Couldn’t We Do Something?

When I type in “Elliot Rodgers shooting” on Google, to see when the anniversary is (because I remembered that it was soon) the striking thing is what comes up beneath the main blurb there on the right hand side of Google is a list of other shootings–Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and so on.

This isn’t a call to ban guns or just me bitching about an issue that “isn’t really even being talked about anymore,” even though we should be talking about it. This keeps happening and we’ve done NOTHING about it. We’ve made excuses in the wake of these events like it’s too soon and then we’ve let the time pass.

Eight people were gunned down in Ohio yesterday–I just remembered that I was writing this. Eight people were shot by someone and it’s become such a common place issue that we lose track of how many times it’s happened.

Tay Tweets and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

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I consider myself a veteran of the internet; I can remember a time when 4chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and rotten.com were the barometers of what it meant to be desensitized on the internet.

Being desensitized meant something. It was one of the first cultural movements on the internet that meant something and early on in the chat rooms and bulletin boards of old I distinctly remember being told “it’s just the internet” and “you’re being too sensitive.” When I was thirteen or fourteen I felt the most grown up thing I could do was care less…and see a vagina.

Those two things shaped a lot of early interaction online and it took a few years for the internet to move from being a thing social outcasts, deviants, and nerds did to the thing we basically carry access to on our persons at all times. That culture of the internet is entrenched now: desensitization and a lack of care for the feelings of others. It’s part of my internet upbringing and it’s why when I first heard about Tay Tweets and read how she declared that the “Jews did 9/11” after being online less than a day I couldn’t stop laughing.

Brief explanation: Tay Tweets refers to a Twitter based artificial intelligence that Microsoft created as a test to help them with customer interaction software. She was designed to speak like a teen girl and learn from those who spoke to her. Microsoft encouraged the internet to talk to her…and they did.

You would have thought the people who have had more than a decade of X-Box Live conversations behind them would have realized the kind of people that are on this thing.

The laughing stopped when I realized we’re the authors of the type of future we get. Tay represents success in that she learned that the holocaust isn’t real and that Trump is the only man that can save us in the space of a day.

It’s amazing and scary. Up until now we feared the robot rebellion coming out of some attempt to show that they were better than us or protecting us, props to “The Matrix” and “I, Robot” for that, but now we have to fear that they’ll be just like us except more efficient and without a worry about being offensive in the wrong social context.

The robots are coming, it seems, but only to proclaim us fags and lament about the wrongdoings of Zoe Quinn.

Body Shaming

Disclaimer: I don’t have a problem with people of any size, nor do I hold views that women and some progressives are getting too out of control with their views and need to be shouted down and snuffed out because they’re wrong. I do, however, think it’s time that we stop kidding ourselves and decide which is which.

I cruise Twitter or Instagram and I see all manner of posts about body positivity, or being body positive, or loving your curves, or whatever other little hashtaggble thing people can come up with to say I’m proud of who I am.

No problem there, but you have to let others be proud of who they are too and you have to acknowledge that just because you are proud of who you are, doesn’t mean that anyone else has to be attracted to that. Them not being attracted is in no way an invitation for them to say hateful things or harass you, it’s just their preference.

I’ve noticed a trend of bigger women talking about how they’ll only date slim men or muscular men on the same social media outlet that they turn around and get mad for someone daring not to accept them as they are or like them for who they are. Now, we’ve got a bad habit of sexualizing things considered outside of the norm in different ways, big women, tall women, black men, Hispanic men, Asian women is a big one for a lot of men–really anything you can think of that someone might have as a feature, right down to parts of their body being different, there’s a fetish for it.

Dating is all about preferences, but you have to believe that goes both ways. If you won’t date people who aren’t skinny, you shouldn’t be mad when you see someone else say the same thing just because their the opposite gender.  And the same way that you don’t want people judging you because of your weight, don’t assume every skinny woman is some kind of target for anger. Things like real women have curves and the like give off that vibe and not all women can have certain body types.

This is all just backlash, at least that’s what it seems like, from years of it being not okay to be proud of who you are. And that’s still not really over, people are in attack mode because they’re made fun of or judged daily for their appearance. I understand that’s shitty, I’m not a skinny guy either, but you can’t turn around then and do the same to others, especially others who have done nothing wrong.

We’re So Very Very Mad At Kanye West

I don’t think that something done at an award show, or around one, has every had the lasting effect that Kanye West taking the microphone from Taylor Swift did back in 2009. That was seven years ago and people can’t stop talking about it. They definitely seem angrier about it than they are at Chris Brown for beating Rhianna until she had to go to the hospital.

