slowpoke well

route 33 to the future

Akzeptanz statt Toleranz

Wir kennen die Situation vermutlich alle. Irgendwer faselt rechtes oder sonstwie problematisches Zeug, ihr weisst darauf hin, und schon geht es los:

“Etwas mehr Toleranz bitte!”

Ja, wie konntet ihr es nur wagen, rechtes Gedankengut als solches zu bezeichnen. Wollt ihr die Person etwa ausgrenzen? Ihr seid die wahren Bösen und sowieso schlimmer als Hitler. Der hat wenigstens Autobahnen gebaut!

Machen wir es kurz: ich halte nichts von Toleranz. Es ist ein kaputtes Konzept. Toleranz fordern meistens diejenigen, die gesellschaftlich keine Ausgrenzung zu befürchten haben, weil sie irgendwelchen strukturell enforcierten Normvorstellungen entsprechen – zB weiss, heterosexuell, cisgender, neurotypisch, ablebodied, christlich und/oder männlich – und von diesem gesellschaftlichen Status Quo durch die daraus resultierenden Privilegien profitieren.

Toleranz impliziert ein Konzept von “Normalität”, und das Abweichungen davon – zB eine nicht-heterosexuelle Orientierung – schlecht sind, aber “toleriert” werden müssen – oder mit anderen Worten, dass die Existenz von Menschen, die nicht dieser “Norm” entsprechen, ein Problem darstellen, und es eigentlich viel einfacher für die “normalen” Menschen wäre, wenn “andere” Menschen nicht existieren würden. Eine gleichberechtigte Existenz wird somit ausgeschlossen, es wird den von der “Norm” abweichenden Menschen gerade mal so ein Recht auf Existenz eingeräumt – aber bitte sonst nicht stören!

Wenn marginalisierte Menschen – also solche, die in irgendeiner Form nicht diesen gesellschaftlichen Normvorstellungen entsprechen – tatsächliche soziale Gleichberechtigung und Gerechtigkeit fordern, dann hört es mit der Toleranz der Toleranten ganz schnell auf. Dann schreien sie plötzlich von der bösen “Political Correctness”, vom “Genderwahn”, von den “linksgrünen Gutmenschen”, von der “virulenten Homolobby”, der “zionistischen Weltverschwörung”, oder beliebigen anderen Feindbildern. Da sehen wir auch schon das zweite grosse Problem an diesem Konzept: Toleranz geht immer nur in eine Richtung – die der ohnehin schon Privilegierten.

Viele von uns, die für tatsächliche Gleichberechtigung und soziale Gerechtigkeit einstehen und kämpfen, wollen keine Toleranz. Wir wollen Akzeptanz  – das radikale Konzept, dass es keine “normalen” Menschen gibt, sondern dass alle Menschen divers und vielfältig sind, und wir uns deshalb gegenseitig als das akzeptieren sollten, was wir sind. Akzeptanz bedeutet die totale Ablehnung gesellschaftlicher Normvorstellungen, die absolute Verneinung der Normativität, die unbarmherzige Kampfansage gegen die verkrusteten Strukturen in unseren Köpfen, die kompromisslose Bekenntnis zur gleichberechtigten Menschlichkeit und somit zur menschlichen Gleichberechtigung.

Die wichtige Betonung liegt hierbei auf “gegenseitig” – Akzeptanz ist ein fundamental reziprokes Konzept, und kann nur funktionieren, wenn alle Beteiligten gleichermassen teilnehmen, und dabei kritisch mit den eigenen Privilegien umgehen. Nur so können diese Privilegien sowie die gesellschaftlichen Strukturen und Normvorstellungen, die sie erzeugen und erhalten, graduell abgebaut werden. Ideologien und Weltbilder, die diesem grundlegenden Wertekonsens zugegen laufen, können das nicht, und Menschen, die diese vertreten, müssen deswegen weder akzeptiert noch toleriert werden.

there are still no good cops

Over the course of the past months, I’ve gotten into extended “arguments” multiple times over the issue of cops, or specifically, people taking offense (sometimes intensely personal for some reason) in the stance that there are no good cops – expressed in various forms, but often as the well known acronym ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards.

Now, of course ACAB is an argumentative shortcut just as much as it is an expression of contempt, but behind it stands a substantial amount of structural criticism of the police as an institution of oppression. Many people have written about this before me – most of them probably better than me – but this is an attempt to collect the most commonly used “arguments” against the usage of ACAB or similar expressions (such as the equally well-known “Fuck The Police!”), show why they are bullshit, and simultaneously argue why there are no good cops.

This post is, by all means, a work in progress. I will probably add more if I think of anything else or get into more arguments with police apologists.

Disclaimer: I try to write this in a manner that is globally applicable, since the way the police works is, on an abstract level, roughly the same no matter where you go on this planet. My arguments, however, should be understood to come from a context that’s roughly equal parts German and American.

But not all cops!

This usually comes in the form of “but I know a cop who’s nice” or “a cop helped me once”, and is often used even by people who would agree that police violence is a problem to some degree. It misses the point because ACAB is not an insult of specific, individual cops, but an expression of disrespect and contempt for the police as a whole. We’re not talking about the cop who helped you find the next Starbucks last weekend or your relative who works for the police – we’re talking about all of them, as a whole.

