Two no-good things
about the scene

By Burt Lancaster

Yes, yes, I know. These views aren't necessarily politically correct or even remotely nice. Some people who blurt out stupid, racist or chauvinist comments claim "they're just saying what everyone is thinking". This is not the case here: Partly because I'm not racist or stupid and partly because I don't know what everyone is thinking. You'll have to decide about the chauvinism yourself. I just happen to have some possibly uncomfortable opinions about things on the scene today.

The vagina monologue

So, what about the first one? I'd like to call them Pointless Scene Girls(tm). If you've been to a demo party lately, you might have seen one or more of them. Don't get me wrong: Girls are very welcome on the scene, in fact the scene might need more girls. But they shouldn't be accepted as a part of the scene just because they're girls.

There are basically three types of demoscene girls. Let's say I just got home from an imaginary demo party where I took notes of the three different types:

The first type was the drinking girl. She didn't do much at all. In fact, the only thing she did was boozing with some male friends (which is kind of a tangient to the next bad thing). Obviously she was regarded as a part of the scene. Why? My guess is that she has somehow ended up on a more or less scene- related IRC channel, where all the guys of course were transformed into lovesick nutjobs as soon as she mentioned her sex. What kind of crap is this about? Are we, the male sceneres, really so starved with female closeness that we can't tell a scener from an attention-loving teenybopper?

I'm sure she's a very nice human being and she was even attractive, but in what way does that help the scene evolve? Has she ever even entered a compo? What is her major computer skill - chatting? Of course the party can always use the extra entrance fee (in case it's not one of these obvious freudian "girls get in for free" parties).

If you're a scener who wants to drink beer and look at girls I recommend going to a pub instead of a demo party. If you're a girl and suffer from self-consciousness in the real world and really enjoy the attention from computer nerds, I recommend you to go to a LAN party instead. You will be warmly embraced by the non-creative gamers and regarded as a true computer goddess just because you spend some time online now and then.

The second type was the "nerd-girl", but I couldn't really figure out her function on the scene. She brought her computer and sat around chatting with different sceners, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find any releases from her. She's probably got one of those nerd-girl homepages sprinkled with random bash command strings and Illuminati quotes. She might even have an action shot at thinkgeek. But in what way does that help the demo scene? So, the lady knows Unix. Good for her. A lot of people know Unix but they're not automatically sceners just because of that.

Some might think this is at least better than the drinking girl above, but I say they're equally bad. This girl is just a warez trader in disguise. It might not be warez per se that she's downloading, it could be the latest debian distribution or perhaps a new version of gnome, but she sure as shit isn't producing anything worthwhile that could end up in a compo entry or any other kind of scene-related release. I have the same advice for this girl as for the drinking girl: You're at the wrong place! Go to an installfest, defcon, Usenix, any of the dutch outdoor events (HAL/HIP etc.). There will be plenty of boys who will look up to you and give you attention just because you're a girl.

The last girl was a true scener: Not only did she bring her computer, she was also very productive - in fact, she entered one of the compos and got a good score. This is the kind of scene girls we need. I don't care if she drinks beer and writes bash scripts, too. The important part is that she is actually capable of contributing something of interest, something that has to do with demomaking.

Come on, people. Girls aren't just for ornamental purposes. As much as some sceners would like to brag about actually having talked to a girl, the scene is not the right place for pointless inproductive people. Especially not just because they're female. Let's be a little more cautious about who we regard a scener and not. A small hint:

if(breasts && computer) scener=creative?true:false;

Scene, Booze and Slengpung

The second bad part about the scene is slengpung and alcohol. It's not all bad - but it's becoming worse and worse.

I enjoy looking at photos from different parties, both the ones I've visited and the ones I've never been to. Slengpung used to be an excellent resource for party pictures. Now it's just an excellent resource for pictures of drunk people taking their clothes off.

What the bleeding fuck-arse does that have to do with the scene? Personally, the times I've rejected a beer during my grown life can be counted on one hand. The drinking itself is not the problem. The lack of creativity is. When going to a demo party, you often meet both old and new acquaintances that you might not have seen in person for a very long time. Alcohol is an excellent way to celebrate this. If your compo entries are already finished - go on, grab a sixpack! But if the sole purpose of going to a party is drinking, why bother with the scene at all? If you can't parttake in the compos or release something else I fail to see the major idea with attending a *demo* party. Competing in who can drink the most beer does not have to do with creating computer art. If you want a booze event, organize a freaking booze event!

While the scene might not be mainstream - it could rather be described as a sub-culture - most sceners still enjoy reading about scene-related things in the local newspapers. Journalists are a very special breed. They are very seldom objective and more commonly interested in a nice scoop. They have two approaches to an article about, for example, Breakpoint:

1) The many creative persons working hard and creating beautiful art or

2) The drunkards who pass out in their own vomit, sometimes naked, sometimes not

Today's math quiz: Which article would sell more papers?

Slengpung could be an excellent site for anyone and everyone intersted in the scene. Not only for the ones already involved, but also for sceners to be. Do you think that images of nude, drunken men with mustard smeared all over their body will attract new people to the scene? Do you think that 300 photos of Leia drinking beer is worth watching? How about 200 pictures of a passed-out Arcane - is that really what sceners find interesting?

3D acceleration is not killing the scene, neither is the game industry, warez traders or Counterstrike players. If something is killing the scene, it's the "sceners" themselves. Guys - stop drooling over girls just because they can say

"cat /var/log/apache/access_log |grep $PAGENAME|awk '{ print $1 }'|uniq".

Girls, if you want to get involved with the scene - DO SOMETHING RELEVANT. And stop being drunk all the fucking time. BE CREATIVE. That's what the scene has always been about.

- Burt Lancaster,