Category Archives: culture

More Craftiness…”Stitch Wars”

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This exhibit looks wonderful. I want to own one of everything.

I think my favorites are the little ewoks…or the enormous Chewy…and some of the crochet and felt work is pretty mind-blowing.

From the Flickr Set:

This artwork is part of Bear and Bird Gallery’s “Stitch Wars” exhibition in Lauderhill, Florida. Exhibition runs July 18 – August 29, 2009, for more information visit our website www.bearandbird.com

Discovered on Twitter, via @craftster…

– Jenn

Gay Panic in the Streets of Geekdom

The writers at nerd-news blog Topless Robot are exposing their own insecurities perhaps, with a lazy gay-panic punchline in a post asking for readers’ “Most Shameful RPG Moment.” Soliciting¬† “hilarious, heartbreaking and embarrassing stories” of tabletop RPG gaming, the writer provides this scenario as an example:

Have you ever had a character who sex with another member of the party, even though both characters were played by guys? And felt horrified about it? Good, you should’ve, because that’s some freaky shit. [Note: emphasis mine]

It seems almost quaint to me, that a nerd’s biggest fear might be being perceived as, “Gay.” This sort of homophobia in geeks is a dissonance that I’ve never understood. I’ve always been of the belief that those marginalized by society (whether by race, orientation, or alignment)¬† share a common persecutor and should naturally ally against intolerance.

Maybe it’s my viewpoint that’s quaint, but somehow I think that if you took a wide poll of self-identified geeks and nerds, the fear of being perceived as “Gay,” wouldn’t rate in the top 10. My number one geek fear right now is the oppositte– that I might share anything in common with the intolerant sort of geeks who are still grossed out by the idea of two dudes kissing each other. With mainstream pop-culture eating up Superhero and SciFi properties, video games as big business, and the internet emerging as the dominant communication medium; nerds can’t be made fun of for what they like anymore, so much as they can be made fun of for what they are like.

Few people are going to deride you for watching Watchmen (except maybe Alan Moore) or playing Left 4 Dead, because comic books and zombies are officially part of the mainstream zeitgeist. On the other hand, obsessively creating a fantasy world whose moral/ethical values mirror your own specifically intolerant and juvenile power fantasies will always be worthy of mockery.

In a double backflip of irony, Topless Robot’s bit of bland homophobia sits beneath a satirically placed Chick tract illustration, wherein a character freaks out about their D&D character dying before attempting suicide themselves. Looks like someone rolled a -12 for self-awareness.

p.s. No links to Topless Robot were included because, why give them the traffic?

Stuff Sheiks Love

"The classical Western image of a 'sheikh': Sheikh Sattam de Haddadin of Palmyra, by Russian painter Alexandr Evgenievich Yacovleff." -Image/Text via Wikipedia.

Inspired by the amazing insights offered on this site, I’ve decided to share with you my own taxonomic and exhaustive analysis of a prevalent cultural movement. Please to enjoy what is only the first in a series of posts on Stuff Sheiks Love.

Sheiks spend a lot of their time in the desert, studying the Quran, and cultivating impressive displays of facial hair (provided that they are men). While you can spell it as Sheik, Sheikh, Shaykh, Shaikh, and Cheikh (thanks Wikipedia!) among many other variant transliteralized spellings– the word or honorific term literally means “elder,” in the Arabic language and generally refers to tribal elders, wise men, scholars, those of certain financial and political influence, et al. Being men (and women) of learned dispositions (otherwise they wouldn’t be Sheiks, duh), Sheiks appreciate respect and good manners. Subsequently, given the importance and esteem conferred by this honorific title, Sheiks love the Arabic language.

One could safely say that Sheiks love kaftans, figs, roasted lamb, and the mathematical innovations created by Muslim scholars (which incidentally, are things that I too love), but rather than offering to you a litany of simplistic generalizations held up by straw men (and what would be the point of that?), I will go even deeper into my exploration of Sheik culture by providing specific information on a sub-subculture that has been well documented in multiple mediums and can be easily referenced for historical accuracy. I hope that other academics will offer their counter-theses and arguments on this subject.

Without further preface, please to enjoy what is only the first in a series of posts on Stuff Iron Sheiks Love. Iron Sheik Iron Sheiks love being World champion wrestlers and defeating their infidel American opponents. In besting their competitors, inflicting pain and humiliation is a priority which is why Iron Sheiks love submission holds. While it is debatable whether the Quran allows for shellfish, there is no doubt that Iron Sheiks love the Boston Crab. (Though it should be noted that the Quran explicitly pooh-poohs New England in general.)

Perhaps the pinnacle of pain-inflictors in their¬† arsenal– Iron Sheiks love using their signature finishing move, the Camel Clutch, wherein the wrestler sits upon their face-down oppponent’s back and places their arms atop the wrestler’s thighs before applying a chinlock and causing their face-down opponent considerable physical distress. Being diabolical charicatures meant to inspire fear and loathing from xenophobic wrestling fans– Iron Sheiks love inflicting considerable physical distress.

Having been retired, Iron Sheiks aren’t able to inflict physical distress on opponents as readily as they used to. To fill the void and pass the time, Iron Sheiks also enjoy appearing on the Howard Stern show or YouTube to insult former colleagues, competitors, business partners and sundry acquaintances. Like many formerly famous, or rather infamous celebrities, Iron Sheiks’ outbursts are often the product of doubt created in the vacuum of their bygone professional life. It’s for this reason that Iron Sheiks love battling existential ennui by threatening to “humble” opponents with anal rape.

Going nuts on internet videos and screaming racist and homophobic invectives on the radio can garner the attention that recall one’s cartoonish glory days– and recapturing, embracing, and grinding to a pulp any semblance of one’s former fame is something that Iron Sheiks LOVE.