Friday, 15 May 2015

The Activist Revolution

Mark Zuckerberg is a dick. He's a narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-professed asshole who walked all over his best friends to get what he wanted. But he will go down in history as a visionary alongside Einstein. We don't realize it yet, because he's new. He created social media, and with that spawned a generation of connectivity the likes the world has never seen. His vision allowed us to connect with one another, get informed, get knowledge. It also allowed us to get hundreds of pictures of cats. Not to mention bullshit. Lots and lots of bullshit.
Mark Zuckerberg's first business card.

However you about him he's created the future. With that future comes the opportunity for us as a people to help shape it.

Peace and Love

The sixties were a time of cultural revolution. Anti-war protests, peace and love, civil rights, and more. The message was carried through in that era through music, and yes, protest. The killing of students at Kent State University is fully engrained in the minds of those who lived through that time. As well, the assassinations of King and two Kennedys. With social activism comes discontent, opposing viewpoints, violence and tons of anger. Anger which today, seems all too close, again. Today we are again becoming activists, and a new revolution has begun. Today's revolution will have a deeper impact than anything Woodstock or Height-Ashbury could have ever accomplished. Today we have Facebook, and it's all thanks to one arrogant prick. A damn smart arrogant prick, but none-the less, Zuckerberg.

Over the past couple of years this planet of ours (the only one with beer), has gone to the shitter. Wars, plagues, corporate greed, incompetent politicians, drugs, economic power grabs, and generally people not giving the slightest crap about anything but themselves. Unfortunately, as the sixties generation saw, it's those in power causing it. Not much has changed. Things happened in the seventies, elected officials began to see the light and made changes. In the eighties, we signed peace accords and worked with warring powers to end strife. In the nineties, we began to see a thaw in decades-old tensions that had the world cowering under the fear of total annihilation, then we went to bat for the little guys who were unlawfully crushed under the oppressive weight of brutal regimes. The new millennium saw the rise of the war on terror. Now we see that getting out of hand. 

This decade, we see the light. Thanks to social media.

This decade draws parallels to the peace and love generation for a couple of reasons, first, we're fucking sick of it. Secondly, it's in our face. Constantly. You can't turn it off even if you wanted to. Even people living off the grid with no regard for the news of the day are inundated with current events and struggles because they stay connected to loved ones via social media. Obviously, that's not completely inclusive, but there are now billions of people on the net, the world shrank.

Eyes are open

So we see it. Everywhere. Someone's opinion is driven to you and it doesn't matter whether or not you care about a particular incident, you probably at least know about it. It doesn't matter anymore if you know what Monsanto is doing to our farmers and our food, but you know it isn't good. Social media has done it's job. You may love MacDonalds or hate it, but now you know that people are not going there as much and they're closing hundreds or restaurants due to falling profits. Why? Because information spreads like a disease and try as you might, you're gonna get some. MacDonalds has now gotten the hint. No longer do they have to spend millions on focus groups to see where the problem is, they just have to follow what's trending. And it's them. Last week they made news in that the CEO resigned, and the new CEO is taking steps to fix the food. Viral posts about their food not rotting may or may not have had and effect. Who knows.

ISIS is taking to social media to start a war, while we take to social media to end them. Hackivists are gradually grinding away at the terror cult's ability to draw recruits, and their own hackers are waging cyberwar with the rest of the world. Without the internet, we'd never know what we do, we'd have to rely on mainstream news for information, and then we'd be spoon fed what they want us to know. Mainstream news. On that note, without the internet would you be aware that 90% of your news intake is fed to you by only six companies? Who controls those companies? Big money. Big corporate elite, and we are their minions. 

No more.

Social media shows us the true nature of the world in all it's wondrous glory and gut-wrenching horror. Sites are springing up all the time (and shutting down), that portray things as "you should see them". Ah, there's the rub; someone else to scare you! Now it's up to us, as it was for hippies, to decide what to believe. Those of us who follow the trends and have some semblance of intelligence can easily pick the truth out. Again, the internet doesn't fail us, sites like Scopes are must-see sites to help sort out truth from perverse falsehoods.

Unfortunately, many people aren't so bright. There's a ton of people out there with internet access, the IQ roughly that of their shoe size, and a dumb theory. Wade carefully. It's amazing how many people believe the drivel being spewed. Sadly, many politicians take the bait, and the plagues of nonsensical disinformation spreads.

I read a lot of things from both sides. I'm open-minded enough to entertain an idea, and intelligent enough to know when I smell bullshit. I will read whack-a-doodle posts just as quick as intelligent thought-provoking articles, just because I enjoy being amused. Like the story last week about the Fox News guest (don't care to research her name, it's too stupid), who on a major mainstream network, claimed that the Amtrak conductor in last week's Philadelphia crash was gay, and as a result of thinking too much about gay sex, crashed the train. Read that again and shake your head. Nothing on Snopes. Yet.

What's going on

Landscape and the Fall of Icarus,
Pieter Bruegel the Elder? c. 1590
The reality is that many people don't care. They go about their lives in a manner befit themselves, and don't get upset about things they can't control. Many simply decide to not pay attention anymore, either out of apathy or fatigue. That's their choice. But regardless of what side of the fence you fall, even the most introverted people can't help to see issues. It's whether or not they choose to act that matters. Take this painting for example. This theory is not new. The painting, Landscape and the Fall of Icarus, (thought to be by Pieter Bruegel, c.1590), depicts Icarus falling to his death as people go about their business. It is the antipathy of a Flemish proverb - En de boer ... his ploegde voort; or pointing out the ignorance of people to fellow man's suffering. Even 400 years ago apathy was endemic.

The brainless bunch

Therein lies the problem. Fucktards with theories ruining true efforts to make this a better world. Smart people with theories will win. But social media brings out the loons too. Debate is never far away anymore. Post something political today and just see who grabs it and runs, or slams you for having an idea. Debate is a great thing, that's why elections feature them and schools have competitions with them. But bring your A-game, or you're a nitwit. While I do enjoy seeing people like Ted Nugent or Sarah Palin get crushed under the weight of intelligent people, I also believe they have a voice. And social media gives them the outlet they need. In the end, we all win.

It doesn't matter what you're opinion is, good, bad, or stupid. You have a voice, and that's what counts in a free society. Today, we take that freedom for granted, but remember that if it wasn't for Zuckerberg, that freedom could not possibly be expressed as effectively. You're reading my blog, which I will post on Facebook, and will get picked up by Google. People may share it, and my voice is heard. Everyone has that ability now. Everyone has an amplifier for their personal views, and everyone should use it, because it works.

This is a marvellous time, we will all change the world, together. The sixties generation could not have dreamed this, nor could any generation prior to the new millennium. It's up to us what we do with it, we can fix this world, or we could keep fucking it up. The majority will be heard, I just hope that majority doesn't think the US government is actually invading Texas and declaring martial law.

Make a difference.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Change doesn't come easy to me. I'm a creature of habit. Hell I still have the dresser I had when I was six. I buy the same kind of shoes, the same kind of pants, drink my coffee the same as I did when I was 20, yadda yadda yadda. 

So hitting middle age makes me cringe for many reasons, things must change. My health for one. I went to see the doctor today because I'm loosing weight faster than dryers eat socks. I've lost almost 40 pounds in the past eight months, and that is just a little bit disconcerting. The first question she asked me today was "how much are you eating?" My answer was met by an obvious "Go eat a sandwich sometime". Yeah. Obviously. When I'm down, I don't eat. I know that's an issue. Even though I'm hungry and my stomach is in violent contractions, I will sit there, not wanting to bother. When I'm up, I binge. It ain't good. That's step one.

Step two, next week I get to go for a full work up, physical, blood test, urine test, the lot. She even mentioned the dreaded P word. (prost... I can't say it, it's painful to think about). Step three is thyroid, vitamin supplements and dietary supplements such as Boost. My calorie intake sucks.

So change is in the air. Middle age is in the air, I've been in denial for years. You don't really think middle age when you're still trying to figure out a career. In my mind, I'm still 26, not 46.

I started today, as soon as I got home from the doctor's I made myself a big bowl of oatmeal, an hour later a couple sandwiches, and a macaroni and beef concoction for dinner. I missed breakfast, the meal I hate the most. Mornings for me are coffee, open one eye; more coffee, crack the other eye; more coffee, focus the first eyeball... Cooking would be stupid. But I have to change that before I disappear in a wisp. 

Last year I was a steady 180 pounds. At one point two years ago I broke 200 for the first time in my life. I've always been thin, I sat around 145 for years. My weight, like my penchant for things staying the same, never varied. I used to piss my wife off because I never tried on pants, I'd read the tag and head for the checkout. Then I went up and had to start going into the change room. Now that I'm back down to 150, stuff I bought a couple years ago doesn't fit. Sigh.

Being thin is almost as much a crutch as being overweight. I never got picked first for school sports, I was laughed at on the beach, I ran out of energy too soon, and being that thin meant a lack of upper body strength. I took to the army to work on that and it soon dawned on me that I could keep up with the big guys, to some degree. But it's always been tough. When I went up I felt normal. Like just anyone else, last year my dreams of normality were crushed. I was a runt again. At the very least I'd like to not have to go buy yet more temporary pants. Cause, you know, I'd have to try them on. 

I'd at least like to be the same size as my 19 year old son. It's hard to be the big guy of the house when you're the smallest!

So I will change, because life moved on and I must move with it. I will take my Boost, take my vitamins, change my diet. At least I stopped eating fast food! (Um, wait... maybe I should take that up again...) I'll pull out the bike and start riding again, go for long walks and get more physical. I've slacked off and it shows. It shows the degree of 40 pounds. I've already heard people say how much they wish they could lose 40, or 30, or 10, but believe me, when you're a little guy it makes a huge difference. Look closer at the skinny runts you walk past, they also suffer from body image. It's turned around somewhat, but the problem is similar. Sure, we don't have to worry about things like diabetes, or heart issues brought on by being overweight, but it's a curse none-the-less.

I'm off to get that sandwich.