddess of food and wealth, and I'm kind of skeeved out by this. Wasn't it just a few years ago that most Christians were cautioning each other against letting Christmas shopping and parties and stuff detract from "the reason for the season?"

Which, I mean, I know the real reason for Christmas is "early Christians wanted to celebrate Yule." But what kind of person thinks it's okay to encourage a suburban North American audience to eat "the biggest ham" and "the richest butter," in honour of a homeless Jew who told his followers to give what they had to the poor?

It's never been more obvious that what most people call Christianity today is just capitalism.

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Our team projected there would be about 110,000 voters on June 3 (out of 462,000 registered, or less than 25 percent). And here was the kicker: Fully half would be age 65 and older. Roughly three-quarters would be age 50 and older. Millennials were a rounding error. If you want to know why politicians pay only lip service to the outrageous cost of college, soaring student loan debt and the fact that degrees don’t translate into decent jobs anymore, here’s your answer, I thought. But there was no way to start some youth crusade in the time we had.

Truth is, by the end of the campaign, I wouldn’t stop to talk to young people at all—the odds that they would show up on June 3 were practically nil. Seniors—and the direct mail we would send them—were pretty much all that mattered. (This truth was driven home by the little old lady at a market who punctuated her list of to-dos for me with eerie intensity. “You’d better listen to me, young man,” she said. “We’re the ones who vote!”)

-- Matt Miller, "Mr. Miller Doesn't Go To Washington," Politico


I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think.

-- George Orwell, "Down and Out"


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Attacks on religious expression are an example of a program undertaken by left-leaning individuals without thought for how this may be a part of capital’s larger approach to destroying sources of meaning outside of itself. […]

Marx and Engels never saw some sort of “defeat of religion” as a necessary condition for moving society forward.

From http://erasmuslijn.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/chains-of-being/

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Kate Kelly, on her excommunication for petitioning the Mormon leaders to ask their god about women's ordination to the priesthood, and for raising Mormons' awareness of issues caused by gender inequality:

“I honestly thought until the very last minute that they would do the right thing,” the Ordain Women founder said Monday evening. “It feels very much like a forced amnesia, where everything you thought you knew was gone and everything you thought you were isn’t the case anymore.”

That's really an apt description, of how we felt when things turned upside-down for us. When we suddenly realized we had been betrayed, and the people we'd been told to look up to were cruel, banal, and self-serving.

Except in our case, we keep obsessively clinging to scraps of memory, trying to resolve issues from a dead person's life that simply don't matter anymore. Writing letters, that we never send, to long-dead family members. Watching, and reading, and participating in discussions about a dead church, led by dead leaders, teaching doctrines that crumbled to sand generations ago.

How do you cope? How do you adjust? How do you give yourself amnesia? Especially when the things that are going on in that world -- the great, consequential things -- seem so much more meaningful than the ones in your own, and you feel like you're trying to give your own meaning by keeping up with the struggle.

Even though your very existence is struggle, against depression and against systemic erasure of the kind of person you are.

It's hard to see our own happiness as an end in itself. Maybe if we did, this would not be so hard.

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Eventually — perhaps a generation from now, perhaps two, but not much longer than that — there will be a statue honoring Kate Kelly in Salt Lake City. People there will find it confusing. Either it will confuse them because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have become more inclusive, and so the idea of excommunicating an advocate for women’s ordination will seem strange, or else because the LDS won’t have become more inclusive, and thus most people seeing the statue will have a hard time remembering what a Mormon was.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/06/25/dont-even-speak-of-the-beat-menace/

The last time this happened, with black men being ordained to the priesthood in 1978, institutional Mormonism (separate and distinct from the personal faith of a number of Mormons) was able to basically sweep it all under the carpet. You can bet the black community remembered, but they're so underrepresented within the LDS church's membership that I could have Sunday School teachers give me racist explanations for the ban without anyone challenging them.

This is going to affect roughly half their membership. Even if they make it an optional thing, that women don't get until they turn 19* or go on missions or something, it's still going to be huge. I don't know what effect the Internet will have on it, since a lot of Mormons self-censor their web usage, but there are a lot more who are informed about their history and feminist issues this time around than there were during the Equal Rights Amendment battle.

A lot of them are going to become tomorrow's leaders. The only question is whether this will happen inside of or outside the LDS church.



* Mormon boys (meaning young Mormons assigned male, since they don't "get" gender identity) are ordained to the priesthood at age 12, if they pass a "worthiness interview" which requires them to discuss their sex life with a middle-aged man one-on-one behind closed doors. They repeat these interviews at least every two years, until they are ordained an "Elder" at age 18. If they confess to masturbating, it is often (usually?) seen as a reason to deny their ordination to the next office of the priesthood, which amounts to public shaming and causes a great deal of "concern" for them.

This is how Mormon boys learn to lie.

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I shouldn't have to say this, but the following is a parody, that I found on another forum.

Content note: If you know any out-there homophobic conspiracy theorists, this is probably what they've told you they're afraid of!

It's been a week since the Judge's ruling in Utah made gay marriage legal and I'm sorry to report that the entire state of Utah is a desolate wasteland.

The first thing that happened was all heterosexual couples marriages became invalid in the entire state. So right away my wife and I ran to the court house to update our nuptials and the court house was in utter chaos. The line of gay couples went out the door and there was no separate but equal heterosexual lines for the normal couples. After waiting hours in line a clerical error occurred, probably because the County Clerk was a Democrat, and I was married to a gay man and my wife was married into a polygamist family. We are now both required by federal law to live out the rest of out lives in this manner.

Next, all Christian churches and Mormon temples were forced to preform gay marriages. Not only this, but all churches were forced by federal law to change their doctrine on gay marriage. Last Sunday my husband and I even learned in Sunday School that all mention of homosexuality through out the Bible have been removed and in fact were really never there to begin with. There is even rumors that soon only black gay men will be the only ones allowed to have the priesthood in the future.

Even Christmas Day was found unconstitutional and now it's to be called Holiday Day, any mention of Christ will be an automatic fine.

Finally, crime, prostitution and drugs have taken over the state. Since the state and it's people became completely morally bankrupt last week, now all other sins are on the rise. We can't even protect ourselves from the new waves of criminals since the 2nd Amendment was also found unconstitutional by the same Socialist activist judge. My new husband and I are now locked up in our apartment waiting for the end of the world. Our only hope is to run to the border of Idaho. We plan in leaving at sun down, wish us luck.

-- howardcord on Reddit

My favourite part is Holiday Day. Although [personal profile] rev_yurodivy read "automatic fine" as "automatic fire."

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