The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 25, 2009


The above is a terrific little video essay on racism in gaming, especially the "Resident Evil 4" game, which I'd heard so much about...and then found about as loathsome as anything I'd ever seen on a gaming console. I think there is growing awareness of something that has been a point of denial for decades. And that's a good thing.


"Think And Grow Rich" makes much use of the principle of auto-suggestion. Napoleon Hill suggests that you write out your goal, its time for accomplishment, and what you intend to give in exchange for your incoming money. This is critical, of course--too many people say they want riches, but have no idea what they are going to offer that is worthy of extraordinary reward.

He wants you to read your statement aloud morning and night, with passion. It is interesting that from Psycho-Cybernetics through Tony Robbins, there really hasn't been any change, except perhaps in specific technologies to engrave the goals deep in your mind. Neuro Linguistic Programming certainly has powerful effects, and the specificity of visualization, sound, kinesthetics, etc. is definitely a refinement on "reading the goals twice a day." But it's the same idea.

Now, considering that this book has been in constant publication for almost a hundred years, I would take a very close look at this.

1) Every morning remind yourself what your chief aim in life is. And then work to align your behaviors and attitudes with this goal.

2) Every night, you remind your unconscious what you wish to accomplish, so that your dreaming mind can work on it as you sleep.

3) EMOTIONALIZE your goals. FEEL as you read them...or visualize them. Information alone will not help. You are not controlled by your intellect, but rather by your emotions. Use this.

4) Specificity. It is vital to have a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish.

5) WRITE IT DOWN. This is terrifying to people who aren't ready to change. A written goal is half-way between a dream and a reality.

There is more, really so much more. This is why I say that if you haven't read TAGR five times, you haven't read it at all.


I guess I'm not sure all incest is rape (although I have no problem considering it to be damaging, sick, and really gross. Ew!) because it cheapens the concept. If an adult woman seduces her father, was she raped? Really? How about an adult man seducing his mother? Really? I just can't quite go removes volition, and infantalizes people. Adults should be able to take responsibility for their decisions, even if they are loathsome.


Shady_Grady said...

If such a thing happened as "consenting adults", it's not rape. It's disgusting, disturbed and evil but not rape.

I think it's important to remember that those of us who do not know the Phillips family personally are not really in the best position to judge Mackenzie's allegations. She is a self-admitted junkie with a book to sell. The father is dead and is unable to defend his name. For what it's worth his ex-wives Michelle and Genevieve have discounted MacKenzie's story. Of course, if the story is true, that's exactly what one would expect them to say.

Kathyrn Harrison wrote a similar account of consensual adult activities in her book "The Kiss". I don't remember if her father was already dead when the book came out or not.

Consensual or not such things would still seem to indicate some massive problems in the family unit, to the point where I don't understand how it could be called a family unit.

The emphasis on working to align your goals with your behaviors and attitudes is one of the best things about this blog.

Steve Perry said...

And, just to keep the discussion somewhat fair,MacKenzie Phillips's revelations will certainly sell books and may or may not be true.

Her half-sister believes her and says she told her about it a dozen years ago. But Papa John is dead and can't defend himself, and as Phillips step-mother Michelle pointed out, somebody with a needle stuck in her arm for thirty-five years is maybe not the most reliable witness.

I'm not saying it didn't happen. But even her shrink allows as how it might have been mischaracterized.

I understand that the human brain can do amazing things to protect itself, but sometimes these decades-later revelations wherein somebody undergoing serious psychotherapy sudden remembers such episodes they completely buried turn to to be products of imagination.

Phillips is a damaged woman, but apparently the damage began long before the stuff that happened with her father, whatever it was.

Algonquin J. Calhoun said...

"If an adult woman seduces her father, was she raped?".

Now THAT would go over well with fundamentalist bible thumpers if brought up in discussion of Lot and the conduct of his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the salting of moms.

Hugh said...

That video is one of the best summations of the problems of RE5 I've seen, and pretty good on race and misogyny in games in general.

I wish RE5 was the worst example on consoles I've run across. It isn't.

suzanne said...

"I'm not saying it didn't happen. But even her shrink allows as how it might have been mischaracterized."

I wish I had a quarter for everything sbhrinks disbelieved what borderlines say about incest
but sadly I'd bet solid money on it
being true 98% of the time

when I deided to start a group for vistims of incest at the mental health center in MAdison
(in the '70's) I was told I'd never find enough clients for it
I told the staff to ask in their caseloads any women with a cluster of symptoms I gave them
and within a week I had 14 women for the group
and a waiting list for a second ojne
it's the kind of thing
at least at that time
therapists didn't ask about
(and prbably still don't)

that intial group is how I ended up
with a caseload of so many borderline women
as all the women in the group were
plus most all therapists set up a yowl if they have even one person so diagnosed
therap[ist hate dealing with them
(primarily because they haven't a clue how to)

Anonymous said...

