Saturday, July 30, 2011

Movie Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Just saw Cowboys & Aliens.  Meh.  I almost never see new movies as I don't much care for what Hollywood's doing these days, but I thought this one had potential and really wanted to like it, yet...meh.  Calling it dumb is fairly pointless, as I like dumb movies and wasn't expecting this to be Macbeth.  But it was dumb even by the standards of a movie called Cowboys & Aliens, and the more you think about what happened, the dumber you realize it was.

Very paint by numbers.  Things only happen because the plot needed them to happen and then they'd move on to the next plot point, with no real desire for presenting us with anything we hadn't seen before.  Hell, they couldn't even bother giving us full-blooded cliches, as even the tired tropes they used were barely fleshed out; as if they couldn't wait to get to the end and be done with it.  And once all the secrets are revealed, you realize you've been conned, because people and events no longer make sense once put into context.

And I hate when filmmakers cheat like that.  It's great to manipulate the audience by not letting them know everything, but it still needs to make sense once the truth is revealed.  Instead, they just keep the action moving and hope you never think too hard about it, while acting like they had done something clever.  And if they're going to do that, they shouldn't bother pretending they had a good secret anyway, as you leave feeling confused and disappointed.

Hint to Hollywood: When you're making a film called Cowboys & Aliens, don't try to have serious moments.  Just have your fun and let us enjoy it.  As with everything in life, if you're doing something dumb, own it.  You can't turn piss into lemonade just because you don't want to be holding piss.

Not a Western

And without a doubt, this movie proves that having cowboys in a movie doesn't make it a western.  The timing was wrong.  The feeling was wrong.  And while the acting was decent, they mostly acted like modern people wearing dusty clothes and didn't give the vibe like they were truly in the old west.

And that ruins half the gag.  I mean, when you've got a movie with the same damn alien invasion story that's already been done before, the only thing they had going for them is to put it in the context of a western.  But no.  This felt like your standard alien invasion movie which just happened to involve characters in the old west; as if they could just throw in a few cliche characters on horses and call it a western.

Anyone who thinks this movie is a western deserves to be punched in the face by Sergio Leone.  After all, Leone was a primary culprit in why you can't make real westerns anymore, as he made a western so perfect that it made a mockery of the entire genre and ruined it for everyone.  Still, people have made good westerns in the post-western era, including Silverado, Young Guns, and Shanghai Noon; all dumb films which are incredibly entertaining.

Yet even by the standards of those pop-culture westerns, Cowboys & Aliens flags far far behind. 

Just Not Fun

Not that it was a complete write-off, as the acting was decent, it had a few laughs (not that I laughed out loud, but it had its moments), and the special effects were excellent.  But the plot felt rushed, the characters only existed to fill that rushed plot, everything was mindlessly predictable, and of course, it was incredibly dumb, even by the low standards you might expect from such a film.

And I think the main problem is that it just wasn't fun.  While there were fun parts in it, like all of the scenes where Daniel Craig kicks ass; that was pretty much it.  And the whole weirdness of alien abductions permeated the entire movie and made it far too creepy to truly be enjoyable.  Seeing aliens destroy whole cities in Independence Day: Totally cool.  Seeing aliens use chains to snatch family members to be zombified and tortured: Very uncool.

Overall, I don't think I'd call this a bad movie, as there was nothing bad about it. just wasn't a good movie.  And that's the biggest problem of all, as I like good films and I love bad films; and this was neither.  Just a nothing summer blockbuster with more polish than heart.  Again, I wasn't expecting to see a work of art, but I did at least expect to be entertained.  Unfortunately, this one isn't art or entertainment.

As it turns out, sometimes, filmmakers can know so much about making films that they focus on the craft of polished filmmaking and forget to include the fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Real Legacy of Conservativism

One odd trait of many progressives is their insistence that Republicans have a great track record of being bold and creating their own reality, and that we need to emulate that strategy.  And that, of course, is in complete contradiction with reality, which clearly shows time and time again that conservative "boldness" almost always backfires in the long run. 

And sure, Republicans pitch an unpopular agenda, which helps explain a big chunk of their longterm failures.  But of course, if many of these progressives pushed their agenda, unfettered by the demands of popular opinion, I daresay they'd be as unpopular as the Republicans keep finding themselves to be. 

