Quick Hit: 15-yr-old WoC pilots cross-country flight

You may have noticed that aviation is a subject near to my roots and dear to my heart, though I no longer fly myself. So this story...is definitely sniffle-worthy.

Kimberly Anyadike, age 15, has just become the youngest known WoC to fly across the country, in a single-engine Cessna from Compton, CA to Newport News, VA. She learned to fly through an after-school program with Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in Compton that offers lessons to at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth. Among her reasons for doing this, she says, was to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the segregated unit of black airmen during WWII. Levi Thornhill, an 87-yr-old veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, made the flight with her, and along the way they stopped and met 50 other veterans, who autographed the plane.

"That way, they can fly with us forever."

Sniffle. Kimberly, I salute you, and your determination to stand forth as an example of what can be done, while honoring those who came before. You are awesome. Thank you.

Wednesday WTF (Part II): Just slap some boobs on there and call it a day.

Came across this via Sociological Images, which you should be reading if you aren't already. Following is the chronological progression of online ads for a game called Evony:

Pretty innocuous, right? Dude with sword and armor. Standard for the genre. But it goes on:

Sadly, also pretty standard. Pretty maiden enticing assumed-to-be-male player. Bleh, yeah, reinforces idea of gamer=man, woman as prop, etc. But still not bad, as far as these things go. Until it continued:

Still playing the "my Lord" game, and you notice that though it uses "lover" singular, there are two fainting decolletage-y women waiting for you? Don't worry, we're not done yet:

Um, ok. Off of real-ish women and onto plainly cartoonish ones, but this one is kneeling and gazing at you piteously, begging you to save her! Also there's a suspiciously phallic phantom half-a-sword dangling over her cleavage. Seriously, are they even trying anymore? Why not just put a big red arrow and say "Look! Boobies! Right here! And the sword stands for a penis!" Sadly, however, we have not yet reached rock bottom. With increasing desperation:

So now we have a woman with an expression that could pretty easily be read as the transports of post-coital bliss, with the kind of cleavage that makes even me sit and wonder "Is that a hint of areola I see?" And the text, which no longer makes any pretense of talking about the game, but rather borrows phrasing and tone from the late-night "singles chat" ads: "Talk discreetly with other singles in your area, NOW!" See, this woman here, she stands for a hot and available real-life woman. And our game stands for you having sex with her. Don't you want to play? NOW? But we have STILL not reached the end in this race-for-the-bottom! Perceive:

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding me? Having given up even the pretense of anything to do with the game, in terms of background, font, lighting, costuming, anything at all, Evony goes for the slap-you-with-a-brick style of marketing: LOOK BOOBIES, NOW PLAY OUR GAME. BECAUSE YOU LIKE BOOBIES. EVERYONE LIKES BOOBIES. EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC AT HAND.

And after all that boob-heavy marketing? There are no queens and no women characters in the game. At all. In fact, it's apparently come up so often that Evony's FAQ had to address this:
How do I get my queen?
There is no queen in this game, the ad you saw is for marketing purposes and seems to be highly effective by the number of times this question has come up.

That sound you just heard? Was my forehead and my keyboard meeting in a glorious dance of WTF. That is all.

Wednesday WTF (Part I): There's an app for that!

Today's Wednesday WTF will be in two parts. I just couldn't narrow my wtf-ery down to one topic. Look for the second part later today.

Today's Wednesday WTF comes to you courtesy of the iPhone apps store. (via & via) There is, apparently, really an app for everything these days. New to the iPhone apps store, a purity pledge app, complete with a purity ring graphic you can display on your phone after agreeing to the app's purity pledge. WTF?

There are two ways to look at this: either it's intended for people who wouldn't have taken a purity pledge otherwise, only now it's delivered to them in this new and convenient format! or it's intended as an extension on the physical purity pledge/ring for the type of person who is already into the whole abstinence thing. Either way, it makes no sense.

If you're the type who has already chosen to remain abstinent until marriage, and you've already perhaps taken a "purity" pledge (and that's not even touching the plethora of issues surrounding the notion of "purity" as the absence of sexuality, but I digress) and would wear or already do wear a purity ring...why bother with the app? So you get an image of a purity ring to display on your phone. Whooo, how exciting. Also, isn't part of the point of the purity ring to A: "warn off" strangers or acquaintances that they won't be getting any with you, and B: remind yourself in the heat of the moment, when you see your ring, what you've pledged? How does this app do either of those things? Unless you walk around flashing your iPhone at everyone you talk to, or have a habit of constantly picking up and looking at your phone during potentially sexual situations. And if that's the case, you have a problem that goes deeper than meaningless apps and you should probably seek help for your iPhone dependency.

So what about those who have never been exposed to the opportunity to take an abstinence pledge? Do you really think that some random person, probably with fairly healthy sexual appetites as most adults have, is going to see a purity ring app and suddenly decide, "Hey, this sounds meaningful! I'm going to sign my name on the virtual dotted line and get a nifty ring graphic to show for it!" And if they do...how long do you think that'll last? Given that purity pledges fail to be effective even when promised by fervent believers1, do you really think Random Person is going to be swayed to celibacy by a freaking iPhone app?

And if you really do believe that...there's an app for that, too.

1. "Among those youngsters, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying", from linked article.


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