Author Archive | James Curcio

Standards of Beauty Under The Knife

Pic: Sarang (PD)

Pic: Sarang (PD)

By now, you have probably heard some of the outsider outrage, confusion and consternation. “Everyone in Korea wants the same face!”

It seems, pardon the pun, cut and dry, but as you’ll see it is anything but. Any cultural slant might be laid bare through similar scrutiny, so beware: those publications that seem to want to the headline to read “Dumb Asians All Want to Look The Same” are incapable of seeing their own cultural bias. We are all, in a sense, blind to ourselves.

Let’s try to open our eyes a little. I want to look at this, leading off with one of the better articles I’ve found on this phenomenon,

“There’s a real problem when you make generalizations about a whole country full of women, that they’re all culturally duped,” Hejiin Lee said in an interview. “There are certain economic situations happening in Korea and America that might impel different choices.

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Myths of the Holidays: Who Makes Krampus Look Jovial By Comparison?

Nyssa Part 1: Loves Notes To A Stranger

Krampus by Alexey Andreev for Nyssa Part 1: Loves Notes To A Stranger

Have you noticed you can’t go far this Christmas season without seeing the krampus, a devil-like consort to Saint Nicholas? All of the sudden, the devilish fellow seems to be everywhere.

But it is far less likely that you have encountered another Christmas-time mythic character, that of Frau Perchta. She makes the Krampus seem amiable to boot.

Perchta asks,”have you been weaving your flax little girl? Have you been good? Are you eating the awful gruel and fish that are to be consumed on my holiday?” If the answer is no, the poor children are disemboweled, and their insides are stuffed with straw and stones. So, you know. Don’t mess up. By comparison to the two of them, Saint Nicholas’ ‘present’ of coal seems benign.

We may wonder what the sense is in these dark figures, during a time that we mistakenly assume should be lighthearted and merry.… Read the rest

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Synthetic Love: Married to a Doll

Davecat lives with his wife and mistress, both dolls, and thinks synthetic partners are ideal for those who don’t want to deal with humans’ inconsistencies. (Atlantic article.)

Davecat met his future wife, Sidore Kuroneko at a goth club in 2000, so the story goes. The less romantic but perhaps more true version is that he saved up for a year and a half to buy her online. She cost about $6,000.

Sidore is a RealDoll, manufactured by Abyss Creations in the shape of a human woman. She is covered in artificial skin made of silicone, so she’s soft. These high-end, anatomically correct—even equipped with fake tongues—love dolls (or capital-D Dolls) are ostensibly made for sex. But 40-year-old Davecat (a nickname acquired from videogames that he now prefers to go by) and others who call themselves iDollators see their dolls as life partners, not sex toys. Davecat and Sidore (or, as he sometimes calls her, Shi-chan) obviously aren’t legally married, but they do have matching wedding bands that say “Synthetik [sic] love lasts forever,” and he says they’re considering some sort of ceremony for their 15th anniversary.

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Ted Cruz: Destroying Entire Planet Only Reliable Way To End Obamacare

Ted_Cruz,_official_portrait,_113th_CongressFrom the New Yorker:

…Explaining his proposal to a visibly alarmed Crowley, Senator Cruz said, “Obamacare is like a parasite that needs a host to feed on. If you want to kill the parasite you kill the host, and in this case that means killing this planet. As long as there’s a planet Earth, the nightmare of Obamacare could always come screaming back to life.”

While he was not specific about how he would go about destroying the planet, Cruz said, “This is something that my colleagues and I have been working on for some time.”

The Texas senator refused to speculate on whether there were enough votes in Congress to support his proposal of obliterating Earth, but he ended his interview on a personal note: “Candy, I don’t want my children and my children’s children to live in a world with Obamacare. And the best way to guarantee that is by destroying the world.”

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What Will The Mainstream Make of Polyamory

A recent post on Modern Mythology raises questions about the recent mainstream obsession with polyamory:

Thanks in part to the Showtime series “Polyamory: Married and Dating,” it seems yet another subaltern is coming out of the closet (or bedroom) and into the mainstream.

It is predictable enough that it would be presented on SHO in a way that is easiest to digest for the American mainstream. Yet the examples posed there are staid modifications to the familiar. I would prefer the actual gamut of possibilities be presented. The show reads as another variation on swingers. So, what are White American suburbanites (or urbanites) to make of this new “fad”?

One of the challenges presented by this desire, (as was discussed in an earlier tongue-in-cheek article, “Postmodernogamy“): at its core polyamory presents not an alternate model to monogamy so much as a revolution against all formal and static cultural mores which say “this way and no other.”

