Thursday, August 27, 2009

Megan Fox is Catwoman?

You can explain the state of big budget movies by such speculation, its on all the time 'Angelina Jolie is new catwoman' sometimes, the speculation comes true 'Halle Berry is catwoman' etc.

I just wonder why people think they care, or that having someone hot in some kind of cat costume will make a movie actually fun to watch. There was never speculation as to whether Pamela Anderson would wear some kind of swimming outfit on Baywatch each week, nor did the expectation being filled create compelling viewing.

Baywatch was an eye candy parade, with David Hasselhoff for added entertainment value. Just as whether some Hollywood starlet is catwoman or not tells you nothing about the quality of the film. I believe Halle won the rasberry that year for Catwoman, regarded widely as one of the worst films ever.

I'd be more excited if someone was putting around rumours 'Meryl Streep is new catwoman' it might make for some actually compelling performance.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crawling down a Sandpaper Tunnel to avoid a Tunnel of Razor Wire

It occurs to me I have no idea how to spell 'tunnel' I never thought about it till now.

Anyway in primary school there were a number of homophobic jokes that were popular that revolved around some bogus dilemma, like:

'Your walking down the street and a gay guy starts raping you, do you let him continue or do you pull him off?' which of course was a trap given the duel meanings of the phrase 'pull him off' implying that your only choices in such a situation was getting arse raped or giving a hand job.

Who knows what psychological damage is done by such juvenile humour to someone who is actually gay and has the 'shame' of it reinforced by such a joke.

Another notable one I quite like though is the old:

Q:'Have you ever been caught masturbating in the closet?'

To which I or anyone else would defensively say:

A: 'No'

To which the witty repartee was:

A: 'Well it must be a pretty good hiding place then!'

See how you get switcherooed in that situation? Try it in the office tomorrow.

Anyway, a friend from said childhood and I caught up on the weekend, and somehow I ended up in the unenviable position of defending peadophiles rights under the justice system and why we shouldn't just shoot them to save tax payer money.

But I put it to you: 'What would you rather have happen to you, get raped as a child by a peadophile, or hit by a drunk driver and put in a wheelchair?'

Now of course for most of the people in the world, you are over 18, if you were raped by a peadophile it wouldn't in that instance be considered a peadophilic act. And you've had your childhood so we don't have a way of retconing your past, where you could get hit by a drunk driver later this afternoon.

But most people if you put this question to them would say 'neither' which is a pain in the arse but illustrative of the major point of this post. You don't get to choose 'neither' it isn't an option.

So then...

Ugh, 'get hit by a car and end up in a wheelchair.' which seems a crazy choice, but its what I would choose. I guess it is what most people would choose. in that dilemma both of which, nobody ever chooses at all, which I guess is why the question never comes up.

But what I 'prefer' about getting hit by a wheelchair, is that society reinforces the view that you can't just try and pretend it 'never happened'.

In true form, I had this Costanza-esque revelation walking home from my friends joint, and it was something I couldn't find an analogy to explain my view of how the justice system should work.

Let's break it down, if you get raped as a child, it was probably by a relative or neighbour. You have to tell somebody, which is your first choice many children are ill equipped to make, or pretend as if it never happened. Nobody knows how many children that never tell anyone about their experience, bury it over time and lead relatively normal lives are out there, as well as those that bury it and don't lead relatively normal lives.

Or you tell someone, a peadophile gets sent to jail for a couple of years and released on the sex-offenders list, I'm told there is no historical incedence of a peadophile being successfully rehabilitated.

But I'm not particularly interested in the treatment of the perpetrator just yet. The victim, in modern times, probably recieves councilling, therapy, treatment etc. That's all good. But there's no doubt in my mind that their treatment resembles in anyway that of a victim of a carcrash that recieves a permenant disability.

Because psychological scars are hard to see. Only the behaviour can be seen and its hard to interpret. The psychological scars furthermore, are probably left on not just the direct victim, but the victims family. The behavioural shift I'm sure is obvious. Thus no sibling or other child is 'unaffected' the damage in a cruel irony, is probably transmitted via the parents, in whatever way they handle the dramatic 'loss of innocence'.

I think all would agree, it's the psychological damage of rape that endures, not the horrifying (or in a childs case, completely dumbfounded) experience of the rape/molestation itself.

Horrible as it is, the dividing line between a scar on the psyche and a scar on the spinal column is that at some point, the aim with psychological scars is to get to a point where we can 'act' like it never happened. You can't 'act' walking if you can't fucking walk.

And that's where I think victims of sexual abuse, torture, rape and other psychologically traumatic events perhaps would benefit from treatment as severe and thorough as victims of road accidents.

Fact, if you kill someone with an automobile on the road they don't call it 'murder' or 'manslaughter' but 'culpable driving' because Jury's are too sympathetic to people who drive. Because almost everybody drives.

Only a nutjob like me would take the hardline stance 'you get behind the wheel of a car you are operating a lethal weapon' most people don't consider a car a weapon, they consider it a necessity.

People are far far more lenient on drink drivers than peadophiles because they can see themselves being a drink driver more easily than being a peadophile. Being a drink driver just means you've got the judgement of an irresponsible moron, which most people are. Being a peadophile you are or you aren't. Most people aren't hence most people are happy to suggest 'kill them' and shit easy as that. It would be pretty easy to do.

But a victim of a drink driver is treated totally differently to a victim of rape, child abuse, molestation, torture etc. They wake up in a hospital. Are informed they will never walk again, given rehab, given physio, there entire lifestyle is modified. They are no doubt given counselling by specialists, in what could be the most important step, I believe they often meet other survivors, join new sports, are encouraged to deal with the life changing damage and adapt as best they can, knowing it cannot simply be undone.

Someone facing the rest of their life in a wheel chair watching their leg muscles waist away, never to walk, run, crawl, have sex standing up etc again has a choice. They can do months and months of agonizing rehab, face and adjust to the new way society treats them, learn to live and adapt to their disability, come to terms with the fact they will wake every day to the unavoidable fact that they are in a wheelchair or...

End their own life. Take 'the easy way out' forego any further joy that can be extracted from life to avoid all further suffering or inconvenience. Neither choice is pleasant.

This is the apocryphal 'crawling down a sandpaper tunnel to avoid a tunnel of razorwire'. Your choices are 'bad' or 'worse'.

Sadly it is human instinct to look on the two tunnels and say 'neither' except the devil you say it to will tell you again and again that 'that ain't an option buddy'.

I equate 'neither' to 'let's pretend this never happened'.

But I think, if we could simply come to terms with the fact that people can be put into really shitty situations were no outcome is truly a 'pleasant' one, we could have a much better justice system.

I have outright, no interest in punishment. Or more specifically 'punishment as part of the victims treatment' ie. the view that the victim is entitled to some satisfaction from seeing the perpetrator suffer and that this somehow is therapuetic to them. I equate on a high level to attempting to switch the roles of victim and perpetrator. Which you could do endlessly and thus create intractable ongoing suffering.

So no, the only real punishment I believe in is punishment as rehabilitation of the perpetraitor. The 'negative reinforcement' aspect. Making the perpetrator understand that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Which may sound light, but for me that would mean that you do away with jail-terms for good. You don't get to just wait to have another crack at society, you have to be fit to reenter society. Thus if there is no historical incident of successful rehabilitation of a peadophile, there would in my world be no history of a peadophile being paroled.

If their was, and their was a reoffence, then the standard of rehabilitation would be ratched up by an order of magnitude to increase the confidence level, AND the officials that paroled the offender would by in the line of fire as well.

And that's it, for the perpetrator with one caveat, I have seen peadophiles interviewed and if 'successful rehabilitation' refers to 'normal sexual preferences' as in they sleep with adults, and no peadophile has ever successfully had their preference changed, then that standard is too high because I don't think its fair to expect people to 'choose their sexual preferences' if it isn't fair (and it certainly isn't) to expect homosexuals to change their sexual preferences to suit heterosexuals, or if you are talking preferences asking introverts to be extroverts, left handers to be right handers and if it isn't getting through to you short people to be tall.

What I mean is, if it isn't psychologically possible to change the fact that you are a peadophile, that should not be the case for permanent incarceration. What is a case for permanent incarceration is if you can't stop molesting, raping or exploiting other parties without their consent. And unfortunately for peadophiles, children can never give their consent to have sex with you or other children, to drink alcohol, to be fiddled with, to be photographed for pornographic materials etc. Their parents cannot sing off on that, there is just no way you can legally practice your sexual orientation.

A peadophile is born castrated by law, 'successful rehabilitation' if it means a peadophile can be released into society, to never practice sex again or view pornography whilst it may be a big ask, I believe, a just society owes them a chance at with their being responsible for not raping or exploiting children again.

If that involves voluntary castration and a control order restricting internet access, I believe its a human decency to at least extend that.

That is rule of law. Lose the ability to rehabilitate to the point that someone is released so as not to commit crimes they may want to commit, and you may as well lock people up because we simply suspect they may want to 'commit murder' or 'commit rape'.

Again its unfortunate, but the only thing that makes you a peadophile, rapist or drink driver is whether you rape a child, rape an adult or get drunk and drive a vehicle. Before that, you are innocent in the eyes of the law and society.

People may know they are peadophiles, but if they don't actually ever act on their impulses, I would deem them fit to live amongst society.

Big sidetrack, the victims.

It's unpleasant, you didn't choose to be a victim, it was done to you, why couldn't it be someone else, you wish it never happened, nobody should have to go through this, they are wrong, you are right.

I agree with all the common sentaments. Except words like 'should' are useless. Words like 'damage control' and 'harm minimisation' are useful. For example, amongst sex offenders is a strong correlation between being a victim in your childhood and an offender in your adulthood.

I do believe that intervention can get a better outcome. This is part of the rehabilitation. I think what we get wrong as a society is that society feels obliged to intervene and 'arrest' the perpetrators/guilty from continuing their daily 'normal' lives but feels no obligation to arrest the victims/innocents from continuing their daily 'normal' lives because they didn't choose to be in the situation.

The only time it happens thoroughly is if you are in a wheelchair, and only because a hospital needs to discharge you.

It will always be politically unpopular to incarcerate victims, because traditionally, innocent people are not to be incarcerated. But I put it to you, that certain psychological damage is too large in its impact and reach over time to be left to the devices of victims alone.

I'm happy to spend $400k in tax over my lifetime to incarcerate a peadophile for good, I'd be delighted to pay $800k in tax over my lifetime to ensure victims are properly rehabilitated from their physical and mental injuries.

You got raped, you didn't want it to happen, and just like the guy in the wheelchair, you just want to get on with your life, but you don't get to, until you've gotten your head straight.

You learn how to talk about it with future lovers, your family, if you are the relatives you learn how to deal with it with the victim, the siblings of the victim, the school, you learn how to bring it up, how to deal with it. How to not live in fear of repeat offenses, how to behave in a healthy relationship. How to trust people, how to say no, how to not be vulnerable. How to explain to your douchebag friends you don't want to drink if you don't want to drink. Meet other successful survivors, foster communities, support groups.

You may need to face the fact that you will have to give up 3 hours a week for the rest of your life to a support group, just to handle the psychological damage. You never wanted that damage, and if it hadn't occured, you wouldn't have to (you'd just be fucked up over something really petty probably).

That's rehab, and when a victim is probably equipped to deal with their psychological injury, then they can go back to school, back to dinner parties, back to playing in the park etc. Once they have acknowledged that the damage is done, they will live with it (the sandpaper tunnel) and not pretend it never happened, feeling ashamed of themselves and paranoid that everyone around them will reject them if they find out, and they have no idea what love is supposed to be like (the razor-wire tunnel).

I believe that it's worse to treat victims as if nothing bad happened to them, and that because they aren't responsible, they shouldn't have to deal with the consequences. It's unpleasant, but deal with the consequences they must, despite not being responsible for them.

I'd believe this even if it wasn't the case, that by not treating a victim with due dilligence and proper rehabilitation whether they want to go through it or not, and acting as if incarcerating or even killing the perpetrator is enough or just, we are often just letting another peadophile walk right out the door.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Being the Change

One great ironic tragedy of the GFC was its impact on the baby boomers self funded retirement. Namely that the single largest age segmented demographic in the developed world had betwixt 30-90% of their nest egg wiped out as markets corrected. Which is important, they didn't crash, they corrected in a huge crashing motion. Largely because there was a whole lot of money created on paper that never really existed in reality, like a mistake, it was erased never to be mentioned again.
It's a pity though that many many people were counting on that mistake to fund their lifestyle demands for the next 20 or so years.

There were of course all different kinds of investments, cash, shares, property, financial derivatives etc. The bookies didn't hedge their bets, everything was interrelated, they all crashed once the confidence burst.

But the key one in this instance, the GFC was property, investment property. Namely all the investment properties that had nobody to live in them.

I don't know why, I don't know when, but I know that someway, somehow, the property market often becomes irrational.

I don't have time to go into detail, but here is the rational backing of property as an investment category:

1. An investment is something you purchase that earns income.
2. That income will eventually generate a positive return on the investment (ROI).
3. A property generates rent when utilised. The rent is the income from property.
4. For somebody to rent a property they would have to profit by it, the rent therefore must represent an affordable portion of their wages. (psuedo-officially 30%)
5. The price of property must be based on it's earning potential. The higher the ROI the higher the price.

Okay, so that is a basic overview, which means that if it were true in practice we would observe that:

1. Rent being based on wages would appreciate in-line or slower than wages.
2. House prices being based on rent, would appreciate in-line or slower than rents.
3. Therefore, house prices should appreciate in-line or slower than wages.

Now when I say slower, I mean in the sense of magnitudes. Thus you would expect that if wages increased by 4% per year, then rents, and houses maximum appreciation would be 4% or less.

It's not the case. That to me, deems property in most cases as an 'irrational' investment, because house prices seem to increase faster than rents (meaning ROI diminishes constantly) and that rents seem to increase faster than wages (at times).

Therefore, I cant rationally explain why people are willing to pay more for a house for diminishing returns, and therefore can't reasonably expect the pattern to continue.

It's a s good as guessing.

And a whole fuckload of people guessed wrong.

Good news, I got a job. This means in a couple of months, Garage days will be over, I will move out and live in an actual room, as per my plan.

Now I wish to explain 'the change' I would like to see in the world:

1. Landlords provide what value?

Questioning the purpose and function of landlords is almost as unravelling an experience of preconceptions as questioning the existence and purpose of god.

I won't go into the detail, because I'm sure if you think about it, there is almost none. Very few landlords build houses, most often they buy existing houses, and if it wasn't for the presence of landlords, renting/buying would be very cheap.

A landlord in fundamentality purchases a right to tax your income, if people bought enough housing to service their own fundamental need for housing and no more, housing would be much much cheaper.
The presence of people with their own house, purchasing 0-100 properties in a year, just make it more expensive for everyone else, making renting for some a practical necessity.

Paying rent/paying a mortgage effects your cash flow, your wealth gets tied up in property instead of being spent on shit that is productive, like you.

2. Self-funded retirement through property.

The basic issue is this, how do you earn an income when you retire? There are many ways, on a superficial level it is known as putting your money to work for you.

You could for example give your money to a company, in the form of purchasing shares. Companies sell shares (which like on a pirate ship, represent a share of their precious booty) in order to raise funds. You give them the funds, they say 'great now we can buy computers for our employees' the employees can now work on computers, it makes them more profitable, the increased profits get shared with you the shareholder.
Shares are productive.

But most choose a 'simpler' model. You buy someone else's house. Imagine a simple world where there's you, and someone else and a house. Someone else needs to live in that house. They know it, you know it.
You are richer than someone else. They bid on the house, you bid higher. This pushes the price up. You have more money so you buy it at the price they can no longer afford to buy it at.
Then you walk over to someone else and pat them on the back and say 'don't worry, I don't need to live in this house, I'll rent it to you.'

That self funded retirement means that they are out their (being a young person) working for some struggling company (that you could have bought shares in). They bring home their wages for doing productive work, and you take a share of that money as per your entitlement to price them out of the housing market.

3. Obviously, I'm exaggerating.

The real property market has literrally, millions of buyers and sellers and properties, so it's never that straight forward. Most people don't rent the house they tried to buy, but rent another house. I've just grossly simplified it to illustrate the 'net effect'.

If people didn't own surplus property (AKA investment property) then renters wouldn't have to rent they would just buy, and it would be cheaper than renting.

Self-funded retirement through the landlord plan I am saying, in principle is counter productive, you take money out of the productive market and you live off of someone elses efforts.

OR, the working population pays rent to the non-working population. A similar arrangement was once described as 'the working class' a term that when you think about it implies a lot about the 'aristocracy' (or the non-working class, the parasitical class etc).

It's not communism, it's free market, and the term used by economists is 'rent' which is basically an undue entitlement.

4. Me.

I have almost nothing though, and the only reason I am working is to give my money to productive efforts by some of my close friends. I am investing or plan to invest in their productive working lives.

I am the anti-landlord, instead of contributing effectively no value, and taking from their income, I hope to increase the income of others such that they may work, live and breath easier. I'm ethically committed to doing this for the rest of my life.

5. The Irony.

Self-funded retirement, was supposed to ideologically prevent the baby-boomers from being a financial burden on their children. They would earn income in their twilight years that would fund their lavish lifestyles on into the sunset.

The irony being that they chose to do so through buying up the property market, rent and mortgage repayments being the largest financial burdens most people face. They self-funded their retirement through becoming a socially sanctioned financial burden, the land-lord.

But this lead to a huge property bubble, because baby-boomers outnumber the younger tennants and thus a huge glut of investment properties was built with nobody to ever live in them, and the house prices pushed ever upwards with 'irrational exuberence' as Greenspan would call it whilst lowering interest rates, and then all the paper wealth was wiped out.

And in the end, it would have been less of a burden to jack up the pension and just have all the superannuation funds invested into industry, start-ups etc that could make younger people more productive. Nobody would mind a pension increase if their wages had grown 10% per year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

I think one obstacle anyone creative has to overcome as a matter of course is that you are going to fuck it up and it won't turn out anything like you planned.
Because get this, Michealangelo, whilst being reputedly profoundly arrogant and dismissive of other esteemed artists of his time, was never satisfied with his own work.
Michelangelo, creator of mannerism, sculptor of David, painter of the Sistine Chapel roof and wall, contedor for renaissance man and arguably the greatest pure artist of all time.
Often turned around and looked at his own work and was like 'nah'.

The constant failure to translate concept into execution though has numerous benefits. An artist should understand more readily than others that concept counts for far less than execution.
Our society unfortunately has a bad habit of reinforcing big thinkers and not the superb doers so much. Execs involved in strategy are celebrated and given higher status often when the bottom line results haven't even come through yet.
An artist should be able to pick up how large the distance between conception and execution is at the distance it is smallest, from brain to arm to pencil to paper.

Finishing I think is the key skill of creativity, something I have learnt from The Real Gayle King. What started as 'ambition comes before achievement' has evolved into a deeper reflection on the value of releasing flawed finished works.

Which is surprising because of how clouded the whole process is by the talent of others. For example, I can write a short story and think: 'This dialogue is just dead, like it was carved out of wood.' but perhaps the others can't see it, because all they can see is the execution, not the conception and how dismally short of my knowledge of 'exactly who the characters are' the dialogue falls.

Then Harvard can do all the layout so the finished work looks far more polished and sophisticated than I could ever make it.

And still collectively, I know we all failed. We all could have made it better, in some way, pushed and pushed and revised and retried and tested and given feedback etc. But the zine itself is of little consequence, why bother? We just learn from our experience and move on.

The second aspect the concept of failing to realise a creative dream or vision is amongst the fans.

This was pointed out to me by watching a particularly painful segment of 'An Evening With Kevin Smith' where a group of guys from 'a comedy troup' dressed up as Jay and Silent Bob and reenacted a little scene then asked Kevin Smith if he wanted to come hang out with them after the show have a few beers.

To which Kevin responded the obvious 'God no. I go home and sleep.' and I don't know why but it exposed a gap in my knowledge, probably because having no fans like it, I haven't experienced it.

But see I always assumed that to be a fan of Kevin Smith, or my work, or Prince's work, you had to understand on a level at or near or approaching the level they created it on.

For example, I would imagine Kevin Smith fans to in general be roughly on the same cultured and intellectual plane that he is on, its just Kevin Smith is the guy that actually makes movies and made it in movies (and comics). Whereas if I were to see the Wayan's brothers doing Q & A I would expect them to be about as cultured and intelligent as their movies 'White Chicks' 'Little Man' and 'Scary Movie 3' are.

You get what I'm saying, but as it apparantly turns out, just as we could grab a set of magnets and then hop in a time machine and go back to the neolithic age and wow human beings with the miracle of magnets, and probably the ability to scratch ourselves with a stick, so too are movies like Clerks going to have appeal to people way way less intelligent than Kevin Smith.

Just to put that in perspective, the range of IQ is actually not that large. In Australia the average is apparantly 107, in the LA Lakers apparently it's like 94. But people of high profile are not actually in a whole stratosphere 30 km above the average man's heads. Kevin Smith is probably in the 130's or something, unlike Krudd who is apparantly in the mid 120's. IQ also doesn't really measure aptitude or expertise, social networks, street smarts etc that all contribute to success. That is to say, whilst Kevin Smith and I may have comparable IQ's I couldn't based on that turn up to a set of a movie and go 'okay shoot' because I don't know the second thing about film making, which is the thing that comes after the first thing about making movies 'you need a camera'.

But I imagine I could go to a Q & A with Kevin Smith and ask a question more likely to get answered than 'would you hang out with us and have a few beers' which smacks of all kinds of stupid.

The point being that there's no point to being a perfectionist. Sure you may not like the people that like your works, nor want to spend an evening after a lecture hanging out with them. You may condesendingly not even think them to be on your level.
But they enjoy it, they admire it, and presumably they could not create it for themselves, for whatever reason. Whether unlike me they couldn't imagine a better version, or like me they can't make any film let alone a better, worse, inferior, superior interpretation of it.
I directed a play once and I still have no idea how I did it. Megan did most of the work.

The second point about finishing stuf, even if it isn't successful is that you get feedback, interpretations that you were never exposed to before, you may even succeed where you thought yourself a failure. You will always think yourself a failure, but everyone will interpret your work differently to how you would. No matter how 'perfect' or 'imperfect' it is in your eyes, perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

Terry Pratchett parodied shakespear in one of the Discworld series of novels, I forget which, but his Shakespear grudgingly turned out his 'tired' tragedies and comedies all the while dreaming of writing 'The Three Stooges' and 'Laurel & Hardy' and 'Charly Chaplin'-esque slapstick humour.

This would be a slap in the face to most scholarly groupies of Shakespear, to suggest a form of humour as superficial and 'stupid' as slapstick might have been the ultimate but unrealised fantasy of Shakespear.

Sure there's no factual basis, but it illustrates the possibility for your fans to interpret your 'perfect' as 'distinctly flawed' and your 'distinctly flawed' as 'perfection'.

It's a conundrum. But both allow you to progress, I guess there's a danger of selling out, which I guess I would describe as 'disrespecting your fans' speaking down to them like they are an idiot, even if this ostensibly is what they want. Like if Kevin Smith and Damon Wayans were of comparable intelligence, and Wayans' still produced white chicks. I find that disrespectful, or for a more localised example if Rove McManus was actually funny or talented and still produced Rove for us, I would find that disrespectful and a sell-out.

So Beckett's advice is good, I had originally thought it to be China Mieville's but I would say follow it: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Salt N Pepa were the only band to have Girl Power.

I was listening to 'Very Necessary' the other day, and I realised that if I were to have a daughter I would insist that she listen to Salt N Pepa instead of her mother, or friends or anyone. Unless her mother or friends were the former members of Salt N Pepa that is.

I believe the term is 'lipstick feminists' that is usually the divider in all arguments as to Girl Power. I think for me, I happen to know that maybe 3% of a mans power is derived from his allure to the opposite or same sex, the rest is based on his ability to build up or destroy other men and women with either his mind or physique. Of all the interactions anyone can have with anyone, relatively few in most cases will be of a sexual nature, and particularly if you were to take a look at the worlds most powerful people.

That said, adopting a healthy attitude to sex is no mean feet. For example, whilst I don't believe that exhibitionism, cock teasing, open leg policies are necessarily a great pathway to a better life, I have to say that concepts such as 'sex out fo wedlock' being bad, or 'no sex on the first date' are just complete fucking bullshit.

When a girl puts to me the question 'if you had sex with me on the first date, what would you have thought of me?' my answer remains: 'I probably wouldn't have thought about it at all.' Which would belie probably the fact that generally I don't even go out with a girl unless I'm pretty much already in love with them, but certainly I wouldn't think anything in the lines of 'gee this girl is loose, does she give up the skins this easy for any fucking dick that comes swinging along?' or whatever it is they fear.

So, yes, it's hard, I can see myself writing another 4000 word discourse on what I think a healthy attitude to sex is, but I don't have to, because listening to Salt N Pepa, I was thinking 'these women approach sex like a man does'. And it's hard to articulate.

I guess first up, they have a strong sense of identity, that is, they are not defined by their sex appeal, watch them in shoop to get what I mean:

Or in the clip for 'push it'

I don't get the 'look at me, don't you want to have sex with me' vibe from them so much as a 'I am going to fuck you' vibe.

How to articulate it, I can see Salt or Pepa walking down a line of male groupies pointing and saying 'yes, yes, no, no, yes, no, hell no!' where watching Spice Girls or Destiny's Child I see them saying something like 'all these men want to have sex with me? Really!'

I don't know how any of them are, but that's how they sell it. So much so, when 'Wadda man' first got airplay in Australia it had one of the most profound effects on me ever.

Lyrically they are second to nothing 'get up on this'? What do you think that means? What do you think the 'it' is in 'Push it'?

Furthermore, in very necessary there is a song for almost all romantic/relationship/teen sex dilemma's you could find yourself in. There's 'None of your business' for dealing with the fucking bitch skank gossip queens and todays pathetic 'cyber bullies' wtf? I would love my daughter to turn around to Haley and say 'you shouldn't even get into who I'm giving skins to' I bet that would shut that bitch the fuck up. Or even 'opinions are like arseholes everybody's got one'.

Sure I might read the occassional 'does not play well with others' remark. But I want my daughter to know relationships are a two way street, if you aren't getting satisfaction out of it, get out. You don't exist to please a man. You don't trade shit for sex, you take sex.

Then there's 'Somma time man' for when you've got yourself a cheater. 'Step' for when you dump said cheater. 'Sexy Noises' 'Groove Me' 'Let's talk About Sex' 'Lets talk about Aids' and 'Push It' for getting hers, and of course 'Whatta Man' for when you have a keeper on your hands.

And they do it all with asserted self confidence. Salt N Pepa aren't Amazons or any other condescending misguided notion of the empowered woman. They are just empowered women. They approached Hip-hop as if they didn't even comprehend that they should be different because they were women. Yet even though they approach it 'like a man' it's inherently feminine.

I mean sure you can listen to them, but do you hear them?

I think this is all girls should be taught in highschool sex ed. Fuck Cleo, Vogue all that shit.

Salt N Pepa are salute worthy, I'd line up backstage.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Internet Restaurant

This is a parable that should have been put in the bible, and in one form of another was in the marketing bible 'Positioning: the battle for the mind' by Al Ries and Jack Trout, if only they had anticipated the internet at the time.

So there's this restaurant, a very old traditional restaurant that had been around since 1454 or so. Everybody loved it, but it had a bit of a monopoly on public discourse, being that somewhat intrinsic to it's design were a bunch of signs, people wherever they looked, no matter where they were seated in the restaurant were confronted by the fact that they would be reminded by the omnipresent signage:

No shouting

For most of history one could only enjoy the conversation of one's immediate dining company, one could simply not talk at a level of volume to be heard by all patrons of the restaurant. One was lucky if one's influence was felt even on your own table.
One could only communicate in the civil art of communication with family, friends or neighbours, the few people the patrons could attract to join them for an evenings dining.
Because of the 'no shouting' reminder, it was considered uncouth to demand the attention of the whole dining hall. One was expected to keep one's opinions to themselves to be shared only with their immediate company.

To many it was frustratingly boring, after all, one's friends, family and neighbors really only wanted to hear about things relevant to them, not talking about things of world wide import. It was so frustratingly local.

Then one day in the early 1990's the signs mysteriously dissappeared.

