Monday, January 25, 2016

it is what it is while you only live once

We have all made bad decisions.  Recently I chose to watch some of   30 minutes of my life are now gone forever.  Another day I watched “Big Brother.”  Same outcome though at least I got a good nap out of it.
Real Housewives of Someplace (I believe they are all interchangeable).
We all make bad decisions.  But there is a new phenomenon.  A public declaration that our bad ideas are actually good ones.  We are not making ‘bad’ decisions.  Our bad decisions are merely striving for life.  Or so we claim.
The new terms of rationalization:  YOLO and “It is what it is.”  Now, the former seems to have passed its peak.  But, for quite some time,  I would always hear that phrase accompanied by a bad decision.  “Yeah, I poured lighter fluid on my thumb and put it near the barbeque grill…YOLO!” or…”Yeah, I had a dozen shots and went for a drive…YOLO.”  Just deal with it…you intercoursed up—you made a bad decision.  While YOLO is true, so is YODO=You only die once.
Now, my other peeve is “It is what it is.”  This is what I hear when defecation has occurred in one’s life.  “My (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, significant other, pet lemur) left me…Oh well, it it what it is.”  Or… “Yeah, I shaved for the eighth day in a row with an old razor and my face now resembles a topographical map of the Moon…It is what it is…” 
“It is what it is”—a phrase we use to publicly admit we will not give anything critical thought, we will not take responsibility for our actions, we will not accept fault for consequences to ourselves and others.  We don’t have to. Because it is what it is. 
I can’t argue the point.  Something certainly is what it is.  Zero will indeed equal zero.  Now God supposedly said something similar:  “I am that I am.”  (at least that’s what director Cecil B De Mille said in the Ten Commandments.)  It sounds cooler to say it if you’re God, or Cecil B.  De Mille.  Well, you are what you are and it is what it is.  And with this knowledge, we can….?

So, in conclusion,  what important lessons do we learn from YOLO and “It is what it is..”?  That occasionally all of us need something to say when we actually have nothing to say.  And we don’t want to think about it. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

                  "Kill the Brain and You Kill the Ghoul”—this is either the worst motto for any teacher to live by or the key to killing zombies according to Night of theLiving Dead, the movie that led us to the Walking Dead.
                  So, this post could be about George Romero setting the arbitrary rules that zombies, when re-animated, must eat people.  In a zombie-reality, zombies may not crave human flesh but merely crave rutabagas.  Our world would not be lessened if our rutabaga supply was depleted by the Meandering Dead.   
                  But that is not the topic of this post.
                  Watching TV it does seem that the idea “Kill the Brain and..Kill the Ghoul” is the choice of a new generation.  Our attention span is getting shorter and TV is helping this.  Binge watching 30-Rock is so easy because each episode is only 21:30 long.  If you watch the show in syndication, almost 30 percent of the time is spent in commercials.  If you enjoy TheWalking Dead, as all humans should do, be prepared to spend about 33% of each hour watching commercials.  Why does this matter? Well, everything around is conspiring to make our attention span shorter.
                  God forbid we get emotionally engaged in any TV show.  A commercial break of four minutes will often take our attention away.  God forbid we relax and allow ourselves to be lost in mediated literature.  A commercial break will sweep us to a reality in which we learn that apparently every drug that saves our lives can kill us in twelve other ways.  Or that without hair, we can not find love. 
                  A very smart student recently pointed out to me that our shorter attention span affects us in other ways.  We don’t read the whole article anymore.  We read some of an article, get the gist and use that gist as a basis for our facts.  If we read the whole article, we would get all the details and all the context.   We don’t have time to read the whole article.  Not when we are receiving a Facebook message informing us of that a friend has found an actual use for rutabagas. 
                  According to the first 30 seconds of a news story I saw on Fox News and the first four paragraphs of an article I read in some online newspaper, ISIS is trying to destroy us. (I may have read it somewhere else, like a blog, a facebook post or random ramble or something on my computer)   
                  Seems like ISIS does not need to go to this effort.  We are destroying ourselves just fine.  Uncritical acceptance of all media content as being accurate, equating bloggers with actual journalists, the diminishing population of actual journalists combined with our ever-shorter attention span is destroying our minds, our brains.  And when we destroy our brains, we destroy the ISIS version of ghouls--us.

What I See When I See “Saw”

So, this holiday season in my annual attempt to avoid the movies of the holiday season I sat with my daughter to watch “Saw”, followed by “Saw2.”  Consistent with federal law regarding horror films, no such film offers closure—just a means of setting up infinite sequels. 
                  “Saw” is different than the standard horror offerings.  The killer in “Saw” is not just a teen who was not invited to a dance ten years ago--who has grown into an adult that needs to kill all who attend the federally mandated reunion of all those that did attend the dance. 
                   Jigsaw has a motive.  He only kills those not living lives of perceived value.  Jigsaw passes judgment on the quality of the life that was lived, without understanding the back story of the person and without fact checking—just assuming the assortment of offered facts are accurate.  So, in other words, Jigsaw does the same thing that Facebook users do. 
                  Saw is a perfect film for our social media driven society—without understanding the context of the life we are judging, we get to post things without critical thought,  without consideration of the effects or whether our basis for judgments are justified.  Just like Jigsaw.
                  A generic Facebook post is a meme and a quote as the author of the meme hopes—and often has his/her hopes rewarded—that someone will look at a quote and a meme and assume whatever is there must be valid.  Because if there is a picture AND a quote—well, that level of sincerity and credibility can not be doubted, according to sarcastic bloggers.  
                  Jigsaw is self assured that his assumptions and interpretations are accurate or at least hopes they are to help him justify his barbarism.  Are meme artists similarly self assured or do they know they are dealing in defecation? 
                  It is easy for many to applaud Jigsaw for his righteousness against a selected set of characters that have lived perceived lives of limited value.  Perhaps Jigsaw is also popular because he represents both the meme artists and those that repost the works of meme artists.  No critical thought is needed to produce such memes or to believe such memes.  Quite often, taking literally 15 seconds can show us whether a Facebook post is valid or not.  Does Jigsaw take that much time to reflect on the lives he tortures?  Do we take that much time to assure that we are not sending bovine defecation to our Facebook friends?  Or are some social media authors rightfully depending on the fact that no one will challenge a meme? 

                  Now I do grant you that sending and accepting a meme based on no fact at all is a lesser offense than grinding someone’s nose under a semi’s wheels.  But is either a good idea?