him: WHAT DO YOU LIKE BETTER: NACHOS, MACARONI AND CHEESE, OR A SHARK?
me: A shark.
him: YOU’RE LYING. SHARKS AREN’T EATABLE.
me: They are edible. And they’re delicious.
him: I GUESS YOU’RE TOUGHER THAN YOU LOOK.
me: This song is called Starlight, and I listened to it while I was in labor.
him: WHILE YOU WERE WHAT?
me: When I was walking around, waiting for you to be born.
him: OH. I DON’T REMEMBER IT.
me: I listened to a different song when you were actually coming out, though. The same song, over and over for an hour. It was about Africa, and a mountain called Kilimanjaro.
him: YEAH, I REMEMBER THAT. IT WAS ALL RED AND PINK AND SQUISHY, AND MY FACE HURT.
“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”
-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’
-Joseph Kahn, the director of the music video for Thong Song.
“Let’s just relax and make a booty video” is one of the most profound sentences I’ve ever read.(via thisdanobrien)
The interwebs are chock-full of random, nonsensical rage.
At times I wonder if people really feel the way they claim online or if it is all hyperbole. Things like “Fire Bob Costas because he disagrees with my beliefs and he’s expressing his opinion!” or “Look what this man did to this dog, share this picture if you think he should be killed in the street!” and the other nonsense that amounts to “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!”
I am, on occasion, a contributor to the global village vehemence goulash (I should trademark that) that we as a ‘net community are constantly cooking up. I have always tried my best not to throw out things like “so and so should be killed” or that sort of thing, whether or not I think that they should. But I throw sometimes general and sometimes very specific rage vomit out there.
I’m going to do my best, from here on out, not to do that anymore.
It isn’t that I don’t feel these things or that it isn’t somewhat cathartic, it’s that it doesn’t solve anything and it angries up everyone’s blood who sees it.
I have been a lifelong fan of chaos and discord, but as I get older and more set in my ways I find that contributing to it in that way doesn’t push the creative abilities of chaos and it doesn’t make for rational solutions. Killing someone is rarely, if ever, the rational solution. Expedient and effective as an agent of change though it may be, it is not rational and the results, historically, have been far more weighted toward the negative.
What we need are more net-positive outcomes; results that help the most and hinder the least.
The real question: Is this possible on the internet? Can we make for deep and lasting change in a forum where most people feel they are protected by anonymity and distance? Will any of it make a lasting difference to the human race?
I am at a point where I want to continue to be an agent of change, but I want it to be positive change instead of change for change’s sake. I want to find those times and places where I can nudge the cosmos toward something better instead of just something different.
Those of you who know me understand what a huge change this is in world view. Those of you who only know me from the publicly traded internet me might not see the enormity of the shift, but will see some of it.
In Star Wars terms, I’ve always been a Sith and not a Jedi.
I don’t think that has changed. I will continue to work toward my best interests, but I think the real shift has been in what those best interests are.
The outward changes will be minimal for now:
- First: I’m going to limit my output of rage on the internet. I will replace that with well-constructed arguments for debate in an attempt to find solutions to problems instead of simply stirring the shit.
- Second: I’m going to fact-check questionable things; quotes from celebrities, ‘share this photo for a chance to…’ things, etc. before I pass them on to the folks who follow my various textual discharges. (Though few you all are, you are all appreciated.)
More points and changes will be added as I move forward, but I think this is a solid base to start building on.
We’ll see how this experiment works out. You’re all more than welcome to join me.
I’m finally back to the real world.
Things are more or less falling into place so I’ll have more time to post here. I just have to get some thoughts brewing that are worth sharing with the one or two of you who actually read this.
As always, feel free to shoot questions my way. Deep philosophical stuff or just utter nonsense, I’ll be happy to answer either. There should be a little button to the right-hand side to get all inquisitive.
I can’t open tumblr from work for some reason. It states that the feds block it as “personal site/blog”
I could write up things and email them to myself then go to the USO and post them on here, but that’s a lot of work I don’t want to put in for my pointless ramblings. Since I’ve got the Google+ and it’s easy to put up a blog there that the government won’t block on our office network, I’m going to do something over there.
Expect this one back in action early next year… If that fuckin’ Mayan calendar thing doesn’t wipe us off the face of the earth before then.
All that said, I will check this when I stop in to the USO so feel free to leave questions. I will answer them.
I’ve been quiet on here for the last week or so. I haven’t had much interesting to put down. Something will come to mind eventually. Until then, I’ll be taking questions over at that Oracle button to the right.
…an answer. There’s a little button that says The Oracle on the sidebar. You can use it to ask me questions. I’ll answer them in my usual, long-winded, ranting style.
Ever since the Christmas where we decided to watch the original four “The Omen” movies as a family when I was a kid, I’ve had the inclination to contemplate the nature of evil during the holiday season.
I watched season five of “Dexter” in its entirety yesterday and it got me thinking down that path, evaluating my own stance on what is or is not evil and the depths of human depravity.
