The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

Belaboring the Point

The controversy surrounding “labor theory of value” is interesting to me in that I agree that it’s not a particularly useful theory, but almost every criticism I hear against it is stupid. Probably ’cause almost all criticism is by people who believe in the Orwellian “subjective theory of value”, which is e’en stupider.1

Part o’ the problem is that people obsess o’er the binary o’ whether it’s “right” or “wrong”, & not the mo’ logical basis for judging a theory, such as “¿is it useful for understanding economics?”. It’s like that cliché issue on internet forums o’ whether god exists: either yes or no, it doesn’t help one understand any phenomena mo’ since god’s existence or nonexistence has no implications for anything.

To simplify, I’d say that there is logic to the “labor theory”, but that it doesn’t prove much o’ anything — &, indeed, I’d say if you pay close attention to pretty much all pro-market people, they all believe in the importance o’ labor to creating value, too.

I’ll freely admit that the logic I came up with may have nothing to do with whatever the many contradicting interpretations o’ Marx’s incomprehensible works & that I don’t care. I’m going to stand by the logic I present here whether it’s called “Marxist”, “bourgeoisie”, or “shitheadist”.

The Logic o’ the Labor Theory

Value is such a vague word that it’s hard to e’en define, much less quantify or evaluate. Basic logic states that you need a formal definition for something before you can make any objective theories ’bout it. Economics’ utter lack o’ formal definitions is why it’s ne’er rose beyond the scientific rigor o’ political pundits with charts & academic diction.

The kind o’ value most economic studies look @ is money. The fact that there exist plenty o’ societies that exist without money should throw this out as a definition for any kind o’ universal economics, but to be fair, I’m not e’en sure any economist e’er pretended to believe in such a thing. In any case, money does hold huge importance for modern society, & thus is worth looking @. Whether one loves or hates money-based economies doesn’t change the fact that they are the most prominent economies, & thus definitely worth studying.

I’ve mentioned before that I think the ultimate question o’ these money-based economies is, “Who gets what”. Some may balk & say that growth is mo’ important, to which I would reply that growth is only important in terms o’ how it lets people get mo’ stuff”. I’d e’en add that it’s ironic that such pro-capitalist economists would focus so much on such a communistic thing as this imaginary “collective success”, as if I care what anyone else has.

& if we should study this mysterious thing called “growth”, we should ask how to measure what causes it & what hurts it. Moreo’er, we should ask what we as humans can do to cause or hurt it, since knowing that solar eclipses cause stock markets to rise isn’t useful when humans can’t yet force solar eclipses to happen.

Moreo’er, I’m focusing on income distribution ’cause, ultimately, that’s the subject that’s up for debate, whether we admit it or not. Toss ’way all spineless etiquette o’ “objectivity” & being “apolitical”; ¿why do we contrast the “labor theory” & “subjective theory”? ¿Why do people who believe in either choose to believe in either? It’s ’cause people want to defend the idea that workers are being “exploited” in support o’ massive income distribution or ’cause they want to defend the current massive inequality as having a logical basis, & thus only support some or no income distribution. Don’t fall for economists’ coyness: most people just care ’bout economics for figure out what to vote for or gainst ( or support or oppose by other political means ).

With those qualms out o’ the way, I want to focus on humans, ’cause they’re the center o’ economics. I have yet to see evidence that anyone other than humans can e’en understand the study o’ economics ( & e’en then, it’s only an unlucky few ). Money, too, is something that revolves round humans. While you could, in theory, give your money to horses or plots o’ dirt, no matter how tirelessly they worked to give us nice things, they can’t use money — a’least I’ve ne’er heard o’ a horse or plot o’ dirt walking into a store to buy milk2. Maybe they’re all lactose intolerant.

This is 1 o’ the common idiocies that critics o’ the labor theory make. I read someone who clearly hadn’t thought much claim that it’s “disproven” ’cause land makes value, with the obvious implications that inanimate land should be paid, too. E’en Steve Keen, that messiah o’ modern hip Keynesians, made this argument in that book o’ his, Debunking Economics, that millions o’ hip liberals read, but hardly any understood, which is deeply embarrassing.

So we have a total sum o’ all money in the world held, in some proportion, by the sum o’ all humans. ¿But how do we decide the proportion? We could do the lazy laissez-faire method o’ just accepting ( or rather, through the threat o’ state violence & incarceration, enforce ) whatever the current proportions. That, indeed, sounds fun if you happen to currently have a high proportion, but doesn’t if you actually enjoy thinking critically. Sadly, I do, so this choice won’t work.

Let’s go back to the idea o’ equal distribution. This actually makes mo’ sense as a default than whatever history randomly threw on our plate today — ’specially from a mathematical perspective. But I know exactly what you’re saying as you shake your fist @ me through the screen: “If we do that, then nobody will do any work & we’ll have nothing”. I bolded the word “work” to highlight the irony. I don’t know if everyone whose bashed the obvious stupidity o’ the labor theory has said something like this, since I obviously don’t know every obscure argument some laissez-faire libertarian nobody on Reddit has made that’ll surely be sent to me; but I do know that far too many people have made this contradiction — & many o’ them are not so much “nobodies on Reddit” as “high-paid politicians who have way mo’ power o’er economics than you”3.

So then we know the obvious logical answer: OK, if we truly care ’bout rewarding productive work, we should divide all money in proportions matching the proportions o’ productive work. Thus, the people who do the most productive labor deserve the most money.

