My Life Right In This Very Moment

public-domain-books

That damn thing happened again. This uncontrollable entertainer slash wannabe author has exploded inside me again the moment I started the life hacking away from the catering, home repairs and yards — odds and ends bullshit — and back toward my old way of being a hardcore nine to fiver giving up every day off I could to squeeze every drop of green out of the whole deal. It’s a problem. In one mindset it is key at this job app’d up point to go do the face-time thing anywhere where it’s not just a “blah, whatever” type resume submission.

But instead I’m in the process of opening a Patreon centered on my writing and just finally bought a web-cam of merit to adhere to the “best practices” guidelines they provide. Probably a new YouTube channel before long too. The thinking here is that, as I have whined about before here into the blogs, there really isn’t any good reason for me to online-publish things like pieces of upcoming fictional works and poetry anthologies. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this style of free-flowing Web content and this style of post would always show up on this blog.

However, when I look over my hard drive there is a lot of pieces on here that are better suited for a Patreon feed than just sheer live blogging potential future IPs so third-parties can just come in and give zero credit to the author while using a level of ads that is obviously excessive. People should get paid for their best work and art is work like any other. If I were to guess the objections some raise about this style of crowd-funding it’s that they don’t see writing, music, and art in general as something valid to pour money into unless it comes pre-packaged by the existing industry involved.

old_typewriter

What I think many are unaware of in this matter is that in the “old days” a writer of merit would receive an investment in the form of a large lump sum directly from the publisher then given a deadline to produce. This investment was expressly for living expenses, research materials, leisure time, and anything else that might enhance the final product. No going back from the Digital Era, obviously, so e-publishing is just a beast all serious writers have to tackle to ground or be eaten alive when you try and call yourself that in public. But there are many projects going on here and no time at all to finish all of them unless I do that thing where the heady stuff and the final draft prose is paying for itself.

Enough about that. My neighborhood was popping off a second ago. Live music from up the hill and little kids singing some pop song I don’t recognize from over the fence. Out here in the backyard after running around town a bit. This is Santa Cruz, CA by the way or “Surf City USA” or as I want to be known as the birthplace of NHS and Santa Cruz (Brand) Skateboards & Clothing. No I don’t work for them it’s more that you might have seen those stickers around and those are referring to my little surf / skate town here.

Think I liked San Francisco more but the housing costs are just stupid high so that’s off the table unless I could network that shit. Oh what else? All this poetry explosion going on in my head is probably because I’m in love again, which is nice but complicated when these new feelings are for a long time close friend who is keeping at a distance most days. Always been a fool for love but thanks to serious bumps in the road in my youth I can speak very openly and directly about these topics if people are comfortable enough with me to do so. Often the things left unsaid in romance can be sexier than spilling your guts twenty-four seven but oh doggies do things get complicated sometimes and the need for honest communication shifts into the foreground so strongly that it’s almost slapping you in the face.

Okay, that was a “rant” they call them in this box of digital expression that is linked to other boxes that occasionally do this creating unique ideas stuff. Peace, love and chicken grease.

computer_key_E
Eric Lightborn / Eruptide@YouTube out.

Anita Sarkeesian: Entrepreneur, Activist or Phony?

tumblr_mjbca99TtE1qdc32wo1_500

For those not keeping up with the pulse of YouTube: a channel by the name of Feminist Frequency run by Anita Sarkeesian has recently gathered $160,000 via Kickstarter to produce what is currently a three part video series focused on sexism in videogames entitled “Damsel in Distress.” Originally she asked for $6,000 for this project and spoke of academic value as well as intense research involved in the final product.  But the videos about videogames are only the catalyst in a tale of Internet Infamy that begins with feminism and ends with pseudo-science.

businesswoman

The dubiously high amount of money involved raised many eyebrows due to the fact that YouTube videos of this exact nature are produced on shoe string budgets every day. She refuses to allow comments or ratings which is a tactic looked down on by most Internet users for obvious reasons. Compounding this is some evidence to show she likely screen captured the videos of other YouTube users rather than recording original video from the games she supposedly bought for the research stage of the project. But I’ll return to that topic later. Whatever else may be true of Sarkeesian there’s no arguing that she has become extremely successful directly as a result of this Kickstarter project and is rumored to have entered the professional gaming industry as a consultant to EA Games on the title Mirror’s Edge 2.

image

Which brings me to the first quandary: Is she a capitalist genius or just a case of luck combining with opportunity? I don’t think it’s as easy as some of her detractors would like to discount her as simply a “troll” (meaning intentional instigator) taking it to the next level. That’s one possibility but considering the nature of human greed I find it also likely she uses pop culture as a crutch to avoid the more scientific elements of social commentary all while appealing to her base, in this case hard-line feminists, to keep the donations coming with lots of red meat. All the benefits but none of the heavy lifting. As an example of this she doesn’t present any information to the viewer about learned and demonstrated behavior in the field of Child Development Psychology which would be the cornerstone of a hypothesis involved in linking external input like the themes and plot devices in videogames with outward attitudes toward the opposite gender.  Fancy way of saying she is obviously not doing an academic piece.

download22

One thing that occurred to me when I saw her first video was most of her arguments could be transplanted to rail against rap and hip hop music, or against the fringes of the artist community, or pretty much any extreme form of expression. But somehow I don’t imagine a young woman who wants to decry the evil rap music industry right next to figures like Bill O’Reilly and Pat Robertson would catch much traction on YouTube. Sarkeesian’s main point in summation, while it takes a different route to get there, is no different from the position of the religious right-wing: society is harmed by things I find offensive being popular.

community

That brings me to my second quandary: Is she an earnest activist that is merely making amateur mistakes or is there intentional deception by stating her opinions as facts numerous times? Again I’m not entirely convinced the worst to be true. It’s not all that impossible most of what she has presented that has ruffled feathers is just us witnessing a slow learning curve on her part to avoid logical fallacy. I read some old political posts of mine and felt deep shame … because I wrote them prior to taking a college course on critical thinking and proper argumentation. So hey, total benefit of doubt thing going on here. But to ever buy this one in full I need to see her start basing factual statements in facts and come to see that if you decry a social injustice you perceive but provide no positive solutions then others who feel as you do are left feeling disempowered (common theme in her videos) instead of united in this common worldview.

laptop-thief

My final quandary: Are we being lead around by the nose here or not? The strongest point that leads me to think this a con artist at work is not so much the large pile of cash she got but rather what other users pointed out: she is almost certainly using footage of Let’s Play videos (someone voices what is essentially a podcast alongside a game they’re playing) to pad out her game footage shots and blatantly ignores or misrepresents the context within a story line she critiques. As a quick example of misleading viewers about the contextual story line within these games she references Fable 2 as a title that represented the “male revenge fantasy” overlooking the fact you can select to be female without affecting any element of the story and after the death of your sister you are mentored by a powerfully authoritative female character. As to the other point I’ve heard some users say she “stole” these clips of game footage but (1) not giving attribution is bad Web-etiquette but not stealing per se and (2) with the exception of the audio these Let’s Play videos are likely the sole property of the game makers or YouTube not the person who used a computer to mesh together game play and commentary. Find a copyright lawyer to really nail that down but in the case of potential plagiarism I’m near positive that unless they have a partnership with a gaming company thus a legal department behind them they can forget about this sort of thing being declared anything other than Free Use by YouTube. That said, it’s beyond suspicious to me that such a highly funded project would borrow footage in this way at all.

Crying-girl-1024x768

The sad part is no matter what Sarkeesian holds as her true intentions the focus on tired clichés being overused in gaming and how these plot devices, or tropes, are used to enforce unfair gender stereotypes is an opinionated stand to take but it’s just a simple fact that the professional gaming industry is predominately male and could greatly benefit from say a youthful female voice on YouTube encouraging women to strike out toward careers in gaming design and development. I have no doubt the gaming industry as a whole would welcome a more gender balanced input when it comes to design and development. The number of female gamers in the market keeps rising and they often bring different tastes and expectations to a videogame than male gamers do.

But instead of that sort of encouragement, so far anyway, we have three videos that contain contradictions and have yet to succeed in proving or even attempting to prove the central premise that fictional fantasies lead to negative attitudes and beliefs about others. We already beat that horse to death with the whole violence in the media causes violence in real life bullshit that was debunked over and over again.

Correlation is not causation, Anita.

—-

More Video Links:

More than a Damsel in a Dress: A Response” by KiteTales

Three Simple Questions for Anita Sarkeesian” by IWALVG

Female Game Developer’s response to Tropes vs Women” by dolldivine

Damsel Trek…” by Triox45

GAME OVER: Anita Sarkeesian has won” by MundaneMatt

Things I Didn’t Want To Show You

Release

My heart should be pounding out of my chest, my knees should be shaking, my mind should be racing, but I feel kind of … peaceful … up here. Pigeons flutter out into the wind between these giants of steel, concrete, and glass. My feet inch closer to the edge. The wind should be up enough for kite flying in the park … that shouldn’t matter to me now … I’ll be falling soon.


