Uni

<blank>
Kassel Student

Jun

2008

Paper

p15 Role Playing Games p03 Win Prize
go online and pick your favorite name for our paper; win prize the relationship of the 21st century?

the sub-culture of online-gaming

p13 Casual Sex

table_of_contents

reviews

Devin Townsend - Ziltoid The Omniscient The Last Lecture Bigger On The Inside Song and Story

sub_culture

Player One Grafitti With Nature Poker Myths Dispelled Export To World

cultural_events

Dr. Heiler Upcoming Events Excursion to Wittenberg

creative_writing

Drabble “High Tide” Drabble “Fucked, Literally” Composed Under Herkules Freedom

opinion

Casual Sex Maibaum Massacre

next issue

Middle Class How to Use Time Wisely

You can choose our name!
While „blank“ is the official title of our first issue, we have to admit that this is more of a temporary solution. Not that we couldn‘t come up with a creative name ourselves. No, no! In fact, we’ve had creative juices flowing all over the place (for that pun, see table of contents). We ended up having 5 different but equally creative names on our list of possible titles. That’s where you, dear reader of these lines, can step in and make yourself heard. We decided that you may carry the burden of choosing what will possibly become the greatest student magazine of North Hesse. What will it be? The winner is chosen from all participants of our online poll and gets a gift certificate for his favorite books at Unibuch. Special thankS to UnibUch for their SUpport. uniliterate This is actually the most uncontroversial name we could come up with. Still, if you’re unable to comprehend why „uniliterate“ might be a name for a student paper, please do us a favor and refrain from further studying at our department. vulgar Historically, vulgar means „of or pertaining to the common people“, although it is mostly known as „rude“. Somehow, this would also be very fitting for this project. Or as one of the founders of this paper once put it „What we really don‘t want, is a dozen boring reports about study abroads, or the thousandth protest against tuition fees. We all know they are bad, get over it!“. flux This one is going to stick in your memory, and like vulgar it has Latin roots. Now there is an interesting coincidence; while for our new curriculums we don’t need the Latinum anymore, it somehow seems to be all the more interesting to the studying folks in the department. This one for example stands for action and change. LibrOtines Pronounced “Libro-teens”. Again originating in Latin, “Libro” means “book”, but in our case its more of a “Libertines”, meaning free people unrestrained by morale and sanctions imposed by society. It has a great vibe to it. S.H.I.T. Students have interesting thoughts (S.H.I.T.). Apart from the not-so-subtile double meaning of this name, it really is “the shit”! Plus, it makes for good categories. Creative writing would be “creative SHIT”, excursion reports become “foreign SHIT”, and opinion pieces are simply “bull SHIT”. My favorites are articles about religion: “holy SHIT”.

Go and vote here:
www.Uni-kaSSel.de/Go/ StUdentpaper

review_cd

Devin Townsend
Ziltoid the Omniscient
Metal musician Devin Townsend is known for his extraordinary personality and says about his music: “People who don’t like my music are either stupid or dead.” Last year, he released a new solo concept album just before pausing his career for the benefit of his newly born child. “Ziltoid The Omniscient” is a progressive metal homage to science fiction b-movies of the 1950s. Townsend composed all songs over a four month period, played all the instruments (except for the drums which are programmed) and even sang on all eleven tracks. The versatile songs tend to musical extremes and tell the story of Ziltoid, an alien who travels the universe in search of the ultimate cup of coffee. The ridiculous story is presented in such a serious way that it will cheer up its listeners from the beginning. Lyrics and short radio plays between the songs propel the story. Musically, Townsend stays in the metal genre. His vocal expressions range from soft singing to aggressive grunt-vocals. The pseudo-uncanny beginning track “ZTO” introduces Ziltoid with a stomping thunder of heavy metal guitars and flows into the eight-minute-long track “By Your Command”, a dramatic introduction to the mental world of Ziltoid The Omniscient. With its bursting sevenstring guitars, synthesizers and Townsend’s many-faceted vocals, “Ziltoid The Omniscient” offers a wide array of acoustic impressions. The album commands much attention because of its often complicated musical structures. Townsend utilizes the whole freqeuncy spectrum to create complex sound layers and doesn’t fear to disregard stylistic conventions, as we can hear on “Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!” where we become witnesses of an extraterrestrial guitar solo full of dissonant notes, accompanied by raging drums and the laughter of Ziltoid. It’s the unusual that makes this album so interesting. Townsend’s arrangements are full of change and surprise. “Color Your World”, for example, starts with wild guitars and entertains with three minutes of uncompromising extreme metal, then fades into an equally long warm-sounding passage, creating a dozy atmosphere that slowly shifts back to an inyour-face mood towards the end of the song. The tranquil beginning of “Solar Winds” sets the sonic atmospehre for a majestic rebellion of the humans against the alien tyrant. I will not give away the ending of this funny and spectacular fight, of course. The album needs to be listened to three or more times until one can discover all musical aspects. This CD is so special that even fans of Townsend’s previous work might want to listen in before they buy the whole album. Thus, I cannot genereally recommend buying it. But I definately encourage you to peek into the strange universe of the four-dimensional guitar hero Ziltoid. Some demo songs and further information can be found on the internet: myspace.com/ziltoidtheomniscient. The album contains an additional CD with two bonus tracks and a short guitar lesson by Townsend. Marc Motyka

drabble

Fucked, Literally
by Johanna Schumacher
a drabble,
in caSe yoU haven’t heard of them before, iS a Short piece of fiction, exactly wordS lenGth

100

(plUS

title) in

- no lonGer, no

Shorter.

