Let’s Answer a Question You Should Ask Your Non-Christian Friends

For those who didn’t know, in addition to being a filthy liberal, I’m also a heathen atheist.  I have heard all the arguments for the existence of God, and I find them all to be lacking.  I don’t go into this all that much anymore, because my days of being the anti-religion shit-kicker are long behind me.  Not to mention, I haven’t heard an original argument.  However, I was made aware of this video, that has a Christian speaker who has a question that can seal the deal on turning a non-believer into a believer.  Okay, let’s hope this is an original argument.  Let’s watch this video, and then we’ll talk about it.

We start off with a very timid girl asking a question while chewing gum (that is so annoying.  Don’t be one of those people) wanting to know how to get through to her non-believer friends.  This dude’s answer should be good.

He begins by saying that this is the question he has when he goes “back and forth” with non-believers and feels there is “some resistance.”  Yeah, resistance to his religious nonsense that I genuinely don’t understand how people can believe.  It is so ludicrous on the face of it.  The idea that there is a magic man in the sky who created everything.  How can anyone buy that?  Not a rhetorical question.  Feel free to try your shot at giving me an original argument.

Then he says the question – if Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?  What?!  That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!  For starters, you have to not only prove that God is real, but that the God that’s real is the one you believe in.  The ego of this assertion is mind-boggling.  I’m supposed to be unable to answer this?  Really?  Because my answer is easy – assuming you could prove that not only does a deity exist, but it’s the one that you believe in, my answer is – no.  I wouldn’t.  Why?  Because this deity of yours is sitting back and doing fuck-all while humanity is both fucking and polluting ourselves into extinction.  While children are getting limbs blown off by landmines.  While there are parasites designed to eat brains.  That’s all they do.  This world is a festering pile of shit, and if you can prove to me that your God exists, I would point to that and then ask the holier-than-thou fuck why he expects me to be cool with that.  I’d ask where he gets off think that that is okay.

Now of course, you’d say “then I guess you aren’t going to Heaven.”  Fine by me.  I want no part of a Heaven that the God this man worships is involved with.  A God who is small.  Who created this massive, incredible universe, but for some reason actually cares where a man sticks his penis.  A God who was able to create the countless worlds in the ever-expanding vastness of our universe, yet decided to send a bear to maul children to death for making fun of one of his prophets.  A God who is able to create life from absolutely nothing, as it says in Genesis, yet is also very concerned if a youth is bad-mouthing their parents.  Yeah, I want NOTHING to do with that God.  Not one damn thing.

The dude decides to make my point for me and say that other atheists have had the same answer I have.  Okay.  Curious to see what his rebuttal is to this position.  He begins by saying that because atheists claim to be reasonable, but then says that if something is proven to be true, would we believe it, and says we don’t.  Wait a minute!  That ain’t what you asked, dude.  You asked that if Christianity were proven to be true, would we become Christian.  Asking that and then asking if I believe it are two very different things.  I would not become a Christian because the God you worship is either malevolent, incapable, or not a deity at all.  Your God is pathetic, yet demands that we all think that he’s all-knowing, all-loving, and completely omnipotent.  Why would I want to become part of you?  Believing in something that has been proven and accepting that and following it are two very different things.  As if your beliefs being proven would be so powerful that I would have to instantly become a Christian on the spot.  No.

I love when Christians do this.  They try and make a point but then turn it into something else.  The reason they do this is because they know that they can’t win a straight argument with someone who is an educated non-believer.  Their beliefs don’t hold up to scrutiny.  So instead they have to make it about something else.  They have to take their points and then stealthfully tweak them to an argument that works for them.  Kirk Cameron was cited pointing this out by telling people to get around atheist’s logic and appeal directly to their emotions.  This dude is dealing with a strawman who is really stupid and wouldn’t see what he did there.  Idiot.

We then get into “they just want to be God of their own lives.”  Ugh.  I was really hoping for an original argument.  I really, really was.  I hoped this dude had something I haven’t heard before.  Armoured Skeptic once said he’d give up his left nipple for an original religious argument, and part of me wants to go in on him with that, before he moved on to other things.  Dude, you are the God of your own life.  Why?  Because God follows all the same values and prejudices that you do.  Find any Christian, and they will tell you that God and Jesus think all the same things they do.  It’s quite something.  Don’t like gay people?  Neither does God.  Don’t like openly sexual people?  Neither does God.  Don’t like the idea of your money going to help people you don’t like?  Well, you can make it so your God doesn’t like that either.  It’s really amazing.  It’s almost like the fucker can read your mind.  Isn’t that amazing?