It took a while though for people to appreciate the true potential of this lack of policy. Some of the wealthier, more regular patrons started shouting their opinions to all. Some of the more observant and educated also realised the potential now to not just be heard by your immediate peers, but by everyone in the room.

Gradually volume levels began to rise. Young people in particular quickly adopted the practice of having shouted conversations directly across the room whenever they noticed a friend or acquaintance seated at a different table from them.

Of course, one of the biggest incentives to shout was the dating seen. It was relatively safe and anonymous to shout 'Nice tits!' at someone across the room, then quickly look to your meal before retaliation could take place.
Much voice traffic as such was dedicated to wolf-whistles and sexist jibes, but it was possible to tune out on this.

Some-time before or after 2006 a major publication ran a story about the benefits of the 'No Shouting' policy. Suddenly everyone in town flocked to the restaurant whenever they had a spare moment to make use of the new ability to shout.

What did they shout about? As far as many could determine, people loved to shout about themselves, offer alternative commentaries on big news stories, promote their own business, try and flog their own albums......................................................ting complex instructions to Adobe Graphical software applications.

It was hard to tell though, because there was just so much fucking shouting. And whilst theoretically being able to shout allowed someone to be heard by a global population of diners, fact was that the attention individuals received was actually in most cases far less than before the no-shouting policy.

Furthermore, there was very little feedback to actually exert any quality control or reinforcement of conversation. Standards dropped, which was relieving for some, but the academic community of diners have not stopped complaining to this day.

Freedom of speech it seems, does not entail the freedom to be heard, and many a narcissistic opportunist that thought the 'no shouting' repeal was a one way street to success and recognition still struggle to realise this is the case.

But instead of adopting some concerted grass roots strategy, involving hard work and actual value creation, most people are just motherfuckers shouting about their own problems as if the world revolves around them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Favorite MC's

Bryce. He takes it back to Ballarat, pure animal magnatism and is probably the least conscious of the audiences tastes and preferences of any performer this side of Andy Kaufman. It is enough for Bryce to know the audience is there.

2na Fish. He has a voice so deep that it's like having cool scoops of watermelon massage your brain when you hear him.

Trugoy the Dove. Pousdnous is probably more celebrated, but Trugoy has the baby face, and has written some of my favorite versus ever.

Pous. Likewise, he is almost as lovable as Trugoy, almost.

Q-tip. Just the smoothest ever, and he is built like a weiner, like me.

Mr. Lawnge. I like Dres, but Lawnge is to sleeze what Q-tip is to smooth.

Notorious B.I.G. I suspect it's all delivery, but deliver he does, like a fat Karl Malone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Notch 2: The Real Gayle King

Okay, maybe I'm prematurely ejaculating here, but I'm bumping myself up to notch 2 because I think it significant that I've managed to be part of a creative group, and that we as a group have managed to produce something.
Sure it might have been worth 2 notches if we had already formed Circue Du Soleil or some shit, but I think people can underestimate how much harder it is to do something as a team as compared to an individual.
It's much easier to run a 400m race than a 4 x 100m relay, a relay should be faster than one person running its true, but it isn't easier to be faster, its much harder, you got the baton pass, the change over, the boxes and various ways you can be disqualified, the runner order, the start etc to suddenly contend with when you switch from solo to relay.
And our group is really cohesive, for example it only took us 3 months to pick a name for ourselves, we have churned out a zine in about 2 months and the quality I feel it safe to say presentation, content wise, layout wise, price wise etc is all greater than the sum of its parts.
We aren't formally launching the group yet, until we've built up a greater body I suppose, but still I feel the hard parts done, the forming and storming and norming phases. The peeps all know eachother fairly well now, it seems everyone in the group can run a meeting, we know what eachother are capable of and the enthusiasm levels seem high.
It's good, it's a special thing, it's a creation. I'm proud of it, so I'm putting myself up to notch 2. Just 98 more to go.

Honorary Collision

Okay, thankfully my near death experiences have virtually dissappeared on the road since I started tracking them.
That said, a friend of mine got cleaned up by a car on Monday. According to her recollection of events she was riding through a roundabout when she woke up in an ambulance.

Scary, according to the driver that hit her 'she appeared from an unknown angle', now trusting my friends version of events she entered the roundabout after looking to her right and back again to the left (where technically you shouldn't have to check because you 'give way' to vehicles in the roundabout and to your right.) This tells us two things as a cyclist:

1. Our brains are phenomenally good at shirking responsibility in times of crisis. Eg. reinterpreting 'she appeared from an unknown angle' from 'I didn't see her' the old active to passive tense. Other pertinent examples are 'the rider was hit' (passive) vs. 'I hit the rider' (active).
In defence of drivers, I'm sure the lady feels horrible, possibly went into shock, and whilst my friend had the twisted luxury of being unconscious for the collision she probably had to watch my friend slice her face open while bouncing off the bonnet of her car.
She may have even made her statement whilst not knowing whether or not she had killed someone.
While anger is the natural response to 'bad' drivers and you want to yell 'what the fuck are you doing?' and 'learn how to drive motherfucker!' and 'you are killing the planet!' (truly climate change was the greatest thing to ever happen to cyclists). I hope we can realise that the type of 'evil' that is running round-about's without looking, getting distracted by a mobile phone, reversing over a kid in your driveway, running a red-light, pedestrian crossing or overtake a tram that is disgourging its passengers is frankly banal not 'evil'. It arises from overconfidence, incompetence, impatience etc. not 'evil' or any malicious 'duel' type road-rage.
What that means is the culprit was probably somebody like your mum, sister, aunt, best friend. And if she had been a guy someone like your dad, brother, uncle or best friend. You going to get angry with her, be prepared to get angry with everyone including probably yourself.
Easy for me to say, I didn't get mowed down by some crazy bitch.

2. Whilst 'technically correct' is normally the best type of correct, it doesn't cut the mustard on the road.
In other more understandable words, people who gripe at cyclists that openly and cockily flaunt the road rules, it's because if we obeyed the road rules, we would have died out by now.
I feel this way because in my experience 'good driver' is a lot like 'middle-class' everybody is one/from it. This is despite colossal evidence to the contrary. For example, Janice (my mother dearest) calls herself a good driver, even though the past 3 times I've been in the passenger seat adjacent to her my most common interjection to conversation is 'red, red, red, red, RED, RED! RED!! RED!!!' I'm sure she is a good driver 90% of the time, it's just a shame she is a much more involved and conscientious conversationist/monologuer.
You see I freely admit, I am a terrible driver. I often refuse to drop people off on these grounds, I really can only hack driving on my on, and when I do I drive at cyclist speed, yes 40kph is plenty fast for me. I feel boxed in by the chassis and my vision severely impaired.
Picking someone up for me involves driving to their location then jumping into the passanger seat. As such as one of the only 'bad' drivers on the road, I feel I am one of the safest ones.
But 'good-driver' can be everything from 'someone who actually does mirror checks' to 'someone who drives by instinct alone' to 'someone who would be a good stunt-driver'.
That's why road rules don't count. It's not the cars, it's just people. It's mathematics. Everyone is a pedestrian, Most people are drivers and very few people are cyclists. Hence I would say every pedestrian is an irresponsible arsehole, many drivers are irresponsible arseholes, and very few cyclists are irresponsible arseholes.
Because it is mathematically true to say that 'on average, people are average' and thus they are average drivers.
I blame society, not cars as a mode of transport. Our society reinforces that its important for people to get to work on time, when plainly this isn't true. Sure if you are a doctor working in emergency or a fireman or something, if you are an accountant for Australia's third largest roof insulation manufacturer, the work can probably wait the 4 minutes you drop by not running stop signs.
Except it doesn't, morons the world over are obsessed with stressing how important what they do is, in spite of much research by psychologists that suggests most of the trappings of western society could easily be lived without.
But why get all monk on your arse. Fact for cyclists is, you enter a roundabout checking the traffic on the right, as you are legally a vehicle bound by the same laws, anyone entering the roundabout to your left is obliged to give you right of way. Right?
Wrong. I believe there should be a 'cycling on the road' rule book, that refers only to the laws of physics and perhaps Murphey's law. Because the road laws aren't laws of physics, there is no force of nature that holds cars in place and prevents drivers from doing the wrong thing. Thus the first rule of cycling on the road is D.T.A. or 'Don't Trust Anybody motherfucker' personally if I don't make eyecontact with a driver I assume he is going to plow right through me.
Case in point, riding home from visiting my somewhat roughed up friends place, I first gave a big 'what the fuck!' hand signal to a driver that cruised out onto the road behind princess park at a T-intersection where I had right of way, I noticed a Porsche driver near Lygon street having to scream to a halt because we were on a collision course (or would of been if I hadn't seen him first and hit the breaks to slow down to stop if I had to), then just after crossing Brunswick St, I would have taken a trip across a bonnet myself if I hadn't employed the exact same technique on a lady that decided to pull out of a gas station into the emergency lane while putting on her seatbelt.
They all look like nice decent douchebags, and apart from the Porsche driver that actually employed body language to indicate he was a douchebag you can bet I gave the other two a good glaring at.
But the fact is thanks to D.T.A. I don't even realise how many opportunities there are for people to hit me because I wasn't actually sensitive to it until my friend got hit.
I probably flip off 2-3 people in cars a week for 'almost' killing me, and that's largely because I do the majority of my riding on a bike trail not the roads.
But basically if you are a cyclist take from the road rules book the bit that says 'we drive on the left' and 'red means stop and green means go' and then append them with the prefix 'generally' and then throw out the rest of the book.
From there you have to D.T.A. motherfucker and I guess the second rule is to always 'look out for the black hydrogen motorcycle with the driver in black with no lights at night' this I feel is what makes me fairly safe even with headphones on on the road. Because I have never assumed I would hear a car coming.
The last bit of safety advice is 'be as predictable as possible' okay riding through a red light making your own traffic judgement actually isn't a violation of this rule, not indicating 30m before you turn, not riding in a straight line, riding on the right or on the pedestrian sidewalk are all violations of this rule.
So that's it, D.T.A., look out for a ninja attack and be as predictable as possible. Those are the real rules of cycling on the roads.
Actual road rules don't mean shit due to the asymmetrical punishment of violation, what that means is that a car can run a stop sign and kill a cyclist, a cyclist can run a stop sign and kill themselves. If you are in a car you just don't have the motivation to be as safe as cyclists need you to be, unfortunately it is the cyclists lot to pick up the slack.