¡Awesome! ¡Then let’s do it! OK, ¿now how do we determine who does how much proportion o’ productive labor?


& therein lies my 1st problem with the labor theory: it’s right, but useless. Yes, it’s obvious that people who do the most useful things deserve the most things — it’s so obvious that every procapitalist believes it, whether they acknowledge it or not. But that’s not useful if we don’t know who creates how much o’ that mysterious thing we called “value”.

That is the core question o’ economics that nobody has e’er been able to solve. Look @ the debates we have: ¿are poor people hard workers who are exploited by lazy, o’erfed rich or are poor people lazy idiots scheming to steal the industrious rich’s hard-earned money?

’Course, if you have no independent thought, there’s a fairy-tale ’bout a s’posedly “competitive” market that does it all so elegantly you can buy — & while you’re @ it, ¿why not buy my books on how to cure depression by saying to yourself in the mirror every day, “I’m fuzzy”4. ’Course, once one actually looks mo’ deeply into said market they’ll see that it’s suspiciously as messy, contradictory, & narrow-minded as any other societal construct — almost as if ’twere made by mere humans, & not formed by some “natural law” that grows out o’ the dirt ( see, land e’en deserves money for producing the American Constitution ). One will see that this idea that the market’s incentives are anywhere close to logical is based on a bunch o’ requirements that aren’t real, & many o’ which are logically contradictory. For instance, they require equal opportunity, e’en though money itself is an opportunity in the form o’ buying any kind o’ capital or investing in any opportunity, thus meaning that only equal distribution could lead to a competitive economy. The fact that our own economy is full o’ monopolies & that economists have done jack shit to try changing that — & in fact, most o’ the time enable monopolies — certainly doesn’t help that theory.

Well, ¿what does Marx say? What he doesn’t say is that any kind o’ work no matter what it does creates value5, as many critics who in addition to being unable to think can’t e’en read say. ’Stead, ironically, he spews the same stupid shit that so-called neoclassicals spew: the s’posedly perfect market that Marx surely knew didn’t exist apparently forces workers to fit some imaginary “marginal labor time” or else they’ll get fired. ’Course, anyone who’s every worked @ a convenience store & saw a slacker who chats with their friend hilariously get paid just as much as some young fool who actually thinks working hard will get them ’head in life knows that this is that Marx-trademarked “horse-piss”. Also, since this measurement requires a libertarian market utopia under it, it falls apart if we start redistributing money or anything mo’ radical — the very goal this measurement’s s’posed to serve.

It’s simply impossible to measure humans’ proportional productivity. For 1, it’s impossible to determine what it is that any individual human actually did. Marx was right ’bout 1 thing ( & quite a lot o’ procapitalist economists agree ): capitalism is already collectivist, a’least in production, so that it’s impossible to tell who was responsible for what. ¿Who was most responsible for the quality o’ The Beatles’ music? ¿Whose idea was responsible for that rise in profits last quarter? Or maybe ’twas just that some unknown worker happened to become mo’ skilled. ¿Who knows? Looks like we need this omniscient god to exist & tell us who did what for this meritocratic economy to work.

& then we have to control out environmental influences. ¿Is that programmer brilliant ’cause they did all the right things to become brilliant or ’cause they had better access to educational materials & computers on which to test? ( Hint: look @ the biographies o’ most successful programmers & you’ll usually see someone who had computers when they were young & usually had access to particularly powerful computers in expensive colleges ). ¿Should handicapped be given disincentives for choosing to be born by a mother who drank while pregnant, & should non-handicapped people, in comparison, be rewarded for their hard choice to not have done so? Capitalism reasonably gives a resounding, “¡Yes!”

But the most obvious reason why this could ne’er happen is a point I made @ the beginning: value is subjective. Not only can we not agree on who was how productive, we can’t e’en agree on what is productive6. For instance, I’m sure economists have been told by their mommies that they’re very productive, don’t listen to those bullies on the internet, whereas I’m smart ’nough to know that no westerner has done anything productive since the 1950s.

’Course, this is all a silly argument: everybody who isn’t brainwashed finds the idea that capitalism could e’er be meritocratic or fair laughable — just look @ it. The only intelligent defenders o’ capitalism simply think that all real-world examples o’ communism were worse, which is a fair point ( well, if “communist” doesn’t include social democracies — ’cause, seriously, they have consistently kicked laissez-faire’s ass for o’er a century; it’s not e’en a competition ). Turns out that rightwingers who obsess o’er calling their opponents filthy commies are smarter than the average economist. Tip: if you want to prove capitalism as, in the words o’ Krugman, “the worst economic system, ’cept for all those other things we tried7”, which is the best you could hope for, you should probably spend mo’ time studying the Soviet Union & less time looking @ the US’s dirty laundry & trying to make it look clean. ’Sides, ¿wouldn’t a detailed study o’ all the fuckery ’hind the Soviet economy be far mo’ entertaining than the usual trite empty platitudes that economists spew out. If economics is going to be complete horseshit, it ought to be entertaining while they’re @ it.

& no, Freakonomics doesn’t count, ’cause no matter how funny it is to imagine drunk people stumbling round, comparing irrelevant statistics to trollishly “prove” that drunk walking is mo’ harmful than drunk driving or that climate change isn’t a problem ’cause some random guy they found in a bar ranted @ them for hours ’bout planes farting the O-zone back into the sky is just fucking stupid.