Oh, we got another question!  Wait, never mind.  It’s him asking the audience if the non-believer they want to convert is someone who is “actively seeking truth” or just someone who is openly hostile to religion.  Wow.  Strawman Atheist strikes again!  Dude, I do look for truth.  The difference is, your world has no truth.  You believe in a magic man who has properties that could not be real if not for magic.  It’s a fact.  He flooded the Earth and had two of every animal in a boat and then had all those animals spread across the world without leaving any trace of themselves.  Magic!  He had a dude with Hulk strength all because of his hair.  Magic!  He created a man by forming dirt and then breathing into it.  Magic!  He turned a woman into a pillar of salt.  Well, that one could be the Crimson Alchemist.  Oh wait, it’s magic!  There is no truth in what you have to say.  I’m not openly hostile to your religion.  I’ve just heard all the arguments and found it wanting.

And what do you know, his audience agrees with him!  When he asks if the person the audience is thinking of is seeking truth, none of them raise their hands.  It’s all just hostility towards God and the idea of God.  This argument is so fucking dumb.  I’ve heard it all a thousand times in a thousands different forms.  “You just want the freedom to sin!”  “You just don’t wanna believe in God!  The evidence is everywhere!”  And naturally this dude sits in a room full of people who agree with him and they can all have their confirmation bias safely stoked without any fear of contradiction.  Because that’s how the Christian world works.  A magical echo chamber, just like pretty much every other group in this country.

He concludes saying to just pray for the person who doesn’t believe in God and that will do the trick, because they’ll have some tribulation in their lives that will bring them to Jesus.  Bullshit.  I’ve had a TON of tribulation, never once did I think Jesus could do anything for me.  It’s all a crock.  But whatever.  That’s the world we live in.

So, this was stupid.  I beat that argument to death fairly easily.  Always hoping for that one person who asks me a question that really gets me thinking.  A man can dream, after all.

Until next time, a quote,

“But in the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman.” – George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth and The Fractured But Whole

So, I’ve been really lonely and depressed lately.  What this usually leads me to do is game.  The last time I was like this, I played through the Mass Effect games (the first three.  We don’t talk about Andromeda) so much that I know all of my favorite character’s dialogue by heart!  No joke, that’s how much I know those games.  This time, I decided to see if these two games based on the South Park universe were any good.  I’d heard good things, especially with the first and less for the second, so I figured I would see for myself.  And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, they exceeded my expectations in every way.  I’m gonna do reviews for both games here, so this will be kind of long.  Let’s get to talking about it.

First up, we have Stick of Truth.  A game that is riffing on fantasy RPG games, it tells the story of our voiceless protagonist, New Kid.  You create this character, but they never speak.  Something that is made a point of ruthlessly in the game, riffing on games that do that.  Our new kid just moved into town, and just happens to get roped into a struggle between Cartman’s Kupa Keep, and Kyle’s Drow Elves over a mythical object – the Stick of Truth.  A stick that can enable you to do anything.  However, it seems that New Kid is harboring some secrets of his own, and all of it plays together in a narrative that only the creators of South Park could tell.

There is a lot to talk about in this game.  The visuals are just perfect for something set in the South Park universe.  It really does feel like you’re watching an episode of the show.  Since all the voices are pitch-perfect for what you expect from the characters, the role-playing of this felt great.  Part of me really gets why the animation style of the series meshes well to video games.  Since it is done on computer, I have to figure there wasn’t a whole lot they had to tweak.  Though, getting to see Canada as an 8-bit world with 8-bit gaming music was adorable.

Combat in the game is basically a Final Fantasy game, with a few caveats.  Your character chooses their own class, and then you play through the game getting to add on to it as time goes by.  The amount of abilities you get is limited, and you can only change so many things.  Leveling up is also pretty basic.  That’s the thing about the game – it’s pretty basic in the controls and how you play.  Combat does incorporate QTE segments in both offense and defense to either get extra damage or extra defense, respectively.

But you don’t come to this game for deep mechanics.  You really, really don’t.  If you are playing a South Park game, you came to play for the experience of being inside an episode of the series, but longer.  And this is a long game.  I ended up having a good 24 hours through just the story.  Which brings us to this – is the humor on point?  Yeah, for sure.  It’s absurdly violent at points (the abortion clinic scene was so unbelievably grotesque.  I loved it), unbelievably raunchy (the scene fighting the gnome under your parents while they’re fucking is just too good), and doesn’t pull that many punches.  That being said, it is pretty standard for what the average observer would expect from a game in this genre.  Like one of the early season episodes.  That’s not a bad thing, but it does have you having to check your expectations.  And how it all ends is just too funny.  It’s so stupid that it’s perfect.

Overall, this is a solid RPG riffing on games in this genre, along with the fact that it is a South Park game.  Trey and Matt definitely didn’t take things too seriously, and that’s for the best.  I like that they have no problem making fun of their own work.  That’s mature, and while this game is decidedly not, if you wanted to play through an episode of this franchise, this is the perfect way to do it.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

The first game got a TON of praise.  Just tons of it.  People loved it across the board, save for the moralizing people who don’t like any game anymore because you can’t please those people and it bothers me that now Sony is actually trying to.  However, the sequel got a much more tepid amount of praise.  People seem reticent to pile it on for this one, which I think is genuinely unfortunate.  The Stick of Truth was funny.  The Fractured But Whole was fucking hilarious!  This game too so much more risks, and dammit if that didn’t pay off.  At least to me.  I can see why people would be hesitant to say nice things about it in mainstream gaming journalism outlets.

