Friday, July 3, 2015

Yay! you reproduced!

NYTimes photo

The greatest thing you can do for the world is add to its population...

Or at least that's the message I've been getting.

It shows up in all those "Awww" moments when the talking heads on the morning news feel compelled  to share the baby pics.

Or the defiant rhetoric of the far right proclaiming it's most solemn duty is to protect the sanctity of marriage by limiting it to those with opposing genitalia.  Seemingly to ensure procreation of course...

Even the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage can't escape it.  Those folks want a gaggle of kids too even if the biology of the situation makes the whole thing somewhat difficult.

It seems the endless drumbeat to perpetuate the species is intertwined with the culture.  The bulk of your population may be living in the streets but nothing is more critical to a society than ensuring its numbers continue to grow.  

As though all ills would solved by simply creating more generations.  

Which of course is ridiculous.  More of anything is just more of the same condition.

Hey, I'm not against kids but I admit I don't have any so I suppose that shining moment of achievement will forever be lost on me.  It seems most parents have a belief that whatever personal failures they've had in their own lives will somehow be rectified by their offspring.

Or perhaps it's much simpler than that.  

Paris Hilton
Let's face it, unless you're one of the fortunate few who enjoys a lifestyle of fame and/or fortune there isn't much to compare to participating in the creation of life.  

I mean, c'mon now!  How can you deny the most tangible of mortal accomplishments!  We are no closer to god than when we create a child...


A point of view I both understand and recoil from.  Sadly, regardless of your religious indoctrination the reaction is purely biological.  Arguably no different than a mother housecat's reaction to her litter of newborn kittens. 

And by the way...Some of you are actually having "litters."  19 and counting?  For such devout piety it seems like you're in competition with the cat.  Supremacy of all those lower creatures is kind of taking a beating here. 

I'm not so arrogant as to believe that reproduction is any great feat.  As the song goes, "Birds do it, Bees do it" etc. etc.  In fact I'd suggest that for humans, it mostly happens by accident.  Once it does, however, somebody's got to step up to the plate at least until junior or little miss gets through college.  

An event that signals to society that a contractual requirement has been fulfilled.  You are now free to die having accomplished successful procreation and taxpayer replacement.

I don't mean to be flippant about parenting or imply that the rearing of a human child is easy.  In fact I'm cognizant of the fact that I'm probably not the best candidate to participate in the practice.  I like kids, I like talking to them, teaching them but then I like to send them home.

I guess I'd be a pretty good grandparent then except for the whole "Parent" prerequisite that is.

But the truth of the matter is that after many millennia of human generations we still judge people on the color of their skin, social station and who they choose to sleep with among other trivialities. 

So much for "fruitful and multiply" being the cure for all our evils.

Ah ha! you say, The children are our future!

No they're not.  In fact I despise that phrase for all its selfish baggage.  Their future is their own and you've got nothing to say about it aside from how you badly you screw them up with your own insecurities.

Our children can be nothing but a reflection of ourselves.  Even if they reject most of what you try to teach them, at their core they have you to thank for who they are.  Not just that they...are.

So I'd submit that the only way to ensure succeeding generations be better than their progenitors is to admit that there's nothing divine or particularly unique about having children.  

Until we drop all this religious and cultural pretense, we as a species will never rise above the petty concerns of 30 second sound bite sensationalism.

Saddling  our kids with dogma and ignorance does nothing for the species.  Want to give your kids a brighter future?  Stop thinking the greatest gift you gave them was existence.  Stop falling back on the cop out of ancient religious dogma and prejudice and prove that humanity is more than just the sum of its biology.

That or start scoping out caves, clubs and bearskin boxers.

Is anybody out there?

What do I have to do?

I don't get it...

Or at least I think I don't get it...

I'm not the social media butterfly that many are but you will find active accounts in places like Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and even among others.  All are maintained and updated frequently.

I've got 4 active YouTube channels and accounts on two game streaming services (TWITCH and HITBOX).  I've been published online over 100 times on (former) news sites like Technorati and Kupeesh! and even had an article or two mentioned on Leo Laporte's TWIT.

I've branded my work in hopes that the brand will follow the creator.  I've taken great pains to try to  provide quality content in easily digestible and searchable formats.  I've torn down a YouTube channel only to reconstitute the content into separate more focused channels because someone told me viewers like it better that way.  

I'm still waiting for proof of that.  I've gone from being able to at least make a few bucks a year to virtually nothing since the change.

Which has led me to the realization that contrary to YouTube's advice, I don't believe most people who use YouTube could give a damn about the channel organization.

Hey, you do a Google search and Boom! the content is served up regardless of the portal it resides on.  That's both the beauty and the Achilles heel of services like YouTube. 

Even being owned by a search giant can't guarantee control of your content.  

So I've done all of that stuff I'm supposed to do and still I'm lucky to make pennies a day.  

So how bad is it?  

It's been almost a year since I've had an adsense payment and never received a dime from my Amazon "partnership." 

BTW The threshold for a payout from Google Adsense is $100.

So I guess I just suck then? 

Content not interesting enough? 

I've seen much worse do far better so I don't think that's it.

I think it has more to do with those who do well online being at the right place at the right time for their niche. 

I think it's far more likely, however, that online success is simply a byproduct of success elsewhere. 

Silky smooth radio voice or not would Leo Laporte have ever gotten TWIT off the ground without a stint in television and a long career in radio?  I doubt it.  I've heard better content elsewhere that struggles to match a fraction of the revenue.  

Want more evidence?  Simply look who's consistently hitting the top 20 in online media.  Personalities  like Adam Carolla and Marc Maron, News organizations like NPR and the Huffington Post not to mention tabloid TV like TMZ with the balance consisting of celebrity and fluff sites.   In short, we knew about them (or at least some incarnation of them) long before the Internet.*

It  doesn't mean their content is any better.  They're just leveraging a traditional media presence online.

So how fair is that?

For me it seems an online presence is less the great equalizer and more just adding to the noise.

I admit, being a bit older than most online dwellers there may be a generational bias that I'm at least in part struggling to overcome.

For example, when I write about gaming I'm not going to be anyone's fanboy.  Nobody's paying me to talk them up and if they did you could be sure I'd let you know about it.  

I wouldn't promote anything I didn't like so no worries there.

Still, I've been critical of the antics of the publishers like EA, Activision and Ubisoft.  I could care less about gussied up game trailers and technical demos.  I'll put it to you this way.  Battlefield 4's demo was awesome, the final product...notsomuch.  There's a lot of people who agree with that but I'm not seeing them around here.

Thing is, just like everything else those that pander to the hype seem to get the lion's share of views.

I don't just write about gaming either (obviously...) I'll tackle current events, politics and anything else that sparks a point of view. In fact that's what this particular blog is for.  That's why it's tagline is:

"Uncategorized reading for the randomized mind"

Perhaps that's the problem.  Nobody can identify with me.
I've been called overly negative, a troll not to mention any number of profanities.  I dunno, I just call 'em like I see 'em but it seems that if you don't buy into the prevailing online fads you're somehow a deviant.

Which to me signals the final evolution of online culture.  It's become as commercial and shallow as anything Hollywood could come up with.  It seems online success comes only to those willing to put aside critical thinking.  I don't know how to do that and fear the result if I did. 

Now before anyone runs off claiming my problem stems from being an arrogant a-hole with an overactive troll complex I'll simply give you this statistic.

I've written close to 500 articles in 4.5 years on a variety of topics.  Of those approximately 12 of them have proven the most popular with over 5K views each. 

All of them were critical of TWIT.  Meaning what people seem to like the most is a more critical point of view.  

Write an article about Leo's penis and guarantee 5K views.  Write about a good book you read and you see 12.

Yeah, so take that!   

But seriously, the most popular stuff I ever wrote I never really wanted to write.  That being, the downfall and slow disintegration of someone I once held up as role model.

So I guess negativity isn't the problem. If I was as big an ass as some have made me out to be I'd have a lot larger  readership from the numbers I see.  

So the real question is, what kind of posts do you really want to see?

What do you think folks?   Glass half full or half empty?

I'll publish your answers in an upcoming article.

...Of which there will be none if I don't get any.