All posts by markdangerchen

Mark Chen is an independent researcher of gaming culture and spare-time game designer. He is the author of Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in World of Warcraft. Currently, he is looking into experimental and artistic games to promote exploration of moral dilemmas and human nature, researching DIY subcultures of Board Game Geek users, and generally investigating esoteric gaming practices. Mark also holds appointments at Pepperdine University, University of Washington, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology, teaching a variety of online and offline courses on game studies, game design, and games for learning. He earned a PhD in Learning Sciences/Educational Technology from the University of Washington and a BA in Studio Art from Reed College.

blips

Hi everyone,

So much has happened since my last letter that I’m not sure what to say. I mean, for weeks now, I haven’t been sure what to say, and that’s partly why this has taken so long. It seems like we keep getting hit by tragedy, both nationally and close by. The close one, a death of a student right as Spring Break was starting left me just not sure of anything anymore, especially because they were always the light of the room. It is extremely distressful and heartbreaking, and I will always remember them and try to live up to their hopes and dreams.

Yet the longer I waited to send something, the more it became clear that America is the most absurd place to live right now, with each week showing us that gun violence, police brutality, and racism are unrelenting issues that seem intent on reminding us in the most horrendous ways.

There are two posts I found this week that pretty much cover my sentiments:

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hell of a paragraph.jpg

I’m not sure what I could add. Maybe more about AAPI hate because jesus christ…

But, anyway, I guess I’ve waited long enough that things seem easier to say, or maybe I’ve hit a point where I feel like I just have to say something… and, I guess, maybe the sunshine also helps. It’s like a dark cloud is lifting (tho I can’t tell if it’s a facade or a distraction)…

One of the main issues and why we’re at a boiling point, I think, is that people feel helpless. We desperately need to feel hope and find some agency in our lives (and that agency needs to come in forms that don’t then take away agency from others, goddammit!).

So I guess I’m writing now to remind you that finding agency is mostly an incremental endeavor. Things improve gradually. It starts with realizing that small steps matter, but also that these small steps add up. Also, they are collective steps where the aggregate is what creates lasting change. So even if things seem stuck, your little push may have lasting effects, when combined with others’ little pushes, for things to be a little less stuck.

But also, maybe you’re stuck because you don’t see the larger picture. If you read one of my previous emails, you saw how we could be considered just a tiny blip in the overall scheme of the universe. But the scope goes inward as well as outward. Whatever you’re stuck on is just a tiny blip in the sum of your life. Whatever your life is, it is also just a tiny blip in the sum of humanity. And whatever humanity is, it is also just a tiny blip in the galaxy. The galaxy a blip of the universe.

So long as you have some vision of tomorrow that’s better than today, you can maneuver towards it in tiny blip-like fashions. The arc bends ever so slightly. It also helps to have a vision of yourself that is better than today. You might not be the best at something now but you can be better at it tomorrow than you are today, and that’s enough to aspire to from day to day.

Or… maybe you can’t help yourself right now, but maybe you can help a friend. Or maybe you can’t help this one friend, but you might be able to help a different friend. There are always opportunities for growth and learning; sometimes you just have to take a step back and defocus from a problem where you’re stuck to refocus on a different problem, and this includes defocusing from yourself to refocus on others in need. 

Attend to what you can.

Finally, realize that words have power, and how you say something matters. I was reminded of this today in a moving way, which is another reason I’m writing this. I feel like this is one way I can help with words so I find I have to do this. I hope you know that I’m rooting for you and for me and for all of us and for our future selves, as well. We can be noble so long as we realize it takes all of us to work at it for humanity’s blip to shine.

love as always,

mark

TW: @mcdanger | DS: mcdanger#6611 | FB/IG: markdangerchen

P.S. Black Asian solidarity.

#stopasianhate

Our country was founded on racial injustice so acts of oppression, discrimination, and violence against BIPOC are not new, but this past year has seen a particularly alarming uptick in violent acts against Asians, clearly due in part to the previous president’s evil rhetoric around the coronavirus.

I want you to remember, however, that there is hope for a better tomorrow where all of us have agency and can feel like we belong. It requires education and empathy to the highest degree. Now is the time to step up as humans.

It also requires persistence. The BLM protests cannot be where we stop speaking out. We have to fight in solidarity for each other. No racial group should stand up just for themselves. The fight requires all of us who value decency, fairness, justice, and humanity. We can’t do this alone.

