the liberal media


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?

Stickman and Carl illustrate the central gap in this theory.

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.

Part 1: Fuck You, Bud Light.

Here is a picture from Bud Light’s current advertising campaign.

What does this even mean?

What does this even mean?

As I said, Fuck You, Bud Light. Also, Fuck You, DDB Worldwide Communications. As the advertising agency responsible for this, I want you all to be ashamed of yourselves. Here is what you did:

You picked up a bottle of Bud Light.
You drank a little.
You made a face.
You sighed.
And you realized there was nothing worthwhile about this product that you could sell.

So what did you do? You decided to focus on the distinction of Bud Light’s “Drinkability” . There’s only one real problem there. All beers are equally drinkable. Really, drinkability applies to any fluid of reasonably low viscosity. You don’t even make claims as to the potability of Bud Light. I mean Jesus, BLEACH has roughly the same level of drinkability.

It’s just astounding. You take a drink, and you advertise that it is distinct from other drinks, and more desirable because of the ease with which you can drink it. Of course drinkabilty is literally the ONLY constant among all beverages. Bud Light: It’s not a solid!

Thank You Ellie Halevy and Also the People Who Work for You and Also The Ad Agency You Worked With

As a contrast, I would like to bring up the ad campaign for Tropicana’s Valencia Orange Juice. Tropicana is owned by Pepsico, who are having a whole assload of their own problems, marketing wise. (Really, a dumber version of your old circle trademark? That’s your plan to dominate the world of cola?) The Valencia Orange Juice though, those ads were great. They consisted of a sultry voiced lady explaining to you why this was going to be good orange juice, going into detail as to why you should pay more money for what was reasonably described as a superior product. This voice over accompanied slow motion photography of orange juice being poured, using lighting and music that bordered on erotic.

Essentially, the advertisement gave the viewer this message:
Isn’t orange juice good?
Don’t you want some?
It’s good.
Well this stuff is EXTRA good.
These are like, the best oranges we have.
And they’re all in this juice.
You should get some.

And assuming you agree with the initial proposition that orange juice is indeed good, you have no reason not to believe this might be really good orange juice, and you should probably get some.

Part Three

Now compare these ad campaigns. Bud Light is hoping that you are simple minded enough that when they say “The Difference is Drinkability” you will become confused, forget that this is a quality inherent to all beers and begin purchasing Bud Light. Contrast this to the Tropicana Valencia campaign which seems to hope that you believe better oranges will make better orange juice, and that maybe you have a little bit of an orange juice fetish*.

With this in mind, I would submit that a more accurate version of the “The Difference is Drinkability” campaign would be as follows.

Guess what DDB Communications? I am not.

Guess what DDB Communications? I am not.

*I call this being “juicy”.

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.

The still active Neo Geo Pocket fan community* is, for the most part, extremely liberal in its political views**. And I’m talking actual extremely liberal, not the “extreme liberal” in Fox News terms. We are talking about “Socialism is a fundamentally sound practice” being on the more conservative side with “Anarchy + Social Programs” being the preferred form of government for several of them. As a result, Barack Obama, while certainly the preferred candidate, did not bring about universal cheers of joy.

I like Barack, but the fact is, he’s really not liberal enough for me in several ways. I want a President who will take a firm stance in favor of things like Equal Marriage rights; who will actually support an Equal Rights amendment for women; who would work on some kind of reasonable immigration reform; who would be willing to lift the absurd sanctions on Cuba, and put some on China until they sort some of the environmental and human rights violations; who would make the massive cuts and restructuring needed in our defense department***; and on and on and on. That’s not Barack Obama.

So why am I excited? It honestly has less to do with Barack****, or the specifics of his platform than it has to do with the people who voted for Barack, and the tone of his platform. For several years now, really, dating back to Nixon, Leo Strauss, and the birth of the Neo Conservative movement*****, the driving force behind these people, and yes, it is a small, specific group, has been fear. Fear of our enemies, fear of the danger out there, and the promise that only they can protect you, and only if you shut up and do what they say. Otherwise the commies/terrorists will get you. And if you stand up to this fear, if you reject their proposal, it is simply because you WANT TO LOSE.