The problem here is that a structural argument against the whole of the police as an institution (along with all of its agents and collaborators) is confused with an insult against a specific individual.

But here’s the thing: if there would actually be any “good cops”, why are they not fighting the bad cops? Why is there no bigger movement within the police to get rid of the “bad apples”? Why is there no public show of solidarity for the victims of those bad cops by those mysterious “good cops”? Why do the “good cops” not out the bad cops and bring them to justice? Where are all those “good cops”?

The answer is pretty simple, they don’t exist, because the way the police – an institution of oppression – works is that any such “good cops” would immediately be made an outsider, demoted, punished, and probably even fired & prosecuted, not to mention that they’d probably be subject to harassment by their (former) colleagues for the rest of their lives.

ACAB is not a constructive argument!

Yes, it isn’t. Neither are water cannons, pepper spray, tear gas, batons, and guns – you know, the things the police uses on a daily basis to attack unarmed civilians, protesters and activists. We’re talking about an institution that claims a monopoly on violence, which it uses, every day, to attack the weak and the marginalized, as well as those who try to fight with them. An institution which ignores (or even prosecutes) victims of sexual violence, protects racists & fascists, harasses the homeless, and always sides with those already in power.

We’re not required to respect such an institution, and neither are you. Asserting that we should respect the police merely for the sake of a “constructive argument” not just spits into the face of all the victims of police violence, it also asserts that there is an equal distribution of power – which is demonstrably false. It ignores the existence of marginalized or otherwise disenfranchised people, or worse, places the blame on them for being subject to police harassment.

As I’ve stated in the introduction, ACAB is a shortcut for saying all of the above (and more). It’s not meant to be a constructive argument on its own, nor does it have to be. And yes, it’s also meant as a way to show disrespect of the police, because the police has given us no reason to respect them.

One day, you will need the police yourself!

I can only remember one case where this was thrown at me personally, but I’ve seen it used quite a few times anyway. It comes in various forms, but most can be broken down to what I chose as the heading for this section. It’s the assertion that everyone will need the police at some point in their life, and then they will be glad they exist. There are a lot of things wrong with this assertion.

First of all, many of the people who reject the necessity of police do so from socio-progressive or even utopian perspectives (such as most anarchists, including yours truly), in which many of the reasons why you would need an institution like the police would simply disappear. Many crimes result from the fact that we live in a capitalist society where social injustice reigns, a system that creates and fosters greed, egoism, and repression. The fact, then, that we might one day be (or already have been) in a situation where we “need” the police is not a refutation of our argument, quite the contrary: it affirms the social criticism that (also) stands behind the phrase ACAB.

Secondly, even if we ignore the mentioned perspectives from which many of us argue, the necessity for something to exist in a given context does not invalidate criticism against it, no matter how these criticisms are expressed. Essentially, this “argument” is a silencing tactic, because it asserts that since, potentially, anyone could be in a situation where they needed the police, it is illegitimate to reject the institution or its legitimacy.

Lastly, it forgets that many people who would actually need the police to help or protect them are those who have instead the most to fear from them. In fact, I’ve only seen extremely privileged people (white, mostly male, all of them cisgender & in economically comfortable positions) make the assertion we’re discussing here. Many people who lack these privileges – people of color, trans persons, sexual or religious minorities, mentally ill folks, or homeless people – are regularly harassed or even killed by the police, in the overwhelming majority of cases without any sort of repercussions against the involved officers. Again, this “argument” is a punch in the face of those who need protection the most.

Die Trolle gewinnen

Das RaumZeitLabor hat ein Problem, und zwar sowohl ein kulturelles als auch ein soziales. Ich habe eigentlich keinen Bock mehr auf die Diskussion, weil es am Ende doch nur stumpfes Getrolle ist, aber ich muss meine Meinung dazu trotzdem mal festhalten. Und dazu muss ich etwas ausholen.

Wer das RZL schon länger kennt, kennt auch unsere berüchtigten “Pony-Diskussionen”. Das ganze hat seinen Urspruch in der sonntäglichen Pony-Time, die vor vielen Jahren mal von ein paar Mitgliedern im RZL begonnen wurde, und die über die Jahre direkt oder indirekt zu massiver Frontenbildung im RZL geführt hatte. Das ging so bis 2013, wenn ich mich recht erinnere. Mitglieder nennen diese Zeit scherzhaft die “Pony-Kriege”, die zwischen den “Hatern” und den “Bronies” tobten. Manche Aktionen – von beiden Seiten – waren lustig, die meisten aber einfach nur nervig und generell anstrengend für das Raumklima.

Inzwischen hat sich das grösstenteils gelegt, unter anderem, weil die meisten der vokalen Teilnehmer*innen entweder keinen Bock mehr hatten, oder nicht mehr ins RZL kamen – teils aus unrelatierten Gründen, teils aber auch schlicht, weil sie rausgeekelt wurden.