Addendum: Be this Labor ’Live or Be He Dead

I got so strewn up in jokes ’bout horse-piss that I forgot a complication o’ Marx’s specific brand o’ labor theory & how it complicates the subject o’ making money off capital.

Marx defined 2 types o’ labor: dead & ’live, also ( quite inaccurately ) describes as “constant” & “variable”, ’cause s’posedly selling off or buying tools is harder than hiring or firing workers. Clearly Marx’s was a time before labor contracts existed.

Better descriptions would be “past labor” & “present labor”: the former being labor in the past used to create things that are used to create value in the present, while “present labor” is the creation o’ value through a mix o’ current labor & capital — including past labor. Yes, since past labor now exists in the form o’ inanimate objects ( that’s why it’s “dead”: it’s ossified into inanimate objects ), that past labor is now capital.

For example, say one builds a computer & then uses that computer to create things in less time than it would’ve taken without it. In this case, that computer is being used as a form o’ capital. Though this type o’ capital need not be a physical object: education8 is just as much past labor, now ossified into better knowledge & credentials which, s’posedly, would help one become mo’ capable @ creating value. I say s’posedly ’cause, as we mentioned before, there’s a lot o’ subjectivity in how valuable any type o’ labor is, & past labor is no different.

Marx seemed to argue that dead labor doesn’t truly create value, & this doesn’t make sense to me in any sense. If we’re talking ’bout “dead labor” o’ dead people, then this makes sense, as they’re no longer part o’ the human population. ’Gain, their proportion o’ created value must go somewhere, & it makes no sense to bury it with them, nor to give it to anyone else in particular simply ’cause they shared blood with them or were particularly liked by them ( though giving it to someone who was, say, 2nd place in terms o’ involvement in the creation o’ that value would be an interesting, but unbearably complex to figure out, solution ).

But Marx’s definition o’ “dead labor” seems to include capital created by humans still ’live. In this case, they clearly still make up part o’ the human populace, & thus it would make perfect sense to give them a proportion o’ the total value that matches the proportion added by the thing they made ( or, technically, a proportion o’ that that matches the proportion o’ their labor to that thing’s creation in comparison to natural resources or other people’s labor ).

Surely we would not go beyond the question o’ whether someone deserves money for work they did far in the past & ask whether work done in the past could possibly create value in itself nowadays. To argue such would be to argue that technology has no influence on value, which is absurd: that’d be to say that a primitive society can create just as much value for the same amount o’ labor as an advanced society. I s’posed someone could argue such, but it wouldn’t be a strong — & probably not popular — sentiment. Whatever devaluation technology creates, the better health standards, education, & recreational opportunities it creates surely outstrips them.

To put us in a micro level, in an actually immensely realistic situation, if I were to create a computer program that allows someone to do math in 1000 times less time & with much less effort than before, ¿would one honestly argue that computer program didn’t contribute to value creation — that we have no reason to reward the creation o’ such things? Admittedly, my time example is based on the assumption that saving scarce time is beneficial & that a worker would much rather spend their time doing something mo’ valuable than doing basic math ( for instance, making their own tools for helping people make value mo’ easily ). ’Course, part o’ that is less rosy than reality, & the ability for workers to have the opportunity to make tools rather than simply use them, much less profit off them themselves, is not a sure thing; but then, so is reality without technology, so we can’t complain that this is a case wherein capital is the cause o’ exploitation. After all, e’en if we had a society that just had natural resources & labor, if a select few individuals owned all natural resources, they could still exploit workers in the same way. Indeed, if anything, it should be control o’er stuff they had no involvement in, whether their involvement is “dead” or “’live”, that should be the focus.

&, indeed, to be fair to Marxists, this also means that there exists a form o’ exploitation that reached far further than just present labor — there can be just as much exploitation o’ capital. Take, as a common example, creators o’ famous comic book characters like Superman or Spider-Man, but who got a tiny few o’ the profits in comparison to big companies that had li’l to do with their creation. You also have gray areas, such as companies that use free software to create propriety software & make much mo’ money than the makers o’ the free software could hope to get.

But all o’ this is meaningless, anyway, since we’ve already established that we can’t determine exactly what labor creates what value & by whom, & thus the same applies for capital. We could just as much question how much o’ that program I made was truly my doing or how much came from a million different environmental variables — the material I used, my better access to computer technology & learning material, my better free time to learn what I need & to do what I needed to do.

Money falls into the same subject, & it’s here where we can nicely synthesize a variety o’ views, from Austrian-school to Keynesian. Austrian-schoolers, ’course, coined the term “time preference”, which, if you dig down into the logic, is basically the idea that money, being s’posedly ossified labor ( money gotten for labor ), rather than being used for my own benefit, is saved so it can be used to fund the creation o’ capital or material ( as a source o’ value, essentially ). Keynesians would be quick to question the assumption that saving creates value ( that question o’ what use o’ labor is valueable ’gain ); I would question whether that money saved truly came from one’s own labor ( & whether they truly deserved it — we’re defending the current distribution o’ income by already assuming the current distribution is right ) o’or through other means & to what extent that saving is their own doing. The logic seems to be that saving is a sacrifice in consumption; but this seems to assume that any amount o’ lost consumption for 1 person is equal to any lost consumption for another, which violates diminishing returns & also ignores that simply not having @ all is technically a “sacrifice”, too — ’gain, since we haven’t proven that the money came from one’s own hardship.

