Wed 27 Jun 2012
Mon 24 Aug 2009
One of the goals of the homosexual agenda is to indoctrinate children in the nation’s public schools by convincing kids that homosexuality is a normal and healthy lifestyle. Because schools fail to warn children of the dangers of homosexuality, and because it is taught that homosexuality is not only “normal” but “healthy” as well, homosexuality starts to seem like a good choice to young school children.
The National Cultural Values Survey reveals a striking correlation between greater exposure to television and lenient moral views. Heavy television viewers (four hours or more per evening) are less committed to virtues like honesty and charity, and more permissive about sex, abortion and homosexuality.
The homosexual movement has been militantly demanding not just the homosexuals’ right to do whatever they wish to do behind closed doors, but, more importantly, that society fully accept their lifestyle as both healthy and normal.*
Of all the insane anti-gay arguments, I think my favorite is Not In Front of the Kids, and it’s sibling argument If You Don’t Talk About It, Maybe It Will Go Away. These were both well represented in the Thatcher/1984 Era UK with Section 28. The central idea, as far as I am able to pierce through, is that being gay is SO AWESOME, that if we even mention it as a possibility around people, kids especially, they’ll probably switch.
I mean, wouldn’t you?
Oh, right, no, you wouldn’t because either you’re already gay, or you’re not. Knowing the popular terminology for homosexuality has no influence on whether or not a person is attracted to a person of the same gender. There’s a reason it was long referred to as The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
Acceptance of a non-heterosexual norm is entirely possible. Look at Sparta. However, the current media portrayals and overwhelming societal standard is heterosexuality. This has yet to stop young people from identifying as gay. Doesn’t it make more sense to give them an image of homosexuality as healthy and comfortable? If a person is going to be gay, they’re going to be gay, the least the media can do is make the process of accepting themselves and coming out less soul-rendingly painful.
*All Strawman text taken from Conservapedia. This is what these people really believe.
Tue 24 Feb 2009
If you are having an argument, and you decide it would be a good idea to really really infuriate the other person by making it clear that you don’t care and you’re not taking it seriously, just start playing peek-a-boo. There is nothing less respectful than covering your eyes while someone is talking, saying “where’d I go!” then looking at them again and saying “here I am!”
Sat 14 Feb 2009
There’s a feeling, and to my knowledge it doesn’t have a name, that people seem to share. Sometimes, you’re told something, and you can just tell, without being able to fully explain why, that what’s being said is bullshit. I call this feeling cole*.
An example of something that gave me, and gives most people a sense of cole are those ads, usually at the beginning of a DVD you’ve already bought, telling you not to download movies. The argument (set to obnoxious jump cuts and pounding music) is that since you wouldn’t steal a purse, a TV or a DVD, you shouldn’t download movies because it is a form of theft, and therefore exactly the same thing. Except, as that feeling of cole in your gut tells you, no, it’s not.
But why isn’t it? What makes it different, and why does that influence so many people who would not steal a purse to feel that the theft of a film via downloading is not wrong? Here we get to our subject, the ethics of theft. Fortunately, the words we need to describe this already exist. First up is dispossession.
Dispossession is the denial of a person or persons’ access to or use of a thing, service or location. When you steal a purse, you have dispossessed the owner of that purse. They are no longer able to use that purse, or any of the objects inside of it. Stealing a DVD from a store dispossesses the owner or owners of the store of the DVD and the subsequent income from retail. They have now lost money since they purchased the DVD originally with the understanding that it would be sold.
For most of history nearly all theft has been dispossession in one way or another. It is only with the introduction of photographic, photostatic and digital copies that theft without dispossession has become common. In these cases the essential nature of theft is changed, and with it, our ethical understanding of the seriousness of the offense has been massively altered. Essentially, the primary reason theft offended people was that it deprived the rightful owner. In cases where that is no longer true, people now tend to see this dispossessionless theft as a victimless or nearly victimless crime. A lack of victim means the degree of offense is dramatically lessened.
It doesn’t vanish though, and that brings us to the other axis upon which ethical judgments of theft are considered: valuation. Where dispossession is an essentially binary consideration (either someone has been dispossessed or they have not), valuation introduces a great deal more granularity, and also serves to explain why the downloading of a film is, while certainly not on par with stealing a TV, still essentially unethical.
Valuation is a complex term, but for our purposes it means the assessing of value or worth, and the method of the assessment we are concerned with is implicative, meaning not a formal assessment, but an attempt to determine one’s assessment of value based on their actions.
Going back to our purse example, assuming a thief has snatched a purse, stolen the money or other valuable goods and then thrown the purse away, their valuation of the purse itself is roughly $0. It was worth taking for its contents, but beyond that is essentially trash, and since it might eventually serve as evidence of their crime, could even be said to take on a negative value.
Now we apply this to theft via download. Essentially, the person who downloads a movie without purchasing is saying “I value this at about a gig of hard drive space, and a little time tracking it down.” Unfortunately for the people planning to make money from sales, it’s very difficult to buy groceries with a gig or so of some other guy’s hard drive space.
Alternately, it is possible for a theft to increase the value of that which has been stolen. There is the classic example of stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family. Now we’ve taken a loaf of bread, value: $2, and turned it into food to keep your family alive, value: multiple human lives. In this case the ethics of theft, which we compute almost instantly and automatically, tell us that this has become an ethically sound act. We have increased the valuation of the stolen item so much that it is agreed to have been worthwhile. See also: E.T. Stealing a bunch of stuff to call for a ride home.
With that established, copy theft enters a grey area very quickly. What about a TV show that is off the air and not available by legitimate means? The value of the product, per the copyright holders is almost impossible to determine, which means the theft of the object can almost be construed as an increase in perceived value. Then there’s broadcast television, where if a viewer is not a Nielsen Family, the value of their viewership, whether watching the original broadcast or a downloaded copy is essentially 0, so is there actually a devaluation taking place during the latter?
Largely, this grey area exists because our ethical systems have not had time to catch up with the new scenarios of action offered to us by advancements in technology. Additionally, the questions of value (how much a thing is worth to each person, and who exactly is receiving what) continue to evolve in complexity**. It will be interesting to watch our culture adapt to answer these questions in the coming years.
*Named for James Cole, my sixth grade teacher and the person responsible for giving me this feeling more often than anyone I’ve ever met. Honestly, I’d like to thank him for instilling such a complete distrust of authority at such a young age.
**A popular bit of rationalization, one which I myself am not above using, is that while my actual valuation of a product is quite high, my willingness to support the structures that have been built to profit from that product is rather low. Do I want to support a musical artist whose work I enjoy? Absolutely. Do I want to do so when more than 97% of that support is siphoned off before reaching the artist? Not always. Should distribution channels receive recompense for the work and cost required for disseminating art? Yes. Should they be allowed to bloat up like the record and film industries have? Of course not. The line is then, wavering, and often poorly marked.
Thu 18 Dec 2008
Apparently, some Jews don’t even celebrate Hanukkah at all. It’s really easy to ignore, like St. Jean Baptiste Day or something.
Man, who doesn’t celebrate St. Jean day? You get to talk in a snooty accent and insist that everything be written in French as well as English!
It’s true! In many ways, St. Jean Baptiste day is superior to Hanukkah.
Right. You give up the latkes and the candles, but instead there’s poutine and bonfires. St. Jean Baptiste day rocks!
Cet vingt quatre du Jun, fairez une fête por le Jour St. Jean Baptiste! Le seulement jour férié appelles por St. Jean Baptiste c’est aussi une fête du Canada Français!
Tue 8 Jul 2008
Thu 22 May 2008
These guys aren’t Stickman or Carl. I don’t know who they are, but they live in a future that is CRAZY. People will sell you things you don’t need there! And the politicians are corrupt! And corporations have too much power! And the children are poorly educated! What a wacky world full of startling parallels to Our Own!
Tue 15 May 2007
Once again, I apologize for the quality of this in advance, as I often do. This is less of a proper essay and more me trying to get these ideas on paper so that I can reference them more easily should I decide to do a real essay later.
Serial Media and the Birth of a New Hero Archetype
Why Doesn’t Spidey Smoke Them Bitches?
OK, first, to totally destroy any mystery, or for those of you who just want easy answers, most superheroes don’t kill simply because it would be really bad for business if the characters kept killing off their best foils. That’s a big part of why this new type of hero IS so new, dating, at the absolute earliest, to the late nineteenth century. But I am getting ahead of myself, the Pacifying Protagonist is not yet born.
First, if we’re going to establish that the Pacifying Protagonist is new, we have to cover what hero used to mean. Fortunately, Dictionary.com is like 90 years out of date as a dictionary (seriously, it’s using an old dictionary that’s fallen into public domain), we can use it to get a good idea of what Hero meant in Days of Yore.
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. Classical Mythology.
a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
Most of these Heroes are known far less for what they saved than for what they changed, destroyed, or achieved. A Hero was someone who killed evil (and not so evil) kings, stole treasure, incited riots, lead rebel armies, and generally did the things that would be made the domain of a comic book villain. Now, retroactively, we’re going to call these heroes Disruptive Heroes.
- Hercules, son of a God, forced to live as a common human who achieved Godhood through a series of trials that largely consisted of seeking out monsters to kill or trap, and stealing
- Genji, a boy of noble birth, forced to live as a common human who, becomes a military officer, works his way upward socially, and sleeps with pretty much everyone
- Jesus, the son of a god, brought up the son of a carpenter, who successfully alters the entire course of history
- King Arthur, famous far more than most heroes as a hero of peace, is the son of a king, forced to live as a commoner*, who assembles an army of the greatest warriors in the world (read: England) who wage a bunch of amazing feats, and then it all falls apart.
Heroes, all across the world, with varying degrees of historical verisimilitude, have always been people who went out and changed things, radically. They changed their lives, they changed the world around them, they nailed all the fly hunnies, they stole shit, and sometimes they tore down existing governments. Now how many of these apply to say, Superman? Something very fundamental about what makes a hero a hero has changed. Why?
The Industrial Revolution and the birth of the middle class. Suddenly, books are not nearly so rarefied an item. Reading is something people are doing for fun in huge numbers, and all new heroes are being created, for the first time, as recurring characters in on-going projects. Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, Alan Quatermain**, Zorro, Tom Sawyer and others.
But we’re not quite there, these characters are recurring, but they tended to go on isolated adventures and had the occasional reoccurring nemesis, but for the most part they fit with the classic Disruptive Hero ideal. Even Superman, our measure of the modern hero, was far from the “big blue boyscout” we see him as now. Hell, the first issue of Action Comics has him smashing up some guy’s car just to scare the dude. Not exactly the peak of nobility.
It was the start of the change though. More and more writers realized that for a hero to have a long life in the extremely speedy worlds of Radio, Pulp magazines, and comics, the villains had to live. As a result, the heroes were moved from the role of the adventurer who sought out his enemies and took on a reactive role, a defender of the establishment.
After all of this, I’m left wondering: did the hero become an agent of the status quo SOLELY because of the difficulty of keeping an active adventure character compelling after hundreds or thousands of serialized stories, or are there other reasons, social influences, that might have changed our concept of a hero from an agent of change and upheaval to a force for stasis and maintenance? What does that say about us? What does it say that when Warren Ellis writes The Authority, about a team of Superheroes who actually stop wars, remove dictators and feed the hungry, that the reaction is a mixture of acclaim and fear, after all, who put them in charge? Who elected them hero?
*There is a theme here. Maybe you have caught it at this point. In order to avoid making the average person believe they too had a right to engage in this disruptive activity, heroes tend to have some kind of special birth, meaning that while it’s possible to relate to their circumstances, by no means are you expected to cause a ruckus like this guy did.
**All three of the proceeding characters are in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This is because Alan Moore is a genius.
Mon 23 Apr 2007
Nothing funny has been happening. This is a profoundly unfunny period in history.
For you* though, I’m going to try.
Well, there you go.
I am sorry it didn’t work out.
*In this case, “you” is Michael Disney. Also, Michael, there are way worse places to work than Blockbuster, but try not to let them promote you.
Tue 17 Apr 2007
I case you are thinking of reading something by Warren Ellis, let me tell you what it is probably about:
Most people are stupid stupid stupid idiot sheep people who are dumb. Also selfish. The people who control them are just ruthless jerk bastard people. The only way to win is to be the biggest bastard ever, except righteous for some reason, and out bastard the bastards. Any of the stupid sheep people you hurt on the way probably deserve it because they were dumb.