It’s our first What I’ve Been Reading of 2016. Rejoice!
- Using Star Wars: The Force Awakens as an example, Tom Jacobs of Pacific Standard explains why the creative works we enjoy aren’t necessarily the creative works we laud. Psychological research shows that when we determine the awards-worthiness of a work, we consider elements like authenticity and creative control. (As far as I’m concerned, The Force Awakens, was decent, but not so enjoyable that I think it would be snubbed if it failed to receive any awards recognition.)
- Writing for her personal blog, Anastasia Valens explains why transgender characters are often poorly written in fiction. It’s because they’re seen first and foremost as transgender people, and not just as people.
- Will Oremus of Slate takes a close look at Facebook’s news feed algorithm. It’s interesting to see how it’s been tweaked over the years in response to various concerns.
- At their personal blog, Ozy Frantz has an inspiring essay about unshackling ourselves from moral obligation.
- Greg Howard of Deadspin argues that LeBron James isn’t your activist puppet. (Necessary clarifications: 1. The shooting of Tamir Rice was a travesty of justice, as was the failure to indict the officers involved. 2. Pressuring visible groups of people to take a stand can be a valuable tactic. Pressuring individual people is unfair, and in this case, won’t actually do any good.)
- Finally, an oldie but a goodie. Jason Schreier of Kotaku talks to Marcus Lindblom, the guy who localized cult classic RPG Earthbound for western audiences.
Happy belated new year!