Whenever you listen to talk radio and marvel at the fantasyland Obama version of Obama is, remember this: The Obama they're caricaturing is the same Obama many progressives would like in the Whitehouse.  And were Obama to follow that lead and be the bold leader who ignores political realities and attempts to create a new reality, he'd be as unpopular as Bush was when he tried the same thing.  As it turns out, the reason they tell everyone that Obama is a socialist radical, is because that would be a bad thing for Obama to be and people would reject him.

Revisionist Empowerment

Anyway, over on TPM, I wrote:
At what point do we admit that boldness in politics is usually a handicap, and in the long run, d-bags rarely prosper?
To which AJM3 responded:
When we live in an alternate universe where neither Reagan nor Bush became President. 
And what's weird here is watching progressives rewrite history, in which Reagan and Bush both had successful presidencies based upon their bold ideological stands.  And that posits a reality in which a president COULD be successful by boldly following their ideology.  But why do that?  Why empower them?  By suggesting that Bush or Reagan were successfully bold, they're making conservative look better and more popular than it's ever been. 

Now, I understand why conservatives want to reimagine Reagan as a successfully bold leader, but I fail to see why a liberal would ever do such a thing.  Besides, even wingnuts aren't delusional enough to believe that Bush was successfully bold.  Rather, they insist now that he was too liberal and timid, even though they fully supported his policies at the time.

The Real Legacy

But anyway, here's my rebuttal, basically saying that:
Yes, because Bush had longterm success.  Oh, wait.  No, he didn't.  He is still considered a disgrace several years after leaving office, and a majority of people STILL blame him for the problems we're facing.  He tainted conservativism for years, causing them to lose two straight elections and the presidency.  Wow, what a legacy!

Meanwhile, it's only conservative-vision hindsight that posits Reagan as a successful and bold leader.  Reality shows that he was wildly unpopular during several periods of his presidency, he repeatedly compromised with Democrats, negotiated with Commies, ran away from terrorists, and by the end of his presidency, he was a doddering old man facing the onset of Alzheimers and mired in impeachable controversy. 
This isn't remembered as much now, but Reagan was very unpopular towards the end of his presidency, and it was only because they liked him personally that his popularity came back again and his legacy revised.  But he got hammered HARD for his boldness, and it was only by giving up key platforms that he was able to keep the popularity he had.  After all, Reagan wanted to kill Social Security and Medicare, and got hurt so badly by it that he actually saved them.  That wasn't boldness.  That was pragmatism.

The only two groups who cite Reagan and Bush as successfully bold are hardright ideologues and leftwing progressives who demand that we copy the conservative blueprint for success; despite the fact that they've lost more elections than they've won since they started this strategy; and their prospects dim with every passing election. 
And of course, not even conservatives believe that Bush was successful in his boldness; as they insist he was too timid and liberal.  It's only these progressives who will insist that Bush achieved much with his boldness, despite the small handful of items they can list that Bush actually did.  Sure, he got us wars, taxcuts, and lots of conservative judges and cronies.  But he got almost nothing else.  If there's a person who proves that boldness can backfire, it's George W. Bush.
These men failed when they pushed hard-right ideals, and did better when they compromised and quit.  I see no reason to pretend it was otherwise.

What I Learned Today

I actually learned something today.  I don't mean like a fact or the day-to-day stuff you learn as it comes up.  That stuff's easy to learn and you usually would rather forget.  I mean, I learned a new idea.  It's been a long time since I learned an idea from someone else, but it actually happened, so I thought I'd share it with you.  It comes from TPM's Josh Marshall:
As we move closer to intentionally jettisoning the full faith and credit of the United States and eyeing the pulse of the bond market, we shouldn't forget one salient fact. The centrality of debt holders in our constitutional order isn't a bug, it's a feature. Indeed, the national debt -- created through the federal assumption of state war debts -- was created to do precisely this: get the holders of bonds, necessarily wealthy and powerful people, to have a vested interest in the fixity and stability of the federal government.
And yeah, that makes sense to me.  I get it.  Now, I'm assuming that Josh got that from someone else and this represents some known thing that Hamilton intentionally did for this reason; so if that's not the case and someone just made it up, it's somewhat less impressive.

But all the same, it's an excellent theory to explain why our system works as well as it does.  Because one big problem with democracy, obviously, is that without a common bond to tie people together, you'll quickly find that the various interest groups will tear the things to shreds vying for power.  But as long as you find some way to get people's interests vested in the common good of our country, they'll still have a common purpose to move towards.