She fucks her, hard, fast, fingers and tongue and fuck, fuck yeah. They have to. They both know it makes no sense, fucking between piles upon piles of rubbish, twitching parts of outdated bots. They are both broken, one misses both legs, the other an arm, an eye, her hair. Still, they cannot act differently, designed, programmed to please, to always give pleasure. Nobody thought of switching them off, and so they continue fucking, licking, sucking; waiting, always waiting for an orgasm to hit, to break them out of this circle, soon, soon. They are old designs, orgasms not included.

High Tide
by Johanna Schumacher “When I was young,” Gran always used to say, “when I was young, all this was dry land.” And she’d gaze at the sea lazily lapping at the beach. Noah didn’t believe her. Of course he didn’t – land didn’t disappear that fast! These days, Noah is old enough to recognize a nearing storm by the twinges in his back. “When I was young,” he tells his grandchildren, “This was a huge island, with a real town and everything.” They laugh – they don’t believe him, of course. Noah sighs and listens to the sea hitting the beach, wave after hungry wave.

Composed Under Herkules
He spends his lifetime in fresh air and watches couples kissing. His days could be perfectly fair if something was not missing. Examine him from head to toe and soon you will conclude that everyone from down below can see that he is nude. His inmost wish is being dressed, and Kassel wants to groom. They took him from his airy nest into the changing room. (Marc Motyka)

Photo by AnAulin, under cc

creative_writing

Freedom
I am unsure of where to go. Where I am now? A light wind powers a fresh breeze that strokes through my hair. And suddenly, my senses are on high alert, tracing a touch of salt in the air. Am I near the sea? I turn in the direction of that scent. Drawn to solve the mystery, I take up speed until I find myself running out of breath. And finally, I am there. The beach stretches out empty and silent before my eyes, as if it has waited for me and only for me. I find myself dashing towards the sea. Cold water surrounds my ankles, but I do not seem to feel it. How astonishing! I throw my head back in a wild movement and start to run across the beach towards the cliffs. I feel an urgent call to climb up and see everything from another perspective. In my heart I know this might be a difficult undertaking, but I cannot hinder myself from going. Madly, it seems, I manage my way up. Having arrived at a plateau lying halfway up, I stop to recall the situation. I am actually covered with sweat and I am exhausted to death, but I am here, am I not? While having a little break, I assure myself. But then, the first doubts are seeping in: What the hell has driven me? It would be best to go down again. I argue with myself, but after a while, I begin to climb anew. I have made up my mind. I will get up there, even if it takes all the time in the world! The top is in sight, and in the end, after a long period of time, my hands reach it. I did it! Yes! I stand there, laughing at myself and at the world. The view was worth the trouble. I gaze over the beach, over the sea, and absorb the views, the feelings, everything. I feel free, absolutely free! I lift my arms; spread them wide like wings, victory! Suddenly, a strong blow of wind catches me off guard, and I trip over the cliffs. And then, I fall and fall and fall….back into reality. Hannah

sub_culture

Graffitti with Nature
guerrilla gardeners are taking over numerous cities
Have you ever seen shady figures planting flowers in desolate flowerbeds at night? If not, you have missed an ongoing war against urban ugliness. Every city has neglected parts – unaesthetic turfs, for example, littered with rubbish and mared by weeds. This is where the Guerrilla Gardeners come into play. Their aim is to push the envelope of municipal gardening. The first Guerrilla Gardeners conducted war against unpleasant patches of land in New York during the 1970s. Today, ordinary people from all social ranks have decided to embellish their environment – not only in America, but all over the world. They arrive with garden tools, flower baskets and the strong will to change something. The term Guerrilla Gardeners is derived from Guerrilla Warfare, a military tactic used by small groups against organized armies. After each “battle”, the Guerrilla Gardeners leave flyers and posters to inform others of their voluntary work. Donations are increasing and they get a lot of support from townspeople. Local authorities, however, claim that Guerilla Gardeners brush with the law, because they work on third party property. Lawyers call it “malicious mischief ”. Thus, they always work secretly in the dark. It’s “graffiti with nature”, as they call their unusual hobby. As soon as a flowerbed is decorated, the Guerrilla Gardeners are obliged to continually take care of it to retain its beauty. Some cities have discovered the benefits of guerrilla gardening and hand out acknowledgements to everyone who is involved. On the official website guerrillagardening.org, the Guerrilla Gardening movement informs readers about recent activities and maintains a list of places in need of botanic improvement. If you want to be part of this imaginative movement, start a local group and let others know about it to literally make the world a better place. The official website provides interested people with helpful guerrilla gardening tips and lots of contacts. German groups already exist, but Kassel hasn’t been put on the list yet. What do you think, does the home of our university need a makeover? Marc Motyka

