Pay Attention to Ferguson →


Please pay attention to what is happening in Ferguson right now.

The people of Ferguson are staging a peaceful protest regarding the unlawful, tragic murder of Mike Brown, and the police are responding with rubber bullets (one man has been injured so far) and tear gas, calling the…

The game “sort of encapsulates something that’s happening in our culture right now,” he explained, “where there’s …[this] ability to sudden[ly] become famous sort of out of nowhere that kind of almost mirrors a lot of what’s happening on the Internet lately.” According to Fanning, the democracy of the Internet makes the game feel more realistic, and therefore more rewarding to play.

I sort of kind of almost said some barely quotable things about Kim Game and The Internet on HuffPo yesterday.

These Men Say The ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ Game Isn’t Just For Women


Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed crowd is raising their hands.

For anyone not following the Mike Brown story on Twitter: a 17 year old black boy named Mike Brown, who was supposed to start college tomorrow, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri by police while jaywalking. He was unarmed. He was shot 9 times.

Initial media reports claimed that an 18 year old black man had been shot and killed while fleeing police after shoplifting.

People in the neighborhood, including members of Mike Brown’s family, came out of their homes and began to protest, shouting “no justice, no peace,” and keeping their hands in the air.

Media reports claimed that a violent mob quickly formed around the shooting location shouting “kill the police.”

Spread this. Tell the truth about what happened to this boy. Tell the truth about what is happening NOW. The police and the mainstream media is painting him as a criminal, and his community as a violent mob.

SPREAD THIS. Don’t let them lie.

(Source: whatwhiteswillneverknow, via danielleh)

Kevin Fanning says he had to save up “forever” to afford his character Kloaca’s turquoise pixie haircut.

Jess Zimmerman interviewed me for an article about men who play Kim Kardashian Hollywood. It is a very very very fun interview.

The Surprising Reasons Men Love the Kim Kardashian Game | TIME

Today in their newsletter the kind people at 29pco declared me an honorary family member. WHICH MEANS, that for today only they are making available for FREE issues of their iOS magazines that I have pieces in. So you can read my beverage reviews from Maura Magazine, or a very sexy story about Instagram and Fed Ex Office in The Lifted Brow, or a story about the terror of pumpkin spice lattes in 1/100. 
Maura & 1/100 are readable online or via their apps. Lifted Brow is app only. All are free! Click some links and download some issues and just have fun with it. They are cool people making cool things imo

Today in their newsletter the kind people at 29pco declared me an honorary family member. WHICH MEANS, that for today only they are making available for FREE issues of their iOS magazines that I have pieces in. So you can read my beverage reviews from Maura Magazine, or a very sexy story about Instagram and Fed Ex Office in The Lifted Brow, or a story about the terror of pumpkin spice lattes in 1/100. 

Maura & 1/100 are readable online or via their apps. Lifted Brow is app only. All are free! Click some links and download some issues and just have fun with it. They are cool people making cool things imo

The Kim game


I spent the weekend with my parents in suburban MD in advance of the DC Politics and Prose reading tonight, and I made Ruth come too though she had to go back to NY today for work. We had a fun weekend exploring DC’s cultural riches. Jk, we didn’t, instead we ate excellent free food, drank a lot of ice water with crushed ice made by the door of the refrigerator (luxury), did laundry (more luxury), and made my parents buy an Apple TV then downloaded half a season of Orphan Black to it. It’s been amazing and part of me will be sad to go home and confront the reality that I am 32, not 15.

My parents live in a high-rise apartment building. People interact more in elevators here than they do in New York, and also just in general. To be perfectly honest I’m against this, but I’m sure if I lived here I’d get used to it and grow to like it. Coming home on Saturday night from a dinner of delicious sushi, we boarded the elevator with a nicely dressed older couple, a man and a woman. I got on before them so I only saw them from the back.  Ruth and I were continuing a conversation we’d been having in the car about Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. I’d started playing it again earlier that day taking a hiatus after I outed myself for having actually spent money on it. I got Ruth to start playing it too because I’m a bad influence and an enabler.  I was saying something possibly incoherent about how “being famous for being famous” is not inherently a bad thing and I don’t remember the next part clearly but the nicely dressed older woman said something, unprompted, about Kim and the other Kardashians. Like, that they were “disgusting” or “shameful” or “a shame.”

We were all like “ha ha, okay, good night!” and got off the elevator and everyone else forgot about it immediately but I (obviously) did not and I still feel somewhat enraged.

