Archive of ‘Reasoning’ category

It could happen here

I just saw Persepolis, and I am in awe.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to check out either the Graphic Novels by Marjane Starpi by that same name or the 2007 Oscar nominated film (the one I am talking about right now). I read the books before and just saw the movie yesterday, and the movie has literally blown my mind. Filmed in Pencil-drawn black and white animation, the movie takes us into the story of Marjane during her childhood as the Shah is about to fall, through living with the Aftermath of the Iranian revolution and the newly founded Islamic regime. The animation-which is an odd choice in the age of 3D generic crap- is really what makes this film special, especially that its dark feel adds to the stark brutality of the scenes of violence or its aftereffects. The use of black and white and shadows only  gives Persepolis the feel and quality of film noir. When its dark, its the stuff of nightmares, especially for someone like me, but when its humorous, it is silly, lighthearted and uplifting; such are the contradictions of this film. I mean, this is the kind of film that is austere in many ways and yet boasts a
sequence in which the heroine sings “Eye of the Tiger” in broken
English. How could you not love that? (Also, the dream sequence between Marjane, God and Marx, well, that's the stuff of greatness).

The movie chronicles Satrapi's efforts to reconcile the Iran she loves with a country upended by war and extremism, and it is a tribute to one young woman's stubborn resilience and a
reminder that people are people, regardless of how their governments
may want them to behave, and how people inherently understand the essence of evil presented to them by those ruling them, even if they do share the same or similar beliefs to them. I literally cringed at the scene where Marjane's maid was crying while holding the key the authorities gave to her 14 year old boy, telling him that it's the "Key to Heaven" if he choses to join the army and die a martyr, because I can see this getting deployed here, easily, if for whatever reason we are ruled by Islamists who might feel like starting a war with Israel and we started to lose badly. What's even scarier, I can see it working.

But if there is one thing that did break my heart upon viewing the movie for a second time, it's the assurances of Marjane's great Marxist Uncle, as the revolution stops being about getting rid of the Shah and starts slowly but surely become about installing a far worse theocratic regime. I could see every single marxist or leftist friend I know here who fights for the right of the MB and who believes himself to be in the same boat with them sitting just like him in a chair, re-assuring everyone that there is "no need to worry. It will get better. Half of the country is illiterate. It's normal and natural for them to vote for islamic rule", until the very next scene, where the new regime decided that they need to get rid of all the other enemies of the old regime, and arrested the man again, only executing him this time. And while I might think of those friends of mine as naive, idealistic or misguided, I wouldn't ever want them dead. But then again, I don't have the audacity or the arrogance of ever claiming to represent what God wants us to be like. Even my Ego has its limits.

The question of the movie becomes immediately that of: What does one do in such a situation? Marjane's family is obviously well-off, educated, westernized and mostly secular, something that I can relate to greatly, and they find themselves suddenly surrounded by uneducated bearded men who believe in their absolute moral authority to do as they damn well please, no matter what the consequences- even if the consequences are the destruction of a country. What does one do in such a situation? The obvious solution – to stay away from Iran, or whatever your respective country may be – isn't easy, and the movie emphasizes that above all else. The
predominant theme of Persepolis is not war or repression but the pull
of home, no matter one's location. That home can be a state of mind, and that it follows you everywhere. And this rings true to me. As much as I am horrified of the direction my country is taking, I can't find myself able to leave it, even when presented the opportunity last year by a reader I am very grateful to. I love this country, I think it's beautiful, and I believe it to be mine. Why would I ever leave it to those who only see it as some part of a greater empire, whether Arabic or Islamic? The more and more you deal with Islamists, the less scary they get, because you realize that you are facing the morally and intellectually bankrupt whose only weapon is fear. But they are such cowards themselves, that they can't ward off or face off against anyone who stands up to them without threatening them outwards with violence. And if that day comes and they rule this land, well, I have a feeling that they will have to kill me and thousands and thousands like me, because we won't shut up and they will have no answer than that provided via a sword. There will be blood, no two ways about it.

Thank God we are not there..

…yet! 

The Mo Teddy Photo Essay

 So, this old british teacher lady decided one day to have her kids vote on naming a Teddy Bear…

 …which the kids decided to name "Mohamed"…..

 Which pissed off all of those people to the point of asking for her head…

 

 …and got her coward of a Boss to fire her ass and say he had nothing to do with her…

 

 ..and managed to get her 15 days in jail and a deportation sentencing (instead of 40 lashes mind you) , all because she asked kids to name a teddy bear… 

 

 ..so you will all forgive me when I find it kind of hard to to believe, that this Teddy bear is part of some plot to insult Islam and make muslims look bad..

 

 …when Muslims always manage to do such a fantastic job all on their own!

Just trying to give credit where credit is due y'all!

PS: apologies for using this photo essay- which will probably insult the intelligence of many readers of this blog- to try to make my point. After watching this unfold for the past few days I've come to the conclusion that there are for more retarded people in the world then I ever imagined, so I figured a simplified photo essay with not too many words might just do the trick. Gotta reach out to them, man, they are too many to kill. Unless we remove the safety warnings off of everything and have the problem work itself out. Ahh, one can only dream!  

Understanding Suicide-bombing through Halo 3

An interesting perspective:

Whenever I find myself under attack by a wildly superior player, I
stop trying to duck and avoid their fire. Instead, I turn around and
run straight at them. I know that by doing so, I'm only making it
easier for them to shoot me — and thus I'm marching straight into the
jaws of death. Indeed, I can usually see my health meter rapidly
shrinking to zero.

But at the last second, before I die, I'll whip out a sticky plasma
grenade — and throw it at them. Because I've run up so close, I almost
always hit my opponent successfully. I'll die — but he'll die too, a
few seconds later when the grenade goes off. (When you pull off the
trick, the game pops up a little dialog box noting that you killed
someone "from beyond the grave.")

It was after pulling this maneuver a couple of dozen times that it
suddenly hit me: I had, quite unconsciously, adopted the tactics of a
suicide bomber — or a kamikaze pilot.

It's not just that I'm willing to sacrifice my life to kill someone
else. It's that I'm exploiting the psychology of asymmetrical warfare.

Because after all, the really elite Halo players don't want
to die. If they die too often, they won't win the round, and if they
don't win the round, they won't advance up the Xbox Live rankings. And
for the elite players, it's all about bragging rights.

I, however, have a completely different psychology. I know I'm the underdog; I know I'm probably going to get killed anyway. I am never going to advance up the Halo 3 rankings, because in the political economy of Halo, I'm poor.

Specifically, I'm poor in time. The best players have
dozens of free hours a week to hone their talents, and I don't have
that luxury. This changes the relative meaning of death for the two of
us. For me, dying will not penalize me in the way it penalizes them,
because I have almost no chance of improving my state. I might as well
take people down with me.

Or to put it another way: The structure of Xbox Live creates a world
composed of two classes — haves and have-nots. And, just as in the
real world, some of the disgruntled have-nots are all too willing to
toss their lives away — just for the satisfaction of momentarily
halting the progress of the haves. Since the game instantly resurrects
me, I have no real dread of death in Halo 3.

But before you get all outraged.. 

I do not mean, of course, to trivialize the ghastly, horrific impact
of real-life suicide bombing. Nor do I mean to gloss over the
incredible complexity of the real-life personal, geopolitical and
spiritual reasons why suicide bombers are willing to kill themselves.
These are all impossibly more nuanced and perverse than what's
happening inside a trifling, low-stakes videogame.

But the fact remains that something quite interesting happened to me because of Halo.
Even though I've read scores of articles, white papers and books on the
psychology of terrorists in recent years, and even though I have (I
think) a strong intellectual grasp of the roots of suicide terrorism,
something about playing the game gave me an "aha" moment that I'd never
had before: an ability to feel, in whatever tiny fashion, the strategic logic and emotional calculus behind the act.

I get what he is talking about. Do you? 

Sandmonkey Wisdom: 29/11/2007

When dealing with people who have hair-trigger tempers, it's entirely advisable not to walk on eggshells around them, because eventually, sooner or later, they will lose it and throw their ever so expected and vintage hissy-fit. A better way to deal with things is to NOT walk on eggshells and actively engage in screaming matches with them for the following 3 reasons: 1) They sometimes fake it to get their way knowing that most people would rather back down then deal with them, so don't let them get away with it , 2) It will save you the stress of trying to placate the incredibly unreasonable and dramatic and 3) If you are gonna get yelled at anyway, you might as well engage of some yelling of your own.

Just saying.. 

The end of lying

For those who don't know, I am a techno-phile. Facing new technology, I go all Ga-ga like a little child and point to my new newly wanted toy and go "Me WANNTSSSS", to like, no one in particular but me, since i have to buy my own toys now (damn you adulthood). So naturally I am very positive on new technology and gadgets, and am always finding excuses ways to buy new ones. All you need is find me a cool new feature, and I am sold. The Ultimate consumer in many ways. And one of the areas I am most affected about this is cell-phones. If I am to change cell-phones, I have to get me the newest, coolest, sexiest, most state of the art cell-phone. After all, it has to be worth adding all those numbers I have to the new one, otherwise my lazy ass won't do it. Anyway, this whole introduction was to drive in one major point to you: I LOVE TECHNOLOGY and almost never oppose it. However, there is this new feature in my new phone, that, well, is slightly freaking me out.

My new phone comes with the 2 G video conferencing technology, which means that the cell doesn't only come with one camera phone, but two: One for taking pictures of other things with, and the other to take a picture of your face when talking, in case you want to video-call someone. And it is that feature that concerns me the most. Remember how they used to say that camera Phones will end privacy as we know it? Well, those video-call phones are a harbinger of a different era: it will end lying on the phone as we know it.

This won't happen over-night of course, but the moment the technology starts coming out in newer models, more people will start the use it, which will create a demand for it, make it cheaper to make and easier to install in newer cheaper cell-phones aimed at the greater public's consumption (just like camera-phones. The cheapest phone now has one.). Eventually Video-calling will be the standard way to call people, and therin lies the problem: How will you lie to people over the phone anymore?

For example, when you want to skip work for the day, how are you to lie on the phone to your Boss or co-worker and claim to be sick, when one look at your face in the camera will reveal just how much you are faking it to them? Or, let's say that you are an egyptian girl and you have a curfew, and your parents call you to wonder where you are at and you are at some boy's house. Standard procedure is to go to the balcony, claim you are in a car getting home and there is traffic, while in fact you don't plan to leave for a few more minutes. Well, that procedure will end, cause they will be able to see that you are not in a car, and that you are in some apartment instead and its late at night, and , well, that your ass will be toast when you get home.

Hell, what if you are a guy who hides his political activism from his family, and they call you and you pick up un-noticengly in the middle of a demonstration, well, how ar u to claim that you are just passing next to one, when they will be able to see that you are actually standing and participating in one? Or the friend of yours that you want to ditch on tonight's outing, but can't do it unpolitely, so you claim to be home studieing while you are actually hanging out with the friends already; it used to be enough to tell ur friends to keep quiet till you end the phone call, now you have to leave the entire room out of fear that he might spot one of them in the camera. It goes on and on and on…and I am sure you can add your own examples from your own life and the lives of those around you, the same way I have used one from my life and 3 from my friends' in those past paragraphs. 

Just imagine the possibilities here: we are entering an era without lying-or at least, with reduced lying- over cell-phones. Those of you who don't lie will have no problems, but those of you who have jealous or suffocating spouses or significant others, controlling parents, annoying friends and  over-demanding bosses will be screwed. There will be no escape and no reprieve. No more excuses! Imagine that! and also imagine how many relationships this will strain or end. I am sure it won't be long until some people will refuse to use the technology ( women who just woke up come to mind strongly on that front) or continue using older models, which will be their only option to retain a semblence of privacy, and, ehh, their ability to lie over the phone. They probably won't have no other choice, because you know the cell phone people will keep making them better and cheaper, and a purer, more honest world will come out of it. A world with less lying! Just imagine what that will be like! 

Technology is a dangerous dangerous thing! 

Jack Bauer controls the american population

He influences the public, makes army personall torture detainees, makes republicans wistfully wonder about when they will have a real Jack Bauer, and all kinds of other crap! There is a whole article on it, try to follow the logic: all I got was "24 is fucking everything up in america"!

hmm… 

I will give it one thing: The show does make torture seem a bit normal and part of the day's (more like hour's) work. Whether or not some people can not differntiate between fact and fiction like 24, that is not the show's responsibility. Retarded people will always exist, and blaming their existance and behavior on the show they are imitating is clear and utter bullshit, otherwise we will have to cancel every drama there is on TV that may have some controversial elements in it that stupid people might imitate!

Or am I being a tad simplistic here?