A Brief Study of the Antihero

Posted: 2011/01/31 in Blog

Through our history we have all looked up towards someone that stood on a pedestal, in our minds, above everyone else.  Most traditionally, the people and characters have been people that accomplished great good or stood their ground against some sort of suppression and have earned the title of Hero.  As time has passed we have tired of our heroes and have started looking for something more, seductive; this birthed the rise of the Antihero.  The antihero is a person or character that performs amazing feats but they do so through less than morally or legally acceptable means.

Antiheroes themselves can probably be broken into tragic heroes and protagonist villains.  Tragic heroes have usually suffered through some sort of transgression in their past but are now rising above their past to achieve something good.  Tragic Heroes would include: Batman, XXX, and Oskar Schindler.  Protagonist Heroes truly are villains but are placed in the spotlight and followed for what it is that they are doing.  Protagonist heroes would include: Michael Corleone (The Godfather), Dexter, Alexander the Great, and the crew from Ocean’s 11.

Pure and tragic heroes give us something to aspire to and believe in.  Most every one of us would like to believe in the inner good of everyone around us.  These heroes stand up as our protectors and defend us from evil because it is their duty to do so.  The golden age of comics was full of these kinds of heroes as it inspired a nation and people loved these characters.  Antagonist heroes were born of a darker place within us. These antagonists gave us something darker and more care free to look towards.  The sheer amount that Alexander the Great accomplished inspires people to this day to go out and make their own claims to greatness, but when we really examine his accomplishments, they were of conquering and enslavement.

So why do we need the antihero and what purpose do they serve?  The antihero is a manifestation of the darkness in our world into the stories that are told.  No longer can we naively watch Superman catch the bad guys to save the day, we need the Dark Knight, Batman to beat the living crap out of the scum of the Earth; and then we need The Punisher to come in and kill them all in a massive blood bath.  Finally we say screw it and watch Michael Corleone run his mafia from up high while he criminalizes thousands.  It’s a deep seed inside of us that sort of just wants to watch others suffer and/or watch ‘the man’ get taken down.

There may be a danger to celebrating the Antihero.  The more we celebrate these acts, the more we see these acts come into real life on the news.  Most will say that there is no correlation between fiction violence and real world violence, but I must ask if we are that blind to the trends.  In books, on television, in the movies, and in our video games, we are finding more and more antiheroes of both kind emerge to give us our share of bloodshed.  Can a mature adult handle gunning people down in the airport while playing a scene from Call of Duty?  Yes, they can.  How about the six year old kid sitting on the couch watching daddy do and seeing how positive of a reaction comes from cheering him on?

I know that only accepting the Pure Hero is both naïve and boring; I also recognize that just because the antiheroes do it, doesn’t mean that we are promoting their audiences to do so.  I just question whether or not we ever consider the impact of these things in our world.  Do we blindly follow our lust for dark adventure, can we separate the line between fact and fiction, and what do we need to do to better our society?

An amusing side note to all of this is that I am a fan of the darker fictions, antiheroes of obth types, and I do play all of the shooter games that I can get my hands on. This is merely a point that I have been pondering and felt the urge to explore.

Not-So-Happy Meals

Posted: 2010/11/14 in Blog

Unhappy Meal

I must start this particular rant on parental responsibility by stating that I am not a parent.  A community has recently pushed legal measures preventing toys being given away in unhealthy meals.  Apparently rather than teaching their children to follow directions, they’re showing their children that it is better to give directions.

The toy in the Happy Meal is a long standing icon in Americana.  It’s something fun that you get to do every once in a while when your parents take you out for fast food.  Yes, it is a tactic used by executives to drive sales and get children to ask for the treat more often, but it is the consumer/parent choice to say yes or no to these ads, not the child’s.

More and more I see our culture participating in fail enabling.  Parents have now fail enabled themselves and their children by removing having to say no to something and explaining why they said no.  These parents should grow a freaking backbone and stand up to their kids!  A serious problem that we have in this country today is the fact that our children are being allowed to just float through without ever getting to learn lessons of their own.  If we remove the flame from the stovetop oven, our children will be safer from it; if the kid gets a little burn from fire they’re now smarter and know ‘fire bad.’  By removing the toy/unhealthy meal, it removes the parent explaining why the meal is bad.  The child will now just grow up unaware of poor food choices and binge on it when they get old enough as they no longer know any better. 