Leaving aside everything to do with the specifics of Kim Kardashian, The Kardashians, the game, etc, there’s a thing that woman was doing that I have seen happen over and over again and I’ve never known quite what to call it. It’s when there’s a received idea about someone or something, usually a woman or a woman-specific cultural phenomenon, and that received idea is so pervasive and somehow so convincing that most people adopt it as their own opinion without ever stopping to examine either the idea or the person or phenomenon  for themselves. In this case the received idea is something along the lines of “The success of Kim and the Kardashians is representative of something very bad and I am against it.”  Conveniently, holding this kind of opinion doesn’t conflict with being interested in the woman/phenomenon in question and in consuming media related to her, or even created by her. (“Ugh, it was so horrible. I watched every episode/read the whole thing in a day.”) 

Whenever a lot of people think a woman is disgusting or shameful and for some reason feel incentivized to espouse that opinion loudly, something interesting is going on. What I realized in the elevator is that I’m on the side of every girl who people jump to conclusions about. I always want to know more about what’s going on with that girl, because the elevator people are boring and wrong. And really, they are missing out on a lot of fun stuff. 

————>”I’m on the side of every girl who people jump to conclusions about.”

The young man studied my receipt like it was the most important document he had ever seen. My skin started prickling because I knew something really frustrating was about to happen. I just knew.


On this week’s JUST BETWEEN US, Gaby has a new girlfriend named Jill and Allison is NOT HAPPY. 


This is so so so so good 

(Source: bobbyfinger)

Response to Bustle’s 31 Questions About Kim Kardashian Hollywood


Normally I keep a very strict no-hatelinking policy on the internet. Life is too short, there is too much suffering, and a desire to foment hate and anger is exactly the reason people post terrible things on the internet in the first place.

However. I really wanted to use a Kim Kardashian interview for my July interview, but Kim is good. She has her situation locked down. She controls the tone of her media appearances and she polices her questions well. There were no good “10 questions for Kim Kardashian” interviews that I could find that suited the purposes of my little project here.

But. I found this really dismissive list of 31 questions for Kim on Bustle. I am very sorry to call out the person who wrote this, she’s just trying to swim for shore in a content tsunami that rages terribly all around her. But her questions suited my purposes quite well, AND, having worked in video games for a number of years, I know a little bit about how these projects work. I feel completely qualified to answer these questions.

1. Right off the bat we’re curious: did Kim even know what a video game was before this?

Yes. Kim knew what a video game was. Video games have existed for decades, and Kim strikes me as quite tech-savvy, so it seems incredibly likely that Kim encountered them at some point in her life.

2. Did she come up with the objectives herself or were they just cobbled together based on her life?

Most likely no, and partially. The studio pitched Kim the idea for the game, and she made a business agreement to license her image to them. They probably presented ideas for objectives and goals within the game for her to approve, and she probably had some suggestions for tweaks and additions. They valued and worked to honor her opinion, because the game wouldn’t be as successful without her support.

3. What is it like, being in a development meeting for something like this with Kim Kardashian?

You are very nervous. You want her to be happy. You have worked hard on this game and it’s important to you. You know there are inevitably going to be details that you get slightly wrong, you just hope you haven’t screwed them up in a way that will make it expensive for the development team to fix. But since Kim is a professional, it’s a very positive interaction at the meetings. She makes you feel good about what you’ve accomplished, and delivers criticism in a way that makes you feel like the product will be all the better for it. You try to find ways to deliver a game that will meet her expectations, within the constraints of time, money, and staff.

4. Does she just sit around and nod?

No. She speaks, and laughs, and smiles, and is gracious when someone brings her water or coffee. She is appreciative of your time, because you are not wasting her time.

5. Do her eyes just glaze over until the words “shopping,” “money,” and “hot” pop up?

No. Successful women are very good at active listening and interpersonal communication.

6. Why is it that these avatars look to be in permanent selfie-pose mode?

The avatars are often looking at their nails or have their eyes closed, so I’m not sure how you define selfie-pose. But the idea would be that the characters are fun to look at and take screenshots of, to share with your friends on social media.

7. Is that what it takes to become famous?

Like, picking lightning bolts up off the floor? I mean, probably not?

8. Seriously why are these avatars always winking and fluffing their hair?

The animators will create maybe 5-10 animations, for both male and female avatars, to give the screen some life and motion while you are tapping around on the level. The game would look much weirder and “feel” less fun, if the characters weren’t constantly moving in the background.

9. They have to fold clothes before they become famous: is that representative of Kim’s true struggle to make it to the top? (Sounds like a deep metaphor.)

A lot of people work in retail when they’re just starting out. There’s no shame in it. But it’s not a metaphor.

