Bird’s Eye: The usual mixed bag, with flashbacks to the concentration of power in the 1%, a further look at women in video games, the UN condemning Bill 78 in Quebec (the one that criminalized freedom of assembly). Fortunately there is the ultimate balloon stealing cat to cheer you up.
* We’ve Been Brainwashed, Intentionally, By The 1 Percent Stiglitz Salon
How, in a democracy supposedly based on one person one vote, could the 1 percent could have been so victorious in shaping policies in its interests? It is part of a process of disempowerment, disillusionment, and disenfranchisement that produces low voter turnout, a system in which electoral success requires heavy investments, and in which those with money have made political investments that have reaped large rewards — often greater than the returns they have reaped on their other investments. There is another way for moneyed interests to get what they want out of government: convince the 99 percent that they have shared interests. This strategy requires an impressive sleight of hand; in many respects the interests of the 1 percent and the 99 percent differ markedly.
The fact that the 1 percent has so successfully shaped public perception testifies to the malleability of beliefs. When others engage in it, we call it “brainwashing” and “propaganda.” We look askance at these attempts to shape public views, because they are often seen as unbalanced and manipulative, without realizing that there is something akin going on in democracies, too. What is different today is that we have far greater understanding of how to shape perceptions and beliefs — thanks to the advances in research in the social sciences. It is clear that many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society: They believe that there is less inequality than there is, they underestimate its adverse economic effects, they underestimate the ability of government to do anything about it, and they overestimate the costs of taking action.
* Sometimes It’s Hard To Be A Woman. Especially When You’re Made Out Of Pixels Charlie Brooker The Guardian
Last month the creators of the game Hitman drew widespread criticism for a grisly promotional trailer that showed the main (male) character slaughtering a group of S&M killer nuns. Since this was merely the logical conclusion of a deeply boring trend for rubberised female assassins that’s been going on since the 1990s, some gamers were surprised by the outcry, and became indignant and defensive, as though someone had just walked in and caught them masturbating to the same goat porn they’d been innocently enjoying for decades, and judging them and making them feel bad.
When they’re not 7ft-tall high-heeled dominatrix killers, women in gamestend to be saucy background-dressing or yelping damsels in distress. A rare exception is Lara Croft, the female star of Tomb Raider, who – in Pac-Man terms – is Ms. Indiana Jones. But whoops. Last week the forthcoming big-budget Tomb Raider reboot made headlines after its executive producer apparently told the gaming site Kotaku that players would feel an urge to “protect” Lara after she faces a series of ghastly trials including an encounter in which she kills a would-be rapist. The subsequent outcry necessitated a speedy clarification from the developers about precisely what kind of game they’re making.
Canada will be put in the company of some of the world’s worst abusers of human rights tomorrow when the UN’s highest human rights official expresses “alarm” over Quebec’s new law on demonstrations during her opening address to a meeting of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, revealed the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, which obtained an advance copy of her speech. Other states on the UN watchlist include Syria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
“Moves to restrict freedom of assembly continue to alarm me, as is the case in the province of Quebec in Canada in the context of students’ protests,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will say tomorrow, according to her draft speech. The rights czar reserves her sharpest language for Canada. While Pillay cites only two other countries in the world for restrictions on freedom of assembly—expressing “concern” about Russia, and “deep concern” for Eritrea—only Canada provokes her far stronger “alarm.”
* Cat After Balloons gif
Is there some sort of cult/religion based on this cat? Because I would like to join it.