Osprey asks:

What are your opinions on the current state of the monarchy? (Of the Commonwealth, I mean. Although, feel free to share your opinions about the Galarian monarchy as well…)

uh

to be honest I don’t really give a $#!t one way or another, and I especially don’t give a shit about Henry and Maggie or whatever their names are

Like, theoretically the Queen of England is my head of state here in New Zealand, but her power is even more vestigial and ceremonial than it is in the UK; nothing she decides actually affects anything.  I reckon when Lizzie 2 eventually kicks the bucket (which feels right now like it could happen pretty soon, given the recent death of Phil the Greek, but bear in mind that her mum lived to 101; I think Lizzie might just never die), the existential horror of King Charlie 3 will probably jolt people out of complacency a bit, but actually doing anything about it constitutionally just seems like so much of a hassle.  I mean, we’d have to change the curtains, and take down a bunch of plaques, and figure out what the hell the Governor General actually does so we can make someone else do it, and who has time for that $#!t?  At the very least, I think people probably won’t be terribly keen to put Charlie 3 on our coins and $20 note in Lizzie’s place, so I think that practice will most likely end with her death.  Something that possibly isn’t immediately apparent to non-Commonwealth people is that, even though the British monarchy basically does nothing, Lizzie is kind of a cultural landmark in her permanence and omnipresence.  We’ve technically had the same head of state since my grandparents (three of whom are now dead) were teenagers.  I think people are a lot more attached to her personally than to the monarchy as a concept now.  There’s this old joke about Oprah being the “queen of America” but I think it’s actually kind of a useful way of thinking about it: imagine if Oprah died, but she had a dramatically less charismatic son who’d once been recorded in a phone conversation daydreaming about what it would be like to live as his girlfriend’s tampon, and everyone in the United States was supposed to just treat him as “the new Oprah” and let him run the talk show and the book club, et cetera, et cetera, and everyone had to pretend he was just as good.  Even if you don’t give a $#!t about Oprah, something about that situation might seem a little off to you.

In some ways it would make a lot of sense to declare New Zealand a Republic with no constitutional ties to the UK; the trouble I have with that – and this is sort of specific to New Zealand – is that quite a few of our big political issues still hang off the Treaty of Waitangi, which is an agreement between the native Māori tribes and the British Crown, and… look, it’s a long story that probably isn’t worth getting into here.  The point is that I suspect there are a lot of people in this country who would like to use a clean-slate Republic of New Zealand to declare that the new government no longer has to honour any of the Crown’s previous commitments and obligations to our indigenous population under the Treaty, and I don’t like that notion one bit (not that the Crown ever has honoured them, mind you, but it’s the principle of the thing).  But then again, it’s… complicated.  We do also, like, have a king, here in New Zealand; we have the Māori King, Te Wherowhero VII.  We could totally replace the impotent ceremonial colonist monarchy with an impotent ceremonial indigenous monarchy.  I’m sure that wouldn’t be controversial at all (not least because the Kīngitanga movement is a development of the colonial period, not a traditional political structure, and doesn’t represent all Māori).

The other thing is that people in New Zealand just… reflexively don’t like having strong opinions about anything.  We had a referendum a couple of years ago to change the flag to something without a Union Jack on it, but the main finding of that whole exercise was that no one really cares what the flag looks like and none of us can think of anything worth replacing it with.  Which, with a rather elegant cyclicality, brings me back to my original point: I don’t give a $#!t

Kyle the Dragon asks:

If you were a dragon, what would you hoard?

To be honest, I’m not really a hoard-y person; maybe it’s because I spent most of the last 7 years living in a foreign country not wanting to collect too much excess stuff I’d eventually have to pack up and ship a long distance, then had to come home at short notice and left behind most of the things I did own.  Maybe books… but books are heavy and take up a lot of space, y’know, and who doesn’t have an e-reader these days, even as a dragon?  Actually, I think dragon-Chris might hoard maps.  Maps of real places and imagined ones; maps that lead to buried treasure; maps of the body, mind and spirit; maps that are scrupulously accurate and maps that are half-dream; maps that help people conceive of the shape of their world and their own place within it.

Gsgdgd asks:

If there were one show you wanted your entire audience to watch, what would it be?

I’m not sure there is one; I don’t watch a lot of TV.  Um, I’m watching Schitt’s Creek right now and enjoying that; a little while ago I watched Bojack Horseman, which I thought was fantastic.  I watched the first season of Bridgerton with my mum; that was fun.  I don’t think any of those amount to “my entire audience should watch this.”  Jim the Editor and my brother both want me to watch One Punch Man, but I have yet to start it.  None of this answers your question.  Um.  I dunno, probably Black Books, honestly.  It’s a British sitcom about a misanthropic Irish drunkard who owns a bookshop in London (3 seasons of 6 20-minute episodes each).  It’s all on Netflix, or here on Youtube if you don’t have Netflix (whoever owns the rights, they don’t seem to care about getting it taken down).  The humour is… very 90s/early 00s British, in a way that has not seemed to resonate with Americans I’ve attempted to share the series with in the past, so I wouldn’t guarantee that everyone will like it, but… y’know, give it a go.

hugh_donnetono asks:

Where do you see yourself in seven years?

I guess that depends in large part on whether I can evade Doom for that long.  Like, in theory it would be nice to be ruling the world as a deranged sorcerer-king by then, but frankly I’ve offended a lot of deities and unleashed several ancient sealed evils, and that $#!t catches up to you.  Obviously I want to finish my PhD, probably sooner rather than later, but I’m not sure I want an academic career anymore.  It’s unlikely I’d get a university position in New Zealand or Australia within my first few years on the academic job market, and I don’t want to keep working in America any longer than I really have to; it’s also really difficult to return to an academic career after a few years working in another field.  This, of course, assumes there will be an America to go back to so I can finish my degree, so I’m gonna need all my readers there to step up and do everything you can to stop the country collapsing into totalitarianism or civil war.

For goodness’ sake, I wanted to be a novelist.  You don’t really get paid up front for that sort of thing, though, so you sort of need to support yourself with a “real” job, like some sort of peasant.  So it would sort of be nice if I could convince more people to pay me for my writing here… but that’s a long enough shot that saying it’s where I “see myself in seven years” seems grandiose at best.  For now I’ll settle for finding a job, and if the world ends I can always rule its ashes from a throne of jagged glass.

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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