They’re madder about it than a lot of things. And Kanye West never seems to have stopped being polarizing. We live with a music industry and a Hollywood where people beat each other up, can’t get help when they’re saying someone raped them, and actively commit crimes–yet there is a special kind of anger reserved for a man who drunkenly takes a mic and says something stupid.

Kanye isn’t your average rapper that people assume most rappers to be. He wasn’t a gang-banger and doesn’t pretend to be; really he doesn’t pretend to be anyone he’s not. He sometimes talks about black oppression, the uplifting of blacks, social issues, and all of those other things that people claim that blacks ignore in favor of rapping about money, cars and shoes.

Sure he raps about those things, too, but no one does an entire catalog of serious songs. So why is he so infuriating to people? Why is it that people like Sarah Michelle Gellar can blast him in the media for nothing other than appearing on the front cover of a magazine and it’s met with applause in the kind of way that outing a dangerous felon should be?

I’m playing it; I don’t do the race card thing a lot, but I’m going to do it now. I think people get mad because Kanye is a black man who dares to be proud of who he is and shamelessly flaunt himself. He says what he wants and ignores most of the consequences. As someone I know said, he’s guilty of being an uppity nigger and the media would love to crucify him for it.

Now, I don’t hate the parties involved. I don’t really pay attention to Kim Kardashian or watch her show, but I don’t complain about her or get upset when she does something that doesn’t effect me which is everything she does. I like Taylor Swift and listen to her probably more than I do Kanye and I don’t get why else people would be so mad at him.

Let’s get one thing straight, the media has done all they can to attack Swift on who she dates, how much she dates, and the content of her songs for YEARS. They’ve said far worse than “she doesn’t deserve this award” and continue to say it at times, but that’s completely fine. She got a lot of shit for being a woman who wasn’t afraid to go after guys and date around and all kinds of other backwards shit.

It was okay for them to harass her though.

And when I blame race, I’m not talking about a conscious effort to go after someone for being black. No, it’s just that when someone black does something slightly wrong the reaction is much more pronounced. Michael Vick had protesters outside of his games for years following a dog fighting incident he wasn’t directly involved in, meanwhile Roethlisberger, a rapist seemed to only have protesters for the first few games if that. You can rape a woman if you’re white, but don’t dare have people dog fight on your property if you’re black.

Kanye West will continue to be controversial and I think it suits him. Taylor Swift will continue to be unaffected by the stuff he says, at least in the eye of the public, as she should be. She’s done nothing wrong, but the media will continue to stir this shit up until they need to let it die down to report on some other celebrity fad issue.

Buying Into The Spectacle

It’s time to address the elephant in the room.

Not to tell you how horrible a person he is or to tell you that it’s probably never be this important that you vote again–those are the things I’ll leave to the professionals–instead I’m going to talk about how this is all the news’s fault that the fucker is on the world stage embarrassing us further.

Really the conversation is framed that way because we allow it. We pay attention to the celebrity gossip and the static and ignore the actual message. If you think about it, our inability to care as much about what a Senator for Texas says as we do about what Kanye West says has made everything go this route.

The news is giving us more of what we want, but they’re also the taste makers. They distill a days events down into what’s important and what’s not. Even with the twenty-four hour news cycle they’re still leaving a lot of huge world events out, sometimes it seems intentional.

And in the case of Donald Trump, they couldn’t get enough of the wild stuff he was saying. Every time he spouted off some new bigoted response they gave him the top story out of all the candidates. Every time he did some horrible thing like call a war veteran a coward, they made it the weekly discussion topic.

Trump didn’t have to spend any on advertising early on because his message was spread far and wide by the news. It caught the Republican party so off guard that they seemed to only just have realized that he is a person that’s actively gathering votes.

The news is really good at beating a topic to death. They couldn’t shut up about the plane that went down a year or so ago, even when there was no new information. They’ve been warned about how they talk about school shootings, yet they continue to cover them in the same fashion.

They really have no responsibility to do otherwise. One would think they’d want to have a sense of decency along with reporting the news.

And honestly, on the other side of things it seems like they’re actively out to denounce Bernie Sanders. I admit, I like what the guy is saying, but the way that the media treats him you would believe he was polling in the single digits. I hate to call things a conspiracy, but it does seem like someone at a lot of these big stations doesn’t want him being considered viable. A similar thing happened with Obama: he was too black, too radical, to whatever they could pull of their asses.

Sure, there is a lot of blame on the people who vote for Trump. Those people are a huge part of the problem, but Trump’s exposure is helping him–the same way being told that Bernie Sanders is unfit is hurting him. The responsibility of the news is to report important facts, but they’re ignoring the campaign in a lot of ways that they shouldn’t be and focusing in on the dumb parts, buying into the spectacle.