Posted in Politics

It Is an Oppression Olympics

“It’s not an Oppression Olympics” is interesting in that it’s ne’er backed by any logic or evidence; it’s just asserted as pure faith. It also violates natural reality.

Despite what people like Paul Krugman say, so long as you don’t arbitrarily reject people with ideologies you don’t think are “serious” as “not real economists”, economists do have wide differences. But the 1 thing I think all economists agree on is that we live in a world with limited resources: limited time, limited attention, limited money, limited goods.

Thus, we do have to pick & choose what problems to solve. Every $ that goes to 1 charity is a $ that can’t go to all the others. Therefore, as grim as it may be, it’s an objective mathematical fact that charities compete gainst each other. This shouldn’t be that surprising: charities work in the same competitive market system as everything else.

( Truly, everything does: it’s just that some market systems are aware o’ the vital role politics plays in it, some that call themselves “free market” are in denial & make up arbitrary rules ’bout what competition is “free”, & others that call themselves “communist” deny the existence o’ market competition while using worker population advantages to better compete in the economy or use the power that political ideologies have o’er people to compete for economic control. Whether you believe in equality or some imagined meritocracy or don’t care ’bout distribution @ all, the fact that a cake eaten by 1 person can’t simultaneously be eaten by ’nother is irrefutable ).

Posted in Politics

Let’s Code a Crappy 2D Platformer Like Millions o’ Other People on the Internet & Lose Interest & Give Up Only a Few Months In, Part XXVIII

Curse o’ th’Ladder-Splayed Caves

Not much to say ’bout this level — other than maybe apologize for a sad pun. Like I said with “Milky Mountains”, not every level should be some wild, unique gimmick; e’en Donkey Kong Country 2 had straightforward levels like “Mudhole Marsh” & “Chain Link Chamber”. Technically, this level does have a gimmick, — maneuvering on ladders — but not 1 as big as “Value Valhalla” or “The Playing Railroad”’s, nor does it devour the entire level, as there’s also some weird train-dodging mechanic that blatantly just reuses assets from “The Playing Railroad”.

E’en then, I fiddled with the details quite a while & can still think o’ things that may warrant changing. ¿Is it the right difficulty? On 1 side, e’en the 1st spike dodging parts are somewhat tight; but this level also gives 2 hearts for such a short level. Also, the time requirement isn’t as tight as it could be: the video shows me beating it in 19 seconds out o’ the expected 25, without e’en damage boosting through the train. I’m still not sure ’bout the background: it seems to have too much distracting detail, & yet, ironically, also looks a bit plain. ( I thought ’bout adding wooden lines on it, like mines usually have, but could ne’er get them to look right ).

If anything, the most notable thing is something not directly related to this level: the fact that I increased the resolution. I did this ’cause I was sick o’ how much relative vertical space Autumn took up, making vertical movement, such as climbing up tall hills with falling dangers, such as in “Milky Mountains” & “Sleet Streets”. Now the screen’s vertical size is as much as an SNES game, which means Autumn shouldn’t take up any mo’ relative space than, say, Mario in Super Mario World ( actually, less, since she’s 8 pixels shorter than big Mario ), just much wider. I’m not sure why it took me so long to come up with this idea: I can’t imagine being ’fraid o’ some computer not being able to handle a humungous 400 x 224 resolution ( s’pecially since I already assume one’s computer has a 16:9 aspect ratio ).

Though most o’ the game automatically adjusted itself to the changed resolution simply ’cause everything referenced the same constants, some maps are jankily smaller than the screen, since many maps were made to fill up the smaller-resolution screen & no mo’, making them now have empty space with the background showing through under the ground & past a wall.

For instance, here’s how the small sewer room in the 1st level looks now:

In the main map o’ the same level, the starry background shows from ’hind the bottom o’ the skyline BG, since the skyline BG’s now too short to cover the rest o’ the screen:

Who knows when I’ll get to fixing these.

Source code is still messy & inefficient

Posted in Boskeopolis Land, Programming

The Inherent Hypocrisy o’ the Term “Men’s Rights”

The 1st question to ask is, ¿what’s wrong with the term “feminism”? The 2 answers I’ve always seen given:

1. “It’s antimale”.

2. “Men are greater victims”.

The hypocrisy o’ the 1st is obvious, since emphasizing male rights is just as biased.

The 2nd is hard to take seriously. Its proponents can cite various studies that show arbitrary situations in which men are worse off than women, such as IQ & life expectancy. However, these don’t say much ’bout actual relative power.

What would are statistics o’ political & economic power, & those show beyond doubt that in general women are worse off.

MRAs who do acknowledge these facts turn to the argument that these are caused not by society but by s’posed inherent flaws in women. 1st, this is a digression: it’s not saying, “No, society isn’t mo’ sexist gainst women”, it’s saying, “Yes, society is mo’ sexist gainst women, but they deserve it”.

2nd, it’s hypocritical, since MRAs ne’er accept that answer for the reason ’hind the statistics wherein men are worse off, such as IQ. ¿How can they reconcile this arbitrary inconsistency?