If you’re wondering how to help, The Cut has a good list of suggestions: https://www.thecut.com/2021/03/atlanta-spa-shooting-how-to-help-where-to-donate.html

Anyway, I just wanted to use my own privilege to say something. I feel relieved that these emails have been helping some of you so I keep doing them, but I’m always wondering if they’re enough. So this is a reminder, too, that if you ever need anyone to talk with about anything, I’m always available. Or just say hello and let me know how you’re doing.

Also, go listen to some BTS, the number one band in the world right now (who keep getting shortchanged at the Grammys because they’re Asian.)

love,

mark

P.S. If you’re interested, I started putting up course lectures on my YT channel. The ones from 236 are particularly important, regarding agency and control in our digital age. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVZwWhfG8ak&list=PLqMt8w5YgAQqgZyEMAXFdUkEKgZ6bRBHj

There’s a place for everyone.

Hi all,

So… last week the Perseverance rover landed on Mars and transmitted the first audio recording from the surface of another planet. It’s worth listening to while just imagining the wondrous nature of our universe. Seriously, go do that now…

You see, Mars is very far away (it took about 7 months to get there) yet the sounds are as familiar as trying to talk to someone with your smartphone while they’re walking across the street downtown. That’s the amazing thing for me: how huge and how small the solar system, galaxy, and universe can feel.

The distance always boggles my mind, made more acute since I’ve been playing this game called Elite Dangerous, which has a simulation of our galaxy with 400 billion stars in it, each of them visitable. After being out for several years, by 2017 hundreds of thousands of players had only visited like 0.003% of the galaxy. I think now the number is closer to 0.01%?

The game has become something of an obsession for me, and I’ve even upgraded my monitor set up as I prep for a months-long journey to circumnavigate the Milky Way. I have a ship that’s outfitted with a sci-fi jump drive (engineered to the max) letting me hop about 75 light years with each jump. By contrast, the rocket that took the Perseverance would take about 1,900,000 years to go 75 light years (if it didn’t accelerate the whole time). But I’ve got a journey ahead of me that’s about 330,000 light-years, so jumping 75 light years at a time seems pretty damn slow. (The diameter of the Milky Way is approx 100,000 light years, but I have to get to an edge from Sol first.) I estimate I’ll contribute about 4,000 to the number of visited star systems (maaaaybe), which would add about 0.000001% to the total number that players have visited.

Yes, it kind of boggles the mind. And that’s just our galaxy. The current low estimate is that there are 100 billion galaxies in our universe.
Take heart in knowing that you’re part of something bigger… like seriously much bigger… much much bigger… than you can even begin to fathom. There’s room for everyone, but not only that… it’s kinda miraculous that we exist in the forms that we do. Each of us is unique among billions and billions and trillions of uniques. You must believe that there’s a place for you because there’s a place for everyone. There’s a place for everyone.

NASA named the last two Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance. These two things are mantras we can all live by. Use curiosity to propel you forward, asking questions, challenging beliefs, discovering the world and yourself. Persevere when the going gets tough. It’s not always going to be easy, but persisting is what gives you power and creates a layer of infinite meaning on top of the base layer craziness of the stuff of the universe.

love,

mark

P.S. If anyone wants to join me as I fly through the galaxy, I can stream the game whenever. I’m basically a hobo with a home and a very fast computer, I’m often free and always will be for you.

Realize we’re connected. Now it’s time to move forward.

Hi all and happy new year.

And what a new year, huh? I know this is late, but January was pretty extreme, leaving me rather stupefied and dumbfounded such that I found myself at a loss for words.

We’ve had significant Wednesdays this month: Insurrection, Impeachment, Inauguration, and I think we can add Investment craziness to the list, just to keep the alliteration going. 

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a lot INXS these past few weeks.
I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because I feel like we’re in a time of transition and that we finally have some time to reflect on the past year(s) before moving forward. In reflecting, I recognize that, among the high amount of stressful news of the past year, we lost many great luminaries. The one that hit me the hardest was the death of Chadwick Boseman.

