Kobe beef, Stephen Colbert, and PewDiePie… all that and a lot more in this week’s What I’ve Been Reading.

  • For years, it wasn’t possible to get real Kobe beef – the meat of specially-raised Japanese cows – in the United States. Now it is, with the US government having loosened import restrictions. Still, there’s a huge problem with counterfeit Kobe beef. Larry Olmsted of Forbes warns: caveat emptor.
  • I still haven’t finished Dragon Age: Inquisition myself, but that won’t stop me from linking to thinkpieces about it. Jorge Albor of PopMatters dives into the racial allegory of the game. I’ve always found it interesting that BioWare games treat people with different skin tones and physiognomic features the same, and instead choose to use different species as a conduit for discussing matters of race. It’s a neat way to discuss racial matters without having to speak about people of a specific race. That can make the games seem a bit toothless – it’s not a revelation to say, “Hey, racism is bad, guys!” – but for the most part, they do a good job of representing the way racism manifests itself in the real world: it’s usually not outright racial hatred, but casual slurs (e.g. “knife-ear”), microaggressions (e.g. “You’re pretty <x> for an elf”), and stereotypes (e.g. “Aren’t most elves like <x>?”)
  • Speaking of racism, can we talk about white saviour complexes for a second? Specifically, Leigh Anne Tuohy’s? (For those of you not in the know, she’s the woman on whom The Blind Side was based.) At her personal blog, Anne Thériault analyzes a run-in Tuohy had with two black teenagers.
  • The Colbert Report ended its legendary run earlier this week, with Stephen Colbert becoming the host of The Late Show late next year. Bob Chipman of The Escapist takes a look at the show’s legacy, with special attention paid to the political climate in which was created.
  • Speaking of the legacies of TV shows – I’m just killing it with the segues today, am I not? – over at the Oxford Dictionaries blog, Michael Adams talks about the imprint The Simpsons has left on the English language. I, for one, can say that The Simpsons has embiggened my vocabulary.
  • Sophie Kleeman of Mic reports on a study in the British Medical Journal that shows that medical talk shows – specifically Dr. Oz and The Doctors – are full of shit. There is no evidence to support a large number of the claims they make. I’ll say what I always say: fuck Dr. Oz.
  • Finally, Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku takes a look at YouTube sensation PewDiePie and tries to figure out how and why he became so famous. Beats me.

Okay, that was a lot of links. I hope you enjoy reading through them all. (You probably won’t.)

I know I’ve been holding off on year-end stuff, but that’s because I’ve been busy with real-life commitments. I promise that entries about my favourite music and video games of the year are coming. Stay tuned.