10. …Is this “game” supposed to be “fun”?

Yes. As a game, it is supposed to be entertaining for people who enjoy this type of game. Not for everyone, but hopefully for a significant number of people. If the game was not fun it would not be successful. It is a business endeavor, not an art project.

11. Or are we supposed to feel like clawing our eyes out by the end of it?

Gosh I hope not.

12. What does Kim Kardashian consider fun?

Who knows! Judging from her Instagram I would guess that she enjoys laying out, swimming, spending time with her family and friends, going to events or parties, that kind of thing.

13. Does Kanye West think this is the greatest video game of all time or THE GREATEST VIDEO GAME OF ALL TIME?

Who can say, but Kanye probably thinks there are things that are successful about it and things that can be improved. And he’s right.

14. I see there are blue lightning bolts: what the heck do those do?

They give you energy to perform tasks. The tasks help you level up your character.

15. And are those other things called KardashiKoins? (Because they should be.)

I’ve been calling them K-Stars but I don’t know what the official name is. Your suggestion is not bad though.

16. What do those do?

They’re one of the in-game currencies. K-Stars give you access to outfits for your character, decorations for your house, and they can also help you through difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

17. Is that like a BitCoin?

It is in no way like a Bitcoin.

18. Are they equally as or more useless than a BitCoin?

This is a legitimately good question. I don’t know enough about Bitcoin to answer it.

19. Does Kim Kardashian understand the negative effects of the lifestyle of superficiality and excess she’s promoting?

Kim Kardashian is promoting Kim Kardashian. The end.

20. Does she really think this is the best use of her time and image?

She used her time and image and attention to help create a game that million of people have played, and that millions of people love, and which in turn is generating millions of dollars in revenue. Some people write mean-spirited content on the internet for pennies, in order to make their rich male bosses even richer. We make decisions in life.

21. Oh wait she probably doesn’t care because money, does she?

Who on this planet doesn’t care about money.

22. If someone’s making money and free will is involved clearly there are no negative consequences, right?!

I do not understand this question.

23. But still, she’s essentially telling people to cultivate a self-obsessed attitude. Does she get that?

I’ve been playing the game for a month and I don’t feel like I was ever given the message that I should cultivate a self-obsessed attitude. Very honestly, the message of the game to me is: Handle your business. But when interacting with art and games we bring our own personal set of experiences to the table, which informs what we see in them.

24. Is perpetuating an image of women as material-object and fame-hungry obsessives really something she’s OK with?

You can play as a man in the game and all the activities and objectives are exactly the same.

25. Why is any of that fun?

There’s probably some scientific answer to this having to do with endorphins and neuro-chemicals, but explanations of the experience of fun and what it means evolutionarily are way beyond my pay grade.

26. How is any of that fun?

Oh this one’s easy. It’s fun because it’s silly. It’s ridiculous and the game is aware of its own ridiculousness. It’s there in every interaction, every objective. Also it’s fun to pick out clothes for your character. Also it’s very fun to see what your friends are doing in the game. I’ve probably added 30 new friends on GameCenter since starting the game, and its made a lot of my friendships outside the game more fun and interactive around this shared experience. The existence of this game has led to my having more and deeper relationships with many people I previously only vaguely knew online. My life is richer because of this game. This isn’t to say it would be fun for everyone (it wouldn’t!) but to miss out on that opportunity because of lofty ideals about free will and superficiality? Come on.

27. Isn’t, you know, actually accomplishing something more fun than this?

This is a false dichotomy. Playing a game doesn’t prevent you from accomplishing other things. This morning I did a 3-hour photoshoot and then I wrote this interview.

28. Does she understand the ramifications of her actions at all, ever?

I would suggest this game is proof that she does.

29. Wouldn’t she like to be better? Wouldn’t you, Kim?

I think everyone on some level is striving to be better. Emotionally, spiritually, as a writer and pop culture critic, whatever!

30. Wouldn’t you be happier if you actually stood for something worth believing in?

There’s no objective universal morality, and no one is strictly good or evil. People in Israel probably wish the people in Gaza stood for something worth believing in. Different people believe in different things. It is not for any on person to define what everyone else should believe in.

31. No? You’d rather get money and be married to Kanye West because fame is far more important than substance or using your influence for good?

Ha ha what? What are you even mad about here. If fame is less important than substance why did you publish this article? All I can tell you is that it’s very easy to hate everything, but life becomes much more enjoyable when you approach it with an open heart and mind. You don’t have to like everything and everyone, but let people love the small things they love. They mean you no harm.