Consumption in howling dogs

One thought on “Consumption in howling dogs”

  1. Hi BJ! Thanks for bringing up these questions about the role of consumption in the game and Porpentine’s relationship to it. I think you touched on the idea that consuming “virtual” worlds and their pleasures is coded as bad/useless or as “escape” from “reality.” More broadly, I also think that most (all?) appetites are framed as perverse in some way. What your post brought up for me was the relationship between speed and appetite… Porpentine sets up a relationship in which the only way to “get anywhere” in howling dogs — which is a strange “good” outcome given the mechanics of the game, and actually sets up a tension in the next part of her statement – is to “stop consuming” and “start paying attention.” Does this mean that you can’t “pay attention” while consuming? What does it even mean to stop consuming? “Paying attention” is also a mode of consumption – of the data that you ingest to make sense of the world in a particular way. So resisting consumption seems really fraught to me, and tied to speed in a specific way. You say that Porpentine’s call towards “discernment” and your interpretation of this as a call towards being more fully involved in the game made you want to use hypertexts differently, shifting your use from a rapidfire quest through the links to a way of “slow[ing] down beyond the impulse to hit the next link, and really dig deep into the story.” The idea that digging deep = slow and consumption/surface level exploration = fast seems a little scary to me and is potentially related to Maha’s post about the whiteness of Porpentine – “resisting” the speed of hyperlinks by noticing the “elusive” bits of the game feels really similar to me as the demand that writers and theorists have to be able to have a “quiet room to think in.” This, to me, upholds a hierarchy of time in which one rate of thought – long, deep – is the most valid, a time-space that is unavailable to many people, especially people who have been historically excluded from this time and consigned to premature death… Also maybe we don’t even want to think long and hard! What about floating, what about having space to just exist when life is super precarious and takes hard thought all the time? What if hyperlinks are the escape rather than the “actual” VR world that Porpentine is offering?

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