3rd, this is given as a bare assertion, not backed by any evidence, usually in the form o’ flimsy stereotypes that themselves have no proof. Worse, these stereotypes don’t e’en fit the modern way humans get success & power. You can tell someone has no societal savvy when they talk ’bout “alpha males”, as if we’re still baboons. The fact is that the most muscular & hostile people are mo’ likely to be lowly workers while the most successful humans are flabby, weak, ol’ men in suits. The fact that in the last few millennia since humans 1st developed human society has radically evolves far beyond the rate o’ their biological evolution — that whatever basis in helping survival whatever purported biological differences ’tween sexes has has long since become irrelevant in a world wherein coming up with creative slogans & being able to afford high-quality health care has mo’ importance than being able to bash someone on the skull or spawn healthy kin — is oddly beyond MRAs.

We end up deciding ’tween whether society or biology is to blame; that MRAs lean toward the latter with no evidence is peculiar since the former makes mo’ common sense & requires less explaining. They blatantly ignore the fact that societal rules are based largely on political & economic power, & thus these rules must, by objective empirical fact, be mainly controlled by men. Indeed, e’en those who acknowledge the truth o’ these studies keep to the conclusion that women have mo’ power, e’en though they contradict each other. They also ignore history, which also unquestionably shows a tradition o’ an e’en greater level o’ discrimination. & since this level was e’en greater than it is now, then it can’t be based on s’posed inherent biological flaws, since this imbalanced was lessen by societal changes, ’less they’re trying to take the mo’ absurd argument that women evolved ’way these greater biological flaws, in which case, ¿why couldn’t they do so e’en mo’?. The argument that this change was caused by society being biased in favor o’ women despite their s’posed biological flaws doesn’t make sense, thanks to those pesky empirical facts o’ their inferior political power, ’specially relative to the past. ¿Are they trying to argue that the time o’ gender equilibrium was when women couldn’t vote @ all? That would argue an interesting but absurd point: that women have greater skills @ influencing people relative to their actual power than men, which would be a strange superiority to grant to them, given all the flaws they s’posedly have. & yet, while men taking advantage o’ their s’posed biological flaws is fine, women doing the same is “corrupt”… This is ’nother inconsistency that lacks an explanation.

In sum: the idea that women have some mysterious “less initiative” gene is mo’ believable than that a tradition o’ sexism could continue into the present. I’m bleeding, I’ve been cut by Occam’s razor so much.

4th, e’en if women’s inferior power were due to inherent biological flaws, that wouldn’t be caused by them but by their biology that they can’t control &, the obvious corollary is that men’s purported biological advantages aren’t their own. The question then would be to ask why someone should be rewarded for something they didn’t do within their own individual will — what philosophy could logically argue for men’s “right” to have unearned advantages.

This is ’specially strange considering how oft MRAs criticize purported corruption, when being born into advantages is the biggest form o’ corruption one could have. Hell, if women did use their “wiles” to trick society into bending to their will, despite the empirical fact o’ their inferior political power, then that’d show mo’ individualist accomplishment than being born with genes. E’en manipulation requires some skills.

’Course, those who call themselves “feminists” don’t fall into the 2nd problem thanks to those same economic & political studies: they can accurately argue, through a mix o’ empirical fact & better consistency, that it’s a fact that, in general, society is mo’ biased gainst women than men & that the word compensates for that bias.

Thus, I can see a logical basis for calling someone who supports gender equality a “feminist” or a “equalitarian” — or some other neutral term — ( though the former, being an established term, would be less confusing ), no consistent logic backs any match o’ “gender equality” & “men’s rights activist”. Anyone who claims to serve both is either a manipulative liar or incompetent; those who don’t intend the former should change what they say if they want to avoid embarrassing themselves.

That’s a lot o’ words for, “‘Men’s rights activist’ is a bullshit term”.

Posted in Politics

The Legend of Pokéme – Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #2

This is the comic that most resembles the world I was trying to convey.

— 100% real quote by Pokémon creator, Satoshi Tajiri.

¿You remember all the inconsistent characterization?

Pictured: Pikachu, who is later established to be a player, shown here to be a nervous nerd who, in Soviet Russia, has lockers stuffed into him.

Bonus: that scamp Squirtle shown to be a blatant sexist.

Leafaro doesn’t become spontaneously infatuated with this character purely due to appearance till later.

& you can’t forget all those smooth panel transitions…

Pikachu ventures off to find Jigglypuff after staring @ where she is for a whole minute.

Spoiler: ’twas Firara. Pikachu apparently had to sleuth this out, e’en though he clearly saw the event happen in front o’ him.

& then there are those setups that don’t make any sense…

There are these things called “clothes stores”, Leafaro.

¿& how could we live without that wonderful filler?

After all these panels with Leafaro’s tiny arms flapping loosely in the wind, I’m convinced that he has some horrible physical disease & that he can’t actually use them.

¿Remember, um… Pikachu & Leafaro being perverts?

¿Why bother? Just go jerk off to that comic where her shirt rips open, revealing she has Pokéballs for boobs.

We have, um… truly fucked up violence — so fucked-up that e’en Pikachu is appalled — happening to Firara for no reason @ all.

Also pictured: Firara apparently developed the same “spontaneously lose hair for some panels” ability that Leafaro has ’tween issues 1 & 2.

We have hilarious satire, like hilarious tips for beating the gym leaders in the 1st-gen Pokémon games, such as “Next, surge. Use Geodude. Or lick a donkey”. The best joke is that I couldn’t count & forgot either Koga or Sabrina.

