Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Stupid: 4Chan

As long as there is a group of friends, there will be an inside joke among them. Whether it's a strange sound or something that was said, the humor will limit itself to that particular group of friends. Sometimes others get it and laugh along, other times people laugh awkwardly as to avoid ridicule that they don't understand the source. One thing's for sure: if you're outside of the loop, chances are you don't get the full idea.

One group in particular has gone from a small community to an entire nation by itself. Universally, thousands of people gather to one website to discuss current events, not-so current events, and plain old weirdness. This website is known as 4chan, and only recently has it become so popular that the media has jumped on the bandwagon, not to mention all those outside the circle who don't fully grasp the concept, but laugh along because of its absurd nature. 4chan has gone from a simple image hosting forum to a world wide phenomenon, which has spread its influence outside of the virtual realm. Usually the spread isn't necessarily for benefit of humankind, but they have grown in such numbers that they are able to completely turn current events in their favor.

The church of Scientology, a massive religious group of people who believe in aliens or something, was known for its influence on celebrities and the practice of law. It was a large culmination of like-minded individuals that sought solace in the form of praise to L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Throughout its existence, there had been rumors and records of mysterious disappearances, deaths, and differences in behavior among those who attended the religion. 4chan, particularly upset with the rumors, rallied into a large force which was called "Anonymous," particularly because you don't need an account to post or reply, ending up giving you the neutral name "Anonymous." Dressed in Guy Fawkes masks and parading outside Scientology churches, Anonymous was not only able to cause the church considerable worry, but due to 4chan's widespread hacker base, proceeded to infiltrate Scientology tech and alter whatever they saw fit. Illegal, but damn, it did the job.

Finally, the media got involved, as did law enforcement. Soon, one by one, celebrities and ex-believers started coming out and declaring foul play. Anonymous reigned victorious, although their job is not completely finished. Their plan is to completely wipe out the church once and for all.

Funny, sort of. Effective, very. 4chan isn't always known to provide justice for the people, as it also heckles and diminishes them. Chat sites, forums, programs, and websites were all subject to 4chan's might. When one hacker is caught, another one takes his place. It continues on and on until interest fades and a new target is sought. It's a cruel design, one of which has caused several lawsuits filed against it. How does 4chan gain so much popularity? The inside jokes. Like in any group, some people get it, other people weakly laugh along due to popularity. There is humor in 4chan in the form of "memes," or repeated inside jokes that have taken the interest of the userbase. In the right set of mind, many people can laugh along at the absurdity of it, but for the most part, it's immature imagery that people tend to become upset over.

In any group, you need to evaluate your role. Whether the group respects you or casts you out depends on how you approach it and if you can match their interests. 4chan, as popular as it has become, is not for everyone. Personally, I find most of their memes pretty humorous. I don't advocate some of the actions they take, but I think behind the Guy Fawkes masks there is more than hackers, nerds and rudeness. Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Behind this mask there is an idea.

And ideas are bulletproof.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Disney: The Crappiest Place on Earth

So as I was waltzing around the internet, as I often do when there's no alcohol to drown in, I happened upon this rather disturbing and despicable video:

Throughout the entirety of its duration, my chest began to tighten and my stomach started to turn. It was from the sheer discomfort of hearing the narrator ruin any possible humor from the Donald Duck cartoon. This brings me back to the days of yore when Bob Saget hosted "America's Funniest Home Videos," and how he would pepper clips with poorly done puns and atrocious voice acting. In comparison, this makes America's Funniest Home Videos look like Arrested Development. It's an abomination to all cartoons, and it poisons the very soul to those unfortunate enough to listen. It also goes to show how actors who take these positions in programs can completely change their audience due to poor quality.

The one line I laughed at: "HOW'S THAT RUG TASTE, DONALD?" I didn't laugh because it was relevant to Donald's situation, but rather for a more immature purpose. Yes, I thought of lesbianism and "carpet munching," but can you blame me? I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that was a questionable line. The rest of the segment's cheese factor completely ruined the moment for me shortly after. This isn't meant for kids. It isn't meant for anyone. The reason that segment exists is because Disney is out of ideas, and it was easy writing. There's something nasty that can be said about taking old clips of classic cartoons and brutalizing them with cheap "humor." It's almost like making a beautiful wedding cake, and before people can begin to eat it, the baker runs in at the last second and pisses all over the little bride and groom topper, then proceeds to viciously beat and claw at it using a hockey stick.

Disney. What an awful corporation. They forgot what makes a cartoon funny. Explaining a joke is like reading the ingredients list on the side of a root beer can; you enjoy drinking root beer without needing to know what's in it, and then some asshole comes by and tells you every single ingredient on the list, one-by-one in a snotty tone. The enjoyment is gone immediately when they tell you how fat you'll become if you drink too much of it. A good joke doesn't need explanation. A GOOD program wouldn't make their old gems into wastes of glorious minutes, but we're not talking about good programming. We're talking about god damn Disney. The last time Disney made something that touched our hearts, our global climate was still relatively intact.

So fuck it. This officially ruins all the good things I remember as a kid when it came to these cartoons. This strangles my inner child and tells it to "grow up." I never thought I'd be so livid about television, but this boils my balls. You better be proud of yourself, Disney, because now you just made a terrible enemy, and now you're in MY small world.

I didn't sleep well/Facebook crap

I woke up at 4 in the morning, so I figured instead of giving sleep another try, I'd wake up and play around on my Fackintosh computer. After seeing that there was nothing to do, no one to talk to, no games to play, I decided to check my Facebook page. Facebook's a total waste of time, but it's good to hear from the cool people I knew from way back when. I almost feel like I'm helping to feed a corporate monster that's been eating us all one-by-one, but it isn't like they've been making businesses and replacing old Mom & Pop stores... right?

Something has always bothered me about the website, though. I can look past all the "application requests" from my friends, because Facebook likes to hack people's accounts and spread its shenanigans like a virus. I'm not mad about that, and I'm also not mad about the way everything gets changed constantly, and I'm told what I should download and add to my pages. No, it hasn't got anything to do with Facebook at all, other than stupid, poetic statuses made by loosely-connected friends; people you hang onto because you feel guilty if you dump them. I only have about 3 or so, but they nonstop put up little cutesy quotes that mean absolutely nothing when taken out of their original context.

Here's a quote word-for-word, without changing the grammar:

"stand in what you believe in even if it means standing alone. if more people thought this way true friendships would be formed instead of fake ones!"

Okay, an admirable quote, but what does this have to do with "true friendships" if you stand alone? Do they have to stand alone with you, even if their opinions might not be the same? What exactly is the message being portrayed here? Well, here's what this person believes in: all men are cheating, lying scum that don't matter, and this is all because they got in a little fight and broke up, and she's so angry that she hates all men for about a week or less. So if she runs into other people who hate men so much, is it a true friendship? If all her male friends are cheating, lying scum, why hasn't she left them all behind? I think it's all a total lie. In fact, judging from the way this status is spelled and the other ones are linguistically butchered, I'd say this was a copy/pasta message.

Quotes shouldn't be used if they contradict the person's way of life. Someone who uses another person's quote should make it be applicable to their beliefs. They're mantras that show who the person really is, not because it sounds intelligent. Words have the power to have an effect so great that people can change their lives to make it true for them. After drawing some crappy little cartoons that had a message about how I didn't approve of certain things, I've had several hundreds of messages talking about how people had completely turned from liking something stupid to disliking it. I didn't mean to make them change their opinions, but sometimes when you say something you're passionate about and truly believe in, then some others will follow 100%, as long as there isn't a stupid reason for believing in it.

So overall, if you really believe in what you quote, follow through with it. Don't say it because it's poetic or partly true for what's currently going on in your world. To reference a quote is to present what you feel in a way that you couldn't describe in your own words. For me that means,

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” -Mark Twain

Shit, I might be a fool...

A VERY related post

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Assburgers and the Tale of the Boring Tanks

This particular rant is a personal matter, as I have been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 2 or 3.

Now, more than ever, there's a lot of talk about Aspergers Syndrome. What is it? Supposedly it's a form of autism, although not as intensely afflicting. Autism has an interesting effect; it's almost like being a part of the "X-Men." For example, those with Aspergers tend to excel in a specific type of interest. Mostly it's been associated with mathematics or science, but mine happens to be writing and acting, and I seem to be pretty damn good at both (so I'm told). Aspergers has that going for it, and then there's "Idiot Savant," which is a kind of autism where a person's memory is rote and completely accurate, but this takes the place of social networking skills and other factors. Gotta take the bad with the good, I guess.

