Utopian Thought Experiment #7

1. Multilingual or omnilingual linguistic set up for game environment [1]. The more languages the better. The more subtitles the better.
2. Individual characters are tied to their various languages and subtitles.
3. Current statistics of national languages and used languages within any given nation tied to the user determined ‘locale.’

1. So here I’m going to sprinkle a bit of abuse (Derrida -> Lewis -> Nornes) on top of the utopia [2]. Not just the languages, but what one could do with languages to rob people of their safe homeness. Their belief that they are alone with their friends and family and don’t need to deal with the world.
2. The game reads the locale, as usual, and loads the appropriate localization. I’m in “United States” and my language is English. It loads appropriately. Or does it.
3. The United States of America has one [ed: de facto, and this is problematic, I know] official language: English. Language chauvinism is ripe and often linked to nationalistic/anti-foreign fervor. As a result, the fact that ~25% of all people in the United States speak a language other than English at home goes unmentioned, or at least ignored [3].
4. The game reads the current statistics of the determined locale and finds that 75% of the populace speaks English, 12% speaks Spanish, and then there are a massive host of other native, exilic, diasporic and immigrant languages. The game allocates these percentages by rounding up.
5. The player must then interact with their locale not as a safe environment, but as a unhappily statistical environment (I am loathe to say ‘real’).
6. This could work in the US as above, but it could also work elsewhere. Japanese in Japan is not as homogenous as it would like to believe, nor is Mandarin in China, or Israeli in Israel.

[1] This refers to a accessible and user increasable plethora of languages as opposed to the standard variation of one language per one locale or one language loaded as determined by the OS.
[2] Lewis, Philip E. “The Measure of Translation Effects.” In Difference in Translation, edited by Joseph F. Graham. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985; Nornes, Markus. Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
[3] This is the 2000 census as the 2010 has not yet be uploaded to the web. http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t20/index.html

on the stranger

On the link between economy of fear, Bin Laden in the Suburbs know thy neighbor enemy [impossibility] and movement of the sranger from a liminal good to necessarily [but not necessary] feared/evil.

The stranger has never been incontrovertibly good, however, there is a history of strangers and lack of knowledge of who people are (connections, wealth, power) that encouraged people to not dismiss strangers as evil or useless. There was a benefit in confronting the unknown and the strange. The benefit was similar to the exploration of science, discovery, adventure: stress and fear as beneficial for some human soul or idea of progress.

In contrast, the current era, from cities to the war on terror (eg: fear) links the unknown and the strange with negative results. The stranger (and fear, the strange, the unknown) is separated from the possibility of benefit and must be fought against, but not through revealing of knowledge (enlightenment progress against the unknown), but determining of overlaying one’s own identity, one’s own truth on top of the strange.

The other is no longer a dialectic, but a task project [word].