& then we have that amazing artwork:

& then we have a comic wherein Leafaro gets addicted to gambling, causing Pikachu to get chased by a mobster Ditto & his rectangular bullets, & leading Pikachu to check himself into a mental asylum, which also has amazing artwork.

Leafaro heartily approves:

Considering he’s turned ’way from the TV & the TV is clearly facing the camera, not him, Leafaro’s not watching anything on it & is simply having ’nother nervous breakdown.

¡Order Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #2 Today!

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Pokéme Comics

Let’s Code a Crappy 2D Platformer Like Millions o’ Other People on the Internet & Lose Interest & Give Up Only a Few Months In, Part XXVII

Milky Mountains

I don’t remember if I mentioned before my decision to add a “mountain” theme to lighten “desert”’s load, but I did. This is s’posed to be the 1st mountain level, so hopefully it’s not too hard for what will the… ¿5th level? There are quite a few areas that are free, such as a few o’ the slopes & the upward slope @ the end ( it’s e’en easier if you don’t jump; I think you’re guranteed not to get hit if you just hold left ).

The most trouble I had with this level was coming up with ideas. It’s a rather plain level; but I don’t want every level to be a completely different gimmick or else the gimmick levels won’t feel fresh anymo’. Thus, this is just a normal level heading toward an end goal where most o’ the challenge is basic platforming & not getting hit by enemies. The 1 twist I allowed was having you spend most o’ the level going leftward, since I noticed most levels have you go from left to right, horizontally. Should probably add some mo’ verticality & s’pecially mo’ twisty paths. I did have an idea for a level where you start in the center & spiral out, but I’m not sure where I want to use it. Maybe “Hoot Chutes”.

There was an early version o’ this level that was e’en lamer than this. Then I came up with the chicken enemies — or rather, found a character design that seemed interesting ’nough to not make me feel as bad ’bout ripping off Koopas. I don’t remember if I said this yet, but making enemies is hard when the Super Mario Bros. games already came up with all the good ideas.

Also, I don’t show it here, but there’s a glitch I don’t know how to fix: in the hidden alcove with the gems, if you jump with Autumn’s left side slightly under the ceiling, Autumn will pop up straight through the wall to the top o’ the level. Probably caused by the code that keeps Autumn’s movement gainst walls or floor smooth by making horizontal collision detection mo’ demanding for vertical collision & vice-versa.


I wasted a lot o’ time trying to optimize things, since this code is hilariously inefficient ( as well as cumbersome ). This time I actually profiled & found that using hash maps with strings as keys is a big waste, probably ’cause comparing strings is slow, & it’s done every frame to get the texture for every sprite, block, background, & letter o’ text. So I tried replaced this with some complicated system wherein all graphics strings are replaced with IDs, which the renderer would use to directly index an array o’ textures & the renderer would only compare strings for the creation o’ any graphic object to find which ID to give it ( either by finding an existing index o’ a texture or creating 1 if 1 didn’t already exist ).

This caused memory leaks & problems somewhere, so I scrapped it all. But I did capture some videos showing some o’ the greatest hits o’ the errors caused in the making:

I wasted e’en mo’ time playing round with refactoring the entire project into code that’s less sludgy. Not surprising, I haven’t found a way to make the sprite code less cumbersome; but I still have that other code lying round & may return to it later — ’specially if I can figure out how to get the racer sprite’s sequence o’ inputs to match up with “Rooftop Rumble” so she doesn’t fall off due to the slightest o’ differences or something.

Levels I May Work On Next:

  • A farm level ( ¿in the ‘mountain’ theme set? ) that challenges you to defeat all the chicken enemy in its various forms ( this video only shows 3 forms; there’s also diagonal & circling chickens ) — think an easier version o’ the “Playing Railroad” gimmick, but without the ability to shoot.
  • “Lunacy”, with a gravity mechanic, which I’ve implemented already.
  • A bunch o’ other levels like “Pepperoncini Pyramid” & “Hoot Chutes” that I’ve been saying I’d work on for months.

Here’s where the messy source code is

Posted in Boskeopolis Land, Programming

The Legend of Pokéme – Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #1

12 years ago an utterly professional company known by the immensely clever name Pokéme — e’en though their work wasn’t particularly anime-styled & was, you know, comics on static paper & not animation — invented history when they released their 1st classic in January 2015. Today we shall be remembering these underrated gems.


The idea for the 1st series, Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures”, began 1 cloudy afternoon as the CEO was riding his scooter down the hill, having still not learned how to ride a bike till the tender age o’ infinity. The idea was to actually focus on the cute Pokémon critters & not the filthy flesh creatures, & that the best way to do that would be to have the Pokémon be able to talk real English, since the real anime showed how compelling Pokémon characters became when they voiced such Shakespearean lines as, “¡Pika Pikachu!” & “¡Meeeow! ¿did I not says ‘on topic’ heres? ¿Are you stupid or something?” Also, since I they truly hated the human characters so much @ the time, I they decided it’d be funny if the Pokémon screwed round with the humans.

A Boy and His Pikachu

Natural dialogue in the empty white void.

In the 1st Pokémon games, Pikachus had a patch on their bellies; in the 1st “Pokéme” comic, Pikachu wore gloves.

That makes 1 o’ them.

