from the world's big
Lesson 17: Rockstar Games, Violence, Justice: If It’s Violent, Do We Care If It’s Literature?
And if it’s literature, do we care if it’s violent? “Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed,” wrote Justice Scalia, in his majority opinion in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. In a footnote, the Justice points out “Reading Dante is unquestionably more culturally and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences at not constitutional ones.” True. (He doesn’t need to say Mortal Kombat provides something boys don’t get from Virgil.) And yet: if games and literature further merge, will the merger launch a new kind of literature? Rockstar released a series of short stories to accompany their latest game. We looked at one, and considered its Violence to Literature quotient.
Literature Has Always Included Violence
Scalia gives a great series of examples of this—The Odyssey, Lord of the Flies. All of them would rank higher on Lit than on Violence, but as Violence goes, Homer was gifted. As is Joyce Carol Oates. Oates is a great writer for our imaginary graph, and one of the Rockstar contributors. Her story, “Black Dahlia and White Rose,” is a series of trial depositions, including one from the murder victim delivered post-mortem. Like most noir, the story’s classical bones remain, playing on tropes of which too much has never been enough: Hollywood’s ugly underbelly; the marriage of sex and death and cinema; an idea that the apotheosis of a starlet is her demise. Here is the “Black Dahlia” herself, Betty Short, talking:
Port mortem you would not guess that I had had dignity and poise in life as well as milky-skinned brunette beauty though it is true that I had not (yet) a film career—even a “starlet” contract like many girls of our acquaintance at the Hollywood Canteen. (Norma Jeane Baker had not a real contract yet, either—though she led people to think she did.) Post mortem seeing me naked & white-skinned (for my body had totally bled out) & covered in stab wounds & lacerations—my legs spread open in the most ugly & cruel way in mockery—& my torso separated from my lower body & twisted slightly from it as if in revulsion for the horror perpetrated upon me—post mortem you would not guess that I had been a vivacious young woman whom many men admired in Hollywood & L.A. & a favorite at parties & very popular with well-to-do older men & Hollywood producers & Mr. Mark Hansen who owned the Top Hat Club & Mesa Grande movie house & invited me to live in his “mansion” on Buena Vista Blvd. with other girls—(some were “starlets” & others aspiring to that status)—to “entertain” guests.
Dr. M. was not one of these. Dr. M. was known by no one except K.K.—& Betty Short.
It was such cruelty—to ask if he might kiss me & when I shut my eyes, to press the chloroform cloth against my nose & mouth!
Leaving the Court’s decision for scholars to parse, what is it about this language makes it literature? You know it when you read it. It is Oates’s inimitable channeling of a character. It is her juxtaposition of light tone with lethal topic. It is the selection of the Archetypal American Story, and the trick of making it new by adding the ICBM of Hollywood sex-and-death heroines, Marilyn Monroe. Literature: High. Violence: High Enough. This may be the inverse of what most games give us.
Grand Theft Auto Is Longer Than Proust
Noir is stock. It’s more fun to seen than to read. This is why it makes the perfect landscape for gamers. Will Rockstar start hiring novelists to write dialogue? Grand Theft Auto has twice as many pages as Proust; contracts might be complicated.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
Is CRISPR the solution?
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic cripples the economy and kills hundreds of people each day, there is another epidemic that continues to kill tens of thousands of people each year through opioid drug overdose.
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think.
Women today are founding more businesses than ever. In 2018, they made up 40% of new entrepreneurs, yet in that same year, they received just 2.2% of all venture capital investment. The playing field is off-balance. So what can women do?
In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.