Japanese conservatism, poisonous birds, and summer camps for adults. It’s all in this edition of What I’ve Been Reading!

  • No Man’s Sky is now out, and the space survival game seems to be missing features that were displayed in demos. Writing for Rock Paper Shotgun, Brendan Caldwell explains why this is a problem. My take is that developer Hello Games’ complete silence on the issue is unacceptable and is merely fuelling confusion. Then again, I haven’t played the game, so I have no dog in this fight.
  • There’s a species of poisonous bird in Papua New Guinea called the pitohui. Where does it get its poison from? Julian Morgans of Vice explains. (I don’t want to spoil it for you; just read the article. It’s pretty brief.)
  • It’s unprecedented in American politics: the mainstream American press feels free to give presidential candidate and human garbage fire Donald Trump overwhelmingly negative coverage. Ezra Klein of Vox explains why. The main arguments are that Trump tells more bald-faced lies than any other candidate, and he has openly threatened the freedom of the press. Klein also presents a couple of less compelling arguments, like Trump’s unpopularity among mainstream Republicans and the supposed “liberalism” of the press, but they could certainly be contributing factors.
  • Sometimes I read a piece that makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable, and I debate about whether or not I should share it with my readers (who consist of maybe 5 people, I’m well aware). I never shy away from sharing a piece that exposes a harsh truth or a horrifying injustice. But sometimes the way in which a piece is written has implications that I don’t wish to endorse. This is the case with Scaachi Koul’s recent piece for BuzzFeed about Camp No Counselors, a summer camp for adults. Koul has a dim view of the camp’s concept, and it’s obvious that she went in expecting to be unimpressed. Fair enough. But she also reports on a potential sexual assault at the camp and the subsequent slut-shaming that occurred. That is a strong enough hook on which to hang a story, and if said sexual assault did indeed occur, then as far as I’m concerned, the perpetrator should be brought to justice, and Camp No Counselors should have its liquor licences revoked, if not be shut down entirely. But Koul presents the assault as one part of a larger story about her insecurities and her discomfort with various (relatively harmless) camp activities, and when juxtaposed against a potential sexual assault, they seem petty and trivial. Presenting them as all equally important is irresponsible; reporting on sexual assault is no time to be self-absorbed.

On that happy note, it’s time to end this edition of What I’ve Been Reading. Time to do something else!

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