I have never considered myself a good person. I don’t believe in ‘fair play’ or that everyone is created equal. I don’t support the underdog and I despise charity. But I also don’t support random acts of violence, rape, senseless murder or illogical oppression. I am, without doubt, not an evil person. I fall somewhere in the vast, grey area between. My deep and defining narcissism would tell me that I am beyond good and evil, like some sort of Nietzchean Übermensch, but I know that isn’t true.
Since I don’t give a damn about year-old spoilers and anyone who cares about the “Dexter” universe has already seen it, season five pits Dexter against a group of men who abduct, rape, torture and finally kill women and have been for a number of years. When I think of people who don’t deserve to live, this type of person is at the top of the list. The one member who never takes part in the depravity, who only orders the others around and eggs them on is a different sort of monster, but one equally as bad, like Charlie Manson in a way.
The question this planted in my head was: Would any of these men have done this individually? It’s hard to answer with any certainty.
Examples exist of that kind of evil all in one person; Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, etc. But it seems to me that most of the great evils in the world are perpetrated by groups. The larger the group, the more heinous the act. From the insanity of Jamestown to the horrors of the Holocaust, groups get together and the mob mentality takes over. The self is gone and replaced with the group. Detached from personal beliefs and morals, inhibitions die and monsters are born. What is bad in a person becomes magnified when given permission by the group. When what is depraved is granted acceptance, even encouragement, it becomes the norm. When the extreme becomes the center, the extremes start getting more and more insane.
This mirrors the media in a way. Moderate, sane messages don’t sell newspapers or advertising anymore because we become desensitized to increasingly sensational headlines. Even situations that are not dire or exciting are given a grand banner to catch a reader’s attention, “Inferno at Religious Gathering; Wrath of God Visited on Local Park” ends up being a story about a minor grease fire at a local church picnic with no injuries or significant property damage. Things like this rob words like inferno of their punch. When minor events are given such a stage on which to perform, the big events that actually warrant these types of headlines, and get them, lose their significance and things that really do matter become mere background noise.
Even here, when writing about it, I’ve taken it to the extreme. Maybe, as a society, we need to get back to basics, away from the extremes, clean things up, take a deep breath and let the sensational rest for a while. When the extreme levels of sex and violence required to draw an emotional response from today’s jaded audience are required, maybe it’s time to pull back and let temperance become popular again. It might just be different and shocking enough to rock the world and turn things around.
What do you consider evil? What does it take to shock you? How do you feel about the media?
I was writing an article involving human nature and the following just kinda hijacked what I was writing. What came of that article can be found here and the tangent and the subsequent scribblings are below.
Some people use religion, some the environment or animal rights or any number of other causes. A person doesn’t get into these things based on a real desire to see things change or the world become better, they do them because it makes them feel less guilty when they see a picture of a starving family in Africa or someone made homeless by a disaster.
I don’t know where that guilt comes from, just like I don’t understand religious beliefs on a personal level. I understand the function that these things serve, the need they meet, but I don’t have the need, or the guilt, myself.
Religion serves as a way to placate the fear of death. Most religions lay out a set of rules and regulations for this life to follow in order to score some promised paradise in the afterlife. If you don’t, you end up somewhere not so nice or just gone to oblivion. This makes no sense to me, but I don’t need something outside myself to find purpose in what I do. In truth, I don’t know that I need purpose in what I do beyond the desire to do it.
Religion serves other functions as well; a place to belong, a source of purpose and inspiration, a focus, an answer to the ever present “Why?”.
Those deep down needs/impulses/desires/wants/whatever, they can be met by any number of things, but religion makes for a fantastic comfort blanket for those who choose to live life by a set of rules that were fashioned in what amounts to a completely different world. The reason those rules have managed to stick around for so long is they were well designed to speak to the deepest parts of our nature.
Causes amount to pretty much the same, but without the hereafter at stake. Or perhaps as a product of the rules laid down by the religion. A way to pay your toll to the ferryman.
I’m not afraid of death or the afterlife, whatever it may be. My purpose comes from my own mind, not the mind of men thousands of years gone. Sometimes I do what feels right, other times I do what feels wrong but I want to do anyway. I like to think that God and I keep a sort of mutual respect/non-interference thing going. Once I’m dead, maybe we’ll sit down for a drink and have a chat about how I did; what could have gone better, what went really well, that sort of thing.
I don’t begrudge those that remain devote, I’m not trying to convert anyone or change their mind. I respect people who find a code that fits their personal beliefs and live by it. I don’t respect the hypocrites who hide behind a religious front and are completely different people away from their congregation or behind closed doors.
I have a friend who is very devout. It is not a show to be accepted into a group, it is not something he does to gain recognition. He lives and breathes his beliefs. I find that amazing and infinitely respectable. He is not ashamed or afraid of what others think of him because of it. That is a rare and amazing thing. We may not share beliefs, but I couldn’t ask for a better friend or a more genuine person.
