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  • Homogeneity Incorporated

    So, we discussed conversion therapy briefly in the thread earlier (and special thanks to glamourweaver for his input), but I figured it was worth a second look. Public opinion and the law on this subject has been changing to various degrees, especially over the past 20 years since Homogeneity first appeared in Freak Legion. (While I tend to skew fairly conservative, especially in my old age, I've always found anti-gay attitudes fairly alien to me. Part of it is my general libertarian leanings, but in hindsight, I'd honestly also have to say part of it has to do with the influence of the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds, which, as a young nerd, made me view gay people as "one of us" in terms of being subject to unwarranted bullying by society's asshats and were as equally deserving of respect as everyone else. If that makes any sense.) And, quite honestly, a number of conversion therapy programs come across as more than a little Orwellian and creepy.

    Anyway, a few non fiction books on the subject include Peter Gajdic's The Inheritance of Shame and Garrard Conley's Boy Erased (which was made into a 2018 film), both personal memoirs about going through conversion therapy. For those that want to get extremely technical on the subject, there is the text-bookish Sexual Conversion Therapy: Ethical, Clinical and Research Perspectives.

    Fiction wise, there is Emily Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post (which was also made into a 2018 film), and films such as Sunday Sessions (2019) and Fair Haven (2017). A few episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum also deal with the issue as it was in the 1960s.

    For a more comedic take, there is the film But I'm A Cheerleader (1999) and the South Park episode "Cartman Sucks" (season 11, episode 2). [And as a counterpart, the season 6 episode "Death Camp of Tolerance".]

    I suspect that, these days, while a handful of PENTEX executives may personally fund Homogeneity or some successor (probably through one or more cut outs), they probably don't own or operate one themselves. My personal head-canon would be along the lines that Homogeneity's founder suffered a "tragic" death (at the hands of werewolves, PENTEX cleaning crews or some other force) and what was Homogeneity has now been taken over by some sort of Weaver-oriented group (conformity is good, conformity is comfort, conformity is peace) and what PENTEX secretly funds are a number of fronts for various Wyrm cults which feed on shame and self-loathing. But YMMV.


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

    Comment


    • First, this is a great thread and we're all thankful for the exhaustive work you do.

      Second, if I may steer things back towards the video game side of things, I'd like to recommend looking into YouTube personality Jim Sterling (Note: videos are sometimes Not Work Safe). His grandiose comedic persona belies insightful commentary on the current affairs of the industry. As of late, his current bugbears - the flies in his ointment - have been the proliferation of gambling style Loot Boxes (being marketed to children), the degrading of products through a "Live Service" model (that turn games into chores that extract money from consumers), and the general terrible business practices and abuse of employees by publishers. All in the interest of greed rather than need.

      It's an industry where employees are worked to the bone through "crunch time" to get games out, only to be laid off immediately after. Where executives take enormous salaries. Hell, where a company could be taking in record revenue, and still lay hundreds of workers off just to maximize profits. All of which the industry can get away with because video games don't have unions or effective regulations. When governments DO try to regulate - like Belgium recognizing Loot Boxes as gambling - the companies get publicly indignant and try to undermine the validity of said sovereign nation's decision (calling it Belgium's "interpretation" of their law, despite them being the government and they decide what is and is not covered under their law).

      Basically, the games industry is this enormous wasteland of unchecked capitalism, burned out workers, and creative bankruptcy.

      And I haven't even gotten to what a mess Steam has become. A wretched hive of asset flips (which are annoying), and reprehensible games motivated by edgelord trolling and bigotry (which is bad). Like the school shooting simulators, homophobic propaganda, and sexual assault simulators. (Obviously, watch videos on that at your own risk.)

      If this doesn't sound like fertile ground for Pentex, I don't know what is. Although I guess it would be less "fertile" ground, and more "salted".
      Last edited by Bluecho; 03-19-2019, 06:16 AM.


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post

        And I haven't even gotten to what a mess Steam has become. A wretched hive of asset flips (which are annoying), and reprehensible games motivated by edgelord trolling and bigotry (which is bad). Like the school shooting simulators, homophobic propaganda, and sexual assault simulators. (Obviously, watch videos on that at your own risk.)
        Just when I think that I've reached the level of no longer being surprised by tastelessness, someone finds another rock layer.

        I'm not a huge gamer, but I've heard about the lootbox thing from various YouTube channels. It struck me as a fairly unethical way to suck money from customers. And yeah, something I'm sure Telus and the WW20 game design company whose name I'm blanking on excel at.

