Sunday, December 22, 2013
As I go to the store or a theme park or anywhere, we only talk to those we arrived with in a group.
Everyone's staring ahead.
Unconcerned by the many others surrounding them.
We have the closest replacement to any extension of new relationships; our electronics.
That keep us connected with the tenuous strings of wireless connection; effortless connection. Easy. Painless.
Too painless? Is this too careless? Or is communication to be muted and made harmless?
A fly away thing that doesn't require much substance, but a lot more of an instant gratification to interest our minds.
Let's throw weird stares at the strangers who try to talk to us, which is the only way to make it the norm.
Why the isolation of the rich array of human emotions? (e.g, teachers being afraid to hug their pupils, children not being able to do so in school either, etc.)
Has everyday convenience snuffed it out or made it awkward and insignificant, above the hurried tweets, instant messages, and self-explanatory icons?
It takes less effort to have only small doses of questionably meaningful discussion, so we can sacrifice everything to the behemoth that is modern-day living; the job and the shopping that the job's money entails, which the system wants us to do as much as we possibly can if not spend all our time on it, forgoing other meaningful pursuits and avenues of happiness. To finding balance.
But this is only what I observe: Am I wrong in my observations?
Like the picture above, are we glassed off to our fellow beings, afraid of being seen as weak and dependent enough to need steady and stable social interaction, an otherwise very normal thing.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Those of us who criticize and admonish the behaviors of pop singers get quickly labeled as slut-shamers or people who are living in the past. Supposedly, we are the anti-feminists.
But daily we are seeing our pop singers and entertainers in general engage in behavior that society as a whole deems wrong, morally and illegally.
Behaviors that many of us ordinary folk would get locked up for when trying to get away with it.
Miley Cyrus's admission to doing drugs in her gyrating 'We can't stop' video, a singer who has many young and impressionable fans, still gets heralded as a figure of female empowerment and we the stuck-up, slut-shamers who live in the past.
At least when it comes to certain dangerous drugs can we draw the line on how far this 'empowerment' should reach?
'She risks it all by revealing herself, emotionally...and sometimes physically,' is the praise for Miley, and many other pop singers or entertainers, the like of Rihanna, Niki Minaj, etc.
Is acting out 'shockingly' (let's face it, it's not as shocking anymore after many young stars mature and start participating in what I see as the same reckless behavior) and getting semi-nude or fully nude, female empowerment?
Do men take women more seriously for their public nudeness, and the perverts and predators looking for it?
Maybe the definition of empowerment will shed a much critical light, as well as some context.
The definition of empowerment is this, no more or less:
Was Miley, or Rihanna, or even Britney acting in 'a greater sense of confidence or self-esteem' when they each came out with their sexually-charged images after their American Sweetheart act was over?
Britney suffered some issues after everything was said and done. It could be argued that Rihanna also suffered some issues.
Did Miley act in a confident or assertive way, or did she just follow the crowd?
Could peer pressure have also played a role in Miley Cyrus's decision to do an array of drugs, as it has in many teens and young adults lives? Or was she just so empowered in who she was and as a female who can do anything a guy can do, that she had always wanted to do drugs and be the 'bad girl' and now she's of an age that she can fulfill that fantasy of drug use and bad girl awesomeness?
I don't think giving in to peer pressure, whether it be by friends or industry colleagues, is being confident and assertive in oneself or identity.
You could say the same thing for Rihanna. Was showcasing her sexuality her full decision or was it somewhat influenced by those at her record label because it would be more profitable to sell a hyper-sexualized version of femaleness?
No woman looks like Beyoncé or Rihanna; some men and women agree to this because they exude an out-of-this world sexiness and beauty, but there's a reason for it: do regular women wear the same make-up and clothes (and air-brushing) these stars do?
All stars are doing is selling an image, which should be enough to look at their actions with skepticism, not insults towards people like me for engaging in 'slut-shaming' or living in the past.
Is selling sexuality, and not even a good kind of sexuality, female empowerment?
Or is female empowerment being able to do whatever the f*ck you want without being influenced into doing it and truly being who you are, something a lot of people are afraid to be?
Was Miley afraid that her pop country act wouldn't sell, essentially being afraid that people wouldn't like her?
Female empowerment has a myriad of meanings, but it shouldn't replace decency or be mistaken for men-bashing, especially the men who are sometimes behind constructing female images for the masses to ogle at.
Female empowerment shouldn't be giving men the fantasy they've always wanted: A completely sexually freaky chick who doesn't seem to realize the meaning behind her own crazy antics.
Is a woman her face and body only?
Sunday, August 11, 2013
When you hear this word, you think of something sacred and unique to a specific people.
Not so much.
Like the title proclaims, culture is bought and in more ways than one.
Nothing is sacred from a corporation trying to make a quick buck on it.
Corporations have throughout history, with the help of advertisers or people willing to advocate their products and the ideals attached to them, changed culture to benefit themselves monetarily.
The evidence is looking at the town you stay in; how many small town businesses are around you?
Places that showcase some of the town's culture and history? They're sometimes referred to as the Mom and Pop stores and at times known for how well the owners know their customers, the town's history, and some keepsakes of the town it keeps in their stores.
Does Multi-national McDonald's or Wal-mart share any of these traits?
I mean, most, if not all, of Wal-Mart's products are produced in China, giving them a leg up on the thrift shop down the street that will eventually close in a few weeks.
It's not just discount shopping, you can see it in how products influence people.
In America, you are what you buy; it's as simple as that, and what you own gauges your importance on a scale.
So, we can infer that there is a business of buying culture. You can't really buy a product and then suddenly be a cultured, well-respected individual, but in America, you get pretty close to it when you buy something.
If I were to have a cheap phone that only called and texted right beside someone who had an android or windows phone that did a million or more things, they would feel superior to me in how they kept up with the latest things in our consumer culture and maybe how technological savvy they are compared to me although they might not know how to navigate the whole phone; others would feel like they were superior too (this is kind of an extreme example, but it fits a purpose).
Instead of gauging how important or cultured, or smart someone is through what they buy, why not talk to them and judge from their words and how well they speak. After all, that is the best way.
A product is really a hollow object, sometimes with no real value depending on how cheaply it was made.
Even if it was a luxury good that rightfully cost a lot of money, like a sports car, is the person who owns the car really all that cool and suave? It could be an elderly guy behind the wheel who usually stays in his house other than those cool drives in the sports car. Is that cool and suave?
Consumer culture subverts the true meaning of things. It's almost always an illusion.
What is American Culture? It seems to steadily be morphing into consumer culture or pop culture, even though pop culture (knowledge of what is trending with our tastes in music and clothes) circles around consumer culture (think of how many celebrities promote products to their kid fans and kids buy them because it will make them as cool as Justin Bieber or someone). How do you feel about corporations defining what is to be appreciated in culture, like cool clothes, cool this and that, because only cool people are popular.
I thought America was once a land about what you did for a living and how that profession helped people; now you simply get the job to buy the life-defining things.
Do you know how you can succeed in the mainstream music industry today and horribly suck?
But, you have to do so successfully.
How do you do that, you say? It's a little thing called Failing Successfully.
I underlined it because I made it a term.
A lot of artists are doing it, they just haven't put a name to it.
I mean, people know it by regularly assessing that you need no real talent whatsoever to be a singer or rapper, or anything to do with the entertainment business; except maybe modeling since you do need certain assets.
This comes from a pretty simple process: lower peoples' expectations enough on a gradual basis and soon you can flood the radio with garbage, something that record companies are really taking advantage of because it costs very little the more you can produce a cheap beat and put a crappy or semi-decent voice (doesn't matter) through auto-tune. That dreaded short cut to perfect, almost robotic voices that haven't the slightest human distinction to them.
And that's what record companies do: Get someone to write a catchy beat and hook, no matter how annoying, especially if its one of those dance songs, and you're in business.
Also, it would work better if the person behind the songs are physically appealing and who have this magnetism about them because of their wacky personalities or willingness to take risks (But its kind of their jobs to take risks to attract attention, for example crazy outfits or filter-less conversations for shock value) and have them on the tracks described above.
There are many examples, but I won't point out any lest you guys come at me with pitchforks over your favorite celebs.
I just wish music wasn't on a continuous loop of the same thing: boys, parties, women.
This music is good once in a while, but not all the time.
I want to hear some instruments, deep emotions about other sides of life than love (more like lust) and partying.
Show business is show business- a flawed illusion of perfection.
PART 2 COMING SOON
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Just wanted to tell you of a sort of experiment I've been doing for a couple of weeks now, and I had some interesting results from it, though its an experiment I've done off and on again for a maybe a few months to a year now if I take into consideration the times in my life I've consumed a moderate portion of high-fructose corn syrup or when I didn't have much of the substance in my diet.
It's not too accurate and scientific, but mostly how its effected me and how it might effect you.
Anyway, I am a person who doesn't eat a lot of sweets, now more than ever.
Look at two different labels for two different products and it is most likely contained in both, like for a example a can of chicken noodle soup and a jar of Grape Jelly/Pepsi soda (two things that I've actually witnessed).
But I used to eat a lot more sweets as a teenager than I do now, which wasn't all that long ago.
I weighed about 145-147 pounds then.
As I got older and start learning more about food and healthier choices, I cut back a lot on sugary drinks and the few candies and sweets that I ate (gummy worms, oreos, pop tarts, etc.).
I am 138 pounds last I checked, and this is with no difference in exercise since I still do the same thing I did in the past; walking and running with my dog and walking to nearby places or some with a little distance instead of using my car.
I actually ate a few sugary snacks today just to see how it would taste to me, the high-fructose syrup pretty prevalent in it evidenced by the label containing corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup on the same line, and it was disgusting.
I didn't know how it truly tasted until I took a break from it and tried it again; It was only 2 cookies and a Hawaiian punch drink.
It was awful; the taste was so bland except for a slight sweetness and tang that seemed completely weighed down by the thick juice.
Friday, August 9, 2013
It saddens me to say this about my elders, but those in the older generation don't know what they're talking about when they say young college kids completely lack motivation.
I am so tired of hearing it that I dedicate this rant to them (not all) and any other individual who believes the following myths....
"Well, if you get a part-time job, you won't have to take out so many loans."
Or..."you studied in debt with that useless major."
Let's examine these common reprimands of the youth.
"Well, if you get a part-time job, you won't have to take out so many loans" excuse.
A part-time job is NOT going to be very helpful in paying for college.
That 7 or 8 dollars an hour can probably pay for a few cheap books, but that's it.
(It's even harder to get a job with the whole 'un-paid internship' mentality dominating campuses so that you can forfeit that part-time job money for even more valuable experience later down the line with the internship..).
There is no wonder students have to take out so many loans with tuition rates steadily increasing as financial aid is provided to more and more students, though in amounts that don't keep up with inflation and tuition and the school feels the need to hike up cause the access students have to it...arrrgh! The complicated process is hard to explain to say the least. Why not uncomplicate it?
Myth 2- "You studied in debt with that useless major" and therefore deserve what you get.
Then stop telling students and even kids that that they CAN BE WHATEVER THEY WANT. Or my favorite, AS LONG AS YOU GO TO COLLEGE, EVERYTHING WILL WORK ITSELF OUT AT THE END.
If you really think about it, not everyone can be an engineer, a nurse, doctor, or lawyer; the coveted and most desirable degrees that supposedly guarantee you a job after graduation.
Notice that it's not many professions up there.
With many different degrees, there can be more diversity in the labor market; a robust economy with many new ideas on how to do a variety of things.
I understand that some degrees are hard to apply to the real world, but I believe if someone has a plan with that useless degree, they can interpret it pretty successfully themselves.
Not everyone has to get a degree that an employer will want. We need more people going into business for themselves, which is another rant for another day on why its unnecessarily difficult to start a business today; But I will say this- Anyone who wants to start a business that is cost-effective, the internet would be a good start.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
I'm tired of older people saying we're lazy and that's why some of us don't even make it to graduation.
It's the system. Blame the difficult system we are now living in.
If there were more students who didn't have to worry about their finances while going to college, they would be free to take as many classes as they want instead of only taking 2 or three to save money and also have time for a part-time job so they don't have to take out so many loans for that semester. This is all evidenced by my peers and friends; my own experience.
It's not fair that young people cannot enjoy themselves while they're studying something they love to do at college. And I don't mean the other myth that I always hear, the myth saying we party all time and go around sexing each other: This mainly applies to those who had an easy transition to college in the area of their finances and can afford to party all the time.
I'm not saying that the system is all to blame. Sometimes there are students who slack, but that's only because so many students who aren't ready or don't particularly know what they're doing, are pushed into college by counselors and parents, not given any other options or choices like technical/trade schools or apprenticeships. Again, this has a little to do with the system we're surrounded around too.
PART 2 COMING SOON
Thursday, May 16, 2013
College can become a little difficult when it takes longer than 4 years to get your degree, takes up much of your free-time for social activities or work opportunities, and leaves you stressed out (see A College Mess: The Double Standards) when you take into account how many bills you're looking at when you come out of school.
To make it easy, I have compiled some small tips that I've tried that have greatly lessened the load.
- Take college classes before you reach College. When I was in my junior year of high-school, I decided to take college classes after school or during free periods. I went through what was called the Excel program, specific to the Georgia area (although there are others by different names specific to other areas), which allowed me to finish up general requirement classes (a.k.a useless pre-requisites or introductory classes) in an actual college and college classroom. I knocked out Math, English, etc., and got to get a feel for a real college classroom and all the expectations of one. In my senior year, I went to college mostly during my free periods at the end of the day as well and knocked out some more classes that would have took up most of my coursewaork in my first two years at a University. *Not the same thing as AP classes in high-school since high-school AP doesn't always tranfer into college credits.
- Go to a community/technical college first. If you don't want to take college classes before college, try going to a community/technical college straight out of high-school, at least for the first two years. When you take you're two years of general requirement classes at a community college, you pay less for what it would be at a University. Also, some community/technical colleges have quarter hours vs. the semester hour system you mostly see at 4-year universities, so the classes will be a few months shorter than what it would be at a University.
- Get an inexpensive Associate's degree and/or a short specialized certificate at the community/tech school while there and it will be easier to get a job later. When you choose to do this option first, that's more on your resume and better hands-on experience with the coursework in usually smaller classroom sizes. This will enable you to find a better job while studying for your Bachelor's degree at a University you migt transfer over to.
- Take summer classes every summer in college, at least 2 (online or on-campus to make it bearable). College classes during the summer can help you fill required classes up faster, and with 1 or 2 classes, you can still find summer employment without having trouble juggling both if you are otherwise full-time during regular semesters.
- Clep out of subjects you know all too well. If you're really good at Math, take a clep test to clep out of general req. math classes in College. You don't want to take introductory level classes you thoroughly know already and spend more money on being re-taught it, forced to stay in school longer. The same goes for English, Spanish, and other subjects that are covered by Clep.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
College is a means to an end and an end in itself. We've been told this for so long that we can probably predict when someone is about to say it to us a few minutes before they open their mouths with a thoughtful or encouraging expression; and it's been everyone.
Parents, teachers, school guidance counselors, and maybe even coaches.
