video games are hazardous to your health; ebola is not

We’re back!  After an unexplained 17 week absence.  We got a little turned around lately.  But we’re here again and ready to go.  Did you miss us?  No?  Oh.  We, ah, we thought folks missed us.  [cricket; cricket; cricket]

But you have to understand that even for the most jaded degenerate blog author, life has to take priority and can get out of hand.  We finally got divorced (there is a God) and I lost one of my dog buddies.  He will be missed, and is currently barking in Valhalla where he belongs.  Eh, it’s been a long few weeks.

So we’re here to write about what important topic to all humanity today?

– The World Cup (aka Uncle Vlad’s Guide to Effective Bribery of International Organizations 101)?

– The fact that immigration policies, procedures, and methods employed during the Obama administration are suddenly beyond the pale?

– The creation of Space Force (aka that thing that will never actually happen)?

– Chronic forthcoming global instability created by manic squirrels?

Wrong.

We’re here instead to briefly rant about the World Health Organization’s decision to state that playing video games is a classifiable addiction disorder.  Long term readers of this blog will be aware of two key facts:

1) I play a lot of video games.

2) I have a very low opinion of the WHO.

Granted, the WHO’s response to the recent ebola outbreak in Congo has been pretty good.  It seems they learned their lessons from the outbreak in West Africa a few years ago.  What could easily have turned into an even bigger nightmare if ebola had made its way down the river to Kinshasa (aka one of the biggest cities on Earth) seems to have been stopped in its tracks.  Good on them.

But then every once and a while the WHO reminds people how much money they burn on stupidity that could be spent vaccinating people against [insert anything here].  Hell, if video games are now an addictive disorder (as in the same category as nicotine) then we might as well classify drinking water as addictive.

Ever hear the term ‘everything in moderation’?  This is a pretty good term to live by.  Just about anything can be bad if you go at it too often.  You can even drink so much water that it kills you.  And your body is made up mostly of water.  But does that mean something is so powerful it can literally alter your body?

For example, I’m pretty sure if you play video games for a year your physical brain chemistry isn’t going to change.  If however, you decide to smoke crack for a year, I’m pretty sure you come out the back end of that year an entirely different person.

If you still don’t get where I’m going with this, just go ahead and put a crack addict and stand them next to even the most extreme South Korean player of StarCraft II.  I’m pretty sure you’ll see what I’m getting it.

Focus on ebola WHO, stop wasting my time.

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“Hey there kiddies.  Wanna get high?”

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we let smarter people take over for a moment

We recently wrote against the concept of cultural appropriation.  I think I wrote that post in 18 seconds and it shows.  I stand by every word, but sometimes it’s better to let smarter (or at least better written) people take over for a moment.  And so over to the goons at The Economist who make the point far better than I:

PS: They also talk about the Met Gala which I foolishly just wrote about as well.  I didn’t know it at the time but the ticket costs $30,000?!  That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day.  Humanity is doomed.

 

When respect for diversity is taken to crazy extremes

The idea of “cultural appropriation” is a silly, harmful concept. Bin it

Open Future

May 15th 2018

by I.K. | WASHINGTON, DC

EVERY year the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a gala. A single ticket costs $30,000. New York’s A-listers and wannabes deck themselves in overwrought garments designed for the party’s theme. Three years ago “China: Through the Looking Glass” inspired dresses with dragons, hair held in place with chopsticks and, from a few sartorially confused celebrities, kimonos.

The attire prompted an outcry over “cultural appropriation”—an elastic, ill-defined gripe. No such furore arose over the outfits at this year’s gala, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, even though they included a stilettoed and sequinned pope, Jesus Christ in a gold tiara, and a spectacularly winged angel. Why not?

It is not as though the concept of cultural appropriation has fallen out of use. Gonzaga University issued a firmly worded statement warning “non-Mexican individuals” against celebrating Cinco de Mayo; the campus multicultural centre published a minatory infographic ordering, “Don’t you dare try on that ‘sombrero’.” About a week earlier an 18-year-old white student in Utah received hundreds of hostile comments after she wore a Chinese-inspired dress to her school prom.

