This is the Dark Souls of a short post about a YouTube video

Oh my word. I am pretty sure that all human development to this point has led to this moment.

I genuinely appreciate being able to get jokes like this. My belated discovery of the wonder of Dark Souls last year, in addition to fostering an addiction to complex games essentially focused on esoteric storytelling and exploration, finally granted me entrance to a fascinating subculture of Dark Souls adoration that tends to be a lot more fun than such a description makes it sound. See  above.

Admittedly, the above video probably seems insane to someone who has not played a lot of Dark Souls, thought about Dark Souls, read about Dark Souls, and then played more Dark Souls. Yet it brings me joy on a busy Monday.

Grading All Day…

Today I reap what I have sown, and in between prepping for tomorrow’s classes I have plenty of grading to do. It allows me to make a silly Chris de Burgh intentional malapropism:

Break out the diet coke and away we go…

More blog posts to come in future, I promise. For now hang out while I read fifty takes on Urban II’s speech at Clermont in 1095 and another thirty or so on the Meiji Constitution of 1889.


Deus Vult

I found this article in Polygon fascinating, discussing the odd conflation between an alt-right adoption of the term “Deus Vult” and the growing online community around the game For Honor. I find it fascinating in no small part because I gave my students Robert the Monk’s version of the famous Pope Urban II speech that gave life to this particular term, and did so with no knowledge about the online alt-right connotations.

Allegra Frank describes the historical nature of the phrase as “obvious and inextricable”, which is not a bad way of putting it in terms of its use in the game. I cannot help but find it all a bit disturbing, frankly. I had read previously of the alt-right community’s interest in monarchy and medieval standards of governance and (supposed) moral justifications for autocratic rule. Their approach, needless to say, is ahistorical and embarrassing. I’m not sure how you could come away from reading a version of Urban II’s speech in the early twenty-first century and come away thinking he was on to something exciting or that in any way gives us a useful blueprint for the future. The source is inseparable from its context, and it takes remarkably willful rejection of that context to draw parallels with challenges the world faces today.

As for For Honor, it seems the fans of the game use the term as part of their own celebration of their community online. Go for it, I say. There is something to be said for relationships between terms and I am grateful that even in the savage land of wild untamed memes there is genuine competition between representations.