Why Does Art Matter?

Aren’t you glad that you clicked on this?  It is a question that was posed to me today by a lady-friend of mine.  She was telling me about someone she knows, who has an art project that sounds SO pretentious, yet it has gotten him a lot of respect, from the university art crowd.  She doesn’t get it, and neither do I.  Though, that is a lot of modern art, isn’t it?  Like a piece of art outside of my alma mater’s art building.  It’s just a bunch of steel welded together into a weird shape.  Oh yeah, tell me how fucking “deep” that is.  Please, enlighten little ol’ Lucien.  I’m all ears.  However, as I came to see that, it did signify something to me.  It told me something about modern culture – it’s dull, uninspired, pretentious, and thinks so highly of itself, when in reality, the true works of genius are treated like they’re blaise.  Except Game of Thrones.  Against all odds, a series of books that was modeled after real medieval history became a national phenomenon.  I know, right?  It’s weird.

That said, however, it also got me to realize the answer to my lady-friend’s question – why does art matter?  This is going to get a little pretentious in and of itself, I suppose, so you can take what I’m about to say as you will.  Art is a way to express culture.  Here’s the thing about art – it imitates life.  If you believe the rhetoric of certain, social justice-inclined individuals, then you might believe the opposite.  That is so patently false.  Probably the best refutation of such is a quote by Frank Zappa –

There are more love songs than anything else.  If music could make you do something, we’d all love one-another.

He’s absolutely right.  This argument that video games cause violence or sexism or what-have-you is ridiculous, and now there is real data to show that it’s a lie.  As if we didn’t already know.  Still, getting off-track.

Early Morning at Cold Spring, Asher Brown DurandArt imitates the world we live in.  Look at the art that came after World War I.  The expressionist movement.  Some of the saddest poetry every written was done after what was called The Great War.  People believed that that would be the last major war, after how much death and destruction it caused.  Or, at least, they hoped it would be.  Shell-shocked veterans told stories and wrote poems about horror.  People who saw friends get maimed and mutilated by mustard gas.  Soldiers who watched sinkholes in the trenches eat their friends alive in an instant.  These things came home with them, and it affected the art that came after.  The 1920’s was one of the most interesting periods of artistic expression ever done. Watch Ken Burns’ film “Jazz” and you’ll see.  This time period did amazing things.

When a person talks about the role art serves, then it is impossible to miss the fact that, throughout history, art has shown where a culture is.  More important – the challenging of art can say even more about a culture.  When Igor Stravinsky wrote the ballet “The Rite of Spring,” he challenged conventions so bad that he caused a riot and had to flee Paris.  Art not only acts as an indicator of society, but can challenge it as well.  Another famous piece of artwork that challenged the world was Salmon Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses.”  This book challenged a religion and got the world talking about the problematic elements of Islam.  Something that has still been a talking point, to this day.

I am currently engrossed in an episode game called Life is Strange.  From Dontnod Entertainment, it tells the story of a teen girl named Max, who finds one day that she can alter the flow of time, and is using this talent to help solve a mystery surrounding her school, with it being connected to all of her friends.  Why do I love this game so much?  What about it has captivated me?  After all, I’m a grown man.  Though, technically, so is Max.  She’s 18.  But, to me, that still feels like teenage years.  Especially since she’s still in high school.  You get to call yourself a grown-up when you leave that.  What is it about this game that has me so eager to see the next chapter?  Well, part of it is the great characters.  These feel like real people.  They have problems that make sense.  They aren’t some contrived Mary Sues (or Johnny Sues, as the case may be).  Each of them has flaws.

When I first heard about this game, it was told to me that it is “SJW: The Video Game.”  With this most recent episode, I know that that is wrong.  It was all done in one line.  While you are in the pool area, you can explore the locker rooms and sleuth.  There is a piece of graffiti on the wall, implying that Rachel Amber was gay.  Max says one thing, “bros will be bros.”  NEVER, in all my history of SJW culture, have I heard one say that.  Never.  So yeah, that argument is out.