The accusation is great at stirring up Twitter outrage. But what is cultural appropriation?

There is no agreed definition. Generally speaking, it’s the idea that a “dominant culture” wearing or using things from a “minority culture”—say, white American college kids in Brazilian bombachas or baggy trousers—is inherently disrespectful because the objects are taken out of their native context.

It’s not a completely new idea. More than two centuries ago it was popular for upper-class British and French to have their portraits painted dressed as Turkish sultans, which the historian Edward Said called “orientalism”. More recently some black Americans griped when Elvis Presley filched classic rhythm-and-blues riffs and sold them back to white, mainstream society.

Yet today the idea has expanded to new extremes—and obstructs free expression. In American colleges and universities, a vocal minority of students are pushing for official policies banning the practice—by, for example, disciplining students who wear Halloween costumes deemed inappropriate.

The threat here is quite overt. Offence is inherently subjective; university bureaucrats should not punish one student simply because her clothes hurt the feelings of another. Beyond the threat of punishment lies the threat of social stigma—that students, fearful of being accused, will censor themselves or feel themselves censored.

Had the Met gala opted for an Islamic theme (say, “Arabian Nights: Magic and Islam”), accusations of appropriation would have surely followed. This year Jared Leto, an actor, dressed as Jesus; had he dressed as Muhammad, even if in a plain and historically accurate thobe and turban, he would provoke all manner of disgust and denunciation. One can conjure any number of nightmare scenarios for galas themed around Judaism, blackness or, say, Aztecs—none of whom remain alive to be offended—no matter how sartorially sensitive the dresses.

That is because cultural appropriation is less about cultural disrespect or intolerance—for which much clearer terminology already exists—than about reinforcing the oppressor-oppressed binary through which social-justice advocates see the world. Because Christians and whites are groups deemed to have power, all manner of borrowing or parody is intolerable. And the inverse gets a free pass: nobody is upset when Asians wear European clothes, for instance.

The remedy for the selective application of the cultural appropriation label is not its expansion—as this would sweep in all manner of innocuous social interactions—but its retirement. The phrase stigmatises the beneficial cultural exchanges that happen in art, music, dance, cooking and language. The very idea is self-defeating. To declare black culture off-limits to non-blacks, for example, is to segregate it.

The term also fundamentally misunderstands the process by which all cultures form and progress: through creolisation and intermixing. To appropriate the words of John Donne, no culture is an island entirely of itself.

science knows nothing; we know everything

Well as it turns out science says there is in fact no new tomb rooms where they buried that Tut guy.  But what does science know?  Ground penetrating radar?  Bah.

Over two years ago we predicted (among other things) that Tut’s new tomb rooms:

“Tut’s new tomb rooms don’t exist”

They could have saved all that radar money and given it to me.  Beer isn’t cheap.

We here at TAP have all the answers.  We know everything.  Science knows nothing.

Why do I repeatedly post about Ancient Egypt stuff throughout the years of this degenerate blog?  Eh, it’s kind of a childhood fad thing.  In another life I’d be an archeologist digging up history.

I’d be solving the mystery of why Pharaoh X murdered Pharaoh Y to get the amulet and retain immortality without the use of the pyramids alongside some insanely beautiful French colleague and our lovable but oafish Dutch translator.

Then a truck bearing a black flag rolls up and I pull my Webley revolver, ready to duel with ISIS.  But it ain’t ISIS, out from the tinted doors rolls Zahi Hawass wearing a pristine three piece suit, his trademark hat, and duel wielding a pair of Yugoslavian machine pistols.

He’s not out for blood.  He’s just there for his plug.  He screams at us, wide eyed:

Ahhh, now that’d be the life.

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Where be this lady’s corpse?

we take the time to learn about a topic on which we knew nothing

I like to consider myself a fairly well read dude.  But every once and a while I come across something insane, and yet I know nothing about it.

In this case it had to do with a big celebrity event.  This explains my ignorance.  Because I care not about celebrities or their lives.

But still, for whatever reason (I’m in idiot) I had to break this down in my mind.  Please bear with us as we discuss this most inconsequential of topics.

Every year a bunch of very, very rich people go to an annual fundraising event called the Met Gala.  It’s a charity (cue laugh track) event at the Met.  It supposedly benefits the Met’s Costume Institute, a subsection of the Met that does clothing exhibits.

According to the BBC, this event “is considered the highlight of New York’s social calendar”.  And they have themes, I guess.

This year’s theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, which showcases how Catholicism has influenced fashion throughout history.”  Uh, okay.

So as best as I can figure, celebrities are probably 98% atheist.  But for whatever reason all these people are going to dress up in a religious style.  Sort of.

As an example, here is a picture of Rihanna dressed up like a pope.

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Here is a picture of Katy Perry with angel wings.

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Do you get it?  You see, the pope and angel inspiration are like religious things.  So that’s why they did that.

Here is Olivia Munn (who to me will only ever been known as Aaron Rogers destructive girlfriend) with supposed chain mail on her scalp.  As in, The Crusades.  DO YOU GET IT?

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Here’s Tommy “The Ventilator” Brady doing his best impression of being a Redanian mage from The Witcher 3.

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Here is a picture of Ordinary Average Gentleman Stan Winslow, he repairs cars for his neighbors and coaches his kid’s soccer team.

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So all these folks show up.  They get their picture taken.  Then they go in and eat, gossip, do the rich person socialite thing, and they move on.  Some amount of money goes to the Met to continue operations.  Rinse and repeat annually.

So based on my meticulous research, I have some conclusions and some recommendations to improve the event for next year.

CONCLUSIONS

a) It’s almost like the theme is irrelevant and a bunch of fashion folks just use it as an excuse to come up with wacky costume designs.  If the theme was say, whales, Katy Perry would have had a big whale fin on her back.  DO YOU GET IT?

b) The rich and powerful and celebrity are happy to absorb any excuse to dress up, get their picture taken, feel important, talk to people like them, and so on.  The most comical idea is this is somehow a charity event.  I doubt the Met is hard up for cash.

c) I mean, it’s not like all these people are going to say go with the Catholic theme and raise money for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the City of New York, a Catholic charity that helps New York City’s criminally destitute to eat, have a roof over their heads, etc, etc.

d) The fact that this event was international front page news is yet another mark that our culture is bound for the crypt and/or justification for an alien race to conquer us to save us from ourselves.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1) Return next year to the Catholic theme.

2) Demand accurate costumes to reflect the true history of Catholicism.

3) 100% of the proceeds go directly to Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the City of New York.

4) Cameras are not allowed.

5) The rich will be made to sit on wooden benches and eat sludge ala a Catholic monastery Circa 1284.

6) Monks will chant Bible verses focusing on the parts where that weird Dude helps the poor and describes how the meek will inherit everything.

7) Rihanna will dress in authentic full 8th Century papal garb, and be subjected to the full breadth of assassination attempts, Roman intrigue, obscure Holy Roman Empire politics, and baffling disagreements over minor esoteric spiritual interpretations.

8) Katy Perry will dress as a true avenging angel of the Lord God.  From her chain belt will hang on a meat hook the severed head of Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, former Overlord and Servant of Satan.

9) Olivia Munn will dress as a Knight of Jerusalem and be forced to engage in actual live battle axe fights with the current girlfriend of one Aaron Rogers for the honor of her knight’s house.

10) Tommy will dress as an alter boy.  His wife has to wear the most basic of black shirt and slacks priest garb.

11) The Clooneys have to sit barefoot outside the door and beg for money to buy an Indulgence as a forgiveness for their sin of being born.

12) Please, help me.  No really, please help me.  They made me do this post.  I didn’t want to.  Why on earth did I have to write this?  I don’t know why I did this.  I don’t know where they put the key.  I can’t get out of here.  I threw out all the phone books so they couldn’t keep using them.  And more just appeared the next day.  Where the HELL do you even get a phone book nowadays!

