Tag Archives: thoughtful

Wikipedia, and Getting Up.

After watching Soltris play an Xbox game entitled Marc Ecko’s Getting Up, I realized something.


While the whole graffiti game is represented as played mainly by African Americans and minorities, internet nerds have their own version. Wikipedia.

In this Getting Up game you play an oppressed youth named Trane. Trane is a ‘graf-artist’ out to make a name for himself…by spray-painting his name everywhere he can. Mixed in with this self-advertisement is a steady gain in ‘rep’ from each ‘bomb’ and ‘tag’ he gets up. Why does he get rep for this? Probably because every five minutes he’s beating the snot out of another graf-artist and a) taking their ‘aerosol’ and b) taking the spot they were in the process of bombing.

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If this rival had gotten some of his work up on the wall, you as Trane execute a ‘go over’ or cap, covering up their work with your own. Occasionally you’ll be going over completed pieces, modifying them to create a parody of the original to mock its artist.

Are any of you seeing the parallels yet? While wikipedia is supposed to be a serious effort to create an up-to-date editable encyclopedia, at times it seems about as serious and scholarly as your average forum.

I’m sure Xydexx can tell you all about being ‘gone over’ as far as the furry article on wikipedia goes.

Frequently users will modify an article just to get their name on its history page. A tag, in effect.

Articles often in dispute can be equated with ‘Heaven spots’ or ‘giraffiti’, that is, high places that maximize exposure of a piece.

Legendary graf-artists are known as ‘kings’, and there are kings on wikipedia too I’m sure. To go over a king’s piece is unthinkable, but some will do it for the notoriety.

It all boils down to attention. Both the environments want it, and both are willing to be vicious and selfish to get it. Vandalizing buildings and deleting chunks of text on a website aren’t as dissimilar as they look at first glance.

The final parallel is the identical fracturing of both groups. As far as graf-artists go, there are the ‘true’ artists who just want to create… To be seen, sure, but there’s no competition in it. The comparative riff-raff are gangs using graffiti to battle over turf, to issue challenges and insults.

On wikipedia there are plenty of people just there to share their knowledge and expertise. …And then there’s the riff-raff again, using it as a game or a war, information secondary or even worse, not a consideration at all.

As far as solving the problems both environments have? Good luck! Each is so vast that policing it is difficult, as both the wikipedia admins and the Metro Transit Authority discovered. x,x

About the only glaring difference between the graffiti-jerks and the wiki-assholes is that wikipedians can’t throw down and beat the tar out of each other, (though I’m sure some of them would try if they ever happened to meet!)

For an interesting and ironic read, go look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafitti

Depth

If the rest of America is anything like me, we don’t give much thought to helping others…volunteering, donating, etc. because it seems like none of it helps. You give to a panhandler, they buy drugs. You take petitions door to door, you’re abused. You try and organize people for some cause, people question your motives.

It’s this feeling that overall, it’s all for naught. We even feel that way globally, now. Our activities in Iraq? They’re certainly unpopular here. And what impact are we having, really, when our guys are being killed every day by citizens of the country we’re supposedly trying to aid? (At least, the news only shows us that side. You don’t see thrilled Iraqi families being interviewed anymore, do you? The individual is eliminated, forcing you to see only the faceless teeming mass of the whole population.)

I need to remind myself that the big picture is *not* what we should be looking at when it comes to helping another human being. We’re brothers and sisters. Helping out another person is so much more important than we think. Have you been stuck on the side of the road, and gotten help from a random stranger? Probably after hundreds of people zoomed past? That meant a *lot* to you, didn’t it? It didn’t mean nearly as much to the person who stopped for you, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.

I’m just blathering, I s’pose. I’m still awake for some reason. Niteynite.

Thoughts on Silent Hill

Lly, I forgot my phone today, sorry. x,x

I saw Silent Hill on Saturday. I’ve never played the games, so I really had no expectations going into the theatre.

First of all, I must say for the record that I loathe the actress who played the lead. She was very artificial and stilted. The cop chick (although really hawt) was also less than stellar with her line delivery. Everyone else? No real complaints.

