Ultraq's Final MooCow

Bits and pieces by Emanuel Rabina

Dicks on walls

So around the time I was coping with my own battle against swine flu, I spent a lot of time just sitting at home and doing nothing. I tried to do some programming, but thinking on that level became tiring. I thought I could give my art a go, but I wasn't feeling particularly creative. All that was really left for me was to vege out on video games, so at my brother's recommendation, I played Dead Space on his Playstation 3.

To summarize, Dead Space is a sci-fi survival-horror action game set on a large spaceship that seems to have been overtaken by grotesque alien monsters. If you need comparison materials, think Doom 3 meets Event Horizon.

Anyway, as is expected of games in the survival-horror genré, you see a lot of blood, strange writing on walls, undecipherable symbols on walls, said writing/symbols drawn in blood, and any other combination of the above. When the blood on the walls started showing-up in Dead Space, I didn't really think much of it. But when the blood-soaked writing and strange alien symbols started showing-up, I began wondering: "Where are the pictures of dicks?"

As gay as that sounded, let me take a step back to write about an observation I made several weeks before.

The internet is notorious for its childishness. Given the chance, people will create usernames which allude to sex or dicks (case in point: my brother has registered the username 'PhallicThunder' on some forums), create banners depicting dicks (eg: first time my friends took Mario Kart DS online, they competed against others with dicks on their banners), or creatures shaped like dicks or boobs (eg: Spore Creature Creator).

Spore boob creature
While this isn't a dick creature, it turns out boob creatures aren't allowed

This obviously isn't an internet-only thing. Just the other day I walked past a construction site with grafitti of dicks on the walls. And when taking the lift up to my floor at work where the covers used to protect the walls against scratches are installed, those covers have their fair share of phallic pictography (same thing at my mum's work I've learned).

When I saw our elevator covers with their dick pics, I started to wonder, who in this building would do this? I mean, this is a workplace where the average age of employees is somewhere in the late 40s. If I had to accuse anybody of drawing those, I'd quickly point the finger at myself because a) I'm one of the youngest there, b) I'm pretty childish myself, and c) I really have a hard time imagining my middle-aged managers taking out a pen and scribbling pictures of dicks on the elevator wall covers while they giggle childishly.

So there I was, playing Dead Space, staring at a wall of blood-soaked words, wondering where the hell the dick graffiti was...

I imagine that, with your dying breath, writing warnings or hints to potential survivors about 'cutting off their limbs' or how to survive certain alien attacks takes precedence over posting phallic imagery on the walls of a spacecraft. But then again, when you're on your last legs, why the hell not?

(slightly unrelated, but my favourite example of vandalism has to be the one where they removed some letters from the sign PUBLIC PARKING, such that it read PUBIC KING)