Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cuteness And A New Hatred For Humanity

Cat videos.

Cat pictures.

Videos of animals cuddling together. Double points if said animals are usually sworn enemies.

Videos of pigs saving baby goats stuck in a petting zoo pond while the cameraman does his best impression of the bystander effect that'll make anyone turn into an antihero vigilante.

We as a society have taken a liking to adorable animals.

Of all the things the Internet allows us to do, we've decided as a global collective to dedicate our time watching cat videos.

It could be that we as a global people want some cuteness to unwind and be distracted with at the end of the day.

But why is that?

Why does it seem like people would die for these goofy animals that love the taste of their own feces?

Not to mention that people love throwing human babies in the garbage on a daily basis.

It would seem that human nature engages in evil acts while clamoring to their pets.

Dictators playing with their pets while they commit atrocities. It's even a scandal of the election.

What looks on the surface to be a contradiction in humanity actually presents an interesting issue on why people are the way they are.

Kittens, puppies, etc. are pretty much the most purest forms of innocence on the planet.

They aren't lying about it. They are not putting up a front with you.

They are authentic.

Is there a downside to authenticity? Yes. Animals can suffer a lot of abuse as a result of their loyalty to people. It's what makes those abused pet commercials so effective.

Now, this isn't to say all animals get a pass from people. Unfortunately, all of this is determined by an animal's cuteness.

Mythology is filled with heroes slaying demonic draconian creatures. No one cries when an iguana is "abused", at least not most of the time.

With animals, adorable is key. Like a baby. A baby who doesn't look his father. The one you hate so much.

Cause they need us. Taking care of someone can give a person reason to exist. It's the same relationship most parents (most, key word here) have with their children. That isn't to say have kids and it will fix your life. Become level-headed when available. 

To go back to Catcher In The Rye (again, I know), the main thing that held Holden Caulfield together by the end of the book was his love of innocence, shown by watching kids play baseball in a park.

He wanted to make his world a better place for them.

Of course, fans of said book have interpreted this and acted on it in very morbid ways.

But, a lot of people will tell you that they don't like children, for a lot of reasons. Kids cause vandalism.

Domestic pets help fill the emotional void.

They are also innocence to the ongoing humanity hating public.

If they can do some anti-social behavior they're not aware of, curling their paws in a way that it looks they're flipping you off, it would make them even more adorable.

The need for cuteness might be a reaction against the ubiquitous digital age we live in.

The lack of "healthy" social interaction may have added to this. Talking to the cat while waiting for someone to text you back. That kind of thing.

Have people loved their animals through the ages? Sure.

Could it be that the Internet has shed light on what was once a less noticed subject? Possibly.

But, one aspect that has been largely ignored by this phenomenon is that adorable animals bring out the good in people.

Human beings spend as much time and money caring about animals as they are abusing them.

There's a balance to humanity, a balance that often goes unnoticed.

There's a website called The Good News Blog. It's dedicated entirely to delivering good news. That being said, it's not very popular.

Not being happy can get a lot of things done.

Too much optimism is not good for production.

Anyone with an agenda is probably not happy. And if they are happy, they are either tired or looking for more happiness. Or they're naive. Whatever.

People don't hate big eyed furry creatures for being happy. Kittens chase bugs when it's tax season.

It's better for house pets to be idolized than babies. There's a lot of evil people who were idolized as babies.

Nowadays, it seems like there are two different kind of people: People who wished they did more in school and people who think they missed out on things while they were studying.

Or, in parents, those who want to shield their kids from the real world and those who prepare them so much that kids find a malaise in living.

It's a weird place to be. Do you break your back planting seeds of the future, or do you always smell the roses? Even when you smell the roses, you just stress out over how much is not being planted.

I guess the grass is always greener, even if one's colorblind.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Commoner's Cents

I've been thinking about money lately.

Who hasn't?

What I mean by this, is that I've been trying to handle my business better.

This little journey has opened a lot of questions and perspectives on life.

For one, I think finances are burdensome, and I'm approaching this from an enthusiastic perspective.

You gotta wonder how everyone else does it.

When you find yourself tempted to buy things, and you choose to be cheap and frustrated, how do people do it? When your brain melts from all the delayed gratification.

I've seen people gorge money on stupid things when they can't pay for utilities.

One of the biggest trending Twitter topics lately has been #ButYouGotThatIphone5Tho

As in, "Your kids are starving #ButYouGotThatIphone5Tho"

This is a big problem.

Does everyone live in constant denial all the time? Am I the world's party pooper?