And our problem right now is that conservatives have been fed such a long stream of delusional reality that they genuinely don't know what's really going on at all.  And while that's been a problem for a long time, thanks to Fox News and the rest of the echo chamber, it's all any of them can hear and they're all getting off of their own supply. 

But if we can ever convince them that we all have a common goal, and explain to them how real economic and financial theories work (ie, explain liberalism); we can get back on the right path towards greater stability and understanding.  Culture wars suck, but things have gotten a heckeva lot worse now that they've started dabbling in economic theory.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fox News and Their War on Logic

So I'm over at Think Progress and the first headline I see is Fox Host: Free Birth Control Is Liberal Conspiracy To ‘Eradicate The Poor' which is exactly what it sounds like it'd be.  And because, yeah, if there's one thing us liberals hate, it's poor people. That's why we work so hard to help them, so we'll have fewer poor people. 

Oh wait a minute, that actually makes sense.  In fact, one big reason to give birth control to the poor is so they'll have fewer children, which will also help them be less poor.  So this isn't really a conspiracy, in that it's our stated purpose for poor people to have the ability to limit the number of kids they have.  And being that conservatives typically lament how many kids poor people have, you'd think they'd be in on this "conspiracy" with us.

But that's not my point, my point is: How much longer can they continue to spew this offensive nonsense before they lose their last believers?  Seriously.  I mean, who can listen to this and be like "Yeah, those lousy liberals hate them poor people so much they want them to have fewer kids"?  At best, they have to hope that nobody's paying attention to what they're saying, because even the most diehard Foxfan can't possibly find these arguments convincing;

And then there's the weird issue of them going on and on about women not needing birth control if they "stop having irresponsible sex."  Uhm, duh?  Using birth control IS having responsible sex.  And really, are they imagining that only sluts need birth control? 

And it sounds like they forgot they weren't talking about STD's.  If you abstain until marriage and stay in a monogamous relationship, you won't get STD's; but you can STILL get pregnant.  And if they're arguing that it's irresponsible to ever have sex unless you were wanting a kid from it, then I think they should go right out and say it, and see how far that gets them. I suspect they'd lose a big chunk of their audience with that one.

But of course, they don't really mean this stuff at all, as these are all codewords for what they're really talking about, and this code is so ingrained in their viewers that the words pass through without their surface meaning being heard.  This isn't about birth control.  This isn't even about helping poor people.  This is about them attacking irresponsible black hos who are too dumb to close their legs, as well as getting a funny little dig on liberals.  That's it.  That's the uncoded message that Fox viewers are receiving. 

Because at the end of this, you're not supposed to think "Oh, those damn liberals want to prevent poor people from having kids."  You're supposed to think...well, hold on.  It's late and I'm still actually having trouble with the exact message on this one.  Because again, conservatives should be happy about a program that helps poor people be more responsible and have fewer children.  And so they're attacking the very program they should support, as well as attacking and defending the ability of minority women to have fewer children. 

And so I'm thinking they're just mindless dolts who are using codewords irresponsibly and don't really know what they're doing.  And if their viewers aren't cluing in on how moronic this garbage is, it's only because they also don't know what they're doing, and aren't even really paying attention.  They know they're upset about something, and that's good enough for them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clueless Conservative Sobriety Test

As a devout anti-authoritarian, I typically don't like watching police videos, as I usually feel bad for the suspect and these videos almost always involve bossy cops yelling at confused civilians and escalating the situation out of control while always placing the blame on the confused civilian for not being more obedient.

I mean, even when the suspect is clearly in the wrong about something, it's generally the case that the cop could have made things better, had they made an attempt to do so.  But they often teach these people that the only way to control a situation is to establish authority and demand obedience, so that's what they go with.  So if you don't obey every command, even the confusing ones, there's a good chance you'll be arrested and/or tasered.

And then...there are videos like this one, involving Republican state legislator Robert Mecklenborg; Voter ID sponsor and skunk drunk idiot.  It's a long video, but definitely worth the length if you have time.

And wow, that was simply hilarious.  Because first off, Officer McCreary is a funny dude and it was obvious that he knew exactly what was going on, and was just humoring the drunk while subtly mocking him; as if he's seen it a thousand times before.  We're not in Ohio anymore, indeed. 

