Jimmy Wales - Wikipedia

US Ankara, Turkey Embassy held a teleconference with Jimmy WalesWikipedia and Wikia founder on Feburary, 19 2008. Students and instructors related to the subject from various universities in Ankara as well as professional people were invited to take part in the event. I and a couple more friends and instructors from my M.A. program were invited as well.

The conference started with Jimmy Wales’ speaking for about 30 minutes, talking about what Wikipedia is, how it works and the logic behind (mentioning what open-source and open-content are), how it is funded and other general information. One interesting thing he said about Wikipedia was that he called it a system where people can access “the sum of all human knowledge” freely. Personally, I have found this quite exaggerated. Then Wales talked about his ad-supported commercial project Wikia.

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Just found this video on Youtube (the ban is lifted by the way).

We had cyberfeminisms, and now issues of race in Web 2.0 era. Great video indeed.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

A player on World of Warcraft is experimenting with the game by leveling characters, who don’t kill. He doesn’t kill anything in either PvE and PvP – doing quests that doesn’t involve any killing and only distracting opponent players by “stunning” them or throwing bombs so they cannot pick up the flags in Warsong Gulch. He’s trying to level both a priest and a rogue this way. His characters doesn’t wear any weapon. Read the excerpt from the interview below.

Noor the Pacifist

For his priest character, he says:

I started him from a roleplaying point of view, based very loosely on a real German priest, Franz Reinisch, who refused to serve in Hitler’s army and was executed. My undead priest’s back story is basically the same, and he still refuses to kill.

Show us your kung fu: what’s the actual nuts-and-bolts reality of this character? Both my priest and my rogue try not to hit anything, although there’s always a chance of a misclick when trying to open a quest item with mobs fighting near it. Both of them always wield a fishing rod, so any accidental hits won’t increase their weapon skills. Neither of them will do quests where they have to kill things. In battlegrounds, my rogue will throw bombs to interrupt flag captures and stun people and may even accidentally kill players low in health or nearby critters. My priest only heals, so he is actually closer in roleplaying terms. Neither will “get around” these limits by grouping and having other players do their dirty work.

In terms of bragging rights, I intend to keep my rogue’s weapon skills (dagger, thrown and unarmed) at all 1s. My priest will also have all 1s, but it won’t be obvious on WoW Armory that he has no offensive spells beyond the level 1 Smite all priests start with.

Read the rest of the interview at WoW Insider.

Doctors on TVWas passing by the TV and saw this Turkish series called Doktorlar (meaning Doctors) – an E.R. remake for the Turkish audience. Anyway… Because a research paper I’ll be writing (well, I should have been almost done with it so far, but that’s another story) is sort of related to the emergence of doctors in media (and vice versa). So, I stopped by to watch a little.

The title of this post is from the same titled book by Anne Karpf. The book is slightly related to my subject, so I didn’t really read it. But in one chapter, she says that doctors in dramas are all-clean/white although they are constantly in contact with blood. And, quoting from Foucault, they have great command of their (power/)knowledge and profession. They see a patient and boom, “it is this and that, so we do these and those.” How lame…

Ah, and also, in this series Doktorlar, there is the use of fast camera movements… How lame again. Ok, we understand that you are working in a fast-paced job, and all that. But is it so easy to create this meaning? Just by making the camera run around like crazy? The problem is, the dialogues and the actions that should match the camera movements don’t really match. The speed of the camera just doesn’t fit to the action. Sucks big time.

One thing she quotes from an actor is that these doctors “provide blood without violence.” Not sure if the actor knows about Aristotle, but that’s a direct reference to him.

Pinky and the Brain

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To be honest, I could not think of a better title for this post. Yesterday, I have found this group named Clitrock at last.fm, and I got very interested in the idea and the word itself. Before I move onto this clitrock thing, let me try to give some rough information about women and feminist activism music in general, which is not necessarily correct as I am a man and was never part of it (why am I writing about this anyway?).

The movement riot grrl starts within punk (anarcho-punk) and DIY subculture (fanzines, self-financed demo tapes, etc) in late ’80s when women started to make music with lyrics about women’s power, individualism (and all the other opposites of what the male culture exposed onto women) as well as reactions to sexual abuse, etc. You can find better and more organized information at Wikipedia entries on riot grrl and girl power.

