Is Mario A Human? Also, why is Motherboard Body-shaming Mario?

Apparently, there’s an actual debate about whether Mario, Nintendo’s franchise player, is meant to be a human being.

From Polygon:

Nintendo has been on a quest of late to prove that Mario, the company’s most recognizable character, is human.

It was during a Switch event in January that Nintendo demonstrated new gameplay from Super Mario Odyssey. During the demonstration, Mario was brought to New Donk City, a fictionalized version of New York City, where Mario leapt atop cars and scurried around parks. Unlike other Super Mario games, where the only humans are Mario and his pals, New Donk City was populated with businessmen and women, artists and street performers — all of whom loomed over Mario.

From Motherboard (referenced by Polygon):

But those humans, those conventional humans, are a sharp contrast to Super Mario, who is a pudgy red firecracker of color who can’t be bigger than a Cabbage Patch Doll and can stand comfortably atop a streetlight. Prior to this upsetting revelation, we were left to imagine what Mario’s homeworld looked like based on evidence in the games. Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and other humanoid-seeming beings all share a certain body type, so one could assume that people from Italy, Brooklyn, or wherever Mario came from, looked approximately the same. We could assume their odd bodies were just a stylistic choice Nintendo made. Now it is clear that this is not the case. Mario and his better-looking brother Luigi are aberrations.

Ok.  Why is Motherboard fat-shaming/short-shaming Mario?  Why is Luigi objectively better looking?  Because he’s thin? Because he’s tall?

And why does no one care that, at base, the it’s-a-meee characterization of Mario, an editorial choice made by Nintendo in 1990, is a blatant stereotype?  And before you say the Captain Lou Albano version from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show was also stereotype, so,  you know, samesies, consider that Captain Lou was an actual Italian with roots in New York City.  His live-action Mario was silly, but his animated counterpart was smart, resourceful, and heroic.  That’s a function of the writing, but also of what the Captain brought to the character when given the chance.

As an Italian-American, I’ve written before about the typical portrayal of Italians and Italian-Americans in popular media.  We’re either criminals or infantile buffoons, full stop.  Even Fonzie started as a hoodlum.

Certainly, though, grown-up reporting and responsible characterizations of Italians and Italian-Americans outweigh the stereotypes?  You tell me.

Is Mario a human?  Nintendo says yes.  That we’re even having this conversation without talking about the implications of the way he is characterized is, to me, offensive.  Sure, Motherboard managed to call his voice “patronizing” in a piece last year, right before they started swarth-shaming.  Boo to all parties involved.

Except Captain Lou.




Everything Coming to Netflix in February 2018 — Outright Geekery

What are you most looking forward to?  What will you miss?

The original series Altered Carbon leads the way but next month sees a ton of great stuff coming to the streaming service. The post Everything Coming to Netflix in February 2018 appeared first on Outright Geekery.

via Everything Coming to Netflix in February 2018 — Outright Geekery

Emailing Jeff Bezos About “Callous” Practices; Amazon As The New Atlantis

Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Won’t Tolerate ‘Callous’ Management Practices – The New York Times.

First Things has this to say, likening the Amazon ethos to Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis:  Amazon is Cruel to Be Kind.  You know that one was sitting in an editor’s hopper somewhere, waiting for other shoes to drop, maybe, after Spencer Soper’s expose about Amazon warehouse conditions a few years ago.  On that note, my email, dateline Allentown, PA, this morning, to Jeff:

Hi Jeff,

You seem sincere in your message to Amazonians re: the NYT piece.

I’m not an Amazonian, but the issue hits close to home because I live
in the Lehigh Valley and spend time advocating for the working poor.

I’m sure you remember the story from a few years ago about the Lehigh
Valley fulfillment center. If that was how management/culture treats a
workforce that, let’s be honest, has next to zero access to the
management bubble (let alone a shot at moving up the corporate
ladder…they’re mostly temps, and that’s intentional), then why would
it be shocking that the culture in other parts of the company might be
similarly toxic?

I applaud your personal efforts to ensure a progressive and fair
workplace for people at all levels…even temps.

all best,

Chris Cocca,

Allentown, PA

photo: CC James Duncan Davison

Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why | H. A. Goodman

Hillary Clinton is one of the most cynical choices for president in at least a generation.  H.A. Goodman does a good job explaining why.

Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why | H. A. Goodman.

An aside:  The FBI investigation is going to so thoroughly compromise Clinton’s campaign, it’s not outlandish to think that the real contest a few months from now will be between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  That’s a contest Sanders wins going away.  Even if Clinton stays in the race, the Bernie movement is only just beginning.  Clinton lost this way to Obama 7 years ago without the burden of a shady record in the executive branch and an email scandal that in every way imaginable precludes her for the office she feels destined for.  Sorry not sorry, Madame Secretary.

Speaking of that War on Women: 56 Million Women Aren’t Working

A few notes:

  • Brietbart is a conservative outlet, so know that going in.  I consider myself progressive.
  • I don’t consider most pro-life stances to be anti-woman by default.  That’s not part of this article, but it is part of the overall conversation.
  • The jobs numbers, overall, look bad.
  • We still fall short on equal pay for equal work.

Why are we hitting an all-time high of woman not in the workplace? We suck at family leave, but that’s not the only answer.  Compared to places like Scandinavia, our capitalism seems not only lacking any true generative qualities, but is, essentially, toxic.

Record 56,209,000 Women Not in Labor Force – Breitbart.