        I can't recall where I heard it, but someone somewhere said, "Show me a way to make money, and I'll show you someone abusing it."


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

          Just when I think that I've reached the level of no longer being surprised by tastelessness, someone finds another rock layer.

          I'm not a huge gamer, but I've heard about the lootbox thing from various YouTube channels. It struck me as a fairly unethical way to suck money from customers. And yeah, something I'm sure Telus and the WW20 game design company whose name I'm blanking on excel at.

          I can't recall where I heard it, but someone somewhere said, "Show me a way to make money, and I'll show you someone abusing it."
          I think one of the big issues that plague the games industry is how games media seems unwilling or unable to report critically about it. Sites and publications that work in the industry are often beholden to them, because the publishers are strong enough to keep these news sources over a barrel. Jim Sterling can be as hyperbolically critical as he is because he's supported entirely on Patreon, and he got blacklisted by the whole industry years ago. No receiving of review copies, no press passes, no company execs willing to take his phone calls. Not because he's a jerk - though he is, a bit - but because he doesn't play nice and give nothing but glowing praise.

          If this were the World of Darkness, that's exactly the sort of situation a Pentex subsidiary would salivate over. An industry that's not only poorly regulated, but one where the discourse in official channels is so cowed - so dominated by strong publishers - that it takes a great deal of negative backlash (usually grassroots) to get news stories that acknowledge their abuses and bad behavior.


          Comment


          • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            I think one of the big issues that plague the games industry is how games media seems unwilling or unable to report critically about it. Sites and publications that work in the industry are often beholden to them, because the publishers are strong enough to keep these news sources over a barrel. Jim Sterling can be as hyperbolically critical as he is because he's supported entirely on Patreon, and he got blacklisted by the whole industry years ago. No receiving of review copies, no press passes, no company execs willing to take his phone calls. Not because he's a jerk - though he is, a bit - but because he doesn't play nice and give nothing but glowing praise.
            Sadly, there seems to be some evidence that this is becoming more and more common in all media journalism.


            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

            Comment


            • A few odds and ends.

              I'd talked about the United Fruit Company way back earlier in the thread. A bit I forgot to mention was one of the most disturbing incidents in their history, the 1928 Banana Massacre in Columbia. Much to my surprise, there are no non-fiction books about this incident. However, Jim Yoakum's fiction novel The Banana Massacre is an absurdist tragicomedy inspired by the event, set in a fictional Caribbean island and involving the fictional Choad Banana Company.

              Also, an interesting article about gaming journalists being way to cozy with gaming companies.


              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

              Comment


              • And now, here's an article concerning the same subject, that is more recent than the previous one.

                Edit: Actually, there is one issue I have with the article I reference above. That being that it makes the mistake of portraying Gamergate as a matter of "ethics in games journalism".

                It is not, as this Washington Post article and this video by YouTube's Folding Ideas explains.
                Last edited by Bluecho; 03-24-2019, 01:30 AM.


                Comment


                • So, follow-up to my previous post about abuses in the AAA games industry. Once again, from Jim Sterling: "A Video About Bioware Working Staff To Tears And Calling Its Mental Abuse 'Magic'".

                  THIS. THIS is peak Pentex, if I ever saw it. The idea of corporate interests working employees so hard as to given them health problems, to the point they become "stress casualties" (a term usually reserved for military personnel in wartime), is so REAL that Pentex wouldn't need to up the ante to achieve its goals. The only difference between Bioware and Pentex is that Bioware does it out of apathy and greed, whereas Pentex would do it deliberately, with misery and abuse being the primary purpose. If Bioware does this to its workers because they just don't care about anything but profit, imagine what Pentex would be like.

                  Frankly, I don't want to imagine it, because the truth is already so terrible.


                  Comment


                  • My understanding is that this sort of thing isn't uncommon in a number of industries where there's an constant stream of young people desperately wanting to break into the business who can replace casualties (stress and otherwise). Bret Hart once made the comment that professional wrestlers are like circus elephants, getting used up and then taken behind the tent and shot, and it's a sentiment I think applies just as well to certain periods of the RPG industry, comic books, pop music and others.


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                    Comment


                    • So, I've been trying to work on a post about the bail bonding business and bounty hunting, but certain legal aspects of it are mind numbing, and I've also been heavily distracted by various family, health and work issues. (Bleh)

                      Meanwhile, I leave you with the interesting factoid that back about a decade or so ago, various companies were looking at the concept of disposable DVDs. Flexplay was the developers of the technology, and Disney experimented with it under the name ez-D. SpecraDisc was another company that experimented with the idea, only to be bought out by Flexplay. Basically, the idea was that, rather than renting out normal DVDs, they'd have these discs which were designed to only play for a limited amount of time. When exposed to oxygen, the plastic in the discs start to darken, rendering them unreadable by the laser in the DVD player within a few days. Allegedly, the discs had a one year shelf life if unopened. Instead of returning the played disc, consumers would just throw them away. This was allegedly to deal with the problem of people renting discs and never bringing them back. The product bombed badly, as customers didn't want it, and environmentalists pointed out the rather obvious problem that this created a bunch of new plastic garbage to take up space in landfills. But, for PENTEX, that would be a feature rather than a bug. The first time I read about this, I immediately thought of Redbox, the little automated video rental kiosks, and that if one combined them with the Flexplay concept, you end up with all these cheep movie dispensers that churn out an endless supply of plastic garbage, including stuff from OMNI, Gorehound, and others, all on Rainbow provided plastics. Not sure what a good name for such an enterprise would be. BlueStar or something else primary color derived, maybe.

                      The Museum of Obsolete Media has an entry for Flexplay, for those wanting to see what the things looked like. The YouTube Channel Technology Connections has a video about it. And the Company Man channel, which I've mentioned before, has a video about Redbox.


                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                        So, I've been trying to work on a post about the bail bonding business and bounty hunting, but certain legal aspects of it are mind numbing, and I've also been heavily distracted by various family, health and work issues. (Bleh)

                        Meanwhile, I leave you with the interesting factoid that back about a decade or so ago, various companies were looking at the concept of disposable DVDs. Flexplay was the developers of the technology, and Disney experimented with it under the name ez-D. SpecraDisc was another company that experimented with the idea, only to be bought out by Flexplay. Basically, the idea was that, rather than renting out normal DVDs, they'd have these discs which were designed to only play for a limited amount of time. When exposed to oxygen, the plastic in the discs start to darken, rendering them unreadable by the laser in the DVD player within a few days. Allegedly, the discs had a one year shelf life if unopened. Instead of returning the played disc, consumers would just throw them away. This was allegedly to deal with the problem of people renting discs and never bringing them back. The product bombed badly, as customers didn't want it, and environmentalists pointed out the rather obvious problem that this created a bunch of new plastic garbage to take up space in landfills. But, for PENTEX, that would be a feature rather than a bug. The first time I read about this, I immediately thought of Redbox, the little automated video rental kiosks, and that if one combined them with the Flexplay concept, you end up with all these cheep movie dispensers that churn out an endless supply of plastic garbage, including stuff from OMNI, Gorehound, and others, all on Rainbow provided plastics. Not sure what a good name for such an enterprise would be. BlueStar or something else primary color derived, maybe.

                        The Museum of Obsolete Media has an entry for Flexplay, for those wanting to see what the things looked like. The YouTube Channel Technology Connections has a video about it. And the Company Man channel, which I've mentioned before, has a video about Redbox.

                        I remember hearing about those. Thanks for the link - I remembered something about a red color but couldn't remember if it was the starting point or a mid-stage.

                        I'd probably go with BlueCube - obviously a parody of RedBox, but also matching the cadence and symmetry between the words. I also can see there being a sort of virus in the disks that limits the devices' abilities to play regular disks over time - possibly a computer virus embedded in the disks, or a hidden chemical stain. Users who go to the new Pentex-subsidiary Geek Squad equivalent get told that the red disks keep track of the laser, that all devices break down ("They just don't make 'em like they used to") but the coloring is a way to prolong the life. Unfortunately, that exact shade of coloring always breaks down and renders the disk unusable, but hey, the disks ARE super cheap, and really, how many times do you watch a movie anyways?

                        Alternatively, the coloring could also contain a subliminal coding that corrupts or hypnotizes the viewers in some subtle way. Mostly to buy more of the disposables, but maybe in conjunction with the movies to instill an openness to negative emotions, violence, and overall Wyrmishness.

                        Comment


                        • I got a real story that can work for the Pentex Mentality.

                          Here in chile we got the tallest building in south america (Costanera Center), a sort of hotel/offices and what not, right under it theres a shopping center. Its strategical position is quite interesting since its right next to the subway station (to a station that interconnects with the south of the city, which has a large population currently). Theres been about 5 official suicide reports in this placeExtra officially theres about 35 in the last two years.

                          Thing is, theres an internal and the building is pretty open so you can look down to the other floors. theres been a lot of jumpers, Each time someone jumps, the cops arrive. cover the body and the owner of the place WONT shut down the shopping center since "Money."