With fixed gear bicycles becoming an unfortunate trendy accessory what must be 10 years after New York did, the incedence of douchebags hitting douchebags can only skyrocket.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Q: What do God and I both have in common?

A: We are both superfluous.

Possibly both irrelevant. I saw an ad for a book billed as 'the most controversial book of the year' which sadly was not titled 'Shirley Temple's Pussy' or anything actually controversial, but instead it was 'The Genisis Enigma'. There's also a high profile book called 'The Case for God'. Both seem centered around the 'definitional retreat' logical fallacy which in my book is an admission of defeat.

Of course the slew of books promoting Atheism that came out last year, I happily admit was overkill. 'The God Delusion' was thorough enough to necessitate a few decades of responses without needing 'Adams vs. God' 'Letter to a Christian Nation', 'Irreligious', 'God is not Great' etc. Arguably, The God Delusion was the first response necessary after Bertrand Russell's 'Why I am not a Christian'.

The thing is, I've reached a point where for close to 10 years now I haven't been interested in whether god exists or not, that isn't I feel the productive debate. From what we can observe, I think the real question is 'does it matter if God does exist' and I think it an uncontroversial finding to say 'it doesn't'.

Now I'll break it down like Chapelle Corby's mental health.

Part 1: What science is.

Christian Science is an oxymoron. I'm not being facetious, ironic, vindictive or synical. I am using the strict technical definitions to say accurately that Christian Science is an oxymoron.
See what is perpetually ignored by supporters of creationism, intelligent design, theology, supreme beings, and spiritual realms is that the scientific method is a formal system. It is a mechanical process. It isn't sentient, it isn't an organisation, it's non-heirarchical, it isn't democratic. It is mindless, blind if you will.
It isn't that science doesn't want to support intelligent design it's that it can't
it motherfucking can't and still be called science.

So what is the scientific method?

Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[1] A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[2] One of the first to clearly outline the specifics of a scientific method was John Stuart Mill.[3][4]
taken from wikipedia.
Of particular note is the 'observable, empirical and measurable evidence' this is why it is true to say that one can create a 'Big Bang Theory' and a 'God made the Heavens and the Earth' theory and science can descriminate between which one gets taught in public schools.
It is because, there is objective empirical evidence for 'The Big Bang Theory' in the form of ancient radiation, that has been floating around the universe since its creation. They actually have recreated images of 'The Big Bang' occuring, Steven Hawking recieved a medal or some shit from the Vatican for figuring out how the big bang occured accompanied by objective empirical evidence along with a request to stop investigating it.
This applies to a broad range of miracles performed by God, for which no evidence of any sentient interference has ever been produced. For example, you or I can feel 'hot' we can also feel 'the presence of a higher power' you can measure 'hotness and coldness' by observing its effect on mecury particles in a glass tube for example. It's objective, somebody making the claim that they are in the presence of 'heat' can be proved using the same method, the same observation, the same experiment every single time.
You cannot observe the 'presence of a higher power' by any known objective means, the ectoplasmic detector from Ghostbusters does not exist, the presence of higher powers has been somewhat erroniously been given the definition of 'supernatural' whilst I feel 'subnatural' or 'non-natural' would suffice functionally simply because they are not natural phenomena that can be measured any way shape or how.

To put all that in lay terms, I'll tighten a conventional definition of 'experience' to 'an experience is any phenomena that acts upon the human nervous system.' if you can see, touch, hear, taste or smell something, it is natural phenomena, and you can detect them using instruments like a thermometer or something. Anything else is not natural phenomena and cannot be experienced.
This isn't to say that some mysterious being effects outcomes of experiences in real life that are beyond detection by any instruments or people's nervous systems. But because they can't be detected, predicted or documented in any objective way, they aren't science, and not worth worrying about, because, any information pertaining to these 'miracles' is of no help to predicting future miracles at all.
Bertrand Russell encapsulated this exact argument in this excerpt from 'The Analysis of The Mind':
There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago, exactly as it then was, with a population that "remembered" a wholly unreal past. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago.

Which is logically true, but operatively it doesn't matter if this is the case, because if it is it's beyond our control, thus since we can act on an accurate but unreal remembered history even if it didn't exist, it simply doesn't matter if it is the case.

2. The Problem of Knowledge.

Which is to go from Bertrand, to Bertrand. There is a limitation of science in for example that it's much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much harder to know something is, than to know something isn't.
This was much of the subject of Taleb's book 'The Black Swan' pointing out that the apocryphal anecdote was one where prior to European colonization/discovery of the Australian continent, Europeans could have observed over and over again that 'All swans were white' and defined it as pretty much a law of nature. They could have written in their ornithology texts that 'This holds to be true: That a defining characteristic of the Swan is that its plumage is white in pigmentation.' and could have proved that with scientific methodology.
Then one day Sir Joseph Banks or someone stumbled upon a Black Swan in Australia somewhere and invalidated hundreds of years of scientific conclusions in one single observation.
That is the problem of knowledge, you only know something until disproven, thus in an infinite universe its entirely probible that simply everything exists.
Does this then mean that we should give scientific knowledge license to provide for the existence of purple swans? swans with tusks? Green swans with multiple heads? gigantic swans the size of the solar system?


Again, the problem of knowledge is that tucked away in some corner of our infinite universe could be a sentient being with the means and capabilities to destroy our planet with a wall of fire, hear and comprehend our thoughts and answer our prayers if it so chooses, create life as we know it and whatever other 'powers' we ascribe to the various gods worshiped on earth. But since no such being has been detected, it has to be left out of science.
You see when supporters and members of the SETI program tell you that 'there's probably other intelligent life' out in the universe, they can actually calculate a reasonable probability based on observed phenomena by things like the hubble space telescope and the conditions that support life on earth.
They then calculate the distribution of potentially life sustaining planets relative to the uninhabitable planets and systems and conclude that there's so many of them, one of them is bound to have intelligent life on them.
But they don't know it. They just have faith based on what they do know.
So at the moment, scientific knowledge has it that homo-sapiens are the only creatures capable of transmitting encoded messages into space, manufacturing their own satellites or interplanetary transportation.
That's all we know.

Now, this problem of knowledge is two fold, there is A) stuff we think we know, but could be disproved with a single observation. and B) stuff we don't know.

The tradition has been to insert an un-scientific explanation into B. Then to use the possibility of unknown potential observation that could be made ie. God actively doing something, to try and discard A.
Doing the latter is kind of wasteful, for the sheer practical reason that until anything actually happens there isn't much use worrying about it. The former is the most troublesome, and has become increasingly troublesome for organised religion. The reason being that the bogus explanations keep getting refuted as the body of observed and explained natural phenomena gets larger.
So you go from Lightning bolts being forged by Hephaestus and hurled down by Zeus, to electrically charged particles accumulating under a variety of conditions, many involving friction, being discharged into the ground after making connection with a stream of positively charged ions.
Likewise you go from God making the earth 'in the dark' to quote Ricky Gervais, to a singularity exploding and expanding, superheated mass cooling to form stars which throw out different chemical elements that attract similar masses that gather and cool into planets that are then drawn into orbit around various other masses creating a complex web of 'heavenly bodies' that form the spiral galaxies, nebulas etc. that comprise what is known as the Universe.
Yes, to my knowledge, science doesn't know what the fuck the initial singularity was floating in. Apparantly people who know much much more physics and mathematics than I do, have theoretical proofs for string theory that suggests all reality is some type of membrane or some shit, and the probable cause of the big bang where two of these parallel membranes or 'universes' colliding.
Here is what is funny for a 'Christian Scientist' this 'membrane theory' is treated as 'more probable than a divine creator' in the abstract science of mathematics. Neither are known.

3. Explanation

Dawkins' used in his book terminology that I admit threw me off because I am an NBA fan. He talked about 'Cranes' vs 'Sky-hooks'. To me a sky-hook is where Kareem Abdul Jabbar gathers a basketball under his chin lines his shoulder up with the basket, bends his body like a straw, leaps as high as he can, extending his shooting arm upwards and tossing the ball primarily from the wrist moment down towards the basket. Exploiting the goal tending rule which says you cannot block a basketball shot during its downward arc towards the funnel of the basket, this shot was virtually indefensible.
That indefensibility is about all it has in common with 'Sky-hook' as applied to explanations. Here I'm more or less regurgitating exactly what I understand Dawkins to be saying in his book.
If you interpret these terms literally, as opposed to via pop-culture references, a 'Crane' is an explanation that is 'grounded' a crane sits on a huge stilt, based on the earth, has a huge arm with a system of motorized cables and pullies that can be used to lift construction materials from the ground to quite formidable heights.
A crane therefore is an acceptable explanation as to how someone could construct a skyscraper high rise building.
A 'sky-hook' is a mysterious hook that floats in the sky suspended by nothing observable that could be used in much the same way as a cranes hook can and thus could also suffice to 'explain' how a skyscraper was created.
The problem is that there is a functional difference between the explanation 'The petronus towers were built with the use of a crane' and 'the petronus towers were built with the use of a sky-hook'.
For one, somebody would probably accept the crane explanation at face value, its not a controversial explanation, because if that person has been in cities before, they would have seen cranes in action at some point in their life. It isn't improbable that someone may never have seen a crane, thus if they do ask 'what's a crane' it is easy to then explain exactly how a crane works. You can even, if you have an engineering degree, explain it right down to the tensile strength of the trusses in the scaffolding and why they are welded and riveted in a particular way.
Someone though would be quite right to ask you 'what's a sky hook' because unless they are an NBA fan of the Show-time era Lakers, they would never have seen one. And Kareem Abdul Jabbar lobbing steel-trusses into place is about as plausible as a mysterious magical hook suspended in air by nothing, floating down and picking up the same steel cross beams and concrete mixers.
The point being that at the first level - explaining the presence of a skyscraper, both explanations appear to suffice. At the second level, explaining the presence of the explanations, it becomes a very different story.