See, in the last couple seasons, South Park riffed on PC culture and it wasn’t nice about it.  Hell, it fucked it up the butt and when people were yelling, they just shrugged and went about their day.  This game is following in the vein of those episodes, and it’s funny to watch.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that a year after the events of the previous game, New Kid is still the King and all is peaceful in the Kingdom.  Until their game is interrupted by The Coon, who tells our hero and his friends that there is an opportunity to get their superhero franchise off the ground.  Now our young hero is thrown into a new world, and a new plot that gets more and more ridiculous as time goes on.  All for the purpose of saving a cat and getting $100.

Some people were complaining the combat in this game was kind of dumbed down from the previous entry.  I would disagree with that.  While you don’t have much of the QTE stuff, it made things harder by making it so you have fewer choices when you are in combat of what to do.  In the last game, you could use healing items and then attack in the same turn.  Here, you have to make choices, and since your enemy can hit for a TON of damage and healing items don’t just fall out of enemies every minute, you have to be smart.  What’s more, most summons only have the specific number of times they can be called into battle, and then they are done.  This game makes you think on your feet, but thankfully, give you a much bigger toolbox to play with.

See, you get superhero powers, and as the game goes on, Cartman keeps adding to your increasingly-ridiculous back-story which gives you a bigger toolbox to play with, that you can customize to whatever play style you want.  What’s more, before every battle you can do this.  So if you fuck up and die, you get another shot to change up your roster, you skills, and the augmentations you have.  There is depth here, just different from the last.  And if you ask me, some of that stuff did need to be toned down.  The streamlining of things in this game made it much fun for me.

But just like the last game, you didn’t pick this up because you wanted deep mechanics.  You did it so you could play an episode of South Park.  In that regard, this game does the formula even better.  Never have I felt more like I was in this world with these characters than I did in this game.  What’s more, since your character can customize their character sheet, You can change how you get interacted with.  Role-play-wise, this was a great game to get sucked into with the universe.  Plus, the narrative is so much better.  Stick of Truth was fun, but here they go all out.  Everyone is foul-mouthed.  There is PC culture that is seamlessly mixed into that world because it basically takes place where the episodes of the series have already happened.  You have to mesh with the madness, and hot damn!  It’s too funny. They take real chances with some of the stuff they go into.  My favorite of the Lovecraftian monster that is horribly racist, with racist cops feeding black people to it.  Their black characters have a bad habit of being urban as fuck.  They riff on the whole cis/transgender stuff.  There are no punches held back, and the game is better for it.

What’s more, there is something about how the narrative turns out that had me in stitches the first time because it felt so South Park.  When you have Stan at the end asking everyone “you be taking this seriously,” it feels like the best episodes of the show, where him and Kyle are trying to get everyone to see reason, but Cartman still wins in the end.  Plus, we have that great child-like naivety of Cartman combined with the diabolical master-mindedness of him that is just a joy to watch.  I will say that the final act does get draining as it is one boss-fight after another, but that aside, it’s great stuff.

I genuinely do love both of these games.  They both are charming and funny and great to play.  But this game is the better of the two.  Without a doubt, it does the formula better.  What’s more, it feels like it genuinely continues the narrative from the first game.  It doesn’t just forget that that stuff happened, and there were plot threads that were unresolved.  The whole narrative comes to a nice conclusion.  I don’t know if there are any plans for a sequel, but to be honest, I’d be okay if there weren’t.  This game ends on a nice note.  You really are doing a disservice to yourself if you haven’t picked these games up.  But if you wanna start here, I don’t blame you.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Persona 5 The Royal Japanese Trailer

For those of you who didn’t know, my favorite game of 2017 was, hands-down, Persona 5.  It was close between that and Horizon: Zero Dawn, but that game scraped by on a razor-thin margin.  It is the quintessential JRPG.  It’s the Gold Standard.  There is no other one in its class.  Not even remotely.  This game showed me just how perfect these games can be, and that makes me so damn happy.  So when I heard that they were going to be releasing an extended version of the game, with new characters, new areas, new combat mechanics, and even looking at the third semester that the game glosses over, I was squeeing like a 14 year old girl.  There’s a fun image for ya.  A trailer has finally been released, now let’s talk about it.

Oh boy.  Oh fucking boy.  I cannot begin to describe to you how utterly stoked I am.  That looks awesome!  Praying that the final game is in English.  Don’t you “sub-only!” fuckers start with me.  I don’t wanna hear it.  I don’t watch anime in Japanese, I sure as hell am not gonna play my JRPG in it either.  The English version of this game was part of what I loved so much anyway, so yeah.  So much to talk about.

We start with the scene in the basement of the police station.  We have our main character in there, when he suddenly gets pulled into the Metaverse to hear someone calling out to him.  Is this friend?  Is this foe?  Well, because the trailer had no subtitles, I guess we don’t know.  But to be honest, I prefer it that way.  I don’t want what’s coming spoiled to me.  Part of the excitement is not knowing.  Why Americans want everything in movies and games spelled out to them eludes me.  It really does.  It’s why I have loved how Kojima is handling the marketing of Death Stranding.

Then we get back into the jazzy soundtrack with the game’s signature style.  I love the aesthetic of this game.  It really does feel smooth and fun.  Then we get into the gameplay.  Seems we have a new stomping ground to explore – Kichijoji.  This is a very different kind of place.  One of the things I’ve liked about all the parts of Tokyo you visit is how each one has its own flavor.  Like it’s its own thing.  Really hoping to visit Japan one day.  This part of Japan has a very cramped and claustrophobic feel.  I can get into that.

On to the metaverse, it seems there is a new mechanic being introduced into the game – a zip-line to be able to get around.  It seems this new version of the game is expanding on Palaces to have new things to find.  I love that.  The fact that they are doing so much to make the game more engaging really makes me happy. Later on we see the mechanic being applied in other parts of the metaverse, so yeah.

Then we have the introductions of new characters.  First is a strange, enigmatic young woman with red hair, wearing the school uniform of our hero.  Who is this woman?  Her voice is the same as the one on the screen in the opening, so I’m guessing she has a big part to play.  Just how far does that go?  Hard to say.  We then see a doctor.  Who is this guy?  He seems tight with Ann.

We shift gears to the combat.  It seems characters have a bunch of new powerful moves at their disposal.  What are these moves?  How are they going to mesh with the characters?  It appears like some of them combine characters actions.  Perhaps these are combos like those you can unlock when you grow relationships with your Confidants?  Lots of questions, few answers.

Our new redhead is making nice with the protagonist.  This could get interesting.  Who is this new person?  Then there’s some stuff where we have our characters chilling with Joker, doing my favorite part of the game – hanging out.  Spending time together and getting to enjoy one-another’s company.  There’s also this pretty spectacular fish tank that you are chilling in front of with Yusuke.  It also appears you can shoot the shit with lots of characters at a very American-looking bar.  Throwing darts, shooting pool.  I like this.  My genuine favorite parts of the original version of the game were getting to chill with your friends.  Getting to do more of that sounds pretty great.

We finish this up with more combat.  Including seeing our mysterious redhead in action!  So she’s someone we can fight with.  Who is this woman, and what is her connection to the story?  So many questions, and I genuinely cannot wait for them to be answer.  What’s more, it seems I don’t have to wait all that long.  It launches on October 31st!  Halloween is when this game drops.  For the first year since I lost someone important to me, Halloween isn’t going to suck.  That’s pretty great.

An expansion of a game I loved, in a year with lots of cool stuff dropping, and the very real chance that at E3 we are gonna get to see a release date for Cyberpunk 2077.  I said before that this was going to be a hallmark year for gaming.  I don’t think I’m wrong.  My eagerness is off the fucking charts.

Initial Verdict
Now!  I want it now!

Peace out,

Maverick

The Future of Humanity is in Space

I’ve been reading a truly fantastic book by Neil deGrasse Tyson called “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military.”  One of the things that I have taken away from it is that there has never been any scientific endeavor throughout history that didn’t start on some level as being used for military purposes.  The first telescopes were used to get a visual on an enemy army.  The first satellites were used to monitor the earth.  The satellites that your car’s GPS comes with are owned by the Air Force.  The history of science and how closely it is tied with the military is awe-inspiring.  And also a little terrifying.  However, it has validated a contention that I’ve always had – the need for war is a good thing.

One of the things that the chapter I am reading now has shown me is that the need for military supremacy has to take us to space.  It has to.  That’s not a statement of opinion.  It’s a goddamn fact.  Why?  Because here’s something that you take for granted, living in the world of technology that we do – everything is contingent on finite resources if we don’t.  Neat fact – all of the technology that you take for granted today is dependent on rare metals.  There is an entire line in the Periodic Table that is rare metals that are essential to the technology you use today.  Without that, your cell phone doesn’t exist.  Nor does your GPS satellites, the ones we use for science, solar panels, or missile guidance systems.  Everything about the world we live in today is contingent on resources that are rare for a reason, and could run out at any time.

What does this mean?  It means that humanity has work to do.  See, if you want to have that next version of the iPhone, or the next neat gaming PC/console, then you need those resources.  So does the military that we have absolutely absurd budgets to support, while China is quickly closing the gap with us.  In fact, when it comes to space, they’re ahead of us.  WAY ahead.  Why?  Because they have big plans in the works, and are not being shy about sharing.  They want to put two space stations in orbit, while here in the US the International Space Station is going to reach the end of its run in 2020-2024.  China is already talking about setting up structures on the Moon, and sending probes with long-term efforts of heading to Mars.  They’ve made clear that space is going to be the high ground for them, and they aren’t limping in getting there.

What’s more, they can do this.  Why?  Because all of our space exploits depend on products we get from them!  We’re entering a cold war with China, and our ability to get into the space race at all is tied to our ability to trade with them.  It blows my mind how people are so oblivious to this.  But then, this is America.  Obliviousness is pretty ubiquitous.  Of course, China is surpassing us in all kinds of ways.  Their military is catching up without missing a beat.  Their efforts to go green are ahead of us.  Their railway system makes our look like a joke.  Oh, and their health insurance has a public option, so they are on their way to universal healthcare too.  Proto-universal healthcare.  Unreal.  Seems the Chinese have taken up the mantle that America used to have of Manifest Destiny and really ran with it.  Too bad this country isn’t on the same course.

Here’s the thing – Tyson pointed out in his book that the simple reality is that for the way of life that we are accustomed to continue, we need to be able to get more rare metals, water, you name it.  And all the things we need are passing by this planet all the time.  Comets contain enough water to fill the Indian Ocean pretty easily.  Just giant snowballs in space.  Asteroids pass by this planet all the time that are rich in tons of various metals that we can use.  The simple reality is – there is a multi-trillion dollar industry in space, waiting for humanity to come claim it.  And with our population growing too fast to contend with, we need this now more than ever.  Why is America not leading the charge on this?  Everyone laughed at Trump’s idea for a Space Force, but why is that worth balking at?  Oh right, because Trump said it.  If Obama had, the same media would be championing it.  We’re so fucking tribalistic now that it doesn’t matter if someone who is a complete idiot has a good idea.  That good idea is wrong because they said so.

Our species is at a cross-road.  We can’t continue to subsist on this planet the way we have.  We’re coming up on 8 billion people on the planet Earth.  That is unsustainable.  Why are we not looking to push the boundaries.  Tyson pointed out that the point about making the mining equipment and habitability in space isn’t a scientific question, it’s an engineering one.  A question that he rightfully says there are tons of engineers who would relish the chance to solve.  Would all of this cost money?  Sure.  Inarguably.  But here’s the thing – that money would come back to us.  With friends.  Trillions upon trillions of dollars in friends.

What’s more, this would lead to pioneering in technology.  History proves me right on this.  All the tech that you take for granted today happened because of the space race.  All of it!  We are reaping the benefits of this today.  Just imagine what could happen if we took it further.  If we pushed the envelope and really pushed ourselves to take the next steps into it.  Imagine what kinds of new technology could be pioneered.  It boggles the mind, and makes me dream.

The fact that America is not leading the charge on stuff like this is so baffling to me.  Why is everyone in this country so concerned with keeping this nation in a perpetual state of now?!  Don’t change things!  Don’t make things better!  Keep everything the way it is!  Or you have those who want to take America back to some mythical golden age that never really existed.  It frustrates me when I talk about this stuff, and I can see that look in people’s eyes like “okay, Lucien.  Whatever you say.”  Where are the dreamers?!  Where are the ones who are looking to make the world a better place?!  This country is so fucking concerned by debt, so why are we not investing in an industry that we know for a fact will churn out money?!  Where is the pioneering spirit that we once championed?!  I don’t fucking get this.  Not at all.

This isn’t pie-in-the-sky dreaming.  This is achievable right now.  China, America’s chief rival, gets it.  Why don’t we?  Why is this country so focused on not moving ahead?  Some people wanna stay where we are now, some wanna go back in time.  I’m a futurist.  I want to believe in a brighter tomorrow.  But that isn’t going to happen while we have people in this country bickering about all the stupid bullshit that we are now.

What is wrong with this fucking country?!

Until next time, a quote,

“And that, in the 21st century, are the foundations for tomorrow’s economies.  And without it, we might as well slide back into the caves, because that’s where we’re headed right now, broke.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Sony Admits to Censoring Sexual Content in New Games

Something people have been talking about for a long time now, and it’s finally been verified.  And it’s something that pisses me off.  Why?  Because now we have a major gaming platform that has openly admitted that it is going to censor the free expression of those who make gaming content.  It’s bullshit.  Weapons grade bullshit.  It will stifle creativity, and what’s more, I think it is going to fuck up one of the games I am most excited for.  I’m talking about Sony finally admitting that they are censoring sexually explicit content in gaming.  Here’s a link to an article, now let’s talk about it.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Sony said that they are placing a strict limit on the sexual content that comes to games that go to the PS4.  Why?  Why do you think?  Because of all the #MeToo bullshit.  I should have seen this coming.  I really should have.  When Spider-Man: Homecoming had Mary Jane be SJW-tastic, I should have seen this coming.  Of all the movies that are basically Social Justice: The Movie, they seem to oscillate between Disney and Sony.  But now it’s finally come to their console.  It pisses me off.

