Five Star's 303rd Great Blog Roundup Is Brought to You By Leslie Jamison
This week's Five Star roundup is brought to you by a life-changing dog, trying something new, a brilliant older sister who helped her little one heal, being black and good, easing up and taking time, what #GamerGate is and what we can do about it, a rollicking rant about #GamerGate, and Leslie Jamison:
When I first met my dog, Ickus, he was all extremities. His tail was as long as the rest of him combined, and crooked like it had been slammed in a car door. When he trotted up to me he tripped over his oversized toes and flopped into my lap, mange-ridden feet waving in the air under my nose.
He was a few months old, and I was sixteen, and neither of us had perfected our movement through the world. He suited me just right.
He offers me some of his cheese fries but I decline. “You don’t understand,” I tell him. “I need to get drunk. Cheese fries will dilute the alcohol.”
But the margarita is not cutting it. I’m tipsy enough to talk to a stranger at a bar but not tipsy enough to slouch, and slouching, it seems, is the key to being a good blues dancer.
“I think I’d like to do a shot,” I tell the bartender.
On the second floor was every book I could have asked for and dreamed of. Shelves no higher than my shoulders, so I could see things for myself, filled with books on princesses, queens, servant girls, and saints. Books on fairy tales, rescue dogs, stories of girls and boys. Tales of families, heroes, history, made up silly nonsense rhymes and achingly true biographies. I read them all, not for pleasure, but in hope that if I read every single word, I'd find ones that matched the silence caught inside me.
I’ve been detained before. I’ve been questioned. I’ve been followed and harassed and I’ve been eyed suspiciously. Hell, I’ve been outright accused. But this was the first time it happened with people who aren’t black, who don’t experience this treatment regularly. They know it exists and they know it happens. But witnessing it firsthand, realizing that your black friends adjust their behavior because they know what’s coming? That’s what I’ve been thinking about incessantly.
Where we end up with this demand to take a stand, I think, is that our interactions with others become a constant, and exhausting, requirement to show ourselves as good before we speak. Even one of the most beautiful and courageous political interventions that I’ve seen all year couches itself in this way: which side are you on, friend, which side are you on?
…this is a much bigger, much older problem than #gamergate. It’s been around for years if not forever. Women in certain fields just plain can’t speak if any given man in earshot disagrees with what they have to say. They will call in friends to “educate” and for whatever screwed up psychological reason, they will never let it go. This sort of harassment women face? It never fully goes away.
Gaming is part of who I am, I can promise you that.
Thus, when I see an article titled “Gamers are dead,” referring to the death of the popular trope of a pasty young man in a dimly lit room, it fills me with joy, because it means WE FUCKING WON. So many people are playing games now that they are popular culture. They are not going away. All sorts of cool things, that I like, are now things that a whole bunch of other people like! There’s enough space now for people to make games that are strange and disturbing and maybe highlight a different perspective of the world, because gaming is no longer a niche activity, it’s something that everybody does. There is room for art in video games. That’s awesome!
Please come back and share good writing with us over the coming week to be featured on the next Five Star. Submit it by Tuesday at midnight CST to nominate it for inclusion in the next roundup.
And because you are a fan of finding good, new writing on the internet: