Critical Examination: The Use of Silence

I just got done watching the season finale of Game of Thrones.  I am in love with this episode.  Most people think the last one was the best of the season, but not me.  This was the one that truly made it for me.  The level of payoff here was just spectacular.  So many great character moments that pay off what we’ve seen about these characters both this season and over the course if the series.  But there was something else that got my attention this season as well – the silence.  So many shots in this episode were marked by absolute silence.  The use of it was so prevalent that it set the stage for the emotional climaxes so perfectly.  It got me to thinking about something that I love – the use of silence in visual mediums.  There are a thousand different ways that it can be used, and I’m going to talk about my favorites here.  I’ll save Game of Thrones for last.

Aliens

There is a great argument to be had about which is the better of these two films.  The original was a better-made film, if you ask me.  Its use of silence was near-constant.  That was a very quiet movie.  We all think of the loud segment where Ripley is abandoning ship, but for the bulk of the film it is pretty damn quiet.  But the sequel, on the other hand, is loud and bombastic.  It’s a movie that almost never takes a break.  However, when it does, we get scenes like the one with Ripley and Newt in the medical room, sleeping.  When Ripley wakes up, she can tell something’s wrong.  Newt can feel it too.  They aren’t alone in there.  She feels above to the bed for her rifle, but it’s gone.  Now she knows that she’s in trouble.  Something is moving.  When she looks, she sees two open tanks with the xenomorph spawning variations.

The silence here is only for a few minutes, but it makes the tension so high that you could cut it with a knife.  And when it all explodes and the two aliens are attacking, you feel the pressure that the characters to.  It’s legitimately scary to see those creepy fuckers slithering around, trying to get our heroine and her companion.  The thing about good use of silence is that I think it is more noticeable in loud movies.  When you have a film that is all about pulse-pounding action, a sudden use of silence makes you take notice.  When it’s done well, it sets the tone for what’s to come.  Another example of this is in Raging Bull, when the screen goes silent as the main character sets himself up for being slaughtered.  It was a great scene where that silent moment has you contemplating, like the character, what is about to happen and how fucked he really is.

Bloodborne

Like all games in the Souls series, this one has a unique tactic for how the game plays.  It uses silence almost entirely throughout.  Over the course of the game, all you can hear is this dead silence all around.  It really gives you a way to take everything in.  The ambience puts you in that shoes of the character, wandering through this world that feels as foreign to us as it does to them.  The only time that the music really turns up is during a boss fight.  Here’s an example from one of my playthroughs.

Notice how quiet it is beforehand?  Then you step into the mist, and the fight is on.  But the thing to notice is that it becomes silent again immediately afterwards.  The game is set up so that you can feel the pensive atmosphere before and after a fight.  Gaming’s use of quiet time can vary, depending on your title.  Most people think of the bombastic nature of Call of Duty games, but there is a wider selection than that, and most of them make great use of quiet time.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I know what you’re thinking – an Uncharted game?  Come on.  You’re just fucking with us now.  This latest entry marked one of the quietest in the entire game.  All four of them have good use of quiet time, but it was at its best in this title.  But there is one scene that stands above the rest when it comes to the use of quiet in story-telling – the finding of the last meal of the Founders of Libertalia.  It’s my favorite scene in the entire game.  I just uploaded it to my channel on YouTube.  Check it out and maybe you’ll see what I’m driving at.

Did you all catch how silence was used?  Granted, there is a score over parts of this, but its use is so quiet that you wouldn’t even notice.  I am certain that was a deliberate choice.  Because, while this is cool to learn about history and what happened to these Founders, that isn’t what the scene is about.  It’s about Nate and Elena and their relationship.  This entire game is about Nate and the relationships in his life.  So, as he is talking about this, you can hear in his voice the passion for the topic.  He loves what he is learning.  Then he is lamenting it.  It has him in the same shot with Elena, and you see the look on her face as he’s talking about it.

It’s in that moment that she realizes that he truly wasn’t here just for some treasure hunt.  This man is driven by a love of history and discovery that gives his life so much.  And she is learning that in order for their marriage to work, the two are going to have to find a way to have the best of both worlds.  The exploration into history, but minus the violence that was doing real damage to them.  All of that done with facial expressions and the use of silence.  It’s incredible.

Finally, we get to what I have been wanting to talk about…

Game of Thrones

Which scene could I pick to talk about the use of silence in this latest episode?  There are so many.  But one in-particular stands out above the rest – when Tommen dies.  Not only is the use of silence and ambient noise so perfect, but I am in love with how it is shot.  The entire scene is done in one take, from one angle.  You see Tommen, looking over the destruction of the Septum, which has resulted in the death of his queen.  You never see his face.  It’s just his backside.  It’s dead silent.  He then walks off-screen.  You hear his footsteps going away, and you’re left seeing the destruction that he was looking at.  There is nothing but this shot for a few moments.  More footsteps coming closer.  Tommen is back.  He’s removed his crown, and then he walks up to the window and swan-dives out.  Holy shit!  I did not see that coming.  It’s so well done!  I could teach a class about the way one angle and ambient noise incorporate so much into this one shot.  By being able to look at the destruction, we are getting a visual representation of the feelings inside Tommen.  When we see him having taken off the crown, that’s a way for us to know that he is done as King.  But it’s short-lived, since he is done with his mortality as well.

Almost every major event in this episode is marked by silence.  It’s so good.  If only we had more filmmakers using that to their advantage.  Whoever did the cinematography for this episode deserves a raise.  A big one.  So big.

So, what do you all think?  What silent moments in film or vidya stuck with you?  Let me know down in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“For what it’s worth, I’ve been a cynic for as long as I can remember.”  – Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Game of Thrones: Season Seven Predictions

Tonight, this sixth season has come to an end.  While most people are in love with the last episode, and it was awesome, this was the episode that I liked most this season.  The level of payoff here was just phenomenal.  I like good payoff.  I’m even able to overlook minor plot holes for the sake of good payoff.  Like why Sansa didn’t tell Jon about her allegiance with the knights of the Vale.  It would have made the battle SO much easier.  This episode at least did acknowledge that her hiding that from him was really stupid.  However, it was awesome payoff, so it was fine.  The last episode was fantastic.  But this episode was better, in my opinion.  The big battles of the series are good, but the thing that I love most about the series is the fact that it has all the political intrigue.  That’s what made this show great, and it’s at its best when we have that.

Which brings me to what I predict will happen next season.  I hope it goes without saying that if you haven’t seen tonight’s episode, there will be spoilers out the ass.  For real, you should have known that.  If you have no seen the episode go watch it legally (or pirate it) and then come back.  I could predict that the next season will be shorter, but we already know that.  I think they said that they have around 13 episodes of plot remaining in the series.  I figure that will get a little stretched out, but not much.  It’s clear that the budget for this show is about to explode, and the show-runners don’t want this series to die before it gets to the end they want.  My unofficial prediction is that the next season will be between six to eight episodes long.  So long as it’s good, that’s fine by me.  This series is riding a high note.  Let’s keep going on that.  Here are my predictions to the next season.

10. The Hound Allies With House Stark
When we see the Hound again, it’s clear that he is looking for some redemption for the things he’s done.  He does not like the person he has become, and he wants to atone for his crimes.  We know that the Brotherhood Without Banners is headed north to help in the War for the Dawn.  I think that he is going to see the Starks on the throne at Winterfell and decide that he can atone by serving them.  He’s a warrior, and now he will have a chance to not just be a dog for someone, but to serve a ruler who is worthy of the name.  I like his arc of redemption, and it would make for a good way for things to go, moving forward.

9. Bronn and Tyrion are Reunited
One of the things that never went away from previous seasons is the fact that Cersei put out a hit on Tyrion.  She offered a mountain of gold to whoever brought her his head.  Now that he is going to be in Westeros again, odds are that she’ll find out that he’s the hand of Daenerys.  So, given that she’s off the deep end now, Cersei is going to try and have that hit completed.  Who would the crown send?  Why, their in-house killer.  But here’s the thing – Bronn is a sellsword first.  He is too smart to cross the Dragon Queen, knowing that killing Tyrion would paint a giant target on his back.  As he said, “no sellsword ever ran from the winning side.”  What I think will happen is that he will see the Lannisters as a bad investment, and go back to someone who he knew made good on his promises to repay his debts.  I am certain that Bronn is going to survive the game of thrones.  Hopefully we’ll get to see why soon enough.

8. Samwell or Gilly Meets Daenerys
The series is known for not just foisting things out of nowhere.  They have build-up, then payoff.  I think that there will be someone who is going to pass the word to Daenerys about what is happening up in the North.  It will lay the seeds for what will happen in the season to come.  Since the Reach is declaring itself for her, along with Dorne, I figure that Dany’s army is going to come that way.  Way I see it, either Sam or Gilly is going to meet her, and they will let slip that the army of the dead is marching south, and that if they get past the Wall, there will be hell to pay.  I kind of hope that it’s Gilly.  Given that Dany seems to want the common people on her side, it would be refreshing if Gilly is the one who makes nice with her.

7. Arya Kills Melisandre and Ser Illyn Paine
We got to see that Arya is back in Westeros.  But she isn’t going home.  She’s headed to get revenge.  The girl is out for blood, and that’s what she will find.  Most of the names on her kill list are gone, but I figure that she’s going to head south.  There’s one destination – King’s Landing.  She wants to get revenge on the people who destroyed her family.  But wouldn’t it be interesting if she runs into Melisandre by sheer chance, and sees a perfect opportunity to get revenge for what she believes happened to Gendry.  The alternative is that she will talk to Melisandre and learn that he’s alive, so she’ll spare her.  But Illyn Paine, on the other hand, is going to go.  I think that his death will tell Jaime that something off.  Word will reach King’s Landing about the death of Walder Frey.  The Twins will be up for grabs, since Arya not only killed him, but killed his sons.  There is no one to take the throne, save Edmure of House Tully.  Not only is he married to a Frey, but he’s the only chance to carry on the line.  Illyn Paine was the one to swing the axe that killed her father.  So he’s going to go.  When Jaime finds out that more people are dying in a way where their throats are being cut, but it’s like no one was there, he will sense that something’s wrong.

6. Bran Expands His Vision Powers
I suppose this is a given, but hear me out.  We discovered that Bran is able to communicate with people through the visions.  That can only mean that he is going to find a way to reach out to people in the world today.  He needs a force to take on the army of the dead.  Who better than a woman who has dragons?  This ties in to another prediction, but I think that Bran is going to find a way to reach out to people with his visions, and that is going to be important.

5. Arya’s Direwolf Returns
In the books, Arya’s Direwolf has started a pack down in the Riverlands.  It is the largest wolf pack ever seen.  It is causing untold hell to the people there, as the wolves are hungry and there isn’t enough to eat.  I think that it will come back in the series.  Maybe she will find Arya, or what I think is more likely – Bran will reach out to it.  Using his Green Seer powers, he will find a way to get word to it and have the wolves head north to fight for House Stark against the army of the dead.  A pack of wolves, several dozen strong, ready for battle.  That would be pretty awesome.

4. Word Reaches Winterfell about Daenerys
This could also be a given, but I think this is important.  Jon Snow told Sansa that now they have a multitude of enemies that are coming for them. Jon has been crowed the King in the North.  That’s important, when it comes to Daenerys.  After all, she is going to be asking for allies to fight against the Lannisters.  I think Jon is going to see a chance to save the North.  He figures that he will pledge the North to Dany, if she comes and helps him in his fight against the dead.  After all, she has dragons now.  Three dragons is one hell of an ally against an undead army, don’t ya think?

3. Bran Finds a Way to Reach Daenerys
Way I see it, this will be right towards the end of the season.  Maybe in the very last episode.  Dany will be asleep or something, and she’ll see a vision.  Maybe something telling her to go to the Isle of Faces, so she is near where Bran is at his most powerful.  There, he will reach out to her and show her the truth about what is coming in the North.  I don’t think that she is going to go all the way to King’s Landing.  I think that she’s going to halt her course when she learns this and then head north to join the fight there.  This ties directly into the top prediction, but I think it will be Bran that makes her chance her mind about where to go.  It will be an awesome scene.

2. Arya or Jaime Kills Cersei
Obviously, she is going to die this coming season.  We all can feel it.  She’s gone from ruthless bitch to Mad Queen.  She used Wildfire to kill tons of innocent people.  Now, it’s going to come to the point that something has to be done about her.  The series has a thing about history repeating itself.  Way I see it, Cersei will be crazy enough to believe that she can fight Daenerys, and when the girl is destroying her armies left and right, that’s when Jaime will realize that something has to be done.  Meanwhile, Arya is working her way closer and closer.  She’ll get into the castle, and learn about her prey.  We’ll get a few episodes where she is studying Cersei.  Maybe a repeat of how she was a servant of Tywin.  Only difference is that this time, she’ll be preparing to kill Cersei.  Now we come to how she does it.  The Mountain guards her night and day.  When would she do it?  I think that it isn’t going to be Dany who heads to King’s Landing.  It will be Euron.  He will be sacking the city, and that’s when Arya will make her move.  And I also think Jaime will be making his move.  What I’d like to see is the two meeting.  Like they are headed to kill her, and both run into each other.  They have a brief confrontation, and Jaime tells her that he will finish this.  She’ll protest, but he’ll assure her that this is something that he needs to do.  Either that, or she’ll be sneaky and during the attack, will kill her.  Then, like the Faceless Man she has learned to be, she will disappear.  Jaime will find Cersei and that’s the moment when his failure as a knight will be complete.  Grim, but hey, it might not work out that way.

And the biggest prediction that I have for the next season will be…

1. The Wall Comes Down
It would be the perfect way to close out the season.  This season will be about the war Daenerys is waging to conquer Westeros.  The final season will be all about the War for the Dawn.  Since winter has finally come, now we will see the army of the dead reach the Wall.  But rather than try to climb up or anything else, the Night’s King will want to make his statement clear about how powerful he has become.  So, he will us ancient magic in order to bust the wall open.  I don’t figure he will destroy all of it.  For one, HBO doesn’t have that kind of budget.  He’ll just blast open part of it, and the army of the dead will seep through.  This will be how the season closes out.  It will be really on, and all the forces of Westeros will be heading to meet them, for the last great war of the Seven Kingdoms.

So, what do you think will happen?  Think my predictions are good?  I will say that of the predictions that I made for this season (linked here), most of them came true.  So it seems that I have a knack for this.  Here’s hoping I’m on the money again.

Until next time, a quote,

“My name is Arya Stark.  I want you to know that.  The last thing you’ll see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”  – Arya Stark, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

Belief is a Good Thing, Now? (A response to Prager University)

Let’s ask the people in Orlando if that’s the case.  Oh, I’m sorry.  Was that a little harsh?  I haven’t talked about atheism in a long time.  There is not much more to say.  You can only say so many ways – I don’t think God’s real.  I do not believe in any god.  I’ve hashed out all the old arguments.  It’s just not that stimulating anymore.  But it seems that Prager University has made a video where they want to not try and prove that God is real, but make the case that believing in him is a good thing.  Let’s look at their video, and then we can respond to it.

His first argument is that if God exists, the world didn’t become by chance.  There is “artistry in this beautiful design.”  Yeah, let’s ask the kids being born with misshapen skulls because of the Zika virus how much artistry there is there.  Let’s ask the kids who are born with AIDS how beautiful God’s design is.  It’s too easy to refute this point.  How is this an argument that belief is a good thing?  With all the horrible stuff that happens in this world, this idea that God’s existence means that the world is better than it actually is just makes no sense.

He says that if God exists, we’re in some epic story like Lord of the Rings.  Oh really?  So, the kid who died the other day in a shootout in the city I live in?  What heroic journey was that kid on?  Life isn’t like a story.  If it was, and God is shaping the narrative, that makes all the evil things that happen DIRECTLY his fault.  Every last one.  Oh, but according to him, it will all have a “happy ending.”  Let me guess – Heaven.  That’s the happy ending.  Unless, of course, you don’t believe in God.  Then there’s a really horrible ending, that God lets happen, for eternity.  Or if you believe in the wrong god.  Then you get punished for a crime that you had no fault in.  After all, which God is the right one?  Which deity should we believe in?  Yours, Mr. Kreeft?  Whose?

Oh, but evil makes sense if God exists.  Why?  You’re gonna love this – so we can have free will.  Why does evil have to be part of that?  I’m all ears.  That’s right – you never talk about it.  You just say that it will all make sense in the end.  I hate this argument.  It’s basically like saying, “what Stalin did was terrible, but it was all part of a larger plan that we just can’t understand.”  Does that sit well with you?  Of course not.  So God allowing evil because, through some vague way, it will preserve free will for reasons we don’t understand is such bullshit.

We then move on to the objective morality argument.  What is the metric for that?  The Bible?  If that’s the case, then I should be able to rape a girl and all I have to do in order to be good for that is give the father some silver shekels and marry the girl.  Ooo, then I can rape her all I want!  Yeah, there’s some objective morality for ya.  Or the point about killing disobedient children.  It’s directly said in the Bible that if a child is unruly, you are to take him outside of the city and stone him to death.  Yup, more objective morality.

Then he makes one of the weirdest arguments I’ve heard in a while – if God exists, love is part of some grander scheme.  If God doesn’t, then love is just chemicals in the brain.  I love feeling passion, but this idea that every connection has to be so profound is such a sign of hubris on the part of people.  Oh, and God has that special connection to all of us too, if he exists.  You know, unless you believe in the wrong deity or don’t believe in him at all.  There’s that.

And like clockwork, there’s the whole – if God doesn’t exist, life is pointless argument.  Well, yeah.  Apparently religious people have a hard time with this.  The meaning that you get out of life is something that you take from it.  No one can give your life meaning but you.  Sorry if that doesn’t give you warm, fuzzy feelings.  You have to accept that when you die, everything you accomplished is over.  That’s it.  Is there an afterlife?  I have no idea.  But that is immaterial.  What you leave behind has no meaning.  You are gone.  Your problems, such as they were, don’t exist anymore.

The guy then comes right out and says that he can’t prove God exists.  He says there is “overwhelming evidence” that he does.  None of which he cites.  But yeah, he can’t prove God exists.  But have no fear, confirmation bias believers – that’s all part of God’s plan too!  It leaves us free to choose.  Never mind that he could EASILY just prove his existence, and if he loved us like this idiot seems to think, then he would show us undeniable proof so that we could all be with him.  But I guess that would just be too easy.  God likes things to be complicated.  You know, in that insanely-convoluted sort of way.

Now we get to where he has questions for us.  Let’s answer them.

Doesn’t your heart hope that there’s a good god?

Nope.  With all the horrible things that happen in this world, and how unfathomably-shitty my luck is, there is no objective way to show that God is anything other than pure evil.  It cannot be done.  I’ve tackled every argument that I’ve ever heard.  I’m waiting to hear an original one.  Not one of this guy’s were.  But this idea that I secretly hope for some divine being that lets all this shit happen and does nothing to stop it exists is laughable.  Oh, right, he is going to decide for me and say that of course I do.  Thanks for that, buddy.

Why would someone not wish that life has some ultimate purpose?

Because if all this terrible stuff happening is all part of this all-loving being’s plan, then he’s evil.  That’s the only argument that can be made.  He is pure evil.

That good and evil is real?

If you buy into this, then God is evil.  Scratch that, he might not be evil.  He might be impotent or unconcerned.  So, he’s either evil, pathetic, or so unconcerned about us that he’s kind of a psychopath.  Great choices.

That there is ultimate justice?

According to whose code?  God’s?  Well, I was a sarcastic shit growing up.  My parents never dragged me out and stoned me to death.  So I guess they are in for some reckoning (before someone comes in to the Comments and tells me that Jesus came so that the Old Testament laws don’t count anymore, that’s bullshit.  Jesus himself said that he didn’t come to abolish the Old Testament laws.  He came to fulfill them).

That our love for others means something?

It does mean something – to us.  And to the people we care for.  That’s the point.  We are all we have.  It’s the whole reason that I treat people well.  Because I don’t want to hurt those that I love.  I want to help them.  I care for them very much.  Their happiness that I can help bring is the meaning that I get.  We call that empathy.  Are you saying that without this divine bullshit, you can’t feel these things?  That’s kind of sick, buddy.  You might want to look into that.

We then get the Pascal’s Wager argument.  Or at least the dumbed-down version.  Because no person who is religious is a miserable piece of shit.  Especially in this country.  America is one of the most religious countries in the world, but look at the happiness index.  It’s abysmal.  Meanwhile, look at countries like Denmark.  One of the lowest on the religious scale, and one of the happiest in the world.  Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I can’t help but think that your argument has some holes in it from facts you choose not to look at.

It ends with him telling me that I can live like God exists.  Okay, I’ll live like a divine, emotional, vengeful, rageful, hateful psychopath lives in the sky, who was somehow turned not evil because Jesus.  Yeah, I think I won’t.  I think I’ll live with empathy and move forward based on that.  Nice talking with you.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe I’m too young to understand what the world’s supposed to be.  But it’s not this.  Can’t be this.”  – Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Peace out,

Maverick

A Smile for Father’s Day

Well, it’s another Father’s Day coming up.  And there’s something to know about my old man – he is unimaginably difficult to shop for.  What do you get the guy who has everything he wants and wants nothing else? (I want to put it out there that I acknowledge that being happy with what you have is a good character trait.  But it still makes holidays difficult.  So sue me) Here’s an example – when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said mousetraps.  Because it seems that my cat is not living up to her namesake and killing a mouse somewhere in the house.  That’s what he told me he wanted.  Now, I could have tried to be creative and really go the extra mile.  But you know what I did instead?  I got him the fucking mousetraps.  Okay, I wasn’t that much of a douche.  I included some candy with them.  But still, I got the guy exactly what he asked for.

