Grass monkey, that funky monkey, GRASS MONKEY! asks:

Have you ever uploaded any pictures of yourself, would you like to?

No, and I don’t plan to anytime soon. I have this very late 90s/early 00s attitude to internet privacy where I don’t particularly like posting photos of my face in public contexts, which I know probably seems a bit antiquated to people even a couple of years younger than me, especially in the context of modern influencer culture where part of doing anything online is that you monetise your personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and all that jazz (which honestly I kind of resent). Even more silly, given that I’ve definitely said enough about myself here that anyone who’s been paying attention could, in principle, quite easily find my full name and at least one photo through Google. But for the moment that’s just not something I feel comfortable with. Besides, what I do here isn’t about me. Like, who gives a $#!t what I look like? And I don’t even mean that as, like “oh, I’m nobody and don’t matter and have poor self-esteem,” because I am a fµ¢£ing delight, but legitimately who gives a $#!t? I’m here to talk about Pokémon and make people think more deeply about stuff that they otherwise might not have. I’m pretty good at what I do, but anyone can do it, and that’s actually kind of my goal. People shouldn’t be interested in me, because I’m not the most interesting part of this equation; heck, I don’t even want to be. My ideas should stand on their own, and if they don’t, then that feels like a failing on my part.

jeffthelinguist asks:

Are you safe? I know you’ve been taking a break but it’s also been a few weeks since I’ve seen any activity from you and the world is possibly ending, just want to make sure you’re surviving into the apocalypse.

There is no cause for alarm. My university is shutting down all in-person classes, I have warded my apartment against the demons of plague by means of the sacrifice of an infant chupacabra, and I have purchased enough lentils to make soup for the next hundred and fifty years. Although I am presently showing no symptoms, there is a strong possibility that I do in fact have the plague, since my department has had several visitors from northern Italy in the weeks immediately preceding the Italian lockdown. Nonetheless, my general good health (I am young with no preexisting respiratory conditions) and my assorted pacts with Dark Forces from Parts Unknown will likely sustain me, so my main concern is to avoid infecting others. I intend to enter a period of silent meditation and work on my PhD thesis (and, uh… hopefully Pokémon stuff too, which should resume shortly). Furthermore, I have constructed a powerful ritual such that, in the event that the plague does claim my life, the entire human race will perish along with me, and none of you will need to suffer the burden of living on in my absence. I know this is what all my devoted readers would want.

Anon the Mon asks:

Hey, sorry if this is too personal, but are you gay, or bi, I’ll rule out hetero because I have been on this blog enough to not be stupid, just wondering.

I’m gay.

That’s kind of the whole answer to this question, but Jim the Editor always tells me that two-word answers are bad for #engagement so I feel like I have to say something else without straying into territory that actually would be too personal.  I do think sometimes that being Gay On The Internet means you have a responsibility to act as representation for people who don’t see much of themselves in popular media, and also that, to a certain extent, this is the #relatable #content for which people are here, so maybe it would be, in a certain sense, good for my “brand” if I talked more about it.  I honestly just don’t have much to say, though.  I come from this culture of academic self-effacement, where I feel that, if people find my orientation and my personal life more interesting than my writing, then my writing must be bad.  And I know this is not how internet success actually works; you’re supposed to be a Personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and so on, but trying to be that still feels deeply unnatural to me.

jeffthelinguist asks:

So, as an archaeologist, can you answer the age old question of how much time needs to pass before grave robbing becomes archaeology? What’s the appropriate time period for looting the dead to become acceptable?

I’m assuming you’ve seen the screenshot of an archaeologist commenting, in answer to this question, that this is actually a super awkward and uncomfortable question?  I’m fortunate enough to work in an area where it doesn’t really come up much – we’re all pretty sure that two thousand years is comfortably in the safe zone.  Even then, though… it would be a mistake to think that archaeology can be a pure science, that our study of the past can remain detached from the present. It’s all grave robbing, in a way. The only difference is in how pure your motives are… which is a matter of perspective.

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Herald of Opera asks:

Do you like penguins? (Same question goes for Jim the Editor; I always ask this whenever an opportunity for an unbounded question arises, including careless wording.) (Also, whenever speaking up in favor of Sword & Shield’s National Dex removal, I make sure to mention the absurdly slim chances of Piplup getting in as proof that it hurts me more than it probably hurts them)

Penguins are fµ¢£ing great (and this is our shared opinion, by the way).  They’re birds, but instead of flying they swim!  And on land they’re so waddly and dumb and cute, but in the water they’re so… so… M A J E S T I C.  Piplup remains to this day my favourite Water-type starter, for reasons that I’m not even going to pretend are based entirely in sober design analysis.  And there are gay penguin couples who adopt eggs and chicks, acting as aspirational figures for the LGBT community and filling the hearts of the entire world with warmth and fuzziness.  As long as we’re on penguins, I’m going to direct readers to the Instagram account of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, home of a colony of New Zealand’s native little blue penguins (scientifically proven to be the smollest and most adorable of all penguins), one of whom each month is designated “good penguin” or “naughty penguin of the month.”  And, of course, I would be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t tell you that New Zealand is also where several of the oldest species of fossil penguins come from, some of them gigantic fossil penguins as tall as humans, like the new species Crossvallia waiparensis described just a few weeks ago from fossils found in Canterbury.

…so I guess what I’m saying is the answer to your question is “yes.”

The Babadook asks:

In celebration of Pride what’s your ideal queer-themed team? Include nature’s, movesets, abilities and held items?

It’s still June in the US; I’m not too late!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

I feel like… movesets and abilities and held items would mostly have to be really specific jokes that I just don’t think I can do well, being only the G of LGBT and not having all that much insight into the other letters.  We can pick six Pokémon, though, and I think we should probably start with Pokémon who have gender properties that are in some way interesting…

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