Reality is for the Other Guy

And what's so funny here is how oblivious Mecklenborg seems to be the whole time.  He seems entirely clueless as to what a drunk test is, imagined he passed the tests instead of failing so badly that he couldn't even complete them, didn't seem to understand what a breathalyzer was, imagined he would be let go if he refused to breathalyze, and finally, thought the cop would remove the handcuffs if he asked him to.  I mean, is this guy part of our reality or what?

And here's the thing: It's quite possible he was playing dumb.  But...why?  Did he imagine the cop would say "Hey, you failed the field sobriety test, couldn't understand the basic words I was telling you, and seem entirely clueless as to what drunk driving is; so I think I'll just let you go home.  Have a nice day!"

Of course not.  So, if it was an act, what did he hope to achieve other than to make a bad situation worse?  I suppose it is possible to talk your way out of a DUI, but this guy wasn't even close.

And that's the thing: Either way the guy is oblivious to reality and seems to lack the basic knowledge people need for daily life.  At a guess, I'm thinking this guy only thinks of drunk driving and arrests in the abstract and didn't realize it could somehow happen to him.  And unfortunately, those are key traits to being a Republican these days, as the more reality based you are, the less likely you are to adopt conservative positions. 

Conservative policies look great, until they actually happen to you.  After that, you'll beg for a little liberal empathy and assistance.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atheist on Atheist Violence

I'm having one of those problems where I've got so much I want to say that I end up not saying any of it.  So I'll just share some stuff I wrote in a Facebook exchange with a friend who is a strong Atheist atheist who dislikes Agnostic atheists like myself; who he considers to be weak and wimpy.  As if it takes strength to be rude towards people in an online debate.

He's a nice guy and everything, but he's one of those atheists who's more of an anti-Christian than anything, and fails to see how he causes problems for the rest of us atheists who are neutral on the issue of other people's religions.  As I always say, if someone claims they need guidance from God to stop them from raping dogs, who am I to disagree?

He even wrote a book on the subject, called Malevolent Design: The Death of a Loving God, which I'll plug, even though I don't necessarily agree with it.  If you're interested, here's the first chapter; which isn't bad, though it's far less convincing that he thinks it is.  As you can guess from the title, it's all about why Intelligent Design isn't compatible with a loving god.  And yeah, I'm afraid I might have just given away the whole thing.

And anyway, I saw a post of his on Facebook which kind of insulted Agnostic atheists like myself, so I defended agnosticism while explaining that it's the only logical position for a skeptic to take.  And this guy not only continually refuted the idea that you can't prove a negative, but actually claims that he can prove that gods don't exist.  Seriously, he said that repeatedly; that he could prove no gods exist.  And that's just ridiculous, but being the open-minded kind of guy I am, I asked for the proof.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.