Das bringt uns auch schon zu einem der Dinge, die ich in der Einleitung angesprochen habe: das RZL hat ein soziales Problem. Eigentlich mehrere, aber das hängt alles zusammen. Unser Space ist bekannt dafür, dass wir gerne trollen – so sehr, dass Menschen sogar eine Veranstaltung rund ums Trollen organisiert haben, die drei mal stattfand (und hoffentlich nie wieder). Das Problem ist, dass ein Grossteil der Trolle nicht weiss, wann sie aufhören müssen. Wann sie Grenzen überschreiten. Wann sie einfach nur noch nerven, und wann ihre Aktionen dazu führen, dass andere Menschen keine Lust mehr haben, am Leben im Raum teilzunehmen oder Dinge für den Raum zu machen. Wann ihr Verhalten potentielle neue Menschen abschreckt. Dieses Getrolle führt dazu, dass alle verlieren.

Die Troll-“Kultur” im RZL hängt zusammen mit dem Leitspruch “Wer macht hat Recht” und dem Anspruch, möglichst wenig explizite Regeln zu haben. Und ganz ehrlich: eine riesige Regelbürokratie will auch keine*r, das war, so meine Auffassung, auch die ursprüngliche Intention dahinter. Das funktioniert aber in einer Gemeinschaft nur begrenzt, speziell wenn diese Gemeinschaft mittlerweile mehrere Dutzend Menschen (Mitglieder sowie Nicht-Mitglieder) umfasst, und es funktioniert ganz besonders nicht, wenn gleichzeitig besagte Troll-“Kultur” existiert.

Auch hat das RZL so das generelle Nerd-Problem, dass die soziale Kompetenz vieler Menschen eingeschränkt bis mangelhaft ist, und dazu bei vielen mit fehlender Selbstreflektionsfähigkeit gepaart ist. Das führt dazu, dass soziale Probleme im Raum lange vor sich hinbrodeln, weil keine*r sie anspricht, und Konflikte sehr oft nicht offen besprochen werden, sondern durch Proxy-Getrolle ausgefochten werden. Die Pony-Diskussionen und -Trollaktionen sind dabei nur das grösste und am längsten bestehende Beispiel.

Dies wiederrum koppelt sich mit “Wer macht hat Recht”. Im RZL – wie eigentlich in der Hackerszene im generellen – herrscht bei vielen die Ansicht, dass wir™ ja eine Meritokratie seien, und deswegen ja alle nach dem bewertet werden, was sie tun, und nicht danach, wer sie sind. So zumindest das tl;dr. Warum das scheisse ist und nicht funktioniert, habe ich hier (Text auf Englisch) auch schon mal länger ausgeführt. Die Kurzfassung ist, dass dadurch soziale Probleme wegdefiniert werden, ungeachtet der bestehenden Verhältnisse innerhalb einer Gemeinschaft. Und genau das nutzen die Trolle im RZL aus – denn wer etwas tut, hat ja automatisch recht, und wenn Menschen sich aus sehr berechtigten Gründen beschweren, dann sind sie dafür verantwortlich, das Problem zu lösen, und nicht der/die Troll(e), die damit angefangen haben. Das ist übrigens ähnlich, wenn diskriminierende Sprüche oder Witze gemacht werden, und bei Hinweis darauf nicht die Person zurechtgewiesen wird, die dafür verantwortlich war, sondern diejenige, die darauf aufmerksam macht. Mehrfach so passiert.

Und nur damit das Ausmass des Problems klar wird: es wurde im RZL bereits mindestens eine Person offen aus dem Raum und der Gemeinschaft gemobbt, mit Aktionen, die komplett unter aller Sau waren, und aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach gesundheitliche Auswirkungen auf besagte Person hatten (Details dazu werde ich hier nicht posten, weil ich nicht will, dass besagte Person da irgendwie wieder reingezogen wird. Die meisten Laborant*innen sollten wissen, um wen es geht). Konsequenzen oder wenigstens eine Entschuldigung gab es dafür bis heute nicht, unter anderem weil die Personen, die am Mobbing beteiligt waren, halt viele Dinge für den Raum tun, und deswegen ja automatisch mehr Wert haben, weil Meritokratie. Und das war jetzt wirklich nur der schlimmste Fall, damit ihr ein Bild davon habt, was hier teilweise abgeht. Ich übertreibe nicht.

Ich habe auch ganz ehrlich langsam echt keine Lust mehr, dagegen zu halten. Es kostet unnötig Zeit und Energie, und es ist generell einfach nur zum Kotzen. Und mit der Ansicht bin ich nicht alleine – diverse Menschen haben mir gegenüber bereits geäussert, dass sie keine Lust mehr haben, weiter gegen eine Wand aus Getrolle, sozialer Inkompetenz, und Böswilligkeit (ja, anders kann ich das nicht mehr nennen) anzukämpfen. Sie geben auf, und die Trolle gewinnen.

i don’t know what I’m doing, yet I do

People say that you to become a writer, you should write. And writing – like any other skill – is something you must train. To become good at writing, they say, you should write every day, if at all possible. So instead of just thinking about this, I decided to do it. Problem being, I don’t know what to write about, so here I am sitting in in a tram on the way to university, writing about the fact that I can’t write. Gotta start somewhere, I guess?

One of my most profound problems is that I often cannot order my whirling thoughts. My mind is full of ideas, of worlds, stories, characters – in fact, I spend a better part of my life lost in thought, wandering through worlds I discover within my head. And I have often thought that I should chronicle these journeys, but I have never been able to. Like dreams, most of them run through my fingers, escape me as soon as my mind drifts back into this world, often because someone or something forcefully pulls me back – like having to exit the tram at the final station.