I stand on the small granite lip before a two-hundred story plunge atop the tallest building I could find without fences or locked doors blocking off the roof. The cars below look like the small toys I once had, the people like specks of paint moving across a gray canvas of sidewalk. I can feel the wind doing what I want it to … pulling me closer toward the edge. My fingers are wrapped around a metal pipe just below the short granite wall running the parameter of the rooftop. With each slow second that passes I can feel my grip loosening.


Voices, probably police, are behind me but I can’t hear them. I can’t hear anything but the rushing of wind between the skyscrapers and the birds cooing and flapping their wings at both sides of my feet. The time, I hadn’t noticed before, the time up here is slowed. Like time itself is attempting to run underwater, to swim upstream. Every second an hour, every hour a day. I could have been on this ledge for a year, or a decade, by now. I could stay another decade or two for all the wondrous peace I’ve found.


Like the crack of a whip my reasons return. Not a soul in the god-forsaken city cares about me more than they care about a stray cat, or these filthy birds at my feet. I have no one close, not the way I want … not the way I need. Sure I have a mom and a dad and all that; it doesn’t matter now though. Everybody tells you you’re doing good if you got that but I think everybody has something more, something they hide from me, and they say all that crap to make people like me feel better. What good is someone if you can’t really talk to them? What good is life if you get nothing from it? … The quiet up here is really, peaceful. Not even the birds can make a sound anymore, every single sound muted except for the wind howling, and pulling.


Some are sure to say I was living in my fantasy of not having what I needed of this world. Some are sure to say I’m selfish and blind what the world holds for me. Some people are worth even less than I. There isn’t anyone in this life who wants to hear the infinite melancholies and ever-resilient droning; but I spared as much for the worst of them. There isn’t anyone not bound to love who did so for very long. They could say they love me when I’m gone but do they? People who love one another – even a little in the only way that matters – give all they have, every effort, every pain, every single word, to see those they love be complete and at peace in even the smallest way. She wouldn’t do that for me and I’ve done it for everyone I could ever have hoped to … everyone … so drained of anything that was ever whole.


These reasons mean nothing, I mean nothing, this day is nothing, this instant is nothing. The process of birth to death is nothing, nothing. I let some tension out of my fingers and lean out to look over the edge … only the tips of each of my fingers remain clutching that cold metal pipe. I can see each ray of sunlight bounce off the windows below, I can feel each singular beat of wings against the air as every bird takes flight at once – enveloping me in feathers, a bed of feathers – as a the pure taste of cold wind forces it’s way into my mouth. I spread my arms into the sky as a forceful gust pushes my chest and face back from the edge and then let my weight pull me over.

Untold

If these words were writ in snow, the sun would melt them in a glance.


If these words were writ in a riverbank, the water would rise to wash them as the earth churned.


If these words were cast to the sky, the air would smolder then burn.


If these words were carved to stone, the land would swallow itself whole.


If these words were made to flesh, a soul would cross the divide as the first breath came to be.


These words cast unto me. Forever shall be the same, forever within me.

President of Fox News Lies Twice on ABC

 

Rodger Ailes, President of Fox News, appeared recently on ABC’s “This Week and was at long last confronted on his recent condoning of the most intense fear-mongering and incitement toward violence ever seen in modern U.S. politics & punditry via Glenn Beck of Fox News.

Ailes proceeded to make two non-factual statements and then attempted to dismiss the issue when confronted by Ariana Huffington. Two more pieces of misinformation to throw on the great pile of growing nonsense that is News Corp and Fox News. (And kudos to Ariana for bringing this topic to the table, as it is a very serious matter going mainly ignored.)

Ailes said that he believed it “accurate” to compare to this administration to that of Stalin or Hitler, or his words leave the question hanging as it is obvious to anyone that Beck was not speaking in a past tense of historical nature but in a wild-eyed screaming call to the present situation. Rodger Ailes lied on ABC airwaves in saying that Beck was talking about “Stalin and Hitler” when he spoke of “leading people to the slaughter.”