Thinking about all of this, it finally made me realize why art matters.  It’s because art is the way for us to talk about who we really art. A way to express our humanity.  The growth of our species is represented in our greatest works of art.  From the tapestry-style portraiture of Medieval Europe, to the gorgeous perspective paintings of Renaissance Italy. Art shows how our culture exists.  This is amazing. No other medium can do this.  Part of why I am a gamer is because video games have the ability to capture art in a way that makes me Life is Strange Episode 3want to interact with it.  Which is the major reason why I love Life is Strange so much.  I can shape this story.  This narrative is held together by me.  I sculpt it, shape it, change it to what I think is the right way.  I could be wrong!  The fact that this latest episode counts who has David’s gun as an important element has me worried.  Still, the mystery is too good to stop.  I am too engrossed!

So, why does art matter?  Art is the way that we show who we are, as a species.  It shows that humans are not mindless drones, like ants.  Well, not all of them.  I can’t help but watch just about anything on TLC and think that these people are drones.  Or their audience is, at least.  Oh well.  But even that says something about our culture.  Depressing as it is, that is an art medium that says something about humanity.  It says that our society is bored, decaying, stricken with cultural ennui. But there are signs that hope is here.  Shows like Game of Thrones and many others give me a belief that we might be able to save things yet.  With all this in mind, I realize that art is the greatest thing that humanity has going for it.  Without it, we have buildings and spaces.  Without art, there is no color in the world.  Culturally, anyway.  I watched the remake of Cosmos.  I get the science of color.

Now I put it to you – why do you think that art matters?  Or do you?  Do you think that art is just some pointless part of the world, that serves no purpose?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Cultural, artistic expression reflects philosophical evolution, interest in growth, perspective, observation, interpretation.  Suspect you won’t see any art in Collector base. Culturally dead.  Tools for the Reapers.  Worse than the Geth.”  – Mordin Solus, Mass Effect 2

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3The first thing to say when talking about this game is that there is a TON of stuff to do.  For real, this game can easily log over 100 hours.  It’s a completionists nightmare.  Or heaven, depending on who you ask.  Still, it’s more than a little insane.  The next thing for me to say is that I hadn’t played the previous entries in the franchise.  So, I went into this game blind to the plot.  That did a little damage to my experience, but not as much as you’d think.  I haven’t had a game that gets me back into old-school RPG experience in a long time.  The closest that I came was Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.  An excellent game, in its own right, but a totally different animal from this game.  Well, kind of.  There might just be a lot to talk about with this game.  Let’s get down to it.

The plot of this game follows Geiralt as he is looking for his ward, who is like a daughter to him, Ciri.  He is hot on her trail, trying to find her, but he isn’t alone.  A group of icy phantoms called the Wild Hunt is also after her.  The race is on to find her, and a TON of players all have their own parts.  This goes on in a changing Northern Realms, mired in war between two powerful nations, and a growing amount of religious extremism that is threatening to tear the nation apart.  And that’s as simple as I can make the plot.  Part of that is because of the fact that this game very much is the culmination of all of these games, and it expects you to know stuff.  That’s something that the uninitiated like myself have to contend with.  It’s all very complicated.

Where to start with the elements of this game.  I’m not quite sure.  I guess I will address that, according to the initiated into the franchise, this game is a lot easier than previous entries.  Since I’m a story-seeker, that didn’t do too much, for me.  It’s still pretty difficult, but I am playing it on a lower difficulty setting.  I guess that sort of thing comes down to what type of gamer you are.

Visually, this game looks fucking amazing!  No joke, this is some amazing stuff.  The texture quality varies, depending on where you are.  It seems like this game knew to not try and have Assassin’s Creed: Unity levels of fidelity, instead aiming for it to look very good, and to show off the stuff that they want to.  It looks great, but it’s no Bloodborne.  Take that for what you will.  I will say that the character models all looked phenomenal.  For a game where the main character is supposed to be emotionally muted, they were able to make expression play a big part of the game.  It’s excellent, for what it is.

This brings us to the characters and voice acting.  The voice acting in this game is TOP NOTCH.  They got the guy who plays Tywin Lannister on Game of Thrones to do the voice of the Emperor of the invading army.  That is really cool.  The rest of the cast is solid as can be.  The bulk of it is very European voices, but they have some odd-ball people at strange times.  It’s an odd choice, but I have no problem with it.  Every major character is bursting with personality, and part of me thinks that it goes back to the fact that this game is the last in a franchise.  Unsure.

The leveling system they use here is kind of odd.  You earn experience points, that you can put into certain things, but these things have to be a grid that you unlock spaces on by leveling up.  The system can be cumbersome, but it incentives strategic play.  In addition to experience points, you unlock mutagen spaces, where you can augment your skills even more.  There is something of a learning curve to playing using this system, but it isn’t so complicated that you’ll be pulling your hair out.  To be honest, I sometimes forgot that I had leveled up.  It’s an odd sensation.

