In a Dark Dark Web (and other stories)

Whether you’re too young to remember, or the hyper-speed news cycle has rendered your long-term memory functionally obsolete, you may find it difficult to recall the tumultuous 1990s discussions about broad multimedia censorship.

Image result for pewdiepieThere have been violent video games since the 1970s, but the 90s really drove home the visceral content both figuratively and literally. Video game creators were generating some of the most “realistic” gore-fests audience have seen, and games like Mortal Kombat and Doom were selling like hotcakes on home consoles and computers.

Shit really hit the fan in 1999 when Democrats found out that the Columbine school shooters played violent video games and listened to anti-social music. Turgid leaders from both the Democrat (Both Clintons, Lieberman, Gore, etc) and Republican (basically just Newt Gingrich) sides demanded action to investigate the impact of violent video games; and look into measures to ban media content deemed anti-social or “dangerous.”

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled against California’s desire to place sales restrictions on certain video games. Conservative Justice Scalia argued in favor of studies that showed no correlation between video game violence and real world violence in any greater degree than any other media not being called into question, and that restrictions would be an affront to the First Amendment.

Thankfully, the federal government is notoriously incompetent, and the penultimate legislation we got from this time was a largely irrelevant rating system for TV shows, Records, and Video Games.

Democrats throughout the 2000s, in conjunction with their desire to decrease or eliminate the sale of firearms, still sought to investigate the responsibility video games had for real world violence. Seizing and opportunity to shield against a 2nd Amendment onslaught, the NRA and various Republicans began to raise concerns about the inundation of young people by violence in video games and various media.

President Obama and Joe Biden called for a complete investigation into video games and video game developers in hopes of getting broad-based support for their plan to ban firearms.

Activist groups called on video game developers to stop working with gun manufacturers to license real gun designs and brands in realistic wartime video game franchises.

Somehow, now that President Trump is discussing the content of violent video games, the media is calling it a right-wing distraction from the “real discussion” of banning firearms. Many on the Left now assert that there is absolutely no link between violent video games and real violence, completely ignoring their previous platitudes, because now that argument has become a distraction from their anti-gun agenda.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and textThe war against accountability is being waged on all fronts. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: alienation and increasing rates of autism diagnoses (almost entirely amongst young males) are turning people (read: boys) inward, isolated, and creating a breeding ground for anti-social behavior.

While the average psychologically healthy male can play hours of video games, watch gory movies, and engage with internet pornography, it isn’t difficult to imagine the impact on all of these habitual behaviors constantly drilling into the consciousness of the unhealthy mind.

Young males have broadly been experiencing an increase in unhealthy desensitization toward violent and sexual behaviors. Does that mean it creates an increase in a normal male’s desire or conscious ability to commit violence? Of course not; however it undoubtedly exacerbates the likelihood of this behavior in the abnormal, anti-social male brain.

Our culture chooses to ignore the laissez-faire attitudes we’ve created toward media, thus generating a complete lack of conversation and allowing real issues to fester while we pretend to rally against “bullying”, “systemic oppression”, and other scapegoat concepts.

Companies like Facebook and Twitter create algorithms to weed out bad words and offensive speech because they feel it is their moral obligation to control content on their platforms. Yet, somehow, they free themselves from all liability when a sociopath uses their platforms to live-stream a killing spree, rape, or torture.

Image may contain: 1 person, textMedia outlets across the globe, with a complete and total lack of self-awareness, focus in on the irreverent behavior of young people on Tik Tok, Twitch or YouTube who flock to entertaining characters like PewDiePie, flaunting objectionable language and politically incorrect memes, while lambasting and further alienating the very people who flood those platforms yearning to speak freely.

In all aspects of life, more freedom means less violence. More speech and open dialogue means fewer people being made to feel like their voices aren’t heard. When you marginalize voters, they stop being honest in polls. When you threaten the removal of religious freedoms, freedom of speech, or freedom to defend against tyranny, you create a cultural mindset of being hunted down.

Then, the media literally hunts you down, doxxes you, creates public demand to shut you down. In a free society, and probably in any society, a calculated attempt to make an entire population socially and politically voiceless will have serious psychological implications. When that “population” is the entirety of historic and modern western culture and civilization, those implications can be severe and unpredictable.

Image may contain: 1 person, textThe acts of violence that get the most international media attention are not as common as they seem; far less common than the acts of violence we see examined solely on local news. But we are made to feel we are in the midst of a great civil war, an ultimate Armageddon, and things are only getting worse. And maybe, mentally, we aren’t far off.

The simple truth is that there are easy and practical ways to combat aggression and anti-social behavior. And that’s through more speech. We need real conversations with those who spend a majority of their lives plugged in to forum sites and games; conversations that don’t end in their vilification or alienation. We need cultural discussions about the impact of certain attitudes and behaviors in music, movies and other media–and about how, while art often reflects life, we need to know how to mentally separate the two.

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White people don’t get to have a history

In the latest “revisionist history” news, Vice has interviewed a couple of art historians about the possibility of ancient Roman statues having been painted back in the day. A study which, on its own, would be at least vaguely interesting, turned into a new accusation of “whitewashing” history through nothing other than…white stone.

Yes, that’s right. The “experts” are claiming here that the marble material itself is responsible for creating the impression that ancient Europeans were…get this…white people!

According to these rockstar art historians, it turns out that people from an ancient Mediterranean area and surrounding European geography were, in fact, not the color of alabaster ghosts (or grey stone-people), but actually had more of a pinkish tan to their skin…much like, say, modern 2017 white people. Fascinating.

I’m glad that we’ve finally gotten to the bottom of this massive historical “whitewashing” and come to the conclusion that the leaders of the Ancient Roman Empire were–contrary to popular belief–not albino.

Thanks, ViceAnd thank you, Art Institute of Chicago.

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Disney Pre-9/11 Video Vault: First Kid

31996 was a big cultural year for America. We hosted the Atlanta Summer Olympics, which was subsequently bombed by terrorists, killing one person and injuring over 100 more; the first three-parent baby was conceived through mitochondrial donation in New Jersey, of all places; The Ramones played their final show while Bob Dole was officially nominated for President by the Republican Party; the story of the Reagan CIA‘s role in crack cocaine importation to fund the Contras is published in the San Jose Mercury News; and a 3-year old boy fell into a 20-foot deep gorilla enclosure at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, ending with Binti Jua, a female lowland gorilla sitting with the boy until he was rescued…basically the opposite of Harambe.

But in the midst of all of this craziness in our country, Walt Disney and Buena Vista Pictures released a little Sinbad vehicle called First Kid.

Like most Disney family films around this time period, it starts off relatively safe in a boys-will-be-boys goof-off kinda way, turns needlessly melancholy, and then gets straight-up bonkers. So let’s begin.

1Sinbad plays Secret Service agent Sam Simms, a fat goofball who is essentially always a cunt-hair away from being fired. Why he’s qualified or continues to keep his job doing one of the most no-nonsense jobs in the country is beyond even him.

Brock Pierce plays the title character; First Kid, Luke Davenport, son of President Paul Davenport, and all-around little piece of shit teenager.

3.jpgThe movie starts out with Luke treating everyone around him, especially his personal Secret Service Agent, Agent Woods, like utter garbage. Woods is kind of a dickhead, but he doesn’t seem to deserve Luke’s bullshit. Eventually, Luke pisses Woods off so thoroughly that the Secret Service Agent grips him up, and is promptly fired…and replaced by, you guessed it, fucking Sinbad.

But don’t sleep on Agent Woods, because he’s not out of the picture just yet.

After seeing Luke get his ass handed to him by that punk bitch Zachary Ty Bryan from Home ImprovementSinbad decides that it’s now his duty to not only teach Luke how to fight, but to help him get laid. Again, Luke is a young adult teenage boy.

Sinbad proceeds to risk his entire career, freedom and reputation, go against Luke’s parents (the President and First Lady, remember), and technically kidnap the First Kid to help him score with some school crush.

1You see, Luke can’t relate to any other kids because he’s constantly under protection and surveillance as the First Kid. He eats lunch alone, and gets bullied by Zachary fucking Ty fucking Bryan from Home Improvement. And even though Luke is a dick to Zachary Ty Bryan as well, we’re supposed to feel bad for him because he cries about not having any friends or family time.

The only time Luke gets to talk to anyone freely, it’s either Sinbad–a grown ass man–or, his mysterious anonymous online-pal “Mongoose12.” Not creepy at all.

Luke and Mongoose12 really “get” each other and chat almost every day. Remember, this is in the mid-90’s, a time where the Internet was new, and we were very naive about child predators using clever pick-up lines like “ASL?

After Luke defeats Zachary Ty Bryan (who we think is the villain of the film), the Secret Service bursts into the school dance and Sinbad is fired and forbidden from speaking to the First Kid ever again. Remember, this is in the mid-90’s when a Secret Service Agent putting a child’s life in danger is met with a slap on the wrist, apparently.

So, while Luke is under “White House arrest” with a homing device attached to him, his bestest online pal, Mongoose12 starts offering him advice on how to escape from the White House and meet up at a local shopping mall…as normal kids do.

But what happens when Luke follows through with this fool-proof plan?

1.gifIt turns out that cool-kid Mongoose12 was none other than Agent WOODS, the disgruntled Secret Service Agent from the beginning of the movie! And he’s gone over the edge. Woods kidnaps Luke, and now the President has to figure out a way to get him back!

Who should he turn to? The police? The FBI? The numerous other Secret Service Agents who aren’t incompetent or homicidal? Fuck no, call up Sinbad! He can’t possibly screw up again!

Oh, and boy oh boy did things get worse because of it. Agent Woods was planning on returning the boy to his parents and taking credit as the hero. But when Sinbad showed up and Woods got found out, he decided he was just going to murder Luke.

Agent Woods tries to shoot Luke but Sinbad takes the bullet. Don’t worry, he lives, and Woods is taken to justice.

In the end, Sinbad is regarded as a hero and given the option to guard to the President (for some reason, based on one act of heroism)…which he declines so he can keep fucking Luke’s biology teacher; a subplot that no one could have predicted.

Then Luke hits a street hockey puck into Sinbad’s stupid face, and that’s how the movie ends.

If you thought that final hostage scene came out of fucking nowhere, you weren’t the only one. Apparently, 1 and a half minutes of the film were cut from its British Home Video release because the scene was deemed too graphic for a PG-audience.

Yikes.

This movie is so bad-ass that it almost became Disney’s first PG-13 movie. Well, technically, The Black Cauldron came the closest…but who gives a fuck?

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