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Guns…it’s definitely not Either/Or.

Gun control is a troubling topic right now. I feel like over the last few years the ideas for either side of the conversation have become more and more polarized. You are either strongly in favor of gun ownership (of all types) or you think guns should be banned.
 
I’ve heard every kind of weird statistic thrown out there supporting for and against. I’ve seen entire city cultures that think gun ownership is an aberration and others that celebrate it at every turn.
 
I’ve never been partial to gun ownership myself but am surrounded by responsible gun owners. I find guns fascinating and also terrifying. There is a overwhelming sense of exhilaration when you are near machines that are that powerful. Weapons of mankind refined from years of use and practice to make efficient the art of killing.
 
And they are very much part of the American culture in so many areas of the country. I’m sure there are a ton of awesome reads out there on the trends of gun collecting. It is ingrained as an inherent right and a symbolism of autonomy to be able to own a firearm.
 
This is pretty important to understand if you are an opponent of guns. It is absolutely infeasible to take away guns from the civilian population without serious and massive devastation to our country. Even if you outlaw guns entirely, the problem of gun violence will grow a new complexity associated with illegal gun trades. Not to mention, I don’t know a single Texan who would just hand over their guns to the authorities if somehow they were outlawed.
 
So that still leaves us with the problem at hand regarding violence in today’s society associated with guns. I obviously don’t know the solution but I definitely don’t think it helps to approach the problem with the most infeasible solution. Guns will remain. How we control and regulate the deadliest of those weapons is the real question along with the conflicts that arise in the first place that result in violence.
 
We need to be looking at the manufacture of rapid fire weapons and distribution control. We need to be vigilant in firearm registration of course, but also in educating every generation that bares arms the responsibility associated with it.
 
And if you want to, you can even begin to teach every generation a new culture of thinking about gun ownership. It takes time to recondition people’s ideas of what is appropriate or necessary. My generation is past the point of conceding to less guns but my niece’s generation could decide that the right to bare arms might not be worth the price.
 
So what’s the immediate solution? That we need to be looking for one that doesn’t involve screaming about banning guns. I personally would like to see a massive decrease in automatic/semi-automatic rapid fire gun production. I’d also like to see a push toward registration of all firearms and making the sale of all guns far more regulated to the point of tedium.
 
In addition, there is a whole other ideology to address about educating and conditioning our society to find other ways in which to resolve conflict.
 
And I even wonder if it’s possible to stop nation wide coverage on mass shootings…to bury stories like that. Every time we cover these stories, we glorify the tragedy of such actions. I feel like it perpetuates the cycle of mass shootings.
 
I think it’s possible to push and condition people through popular media..why not for something beneficial for once? I mean, if we can manipulate a nation into consuming ridiculous amounts of sugar and watching terrible television to pass the time while they endlessly and mindlessly work to pay for land they’ll never own….surely we there is a way.
 
yeah.. you know I had to end it on a facetious note.
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Youtube Creator Day Austin Feedback

Here is the feedback response I gave Youtube Creator Day Austin:

I would rename this Creator Community day as this was more a networking exercise than valuable information. Some of the information was interesting but most if it you can find on the Creator Academy site.

I understand the objective of the ice breaker conducted with rock paper scissors but it ultimately melded into a shouting match and wasn’t all that productive for meet and greet. I would suggest an ice breaker more along the lines of putting a post it on someone back with a cartoon character and having people ask others yes or no questions in groups to figure out who they are. It’s far less hectic and better for engagement.

I also understood the point of the collaboration speed dating exercise but with the volume of people it ultimately was far too loud in the room to be effective. If you are going to do a speed dating round again, I would suggest moving to a format where you introduce yourself and your channel and switch after 45 seconds so everyone gets a chance to meet a handful of people.

I know that growing a channel is a very important message, however telling people to be authentic but then presenting evidence to follow popular trends to propel growth is a bit disingenuous. That being said, I thought all the emphasis on view retention, watch time, and proper branding was spot on.

I would also concentrate on instilling confidence in creators as that seems to be the biggest concern with most creators. Inspire creation, doing, producing and giving motivation to those who need a boost of confidence. One of the biggest mistakes youtubers make isn’t technical so much as it is understanding that making and doing equals learning and growing. You can write all the notes in the world about analytics but one of the largest hurdles is having the confidence and discipline to keep creation going.

