Sunday, June 21, 2009


First, a recant.

I blasted Xbox support in a previous post.  While their support still sucks, there was an answer, and the second reply actually got me close enough to find the answer for myself.  I appreciate that the support personal are A) providing support for free (well, they get paid, Microsoft provides it) and B) probably constrained to certain responses due to efforts to actually improve support.  I also understand that support is a difficult job.  I've done it.  It doesn't change the fact that their support sucks dog crap, but whatever.  It's fixed now.  I won't sell the Xbox just yet, but I'm not ruling out a Playstation either.  At any rate, if the same thing happens to you, the answer is "The License Consolidation Tool".  Despite the websites many assertions that it's not necessary, it was necessary.  Just because the job is difficult doesn't excuse poor support. 

That leads me to DRM and why it sucks and is completely pointless, but that's another post for later.

Today I had two of my nieces over. I happened to have Wall-E recorded, and thought the kids might enjoy watching it.  My wife The Face of Evil vetoed it because she heard from a friend that it was actually some Hollywood plot to bash fat people and accuse them of destroying the world. 

So I watched it to see for myself what Hollywood's latest evil plot was.

What I saw was a cute movie with a sub-plot containing a cartoonish over-exaggeration of the dangers of rampant consumerism. 

So what's the problem?

It occurs to me that this is exactly what the religious right are deathly afraid of, having a social consciousness and actually being forced to think for themselves.  I think the social message "hidden" in the movie is dead on, and not really a bad thing to expose children to. 

The Wal-Mart generation could learn something here.

It seems that the religious right are always looking for some plot "to destroy our way of life."  To them I say: "What Would Jesus Buy?"  Lookin' good, big J!First, let me be clear.  I've abandoned Christianity for many reasons, not the least of which is I no longer believe the adult fairy tale of a "benevolent" "God" watching over all of us and allowing all of the bad things to happen because he works in "mysterious ways".  It's a load of crap.  It's Santa for grown-ups.  I think that there is some sort of higher consciousness, but it doesn't look out for us on an individual level, it's not a God, it isn't accurately described by any religious text ever, and it's completely explainable by science, even if it's science we don't understand yet.  So all criticisms of Christians as to whether or not they have any idea of what their own religion dictates should be taken with a grain pound of salt.

That being said, if Jesus were alive today, he'd puke at the sight of the people who call themselves his followers.  Yes, I'm talking to YOU Ray Comfort and Pat Robertson!  I don't know a Big J beatin the crap out of the greedy! single "Christian" alive today that lives the life prescribed by the Christian Bible.  For all their faults, the only group I know that actually came even somewhat close was the cult. 

I believe that Jesus would say "Stop the wars in the Middle East".  Christians say "Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here."  I believe Jesus would say "Help the needy" (see Matthew 25), the Religious Right say "No Socialist Health Care!" 

Why?  Why do Christians (as a whole) seem to be so off?  The only answer I can come up with is "Someone told them that."  Why was Do as you're told, morons!my wife opposed to Wall-E?  Because someone told her it was somehow un-Christian.  I don't think anything that was lampooned  by the movie is anything Jesus would not condemn.  Why do so many Conservatives/Christians/whatever seem to believe whatever they're told?  Are none of them capable of thinking for themselves? 

The other night I watched "Sicko".  Just on a whim.  I wanted to see what liberally biased crap Michael Moore was spewing in this movie.  I'd never liked him because he was obviously a rampant Liberal with an agenda and a movie camera.  While I did spot a few places in the movie that were obviously biased, for the most part it The sad state of healthcare was a dismal and unfortunately accurate depiction of the piss poor state of health care in America.  I'm shocked at how much better it is almost everywhere else.  And he identified why it's different here, and traced it back to Nixon and Edgar Kaiser in 1971.  It's appalling that in this country we give doctors bonuses on being able to deny as many people health care as possible, while in England doctors are given bonuses on crazy dumb-ass criteria like how many people they got to stop smoking. 

I was so surprised by my own reaction to this movie, I wanted to share it with my wife.  Her first question was "Is this that Michael Moore movie?" and was uninterested in anything that came from it.  She was intentionally rejecting anything she might have This doesn't look biased at all. learned from it based solely on things she had heard about Michael Moore, presumably from her religious right friends.  I'm glad I didn't let my own bias stop me.  I've finally realized that despite being an ignorant conservative for years, I'm really a flaming liberal and I'm finally coming out of the closet.  While most people my age are becoming more conservative and start voting Republican, true to the story of my life I'm doing exactly the opposite, I've wised up.  I'm actually looking in to becoming an activist.

I'm aware that war only begets more war.  Our actions in the Middle East are inspiring hate and fear of the West in the youth of that region and actively swelling the ranks of those who want to destroy us.  I'm aware that that it takes strength to say "we will not negotiate with terrorists", but it takes more strength to stick to that principle when the time comes.  I'm aware that that it takes a kind of Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out! strength that's hard to find to say "we will not submit to terrorism, but neither will we become terrorists ourselves."  It takes one kind of strength to stand up and criticize people like George Bush and Dick Cheney for sacrificing America's principles when times were dark, and it's entirely another to stick to those ideals when you find yourself in their position.  The recent disappointments from President Obama serve to illustrate that he, just like the rest of us, is only human.  Still, let's hope it doesn't happen again.