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Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Issue : Games : Inimical



The King of Fighters XIV is a game about engagement.

I'm a fan of battle rap. Shocker, I know. Battle Rap is a hip-hop activity where two humans stand face to face trading linguistically stylized boasts, observations, and insults for thirty minutes.

I ran across the activity as a kid and fell in love because I had (edit: have) a big mouth and the idea of saying whatever I wanted to someone without the threat of being beaten to death was my literal interpretation of Martin Luther Kings "I've been to the mountaintop" speech.

The activity was invaluable for my growth because I was taught how to physically defend myself but until battle rap came along I had no idea how to defend myself against the neverending crucible of microaggressions levied on a daily basis.

"You black so you ain't got no dad. haha." "You ride a skateboard and talk funny, you're white. haha." "You got long eyelashes, you are gay. Haha." "You play video games and read books for fun, you a nerd. Haha." That sort of thing.

Those may not be the exact words for everyone, they'll be bespoke. It will be in a cafeteria, or a classroom, it will be around a group. Classic fight or flight, these moments define a person.

Listen: It's inevitable; some day some kid is going to walk up and call you a faggot.

A school won't teach a kid how to address this. Parents wouldn't even know where to start. So a kid looks to his environment for strength or learns how to live with indignity. I could have gone a number of routes with it but I found my allies and heroes in battle rap. The biggest tool I took away is one I use in my working life to this day. My strength wasn't in the aggressor role but in the defense.

The battle is part what you say and part how you react to what is being said. The rule of battle rap is that if you react poorly to what is said (speak out of turn, look visibly upset, physical aggression) you loose the battle.

It was weaponized indifference, a style of verbal martial arts I never imagined existed. I had to learn it so I asked someone to teach me, and they did. It taught me to keep my mind about me, listen and process what is said without reacting immediately, and respond out of clear thought instead of anger. And once I had that lesson in the bag it became increasingly easy to manage aggressions levied on me. I could choose to respond if I felt the insult worth my time or I could choose to keep it moving if it was a craftless repeat of things I had already heard.

"You black so you ain't got no dad. haha." "Damn, I'm sorry Daquan stole your bike when you were nine. What else ya got?""You ride a skateboard and talk funny, you're white. haha." "Doesn't add up, good luck with that cognitive dissonance. What else ya got?""You got long eyelashes, you're gay. Haha." "Then I'm in good company. Gay people are cool. You aren't. What else ya got?""You play video games and read books for fun, you a nerd. Haha." "True, I'm smart. Great observation. What else ya got?" That sort of thing.

The only drawback is compartmentalization. As in getting so good at absorption, deflection, and counterattack you become numb to what truly hurts or run risk of misinterpreting a fair critique of things you should work on as an attack. It gets in and doesn't get out, which is a victory in itself for their side.

Anyway, I guess I mention this because at an event I sat with yet another kid broken by the internet. She had the audacity to open a Twitch channel and share with people, with predictable results. Most of the jokesters happened to be her classmates. Now she doesn't want to share, she doesn't want to go to school, doesn't want to live. This is a bug. I hope information logs back in, you have fans rooting for you and I'm one of em. Also JERBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape : Issue : Games : Pernicious

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