The ‘ash babies’ were the first thing that disturbed me. They were horrible, twisted, mewling things that swarmed the protagonist. They staggered and lurched (which is very different from the Zombie Shuffle).

Then the armless, melted-looking creature. The way it moved made me sick. The slimy-corpse look to its skin…the pulsing wound in its chest, its featureless face… Horrible.

Pyramid head was *mundane* in comparison, and didn’t disturb me nearly as much. He moved a bit oddly as well, dragging those enormous weapons. He seemed to warp the reality around him.

The real-world-as-flesh sloughing off the walls and fixtures when the air-raid siren went off was horrific too. The horrible wet slapping sound as chunks of that flesh hit the floor…

The mineshaft was disturbing too, especially when you knew it was a shaft down to the basement of the hospital where the girl resided. Had nothing to do really with the real coal mine.

The nurses were a little creepy, with the feminine high-pitched sounds they made and the awful bone-crackings their movements created. When I saw them all start to move as a group though, I couldn’t help but think they were about to bust out into The Time Warp, or maybe a Britney Speares dance. 9,9

This movie disturbed me. The images will probably stick with me a long time, and I’d rather not have them. I don’t recommend anyone see this film, just so they don’t have to carry those images with them. They really were like monsters torn from someone’s VERY vivid nightmares. I don’t think I’m capable of imagining such horrible things, with my conscious OR subconscious mind. It’s horrific to think that a child was the source for such hellish, distorted things.

Now and then something like this happens. I’ll see something I truly wish I never had. Hellraiser had some of that. Even the game Diablo had a bit of it, (the Butcher’s lair, for instance.) Just some hint, some taste of hell that I didn’t want locked in my skull. It’s beyond the brand of fun that comes with being scared, and edges into the kind of imagery that although some may consider it art…I consider it the creation of a mind that is broken. Damaged. Haunted. I won’t see it again. If I start having nightmares about it… I’m going to be pissed. I certainly don’t want to play the game, because I don’t feel like disturbing myself any further.

Today’s Poem: Philip Larkin – High Windows

When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives–
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide

To happiness, endlessly. I wonder if
Anyone looked at me, forty years back,
And thought, That’ll be the life;
No God any more, or sweating in the dark

About hell and that, or having to hide
What you think of the priest. He
And his lot will all go down the long slide
Like free bloody birds.
And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

I apologize to you all for having to read this without having the benefit of my professor’s butterscotch-smooth English accent to imagine along with it. ;K)

Now, this is a poem (most agree) about perspective. Larkin (or the character he’s speaking through) sees how free ‘kids’ are, and envies them. He himself had no freedom like that, living before the contraceptives mentioned had been invented. He himself was envied when he was a ‘kid’ by others, but his was a religious freedom (or rather freedom from religion) not sexual freedom.

It’s the last stanza that no one in class understands well. Is it positive or negative? There are words supporting both. What windows is his referring to? Large windows, or windows high up on a wall? What do they represent? Students in class had a lot of suggestions, and I didn’t get to share mine.

Windows suggests there’s a structure you’re inside, viewing the deep blue air through these windows. See the line about the ‘combine harvester’? I don’t think that was a randomly selected example. The combine harvester was *once* useful, it served a real and practical purpose. Times have moved on and made it irrelevant…just as contraceptives have made the traditions of monogamy and marriage technically irrelevant. (Only in the sense that those traditions helped corral disease and limit population growth. I still believe marriage is necessary to raise kids.)

Thus, the structure he’s in when seeing out those windows, is the structure of society and human law. Outside it, is…nothing. It looks pretty, but when you’re out there, you’re lost…with no limits and no paths. Behavior would degrade from there into barbarism, which is what the structure was built to avoid.

I’m probably reading too deep into it, but it’s one interpretation I can support with passages from the poem. What do you think?

Are we morons?

Felixnminerva got me thinking with a comment today.

Are many of us just idiots? We’d rather watch The Simpsons than read Tale of Two Cities? We experience great culture only grudgingly, mostly when force fed it in school? Not even just the old classics, either. What about new, innovative writing, poetry and art? It’s easy to scoff at ‘modern’ art when it’s a triangle inside a circle sloppily made with orange paint, but what about brilliant constructions of fractals and pieces that challenge the very definition of art, straining its boundaries?

I mean, I appreciate art and literature when confronted with it, and I may briefly be inspired to seek out more in the same vein if I particularly enjoyed it, but I’m not at all motivated to even attempt to write along those lines and I rarely crack open the Norton’s Anthology when I’m in the mood for entertainment and/or enrichment.

So am I, and all who feel as I do, idiots? Or are we just ignorant? If we’d had more exposure to the *good* stuff, perhaps we’d be more active in pursuing it. Or are we just changing as a culture, shifting from print (and with it, anything older than five-to-ten-years) to a meme/fad world where we all pick up on something new, drop it, and repeat like colanders with a tear in the center?

*Edit*

I know I’m being harsh here, even on things I enjoy myself, but that’s the point. Am I an *idiot* for enjoying these things? Should I *not* be enjoying these things, because greater more thoughtful work exists?

…No. I guess I can’t believe that. I’ll enjoy what I enjoy, and if you want to piss on it, what do I care? If I’m entertained and enthralled, I’ll watch/read/listen to it. I just have to broaden my scope and make sure I’m also accessing material that isn’t conveniently packaged into 30 minute episodes for me, or DVDs I can buy on Amazon, or paperbacks from half.com. The works of the past are almost entirely ignored by my generation, and *definitely* the newest generation if the kids I know are any indication. Are the past works better? …Not all of them. There were ‘big hits’ back then just as there are ‘acclaimed masterpieces’ today. And there were flops and hacks back then just as today we have Big Momma’s House and The Squidbillies.

The Red Wheelbarrow – William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

(We covered this in poetry analysis class today. This is dehydrated imagery; just add experience. Your experience, your memories, fill in the gaps the poet left. Each part fires your mind into hunting down objects you’ve seen that can flesh out the bare bones of the portrait. I find it incredible how vivid and complex an image this poem conjures. It sounds like something Java would write if she were a poet instead of an artist, doesn’t it? God I love this poem. So simple, and so evocative. Amazing.)

Philosophy in English class

Our English professor, Dr. Maner, (I can’t help but think of him as an old, stately lion. Maner has a mane these days too, after all.)
was supposed to cover the Romantic period yesterday at our last lecture class. Instead he offered to have an emotional meltdown instead, and we all voted for that. ;K)

Really though, he discussed philosophy, and what he felt were the values that make people *better*.

First he discussed how Plato and the other Greek philosophers felt that Beauty, Truth, and Good were all one…a complete package. Ever since Sir Francis Bacon came along though, Truth and Good have been pushed apart. They’re no longer synonymous. Hell, they’re not even necessarily *linked* today.

Logos and Ethos, now stand at opposite ends of a divide. Science isn’t interested in ethics and moral behavior. Moral behavior doesn’t seem interested in truth. What bridges that gap, according to Maner, is Mythos: storytelling.

The stories that we write/draw/sing bring the Logos and the Ethos back together. Not only that, but beauty gets tossed back in too as a bonus! Think of a book you’ve read or a song you’ve heard that was beautiful, good, and had truth within it as well. Will you ever forget that piece? Does it continue to teach you things every time you revisit it?

Compassion, Kindness, Joy…these were the values Dr. Maner asked us to develop, after showing us a photo of a forest destroyed by Agent Orange in the Vietnam war…and telling us of the terrible physical aftereffects that Agent wrought on his body and those of the other people exposed. He told us that the People In Charge had decided on a strategy of ‘containment’ when it came to flare-ups of communism in the world. Vietnam was labeled one such flare-up, when in fact the conflict was only tenuously related to the ‘red threat’. It was in fact rebellion against French colonialism, an attempt to unite a divided country. That doesn’t exactly sound villainous, does it? Incursions into Cambodia brought much nastier customers into play, and man created Hell on Earth yet again.

If people were kinder…practiced compassion, and cultivated joy, things like this would not be the inevitability they are today. We could keep Hell where it belongs, not let it come to roost on our doorstep.