Westworld and VR Gaming: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

The Meta-Politics of Westworld
Emily Nussbaum | The New Yorker
“Self-cannibalism and the snake that eats its own tail: That’s a fair description ofWestworld, a come-hither drama that introduces itself as a science-fiction thriller about cyborgs who become self-aware, then reveals its true identity as what happens when an HBO drama struggles to do the same.”

Translation as a Practice of Acceptance
Anita Raja | Asymptote
“A text tethers readers tightly within its web, even if, when we read a book we love, it is difficult to tell where we end and the characters begin, where we submit to the author’s will and where we impose our own. To translate is to accept this inequality, to see the text clearly, and to willingly let ourselves be trapped in its web.”

Paintings of a Homegrown Black Superhero
Sarah Rose Sharp | Hyperallergic
“It’s a bit of a sticky moment for emotional realism. The politics of this election cycle—and, increasingly, global politics in general—seem geared toward amassing social capital and influence through the exploitation of lies that ‘feel’ true. But it’s striking that the highly subjective interpretations of relations between police and citizens of color, as laid out in Williams’s bold and colorful tableaus, feel representative of a facet of reality that is increasingly validated by social and mainstream media, after centuries of going largely unrecognized.”

Michael Moore’s Limp Stand
K. Austin Collins | The Ringer
“You almost miss the crazies. It’s a movie called Michael Moore in TrumpLand — where are the pitchforks? There’s no danger here. Perhaps because of that, Moore performs free of the nervousness or tension that might have made the project contentious or brave, or which might have made his low-hanging satirical jabs more risky and discomforting.”

Strangely Enough
Teju Cole | The New York Times Magazine
“The surreal image caught on the fly can remind us of our vulnerability much more powerfully than manipulated photographs can. A double exposure that gives a man two heads is too definite, like something from a horror film. Its heavy-handed ‘surrealism’ robs it of pathos. But a protuberance on the trunk of a tree, or a chair with a missing leg, or a twisted metal railing in the midday sun, being more ambiguous, can be more surreal.”

How Game Makers Are Struggling to Make VR Fun
Chris Baker | Rolling Stone
“Simply moving around in VR presents even more conundrums. If your eyes and ears tell you that you are racing across a scorched field in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but your other senses tell you that you are kicking back on the couch in your living room, it can undermine the illusion. Or worse—it can lead to motion sickness.”

The Truth About Photoshop Shame
Aimee Cliff | The Fader
“Rather than liberating women, intensely scrutinizing their images for Photoshop use has become just another way we can police them. It also doesn’t take into account the fact that women may use tech trickery as an artistic tool.”

The Second Coming of South Park
Eric Thurm | GQ
“Even at its sharpest, South Park won’t enjoy the level of influence it had in its less mature days; it’s never going to be ‘relevant’ or ‘important’ again, but that’s probably for the best. Many of the series’ worst moments have stemmed from a heightened sense of moral superiority masquerading as cynical detachment, a commitment to the idea that everyone with skin in the game is an idiot rather than just a person fumbling around trying to do the right thing.”

[Source:-The Atlantic]