American life is structured around existing within at least one institution.
To be institutionless is to be looked upon as a ghost and made to feel like a ghost, cold and alone, unable to touch the world of the living. To be institutionless is to not exist.
College is notable because it is the most voluntary institution we are permitted. This enhances the desirability of college. Our alternatives are:
prison (involuntary, arbitrary, extrajudical punishment like rape, HIV infection, mutilation is encouraged and integrated into the system, most people who enter prison do so not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because the demands of the lucrative prison-industrial complex create increasingly bizarre, unavoidable laws, cooperate with high schools to funnel undesirables to prisons and the streets, etc)
The school-to-prison pipeline is the widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students, especially those who are already at a disadvantage, out of school and into the criminal justice system.
the asylum/mental health system (largely involuntary, pressuring at best, arbitrary, incarceration and quality of treatment is related more to being queer, of color, holding alternative political views, etc than actual mental illness)
…acknowledged that people from black and minority ethnic communities were less likely to come forward voluntarily for mental health treatment, more likely to stay longer as in-patients and more likely to be prescribed medication or electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) instead of psychological treatment.
the army (pseudo-voluntary, lack of money/options coupled with recruiter lies and patriarchal pressure to “be a man”, hyper-controlling and destructive once you entered the system)
In FY2010, there were 3,158 total reports of sexual assault in the military. The DOD estimates that this number only represents 13.5% of total assaults in 2010, making the total number of military rapes and sexual assaults in excess of 19,000 for FY 2010.
career (pseudo-voluntary, where you work and your terms of employment are dictated mostly by where you’re born, employers whim, luck, and if you’re a woman, queer, person of color, and/or different in any way you can expect abuse, harassment, reduced wages, reduced chance of promotion without legal recourse)
and the list goes on: the pseudo-prison of high school, boots camps for children using illegal, PTSD-inducing torture methods, isolative religious compounds, etc.
All these institutions have two things in common:
1) synergetic, reinforcing (join the army so you can get college tuition so you can get a career or end up in prison or the mental health system due to untreated PTSD–these all effortlessly ricochet humans from one or the other–few can escape at least one of these systems)
2) they make college look good (by dint of being even more nightmarish, unnatural, painful).
So you go to college.
College is paying huge sums of money for the illusion of progress across a 4, 8, however many year time-span. You’re sold the idea that college is a guarantee, that it’s the proper, correct, even moral thing to do. College is a secular religion and the heaven is career, housing, stability.
College is the revitalizing current of Whiteness. This current feels like safety, shelter, enough to eat, social health, power. The people who control this current don’t care about you.
College is the impulse that causes us to hate homeless people.
You learn to hate people who don’t go to college.
We must not shame those who choose not to go to college.
We must reject the idea that college is where Knowledge is.
We must reject the idea that people, their thoughts, and their art are less valid if they did not attend college.
The people who participate in this system are often the people who correct others on the proper use of language and form. One reason for this is that college attaches a time and money value to a certain kind of language and form (White). Under our capitalist system, to accept other ways of communicating is to devalue the cash value of the communication style learned in college.
College is the capitalist idea that you can build the perfect human being out of money. Money is pieces of paper with words written on them that survive only because of a dystopian mass hallucination that will one day fade.
If you don’t have the money, they’ll take you on as an indentured servant.
We must make mindlessly going to college as shameful as participating in any pyramid scheme.
The propaganda surrounding college remains the same even as the viability of college plummets. They will continue to sell the idea of college even as they gut their finances, loot their coffers, lay off teachers (minority teachers at highest risk of redundancy, of course), and strip their system to the bare minimum while increasing their prices.
I have met very few people who did not hate me, think I was ethically repugnant, or unhealthy (seeing me as an animal selected to die, incapable of survival), upon learning I don’t care for college.
The idea that college makes your thoughts more valid is repulsive. There is no magical college process that refines humans into superior beings, only people insecurely defending the huge amount of time and money they spent.
My thoughts are beautiful. They are not to be condescended to or exoticized. They are intelligent, but not in the way we are taught to view intelligence. They are powerful, but not the kind of power that manipulates and breaks apart others.
I did not participate in college. I left after self reflection lead me to the unshakeable conclusion that I could not participate nor survive in this system. College is the act of seeking to be White, and that is a path you cannot compromise on, because it asks for everything. It is like anorexia, like the societal standard of beauty, it is a limitless hunger. I would have lost everything good in me.
College is the indefinite suppression of your humanity.
Here’s a list of things that aren’t college: talking to human beings, being in the world, reading a book that didn’t cost a hundred bucks, reading a book that you chose to read, learning at your own pace, learning exactly what you want to learn, making things right now instead of waiting on someone else’s timetable.
Note: This post doesn’t apply to everyone who goes to college. I also accept that not everyone has the same options and some people have to make hard decisions. We don’t always have a choice. This is directed at the perfunctory, generic, moralizing attendance of college. Most of all, this is directed at people who hate, whether overtly or subtly, people who don’t go to college.
If you ever think, if you’re ever so kind as to think, I like Porpentine’s writing, I like her game design, what she says, or something else she does–realize that nothing you admire in me came from college. With trivial exceptions, I have learned nothing about any subject whatsoever in any school in my life. I am entirely self-taught.