Before

After

cultural_events

Dr. Heiler
company‘s new play
Opening date: June 17th “Red Brick Company”, the students’ theatre group pioneering English performance at the University of Kassel, is beginning its fourth season. Dr. Lars Heiler, the company’s founder and director, has spilled some “juicy details” about the new play which is provocatively announced as “the wild and possibly drug-induced journey” of a young female character on the company’s webpage. aS the director of a StUdent theatre GroUp, what role doeS theatre play in yoUr life? Well, first of all, it has certainly been a long-standing hobby of mine. I was first involved in doing theatre when I was a young student – I was 20. And I ended up playing a part in a play at the University of Mannheim, in an English drama group there – that was the first time I had done such a thing and I liked it. I started acting in 1991 and the first time I directed a play was in 1995, I think. Because when you are young and – you know – shy and embarrased – you don’t do that. You can go onstage and do your thing, but actually developing the skills and also the authority to direct a play – this is something that comes with time. how do yoU chooSe playS? do they have to be Simple / Short? Well, one criterion is certainly: you can’t do a play for two people when you have fifteen people who want to act. So this is the first criterion. The second one is that we want to find a good mix between plays that are – well – entertaining but not silly, ambitious but not too complex for a mostly non-native speaker audience.. Last winter we did our first full-length play that lasted for almost two hours. And that’s what we are doing this semester, too. So there is a kind of development there, starting with smaller forms and then moving on to something larger. do the playS have to be written by modern aUthorS? Not necessarily. So far, the authors have been modern, but this is not a rule, not a law. For example, this semester we have considered doing one of the classical 19th century plays by Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw. thiS SUmmer the foUrth SeaSon of yoUr theatre StartS. what iS the new play aboUt? The new play is an adaptation of two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet” and the play is called “Goodnight, Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)”, and it is written by the Canadian playwright Ann-Marie McDonald. It’s about a young female university lecturer who finds herself in a “parallel world “ that consists of the plots of these two Shakespearean plays. And through the confrontation with those plays and with the female heroines Desdemona and Juliet she manages to solve her “identity crisis”. Sounds very esoteric but it is very entertaining and – yeah, it’s this mix of being ambitious and entertaining. aS a director, are yoU Strict aboUt followinG the oriGinal text of
the play?

I’m very liberal when it comes to cutting lines. And this is something I usually do at the beginning of the rehearsal process – to look if the play is too long, does it have to be adapted to modern times, whether there is something that is just old-fashioned and would sound odd to a contemporary audience. how mUch room do the actorS have for improviSation? I would say a lot of room. I mean, when you act in a students’ theatre group, you are sometimes an absolute beginner, sometimes you have a bit of experience. Depending on if people need guidance or if they like to develop things by themselves, I try to give them a certain amount of space or also to provide support whenever it is necessary. But I’ve – hopefully – never tried to impose some sort of vision or interpretation onto my actors. I’ve tried to help them the best way I can. iS it difficUlt to become an actor in yoUr company? what ShoUld other StUdentS do if they wiSh to join? Well, just come to our meetings. We try to give everybody a chance who is willing to act. And so far this has always worked out. Students need enthusiasm, a bit of spare time, which becomes increasingly difficult these days, because they have many courses, they have jobs to earn a living. But they have to be able to devote a certain amount of their spare time. Because it’s not like a seminar where you turn up once a week and you do something for ninety minutes and then you earn a “Schein”. It doesn’t work like that. At the moment, we rehearse three to four times a week, so this is quite a commitment, and people should think twice before saying “I’d like to act”. Of course, we try to give everyone a chance to do so but a little bit of commitment is necessary. iS there maybe anythinG yoU’d like to add? Come and see the new play! It’s great! Anna Weitemeyer

upcoming_events

The ornamental water displays
The ornamental water displays in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe opened their gates for this season. Every Wednesday, Sunday and bank holiday you can follow the water flowing down from the Hercules monument down to the palace lake where the spectacle is rounded up by a Big Fountain. Displays start at 2.30 pm at the top of the Hercules and ends at approximately 3.30 pm with the Big Fountain. Furthermore, the illuminated water displays are a monthly highlight from June to September. Taking place every Saturday of the month the displays begin at nightfall, around 10pm. Classical music and additional light installations create an enjoyable atmosphere and top off the evening.

BritFilms
British schools film festival
BritFilms is a school film festival organized by the association of German art house cinemas, AG Kino-Gilde. The festival tours around Germany with a package of five British films to interest people in British cinema as well as to educate them to get people interested. In addition to the screenings a number of workshops are offered to English teachers as well as a booklet with basic tools for film analysis. But for others it’s simply a wonderful possibility to go to the cinema and enjoy British films in the English language with German subtitles. The festival takes place from the 29th of May till the 4th of June at 4pm in the Filmladen. For further information on the films please check: http://www.filmladen.de/

