The government said my soul is worth its weight in gold! … is that good?

I thought I’d make one more neural dump before parking the brain for the night.

I’m feeling especially frustrated about commercialism and marketing right now and resentful that I see no way out of that cycle, at least as long as I live in America. Probably because the college brand name bowls, the Enron travesty, and the constant talk of recession I feel more than ever that the only worth we seem to have in society is what kind of consumer potential we represent.

On a daily basis we hear from the government how the markets aren’t dong as well as they did X number of years ago, and for them to rebound we need to get out and be a good little consumer. What surprises me most about this is that more people aren’t disgusted or insulted by this kind or rhetoric. I know it’s a more complicated situation than this, but right now I feel like this is the same as the President saying “You people aren’t making my rich friends enough money, so get out there and spend!” What’s more insulting is that our economy seems to actually be taking a nose dive because of it. This means one thing to me, and that this country lives too much for the wealthy and affluent.

In the face of this kind of culture how can anyone feel that their net worth is anything more than their net worth. I feel like little more than an agent to transfer funds between one big corporation to another. That I wouldn’t be paid at all if it weren’t for the fact that the bloated money bucket I work for didn’t want to make sure one of it’s other bloated money bucket friends got the money they were giving me.

It’s so defeating to me to live like this sometimes, and I think for a lot of other people as well. With everything that’s been happening it’s like they don’t even care enough to cover up how used we all are by big business. Like some abusive parent who berates their child to another friend as if they weren’t even in the room to hear it. I guess the real shame about all this is that we do have the power to make other choices as a nation and that there is no way in hell that will ever happen. No wonder I retreat to computer games so much. Blah!

It Couldn’t Never Not Happen!

Just got done watching another episode of Politically Incorrect on ABC, which was moderately interesting. Basically the conversation centered around the use of the ‘N’ word in popular culture. The pretense of the discussion was that the ‘N’ word began as a very hateful and damaging thing to say but in recent times it’s been cooped by some elements on the culture and can be a term of endearment in the black community in particular contexts. The dialog about the merits of this point was good but that wasn’t want caught my mind.

What did spark my thoughts was a situation that occurred at the beginning of the discussion and something I think that exemplifies the terrible time some of us have in trying to resolve racial issues in this country. Basically Bill Mauhr asserted that people in the black community use the ‘N’ word with each other and don’t mean it in a negative way. The immediate response from a black female panel member was “No we don’t” with the most adamant of tones. The entire panel stopped for a second and tried to clarify that this person indeed was asserting that the ‘N’ word wasn’t used at all in the hip-hop community or between some African Americans, she of course continued adamantly to deny that it was. The end result is the other two black panel members had to refute that and say that yes some people in the black community did use the word in a positive way with one another. (Sorry for the extended set up but stay with me)

I guess what my mind locked onto in this is one reason I think many non-blacks find it so unnerving to try to discuss racial issues. I think many (most) of the people I know feel terrible about the racism in America and would probably want to engage in a dialog about how things could be made better. I think also that many stay as far away from those conversations (especially with people of races often discriminated against) not only because they are afraid of being held personally responsible, but because so much emotion enters into the discussion that such outrageous things are said. I mean how can you feel that you can enter into a serious and meaningful conversation about something if you feel people will out of hand deny basic facts relating to the topic.

In this particular situation and I think in ones like it, the person who made the outrageous denial simply wanted the fact to not be true and that emotion caused them to make the denial even though it was absurd to do so. (The person stated this as the case later in the show so don’t beat me up for drawing such conclusions,) I guess the genesis of my anxiety over this is that I would love for people to be engaged with one another in serious and intelligent conversation of all kinds. In the case of racism it’s so terribly important that we all get on with the business of trying to make the situation at least a little bit better for those being discriminated against. I guess seeing that kind of situation is a bit of a hope dasher for seeing that.

A passionless obsession?

I find it very odd that I’ve become very actively involved in the forums for the upcoming MMORPG City of heroes. Specifically what I find odd about it is that, while I’m definitely interested in the game, I’m not overly passionate about it. I’m chomping at the bit for games like Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars Galaxies, but in truth I don’t even go by their message forums. For City of Heroes though I go by the forums daily and make several posts a day. It’s just odd to me that I would become so active in a game I’m only moderately interested in.

Tired of fluffy misunderstood peaceful Aliens? Me too!

I’ve been enjoying the new thrill of the computer game Aliens vs. Predator over the last few days. I have to say the first person shooter genre as a whole has seen some of its best games come out in the last year by far. Between AvP2, Max Payne, Deus Ex, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, they’ve managed to impress both in the technological arena and on the creative end as well.

One aspect of AvP2 that I’m very impressed with is that in playing as a Colonial Marine I found I was actually jumpy at a few points in the game. They really captured the atmosphere of the title very well and when playing in any of the roles you really get a feel for the creature/person you’re suppose to be playing.

Is this total computer geeks stuff? Well… yes. Although I have to say it isn’t only that. I find I’m impressed with how well a something is put together weather it be a computer game, movie, poem, or painting. In my mind the creator has something they are trying to get across to the person interfacing with their medium. When someone is able to take something impersonal and craft a method for you to become attached or immersed in it, I find I’m just damn impressed. The most shining example of this kind of thing is with the director Peter Jackson and his translation of the Fellowship of the Ring to a visual medium. Anytime that level of talent is displayed I find myself a bit awed.

Am I saying AvP2 is the FOTR of computer games? No, don’t be silly. It is a great game but it doesn’t move me in the way a great film or piece of art does. Still though you have to appreciate the talent and vision of something crafted so well in its genre.

If you’re into computer games (and you’ll find out it’s my leisure time passion) I highly suggest you pick it up. Both the single player and multiplayer aspects of the game are as good as you’ll find in a modern day computer game.

The new Pop Culture! Now with 20% more bullshit!

Politically Incorrect (A show I’ll probably refer to quiet a bit) had it’s annual Grammy special on last night. Maybe I’m getting old (actually, I definitely am) but nothing makes me hate pop culture musicians more than seeing them interviewed. They are the worst kind of entertainer IMO in that they buy their own bullshit more than just about any other entertainment icon.

Actors can have a terrible air about them but it seems to me deep down they seem to have a sense they are ‘on stage’ and projecting a character. Musicians on the other hand are in the business of passing a character off as themselves, and after a very short time I believe these people come to believe they are actually the characters their PR people have created. I think they believe they are the center of cool, as if they are the first people to think of it and that they are actually deserving of the worship fans lay on them.

Seeing this kind of thing doesn’t actually make me mad but it gets difficult to control my urge to laugh and roll my eyes. I guess I do have somewhat of an urge to shake some sense into them but I guess my true sense of outrage isn’t directed at them. I suppose my real revulsion is directed toward the mindless ‘mall-oids’ that prop up the self promoting idiots and buy their bullshit in mass quantity and watch every E entertainment special glorifying it.

It just goes to show that we need more chlorine in the gene pool.

Here we go

Well I’ve decided to give this journal a try. I’ve thought about it for some time but have particularly occupied with various thoughts of late and I thought instead of mentally ranting it may help me a bit to try to journal my mental ping pong. My biggest concern is that I’ll either do it for awhile and let it trail off, or just plain not do it at all. (So if this is the only entry you see, I guess you’ll know what way I went.)