Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule, Happy Winter Solstice celebrations, and let peace reign in this international time of reflection and reverence.
Archive for December, 2007
Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to relax a 32 year old ban on media ownership. Under the new ruling, newspapers will now be able to own broadcast media. In a country where 3% of the population owns over 90% of the media outlets already, this is something that can not be tolerated.
Over the years, I continue to watch as the diverse chorus that was once our nation’s news slowly fades into a single voice: conglomerate consumer media. The message is being churned out from news factories. Where once my local newspaper was littered with actual local news, now I can scarcely find an article that wasn’t written by the Associated Press or some other wire service. The media giants would have you believe that in the midst of waning newspaper sales other sources of revenue should be allowed, and their solution: even more concentrated media ownership.
The American newspaper system was founded on the principle of being the watchdog of government. The media’s primary job is supposed to be to keep the American public informed of what their government is doing. Rather than this often difficult job, because of the ever increasing media conglomerates, we have seen the media be nothing but the government’s willing cheerleader.
We can start by going here: stopbigmedia.com where you can sign a petition to Congress to nullify the FCC’s actions.
Following that, call your representative, and then your senator.
To find your representative by state, go here: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml.
To find your senator follow this link: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
The FCC follies have gone on long enough. We must stop this travesty from continuing. Not every one of us has to step forward, but if enough of us do, then we will ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.“
At least, that is what Annie Leonard says from the documentary video “The Story of Stuff.” You can watch it at www.storyofstuff.com. Never before have I seen the process of consumerism brought under the magnifying glass like this has. From where the raw materials come from to where they eventually go to; this movie walks the viewer step by step through it all. No matter your level of education about this issue, no matter your social or economic status, you should watch this film.
We all know: from the lowest-paid worker in the overexploited nations to the meagerly-paid blue collar American, that there is something wrong, we just can’t seem to all put our fingers on it or wrap our collective heads around it. Annie Leonard helps put some of the pieces together.
One of the interesting concepts she brings up is “externalized cost.” As she explains on the website: “[…] the price tags on consumer products don’t capture the true cost of producing and distributing all this stuff.” In the big box stores, or in any stores for that matter, when consumers want a product sold to them cheaper the store only has a few options to them. They can either: take a cut in profits (highly unlikely), buy it cheaper (more likely), cut their cost in the item, or not care what you think. The problem comes in when the store chooses option two or three. To cut their cost in the item, or rather, their cost of storing and staffing the store house, they have to cut pay or benefits. Failing to meet the customer’s price at that point, they will buy it cheaper. This results in the same problem as before; too many people get their wages or benefits cut just so the consumers can have something they didn’t need in the first place cheaper. By putting the excess cost of the items on the actual people that produce the goods, distributors and manufacturer can enjoy the same amount of profit and still provide consumers with the lowest price.
This has to end. And only the consumers can end it. We are the ones who create the demand. We are the ones who settle for products that will not last longer than a few weeks. We are the ones who are turning a blind eye to the injustices visited upon our planet, our fellow people, and ourselves.
Visit www.storyofstuff.com and get educated on what we are doing to the planet, our friends, and ourselves.
It is time to ensure the continued story of our planet.
I just finished watching the aforementioned movie. Without a doubt that has to be the best acting I have ever seen from Will Smith. This movie is fantastic: it has seat of your chair action, heart-wrenching drama, a compelling storyline that suspends disbelief just enough to make it believable, and as usual for a Smith film, a touch of comedy to keep everyone on their toes.
For those of you who have been under a rock here is the synopsis (by Warner Bros. Pictures):
Robert Neville is a brilliant scientist, but even he could not contain the terrible virus that was unstoppable, incurable, and man-made. Somehow immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and maybe the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague — The Infected — lurk in the shadows… watching Neville’s every move… waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind’s last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered… and quickly running out of time.
**** Warning! Spoilers ahead!****
It is, as the title says, 3am. I point this out not because that is the time where I am, but because I am awake to see said time. I am having one of my many sleepless nights. Where the mind is racing in all manner of directions while the body is trying to tell it to shut up and go to sleep.
I am exhausted, but alas, sleep is not on the menu tonight. Or is it this morning?
I have several things floating around the gray matter tonight, and perhaps I should share them with my electronic friend since I haven’t been able to articulate them to my living friends. My monitor’s warm silhouette has kept me company on many a lonely night, and tonight is no exception. Which leads me to my first bit of soul-baring; I am a coward. This, to me, is a rather recent realization. Having always been the one to step up and take charge when necessary, the thought that I might be a coward never occurred to me. I have always been afraid of different things, but most of them I have either conquered or have enough of a respect for them that I know my limitations. For instance, I have a terrible fear of heights, but I have climbed to the top of a three story house and survived to tell the tale. I also have a similar fear of drowning, but I know how to swim. When we are faced with obstacles that create fear within us, it is our ability to overcome those fears or move on in spite of them that makes us leaders, but it is when we can not do these things that we know we are cowards. I have come face to face with the cold hard reality that I am a coward. Even if it is only temporary and amounts to nothing more than a momentary speed bump on my road through life, this realization has given me pause.