Here was my reply to him:
Uh, Matt. Nothing you wrote gave any evidence that gods don't exist. When you write things like "where do gods fit in" and refer to contradictions and bad science, you're not proving your claims. You're merely disproving other people's claims, and that's not the same thing at all.
And this all ties back into the "can't prove a negative" thing that you clearly don't understand. Your arguments haven't been to prove a negative, but to disprove a positive. I already explained the difference earlier, while you're still hung up on the semantics of the phrase.
And just so it's clear, I intentionally used the terms "gods" repeatedly, and wasn't referring to any god in particular. While you're still stuck arguing against Yahweh and other known gods, I was addressing the entire concept of gods. That wasn't accidental on my part, as I've been using that construct for years, because my arguments apply to ALL gods, not just the Christian god.
And even Yahweh himself is clearly outside of your disprove zone. What part of omnipotent didn't you understand? He supposedly can do ANYTHING and works in mysterious ways. So mysterious, in fact, that it's impossible for mankind to understand what he's doing. That's part of his story and makes it utterly impossible to prove that he doesn't exist. Do I think this sounds likely or probable? Of course not, or I wouldn't be an atheist. But proof isn't about guesses, probability, or opinion. Proof is proof, and if you claim you can prove no gods exist, you better back it up or stop making the claim. That's the first rule of skepticism: Claims require proof.
All you've done is to dispute manmade religions. But that doesn't mean anything, as it's widely understood that most religions are false, if not all of them; or there wouldn't be so much disagreement among them. But for argument's sake, let's say ALL the religions are wrong: Does that prove that Yahweh doesn't exist? No, it doesn't. It just means mankind got it wrong. Showing contradictions in religion does NOT prove that gods don't exist. After all, maybe the gods WANTED people to get it wrong, and it's all part of their design.
And so, how about it? Are we going to get your proof that gods don't exist? Or will you continue to disprove other people's claims without ever supporting your own? But I'm telling you, you shouldn't bother. It's simply impossible to prove that gods don't exist, so you shouldn't even try.
I then posted this:
The weirdest thing about all this is that I remember having these debates with Christians fifteen years ago, with them insisting that I had to prove that gods didn't exist; and if I couldn't prove it, it proved that their specific god DID exist.
And forget about their odd belief that proof of any god is proof of THEIR god (a mistake they make constantly, including their mistaken belief that the "Creator" Jefferson wrote about was Yahweh), it all came down to them insisting that I had to prove my claim. Yet I didn't have to because I wasn't making a claim, and rightly insisted that I couldn't possibly do so. And since they were making the claim, the burden of proof was on them.
And that's so often the case with these sorts of debates, as people aren't really arguing about the real topic, but merely joisting about to decide who has the burden of proof. Everyone always wants to be the skeptic demanding the evidence, as it's far easier than being the sucker who has to prove his claims. And they all believe that if the other guy can't prove his claim it somehow proves the skeptic's claim, without understanding that all claims have a burden a proof and the moment you make a claim, you're the sucker who has to provide the proof and there are no shortcuts out of it.
And that's why I'm agnostic, so I never make the mistake of making a claim I can't prove. Agnosticism is the only logical answer for the true skeptic. Being skeptical about the existence of gods is easy. Proving it is impossible.
So, is that the cheapest way of filling blog space?  No, but it's not great either.  But hey, what do you expect for free?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Real Republicans Lose in Wisconsin

The headline says it all: Fake Democrats Lose in Wis. Primary Recalls

Ouch.  Talk about your political fails.  I mean, yeah, sure, even Wisconsin Republicans knew that their fake Democrats wouldn't win and were just doing it to help themselves politically.  But, man, what a fail.

Because the thing is, anyone over the age of twelve should be too mature for this kind of garbage and it cost taxpayer money to hold these sham primaries.  Yet the Republican Party in Wisconsin actively told people to vote for these fake Republicans, which only makes them look like immature con-artists.  Besides the headline, the article used the phrase "Fake Democrat" seven times!  And the story made the Yahoo homepage.  As much as people pay attention to political stories at all, it'll be known how Republicans ran fake Democrats in a perversion of our electoral system.

So yeah, they scored a few cheap points, and even had to spend some of their own dough to support these fake Democrats.  And in the process, they announced to the country that Republicans are jerk-faced tricksters who enjoy taking a crap on the head of democracy.  And rather than undermine the Democrats, all they did is give them more momentum and make any sensible Republicans turn their heads in disgust.

But that's all we've seen from Republicans ever since they allowed the far-far-right take over the party.  They continue their death spiral downwards, taking bigger and bolder stands that they imagine shows themselves to be gaining power; when it's really just more evidence of how delusional and impotent they really are.

Friday, July 08, 2011

But By The Grace of God

I was just reading about the story from Grand Rapids about some guy who apparently killed his ex-girlfriend, her family, his child, and whoever else; and how he went on a "rampage" throughout Grand Rapids trying to escape, shot at police, drove down the wrong side of the highway, crashed into a ditch, ended up busting into a house to take hostages, and finally killed himself while the police were trying to coax him to surrender.  And I don't know how much of this is accurate at this point, but the whole thing sickens me. 

And naturally, our sympathies go out towards the victims and their families and loved ones, and it's at this point that I always hope maybe there is some sort of afterlife that makes everything better.  But for as much as it seems absolutely wrong to feel sorry for the killer, I just have to.  Because he was a human too, and as wrong as what he did was, there can be no doubt that he'd have done things differently had he been able to.

Because he can't have wanted it this way.  I'm sure he was overwhelmed with horrible feelings, felt trapped into reacting based upon out-dated animal instincts, and must have felt the whole world crushing in on him before finally killing himself.  And again, it's at this point that I hope for an afterlife with a forgiving god of some sort that can make this guy feel better.  When I even try to imagine the despair he must have felt before he pulled the trigger it makes me sick to my stomach.