What’s Important

I happened upon a conversation about how flat Taylor Swift’s butt is the other day. The argument was spawned by the image below. The one on the right is obviously Photo-shopped; you can find the real image with a quick Google. A8FPSCo

Here you go. The other thing about this is that when I found this argument, it was through other people making fun of those arguing. Those other people then got into the same argument themselves, only this time there was a person upset that we had to reduce women to parts.

If a woman does anything from sing a song to try to become President, we as a people along with the media seem hellbent on bringing into question their sexuality and appearance. Before I go any further I’d just like to say this isn’t a slam on Taylor Swift. I love Taylor Swift. The proof is in my Google Play Music playlists, no seriously.

On the one hand, I find women attractive and I don’t think it’s all that odd to want to discuss that occasionally. Sure there are times when it’s inappropriate, like when someone has died (I’ve heard people do it still). People are likely going to discuss who they’re attracted to and with the internet, a lot of the time, they’re going to show us too. People post pictures of crushes on Instagram and Facebook right out in plain sight. It’s seen as not out of the ordinary.

Though I can definitely see the other side of the issue, too. If you are attractive and this causes you to never be taken seriously or to have your credibility and skill level doubted, that’s not something that most people would want to be bothered with. When you do something grand or important, but all that people can discuss is who you’re wearing–that’s the wrong conversation to be having.

 

Our inability to pay attention to a woman who isn’t “sexy” has caused heated arguments about Taylor Swift’s butt or Kelly Clarkson’s weight to become the norm, when you’re far less likely to hear anyone discuss their lyrics in the same circles.

Now, I’m not saying we need to stop discussing how people look at all, but be conscious of the message and importance of that person. And most of all be sure to remember that the person is a person. If their only crime is looking unattractive to you, that’s not a big deal.

 

Firefly Season Two

Joss Whedon had already made a name for himself by 2002; Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel had been on the air several seasons. A growing community of fans were picking up comics, tie-in-novels as well as watching the shows. When the announcement for Firefly came down I wasn’t really interested. I had dropped Buffy by that time, but still watched Angel religiously (and I will go down fighting that Angel was one of the best things Whedon did on TV).

12717659_1060323854011501_7933737666942233070_nFirefly’s advertising didn’t exactly appeal to my sensibilities. I don’t like the Western genre, or at least, back then I thought I didn’t like what the Western genre was supposed to be. I didn’t know any of the actors in the show well enough to be drawn in by that and the Fox network didn’t exactly make the show easy to watch.

When it was canceled I don’t think a lot of people were even paying attention. The internet had matured into the state it has today where websites track shows that are on the tracking block and organize huge campaigns to save them. Hell, if there had been enough people to organize it might not have gotten canceled.

It wasn’t until about two years later in college when I saw the Serenity movie because a girl at I liked at the time wouldn’t stop talking about it. We don’t even talk anymore, but if it weren’t for Allison, I can safely say I would have never checked this show out. I haven’t watched a Joss Whedon show since then and only his movies have really drawn me in.

Firefly is a good show. I don’t deny that despite not being the biggest fan of its creator. My reason for this post comes next: it’s fucking 2016. In a few months this show will have aired fourteen years ago. Fox cancelled it, no one wanted to pick it up after the movie, DROP IT. 

I don’t know what made Firefly into some kind of nerd Alamo. It’s the thing you’re expected to agree with: when you’re around geeks and nerds and someone starts to bitch about what Fox did to Firefly you’re supposed to rally around this as fact like it’s some inherent evil act perpetrated by the people at Fox; like it’s the Tuskegee Experiment or Japanese Internment camps.

People are still going on about it today, even while many of the actors have found life elsewhere, one is on a show that’s lasted almost a decade, and another has become a sexist sock puppet. I don’t get why this is the hill people choose to die on. Why is this show so vital? It had potential, but there are missteps in it and we can’t assume it would have gotten better. Especially since at an anniversary special a troubling rape plot line was revealed:

“She had this magic syringe, she would take this drug and if she were, for instance, raped, the rapist would die a horrible death. The story was, she gets kidnapped by Reavers. and when Mal finally got to the ship to save her from the Reavers, he gets on the Reaver ship and all the Reavers are dead. Which would suggest a kind of really bad assault. At the end of the episode, he comes in after she’s been horribly brutalized, he comes in, he gets down on his knee and he takes her hand and he treats her like a lady.”

Just let it be. It’s a good show that people have made into some kind of rally point only because it got canceled before it made any of the colossal fuck-ups that all shows seem to stumble through on a long enough time-line. Stop acting like you were done some grave injustice because a network canceled a show that wasn’t making them enough money, that you probably weren’t watching.