Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The 12 Year Old That Silenced the World...And Didn't Impress Me

This appeared in my Facebook feed recently. I was tempted to leave a comment on the actual post, but I figured it would come across as too confrontational. By the same token, I didn't feel comfortable making my own Facebook post on this, because it would be too long. But that's what I got this blog for!

As some of my Facebook friends are already aware, I have a tendency to pick apart advocacy posts. I don't like seeing misleading info being spread about, and while I certainly don't have all the answers, I've become a lot more cynical about what I think of as "bumper sticker ideology." IMHO, platitudes are only a starting point, at best.

So here we have this kid speaking at the United Nations, and I must say, she was pretty well spoken, and I agree, overall, with her topic, but it still came across to me as mere propaganda. And really, "silenced the world"? The chamber was certainly silent, but I would expect no less for any speaker. And what did she really say that we haven't heard before?

Here's the highlights that particularly bugged me:
"...come thousands of miles to tell you adults you must change your ways."
I didn't even know (although I could guess) what the topic was, yet right away I was turned off. That statement would come across as pompous even from an adult, let alone a kid who's not even old enough to drive.

"Coming up today, I have no hidden agenda." 
If you did have a hidden agenda, like that of the grown-ups who may have funded you, or who may have helped write your speech, would you tell us? To be fair, I'm sure you yourself believe in what you're saying, but how much of that is from your own deep research, your own debates (with yourself as well as those on the other side of your chosen issue), and how much of it is from your parents, your teachers, or Ranger Rick magazine?

"I am afraid to go out in the sun now."
Now we're getting into hyperbole. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

"I'm only a child, and I don't have all the solutions"
Do you have any? In your entire speech, you didn't make the case for any initiatives or groundbreaking ideas to clean up the planet or feed starving children. It was just one long lecture about how we're not doing enough.

"We are afraid to let go of some of our Canada, we live the privileged life...
I Googled "most charitable countries" and I found this article from the BBC, which lists Canada in the top 10 most generous countries. Sure, they're still behind the United States (fist pump) but c'mon, give your country some credit! And btw, how much did that trip to speak at the U.N. cost? And did you donate or volunteer with any relief organizations helping those begging children you saw?

"At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world."
Now you're sort of ripping off Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Again, to be fair, it was a decent speech, and I can at least admire her courage in speaking to a large body of distinguished persons, but that doesn't change the fact that she is still a child, whose worldview is largely shaped by the adults she depends on. If she was speaking for issues like, say, traditional marriage, the sanctity of unborn life, or coal miners losing their livelihoods, she would be dismissed, if not outright heckled, by progressives as a mere propaganda tool.  So basically I don't like it when kids jump in the political arena. They don't have much to say that can't be said by an adult, and it's hard to critique what they say without looking like an ogre. But I think if you are willing to roll with with the grown-ups, you should at least be willing to take the critique that grown-ups do.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I love the English language...

Once there was a champion sword fighter who decided to build a fence around his place. He went to a lumber store to get wood for a nice picket fence, then he set it all up and whitewashed it. Then one day he got a court summons. It turned out the lumber he bought was stolen, and then sold to the lumberyard. In court he swore he had no idea the lumber was stolen, and if he knew he would never have bought it.

After hearing his testimony, the judge said: "What we have here is a fencer taking offense at a fence built from materials that were fenced!"

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's been awhile...

So I know it's been a long time since I actually posted, but I've decided to get back into the swing of things. I feel like I've let a lot of things fall by the wayside, and I'm looking to pick at least some of those things up again.

I figure as good a time to start as any would be to hype my friend Zach's comedy group, ImprovBroadway. Full disclosure, I was given a free seat in exchange for this post, but I still left them a tip after the show, because they are indeed worth the money! They've had several different venues over the years, starting out in a piano store, then moving from there to the Covey Center for the  Arts. Now they have their own studio in Provo. The theatre is a bit smaller than the Covey Center, but I think it works better for audience participation. For example, at the last show I attended, they pulled a date couple (who had been dating for a while) from the audience and asked them to describe how they met and their first date. Then they re-enacted with Shakespearean language, and a few other artistic touches.

As you may have guessed from the name, ImprovBroadway is an improv comedy show where no two productions are the same. Each show consists of improvised scenes, many of which involve audience participation, and an on-the-spot musical production. Like  Who's Line is it Anyway?, they're good at coming up with songs at the spur of the moment, and they play off each other wonderfully. Unlike Who's Line, they keep their comedy clean, so it's safe for kids, and safe for a first date. They remind me a lot of Studio C in that respect.

So if your in the Utah County and want to see something fun, check out ImprovBroadway. They even teach improv classes!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Everything's fair game in comedy...except sexual assault

When I watched this SNL segment, I wasn't exactly horrified, but I did feel a little uncomfortable, and upon reflection, I find it interesting that sexual assault is not usually joked about (and pedophilia almost never). Murder, yes, robbery, yes, but not rape.
Here's my guess on why that is. We can at least tolerate black comedy like "Death to Smoochy", "Murder by Death", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" because death will come to us all anyway, whether by someone else's hand or not, and joking about it shows a bit of bravery. Also, I think most of us, for at least a brief point in our lives, have been angry enough to kill someone, and joking about it releases some of the pressure that anger generates. Same goes with stealing, or numerous other selfish acts. With sexual depredation on other hand, its a different story. It's harder to rationalize, even in jest, someone "deserving" sexual assault, not like killing someone you despise, or stealing you think you're entitled to, plus you'd be doing something to someone that they would have live with, and taking something that could never replaced.
Now it's not my place to judge the people who laughed at this monologue, (to those who DO judge them, you are not God, and you are not mind-readers). But I'm okay with keeping sexual assault, especially on children, a taboo subject, even for comedy.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Stand by Me Alternates

On April 30th we lost Ben E. King, writer of "Stand by Me". Being born well after the 60s, I was not familiar with this tune growing up, and the first version I heard was Timon and Pumbaa's, which I still think is a fun spin on the old tune:

And here's another, more recent version:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Holy Pause Button, Batman!

Some more pause screens from Batman: Arkham City.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Back with Batman

Sorry I've been away for so long, things have been hectic with school and work, and I haven't been doing much to blog about the past few weeks. But now I'm getting back into the regular groove again.

I was playing Batman: Arkham City yesterday, and I found some fun little details in the city that I never noticed before.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins is one of Bruce Wayne's confidants in the comics, and runs a medical clinic for Gotham's addicts and criminals in the slums.

As you can see in the top picture, when you look at the police station from a certain distance away, it looks like the Bat Signal is on, but when you zoom in, or move any closer, it turns off.

After Batman and Freeze finish fighting over poison antidote, and discover that Harley Quinn stole it, you can see the hole in the wall she made to take it out of the safe.
 I thought it was funny to see an Arkham mug in the GCPD, as I would expect the Gotham police wouldn't have cared for the place (what with it's lax security and all). Somebody start making these for real!
And here's another pause screen!