Monday, November 23, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hacked E-Mails.

So some e-mails between scientists have been hacked that has added fuel to the climate change-skeptic fire.

Obviously, if you view the things quoted in the e-mails from a, um, pro(?) climate change perspective, it just sounds like a bunch of scientists discussing the best, delicate path to walk in a public debate defined by idiots. But if you are one of those idiots, your paranoid belief that scientists are perpetuating a massive, global conspiracy to trick the world into believing that climate change is real. This is apparently because Al Gore hates Africans.

My vote, we just keep going. I'd much rather see all of the idiots just burn. Granted, lots of fun animals will die, but I'll survive. I'm at the point of not caring. You want to drive the bus into a wall? Fine. I'll put my helmet on and do my thing while you do that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Purpose of Movies.

Movies are meant to entertain. That is it. They are not paintings. They are not meant to challenge or be though-provoking. They are meant to entertain. The best movies do that and challenge you, but things that are so avant garde and artsy fartsy that they become moving paintings stop even being movies. They do not entertain.

Juxtapose the experimentation of the French New Wave with Italian Neorealism. The French understood that a movie should entertain. It should be about being a movie. Italian neorealists were depressed because the war had just ended, so they started making films that were depressing and pointless.

Go watch The Bicycle Thief. It's boring as fucking hell. Yes, yes, it was groundbreaking and has had a generations-long effect on cinema all around the world. That doesn't change that it is tearfully boring. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to sound intelligent. I respect it. I comprehend it. I appreciate it. I still say it's barely a movie.

I mean for Christ's sake, the films were so pointless and depressing (and that was the point) the government told them to stop making them. Compare this to Schindler's List. It's depressing, moving, heart-wrenching, but also entertaining. It fills us with emotion and tells us a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Socialized Loss.

I'm not one to side with Noam Chomsky on too many things. While I generally agree with many of his points, it's his paranoia where I diverge. Where he sees grand schemes and conspiracy, I see happenstance and even stupidity. He sees cabals, I see groups of greedy people rambling about in what appears to be a group.

But one of his biggest points year after year is the idea of privatized gain and socialized loss. Namely, capitalism is good for you, but for me, I need the protection of the government.

The last year or so has really driven home how true that is. Obviously, this was an extreme example, but worldwide, every year, events similar to these transpire. To argue that we have a free market is silly. We don't have anything close to a free market. The banks reaped massive profits and then socialized the massive losses.

It's kind of depressing. I guess I'd feel better about all this if the Republicans had been voting against the bailouts for some reason other than just being contrarian buttheads.

I don't usually get up in arms about things for any sense of self-righteousness, but this got my goat.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Types of Country

Well, we're finally bringing some of the guys from Gitmo into the country for trials. As expected, those from the "right" have started lampooning the decision, basically saying we can't apply the same rules to them as we do to ourselves.

I find this perspective interesting. The problem with our country is that we have a nationwide case of severe cognitive dissonance. We want to think that we are a country predicated on ideals and not simply a group of people, but when the realities of being a group of people pop up, we act in accordance with those.

I always said that I had no problem with invading Iraq, if we said that we were going in there for oil and control. Think about that, we need oil, is it not our mandate to acquire what we need? Let's kill everyone in Iraq and take their oil. There's nothing morally wrong with it.

The problem is that under that interpretation, we're just a group of people. The American flag is nothing more than a logo. The American Dream is an advertising campaign. The Statue of Liberty is our mascot. And the national anthem is just our theme song. Most people have a problem with that idea.

The real argument is whether we're just a group of people or an set of ideals. We might give the ideals a high-falutin' status, but there's nothing about them that is fundamentally superior to seeing us as just a group of people trying to get what's best for us. If we're correct in our self-service, then we are a group of people and not ideals. If we are a set of ideals that "transcend" the people, then our actions are pretty easy to determine.

Too bad that latter interpretation has never been true. We've never been the good guys. Remember Nuremberg: many Nazi's got off for some action because they showed how Allied forces did the same thing. Well, if we did it, it can't be wrong. Case dismissed!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A View Askew

I just found out about the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in San Francisco, early last week.

I feel pretty safe in assuming that this will go down in psychological and sociological history in the same way as the Kitty Genovese murder in New York. Professors for decades to come will discuss what this says about the human animal and the society we've built for ourselves.

I feel for the girl in a way I usually reserve for fat women watching The View. I can't even begin to imagine what the experience was like. I mean that phrase truthfully and without cliche. I can't even imagine. I think I would rather be attacked by a lion and killed, at least the goal of the lion is to end it. Here, the torment was the goal. I feel like crying.

My partner and I have had arguments about the nature of life vis a vis sex. I have argued that things like "Gift of Fear" and the argument that women lead a different life from men to be foolish and fear-mongering. She has said otherwise, and says that I may have a hard time understanding this since I was always not only a male, but a large, loud male. I've never felt fear of my fellow humans.

Still, I argued that the fear she and other women feel is primarily the result of fear programming in our brain going haywire since there is very little to be afraid of, anymore. We no longer have to worry about sabertooth tigers and whatnot, so our brain finds things of which to be afraid.

This wasn't rooted in sexism. This was rooted in the deep-seated belief that men and women are not from Mars and Venus. That our lives are fundamentally the same. The world is identical to us both. Because, if that's not the case, we are not equal. We are different. The world, for men and women, is fundamentally and essentially a different experience.

This case has basically changed that perspective. While I still think that most of the fear that women, and truly people in general, feel about the world is the result of a scare-obsessed media and evolutionary mechanisms meant to keep us safe in the wild, this does not happen to men.

There has never been a case of women gang-raping a drunk man and then beating him nearly to death. It just doesn't happen. Say what you will about the baseness of the men involved. Argue that they are an extreme minority. Argue that women are just as likely to get killed by a coconut as be gang-raped. I'll agree with pretty much all of it. With just a modicum of caution, women will likely never be raped or even assaulted.

But that's the thing. That modicum of caution. That one, little inch. That seemingly insignificant thing permanently and inexorably separates men from women. Men need not exercise that caution. They have no need or worry. But women do. Women and men are fundamentally different. Their world, my partner's world, is fundamentally different from my own.

And that makes me want to cry.