I don’t remember what Pikachu’s s’posed to be selling Firara. I don’t think a younger me would’ve imagined something gross like 1 o’ Leafaro’s pubes ( plus, as we’ll see later, that’d be a terrible scam gainst Firara ), so my best guess is a particularly hefty staple.

“Idiots: nobody till now figured out how much easier carrying round big sacks o’ money is by just super-gluing it to the back o’ your hand”.

& while we’re leagues below the ship that holds the barrel o’ quality, we might as well meme it up:

Nothing’s weirder than selling stuff on the market. Confirmed canon: Leafaro is a dirty communist.

What you fools may mistake as my weakness @ erasing cheap paper experts recognize as movement lines with the finest o’ detail.

This panel comes right after the previous. ¿Isn’t the pacing o’ this comic just smooth as linoleum?

Smooth as linoleum.

I’m curious myself. Not only is that ring that’s purportedly s’posed to be rope ( apparently transparent rope ) hilariously not tight ’nough to bound her legs in any way ( well, ’less she’s too stupid not to figure out how to move her legs in a li’l closer than as wide out as humanly possible ), said transparent rope isn’t e’en attached to anything, making it not so much “rope” as an antigravity ring. I’ve heard o’ B movies where you see string that’s not s’posed to be there; ¿but how could I fuck up not putting in string that’s s’posed to be there?

Natural smiles.

If you paid attention to what happened a mere second before, you’d know, Leafaro.

Also: super natural smiles.

Forget such triffling nonsense as Pikachu craning his neck awkwardly so that he’s facing the camera but his back is turned to the camera or Leafaro standing straight with his head just ’bove Pikachu’s level, implying that his entire lower body is underground; I forgot that for the longest time as a kid I thought “maybe” was spelled “mabye”. What a fucking tool.

Thanks to Leafaro’s gluttonous & linguistically incorrect theft o’ a scarce uppercase for his hip hope chant for all the spirited pre-teens, Pikachu was left for none @ the start o’ his sentence.

“¿Did you ‘atleast’ remember to draw my neck or Pikachu’s nose or not draw my arm as transparent? No…”

Magic water that makes it impossible to breathe, but makes it easy as air to speak. It must be magic, looking @ that sexy perspective up there.

I couldn’t have e’en bothered to erase the line through the middle o’ the pokéball.

I want to point out how extremely characters’ personalities shift throughout this series’ run: Pikachu starts out as an evil psychopath, Firara starts out cheerful & nice, Leafaro starts out as some high-strung yeller ( essentially Jon from Garfield ), & Torchic, who appears in a later issue, starts out as calm & deadpan ( i.e. boring ). Later, Pikachu’s mo’ a dumb jock who has some moral standards ( later “tortures” are less, “¡Ha, ha, murder!”, Firara’s an asshole, Leafaro’s a spineless wimp, & Torchic’s the one who in all seriousness despises humans & wants to kill them.

You probably think that’s it for the 1st issue. “Bursting with brilliant content, surely it couldn’t have mo’”. But you’d be wrong: there’s still 9 mo’ pages. Which means, no, I won’t be loosening the chains locking you to your chair.

This time we’ll only focus on the best parts, since I don’t have an eternity & there’s mo’ than 20 o’ these issues ( not including the Hamtaro 1s, which are just boring ).

Charmander, the Thief

Surprised I didn’t misspell it, “theif”. It’s remembering all my trip-ups with English’s many, many inconsistencies that leads me to believe that ol’ claim that children learn languages mo’ naturally & easily is bunk.

We start with some truly Marvel-quality animation wherein Firara has some disgustingly misshapen blog for legs.

Also, get used to Leafaro spontaneously losing his hair in random scenes — the illustrious Pokéme always kept their readers guessing.

Don’t be so amazed by her transparent arm, Leafaro: you already proved you could do the same in the previous story.


I’ve noticed I was quite creative with word-spacing back then.

Also, ’course “thee” is spelled the same as “the”; ¿Why wouldn’t it, considering it’s spelled completely different?

Also, for those who care deeply ’bout this series’ rich canon, you may notice that Leafaro’s shown without his hat, e’en though it’s later setup that nobody’s e’er seen under Leafaro’s hat.

Including Leafaro’s hair.

The way he says that, he’s probably s’posed to be referring to the canonical Dark Cave in Johto, not just any dark cave. ’Cept Leafaro & Firara canonically live in Pallet. Pallet is nowhere near Dark Cave, being in a completely different region & such.

“I’d better say this out loud so the cave lights itself up for me”

Charmander’s most devious scheme is his ventriloquist act on Pikachu.

Nobody has e’er thought to blow up someone they didn’t like the history o’ eternity.

So, Pikachu later decides he doesn’t want Firara to blow up, ’cause then he’d have nobody to torture — torturing humans being an immensely funny topic, by the way. So then he does this:

I can only imagine that Pikachu was that same guy who complained ’bout arrows hitting bombs blowing them up in Ocarina of Time.

After all, as the wise critic Anonymous once said eons ago:

What kind of piece of crap explosion is that? Mario can’t make people explode by hitting them with his hammer arrows!

Also, I always hated it when cartoons made a big deal out o’ something killing someone, & then they blow up & they’re fine. ¿Remember all those times Wile-E Cayote tried to “kill” the Road Runner with some explosion, only to hit himself & turn out perfectly fine. ¿What’s the point?

Over the Edge

Just for you.

Hilarious social commentary.

Leafaro transforms into a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.

Accurate depiction o’ mental health issues.

