Dammit, Jim, I’m A Writer, Not A Thinker!

When did we forget how to think?

No, seriously — I just read a story about Google. The CEO was lamenting the fact that it was very, very difficult (read: impossible) to “teach” an algorithm to recognize “fake news” when both sides vehemently believed what they were saying.

No shit.

That’s what human brains are for, goddammit!

Why on Earth would you ever expect — why on Earth would you ever want — a computer program to determine “truth” for you?! That is utterly and completely asinine.

One of the hallmarks of being ostensibly intelligent, self-aware beings (besides opposable thumbs, and shit like the Kardashians) is the ability to…you know…judge for yourself.

That ability, that judgment, is both privilege and burden…which is as it should be. Anyone who expects someone else to lay it all out for them, to tell them what and who to believe, deserves the empty shell that their life has become.

Now, look: I know I’m an old, cranky bastard — shit, the fact that I actually remember the Ewok Christmas special is enough to tell you that! — but I simply can’t be alone in this. Do people no longer learn to assimilate information, weigh the evidence, and make their own judgment? C’mon, it ain’t that hard, folks!

The real problem, unfortunately, seems to be the same for people as it is for Google: when people disagree, it is hard to decide. Unfortunately, far too often “we” (as a people, not us in specific) tend to shortcut the judgment-thing and just go with what our “team” says.

“A conservative Republican/liberal Democrat said it, so it must be true.”

And of course, the converse: “those (other) evil bastards believe it, so it must be a nefarious plot…”

It goes back to something I harped on over the summer (while avoiding most of this crap by living in the wilderness): we, as a country and a society, are so polarized, so split and torn-apart, that we can’t agree even on a common set of facts. Black and white no longer have the same meanings to people on different “teams”, and 1+1 only equals 2 when it benefits one side over the other.

*sigh*

This is, by the way, how societies die: not in great, thunderous wars but in the pathetic whimpers of blind, narcissistic parochialism.

Those voices howling alone in the wilderness? Those voices trying to stand against the tide and scream “No More”?

Yeah, those are the voices of those trying to hold it all together. The voices of common sense and the good of all above the good of self.

The voices of those losing the fight.

Now a philosopher, or a profound thinker, would have a list of prescriptions and advice to try and address this problem. Me? I just want to slap the shit out of most of these folks.

“Wake up!” I want to scream. “Wake up and use your fucking brain!”

Hrm, didn’t seem to work…

Back to the wilderness, and to my solitary howling, I guess.

Random, Pointless Post O’ The Month…

**Warning**Warning**Danger, Will Robinson!**Random Post Incoming!**Danger**Danger**

Speaking of Alec Guinness moments…

My God, what have I done?

I killed off my Amazon Prime subscription…the Prime subscription I’ve had since the damned program began.

Keep in mind, I’m “that guy” who spends more on books than most people do on rent. Who spends far too much, I should clarify.

Between the “free” express shipping and the streaming service, how could I not use my Prime to fullest advantage?!

Because it…well…it actually kinda sucks.IMG_0951

Do I really need to get my copy of A Great and Terrible King in two days?

Do I really need to binge watch old 80’s game shows?

Because those two things are about all Prime actually has. Ugh…a hundred bucks a year for shipping I don’t need, and shows I don’t watch?

It ain’t the useless insanity that my cable bills used to be, but it’s pretty damned close.

Especially when I can nerd-out on anime with CrunchyRoll and binge watch actual good shows with NetFlix and iTunes…

*sigh*

What has my life come to when this is the major event of my week?

When the hell did I start weighing the pluses and minuses like an…err…adult?

When the hell did I turn into my parents?!

I gave up adulthood when I gave up “business casual” attire and life as a sales & marketing weasel…

Look, I’ve got no kids — no dependents of any kind — and a complete inability to make any romantic relationship work*. Hell, I don’t even have a freakin’ goldfish, let alone any ties that, well, bind. In no sense can I be considered “grown up” or responsible. Quite the opposite, in fact…and I don’t give a damn what the grey hair is supposed to mean.

*I might be the only guy in the universe for whom the phrase “It’s not you, it’s me” is 100% true. If all my relationships fail, and I’m the one common element in all of them, well…even I can do that math.

But still adult behavior sneaks in…

I’m so disappointed in myself.

I have a choice, right now: go do something responsible and intelligent, or go to the brewery…

Hammerschlagen, anyone?

IMG_0952

If Politics Were A Video Game, I’d Rage-Quite Right About Now…

Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.

–Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

It’s Election Day. Again.

Yay.

I guess it’s rather surprising in someone who loves the cut & thrust of politics in history, but I just can’t stand the idiocy of the modern US system at this point.

Both the Rs and Ds scream at each other, painting the other as the harbinger of death and destruction, and insisting that they and they alone are able to keep the world safe for puppies and babies.

Bullshit.

Both are part of the problem. Both exist only to promote and benefit the entrenched special interests and political/social elites who are their donors, and who drive their respective agendas. And both, in all candor, push the same, carbon-copy shit they have been pushing for decades. And, yes, I use the phrase “same shit” very, very intentionally: both (supposedly antithetical) parties/factions represent exactly the same uselessness. Boil away the fluff and tissue-paper decorations, and you are left simply with two ostensibly separate groups pushing the same agenda to benefit the same people.

Bah, a pox on both their houses! And by pox, I mean the nastiest, most incurable strain of syphilis the universe can dream up.

Einstein very famously said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Well, welcome to United States politics, Al. Not a single idea comes out of any of these idiots that is in any way original or useful.

Nope, it’s all the same tried-and-true prescriptions that helped fuck everything up in the first place.

–No, Rs, I don’t want a goddamned thing to do with your sanctimonious pseudo-morality and regressive socio-cultural indignation.

–No, Ds, I don’t want a goddamned thing to do with your social engineering, or your dangerously naive views on economics and security.

–No, “establishment”, I don’t want a goddamned thing to do with your politics or your myopic, fratricidal squabbles.

No, just…no.

What I want is someone — ANYONE — who gives more of a shit about the good of the country, and of the people who by any definition ARE the country, than the petty maneuvering for advantage of their own “team”.

What I want is someone who gives a damn about regular folks: about those of us who would rather remove our own organs with dull spoons than go to a political cocktail-party/fundraiser…about those of us who have more on our minds than worrying about scoring points against “the other guy”…about those of us who can only lose in a rigged game played by folks with whom we have nothing in common…

Yes, I do realize I’m ranting; sorry about that.  Although, personally, I’d actually rather call it “venting”…that just sounds better. Kinda like saying your house is “alternatively heated” rather than “on fire”.

The simple fact of the matter is that I’ve had enough. Enough of the petty bullshit that makes up politics at every level, enough of the prioritizing of “red team” or “blue team” over real people, enough of arguments that are literally so old and repetitive that no one actually pays attention to the merits anymore.

I’ve been asked why I write such dark material…

Well, the answer to that is fairly complicated, both on personal and intellectual grounds — and may see some attention in future posts — but one little clue can come from simply watching/reading the news for a half-hour.

*sigh*

Nothing I write could be darker or more depressing — nor better illustrate the inane futility of it all — than that.