How We Really Got Here (part 3)

On my last post, I accused everyone of voting for their respective candidates because we only get news about things we like, and what we like is ourselves; therefore, you voted for you.  In the post before that, I accused everyone of voting for their respective candidates because no one sees nuance; everything is either “the best” or “the worst”.  This post combines those two (and segues nicely with the trending “alternative facts” conversation).

Reason 3: Fact as Opinion

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I remember the “Team Zelda” / “Team Kickle” days

I think we were all told when we were little that your opinion is as valid as the next guy’s.  Just because I like Zelda doesn’t mean that you can’t like Kickle Cubicle. Parents say that, in part, to show their kids that opinions are like assholes (in that it’s a disease-filled hole where weirdos like to play), and also to stop their children from having stupid arguments over stupid things.

As we get older, we all accept that as fact; your thoughts about double-ply vs. triple-ply are just as valid as mine.  Up until the invention of the iPhone, it’s how we spent the majority of pub-time.  Lately it’s become dangerous.

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SIngle-ply is for drug addicts and fecophiles

  1. This is my opinion.
  2. An opinion can’t be wrong.
  3. If it’s not wrong, then it’s right.
  4. Ergo, my opinion is right.

Any opinion that you have about anything is just as valid as anyone else’s opinion.  Therefore, their opinion is right too.  Everyone is right all the time about everything.  My opinion on global warming, race relations, abortion, gun control, health care, immigration, taxes, wealth inequality, and war are just as valid as yours.

Which brings me to the next logical level:

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Graphs are the sluts of math: they lie for anyone

My opinion is correct.  Facts are correct.  Therefore, my opinions are facts.  Not only are my opinions on global warming, race relations, abortion, gun control, health care, immigration, taxes, wealth inequality, and war just as valid as yours, they’re as factual as yours.  Even if I have uninformed opinions, these opinions are now facts: Bananas cause colitis.  The number six has evil origins.  Wrestling is real.  There’s no such thing as socks.  Every idea, no matter how unfounded, minute, or outlandish it may be, can now be a fact. Even if there is a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Hilary Clinton is a mass-murdering, uppity, national-secret-selling, only-rich-because-she’s-a-politician (literal) witch because I think so.  I voted for Trump because abortions are exponential murder, mexicans are stealing our jobs, taxes are way too high, global warming is a global conspiracy, the only answer to gun violence is more gun violence, and business regulations are the only things keeping me from getting rich.

Or…

Donald Trump is a mass-raping, self-aggrandizing, working-for-Russia, only-rich-because-his-daddy-gave-him-money (literal) sociopath because I think so.  I voted for Clinton because abortions are sacred, all minorities are better than whites, taxes aren’t being spent correctly, global warming is the single greatest threat our country has ever faced, gun violence is the single greatest threat our country has ever faced, and business regulations are the only things keeping me from getting rich.

You’re not an expert on any of this stuff.  You don’t have the facts.  But you have your opinions.  And they’re the same damn thing.

 

How We Really Got Here (part 2)

After I published the last article, I got a lot of responses of “I voted for Trump because he’s against abortion” or “I voted for Hilary to show my daughter that anything’s possible for her.”  You think that’s why you supported your candidate, but it’s really not.

Reason 2: Personal News

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If she said, “iTunes has become bloated!” she would’ve won in a landslide.

There was a lot of talk after the election about “Fake News”.  I agree it’s a problem, but not because the people who use Facebook aren’t used to it (some people hypothesized that the Baby Boomers got into Facebook this year and they’re computer illiterate) and not because young voters are dumb (even though they are).  It’s a problem because on social media, you only see the fake news stories that you already agree with.

I’ve said before that we’re living in In-Between Times where self-driving cars are almost available and racism is almost dead and dentists are almost obsolete.   Another thing that marks this era as In-Between is that a majority of people only read things about themselves.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube are all catered to individuals.  You post things about yourself – your thoughts, opinions, family gatherings, political leanings, meals, vacations, etc. – and your online friends do the same.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube are all free sites that function exclusively on advertisements (it really bothers me when people say, “I got off of Facebook.  They’re selling my information!”  Of course they are.  Facebook is free and you’re using it several hours a day.  If you kept giving someone a ride to work and they never paid you for gas, I don’t think you’d hesitate to sell any and all dandruff they left behind).

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For some reason, on my feed, this is always a “suggested post”

These advertisements are based on your posts.   All of these advertisements are catered to what you’ve posted.  If you’ve posted that you ate the Seven-Patty Burger, you’ll see ads for Steak N Shake (as a rule, I refuse to eat at anyplace that abbreviates “and”).  If your friend posts pictures of a family reunion at Disney World, you’ll start to see suggested posts about Florida vacations.  If you publish a joke about Donald Trump’s fetish for golden showers, you’ll see a lot of fake news about Trump.

