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Author of off-kilter sci fi/fantasy books. Fond of apocalyptic and fantastical things. Known for phuquerie. I bite. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00BGWZRCW

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Oh Gods, Please Not Another Teen Movie: Bildungsroman Movies, Part 2

Hello hello!

So, last time, I offered up my dignity and childhood on a plate to contextualize my lack of experience with teen movies. I also mentioned which movies I'd seen, which ones were not part of the format (Flashdance, Top Gun, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dirty Dancing, and The Graduate) and were therefore only going to be touched on, and which ones were essential ( The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, CluelessThe Craft, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Heathers, Say Anything,  Ten Things I Hate about You, American PieFootloose, and She's the Man.)

There are still MORE teen movies on Netflix and elsewhere, but these were some of the biggest zeitgeist defining films, so here they are. I suppose I could have included Napoleon Dynamite or even the Harry Potter series or Juno, but those have a different feel than these movies, or are too self-aware/parodic to count. Also, they weren't made in the 90s or 80s, which was an important consideration for defining the era. But what the hell was up with that era?

The 80s and 90s

Most of my readers were alive for these periods, so I'm not going to rehash history--literally. However, America, where all of these films were produced, was fairly peaceful, quite wealthy, and was experiencing a nostalgia boner of the sort that generally merits physician interference and a trip to the E.R. The 50s and 60s played a big role in the fashions of the era, and also in the priorities. After all, America had beaten the dirty commies and the Berlin Wall was coming down; Russia was waving the white flag and capitulating to capitalism, and the hamburger gut of poverty and malnutrition hadn't ruined America's high school quarterback figure yet. The other thing was that class stratification hadn't set in yet--rich kids still deigned to set foot in public schools, something that slowly ended as recession after recession hammered America. And of course, that whole 9-11 thing hadn't happened yet, so everyone in North America tends to have very rose-coloured glasses about the era.

ALL HAIL MAUD DIB--Wait, no, not that 80s movie. 'Scuse me.

The 80s

The 80s, however, were much darker than the 90s. It's significant that the John Hughes movies (Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) and Heathers were done then. Footloose, The Graduate, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing, and Say Anything also have some dark elements to them--and Breakfast at Tiffany's, though it's a couple decades older, totally nails the feel of an 80s movie in some strange ways. It even has a party, misbehavior, and an identity crisis. When you compare the goofy gothic tone of The Craft to Heathers, it's clear which movie is superior and more genuinely frightening--and hint, it's not the one with the Spice Witches. Ferris Bueller's Day Off also touches on this darkness a bit. Honestly, I didn't like DD or FBDO, and PiP made me want to serve Duckie up in a nice whisky glaze sauce with new potatoes on the side. He was unbearable. BC was okay, but Heathers, The Graduate, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Say Anything were definitely my favorites--especially Breakfast at Tiffany's and Heathers. 

In this batch of movies, there's a lot of abuse, arguing with parental characters, (who actually get proper development in a lot of cases), a lot of death, guns, car crashes, screaming matches that actually seem threatening, religious extremism, murder, prostitution, abortions, and suicide. Not all of these movies are better than the 90s ones, but it's hard to argue that they seem to have more depth. They still give us the big parties and the arguments and the premarital sex, but there's more at stake, a lurking sense that these characters will grow up and that life will not just be a sort of fade into the sunset or a weird flying car from a fairground escape. (Yeah, yeah, Grease was a late 70s movie. Shut it. I already made an exception for Hepburn and I'm not doing it again.)

Yeah, yeah, there's more to the discussion. Don't walk off just yet. 

But what about the 90s?

You can probably see where I'm going with this. Sure, a few movies do allude to tough things, but Clueless doesn't have the same threat-level as the 80s movies. American Pie, Ten Things I Hate about You, latecomers She's the Man and Mean Girls, and The Craft are a lot tamer than their predecessors. There's more drinking, more partying, brighter colours, and less development of the romantic hole-filler boyfriends for the most part. FBDO was pretty meh about Sloan's development, but it at least hinted that she wasn't just a smiling floppy-haired shadow. She kind of was, but...you know. The 90s movies were clearly leaning on the 80s movies for style and support, and Mean Girls wouldn't exist without Heathers--but instead of murder most awkward, that had a nasty bus accident. Bullying is also a bit less threatening--mostly--in the 90s films, and is treated more jokily. On the up side, the 90s movies are less...the word that comes to mind is "patriarchal"...than the 80s films. Those tend to have a theme of female characters being handed off from father to boyfriend like shiny sports trophies.

At the same time, there's an optimism to the 90s movies that's really likeable. There's also a weird emphasis on virginity, though, something that a more recent movie, Easy A, re-created well. 80s movies were more accepting of protagonists who had sex and girls who put out, whereas the shadow of the conservative backlash was already looming in the corners of the 90s films. American Pie was a film about losing virginity, for example. That said, Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink had jokes about rape and pregnancy, but the characters were mostly virgins there as well. Still, the 90s movies are mostly much more light-hearted and kind of innocent. I mean, there's The Craft, the barfed-up leftovers of the Satanic Panic, but as dark movies go, it's not even a decent teenager version of Practical Magic. I liked Clueless more than 10TIHaY and AP, Mean Girls was a lot better than I remembered. TC was an eye-rolling bore, and StM was a cute, fairly innocent movie for its subject matter, not unlike Easy A was. Both could have, amd perhaps should have, been much darker.

The 2000s and beyond

There's not much to say about these eras. The teen movies that have come out since are basically parodies at best, focus on more adult characters, or were just spineless, toothless inane party fests. The tropes got overused, washed out like a vintage t-shirt in the wash, past the point of chicness and into the point of developing sad little rips and losing letters. It could be The Event That Shall Not Be Named, (9-11), or it could have been TV series like Sex and the City snapping up the audience. Or perhaps the audience had simply graduated. I was a little too young at the time to know.

But still, I haven't gotten into which films are great, which ones are good, and which ones made me homicidal--or why. So, for our final installment, let's talk about quality--and why some films seriously lose their lustre, even with nostalgia goggles firmly in place.

Tune in next time for the final installment--because seriously, I'm not going all Rocky on this trilogy. Absolutely not. I have some decency.

Now it's your turn. What else did you notice about 80s and 90s movies, and how they related to the era? Am I missing out on some 2000s gems, or did they really just suck? Tell me in the comments!

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Leave your comments, rebuttals, and vehement agreements below. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Flashback Dance: Bildungsroman Movies, Part 1

Hello hello!

So, my blog has a bit of a reputation, I suspect. Sci fi, a bit of urban fantasy, gaming stuff, writing techniques, analysis of everything, occasional dives into horror, feminism (intersectional feminism, or at least I try to make it so), political/cultural trend ruminations--you guys know what to expect by now. One thing you won't see much of is romance-related material. Oh, sure, love stories and examinations of romantic relationships are all over the place, but fluffy comedies and romances? There's only a few I mention.

Caution: embarassing content warning

Well, I'm a somewhat...how do I say this...I tend to be either right on the edge of a trend, falling for something juuuust as it reaches the limelight or slightly before, or I'm at least five years late to the party. Sometimes ten. Often fifteen. I was born between the last gasp of the 80s and the first breath of the 90s, and I even have a generationally appropriate name to prove it. I'll spare you the nostalgia wank that normally follows this pronouncement, because frankly, I missed out on most of the nostalgia. Sure, I was fluent in Disney and could recite off scenes and songs by heart as a kid, but I never owned a Playstation, Nintendo, or even a Gameboy. I missed out on a lot of cartoons because I was reading and also too busy being tortured by girls in elementary school to interact properly with a lot of my classmates.

So, as you can tell from that extremely personal and embarassing paragraph, I missed out on a lot. There are a lot of cultural mainstays that I didn't watch until my (so-called) adulthood, and because I'd run out of documentaries on weird burial rituals, sex trade workers, and alternative lifestyles, I decided to play catch-up and deliberately risked brain-rot to familiarize myself with the often-referenced cultural mainstays I'd missed out on. As a result, I was mostly unprotected by the warm pink haze of nostalgia goggles; some of this stuff was both hauntingly familiar yet alien, a vaguely unsettling experience.

Like Thranduil, I have a few words to say about these movies, and they won't all be friendly.

What did you watch?

In this case, I decided to binge-semi-watch a bunch of teen comedies on my (rare) days off. That included a lot of things I'd only seen once, or had never seen. In this case, The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, Clueless, The Craft, Pretty in Pink, Footloose, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Heathers, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Graduate, and Say Anything. I had only seen the first two once each, and hadn't finished Mean Girls. Of course, I've seen Ten Things I Hate about You, American Pie, and She's the Man, but they weren't on Netflix, so I haven't rewatched them. I did see Dirty Dancing and Top Gun a while back--a LONG while--but Flashdance was the only one on this list that was a mainstay of my childhood.

The thing that surprised me was how tightly controlled the formulas for these movies tended to be. Now, Flashdance, Top Gun, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Graduate kind of fit into one strangely continuous yet diverse category, but the rest can all be comfortably classified as "teen movies". The first ones are not teen movies because they, well, don't involve teenagers at high school, even though they actually have a similar feel. So, why mention them at all? For one thing, they impacted the other movies.

What makes a teen movie?

A teen movie in the 80s and 90s was a distinct creature. It's kind of a bildungsroman, or "coming of age" story, but it's also less...responsibility-laden...than a "true" bildungsroman, such as, say, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews or Charles' Dickens David Copperfield. Still, in these movies, there is usually:

1. An ensemble cast, or something close to it. There may be a central protagonist, but their friends will be just as important.

2. WHITE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. SO MANY WHITE PEOPLE. NASA uses the casts of these movies to preform albedo tests for spacecraft.

3. A romance with a fairly shallowly developed opposite sex partner.

4. Fleeting, uncomfortable gay jokes.

5. Character groups that are easily identified by tropes and sociological tribal designations, such as Punks/Goths, Outcasts, Suspiciously Normal Kids, Rich People, The Foreign/Ethnic Ones, Comic Relief Hideous Fat Chick, a Gigantic Cast of other teenagers, Comic Relief Teachers, and Comically Dismayed Parents. (The capitals represent tropes. You may see acronyms in the rest of the article using these terms. There will be a test, so take notes.)

6. A plot involving socio-economic class conflict, A House Party to End All House Parties, the Romantic Misunderstanding, Friends Fighting Friends, and eventually--spoiler?--A Happy and Just (?) Ending.

7. A high-school based setting, often senior year, often culminating in the big dance/prom/fling/whatever. Lots of large, expensive houses are often a part of the setting.

Now, this is going to run long, so next time, let's talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly with temporal context. Some of these movies worked for me, and some made me rant compulsively on Twitter. Why? (Oh gods, why?)

Find out in part 2!

So, which tropes have you noticed in these teen movies? Which other teen movies should I have watched, and where can they be streamed? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Leave your comments, rebuttals, and vehement agreements below. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Wild Fire by Ally Shields: Release Party!

Hello hello!

Well, as a favour to the always lovely Ally Shields, here's a bit of something shiny about her next book! And since it's been a little dark around here lately, I think some wining and dining might not hurt any of us.


Wild Fire Release Blog Party
and Settings Hunt

Book Blurb

A vision. A lost talisman. A dangerous journey through time...

A month after their bonding, Ari and Andreas are still adjusting to married life when they learn the hard way that the O-Seven, the terrifying and brutal vampire elders, still have them in their sights. A three million dollar bounty hangs over each of their heads, and there’s no lack of assassins eager to collect.

When the local seer has a terrifying vision of the destruction of Riverdale, it’s up to Ari—as usual—to keep everyone safe. Only this time, an enemy from the past has bound her fire powers, and the city’s string of arsons seems connected.

Daron, the vampire prince in Toronto, has information that two of the vampire elders are on their way to Riverdale. Which can’t be good. Only a risky and unprecedented journey through time can provide the help they need. But that will leave Andreas to face the O-Seven alone...

Buy Links

Also available at most online booksellers

Book Trailer on Youtube: http://youtu.be/nGO1wudi7xQ


The tracks in the snow gradually moved up the slope toward the older parts of Riverdale, out of the tourist district, past residential homes, angling toward the cliff area that overlooked the Mississippi River. Then it took a sharp swing north.

Ari looked ahead, her gaze following the tracks through the gate and into the Riverdale Cemetery. "I don't like this." She came to a stop with one hand on the gate. "Don't you think the trail is a bit too obvious? As if he wanted us to follow him?" Her eyes scanned the cemetery grounds for anything unusual, a shadow, a hint of color out of place among the stones and crypts. The only sizable tracks went behind a tall mausoleum.

"A trap?" Ryan drew his pistol. "Do you sense something?"

"Maybe. But there is a lot of magical interference in graveyards." Ari frowned. She sensed a flicker of Otherworld power, but it didn't feel right. Shielded? Would a halfling demon be that good? She eased through the gate; Ryan followed close behind. Her magic stirred, raising the hairs on her arms, and she stopped, extending her witch senses to probe the area around them—tasting, smelling, touching the environment. Her magic roared to life.

"Back!" she shouted. "Power. And lots of it."

Two gigantic figures leaped from the top of the nearest crypt. A howling rent the quiet of the cemetery. By the time the creatures landed—one in front of Ari and Ryan, and the other cutting them off from the gate—both had morphed into fiery red, eight-foot demons, their eyes deep black holes. Each carried a metal shield and swung a five-foot mace.

"Hellsgate warriors!" Ari crouched, raising her fingers to call the witch fire to her command.


Author Bio

Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, and considers herself a "river rat." The setting and folklore of that area are often incorporated into her Guardian Witch series. After  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She loves writing, reading and traveling. Way too often she can be found on Twitter. @ShieldsAlly

 Author Contacts

Other books in the series:

Awakening the Fire (#1); Fire Within (#2; Burning Both Ends (#3); Blood and Fire (#4); Fire Storm (#5).

Coming Soon:

Cross Keys, a Dark Elf urban fantasy (Oct. 3, 2014)
Eternal Fires (Guardian Witch #7) (TBA)

Blog Tour GIVEAWAY: Sept 26-29:  

Readers and writers always talk about characters in books, but settings are almost as important, and they play a huge role in the Guardian Witch series. Wild Fire is no exception, and this blog tour is revealing several settings that are the backdrop for major events in this new release. In fact, I think they're so important that I'm running a special contest.

If you collect the names and numbers of all ten settings, you could win your choice of three ebooks in the series (including this latest release) or a $15.00 Amazon gift certificate. It's easy to do. Here are the rules.

Visit the blogs on this list -- or enough to collect all ten settings -- then email me at allyshieldsbooks@gmail.com by 9:00 a.m. EDT, Monday, September 29, 2014 with your completed list. You will automatically be entered in the random drawing (two winners).

NOTE: A setting may appear on more than one blog, so be sure you have 10 different settings before turning in your entry.

Here is the list of participating blogs*:

(*If you can't find any of the posts, return to allyshields.com for updated links.)

Now for the setting: #4

 Setting #4:  Club Dintero - Andreas's elegant supper club in Olde Town. I believe it has played a role in every book.

Good luck! Thanks for  joining Wild Fire's release celebration!

More Fun: Those of you who are reading this before 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. EDT on September 26, are invited to join us at the official Facebook release party (https://www.facebook.com/events/314795258698003/) for games and prizes, including books, swag and more gift certificates!!

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Press 'X' for Prejudice: Mental Health in the Gaming World, Part 2

Hello, hello!

A note before we get underway: I will be referring to and linking to descriptions of various disorders. If you identify with these symptoms and experiences, you may want to consult a specialist. I am not a diagnostician or psychiatrist, and you probably aren't either, so don't diagnose yourself based on a few links on the internet. 

Okay, so, with that done--let's get back to the tea in China, as my mother says. As a reminder, the issue was  this article. I agree, but not completely. Last week, we broke down what mental health issues mean, and this week, we'll talk about it in relation to gaming.

Source. I know it's got a watermark. But a broken screaming mirror-head was too cool to resist.

What does this have to do with gaming? 

As mentioned, games love to use insanity as a device. Sometimes it's portrayed really badly and inaccurately--but sometimes, that's actually okay. Lovecraft's monsters have less to do with schizophrenia than they do with tapping into the psychedelic experiences caused by substance use (a theme in a few of the stories, actually) and tapping into the fundamental fears of childhood. Anyone who's cuddled up under the covers, clutching a pillow or toy frantically, trying to avoid breathing or moving--paralysed by fear of imaginary beasts under the bed, in the hall, or in the closet, can understand where Lovecraft is coming from. Then, too, the insane and unworldly logic of dreams and the bizarre things our minds combine influence a lot of games. The stuff my own brain has come up with as a result of the unusual serotonin and dopamine levels experienced during REM ended up inspiring a series and a whole bunch of short stories. In a way, video games are not playing on real mental health disorders, but on the vagaries of healthy minds when they stray in dark directions.

But...but...what's wrong with that? 

The issue is that people might be getting the wrong idea about how mental health works from these games. Obviously, there's also the problematic (push the buzzer because I said the 'p' word, do it, I dare you) treatment of mental health issues everywhere else in the media, too. People are gradually becoming more aware of it, especially with all the shootings in the States lately, but the problem is what you might call a "piling on" effect. Sure, books often have better depictions, but not everyone reads a lot, and not all books are accurate about the matter, either. And just because everything else is crappy, doesn't mean games should aim for the lowest common denominator in quality.

Mental health issues do not make someone violent just because they exist, for the most part. But gaming is just beginning to figure that out. I don't think we need to keep heroes homebound for weeks--though montages would handle the problems with that nicely--but it should be an option, shouldn't it? It's a challenge for writers, but challenges in writing keep one sharp and improve storytelling abilities.

Another consideration is representation, which has a very positive effect on self-perception and long-term success. People mock Tumblrites for self-diagnosis, but anxiety and other disorders actually appear to be more prevalent than we expected anyway. So while the internet might not be the best way to figure out if something is wrong with you, sometimes it's a good place to find help. Sometimes. And by offering better depictions in games, there is a chance that gamers will find ways to deal with their own demons.

Do we need to fix it? 

Well, actually, yes. There needs to be more of a crowbar between the fictionalized depictions of insanity, which are artistic, and the portrayals of real disorders. It would be nice if more writers and artists actually spoke to people with mental health issues and flipped through the DSM list to get a better idea of what they're trying to depict. One game that actually humanized people with mental health issues pretty well and dealt with therapy (in a very metaphorical way) was Psychonauts, mentioned above. Dead Space and Mass Effect 3 actually touch on PTSD, but don't really resolve it. Also, mental health issues tend to magically dissolve until they're needed for plot reasons, and they really don't work like that in real life.

Things are changing, however; just the fact that Depression Quest exists is a massive step forward. Thisthisthis, and this may be relevant to your interests if you're looking for realistic games. I will warn you that the last one is so creepy, I noped out part of the way through.

So, on that perky note, I can only say--sweet dreams, readers. Remember--real life is even more terrifying than anything that could possibly happen in a game.

*Edit*--a wonderful and very articulate article about video games and the potential they have to teach people compassion appears here.

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Pass the Prozac: Mental Health in the Gaming World, Part 1

Hello, hello!

A note before we get underway: I will be referring to and linking to descriptions of various disorders. If you identify with these symptoms and experiences, you may want to consult a specialist. I am not a diagnostician or psychiatrist, and you probably aren't either, so don't diagnose yourself based on a few links on the internet. 

So, this post has been a long time coming. So long, in fact, that I got the idea from working on the Psychonauts review a while back. Yeah, I know. That was a while ago.

Why pick it up again, then? Partly it was that the idea refused to die. I really like fictionalized depictions of madness--before I got into Lovecraft, there was Shakespeare, and before him, Diana Wynne Jones actually covered it pretty well in her series, too. And video games love using artistic renderings of madness.

Then I saw this. And though it's well-intentioned, I don't think the writer understands mental health issues as well as they think they do. The comments section betrays a lot of the same misunderstandings, though it's not as bad as, say, Youtube. How dare I say that, though? On what basis can I claim to have a good understanding of mental health--in the real world, not just in fiction?

Source. Not shown: an accurate representation of actual retrograde amnesia or the horrible face-melty monster. You're welcome.

How about some background? 

Before I let myself become a writer, I thought I had to be a child psychiatrist or psychologist. I like kids, after all, and I like helping people; it seemed like a good use of my skills, curiosity, and intellect. Then I actually completed my degree in Addictions Counselling. That included not only lab experiences with undergoing forced counselling and forcibly counselling other students--the emotional equivalent of The Hunger Games--but practical classes in neuroscience and a lot of time working with the DSM-IV. I hated the degree by the end of it, but I stuck it out to the finish line.

In "the real world", I've also worked with two government organizations that provide funding to people with disabilities--including front-line service that involved a lot of patient interaction. They were both great experiences, though I have to admit I'm glad I get to work on editing instead. I wasn't working as a counsellor in either position--my degree ruined that for me--but I was interacting with patients and families regularly.

Then there's the real life stuff. Close friends, family members, my partner--all of them have struggled with mental health issues of various kinds. And hell, so have I. I've learned that sanity and mental health--actual health--are a matter of taking things day by day sometimes, of figuring out how triggers work and how to avoid situations with certain kinds of stressors. Sometimes just waking up is a victory.

So, without getting into serious specifics--I know what mental health encompasses pretty well. But what does that have to do with the depiction of insanity in video games and art?

Is the insanity we see in art realistic? 

This isn't as straightforward as it sounds. The answer is "no, but yes."

There are elements of Lovecraftian or Shakespearean madness that reflect the experience of a psychotic breakdown or psychotic episode (as in cases of schizophrenia). The hallucinations, both visual and auditory; the paranoia and fears of persecution; the "word salad" that results when the brain and tongue are at war. Sometimes these visions and hallucinations are vicious and aggressive, and sometimes they're actually more benign--mostly outside the West, in countries with better social support systems and more communal values. Here, the high levels of isolation and rather vicious social dynamics tend to make people feel very isolated, and the metaphorical demons in their heads are very aggressive. It's not much of a stretch to say these things are probably linked.

However, "insanity" often encompasses a lot of things. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the megalomaniac's mainstay; Antisocial Personality Disorder, and other, less 'by the book' forms of aggression and psychotic behavior are all referred to as "insanity". If a character is "crazy", they'll do anything. Interestingly, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms are also used as motivation. Horribly mangled versions of Disassociative Identity Disorder  are also popular choices to represent "insanity".

Source. Yeah, I know. Watermark. But it's a great picture.

Does a mental health disorder make someone violent and evil? 

Short answer: no. While some illnesses can contribute to violent behavior, it seems like life trauma has a much bigger impact on violence as a response to hallucinations or perceived aggression from others. However, the jury is still out on this; we are trying to understand what causes violence as a response or defense mechanism.

However, just having a mental health issue is not going to mean someone is "crazy". Between 10 and 20% of Canadians and Americans will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, the most common being depression and/or anxiety. Phobias are also extremely common. This means that mental health issues are actually normal parts of the human experience. We don't necessarily cope with them very well, and we tend to pathologize them and isolate people who have them--but they're far from uncommon.

So, does a mental health issue make someone violent? Occasionally, yes. Evil? Absolutely not. Hurting people can make them hurt other people, though. In fact, abuse of various kinds can basically induce mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, as well as PTSD. The thing is, abusers often have mental health issues and a history of pain themselves, so it's complex. In any case, painting people as monsters won't solve the problem, and certainly won't cure people. In fact, most mental health issues can't be cured, only treated, but some of them are easier to live with than others.

So...what about gaming? Does all of this misinformation have a negative affect on gamers, or is it relatively innocent? Next time: we get back on topic and talk about this in the context of gaming!

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

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