So, why do they harshly blame these college-going kids when they wind up in tremendous debt after the college years are up?
I came across an article on youth unemployment in America and it being the worst among the developed nations as there was less job participation among young people in the age groups of 18-34 than any other place.
The article is here if you'd like to read it.
It is mostly all of what you've heard before with a few more interesting facts about the severity of the problem.
But what surprised me wasn't the article itself, but the commentor's reactions in the discussion board below it.
Just a few of the comments:
....Party less and save more
....You skated through college with bullshit degrees, and you have to expect bullshit
....some of them are too young with no experience, they might as well just start their own business.
The comments speak volumes to the sheer ignorance of some people on this national issue...or explicitly show their lack of concern.
And it is a problem, something we all should worry about and seek the solution for.
The youth are the future, am I right? Because it's been told to each up and coming generation forever, as it should be since the new generation will always predict the standard of living we can expect within this country in the span of some years.
And its not looking so great.
First off, what made me very angry-these comments are blaming the kids and not the system.
Kids are constantly told to go to college and that if they don't, they will not be employable.
No matter their economic level or the lack of college readiness, kids are barraged and pushed into higher education for the sake of getting a job.
What I did, and I wish most teachers advocated to me, was go to a community college for 2 years then transfer to a university for a higher degree because I thought that best and because I was ready for it. That way, I had an Associate's that was more specialized (because it was technical/trade college) and most of my general requirements were fulfilled at the low cost the community college offered.
But no, too many people were ashamed of community college/technical schools because of their teachers. They went to a university right out of high school, without being thoroughly prepared for what all that goes into it (short campus visits and brochures don't count, neither do websites)...
Another issue these commentators were blaming on the kids was the whining they do when they get 'bullshit' degrees and expect a job out of it. I understand that some degrees are not as economical as others and that sometimes you are better off getting one degree over another, but let's stop telling kids they can be whatever they want to be if that is the case and that happiness comes from loving your job first. It's a crazy paradox.
Kids grow up being told to follow their dreams and be anything they want to be, only to be slammed by adults that say their major was stupid or meaningless, and sometimes even their jobs. J.K. Rowling, the successful author of the Harry Potter books, took a major in Greek mythology and used that 'useless' degree somehow to her advantage. If students have the creativity and genius to do something with a useless degree, then it doesn't become useless, although it might need some improvisation and much consideration and planning. Preferably, students should do this if they have in mind what the limitless possibilities are with that degree.
The last thing that bothers me about this slam on the youth is the third comment. It's very hard for young people to start their own business as well as fully functioning adults, especially since their high-schools do not teach them how to within the curriculum. Bureaucracy and government intervention has contributed to the lowest number of independent businesses now existing in America (also, big corporations that come into town). This combination is daunting and lethal, and needs to be addressed.
Before you slam the youth, look at the system you've pushed them in.
College is becoming more expensive each year, therefore becoming out of reach for people who are not rich. Student loans are almost inevitable...how can the youth 'party all the time' when they're worried about paying all their expenses at school or get kicked out? Finding jobs and making connections before they leave school to the point they almost or cant at all enjoy the college years, supposedly the best years of their lives?
Don't lecture the youth, help them do more than scrape by.
Friday, May 3, 2013
I f*cking hate celebrities, which is why I wrote a short little e-book about it located on the left.
I don't particularly hate all celebrities, but I do hate what celebrities stand for and symbolize as a whole.
This symbol was made clearer to me earlier this morning when I turned on the TV; what came on was Good Morning America, a faux news channel and useless conveyor of important information that usually presents new customer products.
The big story? After the segment on the perfect vacuum cleaner to purchase? Reese Witherspoon was seen caught on camera refusing arrest and antagonizing a police officer when he was trying to question her.
Don't ask me how or why because I could barely listen after that point and at the moment she said this diva-like statement to the officer in the dialogue below:
Reese: "Do you know who I am?"
Officer: No, but I guess I will find out later."
Reese: "Oh, you're going to see who I am and be really sorry."
Or something like that.
I envy police officers in this situation because they're able to put celebrities down a notch and not give a sh*t about what they will say since its their jobs to do so for any disturbance of the peace.
This incident with Ms. Witherspoon (and countless others) show how we unreasonably prop our celebrities up to astronomical heights, to where real news is forgone for updates and statuses of the trivial famous and rich people with no worries-of course, the only time a regular person is mentioned on the "news" is if he does something really wrong, really great and out-of-the-ordinary, and really outrageously stupid, sometimes courtesy of YouTube videos that go viral, which makes me wonder why we don't want real news that can actually benefits us.
I also couldn't really blame any religious person for thinking the public worships idols.
There is a show called American Idol and represents just that...young hopefuls wishing for the chance to be the next, big stars that don't have to take sass from anyone anymore. Nikki Minaj told one 12 year-old boy that auditioned that he should get ready for chicks to start swarming him.
Why do we treat these people like Gods who can do no wrong even though we've seen them do wrong countless times?
What do they actually do for us to warrant special treatment, like shortened jail sentences, being let off, or all the attention they receive from a scared media too afraid to shine light on how most regular Americans live day-by-day...and in a struggling economy ? The illusion of equality shatters a little more as this continues to happen.
Yes, some of them have made decent movies that contribute to entertaining the masses, and yes, maybe they've donated to a few charities, but we don't get so celebratory towards normal people who contribute to charity unless they contribute huge sums.
If I were to donate to charity, but then do something illegal the next day, there is a strong possibility that I would still be thrown in jail and mocked endlessly by the media for that one incident...maybe until I released a hit song and became famous for it a week later.
Monday, April 22, 2013
These are the instructions on adopting your own Indie Author or Artist (located below):
Adopting an Indie Author and Artist is pretty simple:
Support your local Indie Author and Artist so they can promote more creativity in the entertainment 'industry' (it's only an industry if you treat it as such), whether it be in music or book publishing; any recommendations or suggestions of authors/artists, I will put them up here with a reel of their music or images of their books/ebooks...even paintings with descriptions. I like to find new people to look out for.
When you help them get discovered (by going to local shows, hearing interviews, which I will be posting up here when I get the information, etc) as you adopt an Indie author and artist, you will notice more creativity in the music and books you come across and get exposed to.
*This is a segment I will be doing that showcases new talent that is otherwise unknown in entertainment. Thank You in advance for any recommendations and suggestions you have for a talent on the rise. I will try to check them out and put them up here. Everyone deserves to be heard and do what they love!*
Here's my suggestion:
He's a new artist on the rise in Atlanta, already doing multiple shows and gaining in popularity with his networks in Twitter, Youtube, Soundcloud, reverbnation, myspace, etc.:
This is Money Meeko
More suggestions to come....
Disney is doing it again. Teaching little girls to be the perfect princess that mostly keeps out of the way (until they're needed, of course) and lives to please their good-hearted prince, bashing and dumbing down girls who refuse the image.
Although they have gotten significanty better at showing stronger female characters who fight for ther princes as well as friends & families (they finally have social lives outside of the guy, people!).
Every time I watch Disney channel though, I go back in time; a time where gender inequality was more prevalent and open. Where certain men affirmed why they were superior to women without the sting of political correctness.
After all, in some cases, woman are still paid less than men (though this isn't so bad when you take into account some of the leadership positions women are more accessible to now). Although we've countered some of these attitudes by seeing more women in higher positions at work and the small insurgence of stay-at-home dads or very active dads getting more involved in the day-to-day parenting of their children in the recent years, within Disney, the men-as-superior scenario is realized yet again in the modern era of PC Correctness and anti-discriminatory rhetoric; except Disney doesn't have to be so covert about it.
Maybe because parents turn on Disney, the mega kid-center of entertainment, and expect nothing but its wholesome messages to be absorbed within their children.
This gives Disney an opportunity to indoctrinate kids to the old ways.
Just the other day, I came across my younger brothers watching a Disney channel show called Mr. Young.
In this particular episode, taking place in a high school classroom, Mr. Young's high-school kids have to take a mandatory career aptitude test in the hopes of revealing the career path that best suits their traits and skills.
When the principal finds out that one of the students, a blonde girl, did not take the test, he tracks her down and further presses the question at her absence; her response?
"I didn't want to take the test because I already know what I want to do. I'm going to be a trophy wife," said she in a high, giggling voice.
Of course, the middle-aged teacher looks at her dumbfounded...and then she continues to explain as if he doesn't know what a trophy wife is: "You know, get a guy to buy me jewelry and give me money."
Cue the designated laughing track present in almost all Disney shows, since the joke is not funny enough to warrant saying it in front of a real audience that would have booed instead.
There are countless other examples of this, but it would take too long to say it all.
Oh, and the teacher Mr. Young? Badgers one of his female students to wear a semi-sexy nurse costume when her career placement test indicates a promising future as a nurse. I guess it's not so bad because Mr. Young has always liked her and is the same age as all his students- Mr Young is a super whiz kid who graduated college at age 14.
Still, there's something eerie on his strong insistence that she wears the dress, even more so when he has a flashback fantasy of her taking his temperature and him being a little too eager for it.
I am not an extreme feminist in the slightest or the strongest advocate of Political Correctness (we have our first amendment for a reason and should only be barred from saying racial slurs and possible swear words associated with discrimination) but I do believe women should have the opportunities to work in their desired field, but that both parents should work at things; it's hard to raise a family without two salaries: why can't women be treated professionally enough to be a co-provider without it being frowned upon?
Why is Disney making it a joke for females to be anything but sex-objects and wives that just suck the living life out of their men and their hard work?
I guess because Disney and other corporations that feel this way aren't even giving women a chance to show them otherwise.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
1984 is one of those novels that many political enthusiasts seem to have read as a cautionary tale to what government could be like unchecked and without controls. In news articles I've read or news clips I've seen, there have been a few references here and there that were specifically directed to Orwell's 1984 when talking about the governments' faulty or sometimes terrifying moves. I have recently joined the ranks of the politically involved (don't badger me, I'm young), and understand why this would be recommended reading. This book is basically a warning against big, overly repressive government, and as recent events would have it, maybe a severe commentary on the things our government is beginning to do with the actions they are engaging in on a daily basis. Besides that rightly cautionary message, I didn't like 1984 as much as I thought I would when I first read it.
1984, which was its purpose, was very dreary and bleak. Right now you're probably thinking I'm being too picky with a book that at least accomplished its goal, but it had an extremely dark tone throughout. From beginning to end, almost. Some brevity or a little bit of humor would have evenly diffused the all-consuming depression it pulls you into towards the end. Alleviation and a bit of balance with different tones would have also done it some good.
Too many mainstream news channels and government entities skewer statistics to always make a pretty bad situation cheerier than it really is.
The unemployment rate is one of the statistics that is continuously undergoing this sugar-coating and peppering-of-cheer process. Instead of unemployment being 8.7%, its closer to maybe 16%: and that's because we exclude the people who quit looking for jobs...so, their really unemployed by choice?
Anyway, I guess the overall dreariness could possibly be justified by another reason too.
A totalitarian government, or even a government with tremendous power, at some point becomes too dangerous to a free people to think the issue can be solved instantly once such a force takes over.
These kind of governments gain their power by taking others' power-the people and perhaps the different single states in its country. The federal government has taken over failing businesses before, therefore outstretching one of its arms into private life and the free markets.
More control over big financial industries (industries getting in bed with Government), more control over the people.
Okay, so even if I could justify its bleakness, there is still no way to make the ending any better; very anti-climatic with no insight into what happens now...now that no one has yet to successfully overthrow big brother.
Take the other day. I was watching some E-news show that dedicated a segment to some drama that was going on between the Atlanta, or was it Miami?...on housewives of whatever show.
Again, it was about another fight or spat that occurred between two of the wives-what, was it about one of the girls stealing someone's husband a second time?
I couldn't tell you.
It is the same thing over and over again to the point where it all blurred together, even which city the housewives were in.
Wasn't the reason for reality TV shows supposed to be the excitement people get when we peak into the lives of rich and famous people or rich people in association with rich and famous people?
Well, obviously not because it's mind-numbingly boring.
I don't know about many peoples' reactions to having lots of money suddenly, but I would be doing a million and one really exciting, adrenaline-pumping things if I had the wealth that some of these reality stars amass from one or two seasons.
And that's just it; the arguments they have are so petty, and the women so grown (40's to 60's), you sometimes wonder why you are tuning in to watch something so mundane and ordinary involving 'sophisticated and classy' females who could do anything in the world because they have no worries.
Instead they fight and bicker, talk about who did this, who did that; even worse, who owned this or who owns that, breathing new life into the stereotype that all rich people are grubby handed, mean-spirited people.
Also, if I want to see a fight, I can watch relatives duke it out or something-and that would be slightly more entertaining because they actually have more at stake in the fight (it might actually be about a money issue-like not paying someone back)
The only reality TV show that I've found that doesn't have the same issue is Mac Miller's Most Dope Family. It has its flaws, but it really was a breath of fresh air to get away from the sameness that is the cat-fighting, self-absorbed females and their bored looking husbands on the side, or the all-partying and nothing else jersey band.
What stuck out to me was Mac Miller's very mellow personality.
He didn't stress over small things and he took every opportunity he got to have fun or goof around and be a normal 20 something.
Unlike Jersey Shore, it wasn't just simply partying at some dim-lit, neon lighted club with 'friends' that will let you get so wasted you didn't know you slept with someone the night before.
Yeah, 20 somethings can be said to go to the club a lot and get entangled in some sticky situations, but MMMDF touches on the camaraderie of a tight group of friends and how they really interact with one another in the uncharted background of Hollywood glamor and fame, all coming from smaller territory before their big jump to L.A.
It's interesting to see how these newcomers to Hollywood handle themselves in Hollywood Land (because let's face it, it's a different planet there with different kind of ('eccentric') people), even more entertaining to see that for the most part they are pretty down-to-earth in the crazy antics they pull on one another.
But like I said earlier, even this show isn't without its flaws. Although it was cool seeing in one episode Mac's friend accidentally breaking a plasma TV that Mac Miller instantly shrugged off, saying pretty loudly-"I got millions, bitch-don't worry about it" or something on those lines, and then later deciding to get everyone together and trash it completely for fun, it did feel like family home videos that weren't meant for the small screen, except for America's Funniest Home videos or strictly home-viewing with family and friends.
Although I get a somewhat realistic view of how they act in their new-found environment, it still suffers a little from being boring or not really showing anything unique to a person with so much amassed fame and money.
Maybe its because I haven't seen all the episodes or because it's on the more moderate end of the spectrum to where Housewives and other shows of that ilk (Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop etc.) are on: Housewives and co. are on the extreme side of over-acted drama and Most Dope Family may be on the other end of very mellow and sated fun.
My verdict on Reality TV is that it can be insightful in some ways in relation to the lives of the people you care for most in the entertainment business, but it's the basest and lowest stimulation of the brain because then you're watching people live life for you in a way you might live better if you were them.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
We were all crowded in a large lobby, looking up at a black platform; even the backdrop of the platform was cloaked in black fringe.
I remembered when there were red, blue, or purple curtains to counter the bleak color of the stage, but many politicians did or said nothing to protest it in the recent years following the elections, so the change had remained during their subsequent speeches and political appearances.
After a few moments contemplating this change, the presidential nominees finally pushed back the dark curtain and slowly moved over the stage to their designated places.
At that moment, I noticed a strange group of men seated near them, a great view of the festivities afforded to them from their high positions.
It was strange because it seemed to be a balcony they were sitting in, unlike all of us- the voters on the ground floor.
They had on fine suits, big bellies adorned each, and hints of gold were on their fingers, necks, and arms.
I looked back at the crowd behind me-my fellow voters-and saw extreme differences that greatly troubled me.
We all looked meager and unkempt; maybe not too impoverished, but a people that obviously weathered the storm of the recession that had gone on for years now.
One of the men in the suits caught me spying, and a look of disgust and derision showed on his entire face (not one feature was spared from some ugly contortion or angry red color).
He whispered to a man near him, someone who had the appearance of a personal assistant or servant, and in a few minutes one of the presidential nominees had begun speaking something akin to a warning.
His voice loomed over the room with a quiet intelligence:
“I wish for everyone’s eyes to be on me, please. We are about to begin.”
The black man glanced back, which is what the nominee was, and looked over at the man I noticed whispering to his servant.
The fat cat nodded and he went on speaking.
Although he had a calm intelligence in his voice, his nervous eyes roamed over the crowd and he cleared his throat 3 or 4 times before he said anything remotely conversational.
“I, uh, I will open the argument up.”
“Our issues are caused by…none other than ourselves.”
The crowd gasped.
The fat cat didn’t seem happy at all.
“Wait, I mean that we need to work harder together to achieve our goals,” he said, incessantly rearranging his tie.
“A man near me whispered, “I’ve been working hard. Three jobs to be exact.”
Something very strange happened after that.
The man began writhing in pain.
I kneeled down close to his convulsing body, panicked, but still managing to survey his body for any marks or bruises but only found one bright red mark that originated on his arm.
It was like some electric prod had been sticking him in that exact spot.
A terrible realization immediately dawned on me that snapped all the odd occurrences into place.
I looked around my environment again, anew with wide eyes. There were cameras behind us, three rows of them actually; at first thought cameras ran by newscasters, but instead a discreet surveillance on the crowd...with bright silver prods hiding underneath them.
Quickly, I put my head down; instinctively feeling this was what was wanted from me all along. I felt I was starting to play a game to stay alive.
When the man got up, rubbing his sore arm, he said to me in his regular voice. “What the fuck was that?”
I shushed him quickly, pleading and warning with my eyes to see the bigger picture of what was going on. At first he didn’t understand, so I just pointed towards the stage and simply told him to watch the nominees and calm down. “Enjoy the show.”
The black nominee, who looked vaguely familiar, began speaking again.
“It’s our faults, the people because we don’t trust in the system like we used to.
Public trust in our congress has drastically gone down. We can’t do anything if you don’t trust us with anything."
I shook my head in disagreement, and in that instant was swept up by an army of people.
I shook my head in disagreement, and in that instant was swept up by an army of people.
My legs and arms were shackled, my neck also harshly clamped with a metal neck brace.
I tried futilely to wrestle against the many tight, heavy arms that were painfully grabbing me; I even felt feet repeatedly and forcefully kick at my legs to make me lose balance and topple over. They couldn’t though; my knees were securely bent and my shoes planted firmly to the ground.
The next thing I remember was being lifted into the air, my back laying uncomfortably on numerous glass shields.
The last my frenzied eyes and brain saw and processed was a bunch of people staring back on me incredulously.
The nominee gave me a cold, superior look from behind them, and the fat cats smugly grinned nearby in a balcony above all else.
The people were truly brainwashed into thinking they had control.
Blackness swallowed me up shortly after.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Before I continue into this dissection, let me state this; a little disclaimer if you will-Yes, I will be discussing the recent docudrama to grace television about Beyonce but I DO NOT hate Beyonce! I can’t say the same for the other ‘artists’ I will be mentioning, but dammit it’s a start and I won’t be too brutal with them- I mean, not many people would turn down the chance to sing teeny-bopper songs for a couple mil a year.
Now, the dissection.
Though I am not a big Beyonce fan, I think Beyonce is a very accomplished musician; a good-looking person with a pretty and magnanimous singing voice, but I do have a few issues with her which were spawned from her documentary, Life's But A Dream. Okay, I didn't exactly watch the whole thing, but I saw enough (and read a few reviews and spoilers) of it to know that it was much of the same thing that the Katy Perry and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never documentaries were made of or was very consistent to in material.
Because of that fact, I couldn't get through it without doing a few things, like continuously sighing, rolling my eyes or occasionally cringing intermittently or in-time to some of the less savory moments (a crew member or stage manager angrily waving a piece of fake hair in the air), and then figuring out early on that I would not like it even if I tried watching it longer for any good parts I happened to come across.
It might as well have been called The (Oh so) Privileged Life of Beyonce or An Inside View to Mega Stardom, which made me realize what I hate most about all these celebrity docudramas.