I know that my point is slightly stretched out, but it is truly part of a larger problem in our society today.  We are telling our children that they can accomplish anything without showing the obstacles of life; we are letting our kids think that it’s not just about succeeding or winning, it’s just about trying.  This has led to a generation that is only happy with instant gratification as anything that takes effort to do just must not be the right way to do it.  Why is China surpassing us and India catching up to us?  Their citizens have to work hard to achieve ANYTHING in life.  They can’t just sit quietly in the background while their family or the government cares for them, they have to work hard for every meal they eat and they have to sweat for every luxury.

Random Journal

Posted: 2010/11/09 in Journal

Typing to see what happens.  I just decided to do a little bit of topicless, free-form typing to see where it leads.  It always seems to make sense to start with current events in my life. 

Nikki got promoted!  She is now an Operations Performance Supervisor at West on third shift.  I got approved to move to third shift with her, so now we’re night owls.  This will be a welcome change of pace for us as change is almost always welcome.  Unfortunatly, this puts us at the forfront of the quality versus make the sale debate; who knows, maybe that means we’ll find a good balance.  Third shift isn’t horrible, we stay up a little bit after work, sleep mid day into early evening and then have a little bit of evening to enjoy before work.  We’re hitting the busy season that hopefully makes up for the previous three quarters of slowness!  I really enjoy when the pace picks up and we start moving!

We’re going to make another attempt at going to the gym regularly, this time after work instead of before.  This, of course, means that we’re not regularly going and have given up on dieting again.  It seems like a constant struggle to diet and exercise, but we’re going to keep struggling forward in it.

In my quest to further my education, I am going to have to take some classes at Jamestown Community College to prove that i can, in fact, successfully complete college courses before Edinboro will accept me, so that is what I am going to do.  I have decided not to let anyone, including myself, get in the way of improving our status in life.  I will continue to push forward until I get my Accounting degree and pass my CPA certification.  My loving wife is fully behind me in this and I’m not going to back down.

Not really sure where to go from there, so I’ll turn towards politics.  As my regular readers know, i have continued to be politically active in my posts.  I have not, however, gone and registered to vote yet.  I will refocus my commitment to do register so that i may participate in the 2012 electoral process.  In today’s world of politics, the house & senate has been split; this is, in my mind a good thing.  Yes, it slows the process down, but it ensures that all interests are considered before things get pushed through in the end.  I continue to get frustrated by our overnment throwing money down the drain.  I think that both the government and we the people need to stop throwing our money down the drain and making decisions that hurt our ecenomy.  Spending a little bit more to support local businesses is a good thing in the long term.

I don’t know why, but I just decided to shoot for a thousand word posting, lol.  Oddly, making this decision has caused my mind to stall, damnit.

WINTER IS COMING!  I’m the psychotic person that actually looks forward to winter.  Fall and then winter lead into football, hockey, skiing, and drifting.  Drifting, for those that don’t know, was invented up north as a way of driving, the South turned it into a sport, but down south they’re too big of wusses to do it on the ice.  It always takes nikki about a month to get used to the fact that, yes, I’m sliding on purpose and, no, we won’t hit anything.  We just started following hockey this year.  We’ve been trying to go to an Erie Otters home game every pay period.  We find that we really enjoy going to these minor league games and watching them play their hearts out, the fights are fun too.  I really hope that i get to go skiing this year, I’ve missed the sport so much!

Over the summer, I developed my charcoal grilling skills with our new grill.  I’ve really liked the switch to charcoal as there is more you can do to affect the taste and it feels more like an art form.  With the cold weather coming, I’ve been moving towards my thick and hearty meals.  Made an awesome beef stew when the cold season started and a mild chili last weekend.  I’ll be looking to spice up my chili, now that I know a little more about everyone’s spice tolerances and I also want to try some new thick & hearty challenges, suggestions please!  Nikki laughs when we go shopping for my creations as I never know what i’m going to put in, I just walk around the produce section and wait for items to apeal to me; hey, it’s worked so far!  I’ll keep grilling through the winter, just means i have to shovel a path to the grill, lol.  I’ve been working more towards slow cooking on the grill.  With most all cooking, it seems that the longer it takes to cook, the better it comes out in the end.  Damnit, my stomache is growling now, time to stop writing about food.