Oh, and the process of buying and selling and customizing weapons is also a bit much.  You’ll want to keep a close eye on where you local blacksmith is.  You’ll be visiting him often.  Every piece of equipment you have degrades.  All of it.  You find a TON of loot, which makes getting new stuff easier, but still.  You’ll have to make repairs all the time.  But don’t just pass by loot because you don’t think it is useful.  That ties in to the Alchemy system.  Alchemy and crafting are involved, complicated, and can be more hassle than they’re worth.  If this also isn’t a thing that you are into, you will get annoyed with it pretty quick.

Well, if it’s an RPG, there are a TON of side-quests.  Let’s talk about that.  First thing – this game has a LOT of fetch-quests.  A lot of them.  Some of them make up for this deficiency by having them involve fun characters.  Making it so that you are at least entertained.  Smart choice.  But, if you are like me and despise these, this game will bug you, at points.  There is also gambling, fisticuffs, all kinds of odds-and-ends side-quests that can take up hours of your time.  But the ones that you will really be enjoying are the quests where you take on contracts to kill monsters and solve mysteries.

Those quests make this game, for me.  No joke, without them, this game would score a lot lower.  My favorite was chasing down a serial killer.  Watching Geralt put his Witcher skills to work figuring out crimes and hunting down monsters and the like is just awesome.  It had a very L.A. Noire feel to it.  That really made me happy.  I could play this game over and over again just for those quests alone.  It makes slogging through some of the more monotonous stuff that much better.  Especially since slogging through some of the boring stuff can unlock the better stuff.  Stick with it, and this game can give you some amazing stuff to do.  But, if you aren’t the kind of gamer that is into this deep levels of RPG mechanics, it will get boring.  Fast.  For me, I honestly have to take breaks from the game, because I’m not super-RPG guy.  Weird, I know, since I’m a story-seeker. But boring missions can be a chore.

To sum this game up – it’s an old-school RPG done right. This is RPG gaming at its best.  For better or worse, it takes what is genre-standard and gets it done just right, with an engaging game and fun characters who will make your experience that much better.  Well, wasn’t that review useful?  I know, a lot of tangenting and bringing up random stuff.  The reality is that a perfect review of this game would go on for pages, and you would get bored.  I will say that if you like this kind of game, you are going to love The Witcher III.  As I have said before, take that for what you will.

Final Verdict:
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL/R: Life is Strange: Episode 3

There is a plot element in things that is almost-universally-hated – the Deus Ex Machina.  The simple definition of the concept is – when a completely contrived plot device solves the situation. usually out of nowhere.  However, this term can also refer to when something comes right the hell out of nowhere and completely invalidates everything that has happened beforehand.  I got to see this happen today, in something that I love.  Now, the cool thing about what I have seen is that it doesn’t have to be the end.  This could all still work out.  In fact, I genuinely believe it will.  That said, I have a word of warning to the creators of Life is Strange.

I am about to spoil the shit out of the end of Episode 3, so if you haven’t seen that, STOP READING!  I mean that.  Stop reading this right now and play that.  Because you will love it.  However, the ending is leaving me feeling uncertain.  I am on shaky ground right now.  Part of me wants to be more certain.  Part of me wants to be like, “Dude, the creators of this game aren’t crazy enough to do this.  Don’t sweat it.  But there is this other part that is scared to death that my worst fears will come true.  So, in a long and rambling way, this is my attempt to give them some very constructive criticism.

The end of Episode 3 has Max discovering a new ability.  She can go back in time even further, through photographs.  That’s SO fucking cool!  That enables her to see the past and affect it even more.  She saves Chloe’s father from death.  At first, that looks great.  Max’s life is going great.  She is the best friend of everybody.  Chloe’s dad is alive and well.  David Madsen is a bus driver.  A fitting position, for that creepy bastard.  And everything is hunky-dory.  But something is wrong.  Freaked out, Max goes to see Chloe, and finds out something awful.  She is a quadriplegic.  For those who are ignorant of medicine, that means that she’s paralyzed from the neck down.  It is implied that it was from an accident in her new vehicle.  Max sees this, and the words that I felt came right out of her mouth – what have I done?!  I did this.  Me, the player, made this happen.  And just like Max, I thought that I was doing the right thing.  It felt like this was the right thing to do.  But seeing what happened, a result that couldn’t be changed no matter what choice I made, it made me feel like shit.  I did this.  I have put Chloe through Hell and now it was too late.