Now, with Father’s Day on Sunday, I am at a loss again as to what to do?  I’m currently in crushing poverty due to joblessness, that he didn’t believe me when I said that I put in 4 to 10 applications/resumes per day.  If only I could show him what my Sent folder in my email looks like.  The family would know why I’m depressed.  But I can feel my luck changing.  Things are coming together.  I can feel it.  But I digress.  I’m at a loss again as to what to get the old-timer.  Didn’t even ask.  Partly because I am strapped in the extreme for cash (and being forced to ask for their help for that.  Don’t think that makes me proud for a moment) and partly because I knew that I would likely groan at the answer.  Or at least my mother would.  When she heard him say he wanted mousetraps for Christmas, her reaction was almost vocally-exact to what her mother said to her husband.  I swear, it was almost pitch-perfect.

So what am I going to do?  I thought long and hard, and I figured out what I’m going to give.  It’s the best gift I know how to give – a smile.  How will I do that?  With the written word.  Since I know the parentals read my site, they’ll come across this and hopefully they get a laugh.  I will retell an anecdote for you all, which will make you smile, and hopefully the memory of it makes him.  Here goes.

My father is a hunter.  Pretty good at it, too.  I watched one time where he shot a moose so perfectly that it did a backflip and died.  That was kind of amazing.  Good eating, too.  Unlike hunters who just want a head to mount on their wall, we eat what we catch.  Moose is awesome.  Best burgers in the world are made from it.  Man, I am the king of digressions tonight, aren’t I?

Anyway, it was one fateful night when he was out on the hunt.  Left the dog home.  He’s a giant lug, who has all the brain cells of marbles in a tin can.  Carefully stalking prey isn’t what the albino lab is made for.  Myself, the mother-unit, and the dog were doing whatever, when the mother calls me out to the living room.  I do so, and she tells me that he sent her a text, telling her that he’s on to something and coming our way.  Since the prey is likely to come by the house, the logical thing to do is get a rifle for her to shoot, if she gets a chance to finish the job.  Turns out, she gets that chance.  What happens next is just the first part of a wonderfully-hilarious night.

The rifle was a lever-action.  Cocking it should have been the easiest thing.  But did she?  Nope.  Why?  Because for reasons totally unknown, she couldn’t.  I got a laugh while this moose was literally right outside the door.  I should have grabbed the rifle and shot it myself.  I at least know how to cock a lever-action rifle.  But because my mother is incapable of doing so, the old man ended up shooting it.  And it didn’t drop.  It kept moving.  Moving to where, you might ask?  Into a giant grove of trees, that’s what.  A giant mess of old, dead trees that are rotting.  Getting in there was a mess.  It was late at night.  The sun was setting fast.  The light was very limited.  Which means that they had to work quickly.  The animal had to be skinned, gutted, and the vital meat components taken out and hung up.  We couldn’t leave it out there.

Working at night, someone had to have the honorable duty of holding the flash-light.  Believe it or not, but this is something the old man takes very seriously.  Something he apparently got from his father.  If you messed up with the light, that was not a good thing.  Guess who got to hold the light?  Me!  It was deemed my duty.  The parentals would skin and gut, while I held the light.  While the holding of the light is something that my old man takes very seriously, I am in insufferable smartass who is utterly-incapable of stopping myself from being such.  And we were out there for some time.

So what did I do?  I found a way to liven things up!  See, the parents are getting on in their years.  Old couples like the argue.  The parents do it all the time.  While the skinning and gutting of the moose was taking place, they were bickering almost non-stop.  So what did I do?  I found a way to make it into a joke.  I did my best David Attenborough impression and narrated their skinning and gutting as if in a nature documentary.  I was quite proud of myself.  The parents both looked like they wanted to strangle me.  But because I am quite good with voicework and my narrations were funny, they couldn’t bring themselves to stop me.  Who else was going to hold the light?

We ended up getting a crap-ton of moose meat.  It was a good night.  But the thing to take away from this is – if my mother had been able to cock a lever-action rifle, none of that would have happened.  But where’s the fun in that?  To this day, whenever something ridiculous is going on at my house (you wouldn’t BELIEVE how often that happens) I decide to take up the smartass tradition of narrating.

And that’s the Father’s Day story.  None of this happened on Father’s Day, mind you.  But it’s just a story to make people smile.  Hopefully that worked.

Until next time, a quote,

“Here we see the two hunter, stuck in a natural hazard, trying to quickly skin their catch while the light fades.  The hunters do not work well together, and thus there is tension in the group.”  -Lucien Maverick

Peace out,

Maverick

Let’s Answer 20 Questions Black People (Not of BuzzFeed) Have for White People

I did a post some time ago answering the black people of BuzzFeed’s questions for Strawman Whitey.  No, it seems that another group has come up and decided that they are going to ask the REAL questions that BuzzFeed should have asked.  Oh, I’m sure this is going to be all kinds of interesting.  Well, in keeping with tradition, I decided that I’m going to answer those questions.  Here’s a link to the video that these came from, now let’s get going.