And Lord, how this has worked. For the last several years, the enemies of the United States have been at their strongest not in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan, but in the minds of the American people. We have imagined an enemy that, for the most part, does not exist. We have given this enemy a funding and motivation he does not have. In responding to this enemy, we have actually helped create a perfect environment for him to grow and develop. And we have done grievous harm to the rule of law and the soul of our nation. The things we have allowed in the name of safety have been abominable.

And that’s what made this election important. When presented with one more election where the choice was between an old soldier who will protect you from a danger that doesn’t exist, and a largely unknown quantity, the people of the United States did not do what we have done for so long. We did not vote with fear, we voted with hope.

Sure, this is only the very beginning, but if you’re in a car being driven straight for a cliff, you have to take a little relief when the driver finally takes his foot off the gas.

 
 
 
*Yes, this is a real thing.
**Basically everyone except Jeremy. Also a surprising number of them speak Dutch natively, coming from either the Netherlands, or the Flanders region of Belgium.
***It’s difficult for the mind to process just how much money we’re spending of defense, and how badly a lot of it is being wasted. We’re using F/A-18s as bombers, which is a lot like using a Porsche to pull a semi trailer. Meanwhile, soldiers hit the ground as recently as six months ago without combat armor. We’re going to spend more than $1,000,000,000,000 on it in 2009. To give a little perspective, that’s more money than anyone has spent on anything since the advent of commerce.
****Though I think he’s a good politician who has held forth solid plans on issues like Security, Health Care and Energy.
*****The parallels found between this culture of fear and that which was used to found fundamentalist Islam is examined wonderfully in the documentary The Power of Nightmares.
******Nothing to see here.

The current slogan for Taco Bell’s Creme Frutista Freeze* line is

A CREAMY-STYLE TREAT!

and that is one of the most disturbing phrases in English. “Creamy” already means “like cream” so when you hyphenate on a “style**, you freak me right the fuck out. So it’s similar to being like cream? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? The qualification inherent in the “style” is really disturbing.

“What does it taste like?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call it the OPPOSITE of creamy. That much is true.”

Is this seriously the best you can do?

NOW!

Because KillAllTheWhiteMan believes in the carrot as well as the stick, I want to salute Crowne Plaza hotels, on this bit of copy from advertising about the Quiet Zone floors they have for business travelers who need their sleep.

Our promise to all guests staying this floor is to extend the following courtesies:

  • No housekeeping or maintenance activities between 9:00 PM and 10:AM
  • No children, leisure groups, marching bands or circus animals will be assigned to this area

We ask in return that you do your part in keeping the noise to a minimum by:

  • Keep TV and radio at a low volume
  • Ensure guest room doors do not slam
  • No loud singing in the shower

The fact that these jokes are almost subtle enough to go unnoticed, and are part of an otherwise humorless corporate identity and message on the other consumer facing materials just makes it better.
 
 
 
 
*Who named this fucking thing? I mean, I have to assume it went like this:
SUIT1: OK, WE HAVE A DRINK THAT IS BASICALLY A SMOOTHIE WITH NO FRUIT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
SUIT2: WELL, WE CAN CAL IT A FRUITISTA FREEZE. THAT HAS FRUIT AND FREEZE AND ISTA MAKES ME THINK OF BARISTA, WHICH I KNOW HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH EXPENSIVE DRINKS BUT I’M NOT REALLY CLEAR ON WHAT.
SUIT1: I LIKE IT, BUT IT HAS THE WORD FRUIT IN IT, AND THE FOOD DOES NOT, IN FACT, CONTAIN FRUIT.
SUIT3: HOW ABOUT WE LEAVE THE “I” OUT?
SUIT1: PERFECT.

