Yet Another Post Done Mostly Because I Haven’t Posted In Awhile / I Liked It It Was Better Than Cats

25 11 2008

So, random things.

Sat down for a three-DVD rampage of Death Note with Jen and Andy recently. We’ve hit the shark-jump point in the series — I won’t specify what it is for spoiler reasons, but it’s a major shift in the plot after which things sorta flail about randomly with less interesting cast members before we finally get an actual ending. What I find most amusing is this event happens in issue 58 of 108 in the manga… but it happens in episode 25 of 37 of the anime. If I may issue forth a conjecture, I’d say they realized it didn’t quite take with the fans so they compressed down things to devote more time to the story prior to shark jumpery. And with the live action movies representing a new continuity, maybe they’ll even completely rework things.

Poked lightly at LittleBigPlanet, then turned it off. It’s just too hard to find levels that are worth a damn unless I’m willing to go cruise message boards. It’s also disheartening so see that after a full week away from the game, only 3 more people have played my level because of said problems finding good levels. While crap like “ramp” which is just a generic rocket sled experiment get tens of thousands of plays an things you spent hours working on don’t even get a passing glance, it’s very disheartening… oh, not to mention the eagle-eyed sniper teams that are moderating anything copyright based or objectionable to oblivion. Understandable of them to do so, but bleh. It still sucks and has taken the wind out of the sails.

Other than my RB2 ESL run we talked about before, the main game I’ve been playing is Left 4 Dead, and I’m LOVING the Versus mode. Coop is fun, especially with friends, but once you’ve played the levels you’ve kinda played the game, you know? Versus mode though gives you new tools, new approaches, new challenges. I don’t even mind being flimsy cannon fodder with a respawn timer, because I like games with short bursts of action and short relaxation periods rather than constant nerve on edge balls to the wall hypertension. This mode is very much up my alley as a result, and I’m practicing to get better at it.

Fishing-wise, we’re rolling along with new content and new releases — and the upcoming December 5th Child’s Play Charity Event. Sandwich has been yo-yoing a bit, which worries me, since when they melt down so does 7Seas… I’m hoping it’ll be dealt with prior to the event. But assuming all goes okay, we’ll have music, fun, and a lotta money to give to hospitals so they can keep their kids happy. And soon after that rally, I’m gonna be taking a week off work to devote to… well, to slacking and having fun, but also to working on some new contest types and new toys to add to 7Seas. Stay tuned.

EDIT: Okay, maybe I do have something actually substantial to discuss.

Something I’ve seen a lot of in Second Life is “nekos”, and it makes me cringe each time I hear it. I feel bad about cringing and having an automatic negative reaction, however, so let me put forward how I see it and allow others to correct my ignorant self / smack me for being an asshole.

From what little I can tell, a “neko” is someone who

A) Wears cat ears and a tail. I’m not even talking full on furry, or cat-person, just ears and a tail and nothin’ else of note. Please note they do not Van Gogh off their human ears in the process, so techncially they have four ears.

B) Abuses ear-bleeding mewling audio emotes to no end while in public.

C) Wears slightly grungy / punky urban clothing; possibly a few steps better than Hot Topic in that it’s actually junky instead of manufactured junky.

D) Is incredibly weeaboo via the use of “neko” as if it’s some sort of unique cultural classification and not just the translated word for “cat”.

And that’s it. I mean, what else is there to it? Why is this somehow on par with elves, vampires, and the subcultures / mythical creatures that exist? I mean, sure, wear cat ears, it’s cute, but it’s not like it’s some sort of actual social movement or self identity worth any degree of importance. For the folks who just do it because it’s cute, sure, have fun, no biggie. For people who somehow “live the neko lifestyle”, get over yourselves.

Okay, done being a dick. (I call it like I sees it; I’m a whale biologist.) I’ll go hide now.

