Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Simple message about hatred

No matter how you spin it, the deep, intense hatred of Donald J. Trump is real, and millions of otherwise intelligent people practice it.

In a rational and ethical world, it is delusional and dangerous to believe hating someone is a virtuous act.

A few stubborn critics might want to pull out the Hitler reference, insisting that it is virtuous to hate evil.

Most reasonable people would agree.

However, Hitler was a merciless murderer of millions of innocent people. Trump is merely an arrogant tycoon.

Let's try some honesty for a change, and stop pretending that the man the mob just lynched must have been guilty if he's now hanging from a rope.

"For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

"Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him."

-- 1 John 3:11-15  NIV



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Lemmings in the breeze


Many conservatives in the U.S., who are normal, hard-working, family-centered people (very similar to the non-crazy counterparts in the liberal camp), are anxiously steeped in various levels of concern regarding the Left's ubiquitous carnage of traditional values.

The Left's corrosive agenda, over the course of many decades, is nearing the boiling point in terms of conservative society's ability to maintain cognitive dissonance regarding tolerance of thought police while still holding fast to the tenets that brought this country from a collection of adventurous vagabonds to history's greatest superpower.

I had a liberating thought about the whole mess tonight.

The reason there is so much repression of individual thought in 2019 is because the wisdom of the crowd has been manipulated astutely by social engineers whose goals do not include the continuance of America as a democratic republic. While that statement may be soundly debated by polarized pundits in the public square, the reality remains that a cursory survey of the issues deemed most important by society reveals moral ethos has changed radically in the last half-century.

The principal reason things have reached such a level of ire and tension is because the argument shifted from opinion to character, and the crowd will always press upon the iconoclast.

In 2019, the iconoclast has no interest in the endorphin rush of social media, nor the electronic gadgetry associated with it, and is not moved by the crowd's attempts to cajole one into purchasing it.

In 2019, the iconoclast tends to avoid watching the news, because the agitation it produces is not preferable to the alleged ignorance of being 'uninformed.'

In 2019, the iconoclast still may enjoy movies or television, but tends to stop watching when political agendas are woven into the story. As this is more often the case than not, more time is spent reading books, playing video games, and enjoying the company of other human beings.

In 2019, the iconoclast believes in recycling and being conscientious about the environment, but doesn't live in fear that plastic bags, carbon dioxide and bovine flatulence will exterminate us all in 12 years.

In 2019, the iconoclast doesn't give two cents about skin color, regardless of pressure to view some colors as more deserving of positive recognition than others.

In 2019, the iconoclast doesn't think either gender is better than the other, but does recognize that the two genders are very different and both deserve to be celebrated for their respective differences, as two halves of a cohesive whole.

In 2019, the iconoclast believes one should respect all other human beings, but does not believe that people should be legally forced to use pronouns that contradict the reproductive equipment possessed at birth, if they prefer not to use them.

In 2019, the iconoclast knows that encouraging prepubescent children to identify with the opposite gender, when historically 80% of children suffering from gender dysphoria simply grew out of it, is irresponsible, foolish, and potentially permanently damaging to child and teen psyches via misguided counseling and prescription hormones.

In 2019, the iconoclast believes that buying eggs from chickens that don't roam free, or eating a McDouble, or preferring to live without a four-legged companion, does not equal hatred of animals.

In 2019, the iconoclast understands that guns are merely tools that the person holding them decides how to use, and that taking them away does not erase an individual's desire to act on murderous impulses.

In 2019, the iconoclast thinks all should be allowed to pursue life, liberty and their own happiness, regardless of sexual or religious orientation, but does not believe that public campaigns to vilify those who object to some behaviors are appropriate in a free society.

In 2019, the iconoclast understands that the fringe will never run the show, and special interest groups will never be able to permanently legislate morality, no matter how hard they try, and no matter how many people they bully and publicly shame.

And now, in 2019, the iconoclast is being multiplied by common sense. This is the nature of human beings. Most people just want to get along and live their lives, but at the same time, those same people have a limit to how many times the mob can put their fingers to their lips and ominously threaten, "Shh!"

The good news and point of this essay:

The lemmings that make up "the crowd" must be given direction; this is the direct opposite of an iconoclast, who refuses to let peer pressure make up his or her mind.

When the boiling point mentioned above occurs, the lemmings will merely shift direction with the breeze, and the breeze will flow conservative again.

This isn't wishful thinking, it's just history endlessly repeating itself.




Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Showdown (Special Edition)

Not everyone appreciates the entertainment value of B movies, but I think I figured out today what can make them subjectively compelling.

Genre.

I like movies with fights in them. Cheap Chinese Kung-fu flicks, high-budget action films, hand to hand combat scenes in any movie. I like revenge themes because the good guy gets to kick the bad guy's butt at some point, which often never happens in real life.

Today, via Amazon Prime, I watched what many would consider an unwatchable movie called "Showdown," starring Billy Blanks and actors I don't recall seeing before.

It had sub-par writing, bench-warmer acting, uninspired direction, Lifetime Movie musical soundtrack, obligatory training montages, amateur fight choreography, a nondescript hero, a monochromatic bully, his clueless girlfriend (except for one lucid moment about 51 minutes in), an amusingly sadistic female henchman, and her boss: a ridiculous villain whose overacting was magnitudes worse than William Shatner's (but lacking the self-parody necessary to remain relevant).

Yet for all that, I could not stop watching it, and was entertained despite its impressive collection of artistic failures.

So the question I asked myself was, "Why am I enjoying this low-budget after school special?"

Other than genre, I think this movie kept my attention because it utilized one of my favorite plot devices: picked-on hero gets trained by master to defeat cruel enemy.

Like Plato's Forms producing recognition despite variance, there is a perfect universe where justice always prevails, and any reminder of its existence is okay by me.



Where it all starts...

"Fleccas Talks" is a YouTube channel that features a friendly young man named Fleccas, who goes to public gatherings where a conservative entity is publicly speaking, in order to interview persons from all perspectives regarding the event.

I've watched many of Fleccas's uploads, and they are mostly amusing. Of course the videos are edited to a pro-conservative agenda, that's beside the point. Persons who claim that his work is merely deceptive propaganda haven't actually watched his videos. Yes, he's conservative, but that doesn't make him wrong, it merely makes him a target.

Something happens in this video that got me to thinking, and I've cued it to the part I'm referring to:

Leftist Protesters Assault Pro Trump DACA Student At Michael Knowles' Build The Wall Speech

So yes, hitting someone's hat off of his or her head isn't all that physically threatening. I suppose it could be considered assault by the letter of the law, but it would be hard to take seriously in a municipal court. In most people's book it's just plain disrespectful. When I saw the young woman do it in the video, all I could do was shake my head. When I saw the other woman daring the young man to "do something," all I could do was shake my head again.

However, what occurred to me while I watched this happen was a bit darker.

Knocking MAGA hats off of heads isn't a new thing anymore, and isn't all that uncommon. I'm somewhat confident to suggest that it only happens to people who don't look threatening enough to retaliate, indicating the general cowardice of those who do it.

But as with all predictions based on statistics, it's a numbers game. To put it more bluntly:

Eventually, on one sad and unfortunate day, someone who feels empowered by the crowd, or their friends, or some tweet, or CNN's hate-mongering, is going to knock the hat off of the wrong person's head. The wrong person who is either mentally ill, having an exceptionally bad time of it, or one step from the edge.

The gun will come out, the last expression on the face of the person who knocked the hat off will be surprise, and the Leftist news media will have a field day reporting on the "angry, evil, gun-toting" conservative who was bound to commit such an act eventually due to his or her preference for the "racist, hate-mongering" Trump.

I don't think the people who pick on others wearing MAGA hats have fully thought through the ramifications of their actions. But why do we have to wait until something turns permanently ugly?

Just stop. Respect others, whether or not they disagree with you. You gain nothing by showing disrespect to strangers, and on one anomalous day, you could lose everything by doing so.



Thursday, May 9, 2019

Fear-mongering Vox joins the Fake News crew

Vox calls Nextdoor "fear-based." For the sake of argument, Vox might as well call Facebook "loneliness-based" or Twitter "narcissism-based."

This morning, an article from Vox was presented to me in my new tab news feeds in Firefox:

The rise of fear-based social media like Nextdoor, Citizen, and now Amazon’s Neighbors

The title was provocative, so I clicked on it.

"Nextdoor" is an invaluable tool for communities to reestablish their status as communities, in this digital day and age. Block parties and other face-to-face activities have gone by the wayside, so apps like Nextdoor give people a sense of that lost community. In any community, there will not be one hundred percent agreement about anything, much less how people view other human beings.

With this article (written by Rani Molla, reporter for Recode and formerly Bloomberg Gadfly) Vox is attempting to turn the reader against a positive force for the community by, once again, playing that tried-and-true, unassailable, and punishable-by-shame-if-resisted racism card.

The article, besides referring to Nextdoor as a "fear-based social media app," which immediately paints a very one-dimensional picture of it's users, also states that Nextdoor's Crime and Safety section is a "hotbed for racial stereotyping."

The Wired article being referenced for the hotbed reference is here:

For Nextdoor, Eliminating Racism Is No Quick Fix

If you read the Wired piece, you will find in the fourth paragraph the following information:

"Caught off guard, Tolia asked his neighborhood operations team, which handles customer service, to review Nextdoor postings. They discovered several dozen messages posted over the course of the previous year that identified suspicious characters only by race. By some measures, it was a tiny issue. The site distributes four million messages daily."

In the world of perception, journalists know all too well the power of words to manipulate. To refer to "several dozen" messages over the course of an entire year as a "hotbed," when the total messages for that same year amounted to one billion and four hundred and sixty million (50 messages as compared to 1,460,000,000 messages), is nothing short of exaggeration in the highest order.

We are told that "by some measures" it is a tiny issue. By what other measure is it not a tiny issue? I'm a bit puzzled by that statement. Later in the same paragraph, Tolia (founder of Nextdoor) expresses his dismay that even a tiny problem can cast his service as racist. Sure, in the minds of those who think the fringe are as relevant as the average user. Most adults are coherent enough to know this is not true.

Coming back to the Vox piece, there are other manipulative statements, some allegedly backed by handy graphs, such as "Public perception of crime rate at odds with data," "Apps can fuel a vicious cycle of fear and violence," "Citizen — whose previous form was called Vigilante and which appeared to encourage users to stop crimes in action," "These apps have become popular because of — and have aggravated — the false sense that danger is on the rise," "Examples abound of racism on these types of apps, usually in the form of who is identified as criminal," "Apps didn’t create bias or unfair policing, but they can exacerbate it," "These apps can also be psychologically detrimental to the people who use them," "Like all new technology, we’re struggling to use it correctly," "But why would we use something that plays on demonstrably false fears and has so many negative side effects?" "The rise of fear-based social media apps might also have to do with the decline of local news." [bold text not included in original sentences]

Notice all the "cans" and similar words used to suggest that the most negative possibility is likely correct. This is easily identified manipulation.

Of course Rani brings in an 'expert' to tell us that "These apps foment fear around crime, which feeds into existing biases and racism and largely reinforces stereotypes around skin color."

That same expert is further quoted that there's "very deep research" indicating we're all predisposed to mentally picture a black person when we hear about or read about a crime. Oh, I'm sure there is this sort of biased research, especially if it will contribute to the reader further believing this hit piece, and the overarching Leftian narrative that the entire country is teeming with white racists who hate "people of color."

Then another convenient expert is quoted, telling us that these apps don't actually help us as advertised, but instead simply reflect our own ugly biases, an accusation easily leveled at a nebulous crowd, but not so easily proven on an individual basis.

Other articles are cited, from Motherboard, Vice, and The Outline, all of which are not necessarily about racism but conveniently refer to possibilities that Rani found advantageous to her point.

At the end of all this, I have to ponder:

Why take an app that millions of people enjoy and rely upon, and falsely cast it as racist and fear-mongering, based on the questionable use of it by only a handful of people?

Are some of us losing our senses of proportion and accurate perception?

Or is the answer a bit more sinister, such as a desire to dismantle something that people use to protect each other without government or media control?



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"The Dark" movie is unique and complex

"The Dark" is a movie I found while searching for better-than-average horror movies for a friend of mine. I'm trying to keep batting 1.000, as my last recommendation to him (The Loved Ones) was another big hit in his estimation.

The Dark deals with the subject of monsters.

A few of the actors, including the kidnapped boy Alex, were a tad less than adequate in their craft, but it didn't ruin it for me. There was no Academy Award-winning writing, but it was original and I enjoyed it. There were several tense moments that weren't cheapened by cheesy jump scares. It was slow paced at times, but I was never bored.

The cinematography was well done. There was an ominous quality to the protagonist at times that could only have been  accomplished by the dim lighting and facial angles utilized.

The reason why The Dark is unique is because it is first and foremost a lurid fairy tale, as opposed to a simple ax-murder-fest. The protagonist is literally back from the grave, and the haunted woods her house stands in are the best unspoken explanation for the miraculous event. The pictures she draws and the sounds she hears suggest there is more to the story than mere retribution from the grave, but unfortunately we're not enlightened in that regard.

The Dark is complex because, despite Mina's face being convincingly hideous, the monster in this story isn't truly a monster. In addition, the subtle aspects of the kidnapped boy's aversion to rescue are a reminder that Stockholm Syndrome is a powerful factor when combined with believable threats to one's family.

Then there's the discussion afterwards: how many monsters did you count in the movie?

The story is a bit poignant and contains a positive ending, which many fans of horror are not disposed to enjoy from the genre. Yes, there is murder, even of what appear to be innocent people. Tragedy begets tragedy in real life, so the obscure moral of this dark fairy tale is that the cycle doesn't have to continue.

There were several interesting hints of Mina's transformation, including her attempts to burn her hand with the lighter. Can people rise from the dead in real life and become scary monsters?

Nah, but if they did, it would be nice if they all ended up like Mina. 



Friday, April 12, 2019

First Amendment violations gather as group think continues

This article was published on January 22 of this year, but I just happened on it now:

$6 Million Anti-Abortion Movie Seeks Major Label Music, But Finds No Takers

I'm in general agreement that in a free country, a business can reserve the right to refuse service in most situations. The music publishers denying Unplanned across the board could still be defended from that position. This is why the cake-baking controversy ended with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the baker in the Colorado case.

This is why I think it rude and wrong, but it was still legal for the Red Hen restaurant to refuse service to Sarah Sanders.

What isn't being adequately considered is the overall effect this sort of group think censorship has on those watching from the sidelines. There is certainly a difference between multiple bakeries to choose from, but only one official avenue by which published songs may be utilized in a movie.

The message is clear: you are either pro-choice in the entertainment industry, or you are out.

Then there's the obvious conclusion one should draw from Unplanned's struggle with those who want to control what the public sees and hears:

Pro-choice supporters are afraid. There can be no other explanation for the deliberate blocking of such an inoffensive film.

So honestly, what are they afraid of? That people will be shown, without condemnation nor demonization, what it truly means to abort a child, and within the context of an authentic setting?

Consider the vegan tactic of showing footage of animals being slaughtered for food. If after viewing cows being slaughtered for example, the viewers continue to eat beef, at least now they're aware of what it took to get that hamburger to their plate.

But the media industry complex does not want you to possess analogous information regarding abortion.

Why not?

I mean seriously...why not?