My entertainment has been dragging a little bit.  It seems like there are no good games coming out anymore.  More and more, developers are just pushing crap through and everyone’s buying it.  PS3 has given me a nice distraction from PC gaming.  i definately recommend GameFly to anyone that plays console games.  It removes having to pay $60 for a game that may suck.  We are looking forward to Cataclysm to be released for World of Warcraft.  I pre-purchased my digital version the other day and Nikki is going to go out on release day and get the disc copy.  I just started reading the new X-Force comic from Marvel.  I got the first issue at the store front and then signed up for a subscription.  I really liked the comic and found that it was almost half the cost to subscribe.  I have fallen to only being interested in books with pictures in them, lol. 

Hey, I hit a thousand words!

I shall now sign off and leave y’all to enjoy my random ramblings.  Talk to y’all later!

It may be a scare tactic commercial, but I think the message holds true.

First time it came on, someone in the room said, “that’s not funny!”  I agree that it’s not funny, but I don’t think that humor was the purpose of the ad.  It is a scare tactic ad with a very powerful message.  The message is that we are spending money that we don’t have rather than hunkering down, cutting the fat, and weathering the school.  The only point that CAGW misses here is that it’s not only the government.  We the people have been the ones to drive this era of pure waste.  We the people seem to want everyone to give us everything because we believe it to be owed to us rather than because we worked hard to get it.  In our culture of every individual having their own car, phone, television, and computer, where do we think we have room to want more?  No, you can’t live like the people you see on TV, these are fictional situations and their lifestyles are partly funded by the networks that air the program.  The closest television program to “reality TV” would have honestly been ‘Rosanne’ not ‘Jersey Shore’.

If we want a future other than the one that the CAGW presents to us, then we have to start making the hard choices that president Obama spoke about when he was elected and stop throwing our money down the drain waiting for someone else to fix our problems.  Stop complaining that companies like Walmart are ruining local economies unless you are going to stop doing business with them.  Gather with people that are in the same situation as you, make an agenda, and let you local government know whoi you are and what you want.  Rather than reading political blogs like this and saying to yourself that what you read are good or bad ideas, actually type out you specific thoughts and get the ball rolling.

We are only as hopeless as the effort that we put forth.  Enacting change on a large scale is hard to do because everyone fears change.

US Prison System

Posted: 2010/09/27 in Blog

It never ceases to amaze me, how many luxuries that prison inmates have, that I can’t afford.  Well, if most of us can’t afford these luxuries, then give us our taxes back that pay for these inmates to have these luxuries.
Plain and simple, these people are being rewarded for doing something wrong.  It should be like when I got grounded as a kid; here’s your room, a bed, and some books and that’s it.  No cable tv, no fitness center, …etc.
I really believe that cable companies must be the ones lobbying behind candidates and then getting these prison contracts as rewards.

Does a government have the right to limit procreation?  30 years ago, the People’s Republic of China decided that the answer was yes, and since then, chinese families have been limited to one child per family.  The PRC government stated that it would reduce starvation and unemployment while boosting the economy.  The families were outraged that they were unable to establish the family that they dreamed of.

The People’s Republic of China introduced the 30 year policy in 1978 as a way to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China; they have now announced that the policy will continue through at least 2015.  A variety of fines and penalties are levied against any family having more than one child.  If a parent has a state level job, they will loose this job and the fines usually knock the family into poverty.  Interestingly, the PRC is less stringent on minorities and may allow certain ethnic minority classes two or three children to promote affirmative action policies in favor of ethnic minotiries.  The PRC has reportic positive impacts on heealth care, individual savings rates, and economic growth.

The majority of the world views the People’s Republic of China One Child poilicy as a violation of the human right to determine the size of own’s own policy.  As the generations effected by this policy have ages, it is being notwed that single children have more difficulty caring for two parents in their old age.  Many children were carried to term as the parent couldn’t abort and then orphaned the child, which has caused a rise of orphans in the PRC.  More wealthy families have turned to fertility medicines that increase the chance of mulitple births as there is no penalty to families that have twins, triplets, …etc.  This policy has caused a global outcry, starting in China.