Because in the end we're all just stupid animals trapped into a society that was never meant for us, and we should all be thanking the heavens that we weren't born in his shoes, experienced what he experienced, and ended up like he ended up.  For as much as we all want to pat ourselves on the back for being great, we don't deserve any of it. 

From the time we're conceived until the time we die we're all stuck on a one-way railway built on genetics, learned behavior, and fate.  There is no other alternative and if you believe that you would have lived this guy's life differently than he did than you're simply deluding yourself.  The very concept is an absurdity and I'm constantly amazed that anyone tries to argue otherwise.

The whole thing was sad from start to finish.  There were no winners here.  And as much as it was possibly a sensible decision he made to kill himself, this wasn't justice.  There can be no justice in this sort of story.  A man going to jail for stealing from the elderly can face justice.  In this story, it's sad all the way around.  And I read comments on the story from people gladly denouncing the guy, wishing that we could destroy him while he was alive, and reveling in his ignominious death at the end; and it just breaks my heart even more.

And yes, I definitely believe we must punish wrong-doers, though I place far more emphasis on rehabilitation than most folks.  And if we punish people, we shouldn't be happy about it.  Justice is a necessity of life, but it doesn't bring back the dead or make the victims' families any happier.  I just hope some day mankind can get past our primate urges and can live amongst each other as civilized beings.  Until then, we just have to be kind to each other and understanding when people need to be understood, and hope that we can receive the same in return.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Justifiable Bigotry

Yahoo has an article on Tarantino's new movie about slavery.  So what else can that mean other than that we can see lots of comments from bigots complaining about how bigoted black people are, as their big excuse for acting racist towards black people?

The angle here is that black people are supposedly still extremely upset about slavery, and use that as their excuse for being lazy, stupid, and hating white people.  Oddly, I guess I don't hang around many black people, as I have yet to hear them use slavery as a reason for what's keeping them down.  When I hear about the problems facing black people, it's more about poor education and discrimination; not slavery.

Yet there are apparently lots of white people who will insist that black people are blaming slavery for their problems, and since that's ludicrous, they use that to show how ludicrous all black people are.  And so you can read comments about how Jamie Fox is a black racist who hates white people, as evidenced by him agreeing to be in a white guy's movie involving slavery.  My theory, on the other hand, is that Jamie Fox is a bad ass who is superior to these racist morons in every way, and it bugs the hell out of them.  After all, Fox is a black man, which means he's supposed to be stupid and lazy.  How dare he use his stupid laziness to be such a huge success!

And what's so weird is that these people are conscious enough about the problems of racism that they know they can't be outright racist.  But...if they can convince themselves that black people were racist to them first, then it's completely ok to attack all black people for doing this to them; unaware that this is still racist on the first level of racism.

So they continue to make these completely racist attacks, all the while imagining themselves to be so clever as to have dodged them and act outraged when we call them bigots anyway.  And they're completely unaware that even the original racists justified their racism in this exact manner, by insisting that blacks were a scary inferior race that would destroy whitey if they could.  Some things never change.

Examples of Racism

Here's an example of some of these ridiculous comments, edited for offensive words, of course:

Oh, well.  Never mind.  I started re-reading the comments and couldn't find a representative one that didn't make my stomach hurt, and I just couldn't do that to my loyal readers.  If you're interested, you can click on the link and read them yourselves.  But I just can't stand to have that garbage here.

But if you do read the comments, what you'll find are a few people interested in the movie, a few people who say this is an interesting discussion, and quite a few people who insist that black people hate white people, are lazy, and are blaming slavery for their problems.  Yet, you'd think if black people were doing that, that you'd see an equal number of comments from black people attacking white people and blaming their problems on slavery.  But I guess the wily black man is up to his tricks again, as the only racists there are the white people attacking black racists and using that racism as an excuse to be racist.

And of course, the big irony is reading lots of bigots insisting that black people can't "move on" from slavery, yet they're entirely obsessed with the issue, while few black people wrote comments about it at all.  Likewise, they insist that all black people are blaming us for their problems, which is their excuse for blaming black people for their problems.

New Bigots, Same as the Old

But really, as much as these people imagine they've invented a clever new form of justified racism, it's really no different than the old racism.  Back in the day, bigots invented reasons to rationalize the enslavement of other races for their personal benefit.  After that became illegal, they invented rationalizations for denying other races equal treatment with themselves.  Now that that's illegal, they've invented rationalizations for treating other races badly, and it defies belief to imagine they wouldn't happily discriminate or enslave other races if given the opportunity.