 

cultural appropriation is inhuman

More and more I’m seeing this cultural appropriation term.  The latest internet rage is apparently against a teenager (as in, not an adult) who wore a gown to the prom in a Chinese style.  This is apparently a problem for some people (I guess) because she is not Chinese.

So for some people (I guess) the idea is that only Chinese people or people of Chinese background are allowed to wear gowns in the Chinese style.  I think.  Well, if that’s what cultural appropriation is?  Then cultural appropriation is inhuman.

I thought the whole point of our human journey was to bring us all closer together?  I thought that was the whole point of modern progressiveness?  How do we do that by adding yet another redline that nobody can cross without offending somebody else?

I’ve seen this cultural appropriation nonsense in other ways too, like with food.  So I guess I’m not allowed to write a recipe for a Thai curry or Indian rice because I’m not Indian or Thai?  Too bad.  I just did it last week.  You’ll see them posted on this blog soon enough.  If somebody finds it offensive, that’s of course their right, but I won’t give a shit.

I’ve worn a kimono before, and I’m not even Japanese.  Oh my, what horror!

Any person, of any color or creed or religion or favorite football team should  be able to wear whatever gown they want.  I will write whatever recipe I want.  I will not bin humanity into 735 boxes that are not allowed to touch each other.

One of the great gifts of life and our human race is to learn, experience, and grow from experiencing backgrounds that are not our own.  It’s how we mature as humans and enrich our lives.  It makes us better people.

Facebook continues to win

Hey remember when everybody hated Facebook since it trashed their privacy?  That was all of three weeks ago.  Remember THAT?  No?  Apparently folks don’t.  Nobody cares anymore.  Facebook understands that the planet’s attention span (largely because of the internet) is about eight seconds.  So Zucky had to keep his cool, talk like a robot, play it safe, and eventually it would all blow over.

It certainly helped that all the rich, self-inflated, but ultimately dumb people in Congress couldn’t tell the difference between a Facebook algorithm and a ham sandwich.  These are the guys and gals with the power to regulate Facebook so it doesn’t sell your personal data to a KGB backed hedge fund or a bunch of alien overlords who will one day enslave you using Zucky as the turncoat Emperor of all Humanity.

But Zucky banked that Congress is so gridlocked, and so incompetent that he could ride it out.  All he had to do in front of Congress was not stand up, give them all the finger, both barrels, and say, “Fuck you all.  I might be the most powerful man on the planet.  Do your worst.  Foools.”  But since he didn’t do that, Facebook continues to win.

After Congress let Zucky handle them like a seven figure donor, coincidentally Facebook’s stock went up north of 5%.  That means Zucky’s performance over a two day span increased his personal net worth by over $3B.  Never has one human in all of history made so much money so quickly by saying so little to people so incredibly dumb and ineffective at their jobs.  It’s the perfect harbinger for where the planet is headed.

It gets better because of a number of tidbits that STILL inexplicably came out during Zucky’s testimony.  It goes to show you how easy it would have been for competent questioners to hand Zucky his ass.  The guy just doesn’t know how to deal with people getting in his face.  It’s why he (I’m not kidding) walks around with a personal security detail close in number to that of the President.

First, whoever you are, Facebook has a profile on you.  Whether you have a Facebook account or not, Facebook has a profile on you and is tracking you.  They do this in case one day you create an account they already have a head start.  But they really do this so they can connect you into the network of networks which involves your friends, family, coworkers, etc, most of whom have Facebook accounts.

The network of networks is what Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc will need to truly let the future AI algorithms do their magic.  The idea is that the AI knows what you want for breakfast before you know what you want for breakfast.  I’m not joking.  It’ll be the digital voice assistant which is the ultimate end game to engage with you on this.  Whoever can get to you first, gets your money and loyalty.  That’s why the arms race of AI is so hotly contested.  As is the race to get ever more amounts of your personal data into one bag.

Second, Zucky emphasized that he sees Facebook as an international company and not an American company.  He essentially punted on the “only in America” idea when directly asked about it.  As in, Zucky doesn’t believe in the idea that the freedom, entrepreneurial spirit, and rule of law that Facebook was afforded by America makes Facebook an American company.  If he’d been born in China or Egypt or Poland he seems to think Facebook would still exist.  This is kind of a shocking statement from a guy who runs a company that is (in theory) bound by American law.  Especially for a guy who is said to harbor political ambitions.

