Ethnicity in Xenoblade Chronicles X

In my apartment, free time has recently become dominated by Xenoblade Chronicles X, epic Japanese RPG.  The premise is explained in this video:

Quick summary: In 2054, Aliens destroy earth.  Earth sends out colony space ships.  One of these, New Los Angeles, crash lands on an alien planet.

Xenoblade Chronicles X offers an interesting case study of ethnicity in Japanese video games, because unlike other games which take place in fantasy worlds, this one takes place in our world (although a different planet).  What’s more, it takes place in a future version of Los Angeles.  Los Angeles, of course, is very ethnically diverse, so by looking at the cast we can see a Japanese interpretation of ethnic diversity.
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Bible as fiction: Jonah

Following a reader’s suggestion, my next story is the book of Jonah.

Coming in, I knew nothing about Jonah except that at some point he gets swallowed by a whale, or rather, a “big fish”.  I also know this is one of those Biblical contradictions that occasionally gets cited, because whales are not fish.  I think that’s silly because taxonomic classifications are about as socially constructed as money.

But what’s even sillier is this story, and I’m pretty sure it’s intentional.  It can be hard to tell without knowing the social context of the authors, but I’ll go ahead and treat it as satire or humor.

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Consensual arguments

Lots of people dislike arguments, and arguments about religion in particular.  It’s often asked, “Why do you even bother telling people that their personal beliefs are wrong?”  The common counterargument is that beliefs inform our decisions, and as citizens of a democratic society we are subject to other people’s decisions.

But here, I hope to get at the root issue. I believe people complain about arguments because they’ve had negative experiences with arguments.  Indeed, everyone and their mother seems to have an anecdote about an argument about religion, where the other person was totally obnoxious.  One theory about these anecdotes is that they were obnoxious because they were arguing about religion, and no one should ever argue about religion.  Another theory is that they were obnoxious because the arguments were non-consensual.

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Critiques of call-out culture: a linkspam

One of the most common complaints by social justice activists about social justice activism is that there’s a lot of toxicity.  Whenever an activist makes a misstep, other activists will “call out” that person, sometimes directing a disproportionate amount of anger and abuse at them.  This pattern is often (but not always) referred to as “call-out culture”.

For a while, I’ve been collecting a lot of articles and blog posts which critique call-out culture from an internal view point.  My main motivation is that I would like to write about the topic myself, and I’d like my ideas to be responsive to what has already been said.  For my continuing thoughts, please follow my call-out culture tag.  At some point I also intend to write a summary of the content in these links.

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