And when I think about tragic deaths, I think about Michael Hutchence of INXS, so that’s probably why… Hutchence was named the sexiest man alive in the mid-90s and the wild man of rock. Unfortunately, he took his own life in 1997, after years of suffering from depression. U2’s Bono wrote a song to him, trying to say that he was stuck in a moment and couldn’t get out of it.*

Boseman gave the commencement speech at Howard University a couple of years ago, in which he reminded those graduating that the key to life is to find purpose. There were, are, and will always be struggles–personal hills to climb–and they are different for different people, but the important thing is to live to an ideal, even if it means taking the more difficult path. He also gave this extremely important piece of wisdom: you sometimes have to fall down a few times in order to understand what your purpose is.

You are stronger each time you get up. So long as you learn and reflect and stay true to your ideal projected self. (This reminds me of Schwarzenegger’s recent message about how, like Conan’s sword, our democracy is stronger the more it is tempered.)

And as Hutchence sings in “Tear Us Apart“, we’re connected. Forever. I know he was singing about romantic love, but I believe this extends to all love and to love for humanity and for Mother Earth. We’re all connected. If only Hutchence could learn from Bono and find strength in his connections.

It’s not too late for us to learn this lesson. Take this moment to catch your breath and reflect on our collective connectedness. Soon–like really, really soon… now even–we move forward. We have a lot to catch up on if we’re going to make the world better.

love,

mark

twitter: @mcdanger

discord: mcdanger#6611

FB, IG, LI: markdangerchen

(I’ve been sending periodic emails to current and former students. I still mean to trim the list some time this quarter so lmk if you def want to stay in it (or if you def want to be out). If you’re interested, an archive of the emails can be found here: https://markdangerchen.net/2020/06/03/letters-to-my-students/)

*: U2’s lead singer Bono wrote the lyrics about the suicide of his close friend Michael Hutchence, lead singer of the band INXS. The song is written in the form of an argument about suicide in which Bono tries to convince Hutchence of the act’s foolishness. Bono characterised the song as a fight between friends, which he felt guilty for never having with Hutchence.

Happy holidays, farewell (and fu) 2020, and next year’s watch parties

Happy holidays everyone!

This has been a crazy year, huh? I hope these holidays are bringing you some respite from the craziness and that you are able to connect with loved ones and friends.

Some of my students this year and I started watch parties that we’ll continue on into next year. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you details.

At the beginning of this week, we watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it seemed like the perfect story for our times. (I want to do an encore viewing of them in Jan or Feb when the 4k versions are more readily available!) So, in the meantime, here are three quotes, one from each movie, that I thought were particularly meaningful:

  • In Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Gandalf have a moment in the Mines of Moria when Frodo laments,

“I wish that none of this had happened.”

Gandalf’s reply: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Life can seem unfair and without reason, especially this year, it seems. But, in truth, to live meaningfully is to constantly strive to make life better. The struggle for happiness is what gives life purpose. Choosing to accept the challenge is the decision to take control of the thing that you actually can control–yourself. And how you act in the world and your ability to stay true is your measure.

  • In The Two Towers, Frodo, the Ringbearer, finds that he’s sinking more into despair as the challenges keep adding up (in this case, Nazgul appear on winged beasts to terrorize the garrison). Sam, the Support Hero, gives probably his most famous speech:

“I know.

It’s all wrong.

By rights, we shouldn’t even be here.

But we are.

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo.

The ones that really matter. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

But in the end,… it’s only a passing thing.

A shadow.

Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.

Those are the stories that stay with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.

But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand now.

I know now.

The folk in those stories had lots of chances for turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding onto something.”

Frodo asks, “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

“That’s there some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”  

(You might recognize the last line from an email I sent out earlier this year. 😉 )

The struggle is important because there is always hope that it *can* get better. There’s always some good in the world, no matter how dire things may seem and how it may seem like there are villains in every corner who care only about themselves. But there’s always a projective future we can work towards to find the good and make it better.  

  • In The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam are soooo close to their goal, but the weight of the ring (i.e., the weight of the world) is too much for Frodo to bear, and he finds that he cannot continue. After Sam asks Frodo to remember The Shire, the lush meadows, the smell of the fresh crops, and the taste of the season’s first strawberries and cream, Frodo admits that he can’t remember any of it. Sam realizes, he’s about to lose Frodo and says,

“I can’t carry it for you, but I *can* carry you.”

He then lifts Frodo up and, with renewed vigor, carries his friend up the mountainside.

