Sunday, May 3, 2015

Online Everything People

I have a friend, I have probably mentioned this friend before, who has some major technology issues. The issue he has is that he cannot live without it. He never has any spare money, but he always need to have the new Droid Phone,(hes a tech head, not a I-slave). He doesn't like meeting people in person, but he belongs to a massive community of people actively interacting and battling with each other all across Fort Collins. And most odd of all to me is that he takes medication that sometimes makes him forget entire chunks of his week, so he feels the need to document everything he does online, multiple times as his Facebook, twitter, and Google+ are all linked and updating one updates all. There is reason to believe that if he had the chance he would live out a fantasy and have himself digitally put into a computer and never leave.
Now let me clarify. He is not a total reclusive like I questioned in an earlier post. He has a job he commutes to, family he visits, friends he hangs out with, (if I twist his arm), but he has substituted much of his interactions with people for interactions with machines. He banks online and has set up automatic payments for all his bills, even though this setup has screwed him more times the he and I can count together. He orders food for delivery more often then going out or going shopping. he uses his phone to navigate, pay bills, and even frequently speak for him. In short he is not an unusual person, he is the typical internet junkie that is more and more common in the modern age. when his phone died he died a little during the two day gap it took to get it replaced. once his laptop was stolen, he was not normal for a month and it still haunts him to this day. So why is he and his life style so important. well the point I am moving toward is that a problem we face today is that his life is not considered important in many situations.
There is much debate in the media today as to the relevance of social media in the larger discussion of media and information exchange. Social media is seen at the same time as a new exciting frontier and a painful nuisance to real media. The argument becomes really heated when the subject of activism comes up. There are many people out there who feel a need to get their opinions out into the world because they feel really strong abut an issue, just not strong enough to actually get out into the world and spread their opinion physically. This is where the boundaries of old activism and this new form of activism clash. Coming from a family of activists myself I know that most traditional activists believe in order to make change you need to be, well, active. If you are not out in public doing something that gets you noticed then nobody cares about your message. However in any successful campaign there are always the unseen people making things happen. Organizers and recruiters are an ever important part of spreading a message. I believe the reason many see the new form of online activism as now really activism at all is because it is solely an act of spreading the message, and while that is important at some point something more needs to be done. But arguments can be made both ways, that in the street activist are too in your face and the issue is lost, and online people are too far away from the issue to ever really push it.
I do believe there are way too many people out there that believe that pushing the like button for a cause is really helping it. But activism is always an active thing and needs to adapt to the changing times. Social media is a powerful tool, just ask DARPA:
Social media and internet junkies represent a large and growing population with the keys to a very fast vehicle of change. Anyone who refuses their assistance looses a strong partner, if not a very noticeable on.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nerds of a feather gotta PR together

I'm finally getting around to talking about the sub-culture I identify with the most, NERDS, and no I'm not talking Wonka here. I have actually been tracking a movement centered around nerds and the difference making power they have. I believe it stems from a truth about Public Relations that is always true, its all about the public you are trying to relate to.
First of all I'm going to bring you up to speed on nerds. The word nerd has effectively been tamed, much in the way of the "N word" it is used in the culture almost as a badge of honor, but differs in that the sting it carries when used by non members is also minimal. Most nerds cannot be hurt by the word anymore. I personally see being a nerd as having the ability to love the things you love without boundaries or fear of judgement, Everyone should be so lucky. And it is a huge community ranging from the new generation loving the success Marval is enjoying, to the hardcore who have been hording comic books and action figures for 30 plus years despite years of abuse for their obsession. And within this range there are many sub-categories of nerds. Just a few I belong to: anime, videogame, cosplay, superhero, collector, con-goers, sci-fi. Being there is such a range of nerds and there is so much overlap the communities are all very linked and control large sections of the internet. This is the power that the nerds have and the situation I'd like to explain.
Deadpool, the merc with a mouth. A favorite of nerds in all forms, memes, cons, comics, he's nearly everywhere and he rocks. The problem is that "nearly" part. For years A deadpool movie has been tossed around, teased at, and ultimately put back to bed. The problem it always faced was that deadpool isn't always nice. In cinema today all super heroes, if you can call deadpool one of those, need to be family friendly. Why, because kids like superheros and parents have to be able to take them to see the movie without fear of scaring them. This has happened before. Back in 2008 Punisher War Zone showed the world what a rated R superhero movie can be, a miserable flop, a franchise killer, and a money pit. While the movie itself was nothing to brag about many site the painfully low box office numbers as being credited to no one wanting to take their kids to see this epic bloody mess. Thus it was an unwritten rule from then on that superhero movies would never break the pg13 mark. then along came this:
Deadpool as he was meant to be,(F-YOU X-men origins), but was it really. I noticed the abundance of analysis online of if the trailer was real, if the project was still alive, and if the movie could do justice to the character. from there the campaign started. Everyone realizing the potential for both the good and bad wanted to make sure it was good by making sure it brought the bad. two years and much doubt later we got this
Not only was Deadpool going to be rated R, it was being celebrated for it. The media may have given the push for it to happen, but nerds happily took the bait and made it happen.Public relations went from rated R being a taboo to being a must, and it was all about who and who they marketed it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Religious Freedom or just abusing ones right to act like an A$$HOLE

