Monday, September 3, 2012

Do Crazy People Run Our Country?

An interesting thought after surviving watching the Republican National Convention last week: who the hell is really running our country?

This is not a condemnation specifically against "conservatives" or "liberals," but against those who decide what is "conservative" and what is "liberal': the men and women at these conventions, the campaigners, and the politicians that run our country.

There were some fairly obscene things going on in Tampa last week. Conservatives fighting other conservatives for control of the conservative movement, Ron Paul supporters nearly brawling with the Republican establishment...

And the moral of the story, at the end of the day, is that most of us are tired of it. We're sick of it, we're burned out on it. But those in control are ok with that; in fact they actually prefer it. When people get burned out, they're more likely to pick out soundbites without bothering to fact check; they're more likely to rely on a facebook meme as a source of policy analysis.

Take the below gem from Mitt Romney, where he relates 23 million Americans unemployed, and that this makes Obama "0-for-23 million," using a patronizing reference about if he were a coach, he would be fired.

Does anyone else not understand what's going on here? First of all, by my estimation, the unemployment rate is about two-tenths of a percent lower than it was when Obama took office. At the least, that makes him somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000-for-23,000,000.

Second, if the unemployment rate sits at about 8.1%, then that means that there are about 284,000,000 employable people in the United States. Out of the 311,000,000 population. 9 out of every 10 people in the US are of an age and a position where they are seeking a job? That's not right.

So the politicians are nutty, but that's not the half of it. Have you ever met one of these people who go to the conventions? I've met one or two (I have no special involvement in politics, I just happen to have become acquainted with a few in my life on chance) and they are nuts. They're pretentious, they're condescending, they're very, very angry. They're always right, you're always wrong. Not just in politics, always.

These are the people that are controlling our country. When you start to listen to them talk about the ways they subvert primaries and votes, you really sit back and scratch your head and think "huh - these are the kinds of people who are the reason why our world has so many problems."

It's not just that I wouldn't want these kind of insane (they'd call themselves "passionate") people to run our country, it's that I wouldn't want them running my McDonald's! They're obnoxious, they're rude, and they're crass - and what's more is that they're under the impression that all of this is ok, because of their political standing. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When does "Horrific" mean "Great"?

There's one quirk of the English language that has bothered me for quite some time, and until now I haven't really had a great forum to get it off my chest. I know the esteemed readers of the Neon Colored Can of Worms blog will appreciate the complaining (at least, moreso than my less intelectual friends).

Let's set up an analogy.

Terrible : Terrific :: Horrible : Horrific

In SAT terms, this would be fales. Quite false, in fact - Terrible and Terrific are antonyms, whilest Horrible and Horrific are synonyms.

But when viewed from the mile-high guise of a syntax-ographer, it's absolutely true.

Take the words Terrible and Terrific. Cut the "Terr" (which is odd in and of itself, meaning "three" or "earth," depending on which r you cut off at) and you're left with "ible" and "ific" ("rible and rific").

Replace each "Terr" with a "Horr," the same root, and all of a sudden the two antonyms are synonyms.

Who's got an answer?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Social Networking Fragmenting the World?

That might sound like a dumb question. "Of course it's not, it's bringing the world closer together!" might be your initial response.

That was true in 2009. But in 2011, I think that we've surpassed the peak of social networking and, in some regards, might be headed into a bit of a valley of fragmentation, and here's why:

As I've mentioned in my introduction, I run other blogs aside from this one. As these blogs have become more popular, there's sort of an odd division popping up. As we try and maximize our exposure and traffic, our posts go out to Twitter, Facebook, we have comments, and we have forums. These are all different forms of "social networking" that our readers, fans, and even our haters can use to communicate with each other. The problem is that, with so many different platforms for people to express their views, there is very little cross-over in dialogue (and realistically, there seems to be a huge difference in the cultures between those who use each platform with which to communicate).

Those who Tweet at us don't leave comments. Those who post in the forums don't write on our facebook. I'm not even sure that we have more than a few dozen (out of thousands) of facebook followers and Twitter followers that overlap.

In this sense, I think that the conversation is stifled a bit as a result. Whenever good conversations start rolling in the comments, it seems like the Tweeting stops. We have a ton of activity from our Twitter followers, but our facebook viewers are extrtemely passive (a few likes here and there, but rarely any comments).

It's sort of something we have to learn to deal with as a new generation. Website comments became huge business, so people created forums dedicated solely to "commenting". It then blossomed onto facebook, where people can comment on their friends' daily lives. Facebook made so much money off of it that immitators have popped up everywhere, and while there's some level of integration between them all - each makes attempts to leach off of the others' popularities - most people see that as redundancy.

This might be exactly why Google Plus, despite a large initial outpour of registered users, as been a flop. People are already burned out trying to keep up with multiple social networking platforms. Have you checked your Google+ feed lately? I just did, for the first time in a month. It's got 200 people on it, but only 2 interactions.

It's more depressing to those of us who have a large audience of followers, I suppose. I often lament internally that my Twitter followers won't become friend with my commenters, but as of now they seem determined to maintain their differences. But I just know that if they got together, they could really come up with some ideas!

This is a Neon Colored Can of Worms

I'll let you try and figure that one out.

This is a new blog. I am not a new blogger. I have blogged for several years on specific subjects, with a fairly significant level of success. I have written for professional newspapers. I have written for myself. I did well in high school English.

But enough about me. I have been pondering this blog for some time. It is a place where I can finally be free to write what I want, when I want, and not really care about hurting feelings or pissing off advertisers. I'll try to keep it generally clean, but there's no promises that it won't be controversial. Some of it will be relevant to you, some of it will be intersting to you. I promise that there will be no baby pictures, and I won't ever tell you about what I had for dinner unless it leads to some bigger conclusion about the world.

Sometimes, I wish I were Andy Rooney.