Ultimately, it’s within each of us to find the responsibility to live a good life and to reconcile with any demons or personal hang ups we may have. But that doesn’t mean each of us is alone. We can’t take on our friend’s personal burdens, but we *can* support *them* when they need it so they can concentrate on their inner burdens.

I hope the end of 2020 means something for you like it does me. A turning point where humanity can regroup and find renewed conviction to do right by each other and to also focus inward in doing right by ourselves.

I’ll leave with three things:

  1. The Great Conjunction happened on Monday. Remember that our acute experiences are fleeting in the grand scheme of things, and be in awe of the majesty of the universe.
  2. I recently rediscovered the School of Life videos: https://www.youtube.com/c/theschooloflifetv/videos
  3. And, when all else fails, cats in snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t773h9UolY&feature=youtu.be

cheers, happy holidays, and lmk if you want to join the watch parties

<3

mark

Happy thxgvng!

Hi all,

(I’ve been sending periodic emails to all of my students from the past 2 years. If you no longer want them, let me know If you want to read my previous emails, I’ve been archiving them on my website: https://markdangerchen.net/2020/06/03/letters-to-my-students/)

Earlier this week, I saw a post on Delish for an apple pie with a cinnamon roll crust. That looked amazing and, thus, it came to be, along with brussel sprouts, stuffing, and mashed pos. Without having to deal with family or friends, the favorite parts of the meal (i.e., sides and dessert) could receive the attention they deserve. That’s the key, I think, to life as well. You have to make do with what you can, and, sometimes, like this year, it is more constrained than usual, but that comes with the realization that you can also look for new opportunities and silver linings. Rarely do new constraints come without new potentials.

Anyway, I just wanted to say two things: 

1. We’re living in a particularly absurdist time where it can feel like you’re going insane as different people you care about are so completely at odds with each other or totally disregarding science and healthcare workers. The pandemic is worse than it’s ever been and it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better even though vaccines are on their way. Make no mistake, we will lose many more loved ones before this is all over, and, way beyond the death toll, we’ll have millions more suffering from neurological complications that might last their whole lives. On top of that, even without the pandemic, we still have the existential threat of climate change and the centuries-long injustices of colonialism, unchecked capitalism, and ongoing systemic racism and xenophobia. Yes, the fight for everything right isn’t over, and, though our endurance is constantly tested, we have to regroup and keep on fighting. Also, jesus christ, avoid people like the plague because, hold on, it IS a plague.

2. I’m thankful we might be turning towards compassion for others again, and I believe Biden does truly care about all of us. I think we’d all be better off if we all cared for each other rather than just for our own tribe. I’m frankly surprised this isn’t actually a given in America because I remember being taught this value as something to be proud of as an American. In fact, I think the ultimate test for a society is how much its individual members care about strangers as much as they care about friends and family. I think we’re all connected, but, on top of that, I really appreciate the personal connection I make with students, colleagues, and friends. So thank you for being in my life. Drop me a note and let me know how you’re doing, or play a game with me online some time!

Anyway, I hope this message finds you well and that you’ve been finding some respite over the long weekend. But I also know that some people don’t have secure home lives the same way others do. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll always be here for you if I can.

love,

mark

P.S. Things to watch or rewatch: The Social Dilemma, Queer Eye, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bake Off. Go Sounders. Stay playful.

P.P.S. If you have book/movie/show/game recommendations for me, lemme know!

Thoughts as we start the new year (wherein Mark flies his progressive colors and appeals to you for help)

First, RIP Notorious RBG. With her death, we lost a strong voice for LGBTQ and women’s reproductive rights on a national level. If the Republican Senate succeeds in their massive hypocrisy, we’re going to see another dramatic shift in the judicial branch that threatens what I believe makes for a just and equitable society, and this shift will last decades. On lower levels of court, Trump has installed a number of conservative judges over the last four years, and, frankly, even if things change this fall, massive steps backwards have already been happening that will, yes, take decades to rectify.

The absurdity is that this all comes at a time when most Americans agree on many traditionally progressive values: believing that all Americans deserve stable lives and access to healthcare, recognizing the value of science, wishing to focus on climate change collectively, and addressing racial, gender, and sexuality injustice on a systemic, national level. It boggles the mind how powerful those in power can be and that so many Americans support them in their greed, completely fooled by the rhetoric of the “American Dream,” thinking that they just need to work hard for what’s theirs, not understanding that the system is rigged to reward some to the detriment of others. Indeed, the rich have us fighting each other. (For example, is immigration actually a problem? OR could it be that the rich are trying to use xenophobia to pit the poor against the even more poor while they accrue record-levels amount of wealth? They’re getting working-class folks to fight each other for shit jobs that pay shit but keep us too busy to see the shit, and instead we are thankful to be working, shoveling their shit.)

But more and more of us seem to be recognizing that it need not be this way, perhaps because COVID-19 has shown how fragile the system is. Maybe we’ve been given a potentially last chance to turn things around. I believe we mostly have a resource distribution issue, not a resource scarcity issue. We could all thrive, have our voices heard, and live loving lives as brothers and sisters, if only we would collectively move to tear down the institutions erected and sustained by the rich and powerful. 

Today is National Voter Registration Day. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but participating in it is required for any chance of change. Register to vote and then vote goddammit. We need better representation on all levels of government.

Some useful resources:

Also:

And for distraction:

Lastly, as you know, this pandemic has had a traumatic effect on the world, and it seems like the summer protests and current wildfires and hurricanes are just more crap to deal with. As predicted in my very first email last spring, we have about the same number of deaths from COVID-19 as we did during WW2. 🙁 Like some of you, I’ve lost a few friends and/or family. But, as always, if you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you, and I can help or find resources.

love,

mark

Light it up like dynamite

Hi everyone,

As this summer is ending and another quarter is all but done with (grats graduates!), I thought it was time to send a reminder message that I’ve got you. In our crazytimes, it may be hard to focus or to find support or to do whatever you think is normal. Please reach out to your friends, loved ones, and strangers, and know that I’m here for you, too.

At the recent Democratic National Convention, Biden called this a “season of darkness.” It’s hard not to agree. We’ve got existential threats all around us: climate change, melting ice caps, COVID-19, rising wealth disparity, persistent racism in all facets of life, gender and sexuality hatred, rampant capitalism with no checks in place, the verge of a new cold war, and the general populace seemingly letting the wool be pulled over our eyes, being played as pawns (some of it on social media platforms) to help the rich and powerful maintain their status.

But, as this summer’s protests have demonstrated, we can fight back. and I think more of us are waking up and pushing the wool aside. As the midterm election 2 years ago proved, there is hope for a renewed America and a world that believes in fairness and the well-being of everyone. I believe we must keep pushing and make this moment lead to lasting change.

It will take effort, and it will take all of us, but I fully believe we can overcome and let hope prevail and truth and justice and equality and democratic ideals live again.

I read these words by John Lewis in the latest issue of Time: “Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.” Most of you are too young to really appreciate this, I think, but realize that things take time. The fight is constant, but, rather than feel overwhelmed, take heart in knowing that this fight for what’s right is an opportunity to show the world what kind of human you are. In doing so, you realize you can be a hero rather than a pawn and that we each have that capacity to be a hero. But also, celebrate when you can, and take a breather when you need.

So, yes, we may be in a season of darkness, but, as BTS says, we can be in the stars tonight and light it up like dynamite.

I hope you join me in lighting this fall’s election like dynamite. And then I hope you join me in making this moment herald a lasting era for future generations, for, even though the fight is never-ending, sometimes reducing the burden on someone else’s shoulders, even if for just a while, is worth it. All of it.

There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

love,

mark

Thoughts for Growth and Resources

Hi,

As some of you may know, I live with someone who is immune compromised. We think that if she caught COVID-19, her chances of dying are far greater than the average so we decided that we’re not going outside at all, really, except to get necessary prescriptions for her medical conditions. Not until there’s a vaccine and it’s widely being used. I calculated that this means I would go outside this year maybe 6 more times… She was prepped to stay home and not leave even once for the remainder of the year. (This past week, we learned that we do have to travel in the next two weeks, unfortunately, but, as soon as that’s over, we’re back to hermiting…)

This time at home has given me a lot of time for contemplation. Like… A LOT.

The more I think about this year, the more I’m resolved to reach out to those I care about because I want them to know that they’re loved and that they matter. I also want to push them into educating themselves during our national/global time of not-normal. 

