Thursday, July 26, 2007

Executive Order

President Bush made an executive order on July 17 that scares me just a bit. It gives the Secretary of Treasury the authority to take away the property of anyone who is seen as threat to the Iraqi "liberation." It seems as though it could be used as justification for punishing protestors of the Iraq war, intimidating Congress into continuing to fund the murder of Americans and Iraqis, and even preventing the impeachment of the president and the vice president -- all of which could be seen as "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq."

The ironic thing is, the person who issued the order seems to be one of those most responsible for committing "acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of ... undermining efforts ... to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Warm Gooshy Feelings

I want to make Steven Dutch and honorary McBastard because of his mini essay Three Chick Flicks and Their Unintended Message.

In it he summarizes and criticizes three movies, a music video, and the entire genre of chick flicks in general by pointing out the double-standard between men and woman in regards to adultery. "It would be hard to make a film glorifying a man who left a loyal wife for someone with fewer wrinkles. On the other hand, films aimed at women regularly glorify women who cheat on a loyal husband because her emotional needs are unfulfilled." In fact, the latter is the subject of every Lifetime Network original movie that I have ever had the misfortune of watching. Some women apparently eat that shit up like it was a bag of Dove chocalates. Dutch then sums up the premise of all chick flick, Oxygen Network, Oprah-approved tripe: "The underlying premise seems to be that physical attraction is shallow but emotional needs are deeper and more legitimate." In fact, this is not only what chick movies tell us, but it is also the sentiment of popular psychology.

"Sorry, I reject this premise completely." There is not need to continue, Mr. Dutch. Please continue. "The quest for emotional satisfaction is every bit as superficial and shallow as the quest for big breasts, and a lot more dishonest. Or perhaps I should say that the kind of emotional satisfaction people pursue is superficial and shallow. In all the examples [of chick flicks given], emotional satisfaction is defined as warm gooshy feelings. None of the women find emotional satisfaction by, say, working at a women's shelter or volunteering for the Peace Corps. The equivalent behavior among men is easy to define. Nobody ever pretended a desire for big breasts represented anything profound. Contrary to popular psychology, this is not a society where people are out of touch with their feelings. This society wallows in feelings. If anything, what most people in this society need is precisely to get out of touch with their feelings for a while."

He goes on from there to apply his assertions not only to movies but also to society on the whole. The last part of his essay is a bit confusing, though, until you realize that this is just one of his many essays on pseudoscience in our modern culture. Overall, it is a refreshing read for anyone who has been accused of 'showing too little emotion.'

Saturday, July 21, 2007


a boy discovers 
Nameless pondering a leaf
next to his swing set.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Don't Hire Me

I hope that the recent trend of employers investigating job candidates online is replaced by employers actually analyzing facets of potential employees that pertain to work. I think it is much more important for an employer to find out whether the person they are interviewing has good interpersonal and communication skills than it is to peruse their social networking site profiles or judge them based on their credit score.

Finding out what a person reads, what they do in their spare time, and how they express themselves regarding topics of interest -- be it politics, education, art, history, etc. -- would seem to me to be much more useful information than the plethora movie quotes and "Hey, I fucked your mom!" comments left by friends on the profile pages of social networking sites. There seems to be several pitfalls with judging the character of potential employees based on their online presence.

An employer might find posts or pictures suggesting that a job candidate has participated in some illegal hijinks, casual drug use, and overindulgence in alcohol. But how does one does one distinguish these probably true admissions from failingly humorous allusions of bigotry or hopefully false claims of violence? It is a fact that this information has been published to public forum, the Internet. But it hasn't been published in the journalistic or literary sense that most people are used to. This type of content has not been reviewed. Rarely has it been edited. And it does not claim to stand up to the same ethical or professional standards that traditional publishing does. Truth is often mixed in with falsehood. Exaggeration is accepted, sarcasm expected. How can an employer expect to parse all this information fairly?

Also, many people adopt an online persona when publishing information to the Internet. They may portray themselves differently in cyberspace than they would in meatspace. Perhaps they might act how they wish they were. Or maybe they act how they are afraid of becoming. The Internet can allow them the freedom to act in different ways, ways that are drastically different from how they would ever portray themselves "in real life."

Lastly, what if an employer strikes the candidate from the list due to having googled that potential employee and finding several results with links to websites that are offensive or frightening? The employer may be glad that he caught this wacko early in the interview process, but what if the offending sites belonged to another person by the same name as the candidate? The potential employee would actually have done nothing wrong in the eyes of the employer; his only crime would be having the same name as a pervert or bigot.

The adage goes "Don't believe everything you read." This is doubly true for things read on the Internet. Employers need to find new, more useful ways of finding out the relevant information about their future employees.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Nameless contemplates
the extent of his body.
a voice interrupts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Despite what they want you to believe, it appears that it may actually be unhealthy for women to babble on incessantly about their daily woes and trivial tribulations, as they are often wont to do. For more information, please read the short article by Bryan C. Daniels: "Girls who complain about their problems at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression."

Women, for your health, for your sanity, for your own good (and the good of mankind), please shut up already!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Photoshop Effect

Suppose I was examining two beautiful photographs. I would admire their color, use of space, detail, focus, etc. However, if I discovered that one of the photos had been photoshopped (Excuse me, I meant "had been enhanced using Adobe Photoshop software."), I would scrutinize that photo differently, probably more harshly, than the untouched photo. Even if I found the modified photo more beautiful, I might not find it as appealing as its unmodified cousin. This is the "photoshop effect."

The same holds true for judging other things: Athletes who use performance enhancing drugs, movies that utilize computer generated special effects, people who receive cosmetic surgery, etc. All of these I judge more harshly because of the photoshop effect.

For me, part of an subject's (art, performance, sport) value is not only it's aesthetic, but also the process by which this aesthetic was achieved. I suspect this does not hold true for everyone; some people seem impressed by anything pretty or shiny, regardless of how it was produced. This is not to say that I don't appreciate pretty, shiny things. I enjoy cool CG fight scenes in movies, and boy do I appreciate a nice set of fake boobs. But knowing that the aesthetic that these present could not be achieved without aid reduces the holistic value of them in my mind.

Circa Now