So what’s my take on it?  I think that the PRC has the right idea, but went about it wrong.  Population growth by us ‘breeders’ has caused a horrible strain on the system.  Many young women today know that if they have enough children, they can ‘live off the system’ the way it has been established.  I do not think that it is the governments place to place a built in limit on procreation.  I do, however, believe that it’s within their rights to promote population control ideas and stop rewarding families that procreate beyond their own means to support said family.  I know that this runs into another one of those church issues with many Christian beliefs stating that birth control is sacralige, but i’m a big pusher of seperation of church and state, as many of my readers already know.  I think that two children per couple is a fair number, but shouldn’t be mandated policy.  I also think that there should not be financial reward beyond two children on taxes.

So, what does everyone else think?

Fall 2010 Lineup

Posted: 2010/09/24 in Reviews

Okay, so I decided to go with a non-serious post for today and just chat about the Fall 2010 television line-up.  What are we watching this year?  I am watching Big Bang Theory, The Apprentice, , WCG Ultimate Gamer, Fringe, and Smallville.  That gives me two dramas, two realtiy, and one comedy.

Big Bang Theory is probably known to most all of my followers.  It’s a half hour long geek fest of the most hilarious kind.  The show actually follows four scientists whom all work at the same university and live in their own little world of nerdy geekness.  Across the hall lives a hot blonde who, although not the brightest in the world, provides the real world interjections to their weirdness.  Many of my friends find funny little insiude jokes brought out on the tv and leave us laughing for the entire half hour.  If you’ve ever been a fan of a show or movie with the word “Star” in it, I highly recommend watching this one.

The Apprentice has been airing for several seasons now and is a reality show that pits business men and women against each other for the prize of a job with Donald Trump.  Granted, I may rather just win the salary and be done with it, but it is still an interesting show to watch.  Start with 16 business people and have them work their way through a variety of busniess related challenges to make the most profit or peek the guest clients interest the most.  Just like any other reality show, there’s drama to be had, but it reminds me more of office politics than who slept with who.  This season, Mr Trump has selected candidates who have all lost their job in the recent “recession” and is giving them all a second chance to get back to the big salaries that they had previously.  Even though eliminated, he seems to be setting them up for job interviews based on their credentials after being eliminated.

WCG Ultimate Gamer a reality show that airs Thursday nights at 23:00 on SyFy, but this one pleads to the video gamer.  Every week, the gamers compete in a different genre in both a real life challenge and a video game challenge.  For example during the First Person Shooter week, there’s a paintball challenge and during the racing week they brought in stunt drivers to teach them how to drift.  They score them in both challenges and then are weekly ranked by their average score between the two.  The last ranked individual is sent to the elimination chamber to face the first ranked person’s choice of competitor in a head-to-head, win or go home match.  It’s definitely fun to watch these gamers go at it and see their mad skills in the variety of games that hey play.  I’m personally rooting for Kat aka: “III Mystik III”.  She grew up in a family of gamers, each of which specialize in a different genre so she’s got experience across the genre board.

Fringe is a drama that airs Thursday nights at 21:00 on FOX.  Fringe is really what I always wanted the X-Files to be.  It’s about an FBI detective and her specialized team of civilkians that investigate the paranormal, metaphysical world in what they refer to as ‘The Fringe Division.’  Olivia is the detective and is a hard woman that can take most anything but is thrown into a world of weird with this whole metaphysical world.  She starts iff primarily as the non-believer, but is changed by everything that she sees.  She works with the father and son team of Walter and Peter.  Walter spent most of his youth experimenting in the metaphysical and drug induced worlds and is a master scientist in both metaphysics and chemistry.  Peter is a genius, but is primarily coined as a con man.  This show will definitely get you thinking and wanting more every episode.

Smallville is a drama about the growth of Clark Kent and his becoming Superman that airs on Friday nights at 21:00 on CW.  We have spent nine season watching Clark Kent and the cast of DC characters as Clark has grown into adulthood and learned what it means to be a hero.  He has fought hard to stay on the moral path and has been pushed to the edge several times, but has always come back.  In this tenth and final season, Clark will supposedly finally donn the cape and truly step into the role of Superman.

I look forward to all of my TV shows and wonder what it is that everyone else is watching this season.  drop a line and talk about thew shows I’ve listed or what you plan to watch!