This past week, in one of my courses, we talked about the desire to use ignorance as an excuse for inaction and avoidance as a way to stay happy and sane (which you can see with the Instagram trend of just discarding things from your life that you don’t want to think about and with the immature practice of ghosting), but we also talked about responsibility, ethics, and activism, and that the American usual to ignore uncomfortable topics is precisely why we’re in the shit we’re in and that to be uncomfortable is a necessary component for growth. So that’s just fueling my resolve to reach out.

Rather than trying to stay ignorant or avoidant to maintain happiness, learn to dwell in discomfort and see them as opportunities to learn and be better. There are things that are bigger than your bubble. Project your ideal self for how to be in the world and use that to dictate your actions. And for the sanity and happiness part, I highly suggest turning to playful satire (which only works for the informed). Read McSweeney’s, The Onion, follow memes, kpop stan trends, etc.

And generally, here are some other things that might be of interest to you (they were to me):

Two insightful articles from Time about being Asian American, its history, and why it’s important to stand up with our Black, brown, and indigenous brothers and sisters:

Other resources/todos:

Wear masks and be safe, y’all.

If you need help with anything, I’m here for you.

love, mark

Take a chance. Things are different.

Hi all,

I’m old enough to have been through other periods of unrest and civil disobedience as responses to social inequities in our systems. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell, when we started the Gulf War, when the WTO protests in Seattle happened, when students from my college protested against Bush’s visit to Portland by vomiting red, white, and blue colored mashed potatoes, and when 9/11 compelled us to go to war against Iraq. And I remember more recently Occupy Wall Street and the momentum of Black Lives Matter and #metoo a few years ago. The continual discourse (sit downs, shutdowns, *and* riots are part of our public discourse) seems to be cyclical, and it can get tiring to be constantly vigilant and resistant and critical of our public institutions. Institutions, I should say, that have been erected and bolstered over 400 years to suppress and discriminate against anyone who isn’t rich and white, set up to criminalize being Black or indigenous or POC or immigrant or poor or basically anything that doesn’t add a higher ROI to the 1%’s coffers, often using hypermasculinity and the big ol f*cking American Dream as weapons.

These past 11 days, I started out really, really worried and pissed off and anxious. I feared for people’s lives and well-being. I felt anguish that it was getting chaotic, and I was worried that Proud Boys and other domestic terrorists were pushing for a race war that the president would just spin as more reason to suppress African Americans. 

But the past few days for me have turned into ones of hope. I think I’m noticing something different than all the other times. In the last few days, while many questionable events have occurred across the US, for the most part, I feel like it’s working, and I’m energized at the prospects for lasting transformation in a way that I’ve never seen before… in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen as a country in a long, long time. This latest call to defund the police (i.e., siphon money that’s used for training our police (with military equipment and tactics) to treat us as enemies away and towards progressive social services instead)–something that has been recommended time and time again over decades–is finally getting some traction rather than inaction.

When I think about what could be the soundtrack to our lives right now, I go old school and think about Public Enemy or Rage Against the Machine, but, you know what? This morning I woke up with “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA in my head, and I think the lyrics are particularly meaningful right now. (But actually, more nerdy than that, it was Erasure’s cover that I was remembering. Here’s the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-d4J3YUQmU 🙂 )

Things are different now, and I’m really, really hoping that we all take a chance on each other. 

If you’re in one of my courses this quarter, I hope you know that I’m basically treating all the assignments from the last two weeks as optional. If you turn them in, I’ll gladly read and review them, but, if you can’t get to them, no worries. I think I have enough to extrapolate a grade for you (assuming you were able to keep up or communicate with me throughout the quarter). 

Stay safe and sane. F*ck the police. Black lives matter.(and support your Asian American restaurants as we open up restrictions!)

If you need anything, I’m here.

love,

mark

P.S. The latest episode of Last Week Tonight is particularly on point. Watch the last few minutes if nothing else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf4cea5oObY

P.P.S. I’ve been periodically sending emails out to all of my students from the past 1.5 years and all peer facilitators ever. I fixed some email address recently so if you missed previous ones, an archive of messages sent can be found here: https://markdangerchen.net/2020/06/03/letters-to-my-students/

These messages aren’t normal. I’ve felt compelled to write you all in a way that’s also different than previous years. I don’t think this will be a regular thing moving forward, but I sort of didn’t think that three months ago either… Please let me know if you want me not to include you. Thanks!