Sunday, July 17, 2016

Culture Lesson: Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO
 is a videogame sweeping the nation. The free mobile game is the latest installment in the very popular Pokémon series.

Pokémon was introduced to the market in Japan in 1996. The games were developed for Gameboy, and are known as Red and Green; the games were extremely successful and released internationally as Red and Blue in 1998.  Subsequent releases include Black and WhiteYellowGold and SilverRuby and SapphireSun and MoonX and Y, and Diamond and Pearl. In addition to the videogames, there have been several animated series, a number of manga series, and films.

The plot of Pokémon is that small, animal-like "pocket monster" exist in the world to be captured and trained. The monsters can then fight each other. The world is probably saved as a result. Pokémon Go allows the user to act as a trainer and capture pokémon in the real world environment; the monsters are found in habitats relevant to their personality. Water monsters are near water, and in the case of this stampede, a rare animal was found in its habitat, Central Park.

The game has caused some controversies, with people injuring them selves during play, and various sites and museums banning the game. The game is free to play, but requires data and swiftly uses the smartphone's battery.

(The games were popular with a variety of ages, but because it did so well with the single-digit set, I felt like I was both Too Cool and Too Old, which is to say, I've never played, and am happy to include feedback from real gameplayers.)

Additional Resources:
Pokémon GOWikipedia

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Vocabulary Lesson: Woke

Woke, as a slang term, means to be aware and informed of what's going on around you.

As a slang term, it is popularly used in the Black community--though apparently Tila Tequlia (herself not an activist) uses it as well. Though the phrase "stay woke" was particularly popular in 2014, Erykah Badu used it in her 2009 song "Master Teacher."

The most popular and frequent usage is "stay woke." This NYMag article tried "wokest."

Usually the awareness would be toward a socioeconomic or political situation, like the Black Lives Matters movement. (And not a batshit conspiracy that the world is flat.)

Don't fight it. And unless you're Black, don't say it. You'll look fake.

Edited to add this video, where DeRay McKesson explains woke to Stephen Colbert:

Additional Resources:
What does "I stay woke" mean?, Yahoo Answers, Brainjet
Stay Woke: All the New Slang of 2014 in One Video, Complex
Stay woke, Urban Dictionary
woke, Urban Dictionary

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vocabulary Lesson: IANAL

I mark my victorious return with a quick lesson. IANAL is an abbreviated way of saying I Am Not A Lawyer.

Typing "IANAL" saves the speaker time; it is frequently found on forums (as opposed to articles, blogs, or private chat), particularly when responding to a person seeking legal counsel and advice. The person would provide to abbreviation as protection before proffering advice.

IANAL but...[legal advice and opinion].
A similar disclosure is TINLA, This Is Not Legal Advice, though I see it less frequently.

Additional Resources:
IANAL and IDKWITA, Ask Metafilter
IANAL, Wikipedia