Be honest – you hate black people.  Don’t you?

Assertion without even the vaguest idea of what evidence is.  No, bitch.  But I have a problem with you for asserting that I hate black people for reasons unknown.  Yeah, you I have a definite problem with.

White people – do you know what gentrification is doing to black neighborhoods?

The buying up of shitty homes and renovating them?  I don’t know.  Making them look better?  I figure this goes with that whole “broken windows theory.”  The idea being if they make the neighborhoods look nice, then they won’t be so crime-ridden.  The success of that theory has been somewhat lacking for some times.  So, I’m guessing that your belief is that gentrification is much the same.

Do you have ANY idea?

Just answered that.

Why is being a former drug dealer a bad thing?

It isn’t.  Not to me, anyway.  I think that we need to end the drug war and legalize all narcotics.  The whole shebang.  We can’t end it by keeping things illegal, so we might as well just legalize and tax it.  Then we can take drugs off the street and make it a multi-billion dollar market in this country.  Here’s a great video that explains why that’s going to happen.  Eventually.

So there’s that.  As for people who are former drug dealers, I got no beef with them.  Methinks you have assumptions about how us honkies think.

But being a former slave owner – totally okay, white America?

Who are you talking about?  I’ve never owned a slave.  Neither have my parents.  Or my grandparents.  Or may great grand-parents.  Slavery ended over 150 years ago.  Time to move on.  I won’t be shamed because fore-fathers who no one in three generations have living memory of did some stuff that was uncool.

Do you honestly think the structure of America is NOT based on racism?

Yeah.  The problem is that there are people who are racist out there.  I’m sure you’re going to bring up cops.  Yeah, there are plenty of racist cops.  But here’s the thing – look what it takes to be a police officer in this country.  It’s pretty much – show up, be given a gun, a badge, and virtually no oversight.  What kind of person do you think is going to want that kind of job?  Thugs.  For the most part.  There are cops who just want to help people.  That’s something that gets lost in all these Black Lives Matter yelling contests.  But it can’t be denied that the majority of people this job appeals to are those who want to have the power to exert over others.  It’s like the military, in that regard.  You have those who want to help, and those who want to hurt.

You all want equality of outcome.  I want equality of opportunity.  While there are some holdouts in places, I’d say that that objective has been achieved.  It’s up to you to decide what you do with that.  You could work to get ahead, or you could go on YouTube and bitch about how hard you, a clearly upper-middle class person, have it.

Do you really think you discovered America?

Nope.  Neither did you.  Neither did anyone in our generation.  The people who discovered America are so far removed from us now that this question is beyond retarded.

Do you really think it’s yours?

It’s land.  The American government owns this land.  I pay taxes to that government.  So yeah, in part, I do think that I have some ownership of it.  The hospital that I walk through every day, tax dollars help pay for that.  The university I went to, my tax dollars help make that possible.  The land that my grandparents generation homesteaded on, they worked hard to make that land their own.  So yeah, I do think that this is partly mine.

When I’m upset, I’m an angry black man, Or woman! (they interjected)  When you’re upset, you’re just upset.  Aren’t you an angry white man?

Nope.  I’m just an angry asshole.  And you’re an angry idiot.  See, I’m going to remove your race from the equation and just make it about how dumb you are.  As a person.  I’m nice like that.

Why isn’t racism illegal?

Because that’s thought policing.  We can’t tell people how to think.  That’s fascism.  People are allowed to think the way they want, and you are free to disagree with them.  That’s how an open and fair society works.  Sometimes that means that the assholes get to have mean opinions.  But I’d rather have that in society than lock-step.  Those differing opinions are important.  It means that we can talk and have a discourse.  Well, at least I wish I could.  The day an SJW comes to me and wants to have a civil discourse is the day that Hell freezes over.

Why is gaining the black vote so important, but mass incarceration of black people isn’t?

Actually, I’ve argued many times against this country’s draconian prison sentencing.  We send people to prison for nothing.  One of the reasons that I want to end the drug war is so we can help empty this country’s prisons.  Then we can have prisons that could actually potentially help rehabilitate people who can be, instead of becoming breeding grounds for new crime.  But even without ending the drug war, this idea that we send people to prison for non-violent offenses is ridiculous.  That needs to change.  Stop trying to assume that you know how I think.

Why are all of ya’ll afraid of black people?

I’m not.  I’m just as apathetic about black people as I am about most anyone else.

What are you going to do about systematic racism?

Nothing.  It’s a non-issue that has been blown out of proportion by race-baiters like Black Lives Matter.

Why must you own ALL the media outlets?

Assume, much?  I don’t own shit!  I own this blog.  Well, at least I am allowed to use it through WordPress.  Don’t know who owns WordPress.  If you want media outlets, then get to work building them.  Good luck.  It’s a tough market out there, these days.  I wish you luck.

Why does EVERY race qualify for reparations except black people?

I don’t want to give reparations to anyone.  For real, what’s done is done.  Move on.  I’m so tired of you all pretending like you, your parents, or your grandparents know the first thing about slavery, when you live in the First World.  You have the kind of life that kings of old would kill for. Stop your bitching.

A long time ago, really not that long ago, you all prevented black people from learning how to read and write.  But, why did you let them keep a bible?

