Montageman: A dude who writes

November 2, 2007

Of Obsessions

Filed under: beer, food, identity, laila — Tags: , , , , — montageman @ 10:29 pm

Jeff wrote about obsessions yesterday. As a new parent as well, I have been grappling with similar issues. I’m not making a soundtrack (although I think this is an excellent idea), rather I have been singing to Laila and transplanting her name into the song i.e. “Laila Battles the Pink Robots” or “Laila is a Punk Rocker”. There is some part of me that hopes in a few years she’ll share a love of the Flaming Lips, Ramones, and John Coltrane with me. Will it destroy me if she doesn’t? Doubtful, but I do want her to have a love of some type of music. Jazz, punk, funk, hip hop, pop, whatever – I’d love it if she was interested in music.

I am a consumer first and foremost. I am obsessed with music, food, beer, sports, video games, and whatever else crosses my path. I run a food blog, review beers over at beeradvocate.com, use last.fm avidly, upload 1000s of pictures to flickr, etc. All of my obsessions, require me to consume more and more. I can never try every beer, so I must always consume the one I’ve haven’t tried yet. I take a picture of each beer I try and each meal I make – the fleeting pleasure of eating and drinking can be lengthened by the image, but more than that, I am obsessed with uploading the pictures so that others can share in my pleasure, even if the it is only visual pleasure.

Will Laila be as obsessed with all of this stuff? Who knows? I can only hope that she’ll have something to love outside of her profession (as Jeff says). Thinking back, it was my parents that fostered my obsessive behavior. My mom and dad would travel all over to find toys and video game for my brothers and I, so I have always had a desire to have more than what was readily available, which plays into the pleasure of the search. Always searching for new beer, food, music, etc. Obsessions are insatiable – there is always more. Once the obsession becomes boring, move onto the next one! There is even space for an obsession within an obsession i.e. a love of beer turns into a love of the double IPA, so the obsession becomes localized. Localization inevitably leads to a dead end, so step back and look at the broad obsession again and localize elsewhere. It’s never ending!

February 7, 2007

Multiplicity and Gaming

Filed under: identity — montageman @ 5:04 am

Tara McPherson in “Self, Other, and Electronic Media,” talks about the virtual self and its ability to inhabit different points of view.  She sees this as a moment of a fantasy of colonialism (188).   Her concern is Levinasian in scope – cyberspace allows us to become the other rather than engaging with the other.  “Players or viewers are invited to try other points of view in rapid succession, an exploration of characters or presepctives.  Click a menu; be a Ninja.  Click once more; you’re white again,” (188).  McPherson is responding to Bolter and Grusin here – Bolter & Grusin argue, “the freedom to be oneself is the freedom to become someone (or something) else.  Because there is no single, privileged point of view, the self becomes a series of “other” points of view- the intersection of all the possible points of view that can be taken in a given space,” (248).  Identity, then, is treated as fluid & malleable.  In the context of gaming, McPherson’s comment regarding the click is true.  The gamer can be a Ninja at one moment and then Peyton Manning the next.  Part of the pleasure of gaming is this fluidity, a transience that does not demand fidelity to any one character.

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