But, as the player, another thing kicked in – it damn well better not be too late!  For real, if this alternate timeline stands, then I am going to be so pissed.  Why?  Because that will mean that EVERY choice that I’ve made up until that point is totally invalid.  I mean all of them.  The choice to save Chloe?  Didn’t happen.  She was never in that bathroom.  The deal with Rachel Amber (that is the driving force of the entire series)?  Probably didn’t happen, since her friendship with Chloe didn’t happen.  Me stealing the money from Blackwell to help Chloe pay off her debts?  Saving Kate Marsh’s life, probably the most emotionally-satisfying thing I have ever done in a video game?  Nada.  It never happened.

As I said before, I don’t think the creators of this game are dumb enough to let this be the case.  I am certain that they are going to take us back to the original timeline, because we have a mystery to solve.  Let me put this plainly – if they do not do this, and I am having to deal with this new timeline, which has invalidated everything I did before, then I am going to give the next episode the worst review that you have ever seen!  All my careful planning, all my plotting to get the best possible situation, would amount to nothing.  No!  Wrong!  We are not doing that.  There isn’t a single part of me that believes that the creators of the game are dumb enough to go that route.  But I’m writing this as a head’s-up to them.  I’m watch-dogging you.

That all being said, I got to thinking again, about Max and the look on her face when she sees what she’s done to Chloe.  A girl who, in the game I am playing, is starting to have real feelings for her.  I do like how the creators of the game have given us a choice on how we want this to play out, but I’m not an idiot.  I can see where your choices are going to lead.  Hell, this episode gave it to me straight.  The choice is there, but the option it gives you is blatant as fuck.  It turns out, I was right.  It is a lot like Riley and Ellie in The Last of Us: Left Behind.  Do I find that annoying?  Not at all.  You can choose to get with Warren.  I’m going to let him down easy.  No need to be cruel.  There is a date planned, and I am going to be gentle in how I break to him that I’m not interested.  A sweet guy must never be hurt.  Especially when he’s genuinely sweet and he is trying to be a good person and get with Max, romantically.  No ill will here.

Still, Max has really fucked up Chloe’s life.  First, it was when she moved away.  Then, she comes back and exposes all of the truth that Chloe had in her life as lies.  Now, she has tried to save Chloe from the darkness that is haunting her, and ends up hurting her even worse in the process.  If my assumption is right, and the makers of this game aren’t bat-shit insane, then she is going to have to go back in time and let Chloe’s dad die all over again, breaking her, twice.  That is SO fucked up!  For real, how fucked up is that?!  I bet that it’s going to kill Max.  That would make for a GREAT segment.  Her telling Chloe the truth and seeing how much her heart is breaking because of what she has done to a person who is either her best friend, or someone she is coming to love.  Man, this is some heavy shit!  I like it.

Dontnod, you have a chance to do something amazing, here.  I think I’ll let Mallory say it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Don’t cock it up.”  -Gareth Mallory, Skyfall

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Life is Strange: Episode 3

Life is Strange Episode 3Choice and consequence.  That is the best way that I can describe this episode.  You truly learn the consequences of your actions.  You truly get to see how far that your choices can take you, and the price that gets paid.  What’s more, forces around what is happening in this game are lining up against you.  It gets so much more intense!  This game gets more awesome, the more I learn of the story.  That said, I feel kind of terrible for how things turned out, because it was me who did this, and I couldn’t do anything different.  No matter what you do, you make the choice and have to own it.  This was so messed.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot of this episode picks up after Episode 2.  Depending on what happened, you are either a savior or a person who watched something awful happen.  Now, the race is on to figure out what happened to Rachel Amber and Kate Marsh.  Also, you learn more about your ability to manipulate time.  Including being able to go even further back, and change even bigger things.  But  dark forces are growing around Max Caulfield, as her powers are showing signs that even bigger things are ahead.

Before I talk about this game, I will say that glitches were a real issue for me, this time around.  Not sure why, but this was more than a little annoying.  I found myself getting annoyed at them, sometimes.  It wasn’t game-breaking, but it was a little frustrating.  Hopefully, if it isn’t just me having this issue, we get some patches or something for it.  Most of the early glitches were centered around light sources.  Lamps and stuff.  They all got blacked out by big black boxes.  Annoying.  If any of you are having that issue,, let me know in the Comments section, so the devs can know that this is a problem.  I’ll send this their way.