I mean, why?!  Oh right, because they don’t want to “inhibit the sound growth and development of younger players.”  What a crock of shit.  But the source I cited did point out that the reason for this is almost certainly because of the fact that the PS4 is so big on streaming.  It’s a key part of the console’s features.  So naturally, young people can see games with naughty naughty things in them.  You know, because parents exist now just to put their kids in front of screens.  So the social justice gaming journalism circle-jerk has certainly written about this ad nauseum.  They’ve been trumpeting this shit for as long as I’ve been alive.

The source I cited definitely is pro-social justice.  They make a point in a positive that Sony is “taking a critical look at how game’s content portrays women.”  Yeah, because these digital women who don’t actually exist in the real world need to be protected, right?  Because fuck a developer’s creative freedom.  We have Sony being puritans.  This is such bullshit.  I wonder what would happened to Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V on their console if the game had been released now.

What’s more, Sony acknowledges that devs don’t like this, but their response – deal with it.  That’s just brilliant.  Creative freedom?!  Fuck that!  Artistic expression and not stifling the artist?!  But women, Lucien!  And I can already hear the social justice wankers response – if you don’t like it, don’t play it.  You know, maybe yeah.  I’m a console pleb.  Been all my life.  It’s easy.  You just buy a game, put the disc in, and play it.  That convenience has always been valuable to me.  But now I have my console of choice telling me, flat-out, that I can’t trust what they release anymore.  That now everything that comes to them goes through a puritanical censor first.

The reason this makes me so upset is that one of the games that I am most stoked for this year, Cyberpunk 2077, has already said that they are going to have explicit content in the game.  You can date, hook up with character in the game.  There’s also the fact that it’s a violent world where bad things happen to men and women.  Like in that demo where you see the naked bodies in the bathtub and you have to pull one of them out.  Guess that’s out in the game!  Same with scenes where if I choose to foster any relationships, I guess I get the neutered version of any intimacy.  It’s all such bullshit!

I like games where I can build relationships with characters.  It’s a big part of why I game.  So the fact that we have a company who has said that this new project, that looks so fucking awesome, also has that factor and even has it that you can grow relationships and get intimate?  That’s cool!  Wish I got to see Shepherd and Garrus hook up in the Mass Effect games.  Femshep was my girl, and Garrus is the coolest bro ever.  The thing that will never be.

One developer rightly pointed out that if you stifle the creativity of developers, you just push this stuff into niches.  And they will.  And people will go there.  Whether it’s to get their pervvy fix, or to get a game that isn’t afraid to go physical with stuff.  They will go to where the content is.  It’s funny, but people have defended game companies kowtowing to social justice by saying that they don’t want to lose customers.  I guess Sony is cool losing revenue too.  Because how much money will they lose on people going somewhere else?  Fucking Nintendo is letting explicit content onto their console!  Nintendo!  They are the family friendly icon, Sony!  What the fuck is your excuse?!  Oh right – Wahmen.

Creative freedom is looking more and more uncertain in the years to come.  I don’t like that.  I believe that all ideas and expression belong in the open marketplace of ideas.  But I know that I am in a minority on that.  A real shame, but whatever.  In the meantime – you fuck with my Cyberpunk 2077, Sony, and there will be Hell to pay!

Until next time, a quote,

“Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!” – Helen Lovejoy, The Simpsons

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 War Movies

For those of you who didn’t know, I’m a filthy liberal.  It’s true.  But I’m not some crazy social justice type.  Instead, I’m part of what’s call the “libertarian left.”  However, just because I am a filthy liberal doesn’t mean I am naturally opposed to the military.  Time was, before my head injury, I wanted to go into military intelligence.  One of many things in life that Lady Luck saw fit to take from me.  I can’t play contact sports, or serve.  However, the movies have provided me with some good depictions of the life.  Sure, there are the ones that are basically “America, Fuck Yeah!” The Movie, but then there are the ones that actually look at war and what it means to fight.  Or at the very least just have a very honest depiction of fighting it.  These are the films that have stuck with me in that regard.  Or, and I’m just being honest here, some of them are just cool.  I’m not above liking a movie for having cool shit.  The shame of my pseudo-intellectual bravado.  Here are the top 10 war movies that I like.

