Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thoughts on all the recent violence. Terrorism or otherwise

Nice France

Baton Rouge Louisiana

Dallas Texas

Terrorism, Racial Inequality, Fear.

I wish I had some profound insights to share but I don't.  I'm just a normal guy trying to make his way in the world.  So aren't we all.  

I'm sure you've felt some of the same frustrations as the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes but you dare not express them lest you be labeled a radical sympathizer.

Is Western society far too enamored with money and power?  Does it elevate the inconsequential above social responsibility?

Of course it does.  

Do we judge others based on what we know or the rhetoric we find most convenient to our own bias.

Do the people we trust with our safety view us as their wards or potential adversaries?  Sadly your complexion has an effect on that judgement.

Too  many labels: Black, White, terrorist, racist, capitalist, rich , poor, smart, dumb.

We become prisoners of our cultural indoctrination.  Threaten the construct at  your own peril.  The wrongs of the world are caused by the other guy.  The one that doesn't look like us, doesn't pray to the same god, doesn't see the world the way you do.

It stokes a fire of frustration that becomes a blinding rage.

I'm no better than you.  I have my own biases and prejudices and I confess I don't know as much about the world as I should.  

What I do know is that the more you try to control the world the looser your grip on it becomes.  

When you create a culture of denial your reap what you sow.  When you disenfranchise others for your own benefit civil discourse becomes impossible.  

This is how Dallas, Baton Rouge, Nice and Paris happened.  This is also how 911 happened.  

I shed no tears for Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein or Micah Johnson.  I see them as bloody opportunists seizing the message of the disenfranchised for their own ends.

It's what politicians do just without the guns and bombs.

When your message is one of exclusion and your world view narrow and unyielding you create an incubator for terrorism and violence. 

Yes, the perpetrators are guilty of their own crimes but we have to take some responsibility for the environment that created them.  

There's always a catalyst, a spark, something that lights the fire.  Ignorance and indifference only fans the flames.  

Even Adolf Hitler didn't rise alone like some biblical Anti-Christ as some would have you believe.  He too was an opportunist taking advantage of the disenfranchised rage of a country on the verge of collapse.  

We're far too content with the superficial.  We want a bad guy to blame so we don't have to take any responsibility for creating him.

Worse, the world we live in thrives on the superficial.  Social media, 24 hour news cycles, news delivered by "personalities" without even the suggestion of objectivity.  

The message is controlled, massaged and pre-packaged.  We're spoon fed copious amounts of useless information.

We think activism is best accomplished by a Tweet or Facebook like. 

As though a click will end hunger, oppression, and economic disparity.

People are not being heard unless they make it into the news cycle and then only the most radical.  Is it any wonder with such low information that we think every Arab is a terrorist, Every Black man a criminal, Every Latino an illegal immigrant.

We caused this.  We created this environment and it will continue unless we acknowledge our complicity in it.  

They say we should create the world we want to see.  Creation requires knowledge.  Unfortunately, what we consider knowledge is often little more than packaged diatribe.  

The way to fix it?  

Ask the uncomfortable questions.  Challenge your mental status quo and see if there isn't a whole world you've been missing.

You can't escape the experiences your life has shown you but you can escape the ignorance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Drama, Faux activism and YouTube

Ah Drama...

As if just living life didn't offer up enough trials and tribulations it seems there are those bent on manufacturing more.

Some, like the tarnished remnants of TWIT are a bona fide drama factory.  Others just blatant opportunists.  

If drama were gold it'd be as common as sand on the beach.

We all know someone who seems to be terminally "in distress."  Invariably they'll drag everyone around them into their drama like a black hole.

YouTube has become the perfect outlet for all that dramatic energy.  Puffed up egos bolstered by clueless fans who've got nothing better to do than lament their own failings and swell a channel's subscriber numbers.  

Drama feeds drama which is why YouTube comments are the way they are.
Adam the Woo

But this isn't an indictment against YouTube as a whole. 

There are some gems out there like Adam the Woo or Louis Rossmann.  They invite you into their lives and in the process teach us something about ourselves.  They're  not chasing fame or pouring over analytics like some corporate accountant at tax time.   It's about sharing experiences instead of inventing them.

But they're few and far between rendered all but invisible by the incessant droning from the drama queens.  

Those self absorbed attention whores who will do anything to get more views.  Ruining reputations, exposing private information of a rival even criminal acts, all are fair game.  Nothing is off-limits.

Then comes the second string.  The reactionaries who pounce on the chance to expose or should I say exploit tragedy.   Their drug of choice a piece of that nefarious stardom.  A successful leap on the bandwagon is the path to joining their YouTube icons or so they hope.

To that end they become the self-appointed standard bearers of all that's decent and right (at least on YouTube)  Pop culture judge, jury and executioner of the irrelevant.

The beast is fed and the collective bar is lowered.


These people take themselves way too seriously.  YouTube just lets it happen because it means more views which translate to more advertiser impressions.  It keeps the pump primed and the money rolling in.

It's the same formula as reality TV actually.  Throw a bunch of mediocre drama queens together and watch the bloodbath.

Isn't there already enough of this kind of crap in the world?  

Apparently not.  Check out the video below...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Arizona Monsoon has started!

I'm many things...

An IT guy, Gearhead ( Petrolhead to you UK guys), Gamer, Writer....

None of which are doing much for my wallet these days.

But one of the things these downtrodden, lean times has taught me is to appreciate what the world offers up.

To that end, I've become a fan of Arizona's Monsoon season.

For the past few years I've been grabbing video of the yearly monsoon storms that rage across the state from late June till Mid September.

I'm a frustrated storm chaser at heart as weather events fascinate me.

But like everything else I'm stuck doing it a bit half-assed.  I can't afford to chase a storm more than a couple of miles from my house which is why most videos originate from there.

But sometimes I get some great stuff simply because if there's a storm in the valley there's about a 75% chance that my house is going to be in it's path.

Take a gander at the latest videos I have from this year ( 2016 ) of the start of the season.  The first one captures the first storm of the season while the second one is a bit more dramatic with Thunder and lots of lightning.

I hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as I did capturing the excitement.