Sunday, April 9, 2017

Random Thoughts III

The Politically Naive Alt-Right

I found it really interesting how quick so many in the Alt Right were to jump ship on Trump after his missile strikes on Syria. I too was disappointed because it struck me as rash and contrary to his espoused philosophy of reigning in America as the world’s policeman. Yet I was not at all surprised. Just as every president before him Trump will have to compromise occasionally. He’s playing the long game and cannot be some perfectly pure incarnation of paleoconservative nationalism. To see so many of his supporters become so outraged really speaks to how green these folks are about politics.

This is an area where the Left is much stronger than the New Right. How many leftists jumped ship on Obama when he betrayed them over and over and over again? Very few. They stood by their guy to the bitter end because they knew ultimately he was pushing their vision forward however imperfectly. The New Right would do well to learn from that. Agendas have to be implemented through imperfect people via imperfect systems. Don't be a hypocrite. Criticize policies that go against your principles, but when they are carried out by leaders you support, focus on the policy. Don't jump ship on the guy the minute realpolitik comes in to play and he fails a purity test. Any movement that abandons its leaders the minute they have to make some compromise is doomed to failure.

Review: Ghost in the Shell

As a huge fan of the series I decided to subject myself to this. It turned out to be not terrible, though my expectations are quite low for any PG-13 Hollywood cross-cultural adaptation. The visuals at least were quite strong. I actually like Scarlet Johansson too. She has this sort of breathy, curvy, effortless sex appeal that I really dig (see the bar scene with Bruce Banner in Age of Ultron for a simple example). Unfortunately I don’t think she was a good fit for the role of the Major. She came across as more confused than stoic. The script didn’t do her any favors either. Ghost in the Shell doesn’t work well as an origin story. They should have done what the recent Dredd movie did and just give us a day in the life of Kusanagi and her team. Also it needed to be bloodier and have more real nudity, both for fan service purposes and to draw more visual and thematic contrasts the way the original movie did. Did we not learn from Deadpool that R-rated superhero movies can work spectacularly?

Why Female Superheroes Wear Sexy Costumes

The goal of a superhero costume is to connote power. Humans perceive attractive, sexy women as having more power. A typical man is more intimidated by the cute barista at Starbucks than Hillary Clinton. Call it male privilege. Women respond similarly, though obviously not for the same reasons. The average woman is more jealous of a lingerie model than a female prime minister. Women more so than men know the power of sexiness. A sexy woman in the right place can bring down heads of state and change the course of a nation’s history. Subconsciously we all understand this. That’s the real reason Wonder Woman has to show a good bit of cleavage.

Al Pacino Speech from Any Given Sunday

Political movements need to keep in mind 3:44 – 3:54. Good response to the purity testing issue.

Thoughts on MGTOW

I have read a good deal from anti-feminists and men's rights activists lately. One subset are the 'Men Going Their Own Way' movement. They are a group of men who refuse to have relationships with women largely because of unfair divorce laws and the belief that modern western women are corrupted. I find the movement interesting because it relates to what I have written about marriage previously and the problem of men not really having an incentive to pursue it. I sympathize with these men, especially those who have been through the hell of the family court system. I think MGTOW is a predictable response to problems with western culture. I also think it is perfectly logical as a temporary identity to allow a man to focus on self-improvement. I think where I would disagree is with those who think of MGTOW as a political solution.

The idea that men as a group will refuse marriage and then things will get so bad that the laws are changed and women come crawling back - this is an absurd fantasy. Large groups of men refusing marriage is not going to fix all that is unfair with gender relations. All it will do is create a vacuum that will be filled by more desperate men, foreigners, and eventually harsher government action. You can't fix a broken society by sitting on your hands and hoping things just get sorted out once everyone is frustrated enough. For MGTOW guys who just want to opt out and don't care about society, I really have nothing to say. But to those who think it is a viable movement for improving society, I would suggest they really examine that idea.

Ayn Rand Quote

The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by precedent, by implication, by erosion, by default, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until the day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.

Review: Nier Automata

I really enjoyed this game. It has a great flow. The combat is really simple yet engrossing. I love the 'Bullet Hell' style combat as well as the hack and slash mechanics. The character designs are quite stylish and fun. The setting and story concept is also really cool. Yoko Taro's Drag-on Dragoon franchise is delightfully convoluted and audacious. Even when parts of it don't work you give it credit for its ambition. The Nier story makes for a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Automata leans more heavily toward the former. I was surprised how invested I felt in a story about androids and robots with no humans to be found. It is actually quite powerful. My biggest criticism is that I wanted more - more development of the antagonists and the Android world. The music is also fantastic. I'd give it 9/10 overall.

Keiyaku Kekkon Update

Finally ready to start user testing for the site. Going to recruit some folks this week to click through it in English and Japanese. Still some UI bugs to work out. It has been surprisingly difficult working out all the little kinks with menus and profiles and user messaging. I have developed a great respect for web developers. Making a really slick, nice website is not something that just happens. There are so many little choices you have to get right. Could still use help if any people are interested in the project.

Tyler Durden Speech

The most important thing he says here is that this is an age of spiritual war. He is right, particularly for those of us living comfortably in western first world nations. Our grandfathers fought in great wars on battlefields, in trenches, out in the wilderness clawing civilization out of a hostile untamed natural world. They braved natural disasters, disease, and all manner of physical suffering to build the foundations of our society, then generations later, risked swift, violent death on foreign battlefields to preserve our birthright. Now today we are called to protect and preserve that legacy, only the war now is not against nature or a foreign tyrant. Now the war is everywhere and nowhere. It is in the minds of our countrymen. It is in our cellphones. It is at the water cooler in our offices. It is in our classrooms. It is on our televisions. It is in popular music. It is in our churches. It is in the halls of congress. What nature and foreign dictators could not destroy, we may happily destroy ourselves.