And in the end, there can be no doubt what their game is.  Some people will always be discontent with their own lives unless they can tear down others to make themselves feel better.  For these people to be up, someone else has to be down, and if they're not getting ahead and being the awesome Master of the Universe they know they should be, then obviously somebody is holding them back.

For authoritarians like them, life is a zero-sum game, and if they are denied their god given right to oppress others for their personal benefit, then they'll use that as their excuse for wanting to oppress others for their personal benefit.  For these people, the concept of the win-win situation eludes them entirely, and so they wallow in their own disgusting world, as they refuse to build themselves up in a world that doesn't give them everything they want in the first place.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

All That Glitters Isn't a Conspiracy

Note: I wrote this one a few days ago.  Still don't know if it's worthy to post, but decided to do it anyway, just to post something.

Brains are incredible things, but you really have to be careful with them or they'll start playing tricks on you and make you see things that aren't real.  And so I'm bored and looking at Yahoo and see an article about how the government is sitting on $1 billion in gold coins because an idiot Republican thought he could get people to start using gold coins, so he mandated that the government make them; but people still didn't care.  So no one uses the coins and taxpayers are now stuck paying to store them in a warehouse..

Pretty straight forward story, right?  Not if you're an anti-government conspiracy monger.  To them, this is all about some secret plot to undermine gold and destroy our economy.  And I saw that on the most highly ranked comment on that story, which said:
The headline should read "Gold Colored Coins"
Now, I get his point.  His point is that these coins aren't actually made of gold, but of course, that's because they couldn't be.  After all, $1 of gold isn't really going to be big enough to make a coin out of.  But all the same, they look gold and coins have long been referred to as "gold coins" even if they're not actually made of gold.  Similarly, I can say I'm wearing an orange shirt without people thinking it's made of fruit.

And from that, we see comments like these:
You can't trust Yahoos' headlines anymore..

The Presidential Dollar coins do NOT contain any gold ... they have a golden color due to a special mix of alloys. Makes me wonder if this article is a propaganda article to spin the country's financial condition as being sounder than it is?

sounds like they are saying that gold itself is pretty worthless, and trying to call these coins gold? i agree fully with michael s

Eric, I want our currency made of real gold and silver so the fed can't just devalue them and steal my wealth.

Yahoo you suck!!! Big time!!!

This article is trying to convince me (emotionally) that these "gold-colored" coins (ergo gold coins) aren't worth considering because nobody wants em (bandwagon propaganda) BUT I'm not buying it. Gold and Silver Bullion is so much better than fake, digital, fiat, debt financed, federal reserve notes, and will be worth more when this country crashes and burns (by purposeful engineered design BTW)
And here's the thing: The word gold was NOT in the actual headline of the article.  It was the teaser headline on the Yahoo homepage that these people are referring to, while the actual headline was The $1 Billion That No One in the United States Wants.  In fact, the word "gold" was only used once in the article, and the point of the article wasn't about them being gold, but about them being metal and how people don't want metal dollars.

Yet, we're to imagine that Yahoo conspired to have someone write this story for the explicit purpose of devaluing gold by making people think it's worthless.  And naturally, Yahoo would have no purpose for doing this, were it not some plot from the government or some shadowy cabal.

But...if they were going to do such a thing, don't you think they'd do a better job of it?  I mean, you'd think between the combined resources of Yahoo, the government, and Obama's Kenyan-Chicago ties, we'd have a little better push on this than a minor story on a Yahoo blog.

For that matter, don't you think they'd have just written an article about how coins made of gold are useless because it's just a shiny rock with no intrinsic value beyond what we give to it?  That'd be a much better article for pushing that sort of agenda, and has the benefit of being true.  But no matter.  These people see a conspiracy and that's all that's important.

I've actually tried to explain that to people whenever they start talking about how paper dollars only have value that we give to it, as they somehow believe that gold has magical value that will always last.  But of course, value is all in the eyes of the person willing to pay for it, and if our country ever gets to the point that our money becomes worthless, we'll have a lot more problem on our hands than how many shiny rocks we have in our pockets.  If the shit goes down, bullets will most assuredly be worth more than gold.