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Piracy gave me a future / Offworld. Poverty traps its victims in intellectual dead zones.

Piracy gave me a future / Offworld

I don't pirate games anymore, but when I needed it, it gave me access to the literature and artistic inspiration of my generation. As a kid, I stole from everyone. An unattended purse in a restaurant? Easy $5. Pokémon cards at Target? "I need this," I'd tell myself. For a time, that thin justification worked. After each snag, I'd put on airs and feign ignorance long enough for suspicion to drop. It was more than just jealousy, of course. Things started to change for me in middle school. That year was also the same that my mom got her first computer. The Internet said I didn't have to be hungry; it was a tool that opened up the world. In a way, downloading games didn't feel that different from searching the web for information. Downton Abbey, ou quand l'Histoire se met au service des riches.

Confronting the Limits of Comfort in ‘12hrs’ [Trigger warning: homelessness, sexual assault, suicide, police brutality, and misogyny.]

Confronting the Limits of Comfort in ‘12hrs’

I’ve never been homeless before. I’ve always been poor. When it comes to the many thin and transparent layers of poverty, every new day feels like a potential step in the right or wrong direction. I was raised by a single mother with a disability, gradually cast out over the years from a white middle-class family too deep in their nasty bias to financially and emotionally support a deaf woman and her biracial daughter. I’ve been on the cusp of prestige—occasionally visiting my grandparents’ gated beach-side community in my younger days and marveling at the borderline fantasy land at my disposal. More familiar became the sting of poverty—living in trailers throughout junior high and moving to a new apartment every few years afterwards with the omnipresent hope that my mother’s Section 8 benefits wouldn’t dry up anytime soon. Le Guin’s Anarchist Aesthetics. October 15, 2015 — What makes readers fall in love?

Le Guin’s Anarchist Aesthetics

You might want to start your answer by explaining Ursula Le Guin. I can only speak for one childhood—and one adulthood—spent reading Le Guin, but I’d bet my last nickel there are thousands of us out there. Tolkien knew how to conquer Evil; Beverly Cleary and Louise Fitzhugh put their finger on childhood woe and its embarrassments. But the nightly dreams of deep, deep blue water, of looking out from the crow’s nest of a battered clipper as it rounds a cliff, I owe to nobody but Le Guin. I can still close my eyes and count that ship’s sails. If you think you have Le Guin pegged because you know young-adult fantasy, think again. Perhaps what most sets Le Guin apart from her peers is the vivacity of her worlds, the way she makes readers accept a world simultaneously distinct from and entirely a part of life as it’s ordinarily lived.

Several black stones eighteen or twenty feet high stuck up like huge fingers out of the earth. Ursula K. Design & punish: A review of Prison Architect. The first person to die in an electric chair was William Kellmer, a peddler from Philadelphia who murdered his common law wife in the spring of 1889.

Design & punish: A review of Prison Architect

By all accounts, the execution was a horrific success. 1000 volts of electricity, tested the day before on a luckless horse, knocked Kellmer unconscious, but did not stop his heart. In a panic, the warden doubled the current. 2000 volts of alternating current ruptured Kellmer’s capillaries, forming subcutaneous pools of blood that began to burst as his skin was torn apart. Witnesses reported being overcome by the smell of molten flesh and charred body hair; those who tried to leave found that the doors were locked. The next morning, the New York Times called the execution a “disgrace to civilization … so terrible that words cannot begin to describe it.” The irony, lost on no one, was that until that morning, electrocution had been promoted as a more humane form of capital punishment.

Perceptions of Poverty in Geek Culture: A Weasley Case Study. Pop culture has a weird relationship with poverty.

Perceptions of Poverty in Geek Culture: A Weasley Case Study

You’d think that geek culture would be pretty good at portraying poverty; we’re seeing more and more strides towards inclusivity and greater representation of all people from all backgrounds. Yet socio-economic issues are heavily charged with politics, and our political beliefs shape the way we perceive reality. They shape the kinds of pop culture media we create, and as David Wong’s recent Cracked article explains, popular culture doesn’t seem to believe that actual, real-world poverty really exists, just a sort of nebulous feeling of being poor while occupying the middle class, and actual financial consequences of a character’s actions aren’t ever really addressed.

Most of the time, shows don’t even acknowledge any of the consequences of property damage, let alone address the financial ones. We’re happy when the superhero defeats the monster, but who’s going to pick up the tab now that the city looks like it’s been bombed?