Category Archives: INTERNETS!!!!!
The ScienceWerks team has spent the last 5 days researching better titles for this absolute turkey of a film that has convinced America and the foreign press that it is the second coming of the cinemascope song and dance genre. How did it do this? We’ll get in to that later, today the ScieneWerks just wants to present the results of their research. Forgive the ScienceWerks, they’re not great with design and don’t seem to understand proper text stacking.
We here at Vote Simpson/Hemstead have been rather heartbroken at the loss of Carrie Fisher. She was more than just a princess and a general, she embodied a number of concepts that we would carry with us through our formative years and into our adulthood. She first stepped into our minds at about 3 years old. For me personally, Star Wars is my first and strongest memory. And like so many of my contemporaries, that is how we first came to know Carrie, but we didn’t realize the ways she would impact our lives.
As (Princess) General Leia Organa Solo:
She was our first crush.
She was the first strong female character we encountered in movies.
She stood fearlessly against giants, and not only held her own but often made them back down.
She was relentless and determined.
The villainous could subjugate her, but never break her. And in the end, they’d pay.
As her character aged she became wistful, and a little reticent of some poor choices she might have made, but would not stop fighting for what she believed in.
As I got older, and became a fan of Carrie as a humorist, author, and script doctor I found that Carrie as a human being was all those same qualities I loved about her most iconic character. It’s easy to separate Carrie and Leia, but I’ve found in preparing this that I’ve had a hard time separating what I loved most about these two icons, the fictional and real, because as I knew her, Carrie embodied what I love about Leia, and Leia was only a woman I love because of Carrie.
She will be missed.
I’ve seen a lot of “why I’m voting for _______” posts the last week, and I make a point to read them all. I encourage you to do the same. The lack of actual critical thought on display this election cycle is unseen in my lifetime, and we’ve only ourselves to blame.
The two unifying traits I see in all of them are as follows: 1 – Reckless adherence to fallacies and sweeping, uninformed generalizations couched in schoolyard character attacks, regardless of candidate. 2 – A hollow and apologetic tone for their own candidate that feels similar to an abused spouse explaining to a cop why it’s not their partner’s fault that they are abusive through a tear-stained black eye and bloody nose. A party-line Battered Spouse Syndrome that keeps the cycle of abuse active based on fear of the other side “winning.” Much like Battered Spouse Syndrome, the abusers are keeping their spouses in check by making them afraid of the world if they’re not protected by the abuser. Is that what we are? Is that what we deserve?
In a word, yes.
I finally came to that conclusion when I saw an almost uniform THIRD similarity in these posts; attention to the vice presidential candidate. This is the first time I can recall that BOTH parties’ supporters pay special attention to the vice presidential candidate as a mid-term successor to the president. It’s the first time I can recall in my lifetime that both party supporters have liberally used the phrase, “I think _____ will be a good president if something happens to _______.” Both parties have a suspicion and possibly hope that the law will step in and take away their abusive spouse. Before an election is held, we are uniformly whispering the word “impeachment” about our own candidates before we have cast a vote.
My God, what have we become?
I’m not interested in telling you who to vote for. I can write an extensive and 100% verifiable, fact-based post on why you should not vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Dr. Jill Stein. Hell, I can write you an extensive and 100% verifiable, fact-based post on why you should not vote for Simpson/Hemstead (which I’m sure will confuse and annoy the upwards of 7 people who have said they are voting for us this November – and I do love you vote-throwing people). I’m only interested in you getting help, like anyone suffering from Battered Spouse Syndrome.
Your actions are hurting you. Your actions are hurting us, the rest of your American family. If you continue to get your information exclusively from your abuser and your abuser’s like-minded friends, you will forever be stuck in a fear-based cycle of battery. I want so much more for you than that.
I would love to see you do the unthinkable. I would love to see you reach across the party line and have a conversation with a facebook friend on the other side. I do mean a conversation, not a shouting match of social media rhetoric, but an actual conversation. This isn’t to convince the other side to join yours, but to find out what you have in common. Support each other, because I promise you that they are as scared as you are. Find out how we can help each other rather than correct each other. Avoid using the following words and phrases: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, your people, liberals, conservatives, Cheeto Jesus, Grandma Murder, or really any slur of any kind. They’re not clever and they don’t help. Try to see yourself from the other side. Or if that’s too hard then when you get stirred up and want to jump into the fracas against the “batshit crazy” supporters of your opponent, just repeat this line from Buffalo Springfield, “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.” A bit of a generalization of course, but perhaps it will give you a moment of perspective to change your tactic.
It’s not surprising our abusers have slowly and methodically driven a wedge of fear and distrust between us to keep us in line and to keep us subservient, our strength comes from our unity. Unfortunately, our unity was the first casualty of our apathy. The age of a great politician uniting us is gone, if it ever really existed. It’s up to us now. We’re grown ups. We need to set a better example. We need to be better Americans to Americans.
My fellow Americans, make no mistake, what is happening in our country right now is what we deserve. It’s what we’ve allowed by taking the easy path and by vilifying our neighbors. If we don’t start EARNING something better, we’ll be doomed to apologize for our abusers until there is no more humanity to beat out of us. And I think we can earn something better. And We will always be here, ready to listen, to commiserate, and maybe even try to help.
And to those seven who planned to cast their vote our direction: When the dust settles in mid-November and people on both sides of the parties are muttering their discontent, I want you to look them in the eyes and say, “Blame me, I voted Simpson/Hemstead.” And as always, we love you.
And as always, we love you all.
We are deeply saddened for the families of those who have lost a loved one to gun violence this week, and every week. But we are even more deeply concerned with the escalating spiral of rage and finger-pointing that are nurturing more opportunities for such violence. Once again we implore you to abstain from feeding these online dialogues that only further entrench those whose opinions would differ from yours behind their own walls of social media righteousness.
It’s foolish to say to a group of adults that the desires of the nation aren’t just black and white. That’s obvious to anyone capable of even the most rudimentary measure of critical thought. We know that the nation, and humanity lives in the nebulous grey gradient between those poles.
We each live behind our own fog of war, and believe me, we have allowed ourselves to escalate this conversation into a war. This fog rolls in thick from behind our heads, condensed from the ether by our own social positions and opinions. We reject opinions contrary to ours with our own personal violences: We name call, we unfriend, we bait, we battle strangers in comment threads. We don’t listen. We wait for our turn to tell others how the world should change to better reflect our opinions. Sometimes we don’t even wait.
Each and every one of these exchanges feeds a national online dialogue that increasingly polarizes the population. Each of us adds little pressures to massive, groaning fault line between us all.
And each time we do, we thicken the fog around ourselves, and push those whose opinions would differ from ours deeper into the murky distance. We do this so much so that we even seek it out in our political candidates. Every political cycle they become more and more just… caricatures.
And we retreat a little further back into the polarized battlefield, nourishing our opinions on memes and like-minded media outlets, always believing our side to be white, and those whose opinions would differ from ours to be black.
And the faces of acquaintances whose opinions would differ from ours become caricatures. Less human, and whose opinions do not matter as much as ours. And who are incapable of seeing the grey that our nation lives in.
The grey we used to see so well.
The grey that is indecipherable behind our fog of war, so far back in our entrenched lines.
The grey that has become a no man’s land.
The grey that does nothing more than catch innocence within the crossfire of our best intentions.
This is the grey we are supposed to live in, but we are willing it into abandonment.
So I stand here, a murky silhouette in the middle of an abandoned American ideal, waving a flag of truce and begging my brothers and sisters in this great experiment called America to stand up from their trenches and throw down their arms.
This has nothing to do with gun control. I’m asking you to throw down the armaments you use to defend your opinions with extreme prejudice and step out into the no man’s land to have a listen.
No, not to me, and not your media outlets, your memes, or the voices from back in your polarized entrenchment. Listen to each other, stripped from the offensive weapons we use to berate and belittle each other. And listen to how we are afraid. Standing alone together in the grey of no man’s land, the artillery of agendas hissing past our heads and hear the fears of those whose opinions would differ from yours.
And remember what you already know: We all want the same things.
The safety that can only be provided by a government.
Safety from the government abusing the gift of our trust.
Safety to be with our friends and neighbors.
Safety from our friends and neighbors.
Safety to have an opinion.
Safety to have that opinion respected.
These safeties to extend to our families and all those we hold dear.
The safety that those we hold dear would never need to fear the loss of these safeties.
Maybe if enough of us listen rather than tell, we can thin this fog of war back enough to see one another again.
How many more people need to die before we realize the fact that we are all responsible for the environment we have created. We’ve willed it into cold reality through the self-righteousness of our own opinions, and our impassioned willingness to instruct others on the right way to think. If you don’t believe me play the following thought experiment with yourself.
When you read the title of this post, “A Call to Disarm, America,” your gut instinct immediately made you think “gun control.” Before even digesting the first sentence of the post, your brain had already filtered the concept of gun control through your opinions and you had a feral, emotional response toward the word “Disarm” and how you feel about the concept of sweeping gun legislation. That emotional response entrenched you with, or against the post emotionally, and you started your praise or rebuttals.
Did you have a reaction? Positive or negative? Did you bristle or nod quietly to yourself before you read the post? Did it color the way you read the post?
If so it might be time to accept your part. Disarm yourself of your opinions, your memes, your like-minded media outlets, and the fear-mongering braying mules who seek fame at the cost of dividing our nation. Step out from your fog and join me in the no man’s land with ears open. Because a war is coming, and we are escalating it. Each and every one of us. Every single day.
I’ll be there, waiting. On the groaning fault line in the grey. Afraid. I hope you join me. One nation, indivisible. With liberty, justice, and safety for all.
Post Script: To those of you who would argue that a conversation can never stop a war I would say this in response: In October of 1963, a conversation was had that implored leaders of nations to listen to the fears of those whose opinions would differ from their own. That conversation peeled back a fog of war so thick that the only “rational” response the day before was nuclear war. Conversation won’t get us all the way there, but it will go much further for the health of our freedoms than rhetoric and violence.
Facebook, despite it’s many faults, is a wonderful catalogue of all the poor life choices your friends and family have made with pride. Haircuts, political leanings, clothing options, meal choices, significant others, medical opinions, decisions to run a failing political campaign for 14 years – all of it proudly displayed by the perpetrators themselves.
That’s a helluva thing.
That headline says more about the state of the union than any post a political analyst could write.
Today marks the launch of the HTC Vive, an exciting step forward in consumer-level, room sized V.R. simulation.
Personally I’m beginning a journey into content creation for V.R. and it’s the Vive that has most grabbed my attention. Each of the platforms has its plusses and minuses, but the Vive has been transcendent in a way that the others haven’t thus far for me. I’ve spent hours painting in the cleverly simple, but infinitely playable Tilt Brush, shot down aliens while skittering across a room, and stood on the edge of virtual cliffs as my very real stomach tightened. The content is already so interesting as these technologies begin their consumer infancy, I’m very excited to see what comes next, and very excited to be a part of the advance.
Having spent a few days exploring the environments available under the visors of HTC Vive, Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, this is about the only way I can sum up my experience in this exciting new world.
The first lady and I were sitting in bed talking about virtual reality last night and the following conversation happened:
First Lady: We need virtual reality company names that sound more immersive. Like the opposite of virtual reality so that it feels more real and amazing.
Me: Okay. what’s the opposite of virtual reality though?
FL: Tangible… Fantasies.
Me: That sounds like an escort service for cosplayers.
FL: Either way. This is also a viable business venture.
Coming soon from Vote Simpson/Hemstead ScienceWerks: Tangible Fantasies.*
*No word yet on whether costumed escorts will be available at this time.
You will never change the faith of another by labeling their faith as stupid, you will only entrench them deeper in their beliefs.