Sunday Morning Reading Material Third Sunday in August 2011- Hallucinatory Paper Bags Edition

Warning: these are not the real US presidents.

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays are for sleeping past 5:30am for the first time in a week. Sundays are for playing video games and waiting for your partner to get off work so you can… play some video games together. Sundays might be for introspection. Perhaps- just perhaps- Sundays are for watching Disney movies.

This week the US president went on vacation worked from a more scenic office. This week I seem to have acquired a girlfriend. This week NATO-backed rebel forces marched on the Libyan capitol. Also this week: Palestinians launched rockets on Israel- probably in reprisal for Israel doing bad things to Palestinians- Israelis who are pursuing legitimate security concerns stemming from Palestinian actions. And also: People employed by Verizon have agreed to end their strike and resume working under terms of an expired contract while a new one is being negotiated. Fun fact: the only direct quotes newspapers are giving about this Union action seem to be coming from Verizon’s management team. Ah, capitalism.

The news for the past year or so has been awful. War, rumors of war, and class war have dominated the headlines. I do, however, remain fundamentally optimistic about human nature. Any species capable of turning legos into a camera is worthy of respect.

The 20th Century was an age of monsters. Stalin. Mussolini. Hitler. Milosevic. Pol Pot. ShirĊ Ishii. And we might as well add Churchill to that list, for his directly and knowingly causing a famine that killed millions. In addition, the century started with a conflict knows as “The Great War”- until mid-century brought something so terrible that we had to invent a whole new category of crime to describe it. The 21st century has brought with it a more peaceful species, and perhaps the long-dreamed-of peace is nearer than we can imagine.

Humans are, by nature, social creatures. Nonetheless, saying that single player experiences will be “dead” in such a short time frame seems bizarrely wrong. It’s a bit like predicting that the Walkman would never take off because people enjoy sharing music with one another. There simply are certain experiences that can only be had by lone individuals. Those won’t go away anytime soon.

I watched “The Help” earlier this week. It was a rather good movie, though more than a bit emotionally exploitative. I’m not sure how intentional this was, but the movie did a fantastic job of deconstructing the Magic Negro archetype. The women portrayed in the movie are professionals, who know they’re engaged in terrible work, but are determined to do that work as well as they possibly can. Being a professional sometimes means gritting one’s teeth and telling a spoiled white girl that she’s “kind, smart, and pretty”.

Years after I realized that I lacked the essential ingredient required for a person to be Christian, I was invited to a friend’s baptism. Of course I agreed to go. This was a time for him to confirm and celebrate a new relationship in his life. When people are celebrating, it seems fitting and natural to celebrate with them. If my choices are to celebrate joy or cause misery, I don’t need to think very hard. I’m not sure why anyone would chose to create unhappiness if they have a choice.

It almost seems like the Post Office is mandated to run at a substantial deficit. I wonder what the justification for this is?

Last week I linked to an article about a married couple being torn apart by America’s decision not to recognize their marriage. It seems that Obama has ordered anti-immigration officials to start recognizing that families can be created by two people of the same gender. Which is a major advance for human rights.

In a perfect world, big tech firms would be fighting tooth and nail for customers. They would be fighting for customers by creating good, better best, cheap, cheaper, cheapest products. Big firms hate competition. As a result, they take legal action to keep one another from using certain types of technology. In the end, everyone ends up a little bit worse off. The system needs changing.

It makes an intuitive sort of sense that if someone kills a person with a car, they might permanently lose their right to drive. Likewise if they take a life with a gun. Ruin lives with criminal accounting? Never again ought that person have a business licence. Laws that keep former criminals from voting, though? Those were developed in conjunction with laws aimed at black people, to keep black people from voting. They’re anti-democratic, and need to be scrapped.

Buffy can save your soul.

Centuries ago, young men would duel to prove that they were not afraid to die. This was, of course, stupid. During times of actual conflict, duels declined precipitously. It would be interesting to see dueling culture make a comeback. Beats the hell out of lawsuits, frankly.

Los Angles police are notorious. For decades, there was barely contained rage between citizens and police. This has made a dramatic turnaround. A new police chief seems to have figured out that the police must be responsible to and for the community. Once they became active participants in neighborhoods- rather than an occupying force- conditions improved.

In 2011, it’s still common for people to think of feminists as “man haters”, “lesbians”, or somehow thinking that no woman could ever be fulfilled as a wife and mother. For people who think this way, here are a great collection of corrective essays. The “political correctness” essays are highly recommended.

Superhero costumes are absurd.

If you read just one link:

Eric Blair once was part of a machine which attempted to impose English rule on India. While there, he came to understand that he was trapped in the machine as surely as anyone he ruled over. And thus George Orwell was born.

Don’t mess with the Bard.


One Response to “Sunday Morning Reading Material Third Sunday in August 2011- Hallucinatory Paper Bags Edition”

  1. I think the Bard won this round. The Doctor had to rely on the Cat & Thing 1 and Thing 2 to fight his battles.

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