And don’t forget the joker

Today is the 8th of May.

It is an important day for various reasons. Perhaps most prominently, it is the Victory in Europe Day – today, seventy years ago, World War II had ended in Europe with the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich to the Allied Forces. Seventy years ago, millions of people all over the world came together to celebrate the victory over the Nazis, a victory that had been bought with untold amounts of bloodshed.

That is, however, not what I want to talk about here. This is a very personal post, and one that I had deliberated to make since a while, but never saw the right opportunity to do – until today. Because today is also a day to make
visible a sexual minority that most people don’t even realize exists. A minority whose existence is denied or ridiculed by even folks who should really know better.

Today is Asexual Visibility Day.

And today, I proudly raise the Ace of Spades, because I no longer want to hide who I am.

I’m asexual, I’m aromantic, and I like to consider myself queer as fuck.

This is something I’ve only come to realize over the past few years, and I was first exposed to the concept of asexuality during this time. But as soon as I had learned about it, everything suddenly made sense. Why I never felt the emotional need for a romantic partner (whatever gender they might be), despite society telling me otherwise. Why I’ve never been honestly interested in pursuing sexual relationships, much to the ridicule of many a peer over the years. Make no mistake, I had my fair share of puberty induced insecurity, horniness, and confusion. But nothing that really remained.

For a long time after puberty, I did what probably many young nerds did: write it off to my own shyness and social ineptitude, and hoping that I might one day meet the person with whom I would just click. That person has yet to appear. I’m 24 now, and I’ve stopped believing in this myth (which is perpetuated so much in our culture), and by today, have come to accept myself as I am. Several persons I have met, both online and offline, over the past few years, have immensely helped with that, whether they know it or not.

I have also been on the fence for a while before I started thinking of myself as asexual. After all, I do consume copious amounts of porn. For a while, I tended towards calling myself an autosexual. But that’s not really it. I don’t “love” myself, in the sexual sense. I do like myself as I am for the most part (and I realize that this is a huge privilege to be able to do!), but I don’t feel sexual attraction when I look in the mirror, for example. For me, this is the crucial difference, but in the end, those are my personal feelings – others might think differently, and that is okay.

To some of my friends, this might not come as a big surprise. Maybe it was already an open secret to you. If it was, here’s the confirmation. If it wasn’t, I’m filled with some confidence that this won’t change the way you think of me. After all, you already know me as a wacky person who makes a hobby out of defying expectations – for better or for worse.

To all of you other aces who are reading this: it’s not a defect to not want or need sex. You’re not broken for not feeling romantic attraction to others. It’s okay to be who you are. You are not alone.

Thank you all – I love you.

Well, platonically, of course.

<3

P.S.: Yes, the title is a quote from Motörhead’s Ace of Spades.

Kartoffelchips

Also ich heute, nach einem langen Tag an der Uni, endlich die Türe zum heimatlichen Apartmentkomplex aufschloss, waberte mir sogleich der Geruch von ostasiatischer Fertigsuppe entgegen. Während ich die Treppe zu meiner Wohnung heraufging, schweiften meine Gedanken in die Zeit, als ich mich selbst noch von Tütensuppe ernährte. “Gut, dass du aus der Phase raus bist.”, dachte ich, als ich meine Wohnung betrat und meinen Rucksack zur Seite stellte. “Furchtbar ungesund war das. Und erst das ganze Glutamat. Scheusslich.”. Inzwischen hatte ich meinen Laptop ausgepackt, auf den Schreibtisch gestellt, und Twitter geöffnet, um zu schauen, was ich in der Zeit von der Eingangs- zur Wohnungstür wichtiges verpasst haben könnte. “Furchtbar, diese Studis.”, meinte ich zu mir selbst, während ich begann, an einem Kartoffelchip zu knabbern.

there’s no merit in meritocracy

Ah, meritocracy! The great solution to all of society’s problems, at least if the white, heterosexual, cis-male hacker is to be believed. If just we’d had meritocracy, then we could actually solve the important problems, and everyone would be happy!

I’m tired of hearing it, really. It gets brought up every time someone calls out issues in hacker or nerd communities, and it doesn’t get any less wrong with every repetition. The idea behind meritocracy is certainly a commendable one – that everyone be judged by their merit, not superficial other criteria. Even the hacker ethics of the CCC reflect this:

Hackers should be judged by their acting, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.

The problem is that in practise, the ones who define merit are those already in power, and in both these communities as well as society at large, the ones in power are white, cisgendered, heterosexual men, and as long as these people get to define what merit is, meritocracy will merely reinforce existing power structures. It’s nothing radical, really. It’s the exact opposite, a reactionary, conservative rhetoric that’s used to subdue criticism.

One of the best examples for this is Linus Torvalds, idol and hero of hackers and nerds alike. He’s the “Benevolent Dictator For Life” of the Linux kernel, an unarguably brilliant engineer… and a massive, unapologetic dick. He’s been called out for his behavior for years, by many different people, and pretty much all that he has ever answered is “lol deal with it”. He’s a prime example for a toxic individual who’s tolerated a) because he is an (or rather, the most) important contributor to the Linux kernel, and b) because the abusive shit he constantly pulls is not just ignored by his peers, it’s basically applauded and espoused.