Perhaps that is the answer; be genuine. I’m genuinely a surly, unlikable guy. I don’t pretend to be a nice guy or claim that I’m a good person. I’m simply me, just a person and I’ll tell anyone who wants to know.
What do you think? What are your beliefs? What is your nature? Who are you really?
I had a lot of ideas to key up and expand on in a stream-of-conscious way today and they have all run screaming to the hills. That tends to happen more and more these days.
Initially, I wanted to write about why everyone should want to be a responsible citizen and give a few simple examples of ways to make little changes that would cause big differences. That’s something that has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for a couple of months. It started as an opinion piece I was going to write for work, something to get a little exposure for myself and maybe score some cool points with the higher ups. It evolved, as thoughts do, into something bigger. Something for everyone instead of just soldiers. It is something that will be written someday, today just isn’t that day.
I also wanted to rant about how out-of-control welfare has become in this country. How everyone wants something for nothing and doesn’t want to put any work into anything. Then I realized that using words like ‘everyone’ and ‘anything’ is ridiculous. Painting broad strokes and laying them on the whole of humanity is one of the quicker ways to become an uncompromising, unhappy curmudgeon. Since that’s what I am and I no longer want to continue down that path, I decided I’d let that one cook awhile longer, too. There are a lot of decent, hard-working people out there and they don’t get the recognition because people calmly going about their lives doesn’t sell advertising or newspapers.
Then there was the desire to gush about the sheer amazingness of Skyrim. It is definitely an experience. I don’t write game reviews, though, so I’ll leave that one at that. Play it, if you are at all a fan of the fantasy genre you will not be disappointed.
My newfound interest in Twitter was another topic that I was considering dissecting and putting out there for the world to see. (You can follow me @HuddsMagruder) I look at it like an interesting puzzle game where I try to fit fortune cookie wisdom into 140 characters. So far, so good. I have 10 actual people following me, though I’ve deleted a great deal of fake people. I guess there really isn’t much more to say about it other than I’m not quite Twitter Famous, yet. Someday.
All the usual, deeply philosophical stuff is crowding around up there, as well. Eventually it will all form some sort of cohesive pattern and I can turn it into something someone would enjoy reading sometime. Until then, I’ll keep throwing out these little scattershot blogs so I’m at least writing something.
How do you focus your thoughts?
Do we really need a federal government beyond national defense and interstate-dispute settlement?
I don’t think so. Having a national governing body doesn’t do much for citizens. I can’t with a straight face say that it provides any sort of national stability or unified direction. These days it seems to do little but argue like children and attempt to get enough votes to stay in power and do essentially nothing to move us forward as a world power.
I refuse to put the blame on any single person or party, the problems with the nation are too all-pervasive to be the fault of any one entity. The problem is the people we continually vote into office. Trading one politician for another will not solve the problems. New additions can never replace all of the old guard fast enough to avoid the continuation of the status quo. A brand new senator joins up, stars in his eyes and change on his mind and is perverted by the lobbyists and the money and the people in whose best interest it is to keep things the way they are.
What Congress needs is a cleansing. Everyone there removed from office, benefits revoked. Trust me, they will all be fine. They have plenty of money and connections to continue to live in the style to which they have become accustomed. Also, they won’t be charged with any crimes, despite the long con they have run on the general public, throwing away our tax dollars and leaving us with so little to show for it. Replace them with men and women who have yet to be tainted by the current political quagmire who are paid the average American salary. Let them serve at most two terms to continually cycle in new blood and ideas.
Public opinion needs to be targeted as well. People tend to focus on what makes us different. Skin color, religion, sexual preference… None of that matters, not really. What matters is what a person can do. If I’ve learned anything from my time in the military, it is that as long as another person’s choices don’t affect the mission they are not a factor I need to worry about. What consenting adults choose to do with their time is none of my business. What color a person’s skin is has no affect on their ability to do their job. What does is their level of training, their skills and talents and their attitude.
We are not African Americans, Asian Americans, Italian Americans, etc. We are Americans. We need to start focusing on that. We aren’t democrats or republicans or independents. We are Americans and we are in this together. Stop allowing the politicians and the media to divide us along racial and political and religious lines.
Practice your religion, but don’t hate someone else because they don’t believe what you do. Belief is a personal thing and not everyone can be ‘saved’. If they don’t fall into line with your religion, pray for them and leave the door open. Don’t harass or harm them.
Race is not something that you can choose. Outlook, attitude and what you do with what you have is something you can choose. Don’t waste your time worrying about what people of other races or people of your own race think and accomplish your goals.
Sexual preference? What goes on in someone’s bedroom isn’t anyone’s business beyond those involved. As long as it takes place between two consenting adults, go for it. As for marriage, it is a trust between two people. The law should not even come into play in the matter.
There are plenty of things out there to divide us, maybe it’s time to start looking for the things that unite us, media and political parties be damned.