Archive for December, 2008

Cheers, Bearded Gentleman

Posted in Music with tags , , , on 19 December, 2008 by J-Man

Just a short thanks to Dominic of Bearded Gentleman (or is that The Revolution Will Not Be Televised?) for pointing his readers to Attack of The Moths, a very decent band, whom I will soon be pirating (that was a joke, officer).

Kitty

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It’s that time of year…

Posted in rant, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 19 December, 2008 by J-Man

It’s that time of year again, the winter holidays. For most people it’ll mean a religuous festival, presents, and fun. My family will be celebrating it with our neighbours, and while I intend to enjoy it as much as possible on the day (and I probably will), I thought I might hammer out my thoughts on the whole season before it’s too late, and I have to start on why Spring sucks. And on a side note, I’ll refer to the winter holidays as christmas, just to simplify things, but know I’m talking about chanukkah, kwanzaa etc.

Sadly Christmas has become way too commercialized. I love the idea of giving presents to friends and such, and the whole idea of doing good, but yet again capitalist industries have corrupted and perverted what should be a wholesome, authentic time of year. An example would be Christmas movies; studios pump out as much bilge (in the form of a Vince Vaughn film) into their cinemas in a weak and desperate attempt to get some quick and easy money, because what could be better than taking your kids to the cinema, right?

Another example is all these toys floating around in the market for kids. Instead of people just celebrating Christmas with their kids, it seems they have to win them over with consumerist crap from the Star Wars franchise (don’t get me started on that shitty CGI film that Mr. deadbeat loser George Lucas did recently).

Anyway, I once again am running out of ideas for this post, but I think you get my point. It just kinda bugs me that it’s become more of a corporate than a real holiday.

On debate

Posted in Philosophy with tags , , , on 18 December, 2008 by J-Man

I love debate. I’m not talking about a debating club, or using a fancy word in a pretentious manner, I’m talking about debate; the simple joy of arguing a point or topic. Someone usually defends an idea, someone usually attacks it, and someone occasionally presents a completely differing theory or idea. The joy of debating is that you always seem to learn something. It’s rare, but I’m occasionally so persuaded by someone’s argument for something, that I defect and join them.

Out of all social interactions, it seems like I learn most from open debate, rather than discussions between loads of people just agreeing on something. Perhaps I should make it clear that I don’t like rowing or arguing, I avoid that at all costs. It’s intellectual debate, where emotions are set aside, that I enjoy.

When you debate with someone, you see a different perspective. Sometimes you’ll be persuaded, sometimes you’ll remain where you originally stood on the subject, sometimes you’ll realise the flaws in both yours and their arguments, and think of an alternative. One of the things that saddens me is the huge amount of perspectives I will never experience or understand due to simple prejudice.

I’d like to understand the mind of a racist, a homophobe, a republican or someone like that, but due to simple fundamental disagreements, my mind simply blocks off the arguments they provide. It frustrates me that I can’t understand these people, and makes me look stubborn sometimes, but I do try to understand them. It’s just that my initial opinion of them is so low, its already too hard for them to communicate to me in a way that I’ll actually be interested.

I’m kinda running out of ideas for this post, but I think I’ve summed up the basics. If I think of extra stuff I’ll update it.

Games, are, in fact, crap.

Posted in Gaming with tags , , , , on 17 December, 2008 by J-Man

So, I’ve been in philosophy mode for a while, and thought I might switch to gaming, but I can’t fully switch quickly enough to pump out a proper post. So this is a Devil’s Advocate style peice (which on a side note, is my favourite part of my monthly PCG).

So, the topic of today’s post is the decreasing intellectual quality of modern games. I’ve posted about this on forums, but most people take the easy way out by saying “well, they’re still fun so it doesn’t matter.”

It does matter. If I think of all the games I own, and those that contain a proper political/philosophical/intellectual message, I can think of 2. Two. All the games’ industry could come up with is 2 games. Out of thousands. In case you’re wondering, these two are Deus Ex and Bioshock. That’s it. It’s frustrating and annoying that my favourite pastime is generally so moronic.

Let’s have a look at some of the latest games, for example;

  • Halo 3
  • Call of Duty
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Mercenaries 2
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Far Cry 2

Notice these are all (excluding Mirror’s) sequels, which I’ll talk about later. Not only that, they are all dumb as hell. Here’s the plot of  Halo: shoot aliens. COD? Shoot nazis. GTA? Shoot people. Mercs 2? Shoot South Americans. Mirror’s Edge? The phrase “run around shooting people” has never been so literal. FC2? Shoot tons of black people.

Face it, the state of gaming is going into the “American frat-boy” mindset; the idea that explosions and gore are cool, politics and philosophy are boring. Deus Ex was brilliant for mixing future politics while highlighting the problems with the ways our society functions, Bioshock was about the idea of an elitist society, secluded from all others, and the horrific effects of such an isolation.

What’s Halo 3 about? Comedy aliens invade Earth, and you’re a big green guy who has to fight them. See the contrast? Why can’t games just be more intellectual, I don’t know. I’m not asking for anything special, just a serve of brains with our daily portion of gaming gruel.

Moving on, what happened to original ideas? Nearly all the games I see or hear about today are sequels, re-runs of already over-used ideas. Why can’t someone think of a new idea? Mirror’s Edge can at least receive credit for having an original central idea, but the latest COD has the most reused ideas I’ve ever seen in a game. Perks have just been renamed, the graphics engine is the same as COD4’s and the entire American side of the campaign felt like an updated version of Medal of Honour: Pacifc Assault.

One of the things that saddens me most about gaming is the Deus Ex legacy. The series has been abused, lost, had its name dragged through the mud, and DX3 looks like it isn’t going to change this, as it’s opted for a more run-and-gun approach, removing the great idea of the original that your accuracy is shit, and you can be killed easier than a weasel on weasel-stomping day.

Epically awesome blogs

Posted in Philosophy, Site news with tags , , on 17 December, 2008 by J-Man

So… I seem to have started a trend. Tons of people I know are setting up blogs, so I thought I might direct you to the best ones.

We have Artificial Sweetener, a blog which has great writing and is by a friend,

There’s Vicinity of Obscenity, Or Thoughts Of a Dying Atheist, another incredibly well written blog with some fantastic philosophy.

And finally we have Bearded Gentleman, a blog written by the brother of one of my close friends, with possibly the best widget ever.

Oh, and I should mention peterd102, but he’s always been on the blogroll, and a great source of everyday philosophy.

Wwaaaahhh

Posted in Uncategorized on 10 December, 2008 by J-Man

My article pitch for the escapist was rejected. Then again, the email did say “We appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing more from you.” So maybe I’m not terrible after all!

Then again, that’s probably an automated response thingy.

On self-deprecation

Posted in Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , on 8 December, 2008 by J-Man

Self-deprecation is the quality I most abhor in others. Someone says “I’m too dumb to understand it.” and it usually means one of three things; that thing is ridiculously complicated, that person is too dumb, and you really like that person.

And because you really like that person, you have to say something like “no you’re not” or “nah, this is just way too complicated.” Except my problem is that it always sounds fake. They always give me a vacant gaze that says ‘don’t patronise me’, and that always makes me feel ten times worse.

There’s only one thing worse than self-deprecation; comparative self-deprecation. It’s ok if they say “I’m dumb compared to so-and-so” because I can sometimes manage to dismiss that with a little bit of spite and say “what?! So-and-so is stupid compared to you.” Which makes them feel much better. But then it means slagging off so-and-so.

And the worst type of self-deprecation is comparative self-deprecation to the person you’re talking to. “I’m so dumb compared to you.” This is absolutely the worst for me. I have to convince the person I’m on their level, and they’re on mine, which I regularly fail at doing.

The thing is, (and imagine I’m saying this in a shy, little voice) I am actually quite smart/attractive/awesome in every way. For example, I’m the only guy in my year with a (good) blog. I honestly can’t say with conviction “no, I’m not that smart”, because I am (unfortunately) self-assured of my intelligence.

So next time, please don’t self-deprecate. It makes me feel terrible, and my weak efforts to try and restore the situation to normal will fail terribly. Instead, just give me a hug. See? Everybody’s happy!