I could by the same tokens that Glenn Beck tosses around say that Rodger Ailes & Fox News are leading us to slaughter. Slaughter of the truth, slaughter of free speech, slaughter of ethical journalism. If Rodger Ailes truly supports the insane logic of Glenn Beck then surely he still understands the need to balance out perspective and provide everyone the opinion of people who think that they are the ones destroying America and intentionally creating fear and hate for the sake of sheer greed. Would that not be “fair and balanced“?

Ailes also created a false apology from Glenn Beck, that never happened. Glenn Beck never apologized for spreading racist lies about an elected leader of the United States of America, he only apologized for his phrasing and inserted literally the exact wording I used when mocking him here on the internet; almost verbatim.

Glenn Beck: “It is a serious question that I think needs serious discussion.”

Beck never apologized for what offended so many on many sides of politics, and we are supposed to believe that begging the same race baiting line of questioning is some kind of “apology“!?!

Rodger Ailes lied once again, in a very tight time constraint, to defend Glenn Beck from facing the truth and the light of day.

This would be very much like if I called it an “apology” to just repostDid Glenn Beck Commit a Murder-Rape in 1990?& links to GB1990.com and at the top of the post just inserted: “I phrased myself poorly before but this issue is very important and I think needs a serious discussion.”

One matter was settled though: Fox News is not a news agency.

When the president of an outfit states that he is “not in the news business, he is in the ratings business” then it proves case-and-point exactly what I, and many others, have said for a very long time: Fox “News” is not news, it’s just pure entertainment from every last inch of it right down to the news tickers.

It’s like a window into what it’s like to be a conservative for the sake of pure entertainment, and nothing more. Like an episode of “Lost” or watching “Family Guy” it is just a big bunch of fun … but when you really get down to it, it’s pure fiction just built to get ratings.

I’m glad that Rodger Ailes was honest to this regard, at least. Because he most certainly is not in the news business.

Ayn Rand Is Running The TEA Party

(Boston Globe)

There have been many valid questions raised as to just exactly who is running the much talked-about “TEA Party.” Is it Rush Limbaugh? Sara Palin? Glenn Beck? Joe Wilson? Rupert Murdoch?

Nope. It’s a dead author. An egomaniac novelist-philosopher that makes up some of the founding principals of libertarianism, but certainly was not directly involved with the conservatism movement in the least.

From beyond the grave, she now rules over the ever-pandering Republican Party and this so-called “tea party.”

Ayn Rand claimed to “individualism,” but had no interest in allowing for individual disagreement over her logic within her “inner circle,” and preached “objectivism,” but refused to be objective in terms of literary-criticism of her novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Here is this new “ethic” born of Ayn Rand that we see dominating the political right:

1. If you are poor, it is always your fault.
2. Asking for and receiving help is always wrong and a weakness.
3. Drive all compassion out of yourself.
4. You and your view are perfect, and cannot be wrong about anything.
5. Greed is holy.


Before anyone thinks I’m making all this up, let’s take a look at Ayn Rand in the news:

Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) has named Ayn Rand “Writer of the Year of 2009” and Andrew Corsello spoke in his article of the “youth appeal” to Rand and as to his own experiences with her writing that greatly mirror my own.

2,000 pages of you’re-either-a-lion-or-a-leech ideology, loathing over Shakespeare, Beethoven, Marx, government, “subnormal” children, “simpering” social workers, homosexuals, and all of it with no grace, no subtly.

Philandering Republican Governor Mark Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail with Ayn Rand in the November 2nd issue of Newsweek.

While Rand’s philosophy was based on individual’s absolute freedom, Rand herself exercised a dictatorial control over her followers. Her chief acolyte (and lover), Nathaniel Branden, once circulated a list of rules for Rand’s inner circle to follow; one of them read, “Atlas Shrugged is the greatest human achievement in the history of the world“; another said, “Ayn Rand, by virtue of her philosophical genius, is the supreme arbiter in any issue pertaining to what is rational, moral, or appropriate to man’s life on earth.”

Ayn Rand has shifted in and out of favor, but she may be more relevant today than ever.

Lastly, do not forget that the anti-reformist  TEA Party have long since adopted this mantra of “Who is John Galt?”


I feel I have the answer these people seek, as to the identity of John Galt.

It is rather simple:

“John Galt” is nothing but what you read now, something that came from the mind of another.

I created “Little Suzy” for the sake of a online discussion in regards to the health care debate in the U.S.