Just recently, when questioned about the lack of diversity in tech (the existence of which is inarguable), his response was basically “I don’t care, I’m an asshole”. And this is the person heading arguably the most well known FLOSS project in existence. If you look at the hashtag #IStandWithLinus on Twitter, you’ll see legions of rabid fanboys fanatically defending his right to be an abusive shitbag, people who look up to Torvalds and idolize his behavior. If you do not think this is fucked up, then please don’t bother talking to me, ever.

And it’s not just Torvalds. If that would be the case, it would be the least of our problems. The issue is that this kind of behavior is not just widespread, but also widely tolerated. You can be an abusive asshole as much as you want as long as you contribute technical things – provided you are a white, heterosexual cis-male, because otherwise, your behavior would be unacceptable.

I’ve seen this pan out before me several times already, and I still see it all the time. I’m part of several communities where assholes are tolerated as long as they do stuff, where people don’t see an issue with the fact the 98% of the people in the community are white cishet males, or if they do, they think that this will eventually fix itself as long as you tell yourself the lie that everyone will be respected as long as they have merit. Worse, if you call people out on their bullshit, instead of telling the abuser to stop, will start telling you to stop criticizing the abuser because they do stuff and how dare you imply that they are bad.

Also, as I have said above, the ones in power define what merit is. This leads to the phenomenon that everything which could potentially hurt this existing power structure is deemed as “not merit” and therefore dismissable. When people question this or call out people on their behavior, they’re questioned what they have contributed to the community and how dare they criticize someone who does more stuff than them. It’s a shaming tactic that works to constantly undermine the achievements of people, aimed at eventually getting them to question their own achievements.

Meritocracy fails because it fails to question existing power structures, it merely defines them away. This plain doesn’t work, it never has. No victory over oppressive structures has ever been achieved by saying “this structure no longer exits” and subsequently ignoring its existence, nor will this ever happen. Those victories have to be fought for, and meritocracy does not do this, because it’s a passive denial of existing hierarchies.

We seriously need to get rid of this poisonous concept for good. We need to tell the many Torvalds in our communities and spaces to either stop being assholes, or get the fuck out, no matter how valuable their technical contributions may be. We need to actively fight to end the lack of diversity instead of ignoring it. We need to stop tolerating douchebaggery, and stop being douchebags ourselves.

Fuck meritocracy.

On Free Speech

Trigger Warning: Hate Speech, Abuse

To make the introduction short, I’m sick and tired of people screaming “Free Speech!” when you call them out for abuse or hate speech. I’m fed up with entitled, privileged people immediately accusing you of “censorship” when you tell them that what they say is hurtful, dehumanizing, and therefore unacceptable. And I’m so fucking done with people giving platforms to these kinds of assholes under the banner of protecting Human Rights.

Free Speech is a very specific kind of right that many people completely misunderstand or intentionally misrepresent, often to push their own oppressive agenda or to escape eating up to the consequences of their actions. And this is despite the fact that Free Speech is actually a very simple right that can completely and sufficiently be defined in a single sentence:

Free Speech is your right not to be interfered with in expression by the government.

Notice the emphasis? That’s because it’s important. The right to Free Speech exists to prevent your government to stop you from criticizing it. It exists to make it possible to have free and unhindered political discourse without fear of governmental repression. That is literally all that Free Speech is. Nothing more, nothing less.

Now let’s focus on what Free Speech isn’t:

Free Speech is not your right to abuse people and get away with it. Free Speech is not your right to harass people and then complain about people telling you to fuck off. Free Speech is not your right to demand a soapbox, and not your right to have an audience that listens to you. Free Speech does not mean there are no consequences to what you say. Free Speech does not make you immune to scrutiny and criticism. Free Speech is not your ticket to be an asshole and not get called out for it. Free Speech does not mean you’re allowed to say anything anywhere to anyone.

Likewise, censorship simply means the restriction of Free Speech. As I have explained above, that means censorship only happens when the government stops you from expressing yourself.

Calling people out on harassment is not censorship, that’s called being a decent human being. Not giving hate speech a platform by kicking out the people who espouse it (or outright denying them entry) is not censorship. Telling white supremacists and Nazis to fuck off is not censorship. Blocking people on social media is not censorship. No, not even when it’s done with shared blocklists. Not wanting to listen to sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, or elitist bullshit is not censorship. Demanding that all of the above happens, everywhere, is not censorship, either.

In a decent society, hate speech and abuse do not exist. There’s no need for them to have a platform, anywhere. If you demand that they be given one, you support them, and if you support hate speech and abuse, you’re a shitty excuse for a human being – so do not complain that people will treat you like one.

Automagic Screenshot Twitter Account

I watch a ton of animu. I also take a lot of screenshots while doing so. Occasionally, I will post some of them – mostly the silly or cute ones – to my Twitter Account, sometimes with a more or less funny comment.

Last night. I had the idea of making a separate account so I could spam screenshots as much as I want without annoying my followers too much. I immediately secured @slowpokeshots, then realized it would be pretty cool if I could automate this. Since I had planned to write something interfacing with the Twitter API for quite a while, I quickly looked for some viable libraries, found this nice python package, and set out to hack something together.

