Writer's Block: Do (political) opposites attract?

Are there any political issues, such as abortion or capital punishment, that are so fundamental to your core values that you could not respect and/or trust someone who held a contrary view?

I don't think so, but it would really depend upon why that person held that particular view. If someone is able to explain themselves calmly and rationally, and they don't lose respect or trust in me for disagreeing, I don't think I can imagine any legitimate opinion that is totally Unforgivable.

All of those qualifiers, however, might need some elaboration. First, I can't respect anyone (or, at least, anyone's opinion) who doesn't know why they have a particular opinion or view. If you think or feel or believe a certain way, "just because I do," you probably shouldn't expect people to respect that opinion. An opinion is not, by virtue of being an opinion, self-validating. Try some introspection, for pity's sake. Or, better yet, do some research.

Second, and this sort of goes along with the first point, I find it very difficult to respect someone who immediately becomes angry or irrationally vehement when a particular point or subject is brought up simply because it is being made a topic of discussion. Insisting that something shouldn't be discussed, or assuming that the discussion itself is insulting because it calls something you consider fundamental into question, or taking the discussion personally will severely reduce my opinion of you. In that scenario, the only reason to believe what you believe is to have a comfortable world view that makes you happy, which does not lead me to have a great deal of respect for what you believe.

And finally, it must be what I refered to a few paragraphs ago as a "legitimate opinion." That's very vague, so I'll qualify it through example. The idea that fetuses deserve every right that fully formed humans do is, while extremely disagreeable to me, a legitimate opinion. You can argue that. Life is one of the great mysteries of Human existence. The idea that the Holocaust never took place, that people who are overweight should be put to death because they're a drain on our food supply, or that the HIV epidemic is God's wrath on the lustful is NOT a legitimate opinion. And yes, I have heard those made into political opinions.

So... yeah. That's that, then.
V For Vendetta

Because some things bear remembering

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring. (Holla)
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot!
A stick or a stake for King James' sake
Will you please to give us a fagot
If you can't give us one, we'll take two;
The better for us and the worse for you!

This is Halloween, this is Halloween...

Having recently been forced to acknowledge the dismal passage of time by way of my overdue cable bill, as well as the more pleasant process of the leaves changing color in the crispening (yes it is, Look It Up) air, I was delighted when it occurred to me that Halloween will be shortly forthcoming. This realization brought with it, however, a certain few bittersweet memories of "the good old days" of Halloween, chief among them being recollections of all the wonderful Halloween Specials both animated and live-action that my generation was graced with as children still capable of appreciating such things. Every year, it seemed, the network stations couldn't broadcast enough Halloween-themed one-shot programs, and anyone with access to a studio was throwing together every other spookily (ditto) iconic All-Hallows-Symbol into a delightfully campy little package of wonders, showering us with these pearls from what seemed like the very instant that the school year really got down to the serious business of sucking, hardcore.

As a tremendously awkward, antisocial kid, these little fantasy worlds I was graced with (at exactly the time of year that I was made most aware of how genuinely unpleasant the real world could be, no less) had a profound impact. Not only were they a delightfully mystical escape from the the otherwise cold, harsh existence of Public Elementary School, they were also a huge inspiration for me. Each of these specials seemed, to me, to represent the idea that anyone with a head full of pictures and stories got the opportunity to share those pictures and stories with kids like myself, anxious to see the worlds that others had created and even more anxious to create worlds of my own. These worlds of mysticism, wholly independent of any motive other than to be halloween-themed and slightly campy, were an absolute delight to me because they seemed to want only to exult in their own wonderful...wonder. It's no inexplicable mystery to me that the things I create tend toward the spooky or eerie, neither that I have a definite fondness for the undead and the otherwise monstrous. I find these things loveable because, to my young self, they were loveable; moreso than the unicorns, smurfs and carebears of my generation's other programming. Halloween had no agenda, no moral to impart. Nothing, in short, to make it completely transparent and obvious to a child who grew up on afterschool specials that amounted, more or less, to moral convolutions of spina-bifida proportions with bare-bones plots constructed around them.

...forgive the osseous metaphors, I have Halloween on the brain.

Anyway. Halloween existed to share its own sense of wonder and joyful weirdness with the world. An unintentional moral that, as it happens, is the only one I really absorbed from that era of overtly preachy television. Presently, whenever Halloween rolls around I always wonder vaguely where that sort of delightfully bizarre and mystical randomness went. They certainly don't show such things anymore; when was the last time you saw something of The Worst Witch or Count Duckula caliber? Even The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror degenerated into pseudo-scifi, fantasy randomness that was only really bizarre because the rest of the season's episodes weren't responsible for anything done in that one special.

I'm not suggesting that there's been a degeneration in quality, by any means. If anything, the acting and animation in children's and young adult's programming is getting better, and I would never honestly or seriously claim that Tim Curry's performance as a sexified, crooning Dumbledore in The Worst Witch was Oscar-worthy. But it most definitely was awesome. It was so grin-inducingly, wonderfully FUN to see him slink around the screen while those indescribably shitty special effects made him into the Master of Witchcraft. This wasn't just a normal world in which it happened to be Halloween - this was a world that was perpetually Halloween, in terms of mood if not always in terms of calendar date.

That's what I really miss about Halloween. But then... there's always nostalgia. That's what the internet is for, after all.

Happy Halloween, my Loyal Zombie Minions. This month is for you, whether the world knows it or not.
Leaf on the Wind

The last thing I said to her was, "See you soon."

This is going to be a bit different from my normal entries, my zombie minions, though I suppose calling any entries on this blog "normal" these days is kind of odd considering how infrequently they come up.

For one, this entry is not going to be long, involved or wordy. This entry isn't for my sake, or for the sake of my ever-growing armies of the undead; it's about a friend of mine who, considering recent events, was not nearly so close a friend as perhaps she should have been.

Becky Borlaug, who I met less than a year ago, died this past Friday. She didn't have a peaceful or traditionally virtuous life, and there were not always exclusively complimentary things that could be said about her, but she was always very kind to me.

We played cribbage a few times. I think she might have cheated.

She had...a very troublesome life. In whatever way it may come about, I hope she's better off now than she was. She was twenty-six years old. I liked seeing her. She was my friend.
V For Vendetta

Know what killed Vaudeville? The movin' pictures!

Movie meme
1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions.
5. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
6. Those who guess correctly have to do the Meme next!

1) "I think you mean to draw a Lister Knife." jeklnskinsgrl
-From Hell

2) "It's really hard for me to play with myself in this thing..."

3) "We thought you'd shot your bolt!"

4) "They look like good, strong hands" whichbunny
-The Neverending Story

5) "For a handful of coin I happen to have a private and uncut performance of "The Rape of the Sabine Women"...or rather, woman...or rather, Alfred..." jeklnskinsgrl
-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

6) "Can you remember no melody of mine? I was the most famous composer in Europe. I wrote 40 operas alone."

7) "It's practically the distillation of my life so far - I've become famous simply for being outrageous."

8) "Don't dare impugn me honor, boy!" veggisubstitute
-Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl

9) "Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated." petshopboy1983

10) "I don't fucking believe this! Can everyone stop gettin' shot?" petshopboy1983
-Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

11) "No one likes a debtor, so it's better if my orders are obeyed" koriandrkitten
-The Phantom of The Opera

12) "You mistake me, my dear. I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They've been my constant companion these twenty years."

13) "Oh, can't I have a little peril?" petshopboy1983
-Monty Python and The Search For The Holy Grail

14) "Tell me how you would harm me - when even I don't know how I could harm myself." jeklnskinsgrl
-Shadow of The Vampire

15) "The slow blade penetrates the shield" evil_jim
V For Vendetta

Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;

More to follow after I take a shower and load up on caffeine.

(no subject)

This actually intrigues me...

If you had me alone...locked up in your house for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you do with/to me?

