Why I’ve Given Up Hope For Cyberpunk 2077

A short essay on marketing, flavor text, and Poe’s Law

Cyberpunk 2077 is no stranger to controversy when it comes to its behavior towards trans people.  Faith was all but lost when their official twitter replied with a transphobic meme.

They said sorry, and there’s a rumor that whoever tweeted this was fired, who knows though.  The point I want to make is highlighted by this nearly year-old tweet. In order for this joke to be funny, you have to believe that misgendering is funny when it’s been shown that doing so leads to higher suicide rates. This types of jokes come at the expense of trans concerns and always from an outsider pov.

Many found new love for the name when Keanu Reeves appeared by surprise announcing he’s in the game. Known for the Matrix, a movie that has strong trans themes and was made by two trans siblings. And as much credibility Keanu can bring, Cyberpunk 2077 has a huge problem: Poe’s Law

It’s an internet adage that says without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied view.

This week at E3 when they showed off more of the game, a lot of people saw a new problem. Namely, this fictional soda ad:

On it you have a femme model with a penis showing, which caused many to ask why. And the art director was quick to defend saying, “their beautiful body is used — for corporate reasons.” as reported by Polygon. Not only am I concerned that irony has died in the year 2077, but here’s where Poe’s law kicks in.

The art director went on to say:  “In [the year] 2077, especially with how much body modifications are available, I think people just mix and match however they want, however they feel. […] This is not to say that the player should see this kind of advertising as good. Redesiuk said that it was designed to feel jarring and overly aggressive, like all the other ads in the game, but not because of the femme-presenting trans model.

While that’s all well as good, it has the same problem that “did you assume my gender” jokes have if not something worse and worthless.  2077’s critique of “soda companies sell to trans people” is not criticizing rainbow capitalism. It’s hardly even critiquing capitalism. It’s largely saying “isn’t it edgy to be trans, mix it up, buy two of our sodas and combine them.”

Let’s look at Watch Dogs Legion, another do crime ‘n hack shit game coming out around the same time. In the top image, their flavor text images show something that is clearly pro-nationalism, and if you ‘misread’ or even agree with these ads the whole plot is there to correct you. It’s a game about subverting the police state, something they make known from the first seconds of the trailer.

Cyberpunk 2077 (shown again as the second image above) instead uses this background space to have two meaningless ads and then this one. And here’s the point I don’t think I can emphasize enough. If you “misread” 2077’s ‘critique of capitalism’ you end up with ‘soda companies are selling transgenderism, aren’t they out of control?!” That’s a problem, one the developer CD Projekt Red could have easily avoided instead of trying to play a double negative about hypersexuality.

But instead, their defense is: There are many examples of hypersexualized women, hypersexualized men, and hypersexualized people in between. […] You fight against corporations. That [advertisement] is what you’re fighting against.”

In 2077, the “we’re not sexist, we objectify everyone” defense is still around?
That’s cispicious.

Best Bath Ever

I feel like I’m sticking my toe into “lifestlye blogging” today because I want to talk about things you might otherwise see on HGTV. That’s the trick kids, few care about HGTV until you are old enough.

I once had an apartment that when we toured it the guide said, “that tub is so big you could have a party in there.” It was a wasted opportunity because we have since moved and have a tiny shallow bathtub combo that Home Depot workers looked at and said nope, you are on your own replacing that one. We can’t even use those bath trays because there’s no lip for it to sit on. If you bath prospects look grim like mine did, I’m here to help!

My move to try to reclaim bath time as part of my best life was inspired by these Sugar Fizzies on Etsy. I’ll talk about them more soon, but the first step of my journey was to ask myself what I liked and disliked about baths. and here’s the winning combination of inexpensive products I got.

Waterproof eReader Case – Paid $10 
This is designed for an apple device, and I do want to try just watching movies in the bath, but I stuffed my kindle paperwhite into it and it worked perfectly. I read without worrying once that the water or even stream was going to ruin the device.

Magic Shower Hook – Paid $2.14 
A shelf or a short table will really prevent you leaning over to tub and dripping water on your phone or anything you keep near you on the bath. Since mine doesn’t have that and I didn’t always want to move a table in and out I got this shower hook because the eReader case has a big string on it. That way I can put the kindle down without getting it soaked. I mean the case worked, but do you really want to fish around in the water for it?

Bath Pillow – Paid $11
These things can get sooo expensive.  I didn’t want the cheapest one but I also didn’t want to blow the budget on a pillow I may or may not use much. I tried this pillow because like everything listed so far, it was returnable. But no need, it’s great! Small enough to dry fast, didn’t have to blow it up with air. Simplicity is a wonderful thing.

Sugar Fizzies – Depends on quantity 
I actually got mine as a pre-lease trial from my friend and mod who fights for everyone which is why I can honestly say the themeing of these sugar fizzies as self care is not a marketing ploy, they are a thought out act of pride and self acceptance.  I used the “Merlin” one which had a great smell of Apple Cinnamon. Normally scent appears then vanishes for me, but from start to finish it lasted. Zero clean up, didn’t have to try to get it to dissolve. Effortless. I have two left and I’m excited to make the best of them!

Patreon Relaunch!

Hello everyone! If you don’t know what patreon is it’s a platform where you can get exclusives from different artists,  and I’m one of them! I have tons of things planned so I wanted to give you a heads up of the rewards list for each tier.

The Spy 🕵
Get your eyes on exclusive short stories, these stories will self-destruct when replaced with a new one. You can’t go back, but you can keep any “unlocked missions.”

The Lockpicker🔓
Sometimes a spy needs to level up their skills. Get patreon only news, reviews, and more exclusives. The last three short stories will be declassified for your eyes only.

The Artist 🎨
Not only do you get the Spy and Lockpick rewards, but also mail! Get a handmade bookmark each month, likely watercolor but we’ll see were the muse takes this artist. US addresses only, international Artists will get a printable version.

The Writer✍️
The Writer is a multi-classer who wants access to the written word and enjoys making their own worlds. If you’re looking for a query edit or short story feedback this tier is the place to be. Rewards can be requested once a month by emailing artoverchaos@live.com

The Librarian 📚
For the ultimate book collector. Not only do you get bookmarks, short stories, and more, if you are missing a paperback of Bone Diggers or Hello World I will sign and send you a copy! When a new book is about to come out Librarian’s will be offered advanced reader copies. US only, international Librarians will be offered a trio of ebooks.

Merry Book-mas Eve!

If there is one thing that allows me to embrace the spirit of giving year round it’s my Little Free Library. For anyone who doesn’t know what those are, it’s a nonprofit organization that encourages people to set up outdoor community libraries in their yards. It’s a take book, leave a book set up that aims to help make books accessible to every household. There might even be some right around you! 

I personally use mine a few different ways. First, as an excuse to buy indie books I already have in hopes that I can share my love of them with new people. This month with Christmas in mind I went through my collection and picked out books that I felt deserved a more loving home. These books have been very well received, I just for whatever reason did I not get super into them so instead of hoarding them like a book-ish Grinch I decided to release them into the wild where they hopefully can find someone who truly cherishes them.

Before I get into the books a little more, I also picked up a new accessories for the library itself. The stuffed little elf decoration you see above. Who I believe was recused from the Island of Dollar Store Dog Toys. And a magnetic light with a flip switch since it gets dark so early these days I wanted to make sure if someone drove around at still early hour of five pm they could see see what was inside my Read Box without having to aim their headlights or pull out their cellphone and turn on their own flashlight. But hey, it also will come in handy year round for anyone burning the midnight oil in hopes of a new read.

The library’s collection now contains Daemon and Annihilation. Both are very big science fiction stories. The first doesn’t have a movie is likely among the most known in cyberpunk circles, the second I first heard when it was made into said movie. I don’t do scary movies or even really monster movies but watching Annihilation was like nothing really else so when I saw the book had such a nice binding I picked it up. I hear this series is even better than the movie (no surprise there, right?) but book almost falls open to scream, “Read me!”

The Iron Cast draws the eye. Its one of those that proves covers sells books. I’ll link you to goodreads here so you can see it better. The book is set in 1919 and design really helps you get there. Author Destiny Soria is also a great author who goes the distance to add much needed diversity and I’m always so excited to offer books like that to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

Speaking of good authors doing good things. Rick Riordan’s The Sword of Summer won a Stonewall Book award for children’s literature. Named for the historical trans-led history event that’s considered the “start” of the LGBTQ rights movement in America.

That brings us to Heart of Iron. I picked this one up originally because it was sold to me as Anastasia in space and while I hadn’t gotten far in it I definitely see why it was given such a killer comparison.

Plus, the first among the first Santa themed events I can remember was wanting the Anastasia toys as I kid. I think they came from Burger King and I most have had them all. The tiny bat, the bigger dog that you could squeeze and his ears would go up. An Anastasia doll with like hair that you could bring up or down with a wind up or down in her back. And of course, a themed but classic Christmas train. If that toy was big enough to set around my Christmas tree I’d rebuy it for the memories in a heart beat. (In my heart, that Polar Express train has nothing on Anastasia nostalgia.)

As an adult that same excitement over toys is gone, but I think as adults we are often able to recapture that feeling with books and I hope one of my books either personally written or donated to a stranger does that for someone.

No matter what you celebrate, I hope you have a great Holiday!

Review: Culture’s Skeleton by Adam P. Knave

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Culture’s Skeleton by Adam P. Knave

First off, the paperback is such a small, cute, and perfect size.

Culture’s Skeleton has the vibe of Hitchkicker’s Guide to the Galaxy while having its own voice. Things in Mur work by their own rules and Mur is really its own character. A lesser writer might have made characters from different time periods tropes of that era, but instead readers get a feeling of how people are connected despite where (or when) they are from. If you are looking for something with a lot of style and heart look no further!

Dollar Store Finds

As an author, books ending up at the dollar store are strange and curious things. I know several ways it could have happened but there are no clues to tell me exactly. Was it too many copies? Never sold what was expected? Or many it’s such a best seller everyone and their cat already has one. We’ll never know for sure, but I can tell you about what I found on my last trip. I bought the following without much of a cool of what they were so let’s find out together.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

This book is like if at the end of the telephone game you were given a copy of the last story. A tale based on a youtube series that was based on a different book. I’ve never watched the youtube series but I always heard good things and to see them expand on what they did there in novel form felt like an idea more than worth the rock bottom price for it.

The Gap of Time

I also got this one not because of what it was, but what it looked right. Proving that covers really do sell books. The design looks like a classic science fiction story was updated and captures that vintage modern feel completely. Be sure to click the goodreads title link if you want to see what I mean further. Since it’s a retelling of a Shakespeare play, maybe it missed it the mark but I don’t think so. Anything that makes you want to pick a book up is working well.

The Natty Professor

This book is a case of not what you know, but who you know in a way. And I have a soft spot of Tim Gunn. You might know him from Project Runway or you might know for his activism work. Either way, he’s always a positive force. Part memoir, part self-help book, I’m certain there’s plenty of gems in here to help make it work.

The Ring and The Crown
Featuring such a classic YA color this book made me wonder if I has seen it somewhere before. If you pick it up the blurb tells you about princesses, mages, and identity swapping.

Exit

Normally, I’d be able to say that hardcovers are a rare find at the dollar store but Exit makes three. “From a renowned sociologist, the wisdom of saying goodbye” is the sort of tagline that makes you believe this book has a secret of life hidden within it.

The Mystics of Mile End

You know how some books have a more textured feel? This is one of them. You pick it up and just feel the thought that went into it. The book absolutely appears to be about the Jewish experience, which is absolutely a story worth telling and reading if you don’t know much about that.

Have you read any of these? Do you want to? Just jealous of my pumpkin caramel creme candle? Let me know!