Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Golden Lamb

Everyone in the media wants to be a part of the Ted Williams thing.  They fought over being able to cover the reunion of he and his mother, to the point of making sure the two didn’t meet until they could cover it on live TV.  It’s a national story where everyone with a talk show can publicly feel happy for some homeless guy who got inundated with publicity and job offers because the media knows that it will get ratings.  That’s all it is.  It hearkens to the desire of American culture to live through fake stories.

You can see it in the way that everyone talks to him.  They love being able to say how happy they are that this guy got a break, because it feeds their own narcissism.  In a way, they are mentally and emotionally masturbating to the way they feel about it all.  That’s what I hate most about these “genuine” human stories.  It’s all bullshit.  Even the genuine feelings that exist are only there because some self-obsessed rich person loves thinking that they are somehow helping out someone less fortunate, when really they are only helping themselves.

Everyone want to give their take on his story, and talk about how happy they are for him, or how his fifteen minutes of fame are going to ruin his life even more.  What everyone misses is that he is just a vehicle for ratings.  Nothing more.  He didn’t get offered a two-year contract because the NFL are generous people.  It’s because they saw a rising cultural story, and wanted to take advantage of it.

It’s another way that the established media reaches into social media, and ends up manipulating it.  I think that it is really a bad development in the larger picture – not because Ted Williams doesn’t deserve a chance to make money or not, but because it just shows how, in the end, everything revolves around what they want it to.  Every hokey feel-good story is really a grotesque example of manipulation.  It feeds into the stereotyped story of winning the lottery, and how everyone in America has a chance to be famous and rich.  It’s all bullshit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pat Buchanan is an idiot. (And so is everyone else)

Our modern politics is largely based on the idea that reality is so relative that anything "can" be a possible interpretation.  I have always rejected this because of Nietzsche.  He says that, while there are always many, if not infinite, interpretations to an action or state of reality, there will invariably be moral, immoral and amoral interpretations.  I think that the idea that nothing can ever be "truly true" leads to sophistry and immoral behavior.  I believe that modern Republican ideology is largely based on this kind of sophistry:  that you can say whatever you want as long as it pushes forward your perspective, even if you know that it is factually untrue.

Sophistry (saying anything solely for the sake of its impact, to manipulate the listener) is the most hideous and disturbing thing that I have ever observed in my lifetime.  I wish that people understood the difference between the description of reality being 'untrue', and the idea that everything is in the eye of the beholder, to the point that 'true' and 'untrue' are meaningless qualifiers.

This self-deception is a product of our times, living in an age where one's own projection of themselves is the most important part of social life.  I saw a picture somewhere on the internet of what I guess I would call a “modern hipster” girl wearing those long, striped socks that go nearly up to your knee.  They are the kind of socks that, somehow, show that she is underground.  What I don’t think any of these kinds of people realize is that those articles that defined the people that didn’t care what others thought of them, thereby making them cool, was that they didn’t go out to a store specifically to buy ‘underground’ clothes.  The kind of people that did were the kind that wanted to emulate them.  But, now, that’s all there is.  Everyone wants to be cool by acting like they are on the flip-side of culture, when they are in fact its demographic.  In every facet of society, people live as sophists.  They only care about the presentation, and think they are enriching themselves.

The political structure is the same.  Every part of life is the same, and that’s what makes it profoundly saddening.  The form that political discourse takes is the epitome of the wrongness of the Human psyche.  Religious fundamentalists almost always win, and this is because they believe that there is nothing wrong with deceiving the public, with lying and misleading, with literally saying –anything- to get elected.  They believe that their most important mission is to benefit the corporation that is American Christianity.  They are usually hypocrites, usually are found out to be immoral (illegally so), usually disgusting examples of humanity.  But, they always win.  And they probably always will.

These things used to make me angry, but now that lead me to believe that the American strain of the Human race isn’t worth fighting for anymore.  In the grand scheme of things, it would probably be for the best of the United States inevitably self-destructs, even if horrible things happen without us shoving our guns down the rest of the world’s throat.  A thousand years into the future, there will be nothing good waiting for anyone if America persists as it is today, and will become if fundamental things don’t change for the better.  I don’t think that they realistically can, though.  I think that dishonest, selfish, religiously zealous people will continue to take advantage of all the idiots that believe in them, and the disparity between rich and poor will get larger and larger, national media will more and more be advertising channels for the powers that be, and religion will never stop dominating everything, to everything’s detriment.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three-Hundred Sixty-Five Degrees

There –was- a youtube channel I watched regularly called Matt Chat.  It was a 30-something guy who was a huge computer role-playing games nerd, who interviewed actual important people who made genre-defining games like the original Fallout, The Bard’s Tale (the original), Wizardry, and many others.  It was an interesting show, because of the fact that it was only made to show these interviews, and talk about the games themselves.  There was no ego in it, no ridiculous showmanship.  Just interesting computer game history.  It was the kind of show I always learned something new from about a subject I am interested in.  I think he’s a college teacher or something like that, and his lecturing skills are obvious when you watch the show, because it’s concise and easy to follow.  It’s like he was born to make the show, to talk about the subject of classic computer games. 

But, it wasn’t all that popular in the grand scheme of things.  I don’t think he ever reached more than 100,000 members (and probably less than a million total views).  And, he was rejected for the Youtube partnership program, which lets people with popular shows earn ad revenue from their videos (among other things).  So, anyway, him being rejected hit him hard, I guess.  He decided to stop doing the show, which I can understand.  At least, he decided to stop doing more videos for his youtube channel.

So, Matt Chat was taken up by a friend of his (I’m assuming it’s someone he knows).  I watched the first video by this guy, and it made me think a lot.  The video by this guy, Don, was so disappointing that I can’t even fully describe it.  I am a fan of old-school gaming and the history of computer games, RPGs especially.

First, the guy talks about how wasted he got at his New Year’s party.  Then, he spends like 10 minutes talking about Twilight, and why it’s not “gay” to like the Twilight series.  He goes into how straight, mature men can like it, and that Football is kind of gay for all of the ass-slapping.

The entirety of this video is a microcosm of the kind of people I hate on the internet.  It’s all a self-justification for liking something that is made for teenage girls.  I hate people who think they can slap the brand of “If it’s good, then anyone can like it” on anything –they- happen to like, even if it’s the steaming pile of shit that Twilight is.

The game he talks about is… surprise!  “Scene It” Twilight.

So, Matt Chat has gone from being done by a guy who knows a lot about video game history, about video game history, interviewing amazing people who revolutionized the gaming industry, people that directly contributed to my own childhood and adolescence, and adulthood, that inspired me to start programming in the first place.  It goes from that, to some guy first talking about how shitfaced he got at a Twilight New Year’s party, then talking about how it’s not lame to like Twilight, to talking about Twilight itself.  He actually says, “EVERYONE should have a Twilight party once.”

I know enough about psychology to know that this guy is, on some level, ashamed that he likes something that is so stupid and mind-bogglingly lame as Twilight.  I know that he is the kind of ego-centric idiot that always finds time and some way to work in anything that will make himself seem cooler.  I feel like I was watching a lecture by Bertrand Russell, which suddenly changed to a vlog by just about any standard Youtube user.

Twilight and Harry Potter are successful –because- they are sub-par literature.  They appeal to people who are emotionally still teenagers, because the majority of America are stuck in this state.  They never learned enough to grow up properly into a mature psyche.  This is why these two franchises became so popular.  This is why Star Wars became so popular (back in the 70s and today).  This is why the Lord of the Rings movies did so well, regardless of the books.  It’s all about dumb movies that appeal to idiots who think that high romance is being thrust in the adolescent turmoil of a 17 year-old’s love life.  There is nothing sophisticated about any of these things.  And it’s really sad.

But, enough about the pedantic waste of these things.  I think that the part of Youtube that is reserved for people who actually are interested in things – who want to learn about stuff that is fascinating and not just pop-culture bullshit – that part will be diminished to some extent with the loss of channels like Matt Chat.  I wish that he had just closed the channel, instead of turning it over to some moron who is going to ruin it from here on out.  I think a lot of the channel’s fans feel the same way as me.  It has been completely turned around, from being a source of knowledge to a source of dreck.

The most depressing part of it all is that this happens with countless things that I find online.  They always end up devolving into the lowest common denominator.  I think that the people who make truly great things should be proud of that, and pull the plug when it’s time.  They should never feel the need to keep on going when the spirit isn’t there anymore.  And, if they decide to keep on going, even with 10 viewers and non-existent interest, I would think they could still forge on and be proud of what they’re making, even if it only ends up being for themselves.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The inevitable gap between thought and scripture,
like the waves carrying their weight to the stake.
I never remember what I meant to single,
never remember what I meant to say.
I end up drinking a formless feature
to keep some small part of me that’s sane.