Hessentag
From the 06th till the 15th of June Homberg (Efze), a town 40km south of Kassel, becomes the stage for the “Hessentag 2008”. The program offers a variety of events for everybody. There will be concerts of bands, among them the well-known German artists such as Die Ärzte, Fettes Brot und Herbert Grönemeyer, exhibitions, performances of comedians, choirs and many others as well as sport events and a program for kids. For more detailed information on the Hessentag visit the official homepage http://www.hessentag2008.de Lilia Brestel

sub_culture

Poker Myths dispelled
Ever since Chris Moneymaker became the first amateur player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003, poker has steadily risen in popularity. What was once a game of hustlers and street thugs has become a respected profession. Poker tournaments are dominating prime time television spots on sports channels. There is an abundance of poker literature, videos and online forums, not to mention online casinos. It seems like these days everyone and their mother wants a piece of the action. For me as a poker player, this is great of course. I have enjoyed poker for many years and am happy to see that so many people enjoy the game I’ve loved for a long time. I do, however, want to dispel some common illusions that new players have about the game. First of all, while poker is a form of gambling, it is not at all like roulette. Given enough time, the wealthiest man in the world will lose all his money to the casino playing roulette. Poker is different. In the long run, everyone will be dealt the same cards an equal number of time. This is not an assumption, but statistically proven. Also, the more experienced and competent players have a so-called “edge” over the inexperienced and, let’s call them weaker, players. The “edge” I spoke of comes from the good players using certain tactics, psychology and mathematics to their advantage. These skills are not developed over night. It takes a lot of time and hard work to become a competent poker player, which brings me to my next point: “Poker is an easy and quick way for me to make money”. Nothing and I repeat nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, a very inexperienced player might win a large sum in a very short period of time, but it is pretty much a sure bet that he will also lose it back very fast. Poker, as all gambling, has an inherent mathematical factor called “variance”. Variance affects your short-term results, which may result in a very good player losing a lot of money and a very bad player winning a lot of money. To someone who understands this, variance has absolutely no meaning; all that matters are your long-term results, which really show whether you are a winner or a loser. Being successful at poker over a long period of time requires a wide variety of skills. You must have patience, determination, be self-critic and at least somewhat competent in the fields of mathematics and psychology. If you would like to hear a professionals opinion on what skills are necessary to be a complete poker player, pick up Barry Greenstein’s “Ace on the river”. His list consists of about 50 attributes. Getting back to the subject at hand, poker is not about “seeing into someone’s soul” or “running big bluffs”. In every poker hand a professional plays, his mind goes through an intricate chain of reasoning and then comes up with the best decision; inexperienced players go by “feel” which is doomed to fail in the long run. As for myself, I am convinced, given enough time and dedication, there is not a person alive who cannot become a good poker player. However, it is not something that can be done overnight. The next time you lose at your local poker game, ask yourself where YOU went wrong. In my mind, thinking critically about one’s own game away from the table is one of the main keys to becoming a better player. The material is out there. Pick up a poker book and participate in discussion in online forums. Poker today is a huge, global community, and the game is ever evolving. So let me close by saying: Shuffle up and deal! Murat Sezi

Photo by QwirkSilver, under cc

review_book/film

The Last Lecture
Randy sums it up himself: having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a 47-year-old Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University has decided to give his last lecture. Randolf F.Paush, who was informed by doctors that he had only several months to live, dedicated his last public speech to his three children. Instead of leaving instructions for life in the form of a video for his family, he decided to share his paternal wisdom with the rest of the world. The lecture has become a virtual success. It has already been watched by more than 10 million people, translated into seven languages and ended up as a book titled “The Last Lecture”, which went on sale on April 8, 2008. Randy talks about his childhood dreams, human goals in general and what he calls the “brick walls” which have to be torn down to achieve them. He talks – although slipping at times into emotional outbursts and gripped by vanity – in a sincere and witty manner about the essentials, providing a valuable survival kit for life. Even so, there are critics who point out that an increasing number of people attempt to seek a place in posterity when at death’s door by means of the internet. However, Randy did help to attract the public’s attention to pancreatic cancer, which had scarcely been investigated up to that point. Furthermore, in our age of conspicuous consumption and imaginary problems, he succeeded in reminding the audience of what life is actually all about. watch the laSt lectUre at www.cmU.edU/randySlectUre

Bigger on the inside
Have you, by any chance, zapped through the TV channels on a Sunday afternoon and stumbled upon a man in a black leather jacket grinning at you and saying ‘Fantastic!’? He babbles about his sonic screwdriver a lot and travels trough time and space in a blue telephone box, accompanied by a blond, teenaged girl. If that rings any bells, then you know whom I’m talking about when I introduce you to the Doctor. Doctor Who? Exactly, that’s him. He is a time lord, a member of a powerful alien race, and travels through time and space, taking men, women and robot dogs on board as he goes along. His current companion is Rose Tyler, a London working-class girl with a lovely accent (that unfortunately got lost in the translation, as well as the Doctor’s northern one). Together, they save civilizations, defeat monsters and do an awful lot of running around. Some time ago, Pro7 started to air the 2005 season of the British television series, first on Saturdays, now on Sundays. “Doctor Who” is undoubtedly science fiction, but does not take itself too seriously, and if you are up for some suspension of disbelief, can be a lot of fun. If you find yourself liking the Doctor, Rose and the TARDIS (the aforementioned blue phone box, which is actually a space-and-time travelling device and is – of course – bigger on the inside), you might be interested to know that there is quite a bit more to the series. Not only is the ‘New Who’ running for the fourth season on the BBC these days – the Doctor has been around since 1963 and is on his tenth (ninth, for the German viewers) incarnation. There are 744 episodes to date, including a television movie, which makes Doctor Who the longest-running sci-fi series worldwide. Many British people you meet will have grown up with one variant of the Doctor or another. Daleks, the Doctor’s eternal foes, and their battle cry of ‘EXTERMINATE!’ can be found in any shape or form, even as salt shakers. If you want to learn something about British pop culture and enjoy yourself while doing so, give the Doctor a chance. He might surprise you. Johanna Schuhmacher

opinion

Casual Sex
the relationship of the 21st century
Casual Sex, frequent sex with a buddy without having a relationship, seems to become increasingly popular. You can read about it in magazines for girls which explain how you are supposed to go about it. There are thousands of articles on the web telling you where you can find your fuck-buddy and even ‘Sex and the City’-girl Carrie has casual sex. But what about regular Joe? Are we really ready for casual sex yet? If I had a fuck-buddy and told other people about it, would they be very happy for me and hope for me to have fun or would they be skeptical? Let’s just assume they would not be very happy, because when I mentioned that I would write about this topic, some people already turned up their noses. But why? Sometimes the opinions I hear are so conservative that I get the feeling that I’m stuck in the 19th century where girls were supposed to be the angels of the house. However, if a guy has casual sex it is totally normal, because a guy is really cool if he has lots of sex outside of a relationship. If a girl has lots of sex, she is a whore. I am not much of a feminist; I really like it when a guy opens the door for me and I think that it is the guy’s task to repair the car. But when it comes to sex, I insist on some equality and freedom to do whatever I want. Moreover, what strikes me most is that often girls are the ones that criticize those who have casual sex; the guys usually think it’s grand that the girls are finally as openminded as they are themselves. Casual sex is one of the best inventions ever. It’s more than a one-night stand because you actually know the person you are having sex with and you don’t have all that relationshipbaggage. That means you are leaving out all the heart-brokenness and just have the fun part! Of course, it is not something you want to have for the rest of your life, but it seems to be a good way to pass the time while you are waiting for prince charming. And casual sex does have advantages over one-night stands: there are no lies to get somebody into bed because it is clear that it’s only about sex and endless flirting is not necessary. Some might ask if it is even possible to regularly have sex with somebody without having feelings for that guy. I am convinced that it is, because sometimes you meet a guy and even though you find him very attractive, you know that you would never be able to have a relationship with him. So, why not ask him to become your fuckbuddy? That way you can still have him, but you can avoid the endless quarrels about emotions and hurt feelings. I think that we should all wake up and realize that we live in the 21st century where the sexual revolution has already taken place. For those who don’t want to wait for their prince charming the boring way, a fuck-buddy is the right choice. Just don’t forget the condoms! Sabine Krause

sub_culture

Export to World
art thematizes virtual reality
Linden Lab’s computer software Second Life is widely known. Although most users don’t spend much time in this virtual world, it is an interesting software that reminds us of the increasing amount of virtuality that enters our modern lives. Second Life may be a pleasant change for many people, because of the reduced complexity that computational worlds offer, yet we should be aware of how we perceive these simulated realities. The special feature of Second Life is the establishment of a mutual connection between virtual and real world: The virtual currency, Linden Dollars, can be converted into real US-Dollars and vice versa. Sascha Phoflepp and Linda Kostowski, two German artists, want to open our eyes for intertwining realities with an art project called “Export to World”. Supported by various computer tools that are freely available, they create cardboard imitations of objects from Second Life and place them in the real world – on the street, for example. Our reality and its virtual counterpart seem to mingle, but only at first glance. Take a closer look at the picture. Any observer would agree that the artificial object does not fit into our concept of reality. Interestingly, we accept this imperfect model of reality when we sit in front of our computer displays. As soon as a virtual item is placed in the real world, we are confronted with its uselessness and otherness. The frontier between reality and the virtual world is not only visible in Second Life – many of us use online banking technology or chat with information computers in order to buy train tickets. ”Export to World” asks us to think about the different realities we encounter and impressively reveals the unnatural side of virtual environments. More information on the project can be found at at exporttoworld.plUGimi.com. Marc Motyka

saschapohflepp ,under cc

Player One RPG- Part 1/3
„welcome to a world
where yoU alwayS Get the Girl

sub_culture

yoU may loSe a fiGht or two bUt yoU’ll win if yoU Get throUGh“ -player one – machinae SUpremacy We are living in a world of growing ‘virtuality’. While “Virtual Reality” was a mere utopian – or dystopian – thought experiment some twenty years ago, with the publication of the internet a second world parallel to our own was created. The Belgian movie “BenX” (in cinemas since May 8th) is the first movie dealing with the ups and downs of the current phenomenon of MMORPG’s and how this second world influences our reality, or at least our perception of this world. Ben, the protagonist of said movie, suffers from Asperger Syndrome and therefore has great difficulties with social interaction. For this reason he becomes the victim of bullying in his school and his only resort is the onlinegame “Archlord”, where his avatar BenX (a Belgium pun for ‘(ik) bin niks’ which means “I am nothing”) wins noble fights against monsters and other players, accompanied by his female friend Scarlite. As the initiators of his suffering in school finally enter his virtual life, his last sanctuary is endangered. This seems like a typical collection of clichés online gamers have to face. The reproach of being introverted, physically weak or just nerdy seems to describe the protagonist very well, and his flight into a virtual world where nobody can harm him reflects what most people think about RPG players. So, at first sight, the movie contains a lot of material perfectly suitable for a slating review. But, quite the contrary is true: the movie focuses more on the negative aspects of bullying than on online-gaming in general. We see the world through Ben’s eyes and are guided through this second world, which confronts us with an equilibrium of pros and cons without lecturing. The name of Ben’s Avatar is the most obvious example, as BenX is presented

as a noble knight, quite in contrast to the meaning behind his name (which unfortunately got lost in translation). But, to get to the core of this article, what IS this RPG I am talking about all the time? In general, every game or activity for which it is necessary to fill an individual character with life can be called a Role Playing Game. In contrast to other Games, its purpose is not to earn the most points, crack a High Score or kill the most opponents. An RPG is a game without a final winner and the fun lies more in exploring a world which is different from our own and to inhabit this world, be it as a soldier, dwarf or magician. As you can imagine, the field of activities which fall under this definition is quite large. Therefore, I divided this topic into three subtopics dealing with different streams in the same subculture of role-players: Online, live and at a table (or MMORPG, LARP and P&P as members of this culture categorize them). As a matter of fact, I mainly picked the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game for the first part because it is the most common form of role-play. In principle, you create your character from a set of components, such as hair colour, height, gender and race. This character is your avatar in the game and you are responsible for its life. How strong or intelligent your character is depends on a set of points you distribute to his or her character traits. To gain intelligence, strength or magical energy, you have to earn experience by fighting monsters or accepting and fulfilling missions. You can earn them alone or in a group and you are always free to decide what you will do. (This might be the major difference between ordinary Games and RPGs.) This is basically how every MMORPG works. I will now focus mostly on the cultural aspects of MMORPG players rather than on specific types of games and whatnot. What exactly defines the community as a subculture? Subcultures mostly define themselves ... See next paGe

sub_culture

... from laSt paGe over geographical, aesthetic, religious, linguistic, political or sexual similarities rather than by factors of age, race or gender. The online community has a clearly defined geography (the InGame world) and a specific kind of speech (InGame termini). In contrast to other subcultures, there is no existing aesthetical canon or a certain ‘dress-code’, so online-gamers do not recognise each other on the streets but, as the geographical aspect is virtual, they don’t have to. This virtuality gives way to a social network which sets itself apart from regular social interaction and in this way offers opportunities and possibilities for everyone to interact with other individuals on an anonymous and therefore barrier-free basis. It is communication without restrictions of prejudices (be they religious, aesthetic or political). This leads to certain problems, but also to chances, because every individual decides when and if he or she is giving away personal details. This is of course true for the internet in general, but of special interest to anthropologists and psychologists, as it is not only communication but a complete and complex world with the whole spectrum of physical interactions without “real” physical interaction. For example, the Centre for Disease Control recently got the opportunity to do research on the potential human response to an epidemic infection, because

a program error spread a “virtual virus” in one of the games and the players were as worried about their characters as they would have been about themselves. Psychologists do research on problems of addiction as well as the problems featured in BenX. In addition, Philosophers discuss the separation between virtual reality and the real world (See Export to the World). MMORPG’s have a lot in common with the forms of RPG I will deal with in the next issues, and from my perspective they are a combination of Live-Roleplaying and Pen&Paper. The Live aspect is covered by the virtual world (as contradictory as this might sound), because behind most of the characters is an individual you can interact with, a fact that has to be covered by one person in Pen&Paper Roleplay. In contrast, the outcome of a fight depends on numerical characters on your character sheet as it is known in Pen&Paper games. The next issue will therefore deal with the live-aspect of Role Playing, how Live-Roleplay works and in what way it is similar or different to the other two forms. Have you ever imagined yourself taking a sword to fight the undead minions of a Black Magician? Or to watch two thousand warriors fight for hope and glory? You will… in the next issue. Dennis Wienert

Impressum Zeitung der Studenten der Anglistik / Amerikanistik des Fachbereiches 02 der Universität Kassel, Georg-Forster-Str. 3, 34109 Kassel Telefon: 0561 804 3380 eMail: dlowman@uni-kassel.de V..i.S.d.P.: Don Lowman Redaktion: Don Lowman, Pieter Coetzee, Dennis Wienert, Marc Motyka, Peter Carqueville, Hannah Scholz, Murat Sezi, Lilia Brestel, Anna Weitemeyer, Johanna Schumacher, Sabine Krause, Iderbat Ariuna Staff: Karin Kolb, Don Lowman, Pieter Coetzee, Sabrine Lohmann, Andreas-Carlos Hochhutz, Franz Mutschler, Alexander Hartmann, Katrin Werner, Gudrun Hahn, Min-Ha Cho, Concetta Mugavero, Cover-Bild: Karin Kolb/ Satz und Layout: Peter Carqueville / Druck: Nordlicht / Auflage: 500 Bilder: „under cc“ bedeutet, dass jenes Bild unter der Creative Commons Lizens bei Flickr vom benannten User veröffentlicht wurde und unter Namensnennung und nicht-kommerziell weiterverwednet werden darf., siehe z.B. Mustervertrag http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.de

review_book

Song and Story
Michael Morrissey
It seems we live in the times of fiction boom. But not all it gets to do these days is tell stories. Michael Morrissey’s “Song and Story: An Anthology of Irish Folk Songs”, published in 2001, comprises 380 Irish folk songs and, moreover, provides a handy chronology of Irish history. It sells for 18 euros, without CD, on amazon.de, but if you buy if from the author, there is a CD with Morrissey’s own sean nos (a cappella) version of a good many of the songs. The singing is somewhat less than professional, but it makes it easier to learn the songs. So, it’s all about the love of singing and trying to memorize as many tunes as possible – just for fun. Mr. Morrissey speaks about the practice of converting a hobby into a book, as well as about his hitch-hiking and editing experience. aS an american livinG in Germany for Some time, what attracted yoU Specifically to iriSh folk SonGS? Well I think I just like Irish folk music, always have. I don’t think it has anything to do with living in Germany, except that I am closer to Ireland here than I was in the States. So maybe it does have something to do with it. I’ve been to Ireland a few times… iriSh folklore haS an ancient tradition. what doeS yoUr book brinG to thiS Genre? It’s just a collection of song texts with no musical notation. All the other song books I ever looked at are shorter and they have a limited number of songs. The biggest one would be one of those books for tourists, and the biggest one has like one hundred songs. Mine is the most comprehensive – yes, I guess I can say that – the biggest collection in one book. did yoU have to travel a lot recordinG SonGS? how did yoU Go aboUt collectinG them? I didn’t do much recording. I just collected the texts from other song books. Most of these songs are well known. You can get more material in Ireland, especially at the Irish Traditional Music Archive at Merrion Square in Dublin. They have collections of recordings and books of Irish folk songs. That’s probably the most comprehensive source right there. But I just wanted to have as many texts as possible in one book, so that I could learn the songs myself. I wanted to learn as many tunes as I could. To learn a tune you have to know the text, and you want to have it handy as a reference. I’ve always liked Irish music, even in the States, but I never got serious about trying to learn the songs myself until – and that’s your first question again –I went to Ireland, because there is still a singing tradition there and people still sing their songs. They have song and music festivals where they do a lot of singing, and in families, too. Pubs, mainly. coUld yoU tell US aboUt the fUnnieSt experience of yoUr travelS? It’s not really funny, just embarrassing. There was a music festival in Feakle. I forget when that was – probably 2005 or something like that. I went to Feakle with somebody else, who was also from Germany, staying at the same bed and breakfast place, about 20 miles from Feakle. We went in his car, but we were in different workshops so we didn’t arrange to drive back together. I was in the singing workshop with – Niamh Parsons her name is – she is a pretty well-known singer now. He went to the accordion workshop. Stupidly, I had taken the car keys with me, so my wife couldn’t pick me up because she had the car and no keys. So I was stuck in Feakle and I really had trouble getting from Feakle back to the place we were staying. I started walking, but after an hour or so someone picked me up, fortunately. what did yoU learn dUrinG yoUr pUbliShinG work or dUrinG thoSe tripS that woUld be USefUl for StUdentS? Well, publishing a book is easy because Books on Demand GmbH – that’s a company in Germany – they publish whatever you send to them. You just follow certain guidelines and you send them the manuscript. You have to pay a certain amount of money, and that’s not a lot – not very expensive. And then they set a price, and give you an ISBN, which is basically what you have to pay for. But it’s not really expensive, because ... See next paGe

dr. michael morriSSey
diScUSSeS hiS new book

review_book

... from laSt paGe they only print what is sold. As the author, you can buy them cheaper – that’s what I did. I’ve got about 25 copies left. vanity pUbliSher! Yeah, you can call it a “vanity publisher.” But a traditional vanity publisher is a regular publisher who charges a lot of money to get the books published. They still exist, too. But these printon-demand publishers are not really the same because it doesn’t cost very much. They don’t stock the book. It’s just on somebody’s computer, and they own the ISBN. But in return for that they put it on amazon.de – though not on Amazon.com, for some reason. As I said, they set the price – of the 18 euros they sell my book for on Amazon I get 3. I’m selling it privately for 10, with the CD. So it’s about enough to get my initial investment back. So what aboUt tripS to ireland? Well, in Ireland I enjoyed going to those traditional music festivals. Many of the pubs have traditional music, but they don’t have it every day, because they like other kinds of music, too, so you have to look for it. But of course it’s more common there than here. It’s great fun to hear songs you know sung differently and to get an idea of how many songs there are. There are so many songs – not only 380, but probably 3080, or more, and a lot of songs that have not been written down. That would be a suggestion for students, if they wanted to do that. To do some song collections in the way other people have done – collect songs, record them, and then write them down. But actually you have to do a little research before that because if you are going to collect a new song, you have to have some idea of what the archive is, what has already been collected. So you have to do some research to know what is a new song and what isn’t. So they have to read yoUr book firSt! Well, not only mine! They have to read all the books actually. I chose the songs that I like and that I knew were popular. And they’ve been recorded also. I needed to have songs I get a recording of, so that I could learn it, because I don’t read music.