Now that gay marriage seems to be approaching normalcy, new labels are needed to keep the relationship news cycle churning, all the while missing the only radical point presented by what is otherwise nothing more than the simple result of modernization on outdated cultural edifices: There is no model of “typical” polyamory, as it is and should be specific to every unique individual and their unique interactions.… Read the rest

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DragonCon 2013 Exclusive: The Transmedia of Tomorrow

Exclusive: DragonCon 2013 – The Transmedia of Tomorrow: The Art That Lies To Tell The Truth

01-dragonconlogoFiction and non-fiction, fact and myth, often aren’t opposites.

These lines blend a little more every day. When these things play such a crucial role in our news as well as entertainment media, and in a world where social media platforms are often at the front lines of cultural revolutions, it is increasingly necessary that these things are understood. Join us for a discussion on this topic, along with links to a variety of articles that expand upon and support the limited amount that can be discussed in a 45 minute panel.

This three person panel is a truncated transcript of the initial Dragon*Con discussion, moderated by David Metcalfe. The other two participants were transmedia artist James Curcio and Damien Williams, who you may have caught at one of many other panels at Dragon*Con this year including “How To Be a Comics Scholar,” “Devouring Selfhood: Zombies In Narrative,” “Gender, Race, and Identities in Comics,” and many others.Read the rest

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The Pop Culture Edition – What Had Happened Was Ep. 27

What Had Happened Was Logo

by Susan M Omand, Omand Original, All Rights Reserved

From ModernMythology:

What Had Happened Was is a grumpyhawk collective podcast co-hosted by grumpyhawk (that would be me) and Benjamin Combs. In this “week-in-review style” show, we cover and comment on stories with a tech, science, weird, or strange sort of angle. Visit grumpyhawk.com to see and hear more from the collective. 

Hello people of the internet! Today grumpyhawk and Benjamin Combs are talking about China collecting body parts from prisoners and how that will now be optional, Snowden denies giving sensitive information to the Guardian, Arkansas bill limiting body modification goes to the State House of Representatives, Time Warner Cable offering antennae to their customers as a way to alleviate the CBS situation, Marvel to bring superhero-themed road show to the US next year, and Ben Affleck as the new Batman. All on today’s episode, The pop culture edition.

Show Notes:

  1. China says it will stop harvesting organs from prisoners
  2. Snowden denies being source of The Independent’s “NSA leak” story exposing UK base
  3. Senate Passes Bill That Bans Certain Tattoos, Body Markings
  4. Time Warner Cable offers free antennas, Best Buy credit to customers caught in CBS blackout
  5. Marvel to bring superhero-themed road show to the US next year
  6. Ben Affleck is the next Batman

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Michael Hastings Feared That Someone Had Tampered With His Car

indexFrom Salon:

War correspondent Michael Hastings, who died in a car crash in April, had reportedly become concerned that his car had been tampered with in the days leading up to his death, and asked friend Jordanna Thigpen to borrow hers, according to new profile in the LA Weekly.

From the report:

Helicopters often circle over the hills, but Hastings believed there were more of them around whenever he was at home, keeping an eye on him. He came to believe his Mercedes was being tampered with. “Nothing I could say could console him,” Thigpen says.

One night in June, he came to Thigpen’s apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems.

“He was scared, and he wanted to leave town,” she says.

The next day, around 11:15 a.m., she got a call from her landlord, who told her Hastings had died early that morning.

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Hacks continue as FBI claims to have dismantled Anonymous

From GlobalPost:

001-anonymous-maskThe FBI is declaring victory over Anonymous in a series of statements claiming the hacker collective is no longer able to carry out large, successful operations because most of its “largest players” have been arrested or detained by US law enforcement authorities.

“Has anyone seen my leg? I’m in pieces over here!” tweeted one Anonymous-affiliated account. “SHOUTOUTZ TO ALL TEH DISMANTLEZ CREWZ OUT THERE IN SCARED OF TEH FBI LAND LOLOLOLOL,” tweeted @OpLastResort, an account managed by Anons closely associated with the collective’s most recent hacks.

The @OpLastResort account then dumped a large amount of information stolen from what appear to be servers used by the FBI’s Regional Forensics Computer Laboratory (RFCL). A large amount of the information appears to have been scrubbed from computer files as early as January of this year. Such data can only be obtained with direct access to servers.

Personal information from the data can also be taken and used in “social engineering” and phishing attacks to gain further access to secure information.

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