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47 responses

25 11 2008
jengagne

I have icons for everything…
Well, DO you consider furries, elves, vampires, kid avatars, etc. to be social movements/subcultures? Does that make them more or less valid to, I don’t know, exist sans eyerolling?
Personally I just see it as another way people play at costuming in SL. (adding ears to an avatar is not so different from adding wings, after all… you aren’t necessarily a full-on fairy avatar, but it’s a fun fantasy or even sci-fi accessory.)
Edited to add: It does make me go “huh?” to hear the word “neko” used as a fashion concept that goes beyond the ears and tail, though. It seems to visually contain some kind of emo-grunge-punk borderline area in SL. Does anybody use this as a fashion term outside of SL?
Also — I’m curious — do you find you have the same reaction to various cosplay people in RL at, say, Otakon? (people in full recognizable costumes vs. people who are just dolled up vs. people who just have cat ears on…)

25 11 2008
riskygamble

…:)
Start here and go forward. http://somethingpositive.net/sp11152008.shtml

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: I have icons for everything…
Furries have a broad depth and width of coverage; there’s a lot of different approaches there, and there’s certainly a long standing culture around them. I’ve got no problems there. Elves have been around a hell of a long time and there’s a great deal of mythology there which has been explored in a variety of ways. Vampires… well, some get downright silly with the Hot Topic approach but some aren’t so bad.
I think the Neko thing is just… dude, Japanese Word For Cat is not a lifestyle, it’s not a culture, there’s nothing THERE. It’s empty. As far as I can tell it exists only in SL, but in SL it’s put on par with these other things that actually have some substance behind them, which just leads to aforementioned eyerolling.
And yeah, cosplay reactions, if it’s someone who’s doing an established character then it makes perfect sense, but if it’s just someone who’s wearing generic clothes and cat ears and constantly mewling and being a catty (har!) attention whore… forget it. Someone who just happens to be wearing cat ears and isn’t being annoying about it is fine, of course.

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Snerk. :) Good stuff.

25 11 2008
meagenimage

What I find most amusing is this event happens in issue 58 of 108 in the manga… but it happens in episode 25 of 37 of the anime.
This is what happens when you want your story to have a certain number of chapters because it’s HIGHLY SYMBOLIC YOU GUYS, and you don’t really care what it does to the pacing of your plot.

25 11 2008
jengagne

Re: I have icons for everything…
So maybe the hang-up point for you is the general meowing “listen to / look at meeee” aspect of it.
Personally I find audio macros annoying in SL in general. (whether you’re a “neko”, a fullblown furry cat, or whatever… ugh.)

25 11 2008
tozetre

“Why is this somehow on par with elves, vampires, and the subcultures / mythical creatures that exist?”
You bastard. In my head, right now, is the Anne Rice of 2095 writing crap popularizations of “the classic Neko fiction” by Neko McNekosaaaaaan~.
*sobs in the corner*

25 11 2008
jengagne

I blame T.S. Eliot.

25 11 2008
jengagne

See also the later-ep craptasticness of Ranma 1/2, running on the “It has to be longer than UY!” theory. Blaarf.

25 11 2008
jengagne

Re: I have icons for everything…
After some thought, here’s my take:
Even though “neko” has no popular sci-fi/fantasy fandom basis like elves and vampires do… I don’t see it as any more or less annoying (or valid) than those things, taken _apart_ from behaviors that annoy me no matter how you’re dressed:
— audio or text-spamming macros.
— general “look at me ME ME ME” behaviors, individually or toward others.
— preemptively assuming you’re a persecuted minority when really, nobody cares to the degree that you imagine.
— assumption that any of the above makes you somehow exempt from local rules in SL, such as our “please don’t beat your naked slaves in my shop kthx” rule.
I mean, you don’t have to be part of some established geek-fandom to follow Trend X in SL or anywhere else, do you? It just doesn’t _matter_ either way.

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I blame E.E. Cummings and k.d. lang! Oh, and J.K. Rowling.

25 11 2008
jengagne

Is J.R.R. Tolkien 33% more to blame than the rest of them, then?

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Obsolutely. Serves the bastard right for having four names, and an embedded T.L.A.

25 11 2008
lirazel

It sounds to me as though parts of SL are turning into Ye Average Anime Con, where a person can’t move without stepping on a catgirl.