yoUr favoUrite iriSh SonG? Well, since it would be hard to single out a favourite, I’ll mention my own song, “Rosie O’Donnell,” which you can find on my website (http://www. mdmorrissey.info) along with some of my more serious writing. It’s a tribute to an American TV personality who caused a furor last year by questioning the official story about 9/11 on a major network. It’s meant to be sung to the tune of “Eileen O’Grady.” roSie o’donnell and daniel o’connell we’ll follow yoU into the fray two heroeS of darin’, one fiGhtin’ for erin and one for americay o’reilly and hanitty, where iS their Sanity flaG-wavin’ iS all they can do perfidioUS traitorS and collaboratorS they can’t hold a candle to yoU chorUS roSie, yoU’re one of oUr kind, we want yoU to Speak yoUr mind aboUt 9/11 and bUildinG 7 we know that exploSionS caUSed all that imploSion never before, now or of yore did Steel bUildinGS fall by fire So by whoSe volition, controlled demolition did they tUrn into dUSt and a fUneral pyre? yoU’re fiGhtinG for reaSon, expoSinG the treaSon, we’re Sick of their lieS and their war if it ever GetS oUt, the trUe crimeS of thoSe loUtS there’ll be heaven to pay and mUch more roSie yoU’re beaUtifUl, trUthfUl and dUtifUl we’re proUd that yoU’re Standin’ yoUr GroUnd we’ll teach them Some mannerS who fly the falSe bannerS and one day we’ll brinG them aroUnd chorUS

02.05.2008 Anna Weitemeyer

opinion

Maibaum Massacre
Shots pierced the air felling the vociferous crowd and a few hapless bodies. The Boston Massacre would further incite the rebellion that would lead to the American Revolution. The Tiananmen Square Massacre brought the protests of the injustices being committed in China to a world stage. Every May uncountable innocents are mercilessly hacked down, decorated and displayed; prompting bragging rights among the killers and the recipients of the offering. Yet, not an eyelash is batted at such savagery and utter disregard for life. It is shocking to learn of such events from a country that not only prides itself on, but also backs up the claims, of being an environmentally sensitive and active nation. One cannot help but notice the abundance of recycling bins throughout Germany, the excellent deposit system that prompts people to return empty bottles or the meticulous way in which one must separate their trash. Germans are quick to point to the atrocities of pollution and deforestation in the US and China, and rightfully so, but perhaps they should take a look at the stones they are haphazardly slinging. Traditionally, on April 30th, men journey to the end of night searching for their victims. They will present their prey to their loved one. Expectant lovers wake on May 1st searching for a decorated forlorn corpse that, in all likelihood, adorns their front door. Not a thought is given to the victims that unwillingly gave their lives to placate the recipients with their remains. On May 1st one can walk the streets of many a German town and see carcasses of Birch trees that were chopped down to appease lovers, but nary a word is said of the environmental implications in this country of environmentalists. Germany is one of the world leaders in the purchase of solar panels. Would it not be better to present a lover with a newly planted tree, a symbol of life and things to come? Or is the dying tree truly a symbol of things to come? more random thoUGhtS on cUltUre @ www.intercc.bloGSpot.com/ don lowman

cultural_events

„Exceptional Attendance“
excursion to Wittenberg
What does a trip to small quiet German town on the Elbe have to do with British and American studies in literature? A lot, as students could see first-hand during their excursion to Wittenberg in the framework of Prof. Göske’s Seminar on Protestantism. English and American culture from the 16th century until today have been influenced by various versions of Protestantism which in fact originated in this town. It was exactly five centuries ago that a 25-year-old Martin Luther came to Wittenberg for the first time. There, according to Philipp Melanchthon, Luther nailed a copy of the 96 Theses on the door of the Castle Church – an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation. Following Luther, who was the first to translate the Bible into vernacular German, William Tyndale later produced the most vernacular of all the Renaissance English Bibles. This event initiated a series of translation attempts which resulted in the publication of a masterpiece of Early Modern English Literature – the “King James Bible” in 1611. Well, who knows how different the course of British (and European) history would have been if Anne Boleyn had not placed a copy of Tyndale’s earlier work “On the Obedience of a Christian Man”, which was very much influenced by Luther’s writings, into the hands of her future husband, Henry VIII, who was at that time still married to Catherine of Aragon. The book was used as justification for divorce and the formation of the Church of England. That was the point in time, which is of interest to cultural, literary and religious studies, where both English and German histories merged. Students had some time to enjoy magnificent weather and excellent Saxon beer during the “Feld und Schenkenstudie”,”The Beer and the Reformation”, in one of the local pubs. The unusual form of “Hauptseminar” – an excursion, museum visits and film sessions, as well as a series of combined sessions with theology students under Prof. Kleffmann’s guidance guarantee the seminar’s success and exceptional attendance rates. Anna Weitemeyer

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful