April 16, 2016

Ghost In The Shell Casting

Originally, I started to write my own lengthy post summing up my thoughts on Ghost In The Shell casting. Then I saw this. So I'm just going to leave it right here:

April 15, 2016

Why pugs?

Why do I own pugs? This pretty much nails it:

The Meatspace Ratio

I was thinking about how we interact with each other online. How the digital age, the internet, social media, and smart phones are both awesome and terrible. I mean, when the lovely wife was on such high doses of methotrexate to try to keep her from going blind and pretty much sick all the time, the only thing that kept me from drowning under the weight of worry and loneliness was social media. But, yet, probably once a week, I want to punch my computer screen and delete all my accounts.

But here’s the thing: you have to accept that this is now part of our human experience. Accept that this is here to stay. The internet is not going to disappear. Facebook isn't going to go out of business. And your smart phone isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s probably only going to become a more integral part of your life. To pretend like they're the issue isn't useful or realistic. I think when you accept that, you then realize that the problem is the newness means we haven’t ironed out how to appropriately interact this way.

Some of it is obvious. The immediacy of being online means we’re often responding and reacting right when something first hits us so we’re coming from a raw place that’s fueled by our initial emotional response. Without the participants having a physical presence and so engaging with each other in a shared environment where they’re reading and reacting to tone and body language, it’s ridiculously easy to be a jerk. That all leads to a lot of arguments, anger, and hurt feelings.

The other thing, however, is that we really need to understand that things don’t translate on a 1:1 ratio between meatspace interaction and digital space. Now that's not to say that one is better than the other. They're not, they're just different. And we need to recognize that but I don't think we do.

If you think about it—I mean really think about it, things that you would never do to someone in meatspace, you do to them online. Right? 

For example, let’s say there’s a friend of yours in meatspace that for whatever reason you don’t see very much. Maybe your work schedules don’t mesh very well. Maybe they’ve got kids and you don’t. Now, imagine you’re talking to someone and your friend, who you didn't know was there, just interrupts to correct your grammar and then leaves. Now imagine, you haven’t seen or spoken to the same friend for a month. So you’re having a conversation with some other people about the latest episode of Y: The TV Show. You’re all talking about how much you love Y: The TV Show until the same friend shows up and says, “Y is dumb and terrible and written by idiots” and then leaves. Picture similar incidents happening several more times. Your friend only pops up to correct you, disagree with you, or to call you on something. Several of those times, another friend whom you also rarely see arrives to cheer them on.  How would you feel about that in real life? How would you react?

You'd probably be mad, right? Stop being friends?

Imagine you willing walk into a room crowded with people. Some are your close friends. Some are relatives. Some are people you work with. A few are people you met once. There's even that one guy you see in the hallway every day. The two of you nod at each other a lot. Maybe you complimented his new shoes last month. And yesterday, he said he dug your glasses. There's also that woman you've seen at the Sherlock fan group meetings but never really talked to. But there's also a whole bunch of people you sort of recognize but you're never really spoken to. And there's a gob ton of strangers. Now, would you try to engage with every single conversation? Would you interact with people differently? Would you take everything that was being said by everyone personally?

No? But we do online. A lot. And I think it comes from applying that 1:1 meatspace ratio. I mean, think of someone you've been friends with for five years and have seen nearly every single day. How well do you know them? How well do you understand them and their quirks and behaviours? How much do you know about what they're going through in their personal life? And how much does the affect the slack you cut them or how comfortable you are with calling them on things? Now, think of someone you've been Facebook friends with or followed on Twitter for 5 years and you've seen their posts nearly every single day. Aren't those relationships different? Aren't those interactions different?

If they are, then why do we tend to treat them the same way? If they are, we do we react to them the same way?

April 14, 2016

What Steinbeck Said...

"I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn’t have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves.”

April 11, 2016


Art by Alexandre Salles
Between Frank Miller's right-wing psychopath and Snyder’s Ayn Rand-fueled bro hero, it occurs to me that someday I must pitch my own left-leaning miniseries to DC:


By day, Bruce Wayne is the entitled and ridiculously rich douchebag sending all of Gotham’s jobs overseas. When night falls, Wayne uses all the billions from his offshore tax havens to fund a violent war against the lower classes...and whoever is foolish enough to be an intellectual in Gotham (why are so many of Batman's villains doctors and professors..?)


Enter the leftist, surrealist, street fighter who calls himself the Joker. Together with his lover who calls him/herself Harley Quinn, this Dynamic Duo is out to keep you from getting beat to death for being poor...

April 8, 2016

Doctor Strange: The Oath

If you're looking to read some Doctor Strange before the film arrives, regardless of whether you're a longtime fan or new to the Sorcerer Supreme, you can't go wrong with Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin. It's so ridiculously good that I really can't say enough wonderful about it.

April 6, 2016

Confession Time

Yesterday, I saw the Trevor Noah/Debbie Wasserman thing all over my Facebook feed. It’s interesting to me how many different ways it was being read. One group thought Noah really stuck it to Wasserman just by asking her about
cockblocking Sanders. Another group thought he let her run the interview and never asked a hard-hitting follow-up like he was a real newsman (I’d remind you that he’s not and neither was Jon Stewart). Pretty much everyone seemed to be disappointed though that Noah isn’t Jon Stewart. I saw a lot of sites running the "story" asking What Would Jon Stewart Do?

So we come to confession time: I never got the obsession with Jon Stewart.
I thought Stewart was glib and snarky and condescending and a milquestoast liberal—all reasons why the very people who should support liberals tend to vote the other way. Stewart never broke a single big news story. A Stewart interview never really accomplished anything except to make you feel better. I never bought the notion that the show wasn’t partisan. Mostly, I thought the show was a liberal pep rally and towed the Democratic line. I wasn’t surprised to learn about how often Daily Show staffers would call up the White House for their take on a story, or that one of Obama’s advisors regularly exchanged emails with one of the Daily Show producers (they also happened to be college roommates), or that Stewart himself had secret White House meetings with Obama about stories.

But worst of all, I never thought the Daily Show was particular funny.

So what would Jon Stewart do? The exact same thing that Trevor Noah did. Only you'd love Stewart for it.

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