Monday, March 16, 2009

Placeholders/Mental Gumbo

I've a lot of ideas that have been stewing for a while. I'd like to write posts on all of them, but I figured I'd go ahead and get the ideas out in a very raw, rough form. Here goes.

1. Youth, Technology, Civics.
I want to write a follow-up to my last post, including a lot of my understanding of Lawrence Lessig and technology as used by the young. I think that being on the internet is formative in many senses to how youth understand government, and that actions online by governments which are viewed as protecting youth or artists are interpreted as obstacles, which itself undermines the rule of law. I'd like to talk about making law relevant to youth, first through sane online policy, but also through new government interactivity.

2. Tower Defense Game as Legislative Process
I really, really wish I was good at programming so I could do this. Tower Defense Games are the kind of perpetual casual gamers' version of a strategy game, and basically consist of paths enemies travel and tiles along the path where one can put towers that shoot. I would like to make one for the UK parliamentary system, which is largely a single straight line with lots of room for towers towards the end, and contrast it was a US system, where the paths are circuitous, there are chokepoints at committees, chambers, merger committees, and a presidential veto all along the line to stop legislation from being passed. For added fun, could make it partisan with different towers being able to attack different bills. The goal could be to prevent any legislation at all from passing. Basically, it's an outgrowth of the idea that veto points are choke points, but I still think it would be fun.

3. War Narratives
Watching Clone Wars on Cartoon Network last night, it struck me that most every war story produced in America is derived solely from our narratives of WWII or Vietnam. All our history of foreign involvement (and our internal conflicts) before or since hasn't really influenced our War Fiction. Iraq stories exist as a sort of corollary to Vietnam, Korea is a hybridized "US wins freedom abroad"/"US war machine limited in power" story that straddles those two wars, especially as MASH popularized in its long run. And it applies to fiction further afield - "300" is the WWII story with Sparta as England and Thermopylae as Dunkirk. I'd guess that more major developments in new war stories have come through adding perspectives not previously considered, instead of creating new war narratives.

I'd like to write about all three of these later. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments.

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