The worst? Please, did you sleep through those Def Jam Fighting games and the various Fifty Cent games? Or is it ok when minstrel shows are put together by black entertainers? Because frankly the whoring of violence and misogyny to our young and wrapping it in a pretty bow called entertainment and the labeling of the proverbial minstrels as "artists and poets" is just as ludicrous as the assertion the RE5 is the worst example on a console.

L.R. Giles said...

Okay, the game video got me. I honestly hadn't thought about how race was treated in games (like I used to not think about race in films) until I got a clue from you Mr. Barnes. I'll definitely be viewing these things through a different lens in future.

David Roel said...

I guess I read Heinlein at an impressionable age. The later novels Heinlein. That, and Sturgeon's story in Again, Dangerous Visions. To have that kind of activity in a consensual, adult, healthy, sober and sane way requires a titanic amount of psychological development to a very advanced stage in several lines (I use Ken Wilber's terms). The number of humans at that stage would probably be less than 0.001% of the population. There's no question that the majority will never attain that level of development, so the taboos are appropriate for 99.999%. We're a good many centuries away from anything more relaxed, a la the Heinlein or Sturgeon models. -Dave in Anaheim.

Unknown said...

Kathyrn Harrison wrote a similar account of consensual adult activities in her book "The Kiss". I don't remember if her father was already dead when the book came out or not.

She writes under her married name, doesn't reference or use her maiden name at all, I understand her father and mother aren't named, and the book ends with her mother's death. At least one review of the memoir says that the father was still alive at the time, but that they hadn't spoken in years; he seems to have kept his mouth shut (probably wise, given that he was left at least some veil of anonymity that he'd lose if he commented). Her web site section on this particular book is:

In general, I think that "consenting adult" incestuous relationships between parent and child are considerably different from "consenting adult" incestuous relationships between, say, siblings who didn't grow up together. The latter are still to be discouraged, because incest is just so darn destructive in people's lives that it doesn't do to weaken the taboo, but they're probably, well, equal, in a way that parent-child relationships really aren't even when the child is an adult.

Steve Perry said...

Ever see John Sayles' movie "Lone Star?" That was an interesting take on brother-sister incest.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

The video clip matches something I was wondering about in Napoleon Dynamite. All the major characters are weird-- except for the black woman, who has hardly any lines, and seems to be characterized by being tall and black. And by getting the white guy she's in love with to wear odd but pleasant clothes.

Unknown said...

I loved "Lone Star."

Shady_Grady said...

I did see "Lone Star". I liked it.

There was a reggae/Calypso song about something like that. I think it was "Woe is me" by Kingston Trio.

A boy went to his father to ask his blessing for his upcoming marriage.

The lyrics went something like this
"His father said son oh son/I must say no/You see that girl is your sister but your mamma don't know"

"The son went to his mother and bowed his head/Told his mother what his daddy had said/His mother laughed and said 'Go man go'!/That man ain't your Daddy but he don't know".

Steve Perry said...

And an old rock song, say theme: Mostly I recall the chorus, "Son, don't go near the Indians/ please stay away .." Sung by a father to his son for the same reason.

I'm not trying to make light of all this, but pointing out that even normal relationships aren't always what they appear to be on the surface -- incestuous ones, ala Phillips, if indeed it existed, have got to be a minefield.

Maybe I'm getting cynical in my old age, but now and then somebody steps up and offers a horrible tale that gets everybody to tsking and saying Ain't it awful! and sometimes, those tails turn out to be made from whole cloth.

Why somebody would do that is another can of worms.

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"now and then somebody steps up and offers a horrible tale that gets everybody to tsking and saying Ain't it awful! and sometimes, those tails turn out to be made from whole cloth"

Now and again's more often than we'd like to believe and all too often slanders and destroys innocent people. This is especially true when incendiary revelations of sordid violations are elicited through techniques such as hypnosis and psychotherapy, which distort perception and blur the notoriously hazy boundaries between memory, fantasy, suggestion and fact. Such demarcations can be totally obliterated by narcotics or by coercion ranging from subtle to blunt that's often leveraged by moralistic zealots, media markets hungry for scandal or State interests. A horrific example of victims "advocates", political crusades and media scandalmongers run amok when armed with dubious revelations of sexual abuse is the 80's child sexual abuse "disclosure" frenzy, as by the McMartin preschool fiasco. Beginning with the McMartin's themselves, countless innocent people were defamed and robbed of reputations, careers and sometimes years through wrongful imprisonment, all stemming from sensationalist and highly suspect sexual abuse allegations. We do well to remember such tragedies and their true victims whenever the a Mackenzie Philips "discloses" sordid sexual revelations.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

OXFORD — Friends say the Miami University graduate who died this week after reportedly suffering from swine flu delayed getting medical treatment because she did not have health insurance.

News of Kimberly Young’s death Wednesday, Sept. 23, came as a shock to those who knew the vibrant 22-year-old who was working at least two jobs in Oxford after graduating with a double major in December 2008.

Young became ill about two weeks ago, but didn’t seek care initially because she didn’t have health insurance and was worried about the cost, according to Brent Mowery, her friend and former roommate.

Marty S said...

Dan: I know you believe you found a poster child for your cause, but before I blame this on a lack of government health care I would like to have more information on the situation. For instance.Why wasn't she under the state medicare plan? Did she earn too much to qualify or did she just not bother. Apparently, she went to an urgent care facility was diagnosed with swine flu and pneumonia and still delayed days before going to the hospital. This strikes me as really bad judgment. Finally where are her parents in all this? What is their financial situation? Did she even tell them? Basically how much of this tragic event is really the result of not having UHC and how much is a result of poor judgment and failure to utilize available resources.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve -- I just wanted to say thanks for writing about Hill's book here. Your comments about it have driven me to check it out, and I look forward to reading more.

(FYI to other browsers -- the book is in the public domain and can be found online in many places. I've been looking at this site:

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Apparently there are tens of thousands of cases of similar bad judgement in this country every year, or so I hear.

Marty S said...

Dan: There may well be tens of thousands of cases of poor judgment a year. As with those who drink and drive, as the motorcyclists who drive between cars to go faster or drivers who go 80 and 90 miles an hour weaving between three lanes. We can't save everybody who has bad judgment. If you don't have insurance and you don't go to the free clinic down the street, why do I think you would bother with the doctor when you have a copay?

Ethiopian_Infidel said...

'Dan: I know you believe you found a poster child for your cause'

Although I support government health care, I agree that a single tragedy doesn't a persuasive case make. Any healthcare system, be it private or federal, Libertarian or Marxist, will commit gross errors and omit or neglect some fraction of those who might or ought to benefit from its services. Erare est humanem. The relative benefits of candidate healthcare systems must be evaluated on evident or highly probable statistical trends i.e. will private or federal healthcare benefit SIGNIFICANTLY MORE patients than the alternatives. One death is indeed a tragedy, but may fall within that inefficiency margin that’s as inexorable as entropy, or owe itself to bad judgment by the deceased. Thousands or millions of such tragedies by contrast add up to a significant deficiency in healthcare service and consequently build a sound and persuasive case for reform.

Marty S said...

"Thousands or millions of such tragedies by contrast add up to a significant deficiency in health care service and consequently build a sound and persuasive case for reform."
But would the type of reform proposed reduce the number of deaths to due to deficiency? Let's look at a similar case to Kimberly Young, my wife's experience with pneumonia last year. My wife after feeling sickly for several days finally decided it was bad enough to go see our doctor. Note although we had coverage she didn't go the first day she felt sick. The doctor examined her, concluded she had a virus and antibiotics would help so he sent her home and told her to rest. Several days later feeling much worse she went to the doctor again. This time he diagnosed her as having pneumonia and sent her to the hospital where she recovered after few days treatment. Timing wise there does not seem to be much difference between my covered wife's experience and Kimberly Young. It would appear only that the seriousness of the illness differed since when Ms. Young went to the hospital they couldn't save her.

Daniel Keys Moran said...


Your argument reminds me of a Doonesbury strip. The lawyers for Jian Qing, Mao's wife, are defending her during her trial for the crimes committed during the Cultural Revolution. When pressed for her culpability in the 20 to 30 million deaths, her lawyers say that they were, in fact, 20 to 30 million unrelated crimes of passion.....

It's hard to believe that other countries manage to get this right, given how much smarter Americans are than everyone else. :-)

Daniel Keys Moran said...


I've done the statistical arguments, too. This was just for, you know, color.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Monique Zimmerman-Stein has been nearly blind for the last two years from Stickler syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She recently decided to forego her own treatment to save funds to treat her two daughters, who also suffer from the condition, reports Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times.

The family is covered under husband Gary's Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, but that coverage only pays for 80 percent of medical expenses.

She will no longer get treatment to preserve that last slice of light. The injections that might help cost $380 after insurance, and she needs one every six weeks. She could be spending that money on her daughters' care.

If forgoing treatment might help them see, she said, "That's a choice any mom would make."
No one should have to make such sacrifices, said her husband. He hopes the new health plan will include a public option and won't exclude people with pre-existing conditions -- like his wife and daughters.

Read more at:


But would the type of reform proposed reduce the number of deaths to due to deficiency?

I'm not sure. I'm sure single payer would. Unsurprisingly, conservatives are even more solidly against that, so I'm guessing that reducing the number of deaths is not really what's driving them.

Author said...

Good reading.


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