1. Their promotional tools, not real documentaries. Beyonce had not one factual thing in the parts of the documentary I watched, which led me to believe that it was like this for the rest of her short documentary or my preferred term, the docudrama. Even before the docudrama was on air, she was on Oprah and other television shows basically promoting a promotional tool, namely her brand and herself. She talked on her new baby and big pieces of her life that would be filmed, undoubtedly misleading people to believe the documentary would delve deeper into what she had affirmed would be shot with no such luck.
2. Some of these people are too young to have documentaries. These people are instant and sometimes overnight sensations that don’t have much to document in the first place, which left me scratching my head when Justin Bieber came out with his at the tender age of 15 or 16.
3.They are completely and utterly pointless. Just last month I watched a documentary of Henry Ford, the man who created the Model T car. It wasn’t boring at all, although it probably should be by today’s standards and what people of my generation find interesting. Maybe it was because I am a proclaimed history buff, but it delved into what made this man a success in innovation, his many failures (personal and business), and how his one contribution changed the world. There was real, tangible drama behind it because it discussed the many facets of this flawed and gifted man’s life. The most one of these celebrity docudramas can create in the drama department is it's terrible counterpart, sensationalism.
One scene in particular that demonstrates this sensationalism and attention-getter attraction is of Beyonce talking into her webcam, since most of it is made up of webcam videos and interview-style sittings by some unknown figure, saying how nervous and extremely scared she was for a performance scheduled the next day. The next day arrives and she's sitting in a chair getting her make-up done, if I remember correctly, and giving orders to set up everything; a few minutes pass and she then says in her little monologue that "I'm a calm and confident person, and I know can do this." So then what was the point of going through all that amped up, false worry before the big performance? On-stage she looked like she was meant to be there, moving all around the black top as if to claim it as her territory while looking directly into the audience with fearless eyes. And she's done it all before, countless times. She first came on the scene when she was like, what, 19? Katy Perry also pulled a stunt like this in her celeb docudrama, looking sad before going on stage but then getting in front of the audience with a big, happy smile as if it were and indeed is her dream come true.
What are these 'documentaries,' and I say that very loosely, really conveying?
Let's first look at the definition of documentary.
1.Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2.Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.
n. pl. doc·u·men·ta·ries
A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration.
The key words are objective or without editorializing.
I know we can never expect full objectivity or limited editing, but its hard to swallow this when the executive producer was Beyonce herself and the film had weird out-of-place interviews, many webcam sessions of herself, and incoherent and random clips of scenes with her crew members on stage set ups, family encounters, or friends and hubby all mashed and mixed together.
Beyonce’s is filled with contradictions of behavior and personality, but then who cares? She is a mega star, and all mega stars at one point of their entertaining careers have been docile and nice to crew members one minute then demanding the next, and rightfully so I suppose; it just doesn’t leave for good television viewing. Show business is show business though.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The Poem of a Christian Atheist
Am I a good person?
What is good if we’re all sinners?
What can we ever do to gain your acceptance and recognition?
Can we ever hope to be unique, special?
Can we ever be different from our ancestors?
Are we doomed to commit the same mistakes as our ancestors? To have the same destined tragedies?
Do we just live, and die?
Will I go to hell, in my soul, for all the wrong I’ve done even if I am truly sorry, truly regretful?
Does it even matter?
I love you.
And I pity that I will never attain or even hope to reach its magnitude.
All I see is demons.
So how can I not fall under the influences of sin?
I get angry at your high expectations.
What do you expect me to accomplish around all this immorality, depravity, sin, hate.
If you are to punish me, do it now…
I don’t want to wait
For the inevitable
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
This should barely have passed for news, like the many other pointless or trivial articles on the internet, such a one I had recently come across discussing the sugar baby/sugar daddy *cough prostitution* 'arrangement' sites that have grown exponentially from 2008 to present for young college kids who are finding it very difficult to pay for expenses that could easily be wiped away with a rich 45 to 65 year old man in tow.
This is still thinly veiled prostitution by another perfumed or badly painted name, no matter how much you justify a 19 year old's lust for the hairy and saggy man flesh of a 60 year old guy. If it wasn't for his money, she probably wouldn't have even bothered with tenderly loving it, although I admit there might be some exceptions to the rule.
How many old men right now are clapping their hands and jumping up and down in glee yelling that they finally got a chance with the young girlies. (just joking. I revere my elders).
Anyway, this is more of a warning and decree from the Almighty Wal-Mart Empire than anything else that Corporate rule is strong and well in the United States and they'd like you to know it.
Wal-Mart could have easily done all this in-house instead of seeking to indict hapless Ms. Winters with a felony, and let everyone know it.
She probably couldn't help herself, like the many other comments in the said 'news' articles pointed out; Wal-Mart has been accused on multiple occasions of finding ways to pay their workers under the minimum wage and using taxpayer money through an array of our government-sponsored social programs to substitute for health insurance and supplemental income for their employees.
Check out Wal-Mart: The High-Cost of Low Cost documentary and you'll see what I mean. But Wal-Mart (and possibly the other special corporations that they and the government covet), are allowed to pay criminally low rates for cheap merchandise and labor in China, effectively killing many mom and pop stores in the process with such an advantageous combination while you get charged with a felony for stealing the cheaply made Chinese products from their tight-fisted hands. A misdemeanor I understand, but a felony?
This is a cray cray culture.