Jiggly Puff, the Acomplist

In my defense, there was no hope o’ young me figuring out such a complex word as “accomplice” — & it’s not as if dictionaries existed back then.

Nothing’s better for working in the “black market” than wearing suspicious black shades & a black suit & saying out loud, “Nothing better than doing illicit activies, ¿am I right, everyone?”

Apparently I wasn’t right in the hands, what with how shaky & unreadable the writing is.

Jigglypuff, who finds Pikachu cute in his sexy The Matrix cosplay, agrees to help him with his hilarious scheme o’ having her make Firara fall asleep & draw on her face, ripped straight off from the anime that I hypocritically bashed as a kid.

Only 2 stories later, & Leafaro’s gone from, “How dare you keep indulging in ordinary capitalist behavior” to “So, ¿how many people did you fleece?” Just like Russia.

I, no joke, find the idea o’ pokéballs being these comfy li’l realms with lamps & other amenities endearing.

¿The outcome? Exactly as he crafted the plan.

I remember reading ’mong the mountains o’ writing advice I’ve read that if you give a character’s plans in-story, then it must go wrong, else it’ll look silly & repetitive — otherwise don’t give the plan @ all.

Pikachu vociferously defends his self-image, anticipating Tumblr by a decade or so.

I’m mo’ amused by what a narcissist Pikachu is — & I mean the medical term. Look @ that earnest expression he has on his face & see just how deeply he believes that he ne’er did anything wrong to Firara & deserves only the utmost respect for his prosocial behavior.

In a cave { named cerulean…

I have no idea why there’s a left brace before “named” & “cerulean” — ¿to show they’re connected? I also don’t know why I spontaneously change my story-title capitalization scheme to a Spanish-style — including not capitalizing “Cerulean”, when e’en Spanish titles would.

I’m going to drop kayfabe & completely trash this story, ’cause it’s dumb in too many ways to count — though I’ll try. Here’s it’s entirety.

My notes:

It’s full o’ inside jokes. “Anti-Hamtaro” is a reference to some ol’ sprite comics. “Hamtaro but with inverted graphics”, “Mario but grayscale & 5 times as big”, & “Wart but blue” were some o’ the brilliant character designs I came up with back then. ¿Why does Anti-Hamtaro work for Mewtwo? ’Cause he did in some ol’ sprite comic that’s thankfully disappeared off this planet. ¿Why did he in those ol’ comics? You’d have to go back in time & ask my younger self.

The world blowing up is from the also-high-quality Neglected Characters Comix, which I didn’t e’en make, & is now apparently being run by an Orwellian totalitarian poker machine.

Characters being bored is ne’er a good basis for a story. Having them blow up the world makes it e’en less funny.

Island of the Blastoise

Fuck myself, I forgot how much padding was in this.

Don’t worry: I won’t subject you to this utterly uninteresting waste o’ paper & ’stead just show the title:

1. ’Twas vitally important to advertise the lack o’ humans in this story, so they know that it came after a nuclear war wiped them all off the planet.

2. 1 o’ the s’s is cursive, & nothing else is cursive @ all, including other s’s. @ the time I probably only knew how to write s’s in cursive.

Sorry, the 1 other note I’ll make is that this comic ends with a recap o’ a previous comic so Squirtle can react to said event, e’en though nobody cares. Wonderful plotting.

A Day at the Pokécenter

This comic’s much better without the “The End” panel so you can feel like you’re reading this right next to Family Circus while eating your morning bagels & vodka & crying into your newspaper o’er how empty your life is.

A Dark World

I’m guessing mo’ filler…

¿Does Leafaro not have a Pokédex? Later he’d be established as a huge nerd & 1 o’ the few competent Pokémon trainers in this series where Pokémon rarely fight each other & trainers rarely leave their home town.

Spoiler: the comic ends with Pikachu commiting violence gainst her.

Also, no part o’ this story is ’splained: ¿why was Pikachu in her bag? Clearly this is right up there with the briefcase in Pulp Fiction with brilliant cinematic mysteries.

Ice Cave

Nope, this 1’s a skipper for su —

Hold that. Look @ this:

“Oops: drinking those chemicals made my hand become massive”.

This comic’s just here to make people rethink attacking the original Pokémon games for being ugly.

¡Space grocery bag to the rescue! ( In this production Earth shall be played by a bowl o’ chicken noodle soup. )

A Time for Tranquility

This final story for this issue is mostly more o’ the same. I just want to show off these 2 panels that in full honesty go 1 after the other.

Smooth as linoleum.

I like to think that Leafaro’s awkward digression from Pikachu showing callous indifference to the prospect o’ murdering a li’l girl is his way o’ trying to avoid acknowledging his own role as a passive enabler. This comic teaches us that evil has many forms, which is why award-winning sociologist Phillip Zimbardo included it in The Lucifer Effect — 100% true fact.

I mean, this same comic establishes Pikachu as a pyromaniac.

I also want to add that Leafaro’s idea o’ a “place of tranquility” is just @ the foot o’ an ordinary tree in a place so plain, there isn’t e’en a horizon. To be fair, Leafaro clearly needed a break from all the… not training & not leaving his hometown that he does.

A good summary for this whole series.

If I torture you with more o’ these, I’ll try to be mo’ selective. There’s too much silly stuff to waste time on fucking juggling Anti-Hamtaro.

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Pokéme Comics