“Little Suzy” and “John Galt” are one in the same, yet different sides of the same coin. Pure fictions created solely for the purpose of enforcing a point of view. In the case of “John Galt,” he is a construct for the protagonist to encounter and in the case of Ayn Rand’s writing to promote the concept of the “individual capitalist.” In the case of “Little Suzy,” she is a collaboration of non-fictional individuals in the real world who have suffered at the hands of the for-profit medical insurance agencies and she exists as the protagonist and the insurance company actuary the antagonist in a story where she dies from treatable cancer after being exempted from insurance coverage.

Who is Little Suzy?

She is the little girl who died because anytime someone speaks of health care reform in the U.S. the hounds of arrogance and venom are unleashed by the nearly completely partisan right-wing, thereby serving no purpose except to prevent all rational debate and civil discourse over the facts.

Ayn Rand and her TEA Party enjoy saying statements such as: “Some opinions are just wrong.”

Completely false and obviously founded in high levels of hubris. Nobody can ever be “wrong” about their own opinion. You can, however, be inaccurate about the facts.

The rejection of all facts is not “objective,” nor is it representative of “individualism” so much as it is a practice of willful ignorance.

I am perfectly willing to debate differences in opinions about the role of government and the role of the private sector, but often those heavily influenced by Rand feel that they are justified in their self-critiques of themselves as “geniuses” and “gifted.” One Randite, who goes by the name Malice (oddly enough), spoke in the GQ article of how Ayn Rand appeals to adolescents who are feeling dejected and find that the words of Rand are a reminder that, “you were right and everyone against you is wrong.” I believe he phrased it quite well as to what the true motives and core beliefs behind this movement truly are: self-superior logic. If someone disagrees with you, they obviously are not as smart as you. Or some other perverted form of backwards-logic that truly only serves to allow for people to behave like fools and be smug rather than civil and then call that “sound logic” and “spreading the truth.”

I feel I must disclose that part of my distaste of Ayn Rand is more complex than simply that I believe she is over-rated and outright immoral; it how she very much resembles myself in certain ways.

I am a writer, but like Ayn I do not simply “write.” From one writer to another reaching out across time I must admit I feel some connection to this woman. In my more jocular moments I speak of how the real problem with the world today is that nobody is listening to me as how to get things done. In a strange way, I suppose I could explain her appeal to someone who was completely flabbergasted by the nature of all of it. But I laugh good and hard about how silly and arrogant I sound in those moments, whereas Rand was actually serious about similar statements. There is a big difference, in the end.

I am composing a piece of societal-commentary right next to the creation of my own philosophical foundations along with simply writing fiction and short essays. I am prone to start coining -isms and start throwing them around as if there is a movement going on. I am a “populist for peace,” a “realist for media-integrity.” And so on.

Perhaps most profoundly is that in haste and inflamed passion I might lean toward alignment with this notion that I am vindicated by some gift of intellect over any misdeeds I commit; that I can treat my opponents in a way that I would never wish to be treated and they are the ones at fault not I.

When one takes a hard step outside of the ideological boxes that people like Ayn Rand and myself tend to create around ourselves it becomes clear that the two of us did share some common bonds beyond simply both being fiction writers.

In the name of compassion and mutual understanding I have to come to know this piece of what I call “wisdom” as to Ayn Rand’s similarity to any person who strives to take their writing and use it as a tool to display what they see in the world.

Alan Greenspan was one of many Randites who have come to see the failing in their former logic.

Greenspan, to his credit, came forward in the height of the global economic meltdown to speak out against the exact same kind of “free-capitalistic” business practices that caused the crash. He clearly stated that he found “[a] flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.

Conservatives and libertarians greatly ignored and widely dismissed Greenspan and his unsubtle rejection of these “Ayn Rand Economics” or “Free-Market Capitalism” styled politics that he had once been a strong advocate of. I contend that these people do not care to explore flaws in their ideological stances and instead (in greater and greater numbers it seems) only seek to create an atmosphere of me-versus-you if any person is in anything but outright agreement if not an atmosphere of outright violence.

Ideals like “selfishness is a virtue” and “greed is good” above all else drove us into a lasting national recession while the GOP and the TEA Party continue to advance the abandoned ideologies of Greenspan that ultimately serve only to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The disgusting and shameful element being that was the stated goal of these ungracious self-serving monsters to begin with: a ruthless war on the poor and the middle class.

Dishonesty and willful ignorance dominates the TEA Party, right along with the radical GOP, leaving me to assume that no less than Ayn Rand coming from beyond the grave is the one who is truly running the party.