25 11 2008
delfina

Re: I have icons for everything…
Well, I find all ‘fantasy lifestyles’ pretty annoying. Elves, vampires, fairies, etc. People who put on elf ears or wear fangs and pretend to be a different species. (I also don’t rp at all, maybe this is why. Even when I dress up for the renaissance festival it’s more to dress up, I don’t act differently in any way than I normally do. Unless it’s actually a *gig*, which is totally different because that usually involves money for, you know, acting – or in my case *dancing* as a character of some kind. Which is a legitimate business.) I classify this ‘neko’ thing along with the people who constantly wear those fox tail things. Moronic and definitely not a subculture, more like a fad of some kind.
Actually, I see it all more as fashion accessories. Like, I may wear fairy wings in SL, right? But I’m not claiming to be a fairy or anything. I’m just wearing fairy wings. But the people who put on fashion accessories and claim that they’re a different animal, well. They have issues that go beyond their lack of taste and fashion sense.

25 11 2008
delfina

Man, and every year I think, “Hm, maybe I’ll go to a con this year…” and then I hear stuff like this again and decide not to go.

25 11 2008
tozetre

For everything?

25 11 2008
jengagne

For the dark future of nekofic as a genre. Well, and for everything else also.

25 11 2008
jengagne

At least they did a pretty good job of hustling away the underdressed jailbait at Otakon this year. XD
Andy and I like anime, but I think for us our primary enjoyment of Otakon is to see all the people in costumes (recognizable or not) and/or just amusingly outlandish fashion choices. So yeah, you’d have to be easily amused by such things to enjoy a con!

25 11 2008
cmdr_zoom

gah, is that why?
I thought it was just “Takahashi doesn’t know how to end a series, especially when she’s getting paid.” :p
(I still think of “The Ends”, by the way.)

25 11 2008
faerie_h

Re: I have icons for everything…
…”. They have issues that go beyond their lack of taste and fashion sense.”…
Maybe they just have more imagination?

25 11 2008
raigne

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_girl
Beyond their appearance in anime and cosplaying I wasn’t aware there was any sort of philosohpy behind it. I was also going to point out that it’s been a running gag in Something Positive, but someone already linked you to the current story arc.

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Always take everything on Wikipedia with a grain of salt.
I’m also a bit skeeved by the “western cosplayer” pic in that entry. Just… guh. Attention-seeking camwhores are creepy.
But yes, there is a cultural background, at least in that in anime itself and not weeabooisms they have a common context and some personality traits that are commonly associated with cats, etc. Whereas when it jumps the pond people completely miss the point and it gets fetishized and fadded.

25 11 2008
25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: I have icons for everything…
I also don’t rp at all, maybe this is why.
This.
I won’t claim it’s something I understand — I’m just too oldschool — but folks do enjoy being someone or something else even in a non-RP context on SL. Vampires, furries, elves, what have you. I won’t begrudge them that, even if I can’t totally parse the concept.
I really shouldn’t be begrudging Nekos either, except that.. agh.. I dunno. Something about it FEELS illegitimate. Elves, vampires, those feel legitimate enough but wearing punky clothes and ears does not an entire weighty and worthy concept make. It just bugs me. But, as noted above, I can be an asshole sometimes, so hey.

25 11 2008
faerie_h

Very disappointed.
I have to say this is the most disappointing thing you have ever written TwoFlower. You really do need to get out and about in SL more (and yes I’m volunteering again for guide duty).
So rather than scratch your eyes out like an alley-cat would, (and I would rather you actually opened them just a little), or shoot you dead like a Midian neko would, I’m going to do just what my old Persian cat would have done – I’m going to curl up in your lap, flicking the tip of my tail under your nose while I shed hairs all over you ^.^
Seriously though, if I can just comment on your points? You said:
“A “neko” is someone who
A) Wears cat ears and a tail. I’m not even talking full on furry, or cat-person, just ears and a tail and nothin’ else of note. Please note they do not Van Gogh off their human ears in the process, so techncially they have four ears.”
Neko as you said means “cat” and so some people interpret that differently – just as they interpret “Fairy” differently. And as for the ears – most Nekos will try to wear hair that covers their human ears but there isn’t a lot else that can be done (apart from wearing a prim head). Blame SL for that restriction. But there are many ways to be a neko and some of them are just so damn sexy!



and as for wearing …”just ears and a tail and nothin’ else of note”… all I can say is a big loud; ‘SOMETIMES -YES!’


