Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do Not Vote

Have you ever noticed how voting is religiously regarded here in the States? You can insult anything and anyone you want, you can do a standup comedy routine lambasting world religions, cultures, war, death, sex, relationships, your own parents, but don't you dare suggest that someone does not vote.

I am not voting this November. Why? Because at this point, the burden is on the politicians and my "elders" to convince me that voting is worth a f*&k. When will people get it through their heads that nothing changes? You can vote for one of your two parties, or you can even be a "rebel" and vote for a third party, and nothing will change. It's the same political rhetoric year in and year out.

I understand we have to have authority and governance, but the Federal government is not working. Maybe it did at one time (I doubt it) but now there are too many people of too great a diversity for them all to be seved by one big governing body. Local governments need to pick up the slack, and to start making decisions on a state-by-state basis. Maybe then I'd start voting.

The problem with voting is that when you vote, you're signing an agreement. It's similar to playing a video game; you buy the thing, and you break the seal, you put the disc in and go to play it and the first thing you see is this thirty page license agreement that says "oh by the way, now that you've bought the game and opened the packaging, in order to actually play it you have to sign this legal document about what you will and will not do with it, and giving us all of the rights to rule over your ability to play the game". Well at that point you're screwed; what are you going to do, cancel out, repackage it, and return it to the store? Maybe it's technically possible although probably not without a fight. What are you going to say, "oh it's ok, i didn't agree to the licensing terms".  When you vote, you're saying you'd rather have one man in this supposedly important office, but you're also validating the very system that you are convinced is not working. You're saying you want change, but you're agreeing that change should not happen because, well, you're just going to keep voting anyway.

Not me. I'm not voting, and in so doing, I'm voting for real change. Bring it on.


Just got that new Samsung Chromebook. Oh my gawd is it cool. For $250 I have a really nice laptop, great operating system, and a cool new little piece of the future! I don't know if "The Cloud" is really the future (I hope it isn't) but this is an interesting stab in a new direction.

You should go look at one if you haven't seen it and at the price point, if you are in need of a new laptop, I can't see what on earth could keep you from buying one!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Borderlands 2. Oh yes.

I've said before that Borderlands is my favorite game ever. I've also expressed disappointment in the original Borderlands DLC. I'm talking serious disappointment. And it was that disappointment that made me a little nervous to finally try Borderlands 2. I was really afraid that they would have screwed Borderlands up, that the whole game would be a big, badly done DLC pack.

Thank God I was wrong!

Borderlands 2 is Borderlands! They didn't mess it up, they extended and expanded everything that you loved from the original and made it into a solid sequel. Now I've barely even started it so I don't have too much critique or insight, but I will say that Claptrap is thankfully very funny and very true to himself, the other characters are pretty much dead on for Borderlands characters, and the atmosphere is still there. I'm so relieved.

Enough talk. Back to the Borderlands!

Embarrassment of Riches

OK, so let's talk about anti Lara Croftism and the state of modern "feminism". Last post, I clarified my feelings about "feminism", so I  want to relate  that back to my original Tomb Raider post.

For me, that cliche anti Lara Croft sentiment, and actually a lot of "feminist" protests, is largely an embarrassment of riches. We women can complain that we are objectified and that we are placed on a pedestal because - we are! Does that mean we are also not objectified and placed on a pedestal sometimes? Yes it does.

As a female, I'm not objectified and don't suffer barrages of sexual comments because I don't permit it. I don't play into that game, I don't doll myself up in purty dresses and cutesy outfits and put on a lot of make-up, at least no more than most of my guy friends. Sure I'll dress up for a special occasion and put on make-up, but usually it's just me and a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Am I a tomboy? Not really, at least I've never felt like I was. But I'm also not a drone who follows feminine fashion mindlessly, and then get upset that people seem to think I'm just eye candy.

At the same time, I don't think someone who decides to be very girly "deserves" to be treated badly. Don't think I'm saying that. And no, I'm absolutely not saying that anyone deserves harassment, bullying, violence, or discrimination. But once again, that's not just a female issue, technically. Guys who are a little bit "too girly" get that, too, sadly. Is it right? No. Is it a feminist issue? Not really. It's a human issue, and we need to teach our kids not to do that shit.

My point is that women can complain about how horrible it is to be so pretty because that's what women are being. When individuals stop posing naked for their music album covers, stop doing fashion shows, and stop modeling so they're gawked at by millions, then that complaint will go away. But you know what? that's not going to stop because women like being pretty, they like getting attention, they like being coddled and taken care of.  And what's more, so do men. Look at all the pretty boys and models and actors - men vying for your attention based on their rugged looks and too-cool-for-school attitudes.

In other words, we're all human, and it's built in to our chemistry that we like sex. That's not going away, and the politics of how to get noticed and how you feel loved isn't going away. If we want it to change, we can't tell everyone to stop being sexual, we just have to teach our children that looks aren't important, that being nice and honest is what really matters, and so on. And hey, even then, you're still going to get sexualized images and stories, because that's just what some people really like.

But you're not going to hear me complaining about Lara Croft because she has breasts or because her breasts are too big and that males get to look at them during game play. Because if you don't like breasts, then you need to take that up with Nature, not game designers and game players.

Feminism vs Modernism

In my tomb raider post, I ranted a little about the modern state of Feminism. A few friends told me that my point didn't really get through, and I agree. I made little sense. So I'd like to clarify my feelings on the subject.

To reiterate, I don't consider myself a feminist, but I do think most modern young people are basically feminist. The fact that we don't all think women should stay in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant basically makes us "feminists" by the strictest and original definition of the term.

The reason I don't consider myself a feminist is because I don't believe it's a valid word any more. It certainly doesn't describe one specific movement or train of thought. To one person, "feminism" means that you believe women should be treated exactly the same as men, in a professional setting, and that women have the same civil rights as men, in a governmental setting. With that brand of feminism, I'd agree. But really, I think most people do, these days, so I don't really think of that as feminism so much as modernism.

To other people, feminism means that women should be given special treatment because they're women, and they should be "equally represented". If there's a group of men, you're obligated to remove one man and put a woman in his place. If you have two job candidates in an all-male business, you're obligated to hire the woman for equal representation. I understand this view, and I do think it has its place just to buffer against the anti-modern holdouts who are going to fight like hell to make sure women are excluded from their club. But mostly, I disagree with this because it's treating a symptom rather than the cause. Why would a business or club or whatever have only men? well, because women aren't applying in the first place. Why aren't they? because their parents are entering them into beauty pageants and sending them to proms and telling them that the most important thing in the world is finding a good man to take care of her.

And finally, there's the extreme feminism which is a lot more anti-man than anything, where everything in the current world, which sucks by the way, stays the same except that women are in charge and men are what women used to be 50 years ago. That to me is just stupid because it's not even treating the symptom, much less the disease.

So no, I'm not a feminist, and I think that modern "feminism" is often a horrible mish-mash of all of the above. Most people (I mean, men and women alike) don't understand that there are different strains of feminism, so even when a girl starts questioning why she should get entered into beauty pageants and why she'd not encouraged to pursue computers and technical skills, all she gets back is this bug mutated lump of "feminism". It usually ends up as a series of combo moves. Press button A to Hate On Men. Press button B to Rant About Pay Scale Inequality. Press button C to Shop For Shoes. I mean, wtf.