I want details! ;)

All replies will be permanently screened because it's a secret. Then repost this in your LJ. You might be surprised with the responses you get.

I've actually worked out how to screen my comments, and they won't be made public or shared with anyone. I'm kind of curious to see if anyone comments at all, and if at all honestly, so go to town!
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Friday Five, fifty-eight minutes into Saturday...

1. What item would you be embarrassed for people to know you own?

I don't really own that much, and what little I do own has been hand-picked to suit me as a person. That kind of makes it hard to pick out anything I own that embarrasses me. I have a couple Disney movies on VHS, one of which is Mulan and all of which I'm very fond of. That's a little embarrassing, maybe.

I also have a small box of what can only be described as Discount Porn, which isn't embarrassing because it's pornography so much as it's embarrassing because it's the kind of pornography that you buy when you don't have enough cash for anything decent.

But even that isn't really all that embarrassing. I suppose the most embarrassing things I own are old drawings that I've done which are, compared to what I can do now, utter crap. It's pretty embarrassing to show those to other people and say, "Yeah, I did this."

2. What is something you splurged on just for you?

As I said, I don't really own that much stuff. However, the most expensive thing I own by far is my Wacom Tablet. It was totally frivolous, I get around to using it much less than I would like, and it was remarkably expensive. I also bought the largest one I could find, because I don't like working small and the little ones looked like they would limit my range of motion.

3. What is something that you own with no real world value that is priceless to you?

My sketchbooks? Also, I own a share of Hal's Ass that has yet to have any quantitative monetary value set for it by the New York Stock Exchange. I shall continue to wait and sit on (haha!) this particular commodity until such a time as the world recognizes its remarkable value.

4. Do you collect anything?

Porn. Well, I used to. My computer used to have a rather impressive and encyclopedic collection of digital smut, but I have since had to wipe the hard drive. I do kind of collect books, too. Especially books that pertain to the humanities or contain noteworthy illustrations. And, like any bibliophile, I have a particular fondness for old books.

5. What item belonging to a friend/family member do you covet?

I dunno if there's anything anybody owns that I covet out of sheer greed, really. I covet some of my friends' cars, because having one would make the logistics of my life much simpler. I covet my friend Justin's laptop, but if I were to be completely honest with myself I would admit that, if I had one, it would see about as much use as my Wacom Tablet; I have a nice desktop, a flash drive, and a tendency to sequester myself in my bedroom - I have no cause to use a laptop. I do know someone who has something that I covet quite desperately, but I don't really know if possession can be applied to the thing in question; it's not even a thing, really, and the question specifically asks about an item.

The closest I've ever really come to covetousness is when I admire other people's talent. I covet some of my friends' artistic ability, and I covet my brother's ability to write, particularly in rhyme and meter. I suppose that's about as close as I can get to actually answering the question...

On heroes and villains

First things first: I cannot find my cellphone. I must apologize to anyone who has tried to call me in the last two weeks or so; I haven't been ignoring you so much as I've been completely cut off from any mode of communication that isn't the internet. So if you need to (or, for some lunatic reason beyond my understanding, want to) contact me, AIM or email would be the best ways. My email address is still and my AIM name is "Yay For Spooky".

Now, on to the pointless rambling that I probably care about more than anyone reading. Yay!

As much as I hate to be the typical arrogant college student (I prefer instead to be a thoroughly unique sort of arrogant college student), I have to admit that I've been reading some of Nietzsche's writing and found it to be quite interesting. Two of his ideas in particular struck me as being very insightful.

The first was a differentiation between what he called the Priestly Virtue, the way things are now, and the Knightly Virtue, which hasn't existed in a very long time. The Knightly Virtue, he said, went like this -
X = Good
I do X
Therefore, I am Good

This, I think you will find, leads people to be generally pleased with themselves and, overall, quite happy. After all, you're always Good. Even if someone is very obviously more Good than you, you still have at least something to be proud of.