Third, Zucky also refused to answer Congress on whether or not Facebook tracks its users when the user is not physically logged in.  Zucky said he didn’t know.  Which was of course a blatant, shameless lie.  Facebook tracks its users when they’re not logged in.  Similar to how Google tracks its users credit card purchases via a backdoor agreement with many national retailers.

Again, Facebook needs their user’s offline activity tracked because it further feeds the AI networks.  But since Congress doesn’t understand any of this, and can’t do basic tasks like pass a budget on time, don’t expect things to change.  Facebook will continue to win.

I think folks are waking up to this, that Facebook can’t be stopped.  And in one of the first dominoes to fall is the resignation of Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp and for the last four years an employee of Facebook.  Koum has battled with Facebook’s leadership for years over monetization, ads, WhatsApp’s privacy and encryption, you name it.  He’s leaving now.  And most of those who see things his way will undoubtedly follow.  Then Facebook can finally have its way with WhatsApp.

So if you use WhatsApp (as I unfortunately have to do at the moment overseas; I’ll be deleting it one day after I get home) be prepared for some major changes as the program becomes more invasive, less secure, gets ads, and otherwise further links itself into the Facebook hive.  But it’s okay, because in the end it isn’t about you, it’s about the people who will further own your life.

Take Koum for example, he might have lost the battle with Facebook, but in terms of winning the war of life?  He has won.  Quote:

“In his Facebook post, Koum said he would take some time off from technology to focus on other pursuits, “such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee.””

There are serious, long term concerns to the future of humanity with regards to what the internet is going to do to us all.  But to Silicon Valley, in the end, it’s about success.  As in, money.  To Koum, he might genuinely share the same concerns I do about these matters.  But in the end, to Koum, it’s all about those air-cooled Porsches baby!

I need Kim Jong-Un to sell my house

You would think that living as a comical Bond villain who builds c-grade nuclear weapons and runs labor death camps would get one put into the bad guy column pretty easily.  Then folks would treat that person like the living Hitler they were, and we’d respond accordingly.

You’d be wrong.

People are fascinated by Kim Jong-Un in a manner I just find weird.  When his sister showed up at the Olympics the press covered her like she was some celebrity Kardashian.  Never mind that all those expensive clothes she wore come at the expense of her starving people.  Here was a royal figure the press could dig into with glee.

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And take a gander at this Versailles picture from the BBC with this bizarre fawning line:

“North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is to be served a Swiss potato dish at a summit dinner with the South, in an apparent attempt to remind him of school.”

Oh my, what an interesting line.  It’s almost like it’s totally cool if you run an extermination camp, as long as you’re unique.  Selective morality is awesome!  Just ask most of today’s Western elite.

But really, I need Kim to sell my house too.  Because the latest fiction is this guy is committed to giving up his nuclear weapons.  Kim said so, so China says so, so does Trump, the media, whoever.

People just buy this shit like it’s true, because they really don’t seem to think things through.  But, I guess, that’s to be expected when their whole lives are focused upon the most recent controversial Tweet, what Trump said to who, and who is outraged at who today.

But I’ll call this one right now, the celebrity cottage boy in Kim is not giving up his nukes.  Daddy played the same game with the planet and got away with it.  North Korea still has nukes.  We’ve been down this road before.

If you still don’t believe me, or think just now there might be some hope of resolution, then please bask in this entirely unrelated photo of Gaddafi as he was beaten, sexually assaulted, and mutilated by a crowd before expiring.  Note the guy nonchalantly smoking in the bottom right corner.  In the end, tis nothing to kill a king.

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Trust me, Kim’s not giving up his nukes.  Kim is playing everybody for fools.  Again.  That anybody swallows this nonsense as reality tells me Kim’s the guy to sell my home.  I could have a swarm of crocodiles living in the attic, Kim could make the sale happen.