                          Now, heres the thing, about a year ago an employee killed himself with Cyodine. The owner of the shopping center did NOT wanted to close the mall, until the cops told him it could be hazardous. he insisted he wanted to keep the place open, until the cops pointed out that "its hazardous, you may get sued."

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jTl1WGT_dY


                          Forum's Official's Joker and Trickster. Pardon my bad english, aint my first language (I Speak Spanish).
                          ST: DtF, HtR, WtO, MtA
                          Signature Chars: Crowley (hakalu), Joe The Nuwisha (WtA)
                          Changelings: be afraid of the Technocracian High Five of Doom

                          Comment


                          • Dont' know if someone already mentioned PEMEX.
                            My best friend and loyal storyteller is in Mexico for 6 months ( I'll join him in one month to stay 10 days with him around some archeological sites) .
                            As adopted south-american from paraguay and fanatic fan of the wod he told me about PEMEX, which is basically something really creepy in all senses:

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemex


                            -'' We are the unsullied.
                            We are the inheritors.
                            We are the Pure ''-

                            I'm the guy who draws werewolves.

                            Comment


                            • Bail Bonds and Bounty Hunting

                              OK, so finally bail bonding and related businesses. The issue of bail bonds is almost entirely an American one (I think the Philippines is the only other nation to use it), and even there it differs from state to state. It's actually illegal to post bail for profit in Oregon, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Maine. The legal minutia of the business is quite honestly mind numbingly dull and convoluted in certain areas. And because of that, I'm going to try to keep this as simple as possible But for a decent rundown of how the system works step by step, see https://www.wikihow.com/Understand-How-Bail-Bonds-Work

                              They also have pages on how to become a bail bond agent and how to become bounty hunter.

                              Because the state laws vary and because you have to be licensed in each state you operate in, it's fairly uncommon for a bail bond company to actually operate in multiple states. But in the case of PENTEX, they may very well underwrite several such agencies in multiple states. If one was to operate in multiple states, the best bet is probably the greater NYC area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey (and perhaps Pennsylvania as well). Second likely would be one that operates in California and Nevada (mainly LA and Vegas). The other option would be multiple licensed bail bondsmen across various cities and states who all have a single silent partner or financial backer connected to PENTEX.

                              Bounty hunters are private contractors who are hired by bail bondsmen when one of their client skips bail and doesn't show up in court (causing the bail bondsman to forfeit the money they paid the court, which usually makes them very unhappy). Unlike law enforcement officers, bounty hunters don't have any special legal protection if they injure their quarry and can face murder charges if they use lethal force against them. It is also illegal for bounty hunters to pursue targets into foreign countries. If you ever saw the reality tv show Dog The Bounty Hunter, Duane "Dog" Chapman and his team were arrested in Mexico while retrieving a convicted multiple r*pist and spent several years tied up in international legal entanglements.

                              There are a number of related occupations which closely tie to or crossover with bounty hunting, including skip tracing (tracking down individuals but not necessarily going out and confronting them) and repossession agents (effectively bounty hunters for vehicles). While a werewolf is unlikely to have to worry about someone repoing their car, skip tracers present a more pressing problem. More than a few young homid Garou come from families that either aren't Kinfolk or who have no idea that they are. If said Garou is young enough during the First Change, their family may presume that they've run away or been kidnapped. If so, they may turn to professional skip tracers to try to track down the missing person. This can get even worse if they go on to hire bounty hunters or professional cult deprogrammers to "rescue" the missing person. In the case of PENTEX, they've likely got an entire network of skip tracers who investigate every missing persons report which fits the pattern for new werewolves, hoping to uncover Garou strongholds and/or find subjects to turn over to the Black Spiral Dancers. (DNA likely tries similar tactics as well, searching for test subjects.)

                              Bounty hunting and repoing are popular subjects for reality television, but much of it is either staged or edited to look more interesting than it is. It's also been a popular subject for movies, usually action films. I am a long time fan of the old Lee Majors tv series The Fall Guy (1981 - 1986), though it's not exactly WoD material. Also, the 1987 film Wanted Dead or Alive is a fun bit of 80s action schlock. Blade Runner (1982) is a classic more for it's visuals, but the story is pretty good too. I also recommend Repo Man (1984) and Midnight Run (1988) if you've never seen them. And if you're at all interested in making it harder for people to find you, Michael Bazzell's Hiding From the Internet is an interesting read.


                              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                              Comment


                              • The skip trace aspect is a really good point to be aware of in most werewolf games; considering many characters after a change just leave their family without a word.

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