Because religion has been a HUGE part of this country’s heritage since its inception.  Part of me thinks that Stephen Fry has a point when he says that we need to just get rid of the separation of church and state.  It’s so clearly entangled anyway, so why not just own that?  Then we can start taxing the churches.  We already subsidize them with tax dollars.  We might as well make it official.

White people, historically, you’ve never liked black people.

Assume much, bitch?

But why do you take black people’s money?

If I had a business that I ran, I’d take whoever’s money.  I don’t care what your race is.  If I run a business, I want the most money.  Whoever wants my products, I’ll take what I can get from them.

What does colonization mean to you?

Nothing.

You do know crack and cocaine are drugs, right?

Can you find out why Bill Clinton thinks that one should carry a harsher sentence than the other?

Voting polls have shown that black people support Shillary far more than they did Bernie.  You all go ask.

When are you going to arrest Governor Snyder?

No idea.  Don’t have the authority.

So, when we talk about slavery, why are you uncomfortable?

I’m not.  I’m annoyed.  Just like when people talk about 9/11.  It’s over and done.  Seriously, people need to get over it already.

Why do you want to adopt the “fun part” of black culture, but not that true lifestyle of black Americans?

You think that I want to be anything like you smug assholes?  That’s cute.

I gotta know – why do you wear shorts in the wintertime?

It’s comfortable.  Though, I only wear them around my house.  So there’s that.

Well, that was nice and retarded.  Hopefully you all could learn something from that engagement.  Just waiting for the person to come into the Comments and be like, “yeah, that’s you’re an asshole and a racist!”  Whatever makes you feel better, snowflake.

Until next time, a quote,

“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics.  It is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”  – John W. Gardner

Peace out,

Maverick

Let’s Blame Video Games for Orlando! #E32016

I wasn’t too young to remember the days when Jack Thompson was making news, telling the world about how video games are teaching the young people to kill people.  A notion that was so wrong that his campaign not only crashed and burned, but Thompson lost his career because of it.  He was disbarred for his trouble.  Do I feel bad?  No.  Not really.  Something that Thompson learned is that us gamers are used to be treated like society’s dog to beat on when they need to feel better about themselves.  Because hey, why not makes fun of a group of people whose only crime is doing something they enjoy.  After all, we’re not watching sports or going to bars and getting shit-faced, so there must be something wrong with us, right?

Such is the mantra of the news, who has seen fit to make this latest tragedy in Orlando about how bad video games are.  Like an article on NPR, who has gone from a respectable news outlet to just another click-bait rag.  Hell, they are doing unboxing videos now.  Maybe that can be a sign of how down-the-shitter their outlet is now.  Today’s video game slander is coming from a “journalist” named Laura Sydell.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

The annual video game trade show E3 began this week in Los Angeles under the cloud of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the deadliest in America’s recent history. The conference is expected to draw tens of thousands of industry professionals who want hands-on experience with games that turn virtual violence into entertainment.

Here we go.  Yes, let’s waste no time making video games out to be murder simulators.  Any chance we could talk about the religion that inspired the killer in Orlando?  No?  During the course of the investigation, it has been found out that he frequented that club a lot and had a gay app on his phone to hook up.  He was clearly in denial about his sexuality, and prone to violent action because of his religious beliefs.  We gonna talk about that?  What’s that?  We’re gonna say that video games share some culpability in this attack.

Oh, and video games don’t “turn virtual violence into entertainment.”  There is violence, but that is just one component.  Just got done playing Uncharted 4.  You know what that did?  It crafted a compelling narrative about the last exploit of Nathan Drake.  It told a rich and thought-provoking story about him and his relationships with people, along with his urge to find treasure that he has been denying.  So while you did shoot bad guys, you also went around the world solving an awesome mystery and experiencing Nathan’s story.  I’m guessing that you don’t have much experience with this industry, so you are just judging it by things like CoD or its contemporaries.

Indeed, it’s not often that a preview of violent video games begins with condolences to the victims of a mass shooting. Tyler stood onstage, flanked by someone in a giraffe costume on one side and dancers dressed as candy canes on the other, and offered deepest sympathies to the victims and their families in Orlando. Her somber moment at this festive video game promotional event drew a loud round of applause from a packed auditorium.

What’s the problem with that?  I mean, the cringe-worthy dancing number that took place afterwards was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen at E3 (seriously, Ubisoft, you need to just stop), but doesn’t the audience clapping after she says that mean that they support her making that statement?  Do you just want us all to sit there quietly?  Maybe that applause was signaling that the people there are glad that they took the time to acknowledge it.  Sony did much the same at their press conference, but they didn’t make it some huge deal.  Why?  Because they didn’t want to ruin their conference for the audience.  Because guess what – sometimes a little escapism is a good thing after a tragedy.

Follow me on this – when I lost a friend several years back, there was a game series that I ended up devoting WAY too much time to in order to cope.  The Mass Effect games.  I have played through that series so much that I know almost all the dialogue by heart.  Were it not for the shitty ending to the third game, that series would have gone down in history as one of the greatest ever made.  A title that Uncharted snagged for itself quite handily.  Gaming helped me get through a VERY hard time.  My depression was unbelievably bad.  During WWII, the cinemas in this country stayed open.  Why?  Because it was to help get the minds of the American people off the war, and the very real possibility that life as they knew it could have ended.  You see why this can be a good thing?

Other companies showed off their games without acknowledging the national grief.

What’s that?  Sony didn’t have that moment, right at the start, where they took some time to address it?  Okay.  I’m so glad that you can tell us these things.  Groj knows, I never would have figured it out by watching the stream.  Ignorant bitch.

But ESA President and CEO Mike Gallagher denied any connection between video game violence and real-world violence.

That’s because there is not.  NONE!  There has been no evidence produced, ever, that shows a connection between video games and real life violence.  There have been so many studies that have been done showing the opposite.  There is the statistics of how violent crime has gone down, way down, as video games have become more popular.  Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but if you’re going to make the argument that video games have a connection to real-world violence, then you have to acknowledge that discrepancy.  Your entire article is predicated on a false truth.

How is it that the Jack Thompson argument is now acceptable?  Really, this interests me.  Maybe it’s because of the success of charlatans like Anita Sarkeesian, saying the video games not only cause violence but also sexism.  Hey, if a woman says it, then it must be true!  Maybe that was Thompson’s mistake.  All he needed was to get some vagina-equipped people to talk about it.  Then it’s all true!

However, Gallagher’s conclusion that video games have no connection to real-world violence is debatable. There is evidence that these games cause increased aggression, according to the American Psychological Association.

I’m going to try and explain this to you without getting angry.  Even though you are the dumbest cunt I’ve seen in a while.  There is tangible evidence that this man’s radical Islamist views are DIRECTLY tied in to what happened in Orlando.  This was an act of religious terrorism.  Before the act, he called the police to tell them that he was going to kill people in the name of ISIS.  The shooter was heard shouting “Allah Akbar” before opening fire on the crowd.  And yet, you are going to drag some bullshit study that doesn’t even show a connection to violence (just to aggression.  The same could easily be said about sports teams.  Just ask the moms who are telling their kids to kill the other team during school sports games) as evidence of…what, exactly?  The fact that you and the rest of the media will do everything in your power not to talk about the REAL force that contributed to violence, in this instance?

But the show always has plenty of pure, lighthearted fun. There’s a reason those dancers were onstage with Aisha Tyler. Attendees got a glimpse of Ubisoft’s dance franchise, Just Dance 2017, which will be coming out on all platforms. Let’s hope by the time it hits your favorite console the nation will be in a dancing mood.

Yeah, you’re not a gamer.  Anyone who saw that dance number and didn’t cringe is beyond stupid.  I feel bad for the people trapped in that auditorium.  That’s one of the levels of Hell, for sure.

Video games are an easy target.  The media is able to blame them for just about everything.  Perceived, totally bullshit sexism?  Video games.  Mass shooting at a nightclub with a direct, proven connection to Islamism?  Video games.  Whatever your social issue is, you can bet that video games are an easy villain.  Now this bitch has just written an article that proves NOTHING, all for the purpose of getting NPR clicks.  This was click-bait in its purest form.  An article that had no facts, said nothing, and had a title that they knew would get clicks.  Fuck this broad, and her pathetic excuse for a “news” outlet.  I hate watching NPR fall like this.  I thought they were one of the good ones.

Until next time, a quote,

“And, although cable news came in with a superficial resemblance to the earlier model of network news, it wasn’t long before the news became just another form of entertainment.”  – Mykeru Media

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Death Stranding – Reveal Trailer

After all the bullshit involving Konami and Kojima, the alpha game developer is finally free.  Sony was there on the spot to offer him all the funding and tools he needed.  Good on them.  The man is now able to make the kinds of games that he wants to make, exactly as he wants to make them.  Anyone with perspective knows that that can only mean good things.  Kojima’s entrance to Sony’s press conference was the ultimate boss moment.  The stage literally lit his path down.  It was incredible.  The look on his face when he smiles at the crowd, you know that he is loving every minute of how much we are happy to see him here.  With all the funding and free reign to make the kind of game that he wants, what do we get?  Let’s take a look.

I like how Huber on Easy Allies put it – this was a religious experience.  Not only do we get to see Kojima back, but he’s teamed up with Norman Reedus once more.  After the tragic failure that was PT, we have Kojima not wasting talent and still making the game he wanted to make.  This is kind of making my emotions work.  A legend has been reborn and is giving the audience EXACTLY what they want.

The thing that immediately got my attention was how this trailer is Lovecraftian as fuck!  I’m about to go complete nerd, so if that’s not your deal, move on now.  I got the complete collection of Lovecraft’s works for Christmas.  Been reading it.  Still am.  It’s huge.  It’s the fucking bible of Lovecraft.  Of his short stories, there is one that truly sticks out, to me.  It’s the story of Dagon.  It tells that a man is lost at sea in a boat, which then ends up on a blackened shore.  There is dead sea life all around him.  It’s everywhere.  Dead fish, dead crabs, dead everything.  The scent of dead seal life is so strong that it nearly makes him pass out.  The man explores the vast, black shore, until he comes across something.  Something that he cannot fully describe.  It’s an obelisk, with ancient writings on it.  He doesn’t know what they are.  But there are depictions of a monster, towering over fleeing peoples.  It’s then that the man hears a noise, like a monstrous scream.  He then looks out, and what does he see?  Something that makes him fall unconscious.  When he wakes, he’s back in the boat, lost at sea.

This trailer was drowning in that kind of imagery.  I have NO idea if Kojima did that intentionally or just because he thought this was cool.  Either way, this is going to be awesome.  Not much more to say about this, but I am 10,000 different kinds of stoked for what this is going to be.  Sony came out at their press conference balling.  They are such ballers.  Microsoft dreams of being able to catch up to them.  I am going to be following every outlet I can for more news.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick