Karen's Rants and Raves

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Wednesday 6 January 2010

Internships Everywhere!

War with Hello Kitty

In addition to being at war with Hello Kitty, apparently I am now also at war with every HR department in the world. To tell you the truth, it's been a cold war up until now anyway, and it's nice to get everything out in the open.

I'm getting sick of how the term 'internship' has become so broad in meaning that it now seems to cover everything from slave labor on up. I respect internships, I am in fact technically interning right now, but this is getting ridiculous.

Okay guys, I understand that you can get away with it- I understand how, in this day and age, you can get away with offering nothing but "experience", especially if you're a publishing house or magazine with a degree of name recognition, to people who aren't even necessarily college students- just people you don't want to have to pay. I can dislike it until the end of time, but hey, I understand.

But do you have to be so brazen in your claims that your interns will do the exact same work as your staff? Do you have to make it sound like working for free is a privilege, that people should be proud to merely have the opportunity to send their resumes to you? Why do you make it sound like I should be thanking you for offering to cover my metro card for transportation, like this bountiful gift should reduce me to tears, speechless in the vastness of your magnanimity? Why do you have to go on endlessly about how I must adapt to your "fast-paced, professional environment", when you're the one who needs to call in what's basically a slave laborer in order to meet deadlines? It sounds like if anything, it's you who needs my fast-paced, professional ability to get the work done that I signed up to do.

Then there are the internships with "stipends", where it's a paying job that they call an internship so they can get around the fact that they're paying less than minimum wage, but you know what? I'm not even complaining about that; more power to you, you guys. The situation seems to have gotten so bad that you have to give your respect to the people who still feel morally obligated to pay something, anything at all. Also, in those cases I've noticed that they usually don't make a huge deal out of the stipend in the listings, and instead just make it obvious that they respect your time enough to at least cover your transportation costs and maybe a cup of coffee.

And then, there are those few who offer paying internships that are actually right and proper paying internships, and then I have to wonder what they're doing in the internships section. Hey, you could get away with calling it a job at this point and move up in the world, you know? Sure, even the proper paid internship offers nothing that even vaguely resembles health coverage, but who expects that anywhere? I'm not crazy or anything.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Narnia Whiplash!

Right after I posted that I had no problem with the Christian symbolism in Narnia, THIS had to go and happen. Don't read the rest of this entry if you haven't read Narnia and/or don't want it spoiled for you.

lalalalalalalalala handy spoiler avoidance space lalalalalalalalalala

Everybody dies. Everybody dies in a ridiculously contrived rail accident. I can accept the fact that it happened, but I take issue with the fact that absolutely every major human character was killed, even those who weren't on the train. Everybody dies, and we're supposed to think this is a good thing, because Narnia has now become heaven.

I would like to amend my statement from the last entry: I have no problem with the Christian symbolism in Narnia, until the end. Up until the end, you don't have to share Lewis' beliefs in order to enjoy the story; most of the Christian symbolism is used as a convenient framework, and the rest of it is all about trying to be a good person, something I have no trouble relating to. He crossed an extremely important line with the final plot twist, because if you don't share Lewis' belief in a happy, wonderful afterlife, what you have is an ending where all the characters that you care about die, some of whom are barely more than children.

It's not that I don't believe that the gang goes to Narnia: it's Lewis' world. What he says happens, happens. It's just that enjoying the ending is contingent on your belief that the characters aren't missing much by virtue of being dead, and I believe they are missing something; I believe it's a terrible waste.

While I'm not Christian, I don't take issue with most Christian beliefs- wow, so you should try to be a nice, forgiving person? You don't say! Probably the one aspect of the religion that I can't relate to is the belief that the afterlife is just so peachy-keen that we should all hurry up and die so we can get there. I'm sure many Christians don't interpret it that way, and see the concept of a pleasant afterlife as a kind of consolation prize, but in Lewis' interpretation, the attitude seems to be "Oh, so we're all dead? AWESOME!" I just cannot reconcile myself to that.

It would be completely different if Peter had died fighting in World War II or something and ended up in Narnia (hey, you could do a lot worse), but this is just disturbing. What's strange is that there is so much keen insight into religion and how people manipulate it in The Last Battle that this is the last thing I expected.

Okay, I have the answer: I do recommend Narnia. We're all just going to say "Yeah it was great, the ending was stupid but whatever," and leave it at that. I have such disdain for the concept of being keen on dying that I don't even want to give it any more attention than I already have.

Friday 30 October 2009

Blog about Blogging

Tomoyo Facepalm The idea of having to write a blog about blogging makes even sweet little Tomoyo facepalm.

If you've been following me on Twitter, or paying attention to what I'm doing whatsoever, then you've probably noticed that the blogging situation has got a bit...complicated. I said in an earlier blog that I planned to blog every day, and while it may seem like I'm failing at that goal, I'm really not-- true, I don't blog EVERY day, but it's not uncommon for me to do 4-5 blogs per week; they're just all on different websites. I update my GamingGoddess blog at Destructoid.com regularly, and recently I've started doing some anime-related blogging at Japanator.com. With this blog, that makes three distinct blogs that are being regularly updated; I think it begs the question why I don't combine them all into one huge, multi-disciplinary active blog, and call it a day. While I want to, I don't think I can in good conscience.

I've gotten a lot of exposure from Destructoid and lately Japanator, and moving my articles about game and anime related content, respectively, off of those sites would seem like an attempt to parasitically steal some of their audience. That's the last thing I ever want to do. While I'm not 100% in favor of everything these sites do, the fact is they've allowed me to connect with readers in a way I never could before, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity. I could just mirror the content, but that just seems like a less obvious way to do the same thing.

And yet, this is the blog with my name in the URL; I'd love to have everything in one convenient archive. At first I rationalized it by saying that all of my "personal" stuff would go here, but really, my feelings about games like Final Fantasy or anime like Evangelion are no less personal to me than my thoughts on Nine Inch Nails. And my narrated playthrough of Parasite Eve on Destructoid is part extended-review, part how-to, part literary analysis, and part personal narrative. I may not feel the same way about it as I do about the comics I make, but I still think of it as a creative project-- something far more personal than just reviewing a video game here and there. Ultimately, that's something I want my name on.

So I've decided that the best compromise is this: my gaming and anime blogs will always go up on their respective sites first, but after a week or two I can add those entries to this archive if I want to. That way, I'm still contributing to those communities by always giving them any relevant content first, but further down the line, when someone looks through the archives here they'll be able to find everything without having to navigate multiple websites. Of course, in the event that I ever start doing any professional writing on the web, that content would not be mirrored here because my employer would be paying for that exclusivity-- but I put that in the "I'll worry about that when/if it happens" category. I just wanted to state that for the record.

Anyway, I hope you don't mind my taking the time to explain what's going on in the land of Karen Bloggery. Meanwhile, I have a backlog of stuff now that could definitely go here, so updates of older (but hopefully, still entertaining) material will be intermixed with the new updates for a little while. Some of them may even be REFORMATTED for your reading pleasure (whoo!)