It used to be that you’d read the daily paper while you drank your coffee and planned ways to sexually harass your secretary.  Then you’d go to work where people from all walks of life would chit-chat about the days events.  Then you’d go home, have a lasagna, pretend the your marriage isn’t one of convenience, and watch the evening news; you might even watch the nightly news right before bed.  Each of these outlets gave you different ideas and viewpoints to consider.  Maybe there were only nuggets of something interesting: in the morning you read that “Nazi” means “national socialist”while you were eating bacon, ham, links, and patties.  Then Archie mentioned that “social security is socialist” while you were finishing off that bottle of gin right before lunch. That evening, the local six o’clock news mentioned that “socialism can sometimes be confused with communism” while your wife was hinting that she wouldn’t have an opium problem if she’d married Vernon (he’s a dentist now).  Then the eleven o’clock news had an op-ed piece about how “the ‘socialist’ part of ‘national socialist’ is just for show.  Nazi Germany is a fascist state” as you drift off thinking about paying the colored man down the road a nickel to bust up your chifferobe.

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Look how happy everyone was in the 50s.  I can see why conservatives reminisce

You had to think about those nuggets and put it together yourself; you had to mull over the pros and cons.  Most importantly, though, you had to hear differing viewpoints – all day, every day.

(As a side-note, I also think it’s weird how all the subjects we used to reserve for small talk are now off limits: religion, politics, money, even the goddamned weather)

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Be honest; you have no idea what this is

No one reads the paper.  No one watches the nightly news.  No one checks Google Scholar to see what legitimate cancer research is being done.  With all the information available to us – literally every album ever recorded, every book ever written, every film ever made is available for free on a computer that fits in your pocket – none of us check to see conflicting viewpoints.  Forget “Fake News;” who’s to say what’s fake when we can’t agree on the truth.

We all get on Facebook, share a video of how entitled Millennials are, check and see if The Ex has gotten fat, and scroll through dozens of sponsored links, shared links, and suggested links all spouting the same thing:

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In short, we used to be exposed to everyone else’s point of view on every topic under the sun.  Now all we see is version after version of ourselves.

How We Really Got Here (part 1)

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Unlike “Cosmo”, which is written for women by gay men

Ever since I got the internet, I’ve seen a bunch of people trying to wrap their brains around How We Got Here.  Hashtags like #IsThisRealLife permeate the internet (which is sad that legitimate news agencies feel that there’s a story in #mansplaining) because no one can seem to see all the levels.  Or, rather, no one can sum up in a few short words how we went from super-progressive to super-regressive in one election cycle.

So, for the next few posts, I’ll be talking about the various overlapping explanations of how a reality tv star ended up being President.

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DJ Pauly: 2020.  “A Younger, Sexier Orange President”

Let’s look past the obvious explanations of the Democratic Party rigging their own system (Bernie could’ve easily won) and the media dividing people on Obama (some outlets said Obama was after our white women, while others said that he’s probably what Jesus would’ve looked like if Jesus was real).  Let’s also look past the obvious Republican Party rigging their own system (there were over twenty serious-but-still-inept candidates for president) and the casual voting attitudes of young “people” (you’re not a person ’til you’ve hurt yourself by sneezing).  I want to focus on some of the less talked-about reasons.

Reason 1: Hyperbolic Speech

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My favs balm, bruh

I’ve talked about this before, but no one seems to have gradated opinions anymore; there’s nothing nuanced.  There’s no such thing as “I think I like the Reduced Fat Cheeze-Its better.  They seem to be a little saltier.”  It’s now “They. Are. AMAZING.  Eating the regular brand is like eating a live kitten dipped in ground-up gefilte and dipped in wart removal.”

I’ll admit that hyperbolic speech is funnier; I’m sure you get more “likes” with “My Mother-In-Law talks to me like I’m the retarded offspring of Lemmy and Demi #hotgirlscantbesmart” than you do with “My Mother-In-Law is a peach.”  But that isn’t how people actually think.  Or at least it didn’t used to be:

I have a lot of faults, among them is the that I have no idea when I’m being rude.  The Wife finds it endearing, but the rest of society doesn’t.  So, I act as if I have manners – I study the rules of society and pretend I understand why, when, and how to use them (for instance, did you know it’s rude to show a co-worker that “ugly christmas sweater” with the boob-hole cut out?  The notary public that signed the restraining order said it is) – and because I acted as-if, I’m now able to identify a lot of rude behavior.

This same phenomenon is happening all over the internet; people pretended to have extreme opinions about things because it stirred up conversations, got a lot of “likes”, and brought a lot of attention (and, in the case of media and other companies, it also brought money), but now this “acting as if they use extreme thinking” is becoming real.  No one used to think Bill Clinton getting a BJ was a good thing, but at the same time, no one wanted him to get fired; now people compare it to rape.  No one thought Ronald Reagan was a great president, but at the same time, no one thought he was awful either; now people compare him to Jesus.  No one says “Bill has his personal faults, but he got a lot of work done, especially with the budget;” no one says “Ron was definitely a family man, but the economy was never as shitty as it was when he was in charge.”

So here’s what the election turned into: Clinton murders people on a daily basis; therefore she is evil.  Trump wants to be a dictator; therefore, he is evil.  It just so happened that more people in key demographics (I’m sure the gerrymandering didn’t hurt) believed that Clinton was more evil than Trump.

Dexter Review

mv5bmtm5mjkwmti0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwodqwmtc0oq-_v1_uy268_cr70182268_al_I’m not a fan of binge-anything.  I don’t overeat at Thanksgiving, I’ll have about one drink per hour at the bar; I could go through an entire calculus textbook in a day, but I don’t know how much I’d really learn.  I honestly think that we’re built to discover something, let that something sink in, and then move on to the next thing.

But, Netflix…

Because I’ve been up to my nipples in kids and houses, I’ve missed out on a couple of cultural milestones over the past half-decade (did you know there is a woman who has a very popular iPhone app about shopping and who was able to accomplish making the app popular because she got famous by having sex with a football player and she was able to do that because she was already sort-of famous because her mom used to be married to OJ’s lawyer, then later married a Wheaties decathlete who then became a woman?).  Case in point: Dexter.

I watched all eight seasons this summer.  I can see what all the hype’s about.  It’s very good.  Unless you watch all eight seasons in one summer.

It looked to me like the writers had an entire season outlined before they started writing anything.  If you look at season one, everything is perfectly timed, perfectly scripted, and perfectly executed (puns are hilarious).  The writers don’t start it off by giving us a Dexter on his first kill; he’s been at it pretty steadily for about 15 years.  Instead, they start off by giving us his fascination with another killer who kills better and cleaner than he can.  We then see flashbacks of him as a kid where his dad is showing Dexter how (and who) to kill without getting caught.  We also have a voiceover where Dexter is constantly talking about how he has no emotions and how he doesn’t understand how people deal with them and about how killing is the one thing that might fill this void that others seem to fill with emotions (by the way, I’m not a big fan of voice-overs, but it’s really the only way that we could see that Dexter is constantly second-guessing himself as he’s interacting with normal people in everyday situations).  We discover who the Ice Truck Killer is along with the other characters; we discover more about Dexter’s past along with Dexter.  It feels like it’s happening in real time – like a novel told in present tense.  But then, I think, because the show got so popular, it turned more and more into a police-procedural show.

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Every retiree’s favorite show

If you’ve ever seen Law and Order or any show with a the word “Blue” in the title, you’ll immediately see that all people are interchangeable and they react to things based on what’s convenient for the writers, not what’s true to the characters.

For instance:

  • In season one, Batista gives Dexter some advice that basically amounts to, “Don’t bother with emotions.  That’s a woman’s territory.  You should deal with the sex.”  It might be crude, but if that’s how Batista thinks, we now have a character trait.  In the next season, his M.O. for dating is to be as caring as possible.
  • In season 1, Dexter describes Rita as someone who is just as damaged as he is because of her abusive ex-husband.  After an unsuccessful hump-attempt later on, Rita basically says, “I’m just being silly.  You would never hurt me like my ex-husband did.  Let’s screw” and shrugs it off.
  • In season six there’s a character named Louis who is so scared because of an implied threat that he breaks up with his girlfriend.  In the very next season, Dexter breaks into Louis’ apartment with a knife and Louis responds with, “No one messes with me.”
  • At the end of season six, Debra is seeing a psychologist to talk about the stress she’s been under.  It comes to light that she might be in love with her adopted brother.  Season seven picks up that night: the psychologist never comes up again and this love revelation is mentioned twice more, once in a hackneyed dream-sequence and the other where Dexter replies with, “Oh.  What do you want me to say?”

When the series started, it was pretty clear that the writers were just going, “What if Dexter never had a code” and then we get a season about the Ice Truck Killer.  Or “What if Dexter had a wife and kids” and then we get the Trinity Killer.  As the series progresses, it’s almost like they change their philosophy to, “Well.  We haven’t done a split-personality yet” and we get the Doomsday Killer.  Or “Maybe this season, we could have a female serial killer” and we get Lumen.

Eventually, as we get to the end of the series, all the bad actors are killed off (which I love.  They pretty much die in order of how bad they act) and all the good actors are trapped saying lines like “We’ll canvas the neighborhood.  Get a couple unis to tail that bastard.”  Instead of discovering things with Dexter, we watch a crime and then watch the detectives figure out whodunit.  Instead of flashbacks that inform us how it is Dexter came to be, we watch as Dexter bounces ideas off his imaginary father. Even the series-wide focus of Dexter learning to understand feelings is torpedoed by the series finale.

Here’s the breakdown: season 1-3: five-stars

Lose a half-star for every season after that.

A Quick Review of Suicide Squad (that points out something other reviews glossed over)

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It looks like it’d be fun.  Look at all those colors.

After watching Suicide Squad (I didn’t plan on seeing it – I pride myself on identifying bad movies by their commercials – a friend of mine had a few hours away from the family and he likes anything Batman-related), I read a bunch of reviews to see if I was the only one who hated everything about it.  I was not.  The majority of the reviews talked about how the acting is bad, the dialogue is bad, the bad guys don’t seem to be all that bad, there are inexplicable music videos scattered throughout, Jared Leto as an awful Joker (I also read a lot of tangents about how Heath Ledger ruined any future Joker and how Leto should’ve been much better considering all the rumors about him being “in character” and using that as an excuse to be an asshole to his castmates), and the obvious attempts to “lighten it up” after the reviews of the history-will-show-that-it-is-preposterously-named Batman vs. Superman.  No one mentioned, though, the individual story arcs.

Good movies have a resolution of plot and a resolution of character: “we stopped the aliens and I regained my lost faith.”  OK movies have only a resolution of plot: “the aliens were going to invade, but we stopped them!”  Bad movies try to do both but accomplish neither.  That is Suicide Squad.

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Here’s the plot: a witch is trying to destroy … something … with dancing and green lighting.  The dancing is stopped and the green lighting is stopped, but things are still destroyed (the plot is like Married Sex: the beginning is a little too quick and a little too awkward, the middle’s not as fun as it could be, and the ending is totally expected yet somehow disappointing).  I wasn’t surprised by lack of plot.  I was, however, surprised by each character’s “story” arc.

  • Deadshot: He gets caught by Batman at the beginning because he doesn’t want to kill someone in front of his daughter.  By the end, he finds the courage to do so.
  • Harley Quinn: At the beginning, she’s likes to swing on a bedsheet in a cage and antagonize the guards.  By the end, she likes to drink cappuccinos in a cage and antagonize the guards.
  • Rick Flag: He has a stupid name at the beginning and not one other character says so.  By the end, he is patriotic.
  • Captain Boomerang: He’s angry and in captivity at the beginning (presumably because he’s an expert at the world’s most useless weapon).  By the end, he’s angry and in captivity.
  • Killer Croc: When we first meet him, his only defining characteristic is that he’s ugly.  By the end we see that he finally understands the depths of the human heart.  I’m kidding; he continues to be ugly and that is all.
  • Diablo: At the beginning, he swears never to use his power after what he did to his own family.  By the end, he finds the courage to kill again.
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From this episode description, I can see why they’d want to replicate this magical elixir.  

It’s almost like before production started, someone in power said, “This has to be like a TV show.  Everything is wrapped up by the time the credits roll and nothing can change.”  I’m thinking maybe the incomprehensible popularity of The Flash has somehow tainted DC’s movie outings.

 

The Angry Birds Movie


“Behind Blue Eyes” by Limp Bizkit is featured prominently in this 2016 release. 

End of review

If I Were You

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Everyone I talk to envies this current generation of teens . They say, “Can you imagine being 16 nowadays?  You’re never bored because of the phone.  There’s a hookup culture where anyone humps anyone.  Everyone’s fat now, so the hottest hottie will get with the fattest fattie.  There’s good TV.  You have access to every song ever made for free.  Everyone is accepting of everyone else.  Plus the porn!  Porn everywhere!”  On the surface, I agree.  But that’s from my point of view, growing up in the 90s.  I can’t imagine growing up with that now.  I can’t imagine how that would change me.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected believing that on-line life is just as (or more) important than actual life.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected going through the hormones of adolescence with a masturbation machine in my pocket.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected having 24-hour access to an unlimited number of friends, only to have no one get a hold of me.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected knowing I could listen to any song at any time, but never listening to an entire album by anyone.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected knowing that everyone I know eats fast food on a daily basis.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected knowing that if I made fun of anyone, it’d be considered a hate crime.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected knowing that I could learn anything I wanted without going to a class.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected having 24-hour access to an unlimited number of girls, only to have no one get a hold of me.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affected having never known a “normal” winter or a “normal” summer.

I can’t imagine how I’d be affects by having a continual and constant distraction in my life.