“B) Abuses ear-bleeding mewling audio emotes to no end while in public.”
Does the incredibly high number of DJ’s who HOOOWWWWWLLLL every 30 seconds mean all DJ’s are cringe-worthy?
“C) Wears slightly grungy / punky urban clothing; possibly a few steps better than Hot Topic in that it’s actually junky instead of manufactured junky.”
Blade runner style cyber-punk does seemt to be the most popular fashion style among Neko’s I agree, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives. The serious neko play in dark places like CoLA, Midian and waste land style places like Waste Lands and Glass Earth. But I think I have already disproved this comment – you just need to get out of Flotsam more often!
“D) Is incredibly weeaboo via the use of “neko” as if it’s some sort of unique cultural classification and not just the translated word for “cat”.”
“weeaboo” isn’t a word I understand but there *are* Neko cultures (plural) out there – you just haven’t seen them because (I’m guessing) you haven’t gone looking for them. All you’ve met is the Kawaii side of Neko.
http://virtualneko.wordpress.com/
I would be interested to hear your opinion of Faeries and Mermaids too.
Would you like to explore some of the Neko places with us?

25 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Very disappointed.
Yeah, that’s pretty much why I prefaced my entry with “I’m probably being an asshole about this, but…” and I’m perfectly willing to reconsider my opinion. In this case, refine it. Lemme respond…
A) It’s funny, but in my view, folks who wear actual cat skins and have specific feline features? I’m okay with them. It’s more the “I wear urban clothes and happen to have ear and tail attachments” sorts that make me do a doubletake and feel it’s kinda silly. Maybe it’s a matter of… well, are you REALLY going for the cat thing, or are you just being trendy and fashionable?
B) Actually, yes. I loathe those stupid audio emotes and the people who spam them with a burning passion and that’s half the reason I don’t DJ for anyone but friends anymore. A random crowd of clubgoers abuses the hell out of those things as a substitute for actual conversation and it makes me cringe. I think Jen pegged it above — I have a problem with attention whores more than anything, people who get in your face and demand you focus on how amazing and special they are. People who are simply amazing and special without trying to hard-sell you on it are fine by me.
C) If someone’s doin’ it For Reals and not just Looky Me I’m In Trendy Hip Clothing With Ears Therefore I’m A Neko, I’m okay, as noted. Some of the shots you posted are really well done avatars and get my thumbs up.
D) Weeaboo… hmm. It’s hard to explain because I disagree with the common definition. I define it as someone who THINKS they love Japanese culture but really only loves self-selected highly distorted aspects of it, flaunting their amazing cultural fetishes quite wildly and vocally, and if they were dropped in a crowd of actual Japanese people they’d fit in about as well as oranges and tungsten. That’s why re-appropriation of a pretty ordinary word, and not even the correct variant of it (“nekomimi” would be more appropriate) is kinda skeevy.
I’ve actually got no problems with faeries or mermaids. I don’t know why, but if I had to put a finger on it, I’d say it’s because they’re carrying on a rich literary tradition — archetypes and personality traits and backgrounds that are well established. Whereas hip teenagers sticking ears on their head and thinking they’re a whole new fantasy archetype is folly. (Hip teenagers who get into it DEEPER than that and aren’t just yoinking the surface aspects in an effort to be cool are alright.)
I guess I wrote my original post really, really badly. And bluntly, mostly because the whole thing feels silly to me — but so does anybody who gives lip service to a concept in hopes of matching a trend. Poseurs. People who can carry it off legitimately are fine, people who don’t constantly act like they’re life of the party and should be loved because of their hijacked culturalisms are not. That’s a bit more universal of a notion than I was posting, and more reasonable.
I would like to get out of Flotsam more. I have a habit of holing up because my attention span is like onto a flea, so yeah, drop me an invite sometime. I’d like to see it done right and not done weaksauce.

26 11 2008
faerie_h

Re: Very disappointed.
Oops – I didn’t mean to indicate that the “virtual neko” blog is an example of the shallow kawaii side of Neko because it isn’t. If you read that blog she tries to cover all aspects of neko-ism including RL Japanese Cos-play.
I like being a Neko from time to time because it’s fun and it allows us to be appropriately dressed in urban sims without being a boring plain unimaginative human.

26 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Very disappointed.
Which is you coming at it from another angle — an expression of self, a meshing of your ideals in places that don’t quite match them. If anything it’s almost a protest vote, and I like that.
Overall, I just don’t like people who latch onto any trend without getting it any deeper than “omg that looks kewls”. Which a LOT of urban neko style feels like to me. I’ve no doubt it can be done well and people are really into it on a meaningful level, but it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff some days. And that counts for ANY culture.

26 11 2008
raigne

My point with the wiki article was more that it isn’t confined to SL. The basic concept in our culture isn’t even new. Playboy bunnies are an American icon, for example.
I understand your reasoning though, and am also in the camp that disdains people who turn something simple into something more complex than it is just because it’s cool.
And as far as emote noises, while I can’t empathize, since I’m not into SL, I get the feeling it’s kind of like how I view people who make websites with gif animations for wallpaper, embedded midis with no way to shut them off, and all red text on a black background. And since I’m a graphic designer, to me it’s not just tasteless, it’s insulting. :x

26 11 2008
cmdr_zoom

Re: Very disappointed.
See, I don’t think any of those are sexy. Seriously. Looking over the pics and… nope, it doesn’t do it for me.
De gustibus non disputantum, though.
What I see a lot of with folks who adopt this sort of role (including one person I’ve known for many years) is a very stereotypical “fickle feline female” persona… the person who can do anything they want as the whim takes them, with no excuses offered or required, and who needs to always be the center of attention.
Not only is that, IMO, a very negative stereotyping of what it means to be female in this culture, it’s the kind of thing I don’t put up with from real cats, let alone people pretending to be.

26 11 2008
tozetre

Excellent.

26 11 2008
lirazel

Re: Very disappointed.
I’m with you — but then, as certain readers here can tell you, I have issues with avatars in general. I hate them, they creep me out, and I will most likely never visit SL in consequence. I’m an obese middle-aged woman, and I like it like that, and have NO interest in looking like anyone or anything else, even in pretense. When I dress up, it’s as an obese, middle-aged, dressed up woman. And if I put on cat ears and a tail, I’d be an obese, middle-aged woman with pretense ears and a tail, and very silly too.
And those avatars… I was going to say something rude here, but on second thought I’ll just quote George Herbert (and a very schmaltzy ST:O episode:
“Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their dutie
Not to a true, but painted chair?”

26 11 2008
faerie_h

Re: Very disappointed.
Some people are cat (only) people and some are dog (only) people. There are some pretty cute puppy-girls in SL now (and it’s one of the latest trends too).
I’m guessing from your icon that you’re male and assuming that you aren’t gay (but if you are that’s OK because I can find some pictures of pretty hot boy nekos too), so tell me, if a gorgeous woman sashayed up to you in a figure hugging shiny black latex catsuit, with shiny black knee-high boots are you going to tell her she isn’t sexy because she also has a swishy tail and a pair of ears?
You have to smirk at the headline on this:
http://culture-vulture.net/pwnd/PWND_Magazine-Issue_002.pdf

26 11 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Very disappointed.
Well, that’s the thing — the examples cited are each and every one of them NOT just a woman in hot clothes plus three fashion accessories. You’re citing the folks who go beyond that and go for transhumanism, with furry skins or whiskers or cat eyes. That just doesn’t work for some people, it takes them out of the moment and turns them off.
You can have a healthy male hetero libido and not be turned on by those pics. Different folks, different strokes. I mean, I myself aren’t that hot and bothered by them. It’s just too far outside what I’m looking for. (I’m not offended by them, they just don’t do much for me.)

26 11 2008
faerie_h

Re: Very disappointed.
We are not talking about RL though.
We ARE talking about SL and avatars in SL.
I won’t say anything rude either.

26 11 2008
faerie_h

Re: Very disappointed.
You’re right.
I’m not going to say anything more because there are too many people here (and I don’t mean you TF) who either haven’t experienced SL, or have but can’t stand anything not “real”, and are being down right rude and (and even) insulting.
See you inworld soon (I hope) ^.^

26 11 2008
cmdr_zoom

Re: Very disappointed.
I like cats and dogs… other peoples’. (Children, too; I’m quite fond of my niece and nephew.) I neither consider myself qualified nor desire to have the responsibility for anything more complex than a goldfish. I’m a selfish, lazy person. No room in my hobbitish life or tiny apartment for anything or anyone else right now.
Yes, male and straight. And IMO, the tail and ears would be irrelevant either way with regard to the hypothetical female’s attractiveness. Part of that would be attitude, and if she’s acting in a manner that’s (again, IMO) vain and attention-seeking and flirty and fickle, then while my libido might respond unconsciously, I wouldn’t be interested in her for anything else. Too high-maintenance. I’m busy taking care of my own life and issues, thanks.
Finally, I should qualify that I’m not certain I’ve found any SL avatars genuinely sexy. Virtually (heh) all of them fall into the uncanny valley (in a “bad Poser art” way), and I’m also not much of a fan for what passes for fashion in SL; most of it is, in my experience, trendy “urban casual”, twenty years outside my tastes, and/or composed entirely of bling and peacock-ish trains. Far too many Clints and Brandys out there.
But hey – that’s just my opinion.

26 11 2008
delfina

Re: I have icons for everything…
I think it’s more a general unhappiness with who they are in reality, so this is a form of escapism, by pretending to be someone/something they’re not. But that’s just me. *shrug*

26 11 2008
delfina

Re: I have icons for everything…
If you’re going to put it that way, then yes, you should treat Neko (is it really Nekos? As the Japanese have no plural additions…) the same way you treat “elves” and “vampires”.

26 11 2008
delfina

See, that’s part of the reason I like the ren fests. People come in all *sorts* of weird stuff. I guess it’s like a con, with more people. So maybe I would enjoy a con. So long as I have someone to make catty comments with all night. :D

26 11 2008
delfina

Oh my gosh, I just noticed your icon… AWESOME!

26 11 2008
jengagne

Courtesy of PETA. ;) Not that I agree with them, but it is a fun graphic.
And yes, having a co-snarker is always good. :) But I admire at least as much as I snark, so I might not be the best!

26 11 2008
jengagne

Re: Very disappointed.
Yah, I think those of us (such as me and Twoflower) with a heavy-duty RP background or a heavy costuming/cosplay interest (me) have a much better chance of grokking the overall concept without too much mental stretching.
I still maintain my original theory (which he seems to confirm) that Twoflower’s reaction is more about behaviors and trend-hopping than neko in _particular_.
But anyway, I know you’re done here; we can discuss all this in-world if you’re so inclined. :)

26 11 2008
jengagne

Re: Very disappointed.
“Clint and Brandy” — heh, as a Snow Crash fan, I know what you mean. I’m enough of an MMO/CG/etc. fan that the uncanny valley is a bit further away or perhaps scaled differently for me, I think.

26 11 2008
delfina

If they’re good costumes, then yes. Admiration is good, and I am prone to complimenting and asking who the tailor is. But horribly awful costumes, especially ones that have people with way too much flesh hanging out… or visible duct tape or somesuch… blech!

26 11 2008
delfina

Re: Very disappointed.
Just because someone is wearing a figure-hugging catsuit and shiny knee-high boots does not mean they’re sexy. If you’re assuming that all men have that same notion of “sexy”, then you’re generalizing. And some men could have a very negative reaction to the cat ears and swishy tail as a very large detractor from their “sexiness”.
And if this person is in SL… well, then they look like a cartoon, and I think some (or a lot of) men can have a hard time finding that sexy in the first place.

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