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🍂 Spectacular

🍂 Spectacular
By Autumn Wright • Issue #2 • View online
In which I try to say something interesting about a game with nothing interesting to say at all. Make sure you check out all the other great writing in this extended issue of Bullet Points Monthly.

"Spectacular," Bullet Points Monthly
On Reading
I first encountered the theory in this piece in a core class of my writing program, Rhetorical Traditions, which was basically a survey of movements in rhetoric/philosophy dating back to Ancient Greece. There is a certain nostalgia I hold for this course. It was the spring semester and I was in still in a long honeymoon phase with my first girlfriend (as a girl), who loves tea, and so I got a lot of tea on cold mornings as we sat together in the Socratic seminars excitedly talking about theory as if we actually understand any of it. We had to carry around The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd edition, a large tome of the Western rhetorical canon. And while I hold a fondness for that romanticized college image, what is more important is how much I am only now learning from that class. Really, the most important classes in my undergrad were courses I did not understand at the time, that left me feeling lost. They tore apart my view of the world, left me asking questions, but didn’t provide me with answers. This was partly my fault, taking upper level electives as soon as I possibly could (and in place of gen eds or reqs). I have the same pdf file of The Society of the Spectacle that I annotated for the class and, judging from my notes, I clearly didn’t get it. But my teacher was one of those great lecturers who makes me think she knew this pay off would happen years later, who taught many of the classes I was lost in, who focused so much more on teaching us how to read these sorts of texts, moving from translations of Isocrates to Foucault (both with their syntactic idiosyncrasies) in quick succession.
Marxist philosophy now gives me some of those answer. It explains much of the way people act and why the world is like it is today. It can be hard to be told that we are acting according to what some highfalutin academics say we do, but it can also be liberating to see the strings, the foundation, the curtain. Theory, I firmly believe, is necessary, because language shapes the world. We can shape it with our words too.
On Writing
I had a relatively long time to write this, and while the published essay reflects my earliest thoughts, the prose only took shape in the past week. I spent two months wandering other paths, reaching many dead ends. I wanted to write was a second person essay, which still exists formally in my head somewhere but that I am woefully unable to conceive of executing. I have long thought that a good second person essay will be the apotheosis of my writing career, and I feel we are a long way from there yet.
I also wanted to interrogate how gender operates in Night City, as I wrote on FF7R, but I found I couldn’t. This essay emerges from my frustration that there really is nothing to argue against in the game. Still, other great writers have written about transness in 2077 (with more to come at BPM), which alleviated my desire somewhat. That essay was going to explore more broadly genderfluidity and character creators. Section one was about BMO in “Imaginary Resources” from Adventure Time’s Islands miniseries, where she enters a VR world that humans have lived in for years, maybe decades, and have developed their own fashion, jokes, and culture. BMO, a genderfluid robot, becomes instantly cool, which says something about his personhood or about simulated humanity or both. (I am still in need of more good crit on Adventure Time’s late seasons to make sense of much of this myself.) Section two was about Val from gen:LOCK in that shows VR world, possibly the first genderfluid character I recognized myself in. And section three would finally be about me, making PCs in character creators, and failing to find a similar freedom of expression in 2077 (and most other games too!).
Tweet of the Week
Oluwatayo Adewole
"Guy Debord is the Mark Fisher of 1960s, except worse" - @fomorii
They’re not wrong.
Postscript
Almost all my writing is compensated to some extent, but these letters do take time and effort to create. If you enjoy this and want to support my work, consider supporting me on Ko-fi.
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Autumn Wright

Autumn Wright is a Florida based essayist and critic writing about games and culture. Subscribe to Autumn Leaves to get notified via email when they publish new writing. Each update also includes additional writing about their writing and research process.

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