What does this have to do with God? Well science only allows explanations that in themselves can be explained. But it does it in such a way as to allow an explanation to persist even if we don't wholly understand it, just so long as it can be observed. It doesn't allow explanations that can't be explained, or are harder to explaine than the gap in knowledge that they explain.
Thus thusly, you can explain the presence of the Universe/Reality (Something to my knowledge we don't understand) by saying it was designed by some intelligence. Except, then going a step further to explain how that intelligence came to be is actually far more complex than employing it as a 'simple' explanation.
For example, you could say that Computer Game - 'The Sims' was designed by the intelligent being 'Will Wright' but explaining the creation of Will Wright, is far more complex than the creation of 'The Sims'. You have to explain his education, his motives, the technolgical developments, his ancestry, the evolution of his species, the creation of the habitat in which his species evolved, the creation of the universe that contains the habitat, the zeitgeist for that universe being created etc. etc.
A lot of this can be done, thanks to the accumulation of scientific-knowledge, such that you get a pretty sturdy Crane explanation for how 'The Sims' title came to be.
God though, remains a sky hook, that as Dawkins points out 'even if life on earth was designed and seeded by an intelligent designer, you would then scientifically be stuck with having to explain how that intelligent designer came to be, and the simplest and most probable explanation is that that designer came to be through a process of evolution.'
Put simply, religious, or non-scientific explanations, are not explanations. They are generally eliminated by science as hypothesis, because under the principles of the scientific method, you can't just imagine up an explanation that can't be detected or explained itself.

4. Definitions and Interpretations

The key to both 'the case for God' and more relevantly 'The Genisis Enigma' as I stated is using a definitional retreat. Keeping in mind that the book of Genisis was translated into English and that numerous translators and bodies of officials holding positions in Churches, Academia etc have consistently chosen words that have common use definitions.
Most notably is a word like 'day' as in they didn't choose to use the word 'era' or 'aeon' or 'phase' they chose day, consisting of a period of 24 hours. As in 'On the First Day god created the earth and the heavens' or whatever. A definitional retreat is to say 'well of course Genisis doesn't literally mean days it means millions of years' which is necessary because Genisis is controverted by the presence of million year old trilobyte fossils on top of Peruvian mountains, not to mention dinosaurs.
Of course it seems simple to me to just throw out Genisis as invalid or obsolete as an explanation, but unfortunately many feel the simplest course of action is to simply redefine the terms.
But they see no danger in that. You see for something like a holy-text or structered religion to espouse universal truths whilst employing subjective interpretation the whole thing becomes a waste of time.
One could call it a supermarket mentality, that is you head down an aisle of religion and pick out stuff you like eg. Thou shalt not kill, and ignore stuff that is inconvenient or undesirable to you eg. thou shalt not make an engraven image.
I mean the ten commandments if you truly sit back to appreciate them, are truly some of the least inspiring moral guidance you have ever heard.
But the point being if it's okay to say that 'days' means 'aeons' then why isn't it okay to say 'kill' means 'hurt' and to 'lay with a man' means to ride a horse? That 'thou shalt worship only me' really means thou shalt worship anyone worthy? and so on you go. What I'm saying is that if there are bits of the bible you can't trust, and bits you can and only science tells you what you can and cant trust, why start with the bible in the first place?
Furthermore, moral behaviour has been shown to be universal, via empirical scientific research right down to Amazonian tribes with no exposure to outside religions. Ethical behaviour is internally ingrained in our genetic structure, ironically one thing that can contravene the pull of our intrinsic moral compass is actually religion, as evidenced by the disproportionate representation of devout christians on death row in the US, vs the disproportionate representation of athiests researching moral philosophy at the Ivy league schools in the US.

Once 'the word of God' is subject to interpretation by individuals, it has no worth as spiritual guidance, because it is ultimately the message of a subjective human interpretation not some devine entity.
It is physically impossible for the concept of god to be transmitted through human beings. The only way God could be effective is if he talked to us directly. Even then to an observer outside yourself, your representations of God's will are in effect the same as you just making shit up.
Until you can invent a device that allows anyone to hear the messages transmitted by God to you as a transistor radio allows one to hear radio station transmissions, science has to assume you are making it up, because that is what science is.

5. So why all the controversy and arguments.

As far as Science is concerned God does not exist. You simply are not allowed to assume God exists and then call it science. You have to observe the effect of god in a controlled scientific environment.
You can't for example toss a coin let it drop to the ground as an experiment and record as the results 'Midway through it's decent it is possible God froze time then transported that coin 3 times around the earths atmosphere before returning it to its exact position, unfreezing time and allowing the coin to hit the ground as per business as usual. Nobody was able to observe or detect the event caused by God, but in the interest of science I am recording the possibility.'
It isn't allowed by science. God may or may not exist, but the point is that because nobody has ever detected God in a controlled scientific environment and only ever detected the laws of physics, science isn't allowed to entertain the thought.
Science doesn't attack the Church per se, it may hurt or disprove unscientific claims the Church or any religion has made without scientific basis (such as a model of the Solar System). But it isn't a malicious attack.
People get their heckles up over 'Intelligent Design' simply because it is unscientific.
God is a highly illogical and irrational concept, it needs artificial reinforcement since God can't speak for itself. Children need to be raised under a religious belief because unlike a belief in Gravity, it isn't reinforced by phyical nature. The opportunities to not experience God seem infinite.
But that science doesn't provide for God is about as uncontroversial as science not providing for One-Eyed-One-Horned-Flying-Purple-People-Eaters, there's no evidence of either. That people believe something exists is not evidence in the same way as a Channel 9 newspole is not submissible as evidence of Chappelle Corby's innocence.
Science is insensitive to people's beliefs because its mechanical.
The controversy is simply because 'believers' need to feel that the systems of their belief are somehow relevant to reality, Science just goes on explaining things and empowering people to take charge of their own lives, scientific discoveries and endeavor seek to leave no stone unturned and are incredibly useful and consistent. For example, the US has the very real capacity to destroy the planet earth several times over in their nuclear arsenal, something made possible through Einsteins theory of relativity that has finally been proven by computers but also in practical experimentation. This power was traditonally ascribed to God in christianity in the book of Revolations or something, God has diminished in standing in this capacity, he is as capable of destroying humanity or less, than humans are themselves.

God has always been free to show up at any time. Even if he did, his existence is irrelevant. Because as is argued in 'The Case for God' he is completely transistent, omnipotent and omnipresent, whatever God is going to do, God is going to do and I have no control. If he chooses to punish me for my actions, it is the same as someone choosing to kill a hostage because I didn't listen to their demands. The law finds the person that enforced the killing responsible, not the person that refused to negotiate.
God presumably can choose whether to punish someone like me or not, and if he chooses to punish me because I reject his existence through my ascribed faith in science, then God is bad.
If god thinks I should obey him simply because he is relatively more powerful than me, then why do 'democracies' tell us it's right to depose Saddam's Regime just because he uses his relative power to dominate his people?
I see no consistency and I see no relevance as to whether God exists or not. I'm not going to devote energy to avoiding lightning strikes.
He simply, when you think about it, is not that important.

The idiots that keep devoting time and energy to insisting he is though, are important to refute. Even if all this arguing is superfluous.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Airline Ettiquette

The only real evidence I feel I have for knowing I have some kind of moral compass, a deontological guide is that I universally hate inconsiderate pricks. This has many applications but you might guess that Airports, Airlines, and flying are not my favorite past-times.

Having done nigh on a year of travel, I was pretty firm in thinking I didn't need to get in a plane for a few more years. I've barely left Melbourne for any reason since.

I haven't really budged on that feeling a year in, but I can say when flying to Sydney on the weekend. It seemed to me, almost as if betwixt then and now, humankind has somehow evolved into one that actually understands flying on a budget airline. A more respectful society that has pulled together.

Just as a kid started crying on the flight and I thought ' we go.' it stopped.

I could detail the flight, but I thought it would be better just to walk through the unwritten laws, that surprisingly seemed to be obeyed on both my flight to and from Sydney.

1. Don't get a window seat, if you have ever gone to the toilet on a flight.

You should have a pretty good impression of your bladders capacity. Going to the toilet sure, it is a human right, I think, there's probably something addressing it in the Genave conventions on how you treat Prisoners of War.
It may be a right, but it's also a massive inconvenience/annoyance for other people. If you are sitting on the window and need to go to the toilet, at least one person is going to be bothered by your need to climb over them, or make them get up, shuffle down the aisle so you can get to the toilets.
On a long haul flight, okay, maybe in the course of 16 hours between LAX and Melbourne even the biggest bladdered man might have to take a slash, but here you employ Ricardo's law of comparative advantage, people on the window who will need the bathroom once in 16 hours will be comparatively less annoying than people in the window seat who need to go 3-4 times. You take less annoyance over more.
This should also apply to middle seats, which you can treat as a window seat diminished by a magnitude of annoyance to clamber out by 1.
The only exception is this, if it is your first time on a plane ever. Then you can have the window seat, possibly twice if it's your second time, but first 'night' flight or 'day'.

2. If you have the window seat, when the plane is landing, don't stick your head in the window.

You have this thing called a 'field of vision' when your head is in it's usual position at the head rest, you can see out the window and you can probably see on the lateral plane an arc betwixt 30 and 45 degrees, by tilting your head up and down, you get a vertical field of vision of about 180 degrees.
By sticking your head in to the window and sticking your nose to the glass, you don't necessarily increase your lateral field of vision, and if you do its negligible. You just change the angle of what you are looking at.
Your crowning achievement though, is in obstructing the view of the people next to you, right across to the other window with your doofus head.
If everybody just looks out the window from their headrest position, everybody can enjoy the rare sight of descending upon a city from 10,000 feet.

3. The Airline made the seating uncomfortable don't be part of the problem by reclining your seat.

This happened a lot while travelling around the world. But not in either of my flights over the weekend. Which is amazing, because those flights were on a popular budget airline.
Basically, the Airline when they commission the planes to be built for them, design them to minimise legroom, maximise the number of seats. The only thing preventing you from having to sit crouched in battery hen like cages are probably the Geneva conventions. But for some sick reason, someone said, 'okay the seating will be uncomfortable but let's allow the chair backs to recline.'
All it serves is to make you stare into someone else's reading light, and crowd the person behind you's legroom.
It also crowds their eating space, reading space, and everything they partake in from the waist up. This prompts them to have to recline their chair and make the upper half of the problem somebody elses.
Compare it to a car seat, the driver and passanger seats have a lever under them that allows you to slide the chair back on its rails, increasing your legroom. Imagine you are a 5'0 status conscious Indian lady sitting in front of Notorious B.I.G. in a car. Would you think it wise to reach forward lift up the lever and slide the seat back as far as it can go. Then reach down to your side and turn the wheel or pull the lever reclining the chair back as far is it can go, so that when you shift your eyes up slightly you can see the Big Poppa about to Pop you betwixt the eyes with a piece?
It's obvious as to why airlines don't give you the beneath the seat leg-room adjuster. I don't know why they then saw no annoyance in giving people the reclining button. Until they take this feature away removing all temptation in a short-haul flight. Just don't be an arsehole and sit upright, you will notice it is no less comfortable and far less of an affront to the person behind you.

3. If it fits, stow it under the chair infront of you.

Because the angle is all fucked to actually extend your feet under the chair anyway. So if your carry on is a backpack or whatever, don't use the overhead compartment. Carry on luggage is one of those concepts that has been totally routed by the evolution of the US airline system.
Next time you are disembarking from a plane, take note of what is the major holdup on exiting. Fuck even on embarkation. You will notice, like I do, that getting the tunnel connected to the plane or the staircar takes about 2 minutes.
People waiting to take turns to rummage around and take out their luggage from the overhead compartments is what takes at least 10 minutes to disembark after the plane has landed.
People pack too much, ever since luggage companies started designing those travel-cases to optimise the airlines carry-on regulations.
Arseholes started carrying the luggage that in the past they would have checked.
To my knowledge, QANTAS, the now defunct Ansett and Virgin Blue have never been bad, or in the latter's case never even had the chance to establish an appalling track record of losing your luggage.
The US Airlines did this with such monotonous regularity, they ended up conceding that people could just carry their luggage onto a plane. But instead of the big suitcases they had to pack 6 days of clothes into a desktop PC case sized case.
And Australian's being Australian's just imitated them.
The US has 50 states, with 50 capital cities, and probably 150 airports domestically they could accidentally send your suitcase to. Australia has 7 states, about 14 domestic destinations, and airlines that actually make profits.
The problem is, that it's a bit of a prisoner's dilemma, if you check your luggage, wishing to spare everyone else the 2 minutes it takes you to get your luggage down, and then just wait about 5-8 minutes at the turnstyle for your luggage to appear, not everyone else will follow suit, meaning you have to wait the 10+ minutes for everyone else to pull their overhead luggage out then wait the 5-8 minutes at the turnstyle in addition.
My consession is that people will never be so noble as to sacrifice a minor inconvenience for the good of people that can pack their entire wardrobe for a month into a backpack (me). But don't maximise your carry-on, minimise it and tuck it under your seat. You can retrieve that luggage before you even take your seatbelt off. You can also keep all your in flight entertainment in there without having to get up and down (or clamber over people if you are dumb enough to pack your books and magazines into the overhead compartments, then take a window seat).
And this observation seemed to finally have been made. On my flight home all three of us in row 7 my side of the aisle, had our carry on stowed under the seat in front. We would have positively shot out of the plane into the clear air of freedom if not for 6 rows in front of us that needed to back 3 pairs of shoes for a weekend in Sydney.

4. If possible, Leave your kids at home.

Okay, I never subscribed to the 'children should be seen and not heard' maxim, except when it comes to plane travel.
Particularly in my globe trotting trip, I never cared about getting the bulkhead because it is the bulkhead where they keep the baby-cots, and that would mean that in exchange for a little extra legroom, you get the pleasant company of a crying baby.
In my view the only excuse you can have for taking a baby on a plane is if you live with the father and one of you has immediate family in a foreign country. That would mean that you make one obligatory trip a year so that your immediate family can know or at least see, your annoying progeny.
Preferably you should actually pay for your parents to come to you, rather than you to them. Only if your family is particularly large could it possibly be more effecient for you to go there.
Sure I'm not much of a family man, but as per my moral compass, I simply abhore the idea that you and your kids and parents could possibly, objectively be more important than all the other people on the flight.
Basically, unless your child actually can consciously respond to feedback and adjust their behaviour, you should leave them at home. Since beating the shit out of kids has become illegal, and furthermore kids as young as 5 are amazingly wise to legality, this means you could have a child as old as 17 that you should leave at home if they don't shut up when you tell them to.
What can I say, I'm not a family man. I believe everyone on a flight should suffer the discomfort in quiet dignity. I'm sure there are people put into wheelchairs that kick up less stink than some arseholes on a plane.
The whole point is its temporary. The only excuse to whinge, whine and make noise that is therefore acceptable is if you are a minor whose parents think you should spend 3 hours in the air going to a QLD beach, as opposed to the perfectly fine, and infact world heritage beaches of VIC.
Parents should wise up (one of my parents most redeaming features was to realise neither I or my siblings enjoyed beach holidays, playing soccer etc and thus such 'enjoyment' should not be forced upon us) and just leave the kids at home.
Criminal negligence is better than being inconsiderate to strangers.

5. Suck it up, Man up, Don't cry over spilt milk, etc.

Australian's have to be the worst customers in the world. Australian backpackers have certainly been rated as the worst. This may shock or surprise some, but I think it actually stems from the fact that we are 'Not Americans' and thus people can naively overlook their own behaviour whilst saying 'those fucking crass Americans'.
Sure, go to Venice or Paris and the Americans fit the stereotype, they are big fat retirees from Florida that barely have their head around the concept of passport, certainly not exchange rates and are fat and smell bad.
But unlike Australian's if you meet a young American in Europe, South East Asia etc, they are aware that they are not at home and generally represent the best of their nation.
Australian's on flights, before flights and afterflights, treat every customer service situation as if the only service providers in the world are Myers and McDonalds. Demanding refunds, demanding extras, demanding preferential treatment, demanding, demanding, demanding.
I feel personally I am suited to a 'caveat emptor' society, unlike the 'caveat vendor' society we live in. Don't speak latin? The former is 'buyer beware' the latter is 'vendor/seller beware'.
That means, instead of us consumers being on the lookout for rip-offs, hustlers, crooks, we are a society of rip-offs, hustlers and crooks that spill our drinks on purpose, put our own hair in our meals, demand to speak to managers, slip on staircases, shoplift, cut lines, scalp etc.
To me, if you are on a flight, it stands to reason you are a captive audience. It also stands to reason that simply not everyone can sit in the bulkhead aisle. Yet literally on my homeflight from LAX to Melbourne, I was sat next to a 'fellow Aussie' that complained to me that she had asked for her husband, and the stupid lady had seperated her and her husband.
To me, evidently, she had been one of the last to check in, and the 'stupid lady' at the check in counter should be entitled to laugh in her face, and I mean in her face maybe even lighting up a cigar and exhaling directly into her nostrils in the process, just for asking for the bulkhead.
But like the stupid lady, I did not allude to just how unreasonable her request probably was, and a steward eventually reseated her, to which I then had a delightful conversation with an elderly American woman who seemed positively sophisticated compared to that particular Australian, and more or less most of the Australians I have ever met here there or anywhere. and she liked President Truman.

So basically, if you follow this 'ettiquette' what you get are the two flights to and from Sydney I experienced over the weekend.

1. nobody went to the bathroom from a window seat.
2. nobody jammed their head in a window and obstructed anyone elses view.
3. Many people used the underseat stowing option.
4. I heard one child cry and they shut-up when their mother told them to.
5. I didn't hear anyone complain or make an unreasonable demand.

I just now live in fear that I experienced some improbable, statisticle annomaly, like winning the lottery first division twice, and the rest of my life will be back to annoying as usual.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Love Japan

My sister and I went to see 'Eros + Massacre' on Wednesday as part of MIFF, and the movie really was a perfect facsimile of my love/hate relationship with Japan.

They say a poor craftsmen blames his tools, and a poor speaker perhaps blames his audience (it's certainly true, I just don't know if "they" say it). Then perhaps a poor foreigner blames the local culture. But the intractable point I seem to have with Japan is nihonjinron which loosely translates into 'the unique mystical specialness of Japan' that Japanese themselves are in love with.

Specifically, because of the strength of nihonjinron (think of the bullshit ACA and Today Tonight stories that precede Australia Day each year x 10,000) on the subject of Japan people are 'Japan bashers' or 'Japan lovers'. There's no wiggle room. Japan is prime, divisible only by itself and one, it isn't a supermarket aisle I'm simply not allowed to say 'I love Musashi Miyamoto and Cherry Blossoms, but I hate the lack of seperation of powers in the administrative and legislative wings and the non-representational government'

As Catch-22 put it, nihonjinron serves largely to create for the government a 'You are either with us, or against them.' Something employed by bad governments the world over to keep in power, non-more obvious than China vis-a-vis the torch relay protests.

I just personally find it really underhanded. But I do love Japan, in a mature adult sense. And by that I don't mean pornography but more, instead of the over romanticized, fantastical fixation of a child, I love Japan warts and all. I care about it, thus it has aspects that prompt me to frustration and indignation that I put up with because I actually value the great stuff Japan has to offer enough to suffer it. But not suffer it silently.

Eros + Massacre was like this because it was a many faceted movie that ultimately failed. The dialogue, I am sorry, was pure garbage. There was plenty of salvagable promise in the movie, dealing with feminism, anarchism and cross generational debts/burdens/reputation. Likewise there were some brilliantly composed cinematography. 'Arthouse' applied in the sense that some sequences where more art painted on the medium of film, than a movie with a plot, story line etc.

Except it had some kind of plot/storyline that was so abused and mistreated by the directors vision and crappy dialogue, that the medium was ruined. And at 202 minutes the movie provided ample time for the directors, writers and cinematographer to ejaculate all over eachother.

But my sister and I walked out primarily because it didn't deliver on our expectation of 'erotica' or the bonus 'massacre' as hinted by the title. Secondly, it just dismally failed to be anything more than a movie trying to be far more than what it was. It was almost a parody of itself, it was that fucking bad, and anyone who loves this film, would be unquestionably bad at making films.

But I did have a fascination with for example, the scenery in the film. Having been to Japan it was a pleasant throwback to a more in-balance mix of old vs new. They had for example, highways, freeways and electric trains, but people lived in beautiful wooden houses not concrete boxes.

I actually would have been happier to have the soundtrack turned off, and just watched the movie oblivious to the pretentious attempts to be sophisticated.

And in that it becomes the facsimile of my relationship with Japan itself. I love Japan, but I hate the constant cringing attempts by the culture to be more than itself, to impress people that just plain don't care. It's attempts to modernize/internationalize that are dismal, dismal failures.

When I go to Japan, here is what I love:

I love the soft voices of the airline staff announcing in gentle Japanese the standard arrival information. The no fuss, no hassle shuffle of the disembarking Japanese as they move in a silent almost mechanical motion through the complex terminals of Kansai International Airport.

I love how when you make an enquiry, the customer service is taken to a level incomprehensible in Australia. A young girl of 19 working at a service desk, rather than resenting the fact that she has to work this job to afford to go to the Big Day Out, genuinely feels that something is at stake. I love that they call the hotel, get directions, circle maps, explain tickets and then, when you get to your Hotel, suddenly they are expecting you, even though it's just a capsule hotel.

I love sitting on worn leather chairs in the pit of my capsule hotel, with old weary looking businessmen, smoking and eating out of vending machines while watching the baseball or some comedy show.

I love the shared bath option in hotels, the liberating feeling of stripping off naked in front of some elderly laundry women, and washing yourself and shaving on a stool in front of a steamy mirror, then relaxing in a sauna, hotbath or whatever takes your fancy, liek some throwback to ancient greek or roman times.

I love the food, the food, the food and more food. I love takoyaki, okonomiyaki, yakitori, yakiniku, korean bbq, ramen, gyoza, tenmpura, tendon, oyokudon, shabu-shabu, kare rice, kare udon, miso-udon, miso-shiro, katsudon, tonkatsu, ebi-fry, taiyaki, mochi, soba, gyudon, gyu on a stick all of it pretty much except nato. I also don't like the raw egg dipping sauce.

I love how you can actually get a good feed in a tray for 4-6 dollars in a convenience store. You can buy icecream - in a bag. You can get chocolate peanut buttens for $1 and by the time you have finished them you can buy another bag from the next convenience store - no matter what city you are in! That's right, everywhere is melbourne in Japan, everywhere has 7-Elevens a plenty, I love how I even have my favorite convenience store Heirarchy which goes Lawsons, Circle K, 7-Eleven.

I love the trains, they are clean, warm, on time, and actually so frequent that it wouldn't even matter if they were late or early. ou can get around Tokyo for $2, and it's roughly by my estimate 64 times the size of Melbourne.

I love the laneways, a vending machine can conceal a 200 year old traditional restaurant that serves the tastiest sets you ever tried, and old men sit in their WWII American bomber jackets drinking beer and eating peanuts behind you.

I love the temples with playgrounds in the middle of suburban blocks, I love the unrefurbished, un-renovated castles and temples of the Edo and earlier periods that have been preserved. I lvoe the non-disabled friendly historical tourist attractions, where nobody has bothered with safety railings, and thus you can walk into the literal inconvenience of another era.

I love the street life, the teenagers - mid 20 year olds all out, any night of the week, clogging the streets with bicycles equipped to carry umbrella's. I love the random peletons of people commuting to and from work on bicycles, in high heel knee high leather boots and grey woolen suits. I love the mobility of the elderly in Japanese society, peddling around vending machines at the age of 80 selling dim-sum type objects and live fish in water tanks.

I love the long opening hours of everything, everywhere. That you can uy a jumper from a boutique store at 11 at night on a wednesday. You can catch a train from Tokyo to Nagoya at midnight. You can go out for dinner at 1am.

I love the net cafe's where you can purchase a booth with a bed for 8 hours and sleep there, with free drink dispenser and instant cup-noodle on hand. You can go and take a shower in a net cafe in a city like Takamatsu with population 100,000.

I love the ritualistic exchange of greetings, when arriving home, departing, going to sleep, eating a meal, finishing a meal etc. in all the formality that serves to punctuate your day and existence in japan, arresting you from ever feeling lost, alone or adrift.

I love the way Japanese notice anything wrong or out of place, and immediately and genuinely endeavor to help you. Whether it's scratching a head because you can't find the station you are supposed to get to on the map, to having an emotional breakdown because the only light you've experienced in the winter months is flourescent.

I love the Edo renaissance heritage, the body of art as rich as the renaissance Italy and the body of craftsmenship as rich as German antiquity. I love the zen philosophers, the sword saints, the martial heritage. The lack of fear of death inherant in fine Japanese art and philosophy, the quaint superstitions, the sophisticated treatises on almost anything ever undertaken by a Japanese ancestor.

I love the literacy of Japanese youth, the respect they are treated with by writers, the lack of downtalking and condescending 'Youf' branding. I like that girls can enjoy comic books with equal fervour to boys, I like the graffiti of Japan, the op-shops, the second hand book stores.

Relative to all the things I love about Japan, my list of grievencase is relatively small:

I hate the emphasis placed on modernisation at the expense of classical Japanese architecture.

I hate the Japanese education systems fiercely nationalistic bent.

I hate the proscriptiveness of Manga, Anime, J-pop etc.

I hate groupism, and the tribal fashion offshoots.

I hate foreigners, that have more in common with the peadophillic salary-man in their love of Japanese 'culture' than the artists and teenagers they claim to admire.

I hate english-teachers in Japan, that can't speak much Japanese and do nothing but have sex with their students while living in the suburbs and consigning themself to unemployment should they ever return home.

I hate the Minestry of Finance, Ministry of Construction and the Police Pension fund, that collectively in self serving interest are concreting over everything I love and replacing it with Pachinko parlours.

I hate the sexual politics, being so Stepford-wives-esque. I hate the girls who doll up and exchange sex for accessories. I hate the boys the exchange meals and transport for sex, that want a wife to replace their mother, destroy their parents traditional home and build a new house with seperate rooms for mum and dad, then go to pantsless shabu-shabu restaurants to look at young girls vagina's while eating bad food with their work buddies. Girls are much more attractive and endearing in their tracksuits they wear around the house, guys are much better off learning to cook and clean for themselves.

I hate the cultural imperitive to gloss over or ignore unpleasent truths. There is no George Orwell in Japanese history or society. Most exposes are read by the scant foreigners actually interested in what's there rather than glossing over the ugliness to concentrate on ikebana, tea ceremony and harajuku fashions. (which let's face it, are crap.)

That's it. I feel I should be allowed to suffer 9 hates for 16-ish loves. Of course the complexity is always in what aspects we hate actually being responsible for the aspects we love. Like for example, the Japanese habit of overlooking bad stuff that I hate is probably intimately tied with their ability to deliver superb customer service.

It may be that the 'culture' whatever it is can never be better than it is now, but I think everyone should try to be more than they are.

Lastly, I was telling my sister as we ate lunch, that ironically, I'm the kind of person that enjoys not enjoying a film like Eros + Massacre. I get as much out of picking the shit out of a crappy film as I do out of experiencing a brilliant film.

I love being presented with complex foreign cultures like Japan, not just to be wowed but to pick it apart, read up and look for explanations as to why one society executed as such as opposed to others. Being critical is if you can buy it, often an expression of my love and appreciation.

It's part of who I am.