The West Bureau Baptist Church.
I don't even need to go from there, I have already inspired enough hate to get people to comment on this post. It could take me hours to go over all the things they do to inspire hate. Doing a quick web search and your first three Google reviews are not in favor of the organization. Accusations that they are just trying to get attention, that they are not real Christians and no real christian should support them, and finally that founder Fred Phelps is the one who will rot in he!!. No origination has ever gained so much hate because no origination relishes it so much. They don't care who they pi$$ off because their belief in their cause is so unshakable that they just see peoples hate as attention. Their web site is called "". The one kernel of respect I can muster for them is how steadfast they are to their beliefs, but then some people are allowed to hate certain people for being devout so why not me. I will personally say I feel these people are scum and their thinking isn't just unneeded in this day and age, it has never been needed. They have however managed to cause some good things to happen in the world
These people are so extreme we now have a textbook example of people who go to far, the model for what any group should not be and strives not to be. Respectability politics dictate that any group that becomes hated, especially hated this much, needs a distance placed between them and your group. NOBODY wants to be associated with these wackjobs, and thus any stand they make instantly gets a following in the opposite direction. It very much reminds me of an episode of South Park. The town is to vote on whether or not to change their racist flag. Jimbo and others want to keep it the same to preserve cultural heritage, others just don't want their town associated with their town. However when the issue becomes heated the KKK join in and support the not changing the flag side, not because of heritage but because it is an example of white power. This is the edge the anti-racism side needs because nobody wants to be on the side of the KKK. The lesson learned in the episode is that you can't be so black and white, you need to be able to think of things in different ways. This is the only positive legacy the west bureau baptists can be credited for. Everyone has now seen how ugly hate can be and what they look like when they show hate for others.
Not to sound too hippie, but hate begets hate. Most religions are founded on peaceful grounds, love and peace and all that good stuff we all supposedly believe in. That's why despite being nonreligious myself I support the idea of religion, a push for everyone to get along and love each other. What I hate is religious organizations, people decide that they cannot get along with people who have decided to get along with each other differently.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

psycho chicks and "feminism"

   I already know this post is going to make people mad. I'm here today to talk about a group who is underrepresented in all discussions of sexual discrimination. This group is men.
   Right now I already feel the hate. Nobody feels men are ever victims of sexual discrimination, but to believe this one would also need to believe that only white people can be racists. The simple fact is that men can be sexually discriminated against and it happens much more then people may think. Let me break down three cases. First a close to home story for me. My father in law pushed his girlfriend away because she was a psycho and was attempting her best to cause him harm. When he pushed her she hit something and got a mark that was almost a bruise, he went to jail for assault. Next a worst case scenario. A former teacher of mine related to me a story of a friend from home. He was pinned down by his girlfriend and she was stabbing him, not with a traditional stabbing weapon but still an object that prolonged use would cause his death. The motion he used to get her off of him she interpreted as sexual. He was jailed and is a registered sex offender in his home state for saving his own life. And finally my "this could happen to you" story. I was staying with family when a house party somehow happened. My nephew was there and he was attempting to hook up with some friend of a friend who was there. He was stopped quickly for reasons I did not know about until the morning. Apparently the man with whom she did leave the party with while with her tongue three quarters down his throat and hand three quarters down his pants had attempted to rape her, despite everyone at the party knowing he was way too messed up to get it up. Fortunately she was known for doing this and the charges never stuck. There is a rising group of women in the world today who feel power in using their "disadvantaged" state as both sword and shield against men.
   Now as I feel the hate starting to burn me through my computer I feel the need to say I am not anti-feminist, I am a fan of any group seeking equality. I appreciate feminism, as long as it is used correctly.

I understand that within every sub-culture there are sub-sets within who are not helping your cause. I just became familiar with the term "maneater" feminism. The extremists types who basically think all men should be rounded up and shot for the crime of being men. Then there are women who like being complete skanks, and claim their choice to do so is a sign that they are liberated feminists. I understand that these types get too much of the press attention because they are controversial and muddy the waters of the feminist cause. But in turn with that it is important for others to see that men are not all sexual predators who will take advantage of women if given even any kind of chance.
   There is a term called Rape culture, a term I only recently became aware of. Basically it states that there is a belief that men see rape as acceptable, or that they believe rape to just be rough sex. There is a notion out there that some if not all men will engage in some form of rape at some point. A Video was recently online in which a women walked through the streets of New York and was filmed getting cat calls all day.
She saw this as harassment, every single man that showed interest in her she seemed to view as a potential threat. I will say that some were creepy, but if the backlash and parody videos are any indication, the internet mirrored my thought of overreaction and oversensitivity. Some women were even POed that she was mad about having so many offers simply because she wasn't not in the market at the time. The real problem is that she was not showing the minefield that women walk through everyday, she was showing the minefield men walk through everyday. The field where every action a man makes can label him a sexual predator. Another video around the time was of a woman who pretended to be drunk and filmed the overly anxious men wanting to "help" her out.
The video was staged, but initially NOBODY questioned that men would take advantage of women in this situation.
I was once flipped off by a woman who though I was trying to look up her skirt, I was in a public area trying to draw people who weren't moving for a life drawing class. My eyes constantly darting back and forth to a sketch book was apparently lost on her, I was just another perverted male.
   As a man I am genuinely mad that the term rape culture even exists, much less that is is so focused on men and our insatiable sexual appetite. We are not all rapist, we do not all discriminate. We do understand that rape is not acceptable. And yet we at any time we can become a victim, a victim of being a man who does what men are expected to do.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Minutemen, but not the American revolution kind

This is going to be another very bias argument from me, but considering the group in question and the things I've seen of them I'm not too worried. The Minuteman project is a group dedicated to protecting the U.S. / Mexico border, “acting as unarmed and unsanctioned eyes and ears of the Border Patrol" according to an article from fox news. They characterize themselves as a patriot group dedicated to protecting the country. This is relevant to me right now as I have been hearing more stories about them reforming after they largely disbanded around 2010.
The first time I learned about the Mmp it was in regard to an incident at an mmp demonstration. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember all the details, and I have not been able to find coverage about this specific incident. The overall point was that the mmp was speaking at a college hoping to recruit and spread their message. However the students were less than receptive to the message, staging a protest where they attempted to take the stage. The protest, and the demonstration, ended quickly as a young female student attempting to get on stage was violently kick in the face by one of the minutemen members on stage. This is not the only incident of violence attributed to them. Though their mission statement is stated as being there to simply observe and assist the border patrol in a legal capacity they were essentially an armed militia group operating in remote unpatrolled areas, controversy was inevitable. In fact it seem the reason that the group is having difficulty reforming is because they are having a hard time separating themselves from the violence they and many copycat groups caused.
The reason I’m so against this group pertains to a one of my previous posts. I wrote before about groups that seem to have embraced a new form of patriotism which is essentially racism masked as patriotism. This, I believe, is the principle the minutemen run off of. Ambivalence, the concept that racism is somehow necessary and beneficial in some instances. In media today we see this in discussions about Muslims. As the U.S. has been attacked by a Muslim group many have characterized all Muslims as terrorists, and thus that legal policy should be adopted to address them as such. However as any rational person knows there is no group of people that is inherently bad. But nonetheless many people believe anyone of Muslim background could be a threat. So to do the minutemen believe that illegal immigrant are all inherently detrimental to the country. I am not a big fan of slippery sloop arguments but in this case I have seen it happen. If racism is seen as necessary, that is not a large step from it being actable. Worse yet it will extend not just from the original group to any group a racist person, now free from social restraints, might tailor an argument to prove a group is inherently deficient or bad.
Their mission, intentions, and efforts aside, as a group focused on a specific group is always going to attract those with prejudice toward that group. And when those people get together it gives rise to notions that their behavior is more acceptable. We live in an age where racism is not acceptable, and to allow a group that targets a specific group is going to undermine that.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Out of sight, whats in their mind.

I would like to take a few minutes to think about a group that probably nobody else does. Nobody thinks of this group because they pattern their lives specifically so most people don't. Though they are an interesting group because in the last decade or so the advancements in technology have helped them in their lifestyle choice probably more than any other group I've talked about so far. This is the VERY silent sub-culture of recluses.
Like I said, no body reading this would probably even think of recluses as a group, especially since joining together an a group is an experience that makes some of them physically ill. However we have moved into a time when the world is now very recluse friendly. Unless you live under a rock you know that the internet now allows you to do just about anything. People can now make a living by working online, do almost all their shopping online, bank online, even get food online. Not just delivery takeout either, grocery some grocery stores will shop your groceries for you and deliver them. We have reached a point where a person can almost get through their whole adult life without ever having contact with another human outside of delivery people. That is interesting to me because of the extent to which media influences people with regular human interactions. If a person is a recluse I wonder to what extent their reality of the world is based on media. The logical answer should be that their world view is entirely decided by media as they have no personal experiences to view it by.
This idea came to me recently as a result of watching a new Anime by the name of "Watamote: No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys' Fault I’m Not Popular!”, mouthful right. The premise is simple, a girls is kind of a recluse and definitely has some social anxiety issues. So in preparation for entering high school she has done her research, in dating-Sim games. Needless to say she is left ill prepared to navigate high school or even her own issues.,p0,d0
(Couldn’t get embedded video to work)

This made me think about what other recluses think about the world and how they might interact in it if they were put into a situation where they had to. Studies done by researchers like Sut Jhally and Rhonda Hammer suggest that there is always a hidden message in media, and because Media is run by large corporations like Time Warner and Disney these messages often have a distinct direction they try to point people. Researches like this say that television shows have been used by corporations since the early days of TV to influence people to stay on board with them. In older times it was used to make those working in less desirable job seem like they are stuck there either because they want to be or like the ability to do anything else, thus financial security was within everybody’s reach and programs to help people get ahead in life weren’t needed. Nowadays it is used to promote the idea that has be circulating ever since Obamas election, that racism is behind us and we are in a post racial society. Obviously any of us that live in the real world interact with people and can learn that this simply is not true. However if someone were living under a rock, or entirely in their home, and only had what they saw on TV or online then how would they see the world.
I think recluses are a group that would be interesting to study, if someone could find a way to get them to participate. I’m sure researcher like I have mentioned would love to see the affect media has on an individual who has no other context for their perceptions of what they see.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

your probably sick of hearing about it, but heres my broney post

Bronies. Kim Kardashian said she was going to break the internet, but if there was something that could break the internet it would be the Bronies when season 5 finally arrives. Bronies are an interesting sub-culture for several reasons. The Internet is a buzz with all things Pony and it will stay like that if the Bronies have anything to do with it.
For those who don't know, Bronies are a group formed around the fandom for the latest reboot of the cartoon series “My little Pony: Friendship is Magic”. To begin with I will tell you about my first experience with this show and Bronies. I am part of internet sub-culture and as I said the internet is alive with Bronies. It started as a huge fad and I am not the type who jumps on bandwagons, in fact I avoid them like the plague. So I avoided the craze figuring it would be gone soon, it wasn't. Finally a website I do frequent, the fail-blog network, got a new section dedicated to Bronies. This made me decided to check this site and see all the ways the show was being made fun of so I would have a working knowledge of the show and an actual reason to not like this stupid bandwagon fad show. The site was not about knocking the show, like most Brony content it is very positive. This is when I decided that I had to actually watch an episode, I may avoid bandwagons but I do not hate something for no reason. I went out of my way to watch one episode and wasn't oppose to it. Then I realized getting ready for classes in the morning that the show was on every day while I was up, so I saw another, and another, long story short, I still don't consider myself a Brony but I have seen every episode and own merchandise. I have found in my time as a fan that many started out this same way. But before becoming a fan there were other opinions of the show that I became familiar with too.
To clarify one thing, I am not a freak in the community for being a grown male, many Bronies are grown males and females, average age over 20. Of course young girls are also fans but much merchandise is now being marketed to the goldmines of nerds with their own money to spend. The fact that a show about colorful ponies being appealing to men has been polarizing in the media, and framed in different ways it can be seen very differently. One good way to see how big culture is right now that there are currently 2 different documentaries on Netflix dedicate to analyzing the culture and its effect on society. This being the case many are going to cover it in different ways. Negative coverage of the show can be seen on just about any major news provider, particularly the more conservative ones. The issues discussed as to why the culture is bad is wide. It turns out that Ponies is particularly adored amongst the gay community, there for some have framed that as meaning that the show is causing the spread of gayness. An especially  destructive frame which is almost the implicit reaction is that if a grown man is watching a show and dressing in cloths meant for little girls then the must have an unnatural attraction to little girls. These points of view, in my opinion, must come from people very insecure in their masculinity or who are scared of change. This is because they frame the issue in a very small way only used to push people towards following their own view on it.
If the Bronies could frame the show and their sub-culture the way they wanted it would be much more inclusive of what the show is about. The show is about friendship, and all the good things that we learn from having friends that love us. I don’t know about you but I don’t think that message is just for kids.