And it brings me to the next point:

I think the concept of what "wealth" is needs to be redefined.

Nice cars don't equal wealth. They equal debt, paying with interest, high gas prices, and depreciation.

I think it was Dave Ramsey who said "Don't keep up with the Joneses, they're probably in debt".

Wealth means spending less than what you take in.

That's it. Nothing else. No champagne wishes, caviar dreams bullshit. Even if you're homeless and you made five dollars. If you only spent a dollar, that's wealth.

Now, onto another element of finance:

A bunch of personal finance gurus discussing investing always bring up risk. They talk risk like they're conquering Australia.

This is confusing as hell since all the previous chapters in said book was about saving. Now we're talking about blowing it all.

Have I figured it all out yet? No.

But, this is my own little adage.

Spend money on things worth spending money on.

The middle class buys junk. The rich buy investments.

Treat your time as you do your money. Hobbies should be constructive.

Debt sucks. But, if you have to go there, go into debt over something worth going into debt over. Again, maybe there's someone in a lot of student debt right now that wants me to go fall off a cliff, but hey, student debt is noble, at least in theory. That startup on your bucket list, for example, is also noble. Something worth being homeless over is probably noble.

Again, maybe my opinion will change later on depending on circumstances. But that's what I'm getting from all this finance doublespeak.

In Best Worst Movie, filmmaker Michael Stephenson chronicles the fanbase of the movie Troll 2 (which he starred in as a child). He reunites with many of the cast from the movie to see what they've been up to.

One segment shows the actor who played the grandfather in his retirement house. A lot of clutter occupies his house, and he goes into detail about how he regretted his life.

He regretted life cause he didn't take the risk in moving to the city to be a big time actor.

I ain't dealing with that shit. The only regrets that should exist come from trying too hard.

It's just a matter of going into debt over noble things getting into debt for.

All of this is subject to change.

Mass Media Is A Bad Babysitter

Culture is a funny thing.

I mean, we will all talk about how stupid it is. How this thing is chewing gum for the brain (despite the fact that chewing gum can help cognitive behavior), and how TV rots the brain so much, you'd think it give you brain tumors.

But somehow culture is the scapegoat for society's problems. Always.

Some psycho goes on a rampage. Tarantino and video games.

A riot goes on. Ignore ethnic strife. Find a movie to blame. 

Someone invents a cure for a disease. It's the power of our educational system.

Outside of little kids learning the Heimlich maneuver from Mrs. Doubtfire, pop culture gets a lot of flack for a lot of things. 

I think there's a media bias. I'm not speaking in the left-wing, right wing, chicken wing way either.

Do you ever look at a sunny day outside and say to yourself "oh boy, I'm gonna write a book on this shit"?

You wouldn't.

If you did, there's something wrong with you.

Even if you decided to paint a picture of said occasion, you would do it once. To keep going when people are partying, to have it consume you, to destroy relationships over said thing, takes a person with a different perspective on things.

Cause you can explain impulse. We all do things impulsively from time to time.

It's when impulse ends that "crazy" begins.

Crazy is going past impulse.

Going through after the thrill is gone, knowing what you're doing is complete shit, and doing it anyway.

That's why serial killers scare you so much. There's a moment (and this is documented) where a serial killer would face hardship, or what Steven Pressfield calls the "resistance".

In this case, resistance is a good thing. Resistance is in that one comic book run where the Joker is the good guy cause the new villain is so much worse. A serial killer has a moment of doubt where he knows what he's doing. And he decides to keep going.

Resistance fails, and that's why serial killers are scary. There's a moment right before they put the chloroform in their shopping cart that they wonder about what they're doing. And they keep going.

Goal obtaining is hard. Getting motivated is hard. For it to succeed in evil and fail in people with amazing charity ideas is a sad thing.

To keep going in art is hard.

There's a lot written on the subject.

There's a lot written cause people always want a magic bullet for all their problems. But, they could have it all done for them and still flee from doing what had to be done.

People flake. A lot.

To stay is to not be normal.

To stay for years when no one shows up is crazy. Like a dog with its deceased master. Hachiko.

That's why things in the media seem odd. All the level headed people left a long time ago.

All that's left is ego and insanity. That, or substance abuse. Insanity in a bottle or a Ziploc bag, if you wanna see it that way.

Combine an artist's insanity with a global audience's short attention span, and a lot of what's wrong with the world starts to make sense. 

The issues don't sell. Scandal sells.

Again, this isn't nothing new, but it has probably effected you in ways you didn't imagine. Arguing about stupid shit, for example. Arguing about really stupid shit, better example.

It gets to a point where we think words alone cause actions. Where we equate a politician's promises (which never happen) to a comedian's rape joke (which also never happens).

And then the podium comes out. And you do the in-the-suit-cause-you-have-to-do-be thing asking for forgiveness in an awkward way. Your haters will call you fake in your moment of sin. They were lucky, something was going on in the news cycle when they had their court appearance.

Their crimes were not national calamities.

When you think about it, a lot of heists aren't really posted in the media. They might say that a famous painting has been stolen, but they don't really go into the perpetrators. Stealing rich people stuff that doesn't harm anybody isn't that big of a deal to the media. It might be to the insurance companies, but maybe there's a fear we will root for the "bad guy".

A slow news day might be the most dangerous to society. We need time to fill, so let's make former friends fight over evolution. We need more time in this reality show, make the whores get drunk and hit each other again

A slow news day guarantees no peace. In his book, Life and Def, Russell Simmons explains about how the so called East Coast-West Coast rap war was just something that expanded with a Vibe magazine article. A little paranoid spat between Tupac and Biggie Smalls mutated into this regional war. Over nothing.

If we cannot stop a little hip-hop beef with the media, how do we stop global conflicts in different languages?

Not saying it won't happen eventually, it probably will. But the media will be social, not programmed.

Peace will come from people, not Pulitzer Prize wanters who will set a fire so they can be the hero and put it out.

It's hard to deal with thousands of years of emotional baggage and anger expanding faster than the compound interest of most wealthy people.

Look at it at a smaller level.

How many stupid arguments have you gotten in? Did anything get accomplished?

Do you ever lose three hours of your life and energy over it?

It's an election year. Do you think anyone will get anything done? It probably won't. It's not the purpose of government to solve problems. It's the purpose of government to delay tyranny. But now it feels like it's accumulating.

Things take time. We should expect that.

Normal people don't write books. They don't sign up for reality shows.

Of course, some people would equate normal with mediocre. It's all a matter of perspective.

But, I think as a standard rule, no art is inherently normal on the basis that it's made by abnormal people by default.

Even boring art made by serial killers is an odd thing to consider.

Then again, people are assigned to work on things they don't enjoy.

A lot of people get hired to write torture porn. They don't enjoy it, but it's a step on the way to success. And then, some teenage girl decides to have a marathon of torture porn movies and wonders what's wrong with the guy who wrote it.

But, who has the bigger problem here: the guy who wrote these things as a money making gig, or the person who willingly sat through a seven hour marathon of it?

A lot of people wanna put deranged in a category. They wanna point to some far off fringe as the cause of the problem. That thinking makes them feel secure. The monster under the bed grew up to be the disgruntled postal worker next door.

That's scary.

Society says it "wants to help" after disaster occurs, but that's coming from the cries of psychologists trying to save their jobs and anti-video game politicians trying to gain a foothold on the campaign trail.
And of course, you can blame culture. If that silly movie had not been made, there'd be peace in the Middle East. People dying had nothing to do with it.

Truth be told, blaming the Bible, the Quran, or The Catcher In the Rye all comes from that same place. Atheists don't understand Christians. Soccer Moms don't understand The Hunger Games.

I don't think the book someone reads has anything to do with it. It's something else. Something that society doesn't wanna hear.

Better yet, let's look at some basic murder literature. You have the Bible and the Quran. Books of morality in absolutes. Holy texts.

Now, Catcher In The Rye. What's that about? Prep school dropout. Why would Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley carry something like that? Goddamn phony sonofabitch. Holden Caulfield loves calling society on its bullshit.

Chapman thought John Lennon was fake. A man speaking against material possession living in a mansion. So did Hinckley.

Rage by Richard Bachmann (a pen name of Stephen King) was the choice book for teen killers in the 70s. Most people who have never read the book will say it was the graphic nature that caused the teens who read it to open fire.

But people who have actually read it will tell you what makes it intriguing.

The book, written from the point of view of a teen who opens fire in a classroom, explores on what goes through the mind of teen opening fire on his classmates.

The protagonist states it quite clearly: "My father says kids today have no balls. They might blow up an outhouse outside of the pentagon, but they won't take the steps necessary for revolution"

Propaganda of the deed. Teen angst edition.

Anyone who mocks Rage Against the Machine for being sellouts understands this form of rebellious resentment.

Except of course, they don't act out their violence. Even if they wanted to.

Some commentators have mocked the OWS for comparing itself to the protestors of the Arab Spring. They don't "have the balls".

Again, the people who acted out are the select disgruntled few of society. It's hard to realize that in a 24 hour news cycle.

It's hard to materialize mass media psychologically. Our cavemen brains still have a hard time grasping it. Like putting your things in a cloud.

And what did cavemen do to understand things that they could not truly understand?

They invented myths.

They made the rain personal. They made everything personal.

They made failure personal. The Gods are out to get them.

Our brains still function like this against things we don't understand.

Continuous failure makes us personalize it.

In The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas, FBI profiler John Douglas states that most disgruntled murder cases occur when an individual "loses it" and realizes that they can no longer advance in life.

The dream dies, and the degenerates want to take people down with it.

Consider it the mid-life/quarter-life crisis from Hell.

That's what makes people kill. Not video games.

But this is a hard thing to address for society. Why? Cause there's too much money at stake. 

Hell, lifestyle commercials might make people kill more than culture.

Then, of course, said shooters hated the "fake" world they live in. But here's the thing: anyone who has been lied to feels the same way. To the point where "realness" is a fine compliment.

People love being full of shit. It can be argued that I'm being full of shit right now.

I think it has to be argued that people by default are full of shit. A bunch of lying, infidelity love-making, bad credit having assholes.

Most people are full of shit. Most people are liars.

Even people who don't wanna be full of shit have moments. Bad days. Distractions. And it sucks.

And the worst thing is, the full of shit people don't admit this.

Actually, the worst thing is that full of shit people get hired cause they don't admit this.

And it's hard to find comfort in the world when people are full of shit.

But I don't think random people should be killed for that.

That sounds like a really basic statement, but society has proven this to be a hard thing to do.

It is said that less than one percent of all Muslims are violent extremists.

Do you know what those one percent Muslims are thinking?

They're thinking "these sheep are fake, they don't adhere to the word of God". They show off their realness by blowing stuff up and shooting ambassadors who helped the people.

It's been a summer of murder. What's scary is how much politicization has gone on with the violence. A shooting in Colorado becomes a rallying cry for gun control. A dead U.S. ambassador becomes a sign of showing weakness in terms of foreign policy.

It's like you can play a game out of looking at life's personal tragedies and seeing which political party benefits the most from it. And some media outlet will profit from it.

Mass media is still this new emerging thing sociologically.

What do you think of when people say the media?

You can criticize it as a group, but they never really go up to Tom Brokaw and ask him what the deal is from a non-partisan point of view.

It's like when people say "Hollywood". Society never pays Hollywood a compliment.

No one is happy about Hollywood. No one. Not even Steven Spielberg.

Hardship is ubiquitous. Everywhere you go.

Even when you don't go places hardship is there. 

And that's totally fine.

There's no accountability.

Make a movie that angers some people, and it's your fault.

It's a movie. A really bad movie.

Do you know how much stuff would be destroyed if I wrecked stuff every time I saw a bad movie?

I don't even think the rioters have seen the movie.

Any excuse will do.

And of course, we love this. This is the "mass shooter video game" thing on a global scale.

And we talk about it cause we need time to fill. I need fresh new content. Nothing says "this article was not written eight months ago" like current events.

When you think about it, the Slows News Day will be the death of society. It's a diva looking for drama. It makes accusations and comes in many shapes and sizes.

Do you care about any gossip from three years ago?

Why do you criticize the lives of celebrities when you don't have your act together?

So, people get angry about this media, this journal of so called loose people trying to change their message to handle short attention spans of the world and we wonder why things are the way they are?

And culture is reflecting it.

Art, if you call this art, becomes this odd self-fulfilling prophecy. You hear society deals with teen pregnancy. So you make movies on teen pregnancy. And then people point to the numbers. But the numbers were already like that.

Obviously, this is more about the example than the real statistic. Teen pregnancy is down. You can't feed yourself in this recession, let alone kids. You can't even afford a date to get someone pregnant to begin with.

Point is, a lot of what is "out there" is not a reflection of society at large. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, not a microcosm of big tobacco.

And we think killing people over a bad movie is acceptable behavior. To the point where we have to apologize and watch what we say.

I get hater comments all the time. Doesn't mean I kill people.

What is the solution to all this pent up rage in society?

I think people need to be constructively genuine.

Admit your faults, take the front down from time-to-time.

Limit the bullshit you force on others. Don't give false compassion. False compassion is like a false orgasm, people can tell.

And to the wannabe spree killers out there: Calm the fuck down

Understand that fake people are all overcompensating. Be compassionate.

It's hard to be real all the time.

And if you're still sad, go to a strip club.

And if one of your ultraconservative/feminist friends complain, take them with you.