Barb WireHowever, this radical movement had to be neutralized (or neutered?) and it also had to be commercialized. Barbie is probably the best example to this though it was release in early ’70s. Barbie represents the new post-babyboom generation and asserts them to consume (think of all the toys you need to buy in order to complete your set) to become individuals (i.e. free). This is similar in Turkish pop singer Nil Karaibrahimgil’s song titled “Pirlanta” (Diamond). She says “tek asimi kendim aldim” (~ “I bought my diamond all by myself/with my own money”) where freedom of women is associated with consumerism. You can watch/listen the song here. Also notice the military march-like bits in the music, which is not arbitrary of course but it’s linked to the power and freedom associated with military (military and freedom make an oxymoron when used together, but you get the idea).

Lara CroftWe can extend the list to this: G.I. Jane, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Heavy Metal, Witchblade, Spice Girls (I remember feeling this very notion of female independence as an early teenager when they first appared) or the movie Barb Wire featuring an oversexualized Pamela Anderson.

What the title of this post, which I have postponed until now, connotes is beyond this commercialized and neutered representation of women. Clitrock, as you might already notice is a mixture of the words clitoris and rock. I used the word neutered on purpose to suggest the removal of feminine identity epitomized in women’s genitals in popular culture. Feminist theoreticians such as Kristeva, Irigaray, Cixous said a lot on this from the point of view of psychoanalysis, which I am not going to repeat in detail. But to give an idea; according to them (which makes sense and I believe in this as well), the female body has been represented in writings (Plato’s Cave), and all those visual/filmic representations omit the female genitals because female sexuality is repressed and female genitals disturb the very idea of patriarchy (related to Kristeva’s notion of abjection).

Moving back to this clitrock word: The word reasserts the women genitalia without any further negotiation with mainstream ideology. It is related to what these feminist theoreticians wanted to establish: A way of feminine expression from the female body herself – both a sexual and a textual (textual because they were writing in relation to literature/writing) expression – a sextual one in Cixous’ words. Expression from the female body – with vaginal liquids, menstrual blood, the milk – and everything else the symbolic order -which is male- would feel disturbed.

But as with anything else, as I said concerning post-commercialization/neutering of grrl power era, the word clitrock had to be represented from the male perspective again. As I first saw this on a last.fm group as I said, I googled the word to see if it is commonly used. Apart from a few places it was used (which are mostly blog comments or forum posts) all Google search results linked to this last.fm group.

Two entries from urbandictionary.com is “music for lesbians that like to rawk. See Melissa Etheridge” and “A rock band with a female lead singer.” It’s not hard to notice the aggression in the first entry, and the other is simply naive.

Or check out this comment to a Myspace blog post:

The Black Cat has a downstairs bar with pool table where the performers can mix with the patrons; upstairs is an open room with two bars flanking the floor. The stage is (perhaps) three feet off the ground. When I saw a clitrock band there, the sweat from the crazy-ass bassist exhibited a sheen reminiscent of an autumnal fog. The steam rising from her breasts as she bent back under the limelight, corded hands and arms thrumming…


Play the Black Cat!

Not hard to notice how what the word clitrock connotes is eroticized: “some hot chicks playing on the stage.”

MusallatI read this in a newspaper a few days ago. According to the news (in Turkish), the filmmakers of the new Turkish horror movie Musallat asked for permission (the regular writing/payment thing) for their film poster to appear at bus stops and billboards in Istanbul. The reply they got was that the nude guy on the poster had sexual connotations and he had to wear something, so they made a censored version

Later news says that it was a joke (again in Turkish) done by some people at the billboard advertising company. If so, then where did those quotes in the news from the transportation section of the municipality come from? I don’t know whether this actually happened, whether the officials had to claim the opposite due to publicity of this news, or whether this was part of marketing the movie.

Interesting thing is that this is a typical patriarchal reaction to the viewing of the male body. Or, rather a fear of eroticization of the male body. After all, according to this male-dominated ideology, man is the looker and women is the looked-at, and you need to separate and maintain these borders.

The filmmakers must have internalized this fact a great deal since the language they use in the news only shows some surprise and not much else – as if they are saying “yeah, you are right.”

Well, the world we live in is pathetic.

I am often asked why I am a vegetarian as this is rare in a country like Turkey. And I greatly dislike answering these as the questions that follow are usually stupid and often include mockery. However, I somehow (academic procrastination?) felt the neccessity to discuss certain aspects of vegetarianism:

First of all and actually most importantly, vegetarianism is not simply a choice of diet. It’s a political and ethical attitude. It’s standing for ‘life.’ In other words, while there are also vegetarians out there, who do not eat animal bodies for the sole reason that they find it disgusting, there are also people who refuse to eat animals because it has other connotations. This can vary from person to person, but the main idea is, eating meat (or animals in general) justifies and normalizes murder, the sight of blood. Remember sacrificing animals as part of religious ritual in Islam and how little kids see this as a glorification – with animal blood on their foreheads.

Again, vegetarianism is standing for ‘life.’ The world has gone crazy about lowering the amount of water used, at least Turkey did because there is water scarcity. Have you ever considered the amount of water to make say a baby cow to grow up enough to be slaughtered compared to the amount of meat/nutrition you get from the cow (not including the cereals used to feed it). Before you even say “they are going to die anyway.” Well, we are talking about animals that are produced to be slaugthered at a certain age – that is animal overproduction (what a disgusting word to use here) farms. In short, with that amount of water and cereals wasted, you would not need an initiative like Live 8, where people think they are doing something useful and have their conscience comfortable. Anyway, there are a lot of statistics about these: like, 80% of agricultural fields are used to feed animals. And that amount of space could be used to produce more vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. More information is available in Turkish here.

Secondly, being a vegetarian is being the Other. There are no words in use that I know of to refer to those normal people who eat meat (unlike the word heterosexual to refer to the same situation in terms of sexual orientation – but then, vegetarians don’t experience social pressure other than the limited number of foods to choose from outside home). That is, I am marginalized when I say I am a vegetarian, as those meat eaters do not use a word to describe themselves – they do not have the need to do so anyway. So, this is another point to reinforce non-vegetarianism.

And thirdly… The situation is similar in Got Milk? campaign, where milk/dairy producers started an immense promotion of milk consumption saying that it’s healthy and needed to drink milk. Similar to this, we have the myth of the healthy meat, which continously tells you to eat meat and otherwise you’ll have certain deficiencies – with ads speaking, doctors commanding, etc.

And so on…

Copy Control LogoI just ‘remembered’ this band Ultravox and realized I haven’t listened to them for a while now. I have their The Best of Ultravox album and I wanted to rip the CD so I could listen it on my computer and portable music player. But what the heck? It has copy protection.

I am not that respectful to copyrights and all, and I greatly dislike these kind of efforts as they can never make an ultimate copy protection that won’t be cracked at all. There is this wonderful phrase by a ‘crack’ scene, something like “if man made it, man can also crack it.” Additionally, I find these kind of efforts as limiting. Basically, what they do is to have two sessions on the CD (one data and one for audio). Anyways, I tried to use the awesome CD ripper software EAC (ExactAudioCopy) but it kept gaving errors. I tried some other software like Sony Sonicstage, Nero, etc with no success.

However, as I said, you can never make an ultimate copy protection. What you do is to extract the audio data to your harddisk using Isobuster. Then you get the uncompressed audio files in wave format. All you need to do now is to compress them into MP3 or whatever with your favorite encoder. You can also find some detailed explanation here.

Öncelikle, bugünden itibaren her günün şeteresini tutmaya karar verdim. Her gün yazmasam da genel olarak ne oldu ne bitti, ben ne düşündüm ve hissettim bunları yazmak istiyorum. Yazar ya da sanatçı olmadığıma göre, arkamda bu siteyi bırakabilirim. Ve, Ekşi Sözlükteki espriyi çalacak olursam; gelecekte bu siteyi arkeologlar bulur ve dili çözdükten sonra okurlar. Her neyse, her gün bir şeyler yazağımdan çok farklı olmayacaktır her günüm, ancak dikkatli bakıldığında ilginç şeyler oluyor aslında, ilginç anlatırsanız. Tekrar yapmadan lafı uzatmayı becerebilmek de buna katkıda bulunuyor.
Bugün ÜDS’ye girdim. Sabah 8:20 gibi uyandım. Daha doğrusu saatin 8:20 olduğunu sanarak. Sınav 9:30’da. Ancak bugün saatler bir saat ileri alınmış. Evde de kimsenin haberi yok. Sınava isteksiz girdiğim ev halkı tarafından bilindiğinden dolayı, saat konusunu bildiğim ancak söylemediğimle suçlandım. Herkes güvensiz olmuş, şaşmamalı. Her neyse… Babama sınava kaç dakikaya kadar geç girebilme hakkımın olduğunu sordum. Babam da ‘buna hak mı denir, sürenden yiyorsun’ gibi bir laf etti. Halbuki benim öğrenmek istediğim, olur da kapıdaki polis vs problem çıkarırsa, konuyu bilen birisi olmak ve gereksiz gecikmeleri önlemekti. Ayrıca buna hak denir, eğer bir süreden sonra içeri girmek yasaksa, öncesinde olan süre benim geç kalma payım ya da hakkımdır. Sözcüklere çok takılmamak gerekli, hepsinin içi boş zaten. Konuşmalarımızın yarısında insanları ya anlamıyoruz ya da yanlış anlıyoruz…

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