Now, some two hours later, I have a working, if somewhat hackish, script that automagically uploads every screenshot I take in mpv (the player you should seriously be using if you’re on any Linux distro) to the aforementioned Twitter account.

Now, how does this work?

The simplest part is actually interfacing and uploading stuff to Twitter. Basically everything is already taken care of by the aforementioned python library, though I had a little derpage with OAuth in the beginning.

The somewhat harder part was interfacing with mpv, which has no API in the strictest sense. What it does have, however, is the ability to read commands from a named pipe (a FIFO file). I’ve fucked around with this a bit before because it essentially allows you to very simply remote control mpv over SSH – you simply echo stuff like “pause” into the file, MPV(1) has a list of all
commands it accepts (see the “List of Input Commands” section).

This input file must either be passed to mpv with every invocation via –input-file, or configured in ~/.mpv/config. In my case, it’s set to /tmp/mpv.fifo, which is created during X startup.

Now, there are three commands for mpv of interest: screenshot, screenshot_to_file, and run.

The first two are somewhat self-explaining. screenshot takes a shot, named according to whatever is specified in the screenshot-template option. In my case, it will put them into ~/screenshots and name it after the filename of the video plus a four digit incrementing number (again, see MPV(1) for how to configure screenshot-template). This is not super-important to the use case at hand, but I thought I’d mention it.

screenshot_to_file, as the name implies, takes a filename as an argument, where it will save the taken screenshot. Both screenshot and screenshot_to_file take an optional argument (first argument for the former, second for the latter) which decides whether subtitles are included in the screenshot (“subtitles”, the default if nothing is given) or not (“video”). Per default, screenshot subtitles is bound to s in mpv, and screenshot video to S. I use both quite a lot.

run is for running shell commands, nothing much more to explain about it.

Now, what my script does is the following: when called, it will use the aforementioned named pipe to tell mpv to take a screenshot to a specified location with screenshot_to_file, then another regular screenshot (because I want my shots archived), waits for the first shot to appear, and uploads it to Twitter. I’ve bound this script, using the run command, to the keys formerly used for taking screenshots – the whole process is transparent.

I’ve posted the code to a gist because I don’t think I’m gonna change anything about it in the future (and if I do, I can still put it in a repository proper).

It’s public domain. Use it if you like it (you might want to change the API keys and make your own version, though).

Season Kickoff Frenzy (Fall 2014)

Last weekend, the Season Kickoff Frenzy – a quarterly, cozy event where we kick off the newest anime season by marathon-ing shiny new first episodes – took place at the RaumZeitLabor for the sixth time (if I counted correctly). The entire thing once started because I was drunk on Twitter and had a lot of anime to watch, but now it’s a regular event at the RZL. Life’s funny like that sometimes.

Anyways, as usual, we cooked semi-authentic Japanese food (usually fitting for the season) before we began. This time, I was somewhat uncreative and decided to go with Rāmen (which technically is Chinese, thus semi-authentic). Sadly, I didn’t snap any pictures this time, but rest assured that it was delicious. I also planned to make Jin Deui (Sesame Balls, also technically Chinese), but we eventually decided to do this some other time because we were already late (as usual, as I may add) with starting to actually watch anything.

Well, without further ado, here’s what we watched, in chronological order.

Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete (#waramete_anime)

Waramete is an adaption of an adult Visual Novel of the same name (which translates to “In Search of Lost Future”), which I haven’t read/played yet, and is animated by feel. (who animated, among other shows, the great Outbreak Company last fall). It also has two manga adaptions, neither of which I have read, either.

As far as I could gather from the synopsis, the show’s about the astronomy club of the local high-school (although only the protagonist, Sou, seems to really care about the club’s topic), which has apparently attracted some of the school’s well-known students. The driving plot line is the upcoming school festival (because, as even casual watchers of anime should know, school festivals are SERIOUS BUSINESS). The episode’s end left me somewhat confused, but since it’s the first episode, I don’t mind that much. I’m curious how this will continue, it looks decent so far.

Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (#異能バトル)

The second show, which is also know as When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, brings us the first Light Novel adaption from TRIGGER of KILL la KILL fame – and there’s at least one very obvious shout-out in the first episode already.

Basically, it’s a show about the members of the literature club, who have, through an as of yet unexplained event, acquired what amounts to reality-breaking superpowers – but there’s nothing to use them on, so they just goof around. This results in some hilarious situations, especially because pretty much all of the characters are wackos.

I’m looking forward to more of this show – my diaphragm is prepared.

Akatsuki no Yona (#暁のヨナ)

For the third show, the random generator chose a fantasy manga adaption, animated by Pierrot.

Let me first say, I’m in love with this show’s OP already. It’s actually rather rare for a show to have instrumental OPs, and this one fits the show very well.

It also makes it pretty obvious that this show is a reverse harem, centered around Yona, the princess of a kingdom reminiscent of historic Japan.

Most of the first episode is spent with exposition, as well as Yona being head over heels for her cousin, Soo-Won – who soon turns out to be plotting his own schemes, and the episode ends with a bang.

If the show keeps moving the plot forward at this pace, it’ll be pretty enjoyable.

Donten ni Warau (#donten)

Another manga adaption, this one’s done by Dogakobo. I must say off the bat that I’m not terribly impressed by it so far, and that has nothing to do with the fact that it’s a shōjo show about three bishōnen – whose task is to ferry people to an inescapable prison in the middle of a lake. While the backstory is sort of interesting, it barely gets mentioned in the first episode, and I really hope they explain more about this in the next two episodes.

Sanzoku no Musume Ronja (no hashtag)

I must admit that I haven’t actually read the Astrid Lindgren book, Ronja Rövardotter, and it’s been probably like 20 years since I’ve watched the movie, so I can’t say I have any specific feelings of nostalgia for this show. I also haven’t watched that many Ghibli works so far (I can only think of Tonari no Totoro and Mononoke Hime off the top of my head), so I don’t have a lot to compare it to.

However, I’m pretty surprised by the choice of animation style – it’s entirely computer animated. While I personally think I can get used to the CGI style (it does have a lot of attention to detail), some other people in the room were pretty disappointed – they probably looked forward to something more akin to classic Ghibli movies. Oh well.

However, all was well when we got to the next show:

Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru (#yuyuyu)

Quite honestly, this show was completely not what I was expecting – in the best way possible. It’s very probable that Studio Gokumi has delivered us (or at least me) the Anime of the Season already.

Don’t be fooled by the show’s rather meek start, disguising itself as Yet Another School Club Comedy™. About a third into the first episode, shit starts hitting the fan, and once you get to the halfway mark, the rest of the episode is basically a non-stop psychedelic Magical Girl acid trip. I’m not sure what drugs the people at Gokumi are taking, but they should never stop and probably do more.

I’m also already pretty hooked on the soundtrack – composed by Okabe Keiichi – which manages to turn some of the already great parts of the first episode into terrific displays of pure awesome. However, see for yourself:

Yes, she just transformed while getting shot at with explosives, and because that’s not yet enough of a “fuck you” to the poor monster, she finishes her transformation by punching a gigantic hole into its abdomen. I’ve watched quite some Magical Girl shows in my time, but this already ranks up there as one of my favorite first-time transformations period.

I’ve already watched the second episode on Sunday, and it continues to be awesome – and I’ll be severely disappointed if this doesn’t keep up.

Kiseijū (#kiseiju_anime)

Quite honestly, I can’t sum this up better than a friend in the room did:

Kiseijū is an adaption of a manga from the early 90s (it’s quite uncommon for older source material to get adapted into an anime) done by MADHOUSE, and weird is probably still an understatement.

The story is about aliens called Parasytes, which take over human bodies to devour other humans. The protagonist, Shinichi, is also attacked by one of the larvae, but due to lucky circumstances, it only manages to take over his right arm, and the two have to learn to coexist, and fight other Parasytes.

Kiseijū also has a great OP, performed by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas – if you’re into Screamo, that is.

World Trigger (#ワールドトリガー)

Another manga adaption, this time a battle shōnen, done by Toei. To be honest, the first episode was rather lackluster, and I don’t really know what to say about it. Maybe it’ll get better over the next few episodes.

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo (#クロスアンジュ)

Well, another show I’m seriously not sure about. It’s an original story produced by Sunrise, and is about a world where everyone can use magic – except rare humans called “Normas”, who can simply destroy Mana, and are thus seen as abominations and are hunted and quarantined. On the other hand, Normas pilot Mechas to fight some weird dragons from another dimension. Oh, and for as of yet unexplained reasons™, only girls can be Normas.

The first episode is somewhat all over the place, but I really like the Mecha designs, and the setting as a whole. I do suspect this show will devolve into random ecchi shenanigans, though. We’ll see.

Magic Kaito (#kaito1412)

This show is based on a manga by Aoyama Gōshō, creator of the widely known Detective Conan – which is very obvious, considering his pretty unique style.

It’s animated by A-1 Pictures, and will be running for 24 episodes total. There’s not a lot to say about the show so far, except that it’s rather fun so far and that I’m looking forward to more of it.

Denkigai no Honya-san (#denkigai)

Shin-Ei Animation brings us a pretty light-hearted comedy about a bookstore in “Electric Town”, or in other words, Akihabara, where manga, dōjinshi, and magazines are sold. It focuses on the staff of said store, full of wacky weirdos, and their daily shenanigans. The show is full of otaku-related jokes and shout-outs (there’s a JoJo reference right in the first episode, for instance), and celebrates the (sub)culture surrounding Akiba in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

The show managed to constantly make me smile with its sympathetic wackiness, and some laughs were had, as well. If it keeps up the pace from the first episode, this will be a very decent comedy anime.

Trinity Seven (#トリニティセブン)

From the creators of Dog Days (for which I’m pretty hype for the third season) and Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha (for which I’m pretty hype for the third movie), Seven Arcs, or technically Seven Arcs Pictures, brings us a manga adaption this season. I haven’t read the source material for this either, but the synopsis makes it painfully obvious that this is a harem show with fantasy elements – the latter of which are actually quite interesting, as is the entire setting.

On the other hand, the episode is already full of random ecchi comedy, so if that’s not your thing, don’t watch this.

