4.30.2013

Don't Want It Shared? Don't Share It.

As is par for the course on the Internet, someone got wronged and some other someones got upset. As is also par for the course, I have an opinion on it.

The guts of the story: A woman shared a photo of her children playing with their tablet devices outside, on her Facebook page:



Someone else took the photo and turned it into a meme:



The woman got upset. Enough people agree that this was "wrong" and blog posts were made about it and blah de blah.

Look: If you don't want the ENTIRE internet to see it, don't put it on the internet. It's not that anyone has the right to reappropriate every single image on the internet. They do not. This use does not fall under the guidelines of Fair Use. This is theft.

But it's also how the internet works these days.

Two months ago, I posted a cute picture of a German Shepard puppy at the airport on Instagram:



I've since seen this pic on multiple peoples' news feeds on Facebook and on meme sites all over the place. And I don't care.

Sure, I used to care a LOT when something I wrote or did was taken and used without permission. These days, I simply contact the source and tell them I'm the original owner, and to attribute me -- but if they don't, I don't care. I did feel a slight ping of "Man, I wish I'd gotten some credit." But then I realized, I POSTED IT ON THE INTERNET.

It doesn't matter what's right and what's wrong by any old definitions these days. It's not about how people are SUPPOSED to behave. It's that they do this, regardless of right and wrong -- and you are the ultimate arbiter of the risk you are willing to take.

Sure photographers, musicians, artists and everyone else owns the copyright on what they produce. The reality is, owning the copyright is not the same as enforcing it. and in this day and age, all the harping about copyright ownership does nothing to stop the reality that laws and rights aren't preventing people from behaving how they're going to behave.

My point is not "Don't share."
My point is "Get okay with sharing, because that shit ain't changing anytime soon."

The developers of Game Dev Tycoon figured this out and played to the strengths of this sea change. The game is a "Tycoon" series, where you start a virtual game development studio and grow it by releasing better and better titles. The real life developers of the game knew it was going to be pirated. So, they added some code to teach a lesson to game pirates. If you are playing the pirated version of the game, in your virtual game development studio, sales will plummet and eventually you can't continue due to piracy:


Genius.

You cannot legislate nor enforce morality. It's just plain not possible. Instead, understand it and get okay with it. You'll go much farther in life.

And if you don't like it, fine -- keep sharing and be upset all the time. But your blood pressure will be better served with understanding that this isn't like a child stealing from the cookie jar. This isn't individual behavior that can be corrected. This is social change. The sooner you realize that, the happier and more productive you will be.

Now, when Disney steals artwork and uses it to make money, that's enforceable. Sue the shit out of them.

But when the payment is just attention? Well, you can choose to get hurt, or you can choose better what you decide to share on the internet. Again, I'm not saying it's RIGHT. I'm saying it's HAPPENING whether you care or don't.

Behave accordingly.

4.25.2013

Nowhere and Nothing

There are times when you look around and realize: you are absolutely nowhere. You recognize nothing. You know nothing. You feel everything, almost all at once, as if every emotion is a voice in a room yelling at you all at once.

Fighting is useless, because where do you go if you win (or lose)? Yelling is useless,
because who's gonna listen? And even if they do, what the fuck can they do? Running away is useless, because you're about as away as you can possibly get. You're nowhere.

It's at this moment where the one thing you want to do is the worst possible thing you could do. And that's nothing. You want to sit down. You want to disappear. You wish like hell none of this ever happened and you weren't here, in the middle of this nowhere that you never saw yourself ending up in.

You will do all of these things. Everyone does. And you'll stay nowhere until you do the only thing that gets you out: take action.

All of what I described isn't action. It's flagellation. It's thrashing. Action is when you stop all of the above, point yourself in a direction, and start moving.

It may not be the right direction, you say. Sure. Fine. Whatever. But when you're nowhere, any direction is the right direction. You can change course anytime after you start moving and figure it out as you go.

But get the fuck up and go. Until you do that, you're nowhere.


4.23.2013

I Just Hacked Zen Buddhism And/Or The Zodiac

Remember those General Foods International Coffee commercials, where you drink it and the screaming kids shut up and the laundry can wait?

I always wondered what would happen if you drank one of those in a Calgon bath. Remember those? "Calgon, take me away!" Again, the kids and the chores can wait. In fact, they can just plain go fuck a football, because YOU deserve to relax and THEY are the reason you need to.

Anyway, imagine drinking one of those relaxing General Foods International Coffee beverages (Irish Cream, perhaps? Or something with hazelnut in it... Housewives and other overworked / under-appreciated people go NUTS for hazelnut, and no that pun wasn't intentional but I'll take it) in a Calgon bath.

I'm pretty sure you'd lapse into a coma vortex to oblivion and suddenly be able to put predicates in front of subjects and divide by zero. You would achieve Nirvana and / or Foo Fighting. You would hack the entire zodiac and skip from Aires to Pisces without living the other 10 life cycles.