That said, let’s talk about this episode.  This episode got so much right.  For as much as I am torn up about how things ended, it was one hell of a trip to get there.  The characters got a lot more developed.  Max and Chloe’s relationship got a lot better here.  The cool thing is about where they go is that it’s up to you.  I like that.  Their closeness can be controlled by you.  The omniscient overseer.  I stand by what I said in an SION post, where I talked about how your character isn’t Max.  You are an omniscient being, controlling her.  It makes how this story ends that much harder, because I (and you will too) thought that I had done the right thing.  I was certain that this was what I was supposed to do..  But it wasn’t.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It was so hard.  Still, the episode got the pace right, the characters right, the setting right.  It just got everything right.

Now, of course, the lip syncing is off.  Whatever.  At this point, I hardly even notice it.  Now, it’s kind of like a cute quirk.  The graphics also get silly at point.  Like the water effects.  And the flashlight effects.  Though, with the flashlight, that might have been glitches.  For real, peeps, if you are having these problems, let me know.  This might be something that the developers missed.

However, as I said at the beginning, it all comes back to choice and consequence.  But, how it all ends shows you that the choices that you make for all the right reasons can be a total disaster.  Especially when you realize what you have become in the process.  This really forced it on the player.  Because, if you have any investment in the story at all, you are going to want to do what you do to get there.  It feels right.  The worst part is, you can’t change it.  No matter what you do, you can’t change the outcome.  That hurts worst of all.  Sure, in the process, you discover a cool time power, but still.

This episode was so much better than the last one.  The last one faltered a bit, but it found its footing again.  I am pretty damn stoked to see what happens next.  In fact, the wait is going to be the hardest part.  Were it not for the glitches, this episode would have been higher, but what can you do?

*Update: an update has been posted for Episode 3.  Download it, and it will cure your glitch problems.  Which means that I have to amend my score.  Sigh, a reviewers work is never done.*

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Daenerys Targaryen

There are not words to describe how much I hate this character.  I genuinely don’t get why there is so much love for her.  Maybe it’s because her character is super-good and super-nice.  She’s a total Mary Sue.  She has no flaws, and is freeing slaves.  She’s the archetypal Wonder Woman, minus the super-powers.  Except being able to be burned and not die, I suppose.  That is a power.  But yeah, this character just bugs me.  My ex and I have a name for her type of character – Cassie.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s go into the graveyard of book series that pretty much everyone has forgotten about and dig us up an old one.  A book series from the…90’s!  Dun-dun-DUN!  I know, this might be hard for some of my audience.  But it’s true.  This was my favorite book series, growing up.  Despite the ridiculous title, this book series was a hell of a lot smarter than anyone gave it credit for.  It talked about some pretty hard shit. For something that I loved so much, with awesome characters who I came to care about, it had an ending so terrible that I choose to believe that it never happened.  I am still waiting for the end book.  I will always be waiting.  The book series was called “Animorphs.” For those who are from my era, this was just an awe-filled moment.  How many of you waited for each Scholastic book listing, for the new books in the series?  How many got the listing of new book at Waldenbooks and looked to see if this one was on it?  It was magical.  For a series I loved so much, how it ended was just criminal.  K.A. Applegate clearly was burned out with the franchise and wanted it over.  She did the worst ending of all, so she could get it over with. Too bad that the series she tried to start afterwards sucked so bad.  Perhaps karmic justice?  Who knows.

Among those who remember what this series was about, you probably remember all of the characters.  I do.  I know what each and every one of them was like.  My favorites were Ax, Tobias and Rachel.  Though Jake comes pretty close.  Him and Marco.  Marco got better as the series got longer.  Though, Jake is probably the most profound.  There was one character that I always hated.  Always.  I hated her so much that it drove me nuts!  Cassie.  She was the worst.  The absolute worst.  Now, this is where we go into the fact that I am fucked up as a person, but let’s talk about why I don’t like Cassie.

Her character is supposed to be the moral center of the group.  The person who sees things from a humanist side.  Since they are in a war with an alien race bent on conquering all of humanity, there is an argument to be made that Cassie is the one having to shoulder the most moral responsibility.  Granted, I don’t believe that for a moment.  In truth, Jake is the one who shoulders the most.  It is clear, by the end of the series, how much psychological damage being the leader of their guerrilla war has been on him.  Especially when they have to make choices that end up getting thousands of people killed.  Often horrible.

Cassie was whiny.  She was preachy.  She was such a goody-goody.  Like Katara, in Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Also my least favorite character.  I think it’s because those two female characters are very maternal.  The same instincts that have VERY strong empathy tend to be in maternal characters.  Sokka describes Katara as being like a mother to him.  And Cassie is the mother of her group.  She constantly has to nag and harp on every little moral quandary.  It is war, honey!  Sometimes, hard choices have to be made!  If you can’t handle the tough stuff, get out of the game!

That’s where I find myself with Daenerys.  She is SO preachy!  I swear, does that bimbo see Westeros from up on her high horse?  She thinks that she’s such hot shit.  I am actually liking how we get to see her being brought down a peg in this season.  FINALLY, we don’t have to hear about how she’s “mother of dragons.”  The thing that drove me most nuts was in season two, where she says that she has magical powers.  What magic?!  You can walk into flame and not die?!  That’s not impressive, lady!  You can still die if someone runs you through with their sword.  I really do hope that, at some point, we get to see her take some damage.  See some of her own blood and realize that she’s not a god.  She’s a person.

The worst thing about how full of herself she is is the fact that she has NO real experience ruling a nation!  She wants to rule the Seven Kingdoms, but she is not even an adult.  Well, by the show’s timeline, she is now.  I am operating under the assumption that a couple of years have passed since the start of the series.  No way all this plot has only taken a few months.  It has also been kind of nice to see her realize that she doesn’t have a fucking clue when it comes to leading.  She owns a kingdom, and it’s falling apart around her.  Her army is being slowly cut down, and you can see that she’s scared.  Now that Ser Barristan (spoiler alert!) is dead, all of her council that knows how to rule a country is gone.  That’s what makes the fact that Tyrion is going to become her Hand (I’d put a hefty wager it’s around the end of the season) that much more poignant.  I hope he gives her some TOUGH love, to show her that she doesn’t have a fucking clue.  This season has brought her down a couple pegs.  We need to see more.  Then, I might start to like her.  When she actually has to play the game.

I can already see the Twitter and Tumblr feminists being against me on this.  She is their perfect character.  A Mary Sue, can do no wrong, super-strong, and has dragons.  This season is giving her a lot more humanity.  The scene where Drogon comes back, sniffs her, then leaves is powerful.  You can see the look in her eyes about how hurt she is.  Even her family doesn’t want her around.  Her other dragons seem to be coming over to her side, but it was still intense.  Especially since it was after a riot that nearly got her in hot water.

I genuinely don’t like her character, but part of me is coming around, since they’ve actually shown some chinks in her armor.  I guess we’ll see where this goes.

Until next time, a quote,

“Let’s assume that everything goes exactly as you plan.  She goes to Westeros, becomes ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.  Hurrah!  What happens then?”  -Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

Nights You Wished Never Ended…

Time is never what one expects it to be, is it?  It can ebb, flow, slow and go way too fast.  All of these things, are part of the endless experience of going through life.  I was watching a film the other night, and it got me thinking about something that I haven’t had in a long time.  Something that I’ve missed so much, reminding me that life isn’t what it seems.  Because these moments are the things that make life worth it.  They truly are.  People can talk all they want about the big moments in life.  The weddings, the kids, the whatever.  Those are important, I get it.  But, from where I, in my limited and totally talking-out-of-my-ass experience am sitting, those aren’t the things that truly make life worth living.  The things that makes all of the bullshit involved in life worth anything are the quieter moments.  The moments where you are wishing that they would never end.  When you wish the night would go on forever.

We’ve all had these moments.  Well, sometimes they aren’t moments.  Sometimes it is an hour, of several hours.  That perfect night where everything is going so well, and then you have to see it end.  It is when you have those moments that you figure out who you are, and what life means to you.

The last night that I didn’t want to end was when a dear friend of mine was leaving for law school, down in the States.  The two of us had become very close, over the years we had known each other.  We ended our time together going out to IHOP, as we had always done on a Friday evening.  It was a tradition of ours.  One of the few things about living in the dorms that was any fun.  I hated it there.  I hated college.  So glad to be out.  Nothing but bad memories.  Well, almost nothing.  It had some good points.  Then, she asked me to drive her to the airport.  I agreed, because seeing her off felt right.  We get to the airport, and we just looked at each other.  There was a brief moment where we understood one-another.  Then, she posed a thought – she wanted to kiss me.  I wasn’t about to say no.  Drop-dead-gorgeous and wanting to have a face battle with me (yes, I saw that Tumblr post.  It makes a point.  Face battle is a cooler term).  It was…incredible.  For those moments, we had a closeness that I couldn’t describe.  Watching her leave, going into that airport, it was hard.  Not the hardest thing in recent memory.  That was…well, let’s not go there.

Moonlit LakeThe time before that was a night that I was on porch of my house, looking out on the lake.  Look to your right.  You’ll see the picture I took of it.  It was on a shitty camera, but it captured what I wanted to see.  The moon was low enough on the lake to make its light spread out over the surface.  I was sitting at the table on the deck.  My adorable kitty was sitting on that table, getting her head scratched by me.  I also had peach yogurt.  The two of us just sat there, and I was able to finally speak my mind and feel like things weren’t all that bad.  The nights that you wished never end.  When I went back inside, and I had to go to sleep, I knew that I would never have another moment just that perfect.

That is the thing about the perfect moments.  You never get one like it.  It’s like the first time you truly fall in love.  You’ll never love someone the same way again.  Each of these moments are special.  Now, I can already hear the romantics who are going to come in and say –

But Lucien, the whole point is that these moments come ever day!  If you love someone, then every day is that way!

That’s not true.  It couldn’t be true.  An analogy – if Christmas came every day, would it still be special?  There are going to be some ho-hum days, in any relationship.  It doesn’t matter how awesome you find the person, after a while, you’ll hit a rut.  The reality is that 90% of your life is going to be a boring, tedious waste of time.  Are you having joyful epiphanies when you eat breakfast?  Is each moment a transcendent experience where you learn about yourself?  Like when you made some oatmeal and then ate it, while reading the news on your phone or your laptop?  I didn’t think so.  No, the truth is that the great moments, the ones that make all the tedium, hardship and endless misery that pervades the world worth something are rare.  It’s what makes them so precious, and worth keeping close.

It’s summer again.  I am at my new apartment.  I have no social life.  What little I had died with the move to the city I am in now.  I have no personal life.  My last relationship ended badly, and there are no prospects.  I go on walks, around the hospital just down the road from where I live.  Those are nice.  They make me feel like I am actually alive.  That doesn’t happen much.  Most of the time, I feel like a corpse.  A corpse that has been reanimated.  In a lot of respects, that’s true.  I was dead, for a time.  Technically, I’ve been dead twice.  Brought back from the dead, twice.  This is my third life, and I feel like parts of me have been taken away with each day.  Like a stone being worn down by the sea.

BrookBut, there is hope.  There is something.  It is in those little moments.  Those times when I go on walks and pass by this little brook that is just down the road from where I live.  I stare at that brook, and for a brief moment, the ugliness falls away.  My heart beats again.  I wish those moments would last forever.  However, that’s not how life works.  That said, those moments exist.  That gives me hope that better things are coming.  Better things might come my way.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

Never take for granted the moments where you wish that it didn’t have to end.  It’s so easy to become jaded, like me.  It’s so easy to see the world and not notice the little moments that are extraordinary.  I still notice them.  If I can, a man whose depression has become so powerful that it guides every waking decision I make, then anyone can.  No matter how bad the darkness is, there is a light in there.  A light that reminds you the truth about time and how it works.  In fact, I think that I’ll end this post on that thought.  Hopefully you can enjoy your moments too.

Until next time, a quote,

“They say that time is as a river, flowing continuously in one direction.  I can tell you that they are wrong.  Time is an ocean in a storm.”  -The Prince, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Peace out,

Maverick

Hilariously Endorsing One’s Enemies (A response to Anita Sarkeesian)

It’s funny when you watch people who think that they are so smart be made to look so dumb.  Like, really funny.  The kind of funny where I am unable to process it because of the levels of funny that I am seeing.  Following the latest release of the latest video in her series of videos about positive series protagonists, Anita Sarkeesian was clearly trying to pander to a crowd of people who already agree with her.  She lives in the echo chamber, so why change things now?  But, due to the diligence of people on the Internet, it seems that her work kind of slapped her in the face.  This is more than a little funny.  Especially since the SJW, aGGro crowd was all over any negative reception of the video.  Which they got little of, it seems.  But the Internet had a comeback for her.  I hope you enjoy.

