In my Media in Society class all of the students have to give presentations on a topic of their choice. My topic is the Alt-Right, the loose confederacy of meme savvy neo-Fascists who have propped up Donald Trump as the next Fuhrer/Duce. Unfortunately my group partner dropped out of the class, leaving me to fly solo for this one.
I’m giving my presentation on Tuesday, so right now I am taking a break from putting the PowerPoint together. It’s difficult slogging through countless losers who blame all of their problems on Jews, Muslims, Feminists, immigrants, and everyone who is different from them. What distinguishes the Alt-Right from more “traditional” Klaverns and Nazi parties is their savviness with social media. White Supremacists have used the Internet as long as there has been an Internet, generally occupying the echo chamber forum Stormfront or designing their own shitty Angel Fire pages. The Alt-Right recruits impressionable young people on 4chan and Reddit, they ride the coattails of Internet Troll culture the same way White Power skinheads do with the punk subculture. Now they are all over Twitter, spreading their filth to audiences that would have never been exposed to it otherwise.
Right now I am trying to organize a coherent presentation explaining the Alt-Right’s relationship with Trump and the media in general. My plan is to recycle the content of my PowerPoint and turn it into a YouTube video. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that, but I will be sure to post it on here.
The first half of this semester was depressing for me, the depression was tolerable. Around midterms too many unexpected changes happened and that made me stress out and panic. Shit got too weird and I ended up missing the whole week after midterm, and things have felt like one game of catch up after another. I’ve never been so excited to get done with a semester. Only a week and a half left!
There are a wide variety of pies I enjoy eating. While pumpkin pie is unpredictable, one of the best ones I’ve have was the one I tried this Thanksgiving. It was from Costco. There is often a stigma attached to store bought pies, but I actually prefer them. My grandma was planning on baking the pie this year, but she couldn’t find the recipe she had in mind. She humbly admitted that, and the whole family could eat the pie without hurting anyone’s feelings.
On Thanksgiving it tasted kind of bland to me but I liked the texture. But on Black Friday it had an excellent flavor.
You can pass any other college gen ed class. Unless you have eccentric tastes in recreational reading material or have actually taken a philosophy class, you have no accurate idea of what philosophy is. Even if you meet either or both of those criteria you may not still. On Wednesday I have an oral final in PHL 201 then I am done with the Fall 2014 semester, and more importantly, done with philosophy. It’s not a fun class, but you can learn a lot from it. Applying what you learned and showing that you learned it is the challenge, so in a way I’m happy I took it at the same time I wish I didn’t have to. Whatever the case, I’m just glad I didn’t take care of that requirement when I was still in community college. My community college had one class, and it was online so instead of lectures you had to watch VHS tapes from the ’80s which only had one set available at each campus library. Screw that. Taking PHL with an actual professor was a much better course of action, so I’m glad I took that route. On Wednesday I will say goodbye to Plato, Descartes, and Aristotle.
There are many points in my life that are easy to romanticize about. Some of those points are well defined periods with a definitive beginning and end though often overlap. Notable examples would be my first Boy Scout troop, my second troop, my youth group, and my time at junior college. Each one were great in there own way, but the people of the collective experience move on and it becomes time for me to as well. Sometimes I look back and wish I could go back, but I realize that those days are over and that all there is to it. Besides all of those times had downsides. Honestly the most fulfilling time in my life is right now.
When I was younger and more foolhardy I was easily baited into arguments. I knew I was right, but some people would never budge. One day I realized that many people enjoy doing this and that they don’t use strategies based on sound logic, they make their points in a way that is designed to bog you down and give up because any point you have no matter how valid will be attacked with something they pulled out of your ass for you to correct once again. After realizing this, I realized that some people will never admit they are wrong. For some it’s a matter of being too proud. For others a symptom of low self esteem, they argue because it gives them a sense of being good at something. When I realized this I concluded that life is to short to argue. Arguments are a waste of time, brainpower, and vocals.
In such an occasion I would I assume that I had met my future self, assuming that they were the same gender, height, and color as me but somewhat older. As freaky as that would be the truly terrifying thing would be the fact is apparently however far in the future that version of myself is, apparently nothing between then and now changed for me. Such stagnation might not be bad if you don’t realize it’s going on. It’s not like one day you’ll realize “oh shit my house looks exactly the same as it did five years ago!” However I would be bummed to realize that nothing would change, especially considering how much my families living room alone has changed over the years and how often those changes occur; and each one is indicative of something larger going on.
If it was obvious that the new acquaintance was NOT a future version of myself, I’m not sure what I would think. Maybe they would be an alternate universe version of myself.
Right now I’m Philosophy 201 and we’re going over Plato. Here’s an excellent adaptation from one of his books that we watched in class:
This story is derived from Symposium and is told by Aristophanes, who was the bitter enemy of Plato’s mentor Socrates. Its notable that Plato gave the best speech in the book to a rival, and I find the story itself a very bizarre alternative to Genesis or most other First Man and First Woman Stories.
If I’m not convinced a video game will give me at least 24 hours of playtime I won’t buy it. That’s why I’ve given up on Call of Duty. I’m not spending $64 dollars on a game with a formulaic campaign I will beat in five hours. That’s like $12 an hour! Screw that! I’d much rather play a game with a nonlinear story that I can beat in my own time, have plenty of side quests and collectables, incentive to explore the map, and actually have a different experience every time I replay. So I play games like Assassin’s Creed and anything by Bethesda and Rock Star. They actually care about bringing new things to the table and have the thought to make stories that are more complex than “blast every enemy away from point A to point B in order to save the world in five hours.” The only thing I have more than that formula is the reason why many studios that shall remain nameless adhere to it: why innovate when you can fart out the same shit every year and its guaranteed you’ll make millions?
Of course many gamers feel the exact opposite of me. To them they like being done with a game relatively quickly, and view long RPGs and open worlders as just big long errand quests. They have a different mindset. They feel games are something to be beaten, whereas I prefer games that are about the journey and not the destination. Besides, the whole appeal of the types of games I like is that you can spend as much OR as little time as you want. You don’t have to do everything there is to do, though I do try to.
Part of my creative writing class involves visiting the abbey’s retreat lodge and writing for at least three hours. I just got back from that. Around 5:30 we took a shuttle bus from campus over, and after a lively dinner we spent the rest of the evening writing in silence. Nowadays silence is something that just isn’t part of most lives. Unfortunately silence produces some very profound thoughts, which is exactly why we had this session. I was able to think and write so clearly, and sadly I never have an opportunity to blog unencumbered by distracting sounds. Interestingly, participating in Daily Prompts is one of the few times when I write something on a screen that hasn’t already been processed through my mind.