10. Green Zone
Made by the same guy who did the first three Bourne movies, this film tells the story of an Army unit commander who ends up getting caught in a labyrinth of intrigue, all on a quest to find out the truth behind the WMDs in Iraq.  This movie surprised me, when I first saw it.  See, the United States military is VERY protective of their image.  They have to approve movies depicting them before they get released.  So a film that is critical of military intelligence and isn’t nice about it is more than a little but of a shock to think that that got past their censor.  But then, you realize that Iraq was a giant cluster-fuck and with so many dead and wounded, they probably don’t feel all that bad throwing the government and the people who got us into that mess (that we still aren’t technically out of to this day.  We still have troops there) under the bus.  This film has flaws.  The hand-held shake-y cam can get annoying in chase sequences.  But it is a good look at what happened to this country and where everything went wrong.

9. The Patriot
Now we go to the war that started this country in the first place.  I do loves me some historical fiction.  Now, the cynic in me does recognize that this film is pretty much just Braveheart, but during the American Revolution.  But there is a lot of flavor to this movie.  Mel Gibson’s character is what holds it all together.  Taking the role of Capt. Benjamin Martin, he leads a force waging a guerilla war against the British.  What I like about this film is the characters.  You get to know Martin and his forces.  Everyone has personality.  Even the British are not just shown as pure evil.  Pompous and arrogant, but there are those among them who recognize that they need to be decent to the colonists.  What’s more, you see that the issue of starting a nation wasn’t as clear-cut as history can make it out to be.  There were those who opposed forming a Union.  Not the most complicated film, but worth your time.

8. Top Gun
Remember when I said that there would be films on this list who are here strictly because of cool factor?  Yeah…this is what I’m talking about.  Thing to know about me – I think that fighter jets are fucking rad.  The F-22 Raptor is the coolest thing in the world.  So a movie all about being a fighter jockey and learning to dog-fight?  I am all over that.  Sure, this movie is cheesy as fuck.  It is 80’s to the max!  ALL of the 80’s cheese is in here.  And the lengths they go to in order to make Tom Cruise look tall is just adorable.  But then they play Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone” again (no joke, they play it three times in this movie) and I am saying “fuck yeah!” to the screen again.  I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

7. Eye in the Sky
Another film that is very critical of the military.  However, since the primary focus is on the British, with the Americans merely as the partners in this mission, it makes more sense to me how this film got past the censor.  Telling the story of a British and American military operation to take out a British national in Africa, this movie looks at the ethics of drone warfare.  What’s more, they don’t just paint the whole thing as black and white.  One of the things that I love about this movie is the fact that they go so far to make sure all sides are heard.  And they let you, the viewer, come to your own conclusion about whether what they did in the end was right or not.  I like when movies respect my intelligence enough to let me come to my own conclusions.  Not only was Helen Mirren amazing, but the final role of Alan Rickman, and it was pretty fantastic.  If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

6. Fury
When I heard that they were making a film about a tank crew during World War II, I was curious to see what that would end up being.  I mean, it’s a different concept.  Something you don’t think about is how many people it takes to make a tank work.  It’s not just one dude in there.  And during World War II, this was a time when we had German artillery outmatching us.  A LOT of people died inside of tanks during this war.  So we have a movie following the exploits of an American tank crew and their vehicle, doing their best to succeed and survive in the most talked-about war in history.  I was surprised with how good this movie was.  Can add its name to the list of great movies that few people saw.

5. Glory
Heading back into the wars of yesteryear.  This time it’s the Civil War.  Telling the story of the first black regiment in the Union army.  I said before that I loves me some good historical fiction.  But the thing that really makes this movie are the performances.  It’s a fantastic cast all-round.  We have Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and even Matthew Broderick.  I’m with the nostalgia critic and thinking very little of Broderick as an actor.  But every performance in this film is stunning.  Looking at racial politics over a hundred years ago is harrowing.  This film hinges on the strength of its cast as it’s a very character-driven story of these people and their own prejudices as they learn to accept each other.  It’s not especially preachy, either.  If you’ve forgotten about this movie, you really should revisit it.

4. Saving Private Ryan
There’s a reasonable argument to be made that this is the most famous war movie ever made.  When it came out, this film was making huge bank and the critics couldn’t stop talking about it.  And to be fair, there’s a reason why.  We have Spielberg when he was at the top of his game, making a movie that opens on one of the most violent military engagements in history.  Telling the story of a squad of soldiers who are on a mission to find a man whose brothers have all been killed and get him home.  The cinematography of this film is graphic and unforgiving.  If you’ve ever looked for an accurate representation of how awful this war was, you could do worse.  Though I did have the same thoughts about Fury.  Tom Hanks is what makes this film.  I would argue he’s the best actor working today.  When he dies, it is going to be a VERY sad day for me.