The video is about Jade, from Beyond Good and Evil.  Like most gamers, I have no problem with this character.  That was, apparently, thing #1 the aGGros were trying to go after my side of the fence about.  “Why wouldn’t you like Jade?!  You GGers just disagree with Anita to do it!”  But then, I and many others were like, “we don’t really have a problem with her video.  It’s a good game and she’s a good character.  Why would we take umbrage with that?”  For some context, here’s Anita’s video.

Well, now that you watched her go through the basic key points that she has already brought up 100X, let’s look at this another way.  Because, it’s ind of interesting that Anita chose Jade as a positive female character to emulate.  Why?  Well, let’s look at Jade’s reason for going on her quest.

She is trying to document a conspiracy that is being covered up, partly by a corrupt mainstream press.  This is done through collecting evidence of collusion, and saving the evidence so that the whole thing can be exposed to a wider audience.  In other words, Jade is doing the same thing that GamerGate is doing.  The irony here is that Anita is making a video praising this character, when she herself is part of a corrupt press, involved in covering up the truth and adamantly defending lies.  Oh, wait, scratch that last part.  Adamant defense would require her to interact outside of her echo chamber.  She basically yells deeper into the cave, for her audience to hear.

Unreal.  This just keeps going with my belief that she’s not a gamer.  I have no doubt that Anita has NEVER played Beyond Good and Evil.  Either that, or, since it’s been proven that she’s a con artist, she simply doesn’t care.  Cognitive dissonance it ain’t.  It’s outright lies, to make her look better.

Modern feminism has this unique dichotomy when it addresses its own shortcomings – lie.  Or, if the lies are exposed – double down on those lies.  The wage gap that has been introduced – women earning 77 cents to every dollar that a man earns – has been disproven, time and time again.  When you correct for things like education, hours worked, experience, specialty fields within careers (family doctors and surgeons get paid differently), time off due to maternity and countless other factors, then the wage gap almost vanishes.  The parts that remain could be real discrimination, or it could be women being less ambitious when negotiating wages.  Either option is possible.  When faced with these facts, what do feminists do?  They just shout louder.  That’s their answer to any and all criticism of their ideas.

How about that 1 in 5 statistic that even President Obama has pandered, saying that roughly 20% of girls in college get raped.  For comparison, that number is the same as the number of women who are raped in the Congo, where warlords have used rape as a weapon of war.  When the stats for that have been shown to be grossly-inaccurate, what do feminists do?  They shout louder.

Third-wave, Puritan Feminists are incapable of addressing inaccuracy.  Jackie’s story in Rolling Stone gets shown to be a complete fraud, they shout louder that she is telling the truth.  Because the notion that Jackie lied means that women can lie.  And we all know that that’s crazy, right?  Women are being on a plane far above men.  They are so perfect and wonderful that they NEVER lie.  Ever.  Got it!

All of this in mind, how did Anita react when the comparison between Jade and GamerGate was made?  Here’s the link.  See for yourself.  Rather than admit that she might be wrong.  Rather than keeping an open mind and maybe expanding her point of view, Anita decides that she is going to just “close her computer” and choose to not think about it.  Because thinking about it, or asking her audience to think about anything outside of the echo chamber, is too hard.  That might actually affect her in some way.  Can’t have that!

The viewpoint that Sarkeesian represents is on par with Catholicism in the levels of faith that it holds to.  Their slogan at XOXO Fest was “Listen and Believe.”  You are supposed to “Listen and Believe” what they say, regardless of the lack of evidence.  If evidence comes up that doesn’t agree, then you must ignore it.  Because, obviously, it’s the patriarchy or whatever’s fault that they are wrong.  That’s how they do.  On one level, it’s kind of funny how these young people, almost all of whom are not connected to any official religion, buy into this sort of thinking.  They are skeptical, but only to a point.  To the point where they go to universities and are fed canard after canard, with the mentality if you agree, you are an evil misogynist who obviously hates his mother.  Oh, and if women disagree, they are sock puppets or sluts or whores.  Because slut-shaming is totally cool, so long as the person doing it calls themseves – feminist.

Right, Arthur Chu?  Or how about you, Ryan Wiley?  Get back to me.

Until next time, a quote,

“We’ve had vicious kings, and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot king!”  -Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick