Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

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.

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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.

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?

Religious Preferences

Posted: 2010/09/19 in Blog

I have become amazed in recent years over religions (and non-religious people) all flaming each other and making sure that they are the squeekiest wheel.  I love how many religions scream and hollar and make as much noise as possible about another religion having the adacity to spread their word.  Isn’t making all that fuss about not listening to that message because this message is better/makes more sense the same exact thing?  Most of the world’sreligions say to spread the message in some way.  Let everyone spread their message, who cares, it doesn’t hurt you!  Guess what i do when people like the Jehova’s Witness come to my door?  I thank them for caring about me, tell them that I have already found my path, and bid them a good day.  We always hear speak of religious freedoms, but then we don’t let religions dare to practice in public or try to recruit.  They can only do it behind closed doors. 

I regularly catch crap from my circle of “free thinking” friends for being Christian, but i find myself more open minded then most of them, save maybe one.  Non-Christians dismiss me for being Christian and Christians dismiss me for my free thinking views.  I don’t know at what point in the religious freedom movement it became unacceptable to be Christian.  I’ve never even been a bible thumper.  My view on the bible is that it is a literary work of traditions and views written by man that were inspired by what they believed in, and that’s my views of all holy scriptures of all religions.  My belief is that there is a supreme being that enabled everything.  I believe that we were each created from a greater power/energy and thus return to it when our physical bodies die. 

I have chosen to apply these beliefs to the Christian teachings and lessons and find the similarities within rather than tearing away from.  My studies have shown me that most all religions believe the same basic thing, there are just some variation between the stories used to narrate the ideas and how people have chosen to interpret these stories.

My beliefs are not what are important here, they just provide some bearing and insight on where i am coming from.  My main point is i’m tired of hearing from the in your face zealots; they give all religions a bad rap.  Practice and believe what you want, hold conversations with other about what you believe, but don’t believe for a minute that standing on a pedastol and screaming about why my religion is wrong makes you any better than my religions evangelicals that you hate so much.

BP: we drill or no relief?

Posted: 2010/09/03 in Blog

As if BP had not already disgusted me enough, they have now enfuriated me.  There has been a recent legislative proposal to bar any company from receiving permits to drill on the Outer Continental Shelf if more than 10 fatalities had occurred at its offshore or onshore facilities.  BP is, of course, fighting this as they want to drill.  They have even thrown down the card that this may prevent them from being able to fund the relief effort.

I say this, no relief effort, no USA business!  I have already made the consious choice to not fill up at a BP untill they have fully resolved the Deepwater horizon crisis.  Now that they want to play hard ball with us over the relief effort, I say we play hard ball back.  I’m sure that some crack pot lawer somewhere will state that it’s somehow unjust to penelize a company for an accident, but that’s not what I’m saying.  Guess what all of us regular folks have to do when we have an accident?  Answer: we clean up after ourselves!

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