Thankfully, my dear e-journal, I do not have to listen to or see the groan when I divulge what ails me. The fear that I have thus far run away from every time I am confronted with it, is women. I am an absolute coward with women, and I have told people as much, but never before have I felt like a coward until the other night. I invited this woman I know out to a birthday part for my roommate. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I am smitten with this woman, but I find her funny, attractive, and intelligent (I am always attracted to this combination). So I would like to take her out on a date; nothing more or less. This is normally when I get the groan, everyone tells me to just say something, and while I understand how easy that sounds I just can’t bring myself to do it. The words will not form, my vocabulary goes on vacation, and my mouth goes on strike. She is already a friend and so I am comfortable enough around her, but every time I think of putting her in the role of “a date” my confidence falls apart completely.
Bless my friends, I love every one of them, but their prodding, albeit gentle, did not help the matter. I just don’t have the confidence to do it, and at this stage of my life I don’t know if I ever will. And this, this my electronic friend, is what depresses and angers me the most. I start thinking that I will never get over this, or that I will never get past it, and start feeling sorry for myself, but then I just get angry at myself for throwing the pity party to begin with. I am a grown man and I shouldn’t be doing this to myself. Yet there it is. My real greatest fear is that I will never have the family I want so badly. That I am going to grow old with only a couple of friends and maybe my nephew to keep me company. No wife to laugh at me when I lose my glasses on my head. No children to pass on the family name and heritage to. I am frightened that my life will be devoted to work, married to research and learning, and my only children being the papers I write and the students I teach.
I can’t be the only one like this, I just wish whoever it was would get over that one fear; telling others. So I can at last get the feeling that I’m not alone. Do not let your fears run your life. It is sad and very lonely existence. When I wake up I will have replaced the masks and locked all of this back up behind them, but right now, at 3am, I am sad and I am lonely.
Good night, maybe morning…
The singular issue I have with being 29 and still in college: everyone is younger than me. I have so very few people to relate to in college because of this. Anyone that is even remotely close to my own age is about to graduate and go on with their lives. I get invited to parties and they are nothing but drunken frivolities that I want nothing to do with. I’ve outgrown those lecherous alcoholic desires. I like the occasional beer now and then, but the thought of hanging out with several people in the 21-22 range just does not sound like fun to me. I remember what I was like 8 years ago, and I know these people would not have liked me then. Gah!
I guess this next semester I am going to further socially segregate myself by going to night school. As much as I dearly love the atmosphere at Drury’s day program, it is far too expensive for me to continue, and so I’m shipping of to night school. I’m not really looking forward to it, as one of my required classes wasn’t offered in a classroom setting so I have to take it online.
Being labeled as non-traditional sucks so much. You are expected to be able to do everything that the 18-22 crowd does at their pace and sometimes above their level because of your age and experience. It is really just annoying and I’m quite tired of the ageism within the system. Perhaps at night school I’ll be treated like the adult I am, rather than the child they expect me to be.
I hate the standards associated with American masculinity. Men don’t cry. Men do not show weakness. Men must be strong. Men must not show fear. Men must have a long list of conquests. Men must be aggressive. Men must be able to fix everything. Men must dominate those weaker than them.
I want to know who the hell said I am no longer a man if I cry! I want to know who created the social stigma that keeps me from being labeled as one of the guys. My best friend in the entire world told me that I’m just a “sensitive guy,” but there wasn’t anything wrong with that. Yet ever since then he has tried to “train” me in the ways of men. Giving me pointers and advice and in a way telling me who and what I am is wrong. But there’s nothing wrong with being a sensitive guy. Right? Right. Bullshit.
Everywhere I look there are ads showing ridiculously cut and highly tanned men doing all sorts of “manly” things. These ads are showing the myth of the regular guy. This is what a man is supposed to look like. This is what a man is supposed to be doing on his days off. This is how you are supposed to be doing it. I am so sick of this crap.
I’m overweight, granted, but I’m working on that and it is a slow process. I’m just so tired of being ignored because I don’t fit the model. I am the nice guy that no one believes is around anymore. I’m courteous, I’m nice, I’m genuinely concerned about my fellow humans, I would not hurt a fly unless it bit me, but because I’m overweight, because I’m not an aggressive prick, and because I don’t brag about my conquests over other human beings, I’m ignored.
Case in point: My best friend is everything I am not. He is in fantastic physical condition. He is a braggart. He is aggressive. He rarely ever shows weakness. When we go hang out to grab a bite to eat or some coffee, I get ignored. The waitress will walk by and ask him specifically if he needs anything and will then walk right away. I remember at the last restaurant we were at, he got a refill three times, while my glass sat empty for twenty minutes. I know, I should have said something sooner, but I didn’t. I wanted to tell her when she asked if we would like to go cups that I would if she ever would have refilled my drink, but that it wasn’t necessary now. Of course I didn’t say this though.
I’m tired and I’m done. I’m also late for work, crap.