Sunday, 12 February 2017

It's Gonna Be A Long Four Years...

It's been a while since I've made a blog. And in doing so I've been thinking about the kind of things I could mention on this blog that would not be political. If you know me through any of my main social media outlets, you know that I've been going on non-stop about politics. Specifically, what's going down to the neighbour down south. I can't really shut up about it and neither can many others. And while it's certainly a topic that I'm interested in going on about, I understand it if others are irritated by it. Not only because it's a generally exhausting topic that requires you to look at various other sources to make a firm decision on the matter at hand but because in the current climate, everything is politicized. You can certainly make the point that all that one does is inherently political, but you can also make the point that people honest to god need to give it a rest. I was intending to do so for this blog, but I can't help but write something longer about what's going on and try to touch on some key aspects.

These past few weeks have felt more like years considering all that has gone on so far. With the frenetic energy that has come from his executive orders and petty tweets, Trump is continually making an ass out of himself and everyone else. It was fun for a while seeing the hilariously pathetic inauguration go by and I am keeping my promise to give the man credit when he's does good like destroying the awful deal that was the TPP. But then there's also that Muslim ban that resulted in furious commotion, Yates getting the boot and pretty much being illegal. Not to mention the rounds of cabinet picks that have pretty much resulted in the swampiest of people to rise up like Betsy Devos, the embodiment of stuck-up private school soccer moms being in charge of Secretary of Education. Add in the wonderful spins by Conway and Spicer to the whole mess and you might as well make like Harry Whittington and get the vice-president to shoot you in the face.

With all that's going on, it does astound me just how much his supporters are willing to let slide. He has dropped the "lock her up" line, his cabinet is made of rich elites, Obamacare being dead has essentially fucked their affordable care, he is using private email and also indulging in pay-to-play tactics. I can make quick jokes about what all they care about is that he keeps them damn Mexicanos and Mooslims out to have a giggle at the xenophobia that has propped him up but I'm more curious to see how this is being rationalized. Especially considering that he's being very blatant about it, particularly with the fact that he still really hasn't split his business from his politics. That and if I want to have a laugh at the xenophobia, I might as well do so at the mastermind of this whole administration, Steve Bannon, who pretty much looks like if a frog developed a rash.

As fun as it is to pick apart the gross nature and gross incompetence of this administration, it would certainly be unfair to just decry the whole of the right. And not because there are some like Ana Navarro that give me hope, but because there is certainly a lot of stupidity coming from the left too. Now let's be clear: I definitely think that the Women's March made a very bold statement, especially juxtaposed to the inauguration crowds. And definitely there has been a tireless effort by protesters, senators and other workers to continue the push against Trump. If nothing else, Hilary has completely vanished from the not-quite-a-loss she had with him. But good lord if there's anyone's law that has been horribly enforced lately, it's Godwin's. For every Spencer punch, there's an exaggerated outburst of rage that is flung towards anyone who doesn't perfectly align or thinks a slight bit different than the left. Sure, I wouldn't exactly say that Republicans are doing much to heal the divide, but partisanry goes both ways. And even though there is reason to be on edge about the whole situation, the hysteria is getting in the way of delivering the message properly.

Part of why this is happening is because of the fragmentation between the liberal and the left. Easy way to tell the difference is that one will scream about wanting Hilary or Obama in the White House and the other will scream about how those two picks are actually awful. And I certainly find myself going back and forth on what's to be done now. On the one hand, I do want there to be some unity between the two sides. On the other hand, it seems like the only thing that gets into the heads of the government is obstruction so Democrats shouldn't fold to the Republicans. Being that I'm young, it would be natural of me to tend a little more far to the left, but at the same time I've seen what going far left can lead. Despite the friction, there are hiveminds that are created and they manage to spill the aggression beyond those that can rightfully deserve it (though depending on who you are, whoever you believe that to be may be different than what I do).

Unfortunately, that's the nature of the political dichotomy in the US. Simplicity serves better for the politicians and their constituents even though reality is far more complex than it leads on. And we all end up playing the game because we all want to feel good about our commentary. It's why we read thinkpieces, why we share videos that stick it to our opponents, why we crack jokes about what goes on. I like to make it fair to show that I understand those on the other side, but there's no denying that I'm not down with the Donald at all. And that alone will be an issue. Some can look past these political differences and remain civil when discussing matters. Others cannot. These people change through time. Even I can be included in that category. Such is the way things go.

There's still a lot more of this presidency to get through. Amid all the awful that has transpired, he's yet to really piss the bed, at least to the point that it would become quite unanimous. The media continues to be relatively lackluster in their attempts to curtail him. And lord knows that Hollywood's smugness might just turn me into Toronto's Marco Guiterrez. I may be in Canada, but I can feel the vibrations of his actions up here. Not simply because of Kevin O'Bleary or Kellie Leech but because of the sensitivity that my university faces with these topics. A part of me still wants to remain positive about all of this. Not simply in that selfish sense of having this be such a trainwreck that it ruins him and builds a better movement, but in that sense that I was wrong about my assumptions. But again, I still am tied to my convictions. These years are going to drag on for a good while. And all I can really promise for the future...is that my next blog will not be political. Trust me.

Friday, 18 November 2016

The Mole Hills Are Now Mountains

Last Halloween, I wrote an op-ed for The Gargoyle called “Costume Policing” talking about how the politicization of costumes seemed to get in the way of a proper cultural exchange. During the writing of that article, there was a part of me that kept on asking “what the hell is the big deal about this shit?”. After all, did Chad wearing that lazy Mexican costume while pounding tequila shots lead to any further turmoil in the Middle East? Are the bigoted costumes why the Canadian economy is in decline? I’ve certainly been seeing the “we’re a culture not a costume” poster for the past couple years, so it must be an urgent matter. And if we want to be more recent, it seems like Starbucks is bringing back the drama with their new coffee cup. Remember last year when conservatives nearly exploded from the lack of holly-jolly the dreaded red cup of communism those baristas gave us? How dare they ruin Christmas! Nevermind that the Eaton Center just had a winter wonderland bukkake as soon as we went into November, I feel threatened!

The trivial often seems to become some travesty to someone. And the news can’t help but indulge in these thinkpieces. Maybe they just serve as pointless filler to pad in between the more urgent issues, but perhaps to some those are the urgent issues. I don’t believe Christmas is threatened when people say Happy Holidays (though I am of the belief that if I said Merry Christmas I meant it with good intentions; it’s not like I pissed in your place of worship or lack thereof), but some people truly see that as some threat. Our poor neighbours to the South find themselves turning any small matter into a battleground for the culture war, with alt-righters and progressives having a veritable pissing contest over what domains are their own. I mean they took Pepe, now we must take him back! #SavePepe

Part of me does find the exaggeration to be quite absurd. I come from Venezuela, where there’s a lot of absurdities to face already. Especially now where the smallest problem is figuring out what to wear to go out to the supermarket to wait for a long line to hope to get any food as you try your best not to be torn apart by thugs or the police or people who revere the bus-driving dictator piece of shit, later wondering how the fuck an oil-rich nation became one suffering horrible inflation and poverty. But hey, that doesn’t mean we feel for you! We do feel your pain when it comes to the small grievances. Focusing on them distracts us from the larger horrors that we face. Maybe such a feeling is the same that you all face.

But if such does not apply, I think there may be something else to it. See, Canada’s a swell nation. So is (or maybe was) the United States. It’s the reason why we immigrants do our immigrating, as we see you as a safe haven from the collapse of our homeland. No country is perfect though, and you have your own problems to face. There’s some large and some small. Now while the large are indeed important, they also take a lot of time to fix. We need our intellectuals, our political leaders and our savvy pundits/late night comedians to help us through them.

In the meantime, we can tackle the small problems, those that are well within our reach. We don’t necessarily want to feel as though our tackling of these problems is just meaningless. If such is the case, then our efforts were wasted and we would have to try to deal with those larger problems. And they’re tough, we need to invest so much time into those. We’re busy folk, damn it! So in order to make those problems a lot more important, we inflate them. Sometimes, we can find that those tiny breadcrumbs that we deal with actually lead to a greater conflict, that those microaggressions have an impact that further emphasizes the corruption of systemic injustice. Other times, we’re just trying to justify our angry yelling. In this process, what seems as minor does in fact become the major, because it is one that is well within our reach. It is one that we can have a dialogue on because it’s surface-level, allowing for everyone to understand it and make their opinion on the matter as fast as possible.

Our walks of lives are quite different and as such our priorities are quite different. What one might consider as innocuous, the other may see it as morally reprehensible. And as such, everything becomes contentious as a result. So very little in this world is agreed upon universally. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people object to oxygen. But especially in these privileged wonderlands, we want to distract ourselves from the utter boredom of our lives. And the only way we can is through conflict. So don’t get too flustered if someone starts a petition for bringing back a cancelled TV show or if a newspaper publishes a smear campaign towards manbuns. Just remember, that you too have small things that feel a lot larger. And yes, I am talking about penises.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

A Post Post-Election About The Election Results

Now that I've had some time to digest the results of the election and take things into consideration, I feel as though I might as well go about making some long-winded post about it. I mean everyone needs the obnoxious politically-minded friend, so I fulfill that niche.

First off, as much as I may be fuming from the win being the sensitive little liberal that I am, I congratulate my Republican brethren for their victory. Amid the fearmongering and the gerrymandering and the voter supression, there are decent people who had valid reasons to go to this candidate. I said it before and I'll say it again, not all who went for Trump simply did it for the bigotry. I assume that many voters voted for what would be best for the US, not simply for themselves. And though each day in the election brought more astonishment that people still went for this man and the demographics show that white people were mostly supporting Trump (which means that there certainly was a race factor in all of this no matter how much you try to spin it), you stuck through it. Your passion for the man knew no bounds. I hope we can start to bridge the gap and I'll do my part to give the man the benefit of the doubt for a year or two. I won't be any doormat and I will have my reservations, but I'll play nice and maintain a level head. Assuming that he doesn't cross any large lines.

Second, to those who voted for third parties or made protest votes like going for Harambe or Bernie, as much as the liberal in me wants to choke you to death, I can't stay mad at you contrarian rapscallions. A part of me did believe that third parties had some place back then. And if there was any time to protest, this would be the one. You went with your conscience and you voted to protest a disgusting establishment that gave us two of the most unlikable human beings ever as the heads of the major parties. There was some way that people could have swayed you to the other sides but by being dismissive and arrogant certainly was not the right way. I don't have the same feeling for those who didn't vote at all. Especially in this election. Fuck you, you lazy shits.

Third, let's face it, Clinton did not cut the mustard. With Trump, the energy that his supporters had was incredible. They would die for the man. I think the only people who would for her is Lena Dunham or Samantha Bee. She did not captivate the populace, instead assuming that she had this election secured and neglecting the priorities of others. She was artificial and two-faced, with the deception from the DNC looming over her as people paved the way for her to march forward. You can make any argument you want about how these comments about her might just have to do with a sexist society, but you can't dispute that she lost. And the liberal smugness clouded the frustrations that people had with the general establishment. It may only serve to cloud further to reprimand the half of the nation that mobilized themselves enough to move forward.

Fourth, while there's a lot of factors to take in such as the intensity of the Republicans to block the Democratic vote, the passion for Donald Trump in compared to the lukewarm reception for Clinton, third-parties or protest votes taking away from Clinton, or the Democrats' utter complacency to the whole system, to me the greatest factor in this election was the media. The fucking media didn't shut up. They hyped everything to insane levels. They took the bait that Trump laid out every time and put a nice big BREAKING NEWS graphics package in front of it. You can either see them as playing into the status quo and neglecting the real anger that people had with politicians or as riding the sensationalist rollercoaster, using false equivalencies and hot air to fill in the void of true conversation about policy. Personally I see them more as the latter, since money runs their industry. Trump ruled the airwaves and the thinkpieces. And perhaps we can also be at fault of that for taking it in, but we were far past the point where we could have averted this.

Finally, amid all of this I say to all of you that it is not over. The election was close. There is still ways to push back. In a way, we can see this awful victory as a grand wake up call. The politicians didn't take the prospect of a man like him getting as far as he did, and he made it to the farthest point he could. Remain attentive and maintain the passion you have. The political infrastructures that we depended on were filled with termites. They are now being knocked down by a bulldozer with a huge shiny Trump logo on it. And in this wreckage we must restructure ourselves and push to prevent the radical or the incompetent from coming to fruition.

Don't look just to 2020 to prevent his second term, look to anything that comes near. I don't think that Democrats playing the obstructionist card will do any good. And I say that not because they have little sway in the government. But because that only furthers the frustration. The voice of the people must be heard and if that voice can stride for unity, for the betterment of the nation, they will follow it. I may not be proud of this election, but goddamn it, I'm still American! I still can see hope since there are still checks and balances in place! I believe that we can get through this! So let us keep going! For if America is terrible now, then we must try to make it great again.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Rock The Anti-Vote

It seemed as though God decided to bring the scares of Halloween early in the year by essentially subjecting the world to one of the ugliest American elections in history. I mean it’s quite horrendous that out of all the millions of people the 50 states could hold, they could only consider a rotting pumpkin-headed bigot-billionaire and a two-faced millennial-baiting robot as the best candidates to represent them. These two are hated not just by their opponents, but even by people who are under their party. They’re both corrupt, pathological liars, guilty of some sort of crime and driven by their egos. And as each day marches on they essentially drown our poor neighbours to the South with scandal after scandal. And boy it’s not like the third parties are really throwing any life preservers. What with Johnson being the libertarian scarecrow in desperate need of a brain and Stein being a green witch whose magic spells give people smallpox because they believe vaccines cause autism.

Now I’m one of the (un)lucky few who was able to vote in this election. And I certainly have been quite invested by the whole process. Seeing Barack break the black barrier and facing the eight years of vitriol that the right had thrown on him had me hooked on the political circus. Adding on a news media that at best was sensationalist and at worst partisan, the unmitigated gall of the standard politico’s penchant for lying, and the comedians who took it upon themselves to make the days’ events more palatable to the youth made me feel like there is something so beautiful about the broken system. And well, why not throw my pebble to the pond? I was sure 2016 would be just fine.

But then the US got to where it is now. And some of us have done some soul searching.

Over the years, the way in which I viewed the political world in the US was from a very typical point of view. That being that as a young man, I was staunchly Democrat and you dirty Republicans couldn’t convince me otherwise. Indeed, I still find myself holding on to the left, especially given the current circumstances. But I’m sympathetic to the Republicans. It seems quite unrealistic that we cannot focus on the reasonable Republicans, on the moderates. Such seemed so alien, so contradictory in the media lens. And indeed I was finding myself more disenfranchised by the Democrats who seemed not to do much about what they talked about.

Even amongst this election, with an orange clown constantly tripping and saying that he never slips, and the venomous alt-righters who would happily make a conspiracy theory about how what Clinton eats is actually supporting the terrorists and call you a shilling cuck if you disagreed, I do understand why this race is closer than we’d hope it to be. I see why people can’t trust Hillary because I felt the Bern and found myself aflame after the DNC leaks. I understand that are people who would like some better border protection who aren’t doing so out of a bigoted mindset but rather a frustration and insecurity that they feel. Most importantly, for as much as I love being on the left, Christ Almighty there are some obnoxious and ignorant people who only serve to belittle you because you don’t toe their line.

The US was building up to this powder keg exploding, with the divisiveness only growing with each coming year. It would have been so nice to see some peace and compromise, to find our leaders being more reasonable and shaking hands. But it’s foolish to hope for that in 2016 after the birther issue, the Benghazi scandal and the government shutting down like a Windows 10 computer abruptly updating. America was on the edge from all the stress that the government was causing. 2016 is the electoral equivalent of screaming at a pillow and punching a wall; our anger just had to come out – we could no longer kid ourselves with the fa├žade of civility we were maintaining.

This election has been so much of a burden, so much so that even here in Canada, I feel it necessary to talk about it because of just how much it affects the world. We mull through the speeches, the scandals, the think-pieces, the surrogates, the news coverage, the jokes, the memes, the conspiracies, the comments from strangers, the arguments with parents, the tacky merchandise, the inner thoughts and the policies of each candidate and we still feel unsure of what will come. Moreso, we feel unsure of if our decision is the right one. Not many of us Americans who vote will be completely confident in our candidate. And more so than any other year, we will vote more because of how much they can’t stand to see the other one take the helm. Such may be run-of-the-mill of elections. But in this one, we’re tired of it all. We just want some calm. 

Note: I'm well aware Halloween has passed but this was written before such.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Quagmire Of The Latino Electorate



With the election being so close to being over you can taste the post-result riots, I've been thinking about if I should even bother to talk anymore about what's been going on. After all, there's only a few more weeks left. It would be hard to change anyone's mind about anything at this point. Anything that should be coming out of an op-ed on the election would just be a reinforcement of the author's decision or weeping for the sanity of the nation. But I'm not going to bother with either one. Anyone who knows me knows who I'm going for, why I'm going for them and why I'm not happy about it. So rather than dwell on my choice, let's dwell on the choice of the demographic that I'm part of: Latinos!

As anyone who's breathing can tell you, Latinos have been all abuzz in the 2016 election thanks to the comments that the Donald opened with when he threw his golden Made-in-China hat into the ring. When he called Mexicans drug-dealers and rapists, the left burst into moral outrage and promptly called him a racist as he crushed Republican after Republican. The idea of the wall resonated with his core, and it certainly was more of a draw when Donny threw in the added caveat of Mexico having to foot the bill. Once he got the nomination, there was more mention of Latinos in the election. For every ten or so mentions of the criminals, he would utter that "he would get the Latinos" or that "the Latinos have been betrayed". With comments like those, Democrats couldn't help but laugh and consider them the ravings of a madman. After all, they know that in their heart of hearts that us Latinos would be so adamant to march behind them after what Trump said.

Now they're not wrong. But they're not right either.

The first thing to point out is that Latinos are not all Mexicans. I would say that this stems from a bigoted, ignorant right but even the ever-so-refined left seems to lose sight of this. Latino pretty much has just been the more sophisticated way to refer to Mexican, and it's not without reason. Mexicans are the largest part of the Latino demographic. I can't be complaining too much about them going for the main sub-section of the Latinos if they want to get the votes, but this simplifies the way in which people view how other Latinos feel politically. For example, Cubans are usually more on the Republican side of things since a good portion of them fled from the socialist Castro. Perhaps the Venezuelan-Americans are no different. You're not going to see that intricacy, that subtlety. And in fairness, it's not like there's much opportunity for that to flourish. The conflation of the Latino and the Mexican in American is far too powerful that it eventually does cause the demographic to become monolithic by force.

Secondly and more crucially, the driving issue behind the courtship between the politician and the Latino demographic is the one of illegal immigration. Democrats often bring up the way that the Republicans have pandered to xenophobic tendencies in regards to the issue. They pull out story after story about the cruelty and heartlessness of the deportation process and feel as though their pandering through these tales will get the Latinos hook, line and sinker. And here's where the issue comes in. Not all Latinos illegally came to the US. In fact, they're kind of annoyed that there are these illegals coming in, because it hurts them too. As sympathetic as legal Latinos can feel about the struggles of the illegal immigrant, they also feel as though them getting the easier way in is a slap to the face to them. Legal Mexicans are particularly annoyed as it only feeds into the stereotype they're fighting so hard against. It essentially drills in the illegal immigration issue as the main and perhaps only Latino issue the big politicians will address.

It seems shocking for some to think that there may be Latinos out there who might actually be in favor of stricter immigration laws. The idea seems treasonous to the left, because it seems that if you're a minority, even thinking Republican is absurd. Yet there are many Latinos out there in the US who are opposed to the influx of migrants coming into the country. There are Latinos out there who would like to see some sort of border protection. Maybe they might be in favor of that wall with all its conditions or maybe they're just interested in seeing something like that. These people exist. Democrats don't see that. They neither see that Latinos generally are pretty tense with the US in general. I mean removing Mexico from the equation, the US has had its field day during the Cold War readjusting the powers that be down in the South. Furthermore, while Democrats may be awfully good at pandering to Latinos, they're awful in helping Latino communities. I've said that Republicans are a bad joke but Democrats are weak satire and part of why I said that was in regards to the Latino issue. They talk a big game about fixing the system but these communities still are as underdeveloped and crime-ridden as before.

Even though these complexities do exist, it is clear though that this time around us Latinos will go for Clinton. How many of us truly trust her may be hard to say but we certainly feel that Trump is not going to do us any favors. That's not to say that there aren't some Latinos out there who could be for Trump. Though if you're looking for a reasonable one who doesn't indulge in gross self-loathing of their own culture, you're not gonna find it in Marco Gutierrez, the leader of the movement. It's more that the majority of the Latinos have come to the point that it may just be better to head left than anywhere else. Even with their faults, it is important to recognize that Democrats are at least more open-hearted on the surface level. And there are those odd candidates who actually make some concerted efforts to improve the situation.

But then there are those like Ana Navarro, who while rejecting the Republican nominee, does not reject being a Republican. There are probably many of those like her that people may not be aware of. If people are able to see more of this diversity that does exist in the Latino communities, perhaps the issues can be brought to the table in a more reasonable fashion. Heartier debates about the problems Latinos face can be addressed. The evolution of politics stems from unorthodox perspectives being shown a greater light. In this election, the issues were too simplified. Cynically it could be said that all elections are like this. But I hope that might be able to change. It'd be nice to see more of the diversity among us all with the bigotry of the nation quelled. And it would be nice to see Navarro run in 2020.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

In God We Cybertrust

Technology is great. From Bill Gates being able to turn poop into water, to the looming prospect of a 3D printer and self-driving car in every home to the high speeds I can download hardcore BDSM pornography to my computer and then have the ability to plaster it on monitors on Yonge-Dundas Square, it is everything and more that the great Negroponte-damus could have ever thought to have conceived and more. Our modern world has made dreams thought to be impossible come true as the capabilities of devices grow ever more as the years go by.

Of course, the greatest advent of them all is that little thing we call the Internet. Ah, the Internet…it seemed like such a bizarre niche thing in the past. The personal computer wasn’t much with the people, with those who had it seeing it as a cryptic device that was dug up from Area 51. Graphics really had you stretching your imagination and the slow speeds gave you enough time to watch all three Godfathers on VHS. The internet itself wasn’t much to talk about, with few sites to visit and not much satisfaction coming at it as a result. If this was the cybernetic future, then boy did it seem lame. Advertisements didn’t help with the random assortment of polyhedral shapes and vector grids, the very primitive-looking rendered environments and of course any assortment of jet black, midnight blue, neon green or hot pink your little eyes could handle. It all seemed cheesy and absurd. I mean come on, you’re telling me that this little screen’s gonna take over my life? I believe you…NOT. TV will remain supreme and so will Blockbuster. So later, you loser nerd! Have fun with your stupid Apple stocks!

But much like vaporwave which adopted the aesthetics of the Web 1.0 era, the internet became shockingly successful. As computers began to improve, so did the internet. People who found themselves shackled to the grip of the television now found themselves switching to the computer and adding on the weights of the smartphone to it. More and more of us have become enslaved to the digital devices and the services that it provides. All hail Google, all hail Facebook, all hail Amazon! I am but a mere ant amongst your digital might!

Okay, I’m being quite pretentious with how tangled our lives and our devices are. And I know how us millennials feel about it when people start to go on their Luddite rant about how “technology is making us less social not more” and “how we’re so dependent on technology”, be them old farts or young farts. As a Computer Science student, I certainly find myself rejecting the negativity that people have towards technology because if that shit catches on then I’m out of job and I’ll be damned if I have no secure fallback getting out of university-I’M NOT GOING TO ROT ON THE STREETS YOU FUCKS. But you know what, I can certainly sympathize with them.

Technology, for all it’s awesome advances, also brings about horrible realities. Unmanned drones can kill hundreds in the blink of an eye. A hacker can access your bank statements in a couple of seconds. And the government clearly is spying on so many of us masturbating to pictures that could very well incriminate us. Our lives have become far more intertwined with the technological advancements that we’ve made. Things can become fads and obsolete at faster rates than we can even comprehend…and that’s not just the memes. Life is truly hyper accelerated and what keeps up still running are those devices that push us faster through the day.

I certainly find myself being incredibly aggravated by those who don’t see the massive reach that our devices have to spheres of the world as perhaps aiding in the way we relate to each other. Surely because someone is on their phone does not mean that they can’t be texting a loved one. There is emotion behind what some may see as obsession with an infernal anti-social magnifier. But it’d be foolish to say that we aren’t obsessed. I mean we’ve all been in that odd situation where we’re among friends and it seems like everyone else is on their phones despite there not being a real reason for it. Sometimes we’re the assholes that are just too immersed in some Vine or Twitter war to be more “social”. We may not be sheeple, but that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally let out a “baa” once in a while.

More so than that, I believe that because of just how powerful our technology has gotten that we’ve managed to create a second self as a result of it. I refer to this self as the technological self, one which has a virtual face and a hardware core. The virtual face is one which changes drastically on the avenues that it traverses on the internet, it is the million of avatars that we all adopt. The hardware core is the all the information that we choose to amass and save onto our devices. Be it our stories, our memories or our shitty jokes. The technological self is both as mortal as we are and able to transcend time even beyond our death. For it is vulnerable to many attacks, ones which can destroy it quite significantly and hurt us too in the process. But is also able to leave our imprint, be it through folly or through triumph.

So to you I say but one thing – be aware of your technological self. Know that it can be susceptible to damage, so that you find about how conversations of cybersecurity can help maintain its sanctity. Know that it as big as you make it out to be, so be mindful of what you store and how you store it. Know that its beauty can be masked by its ugliness, so tread carefully. And most of all, know that there are cybernetic gods out there, some benevolent and others not. So be aware of their actions and be conscious of their motives. For soon they may reach us closer than they already do.


Friday, 23 September 2016

You Realize That This Means Culture War

In the wake of the 2016 election, we have come to see the rise of the alt-right. The alt-right is the answer to the question “What if the obnoxiousness of the liberals was combined with the blatant racism and conspiracy theories of right-wing radio hosts?” though a more concise way to see it is as one commentator put it, “fascism but with memes”.  I would say that’s the weirdest thing to come out of this year but this year has already brought Brexit causing a mini-global financial panic, a senseless violence conga from the West to the East and the most hated people America could offer being the nominees to run the nation into a second civil war, among so many other insane stories. Rest assured though, the alt-right is still in the Top 10, because it’s not exactly something that’s easy to talk about with sensible, normal people. It’s about as weird as explaining some sexual slang that Stephen Colbert uses to my mother. I mean we’re all adults here, but there’s just something so immature and bizarre about the whole thing. Much like the alt-right.

Like any modern political movement, the alt-right came about from the recesses of 4chan and Reddit, happily listening to Alex Jones grunt about globalists and sneering at progressives for being no-good cucks. At the time, there wasn’t much to be said – they just kind of seemed like disgruntled white dudes who wanted to use the privilege of anonymity to say terrible things. Then the election saw that Trump, a man who had a hatred of anyone who wasn’t white (yet had no problem with his own reflection) was not only winning, but he was being as politically incorrect and aggressive as all fuck. Thus, the alt-right came out of their basements and goose-stepped out on the streets to rally behind the man who would bring about the promise of a greater America.

Once the nomination was a lock for Trump, the alt-right could happily dance on a fractured GOP as they laughed uproariously at Sanders supporters who either sighed deeply and went with her or want to see what a lame-brain libertarian or consistently-losing green could offer them. The left pretty much wasn’t left much to retort – no matter how many times they shouted Donald Drumpf, it didn’t stop the incessant cuck-calling. They were free to spam their intolerant, nationalistic garbage around the internet, filling the media up with so much bile that Ann Coulter could come out of the ooze and plug her new book The Liberals Are A Bunch Of Fucking Cunts.

The alt-right found itself a powerful ally in Milo Yiannopoulos, an only-gay-because-I-hate-women-so-much media commentator, who fought the good fight for Gamergate despite making it very clear he fucking hates those fat virgin loser gamers. Milo knows that the way to get people to listen is to be outrageous as possible. Saying that you want to be straight as a gay guy might not be all that shocking, but saying that you want to be straight to become more oppressed? That’s gonna draw the eye…and a ton of laughs, but nevermind that– they won’t laugh for long. He turned the whole ridiculing spectacle from the left-leaning entertainers and the flamboyancy of the LGBTQ community into tools for the alt-right to use and abuse, ensuring that they would get significant attention for their batshit crazy thoughts and for their incessant spamming of the death of one particular gorilla who I’m so fucking sick of hearing about.

The alt-right has a significant amount of footing in place and they’re not as different as their more measured folks in the same political wing. Both after all agree that Obama and Hilary are a mistake, Islam is a threat to the West, and that the illegal immigrant issue needs some serious reform. The only difference is that the alt-right will call you a shill and a cuck if you disagree with them. They’re far more intense about their beliefs and they don’t fuck around despite how much of a joke I may make them out to believe. They’re a strong virus from the partisan plague that has continued to fester in the US, with this year being the moment that it turned into a complete epidemic. After all, it’s not like nationalism or insane right-wing politicians are only a US thing.

It’s a shame that we’ve gotten to this point where moderates, compromise and nuance are as absent as the headphone jack on an iPhone 7. But I suppose it’s hard to expect unity in the US unless we get horribly attacked. Even then, good luck trying to get us united. It’s not to say that the alt-right is the sole culprit of the division or even one of the greater pushers. Sure, they’re a radical bunch who’d happily tweet out KKK quotes under the handle of AryanWhitePower1488, but the Tea Party hasn’t helped in bridging that divide. The deadlocked congress hasn’t helped. Real Time With Bill Maher or The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight or really any political comedy show hasn’t really helped. But the alt-right certainly has shown that we’ve taken our division to another level.

I guess I can’t exactly pretend like I don’t have my own passionate political biases. Anytime I hear someone praising Hugo Chavez, I restrain myself from wanting to choke someone to death. Politics are always going to end up stirring enough emotion among people to get them to hate long-time friends or family members. And certainly this year is going to bring that divorce rate up higher than the number of emails that Hilary has deleted. Even when the election ends, there’s going to be a whole lot of anger about who wins and people will still be at each other’s throats. There seems to be no grey in the black and white world that has been created. Certainly the alt-right sees itself on the white side and will do it’s best to maintain this simplified world along with the smug left. I hope that things aren’t as grim and divisive as they seem. But if not, at the very least I hope they stop saying cuck so damn much.