Or, you'd just be a consumer whore. One or the other.



4.19.2013

The Truth About The Truth

The truth is not your friend. It's not there to help you and guide you to a better life. It's not going to greet you at the door with flowers when you decide to face it.

It's also not your enemy. It's not trying to tear you down or punish you. It isn't malicious or evil.

The truth is agnostic to your happiness and/or pain. It doesn't care. That's because it doesn't like or hate you. It's just here to do its job.

And that job? The truth is Reality's enforcer. It will ask you nicely to listen. When you don't, it will smile, nod, kick your teeth in. And It will keep escalating until you finally pay attention, no matter how much blood it has to draw or who gets hurt in the process.

It's natural to want to think the truth (and its boss, Reality) is a sadist; that it gets off on hurting you. But that's not even remotely true. If yoi keep getting beat up by the truth, you're actually just a masochist.

Don't feel bad though. We all do it. That's what being human is all about: thinking we are smarter and better and more agile than reality. But we aren't. Eventually, reality gets sick of your grandstanding and sends it's goon, the truth, to teach you a lesson.

Ignore it, and you will feel pain. But if you listen, it will help you. Because it's only role is to show you the rules. And once you know those, you can actually play fair.

Not to say you'll win. Again, the truth isn't your buddy either. But both the good and bad news is that it's fair. And that's something.

...Still hurts like a motherfucker though.


4.17.2013

Hey Ladies - Let Me Fill You In On A Secret

Today on Facebook, I shared a link to the new Dove "Real Beauty" campaign, featuring women being drawn by a trained forensic artist as they describe themselves, then comparing their version to a drawing as others describe them (AKA, reality). The results are exactly what you think: women are FAR more critical of themselves than they should be or deserve to be, and are shocked to find out how  beautiful they really are.

This article I wrote a few years ago speaks to the reasons why.  I feel that this article is something every woman on earth needs to read. If you know a woman who knows how to read, feel free to share it with her.


*   *   *


I just read Dorothy Snarker's writeup, Six Packs Are For Cans, about the fashion industry and beauty magazines and one particular model photo (Possibly NSFW, if your boss is a tightass) that's causing some stupid uproar. And she makes some incredibly good points in that article. And while I HIGHLY encourage you to read every single word of her article and take it in and understand it and live it, naturally, you're probably going to wonder what dudes think. And since Dorothy's a chick, and you're chicks, and it's hard to take a chick's word on what dude's think of chicks, I figured I'd let you in on a secret.

Fashion and "beauty" magazines Photoshop models to look like some overly-aggrandized ideal figure. This is not the secret. Anyone whose spent any time on the net has seen the bazillion or so sites that reveal model retouching with before and after photos, showing everyone from Halle Berry to Beyonce to Megan Fox being retouched from "human" to "super OMG beauty goddess whatever."

The secret:

They, the magazines and make up manufacturers and clothing creaters, do not do this because this ideal is what we men find beautiful. It's not.

They do this because they want to convince you that this ideal is what we men find beautiful - and that ideal they're pitching is so realistically unattainable (or, rather, is attainable, but only through 8 hours a day at the gym, a professional nutritionist, and many, many sessions at the plastic surgeon's den o' cuttery).

And it forces you to go out and starve yourselves on fad diets and buy stupid heaps of ugly makeup and magazines that teach you how to be what you never could (or should) be and expensive clothes, making you hate yourselves when you look in the mirror to the point where, in my own simple polling at the gym last night, eight out of ten women - all of whom I find devestatingly beautiful - said that they wanted some sort of body enhancement or reduction surgery.

Not "would consider" - WANT.

That's such complete bullshit.

Do you realize how little attention men pay to the tiny imperfections you've been psycholocially abused into thinking we care about? NONE. Except for those jock meathead fucksticks in New Jersey who can't even see past their own tiny dicks due to having their heads shoved all the way up their own asses. And if you're caring what a guy like that thinks, you're already broken to the point that I can no longer help you.

Regular men - REAL men - don't see that. Beauty is in humanity. To have curves and shape and form is to be human. To be without those things, to hold yourself to an impossible ideal... Men won't ever tell you this, but when they see women like that, there's a subconsious event that triggers that immediately makes them uninterested. They may be ATTRACTED, but ultimately, it's just to the glint and glitter of the smooth thing in front of them; a fleeting thing at best. They're not actually interested in pursuing anything meaningful with a woman like that, because after all, she's broken to the point of caring more about what other people think than in being confident in herself.

You're beautiful, naturally. Take good care of your body. Eat right and exercise. But do those things for YOU, because you love how you feel when you do it and because it's just right to protect and nurture yourself... Not because you think some dude wants to see a six pack. And for chrissake, stay the hell away from the surgeon, unless your condition is a detriment to you physically.

Stop reading any magazine you can buy while you're checking out at the grocery store. Quit holding yourselves up to some retarded social ideal of what you should be. Be beautiful by loving yourself. Confidence is one thousand times sexier than any physical attribute.