Tuesday, 18 October 2016
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
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.