The Priestly Virtue, on the other hand, ran along these lines-
X = Bad
I do not do X
Therefore, I am not Bad

The best you can hope for when you see the world and your place in it like this is a kind of neutrality. Your absolute height of achievement is, through constant vigilance, to reach a sort of moral Zero in which you've managed to totally avoid slipping into the negatives at all. Effectively, you break even.

According to the Priestly Virtue, the world is full of Bad things waiting to be done, so WATCH OUT. The world of the Knightly Virtue, however, is full of great things being done by people who see themselves not in the context of all the terrible things they and their fellows have done that count against them, but in the context of all of the great things that they and their fellows have done that make them fucking awesome.

When you get right down to it, people do good and bad things. There is no more or less wickedness in either of these systems, or so Nietzsche said, but one of them produces happy, exuberant people who enjoy life and the other leads people into self-loathing, guilt and psychological agony. And even worse, he said, since the Priestly Virtue has become our dominant method of thought, it's very unlikely that we'll get back to anything like the Knightly Virtue ever again.

The other bit of Nietzsche's writing that I found quite moving(once again, to my deepest shame for following the trends of College Chic) was something commonly called the Demon Parable or the idea of Eternal Return. It was, if nothing else, really well written. I probably won't be able to reproduce all of that style and eloquence here, and it's too long to quote, so I'll do my best to get the gist of it. It went like this-

"What if, in your loneliest of lonelinesses, a demon came to you and said, 'Your life, as you have lived it, as you live it now, and as you will live it, you will live again. Every breath, every moment, every sigh of pain and gasp of joy, and even this moment between you and me, you will live again and again, for times without number. You will experience this life exactly as you have experienced it, without any memory of experiencing it previously, over and over for all time.'?
What would you do? Most any of us would throw ourselves to the ground and weep at that hellish proclamation. But who among us has experienced one single moment that would prompt us, upon recollection, to say to that demon, 'You, sir, are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!'
And would this knowledge weigh infinitely heavy on your shoulders so that, with every passing moment, you thought, "Do I want this again and again, times without number?" Or how well disposed toward life and toward yourself would you have to be to want for nothing greater than this eternal sanction and seal?"

Between those two ideas, the opposed virtues and the Eternal Return idea, Nietzsche obviously had a pretty epic outlook on life. Or, at least, he wanted to. He kind of got into it about how the Priestly Virtue had killed any hope of ever getting even close to anything like the Knightly Virtue alive in the world again, but I like to think that he hoped for it. The Demon Parable kind of did the same thing, sort of encouraging anyone who read it to live their lives in such a way that, no matter what else happened to them, the good outweighed the bad.

So that's my philosophical musing for the moment, my horrible zombie minions. Now go out there and maul someone into a fine, pasty goo. But remember to do it in an epic manner.

(no subject)

Yeah, I know I haven't posted anything of any real merit recently. I do plan on making an entry about CONvergence, because that was just awesome, but I don't think I have the mind power right now.

...That always seems to trip me up, not having mind powers. So many of my problems would be solved if I were a Jedi.

Anyway! Here's the Friday Five survey of the week. This one seemed like it would be a lot of fun, just because I really like quotes.

What is your favorite quote....

1) ... on family?

"To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest

"Above the hearth was a huge needlepoint sign saying 'Mother'. No tyrant in the whole history of the world had ever achieved a domination so complete."
-Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

2) ... on relationships? (marriage, friendships, etc)

"There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other."
- J.K. Rowling

"A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores."
- Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

3) ... attitude?

"If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!"
- Soren Aaby Kierkegaard

"I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones."
- The Doctor, Doctor Who

4) ... happiness?

"You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's just a cage."
- Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

"A man may fight for many things: his country, his principles, his friends, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally I'd mud wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock, and a sack of French porn!"

5) ... success?

"The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for."
- Oscar Wilde

"My mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; if you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope.' Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso."
- Pablo Picasso

I wish the topics had been more conducive to my more entertaining quotes, but I suppose the survey was designed to make you go "huh"....