Let’s see where this goes, and whether they manage to do anything cool with the setting.

Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girl (#セハガール)

This truly was another of the gems of the evening – if you’re into Retro gaming, that is. The plot – if we may call it that – revolves around anthropomorphized Sega consoles, three of which already appear in the first episode (Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, and Megadrive). They are attending the “SeHaGaga Academy”, and to graduate, they must apparently enter classic Sega games. It’s made by TMS Entertainment (who are a direct subsidiary Sega Sammy Inc).

Oh. Did I mention that they have transformation sequences? Because they have transformation sequences. There’s also a 56k modem sound used in a gag in the first episode. Yep. And that’s just beginning. I’m sure more hardcore Sega nerds than me – I used to be in the Nintendo camp when I was younger – will find a lot more lulzy shout-outs, references, and homages in this show.

Shingeki no Bahamut GENESIS (#バハジェネ #bahamut_genesis)

Based on a virtual Trading Card Game for iOS and Android, and animated by MAPPA, Shingeki no Bahamut begins with a flashback to 2000 years before the story, then skips back to the present, where two hot-headed bounty hunters named Favaro and Kaisar are fighting with each other while destroying half the city. Nobody, however, seems to really care, and soon the plot begins to move when a woman appears before Favaro and wants him to lead her to a place called Helheim.

The premise promises a pretty cool action adventure story with refreshing character designs, and already has some pretty decent fight scenes. I seriously hope it keeps up the pace of the first episode, then this will be a very enjoyable show.

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin (#anime_garo)

Another show by MAPPA, Garo is based on a Tokusatsu franchise of the same name, but has nothing to do with it in terms of continuity. The story takes place in a fictional country resembling Spain during the Spanish Inquisition (and the first episode contains quite a few witch hunt executions). It revolves around the two protagonists, León Louis and Germán Louis, who are able to transform into powerful forms called Makai Knights, which they use to seal “Horrors”.

To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty neutral toward the show so far, though it has a cool style and some very decent CGI. I’ve been meaning to get into Tokusatsu since a while, but so far have been too lazy to start somewhere. Maybe this show will give me the needed incentive.

Log Horizon S2 (#loghorizon #Eテレ)

The long awaited second season of Log Horizon, which started airing about a year ago in 2013’s Fall Season (and was obviously included in the Kickoff Frenzy for that season). Produced and animated by Satelight (known for a broad variety of shows, among them Hellsing Ultimate, Shugo Chara, several entries in the Macross franchise, and quite a lot more), it tells the story of an MMORPG in which several thousand players become trapped one day without knowing how or why.

If you thought of Sword Art Online now and that this might be a cheap ripoff trying to ride on SAO‘s popularity, rest assured that these two shows have barely anything in common beyond the basic premise – which is exactly why I love both of them. I can seriously recommend watching the first season, it’s a brilliant anime with some great characters, and a very cool story.

The first episode of the second season was, for the most part, rather slow and uneventful, but was obviously busy with setting up the further plot, giving hints of where the story will move, and generally showing what some of the characters were/are up to since the end of the last season. All in all, this was already one of my highlights for this season before it even began, so I’m gonna enjoy the fuck out of this anime, and so should you.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis (#madan_anime)

The seasonal dose of Hiryuu subbed goodness comes in the form of Madan no Ou to Vanadis, a fantasy show set in medieval world where seven Vanadis exist, maidens who have received powerful dragon weapons. One of them takes interest in a young lord she takes prisoner during a large battle, and the story supposedly will resolve around the relationship they develop, as well as the wars in the fictional world.

The show has some elements of fan-service, but it’s comparably tame compared to other stuff. Like Log Horizon, it’s animated by Satelight.

Nanatsu no Taizai (#七つの大罪)

The Seven Deadly Sins – as the name translates to in English – is another adventure show, animated, like Magic Kaito 1412, by A-1 Pictures. It’s about a group of legendary warriors, the eponymous Seven Deadly Sins, who disappeared ten years before the start of the story after (supposedly) trying to overthrow the king. What exactly happened on that day appears to be the major driving force behind most of the plot.

I’ve already watched a few more episodes, and so far it has been a very enjoyable experience.

Kaitou Joker (no hashtag)

To make things short, I basically threw in this show merely because I already decided I’d watch Magic Kaito, and I wanted to compare the two shows. I didn’t expect much of this show, but it’s a surprisingly funny, if somewhat silly, comedy show.

Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu (#ore_twi)

Somehow, the random generator always manages to put something at the end which is a worthy final episode for the Kickoff Frenzy. This time, the honor went to Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu – which is about a guy with a twintail fetish who gets caught up in the completely crazy battle to save all twintails on earth from being stolen by alien invaders, and that’s really just the beginning of utter absurdity – wait until the transformations start to completely lose your shit.

All in all, this show is nuts enough to be awesome. It really doesn’t seem to take itself seriously, and seems to want to go the way of the gleeful parody – and I’m completely okay with this.

In Conclusion

While definitely not outstanding so far in terms of titles, this year’s Fall is a very solid season, and I’ll definitely not be short of good stuff to watch. At least as far as I’m concerned, this Kickoff Frenzy was a great night, and I hope to see everyone who was there again – and anyone who’s now interested, too.

See you next time!