I am appreciative of the time and effort you guys put in to do this for creators and want to thank you for hosting this.

How to Argue Wrong

The argument that you can praise a trailer on just a few minutes of screen time but not being able to have a critical opinion on that same segment is ridiculous.

It’s a bit scary how many people only want to hear an echo the opinion they already have in their own minds. Seriously, it is okay for someone to like something you hate and vise versa. You will survive.

This is my largest concern of “Review” community. I get this sense that there are herds of people who just go around looking for reviews that echo their own mind. And that’s reasonable actually as it’s nice to have someone who has similar taste as you do….

but I see a lot of people who go after reviewers who simply have a different opinion than they do and try to tear them down personally. It’s disheartening. “If you don’t like what I do, you’re a hater and you should only like everything”. . . .

Good thing Siskel and Ebert were not on Youtube back in the day. They would have been flayed alive!

Your Face is Annoying

Occasionally, I will reply to trolls. It is always advised that you don’t but sometimes I feel the need to engage with someone who has insulted me on a personal level.

Mostly, I do this out of curiosity. For example.

“your face is annoying”…

1. why is my face annoying to them? like what particular geometric configuration is the most annoying? perhaps my eyebrows are too close together? my lips are too fat?

2. what compelled them to take time out of their enthralling life to post a comment on my video about my face? Perhaps the person doesn’t know how to articulate an argument so this is how they lash out? Or is it simply that they weren’t taught manners or that they think it’s funny?

3. for sociological studies, I try go figure out the age of the comment provider as well. Although I have found that the age group ranges pretty widely but usually not over 40 and mostly under 30.

4. insults are usually derived out of other people’s own insecurities or issues. generally attacks like these are not about “you” but really about the other person so I become curious about them on a personal level.

We often think of trolls as these faceless bots that just exist on the internet but they are real people. Some are malicious and others just simply ignorant that being rude is even an issue.

Because they are faceless, it’s easy to lump them all in as just “asshats” and “kids” but I often wonder if there is more to the issue of ignoring them. Obviously, you can’t take most trolls seriously but I wonder if its more harmful to continue existing as online walls, without emotion, without response. They’ll just keep thinking it’s okay to graffiti penis heads on you, right?

Anyhow, that’s my 4am ramble for tonight.

The UN

One of the most interesting things to come out of my watching Captain America: Civil War is learning more about the history of the United Nations.

I have mixed opinions on its effectiveness before but this movie made me take an even more critical look. World politics is very interesting because of how divided we are within our own self-serving nations.

There is good that comes from united fronts like the UN but I’m wondering if private organizations do a better job at being more effective (ie: malaria no more). I’m also trying to figure out how I feel about a “republic” for the world.

I would say that realistically if we look at the history of the UN there is great argument for its ineffectiveness in preventing conflict. “There is no supranational authority [the UN] capable of wielding overwhelming power” (Rittberger, 2006)

BUT I do like the idea of a world organization that promotes human rights and human health. I’m just not sure how I feel about military force being tied to such an entity.

The point is though is that I’m reading more about it and learning more about it which is great…..so I can become even more cynical about the world. 😛

American Privileges

My GoT video is finally rendering. I had issues tonight as I accidentally deleted one of the video files off my SD card thinking it was an old one.

When you delete videos off the SD card, it does not go into the Recycle Bin, it just gets obliterated. Luckily, Azyxa was able to recover the file with is mad skills so I didn’t have to re-record.

Good times!

While I’m waiting for this to render, I thought I might elaborate on a comment someone made in my Snowden video asking what I meant about “American privileges”

It may seem like a cocky statement to make as if the US is better than other nations but what I meant by it was that we are a democracy that enjoys a lot of luxuries… Things like cheap gas, the American Dream (although it’s fading), free speech, freedom of religion, massively materialistic consumerism, and a functioning albeit flawed democracy.

While our society obviously still suffers from discrimination, I think we enjoy quite a bit of social acceptance in a progressive way that you can’t under a fundamental society.

I looked at the news today and saw the article about the Nauru refugee in Australia who set herself on fire because she was turned down for asylum. I’m often struck by news about people in conditions where they direly seek a better life away from their home country. It must be terribly horrific to have to go through…to not have a home.

So yeah, I’m very appreciative of what I have as an American. I don’t take it for granted.

Snowden Movie Trailer

I struggled all today on whether or not to do a trailer review for Snowden. I find it a very difficult subject to resolve my own own feelings on as I see the subject matter extremely “grey”..

I have a lot to say on the issue but am wondering if it more about the subject matter than it is the actually trailer. These are the types of ponderings I have with trying my hand at critical reviews. So much of me just wants to explore the personal and emotional side of a topic.. not the actual film quality.

I think I’ll sleep on it as it’s already 2:44am and I haven’t figured out where I will resolve this in my mind.

DC is Lex Luthor

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I feel like DC hates Superman more than Lex Luthor and sadly have been more successful at destroying him as well.
 
It’s like they don’t believe in in him anymore and have done everything they can to re-invent, re-vamp, and re-imagine him.
 
I honestly don’t understand it but then again I’m not the one who is losing out on profits because of low comic book sales.
 
Why is Chinese Superman just not another character? Like The Captain Kenan Kong? Solar Boy? Kid Kenan? I don’t get it. I really don’t. Maybe someone can help me understand.

Clearly Asian?

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I got this comment on my Ghost in the Shell Live Action Movie Thoughts video. I thought it was interesting.

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No, I don’t get offended every time an Asian is not cast in a movie. I am especially not offended in this case of Ghost in the Shell as I’m unsure what “clearly Asian” means for this movie. This is a movie about consciousness and technology, a film about transcendence far before its time. If you love the original 1995 anime then you would not care about the race of the actor they chose to play Major Motoko Kusanagi. Her body and the bodies of the other cybernetic characters in this movie are not culturally or ethnically motivated.

Here’s one of the more powerful quotes from the film that I think really exemplifies Kusanagi and it shows that race is not one of her identifying features. That’s the whole point of the movie for me. The body is just a vessel.

There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind like all the components that make up me as an individual with my own personality. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from others but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms me and gives rise to my conscience. I feel confined only free to expand myself within boundaries. – Kusanagi

Going back to the idea of the comment saying that the role is “clearly Asian,” I don’t think I can agree. I look at her as I’ve always looked at her since I first saw this anime. She’s always seemed more European and western in look than Asian as do almost all anime characters.

Anime characters have wide looking eyes as they have been largely inspired by the work of Osamu Tezuka who was inspired by the exaggerated features of American cartoon characters such as Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse and from Disney’s Bambi.. “Tezuka found that large eyes style allowed his characters to show emotions expressions distinctly.”

Depending on the different drawings styles of the animator, characters can vary in Eastern visual features, mostly in the eyes I’ve noticed. In the case of Kusanagi, her eyes are very wide and blue. I don’t know many Asians who have blue eyes.

Her nose is particularly is high in nasal bone area and thin in the nostril area, features which are more commonly seen in Western/European females. Her build is particularly muscular as well which does not seem to be a common body type of Asian females. These features do not mean she’s not Japanese or Asian but I think it surely can be open for interpretation.

In addition, as I stated before, I do not think that her nationality is relevant to her character.

That being said, I do agree that it’s much more respectful when film creators try to honor as much as the original creators design as possible. It’s not always relevant as we’ve seen race bending successfully done in many movies (not so much with the gender bending. lol). I would have loved to have seen an up and coming Asian actress given the opportunity to play Kusanagi but I’m also not bitterly upset that one wasn’t cast.

There are certain films where I think national identity is very important and others I do not. For example, if they “whitewash” Akira, I’ll be ready to unravel as the themes of that movie are heavily tied to cultural ideologies…. NOT that I think Hollywood has a chance in hell of doing that film right.

And maybe that’s where the real anger should be directed in terms of Ghost in the Shell in particular. Studios greedily acquire rights to properties so they can snatch them up before other studios do. Later, they have to produce these films whether the circumstances be right or not in order to recoup costs.

It is true, the fans were not asking for this to be made and if they were ever going to be asked, they’d want it done right. As I said in my video, my concerns for this movie have far less to do with ScarJo’s race than a whole host of other issues regarding respect for the movie’s story.

 

 

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