**The fact that the food is “similar to being like cream” but not actually creamy, and a fruit flavored drink that contains no fruit almost gets me thinking this entire product line is all a really great joke some disaffected guy at Taco Bell Headquarters was playing that got out of hand. If this is the case, I would like to buy that guy a drink.

So Kelly Bundy and Bodhi have cancer. That blows. Living with a disease like that is frustrating, terrifying, depressing, and hopefully enriching is some ways. But it’s not brave.

I say this without any hostility towards Kelly or James Dalton. Both of them are having a hard time right now, and it’s the same hard time as thousands of people who never starred in an episode of M*A*S*H as Private Gary Sturgis. I’m just saying, as someone who knows, that brave has nothing to do with anything.

I was 22 when I was diagnosed with the disease that will probably eventually kill me. It is through first hand experience, and lots of talk with other people in similar situations that I can tell you that what keeps you going is not bravery, but a combination of hope, fear and determination that would not inaccurately be described as desperation. We are not bravely fighting to live, we are desperately trying not to die, although there are organizations as the Inspire support groups that help people with these diseases.

It’s important to understand the difference between desperation and despair. Yes, same latin root, but the meaning of desperation has shifted from meaning a loss of hope to the clinging to of hope. Desperation is the source of a great deal of accomplishment. If necessity is the mother of invention, desperation is the midwife. It is desperation that causes someone to try eating the chunks in spoiled milk and eventually create yogurt. It is not bravery that keeps the ill from breaking down into sobs, or answering the question of “how are you feeling” with the honest answer of “terrified and angry”, but a desperate need to not give into despair. The reason is simple, if you despair, you’re miserable, and you’re still dying. It’s much much worse.

Alejo699 Says:

… but I’d like to see more posts on the vagaries of language and how they get your goat.

I aim to please.

The ONE thing that frustrates me more about language than anything else is Semantic Erosion. Semantic Erosion (here, not when web developers talk about it), is when a word or phrase loses meaning, whether it be levels of nuance, or the entire meaning of the word. Probably the most famous example of this in our current language is the Long Dead and Well Beaten Horse that is literally. If you’re reading this site, odds are you’re familiar with that word’s journey from the useful meaning of “according to a precise reading; lacking in exaggeration or distortion” to “really“.

Let it never be said that I am opposed to Semantic Drift, where-in a word takes on a new meaning. The issue here is not that a word means something else, but that language has lost a meaning or range of meaning, and with it, a range of expression. On the contrary, when language gains meaning, I’m quite glad. Unanimous, for example, is a lovely word. The original meaning of un (not; without) animous (acrimony) is fine, but covered by other words, such as peaceful or placid. But the new meaning, by agreement of all, adds NEW meaning to our language, broadening our ability to express ourselves.

The majority of the time, Semantic Erosion takes place due to consistent misuse of a word. The more frustrating form to my mind is when a word simply becomes tainted by the intensity of the arguments they are involved in. This poisons many of the words that related to issues like race, or religion, which in turn makes it more difficult to have an informed and rational conversation about them without defaulting to either rhetoric or byzantine-word-labyrinths. Take prejudice. Once again, we’ll look to a Latin root to get pre (before; preceeding) and judice(judgement; determination). The word we get is perfectly reasonable. I can look at a new model of car, one that looks unlike other cars, and using my prejudice, I can determine that it is probably a car. I don’t need to get in and drive it, or have it explained. The four wheels and a body are enough for me to make a judgment before having checked it out in detail. We do this all day long. A flower you’ve seen is a flower. You don’t need to check with a botanist. People walking around in Paris probably speak French, there’s no need to quiz them. The issue, obviously, is when two factors come into play

  1. The prejudice is unfounded.
  2. The prejudice is assumed to be true despite new evidence.

Of course, once we introduce these factors, we’ve shifted from prejudice to bigotry. This is especially unfortunate given that we’ve eroded the meaning of prejudice so that it has none of the broadness or nuance it should have, and have turned it into little more than a synonym for bigotry. There is nothing inherently wrong with reasonable pre-judgment, and it’s unfortunate that the word we have for it has been rendered unusable.

There are examples of this strewn across language, and they are especially dense in the regions of highly charged intercourse. Words with eroded meaning include atheist, agnostic, liberal, conservative, progressive, racist, feminist, Christian, livid and debatable.

So there you have it. I’m far from a strict linguistic traditionalist. Shifts in meaning, and filling semantic gaps are great, and I wholly support them. It just gets me down when there’s a perfectly good word for something, but for whatever reason, it’s unusable. I don’t mind change, I just regret change for the worse.

In Spanish, like most Latinate languages, plurals default to the masculine. So your mother is your madre, while your father is your padre, but as a group, your parents are your padres. The really sad thing about this is that it is impossible to properly translate into Spanish the name of the seminal 1987 Paul Reiser sit-com, “My Two Dads.”

Is Barack Obama Black?

The answer is Yes, No, There’s No Such Thing as Black. This is the problem with being a pluralist.

Yes:
Well, he’s certainly black enough for the media. You’ll notice how rare it is that anyone discusses his heritage on his mother’s side, that being boring European standard issue. It’s pretty simple, you look at the guy, and he looks black, and that, for better or for worse, is what being black is. It means people are already worrying about things like assassination. There are people, disturbingly many of them, who will refuse to vote for him BECAUSE of the melanin in his skin, and the country his father was born in. The man is black.

No:
Barack Obama is not a Black man. Being a Black man in America means something. It means something about where you grew up, where you went to school, and what your parents, and your parents’ parents were able to do for a living. It means something about the images you saw on TV that represented, or failed to represent, your life. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, and did some of his growing up in Indonesia with his step-dad because apparently Ann Dunham has jungle fever. He does not, and cannot represent the Black American.

There’s No Such Thing as Black:
The point of all this is, of course, that “Black” isn’t one thing. How Black is Obama? Is he Half Black because of his heritage? Is he All Black because of his looks and the One-Drop Rule? Is he Not Black Enough because he didn’t grow up in the same lifestyle as the average Black American? “Black” by itself means so many different, often contradictory things that it doesn’t mean anything. Does a person’s heritage give you a head start in making some guesses about their history and culture? Sure. So does knowing that they grew up in a mountainous region. So does knowing if they’ve ever been a member of a country club. So does reading their bumper stickers. The terrifying thing is the degree to which we tend to allow information like this limit our views rather than expand them. A person’s heritage, region, culture and political views should serve to deepen the picture, not to define it in totality.

The movie has aliens in it. If that bothers you, you probably won’t like it. Otherwise, it was pretty fun.

Personally, my guess is a lot of the distaste comes from the aliens, and people thinking Spielberg sneaks aliens into his movies constantly. Here’s a rundown.
Number of Spielberg movies with aliens

  • 4

Number of Spielberg movies about alien invasions

  • 1 (War of the Worlds)

Number of Spielberg movies about benevolent alien visitors

  • 3 (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, E.T.)

That’s it. It’s not exactly excessive. If you are claiming that A. I. had aliens, you are wrong. Those were robots. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THEY WERE ROBOTS IT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF THAT PORTION OF THE MOVIE. All the humans have died, but the A.I. that we created lives on beyond us. They have screens for faces!
Why would aliens care so much about a robot boy?
I do blame Spielberg, since it was bad visual story telling that allowed so many people to see aliens where the plot was about the legacy of humanity. But seriously, if they’re aliens, how can they turn a robot on by waving their hand over him, and why would they share his memory by touch. Don’t tell me psychic aliens, were dealing with databanks, not memories.

Anyway, Indiana Jones was pretty good. I had fun.

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