3. We Were Soldiers
Heading into a different war, now we get to take a trip to Vietnam.  Telling the story of the first usage of helicopters to deploy troops into active combat zones, we have Mel Gibson back.  Taking a new unit of his into battle, in a war that all of historians agree was a GIANT cluster-fuck.  This movie is also pretty unforgiving in its portrayal of how bad war can be.  You can feel the oppressive heat and terror these guys must have felt, with the enemy pretty much being unseen and all they can do is fire at the green and hope they hit something.  This movie does tend to kiss America’s ass a bit, but given how Vietnam vets were treated like shit when they got home because of America’s attitude about the war, it does make you think that maybe they’ve earned a little adulation
For those who are wondering, this is basically where I would have Platoon, but I had to pick one or the other.  It was close, but I chose this one.  Mostly because I couldn’t take Charlie Sheen seriously in the latter film.  Willem Dafoe ALMOST clinched it, but this film took the spot.  Still, both are excellent films.

2. Black Hawk Down
A war film directed by Ridley Scott?  Sign me up!  This film is hardcore.  Not only is the cinematography at the top of its class, but this has some HUGE names.  I do love how many British people are in this movie doing their best American accents.  I think the best of them was Ewan McGregor.  But then, that dude is one of those actors that everyone forgets about, but always brings his a-game.  Still, this movie had a ton of real talent in there.  Josh Hartnett, William Fitchner, Tom Hardy, Jason Isaacs, and get this – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau before he had any name recognition.  That’s right, Jaime Lannister was an American soldier in a movie.  A sniper for Delta Force, to be exact.  That’s cool.  The violence is hardcore, and the performances are all great.  Not to mention the cinematography is incredible.  This film isn’t remembered the way it should be, but trust me, it’s worth your time.

And my favorite war movie is…

1. Gettysburg
Those of you who have actually seen this movie are definitely scratching your heads at this choice.  On top of some of the best war films ever made is a film that definitely has its flaws about the Civil War.  Let me explain.  This movie tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The turning point of the Civil War.  Had the Confederates won there, who knows what would have happened.  Historians will say otherwise, but I think they would have gone through to Washington.  This movie has some VERY corny elements.  The score being the biggest among them.  However, the reason this movie ranks so high on my list is the performances.  There are some real powerful roles in this!  We have Martin Sheen as Gen. Robert E. Lee.  One of the most beloved generals in American history.  We have Tom Berenger as Gen. Longstreet.  His role especially got to me.  He doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Lee on several occasions.  He has a realist perspective on what they’re doing, but can only follow his orders.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Lastly, we have Jeff Daniels, who is also one of my favorite actors.  He’s playing Col. Chamberlain, a college professor turned soldier, leading a regiment against some of the worst fighting in the war.  The corny bits are able to get past me mostly because you can tell this was a passion project of a ton of dedicated people.  You can feel the passion in every performance.  I love this movie.  If you haven’t seen it, and you like the time period, do yourself a favor and check it out.

So, what about you all?  What are your favorite war movies?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“They’ve gotta be tired, the Rebs.  They gotta be close to the end if we are.” – Col. Joshua L Chamberlain, Gettysburg

Peace out,

Maverick

A Wife, A Soldier, An Assassin

That, my dear readers, is the title of this little narrative.  Let me tell you, I don’t do these kinds of things much.  It’s hard for me to maintain an idea long-term.  This little concept for a story started with me being bored as fuck at my job.  So I decided to let my mind wander, and it came up with this.  It’s been fun writing it.  I’m gonna have links to all the parts of the story, in the order I wrote them.  Hopefully you all enjoyed this too, and will come back to it.  I will say that I may end up writing more stories of the missions of the STARS in various posts.  I will be adding them to this post if I do, so check back if you don’t follow my work regularly and want to see if there’s more stuff.

Act I – A Wife
A Chance Start of a Friendship
The Hidden Story (Part 1)
The Hidden Story (Part 2)
Old Friends, Lost Dreams
Unveiling Some Truth, But Not All
A Thanksgiving to Live For

Act II – A Soldier
Lost Sisters, Old Wounds
A Preparing for Battle Tale
Camaraderie Between Branches, and Sisters
A Den of Secrets and Lost Family
Bad Dreams, Bad Behavior
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth (Part 1)
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth (Part 2)
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth (Part 3)
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth (Part 4)
On Home, Gardens, and Babies
An Assassination, In Front of a Choir
The Principles of Youthful Love
Pictures and the Road Down Memory Lane
Home for the Holidays (Part 1)
Home for the Holidays (Part 2)

Act III – An Assassin
The Binary Compound Mission (Part 1)
The Binary Compound Mission (Part 2)
The Binary Compound Mission (Part 3)
Talking Until the Morning Light
The Submarine Mission (Part 1)
The Submarine Mission (Part 2)
The Dream
The Truth About Killing
Saying Goodbye to Her
Coming Full Circle (Part 1)
Coming Full Circle (Part 2)

As I said, there will be more mission stories, but the central narrative is finished.  I hope to see you all again later.

Until next time, a quote,

“War all comes down to these tiny stories about people’s lives that will never be the same.” – Eugene Richards

Peace out,

Maverick