Sounds kind of cool, right? Well, it sounds like a good book idea, but the problem is that there are already so many god damn books about the disorders that it's all the same story in the words of other aspies (Yeah, that's what they're called for short. Aspie. Doesn't that make you sick?). Everything that's in these books is supposed to have some clever little detail in it that separates itself from other books. In "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" written by Mark Haddon, all the chapters ascend by prime numbers. How confusing is it that when you're reading this book, you skip from chapter one to chapter three? Given it's a new concept, what's wrong with keeping things straight-forward and understandable? Why does every page sound like he's an ignorant dope without a conscience, and why do people give a shit?

Here's something that always sons my bitch: why do there have to be so many "support groups" for these people? They're not incapable of learning social skills, it's just that they just choose not to acknowledge responsibility for the most part. On top of it all, when I was in school, I was forced to be a part of their mess. I wasted a whole summer by being commanded to find the stupid electricity museum alone, unattended. Then they took us to all sorts of places without telling me where specifically they were off to, so I never had enough money with me to join them in their stupid endeavors. I'd end up sitting outside buildings most of the time after being kicked out of them due to "loitering" laws. As a kid, this was all incredibly frustrating and shit-diculous.

My main point is: why force people to attend something they don't want to attend? Just because we were born with a questionable affliction that's been debated for years now, it doesn't mean that we automatically connect. You don't throw a freshwater fish into saltwater, thinking it's the same environment. If you do, you're a sick dick. If someone objects to being a part of something they feel they don't belong in, then adhere to their individuality. Isn't that the whole reason it's a group? To belong? By separating themselves from these groups, do they all of the sudden become outcasts to society, or are they self-advocates that have confidence in their ability to adapt? I'm not saying I abhor to these groups, as some of them are actually really helpful for people, but quit jamming agendas and unrelated documents down the individual's throats.

As for books, write something that doesn't have to go "in-depth" to all your little aspie theories that don't make sense. Readers of these books are interested in them because they feel like they're learning something about the disorder, but they're not. What they're reading is a list of things that the author focuses on or likes to talk about. It rarely has anything to do with plot or autobiographical facts. If you've ever talked to someone with intense Aspergers syndrome, you've no doubt heard a 10-minute long conversation about something mundane and unrelated to current happenings. I spent 25 minutes, I timed it, 25 wasted minutes listening to someone babble on and on about tanks and guns in previous world wars. Honestly, where did I give off the impression that I was supposed to care at all? I didn't go to school wearing an army helmet or driving a tank into the parking lot, although that would have been great. What a shitty story that would make, and what a boring disorder it is in full context.

Where are my pills?

Photo courtesy of marriedtothesea.com

Rant about Rooney

I don't watch very much television these days. I don't know, I guess it has something to do with how the news has made everything seem so horrible, and all the programs from my youth have come and gone. However there have been some programs that have lasted for what feels like centuries; The Simpson's, Law & Order, COPS, and so on. One show has exceeded those in length, starting in 1978 and continuing to the current date of this post: "60 Minutes" and Andy Rooney's segment. Andy Rooney, for those of you who don't watch absolute shit, is a senile old man that rants about literally nothing at all. It's like listening to your grandpa sitting in his favorite chair on the front porch, complaining about everything that happens to exist. Personally, it makes me sick.

Andy Rooney was born in 1919, giving you an idea of how ancient he is. His career started in 1949 with CBS, and it's been a complete spiral down, down, down ever since. He's literally ranted about watches several times, each of which has consisted of him saying that "people own too many watches," giving a ridiculous number. He's also ranted about having shoes that don't fit him, and he still holds onto them. I can't say I'm half-surprised; the old guy has so much shit in his office (studio office, I'm guessing) that if it was all shipped to Ethiopia, everyone would have some of his crap in their possession. He's a pack-rat to the fucking extreme.

If that wasn't enough, wait until you hear how much he gets paid to do this segment: $8,000/week. You can work your ass off for two weeks, slaving over a paycheck of $200 at a warehouse job, and this guy makes $7,800 more than you, without lifting a finger. Tell me how this is fair. Tell me why he continues to have problems and complaints. He won't stop, and do you know why? Because his kind are worthless; he's the kind of person who can take any positive in life, anything at all, and find negativity in it. He's an old, inconsiderate bigot that's had a history of saying some raunchy things about Native Americans and the suicide of Kurt Cobain, two topics of which he knows absolutely nothing about.

It pisses me off.

I'm not going to sit back while assholes like him get what they don't deserve. He gets $32,000 a month, a number I couldn't possibly match with all the money I've ever earned in my life. That would pay for a new apartment, paying my hospital bill, buying the essentials like groceries and toiletries, and a new computer, and I'd still have enough left over to go see about 2,000 movies in theaters made out of platinum. This guy most likely spends it on more watches or shoes that don't fit. I know it's just money. I don't consider myself to be a greedy person with money, as long as I know where it's going. With Rooney, I'm sure his hand towels are made of lion hides and his coats made out of dodo bird feathers. Yes, he pays science to bring the dodo back, then he orders it murdered and made into a coat. Bullfuck.

I could take Rooney's place. I could make $8,000 a week, and I wouldn't be stingy with it either. So, if I follow through with my plans of going into television or performing the arts in other ways, I'll aim my interests towards CBS and "60 Minutes." I'll take his jorb, make him retire, and hopefully get rid of all his useless trinkets. Rooney's an old stain on the mattress, and it's time he gets another job.

Photo courtesy of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Greetings/First Review: Zombie Films

Why hello there. Welcome to the place where I can freely talk about things that I randomly come across or have usually felt passionate about but haven't publicly expressed in a review. To start, I think I'll hop right in to what scares the shit out of me most: Zombies.

For as long as human record has listed, there have been stories, tales and fears of the undead. Ghost, demons, or otherworldly incidents were common among those who truly believed that those who had once lived continued to roam the earth to haunt or contact the living. Mixed with this fear that most of us share, there is another fear that is taboo, and to us that don't practice the methods, we find it grotesque and odd: cannibalism. A misunderstood way of life which people tend to have a particularly morbid curiosity about, cannibalism entails the consumption of a same-species being, whether it's for survival or sexual preferences. That's right, some people get off on eating others.

Combining these two horrors together gives us what many, if not all, would call a "zombie." Technically, a zombie is a mindless being that is driven through either a parasite or hypnosis, and is often associated with unexplainable, cannibalistic aggression. If that's not bad enough, if you're bitten by a zombie, you become one shortly thereafter. Through this process, it's a continuous chain reaction that spreads until all humans are infected. It's a pretty complex structure which many film makers, authors and monster-lovers have built upon ever since its first recordings, around the 1920's. Among these artists of horror, there is one in particular whose name stands out like a billboard: George A. Romero.

George has made many films about zombies and the way the living deal with them. Partly the terror is within ourselves. Greed and fear drive some humans to stay alive longer than the others, which is disruptive and often times the worst choice you can make. Romero's films are horror films just as much as they are political. In one of the most notable films of his, "Dawn of the Dead," created in 1978, there is a message he tries to convey about how we're all zombies in shopping centers. In all of his films, he holds no boundaries as to how graphic some scenes can be. When a person is being eaten alive, you can't help but feel uncomfortable, considering the effects are so realistic and believable. I won't go much into the plot of his films, because I mainly want to mention the similarities between all of them.

It's hard to point out the bad spots in things you really enjoy, but I can't help but feel that whenever I watch a Romero film, I could have sworn I've seen it before. The truth is, many zombies are very, very similar to each other. It's typically an unexplained sickness that plagues the world, and the movie follows a group of people who fight to stay alive. They end up secluding themselves in a place where they can hold off the hordes, but while they're stuck in the make-shift shelters, the group has internal quarrels that prevents them from going any further. Then there's a quick scare moment where a zombie pops up out of nowhere and tries to eat them. The movies are mainly there for the entertainment value, but sometimes I have to enjoy the plot more than the action. I get pretty tired of seeing people arguing over the same issues, like sharing food or pointing out each other's flaws, and I can usually figure out when a zombie's about to come into frame. After seeing as many of these films as I have, you get accustomed to some of the freak-out moments.

Another thing I'm particularly not fond of: Sometimes Romero's messages and political standpoints are too evident and don't give you enough time to think about them. He really likes to stress the point that our government abandons us when they're threatened, which is commonly stated by... everyone who dislikes the government. It's also a hint that if the people overwhelm the people in charge, they lose their power and are forced to change their policies based on current events. A harsh way to learn that lesson, but when you're in danger of being eaten alive, wouldn't you have to break a few laws in order to survive?

That's all I can really think to say about the films for now. Like I said, it's hard to look for all the negatives when you enjoy so much of the genre. If you haven't seen a good zombie film, look into the past before searching for the newer ones. My personal favorite is "Day of the Dead" made in 1985, so when Halloween comes around, you've got something to scare the candy out of your system.