I am happy that I didn’t go to college.
the greatest morality system ever devised in games was Fallout’s targeting system
deciding whether to shoot slaver’s balls off with my shotgun vs. mercy headshots is the most nuanced a game has ever gotten about ethics
Dishonored makes the mistake of telling you how to feel about violence instead of letting you make up your mind about violence in your own head
Dishonored tracks a value called Chaos. Chaos goes up by killing. Doesn’t matter who you kill. Zombies, cops, alleyway murderers, magical assassins–no matter where you are and who you kill, you cause Chaos to go up.
In this game that tracks Chaos, your major enemies are the police and the church, two of the biggest symbols of Order imaginable. Destroy order but don’t cause chaos. Destroy order in an orderly fashion.
Sneaking around the air ducts of Steampunk Police Station, Corvo seeks to change the system from within
“Until the late 19th century, imprisonment alone was not regarded in Britain as a punishment, at least not by those imposing it.
Anyone unfortunate enough to have no money for food, and no one to bring it in for him, simply died of starvation.
Robert Hughes writes that jailors assumed the right to chain prisoners with as many iron fetters as they chose, charging for their removal one at a time, the so-called “trade of chains,” a practice that survived into the 1790s.
In the Bishop of Ely’s prison, prisoners unable to pay for “easement of irons” were chained to the floor on their backs, with a spiked collar around the neck and heavy iron bars over the legs, until they somehow found the money.
Prisoners were regularly beaten with a “bull’s pizzle,” a whip made from a bull’s penis, or tortured with thumbscrews and a skullcap, a vice for the head that weighed 12 lb (5.4 kg). What often finished them off was being forced to lie in the Strong Room, a windowless shed near the main sewer, next to cadavers awaiting burial, of which there was a plentiful supply.
Bliss was left in the Strong Room for three weeks wearing a skullcap (a heavy vice for the head), thumb screws, iron collar, leg irons, and irons round his ankles called sheers. One witness said the swelling in his legs was so bad that the irons on one side could no longer be seen for overflowing flesh. His wife, who was able to see him through a small hole in the door, testified that he was bleeding from the mouth and thumbs. He was given a small amount of food but the skullcap prevented him from chewing; he had to ask another prisoner, Susannah Dodd, to chew his meat for him. He was eventually taken to the sick ward, and died a few months later.“
“The Mint was a district in Southwark, south London, England…
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the area was known for offering protection against prosecution for debtors due to its legal status as a “liberty”, or a jurisdictional interzone.
Such anomalous districts attracted their particular denizens, and the Mint’s primary population was debtors. Those who were in danger of being thrown into debtor’s prison could, if they were lucky, run to the Mint to hide. Once in the Mint, such debtors risked immediate arrest if they were found outside of it. Debt collectors (known as “duns”) would stand along the main roads out of the Mint and wait for any suspected debtor. Sometimes the duns were bill collectors in the modern sense, and sometimes they were thugs who would beat and seize the debtor. Within the Mint, life was hard. Since persons there could not leave (except on Sunday, when no debts could be collected), they could not get jobs to raise money enough to pay off their debts. Those who would attempt to leave the Mint on Sunday to gather money from friends or lenders were often called “Sunday gentlemen”, as they would attempt to appear prosperous to hoodwink lenders.
The Mint was hardly a debtor’s holiday. Those who went to the Mint would frequently die of malnutrition or murder before raising enough money to escape their debts. Furthermore, the Mint’s geography was a factor in its poor living standard, as it was below the river’s level and therefore was a breeding ground for sewage- and water-borne maladies.”
“Catherine Monvoisin…was a French fortune teller, poisoner and an alleged sorceress, one of the chief personages in the affaire des poisons
The bones of toads, teeth of moles, Spanish flies, iron filings, human blood and mummy
among her lovers were the executioner Andre Guillaume, the alchemist Blessis, the architect Fauchet and the magician Adam Lesage.
[Catherine Monvoisin] engaged in severe conflicts with her rival, poisoner Marie Bosse.
Marie Vigoreaux…was found to have close ties to the family, as she had sexual relations with all of the members of the family.
Giulia Tofana, a professional female poisoner
She was the inventor of the famous poison Aqua Tofana, which is named after her.
Giulia was sympathetic to the low status of women and most often sold her poison to women trapped in difficult marriages.”
the prison system reminds me of ancient Mayans sacrificing 20,000 people a year to keep the sun moving
we’ve reached the point where the average person has grown up in a world so used to incarceration that they no longer seek to justify it
you ask people to explain the need for prisons and the explanation you get is closer to a shrug about gravity or oxygen than anything else
even their shallow, insubstantial justifications have been forgotten
we’ve always had these monoliths, they seem to say
the religious belief that unless we bury people alive our society will crumble
you can use guard pistol fire to rocket jump and find the soft spots in the world
Why did the spy feel unsafe in the high gravity chamber while I’m falling asleep telling this joke? Because the wall’s heavier, zzz.
zdzisław beksiński | romanticism
I made this in a day for BIG TRASHY TWINE JAM. There was going to be more randomization, more travelers (the dauber in search of dyes didn’t make it sadly), and more passages. I think I came up with a decent micro-story generator all in all.
I tried to make it so that each play reveals more of the city–something only glimpsed in one run might become clear in another–recurring landmarks seen from different angles until you develop an idea of what they are.
I like the loom-like quality of the node map.
Zdzisław Beksiński is the best.