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ONE DAY AT THE WATCHTOWER

***The following story is a response to a thread on the sub-reddit, r/writingprompts.
View thread HERE.***

ONE DAY AT THE WATCHTOWER

Kal slurped his coffee loudly as he sat in the lounge of the watchtower reading the news on his tablet.

“Do you have to be so loud?” Diana asked. “Also, put on a goddamn shirt -this is a common area and we have a dress code.”

Kal began scratching/caressing his chest and belly as he looked over at her. “What’s the matter? You never seen a real man’s body before?” He then put two fingers to his tongue and began mockingly rubbing his nipple while giving her seductive eyes.

Diana shuddered. “You’re gonna turn me into a fucking dyke, you know that?”

Kal smirked, but before he could offer some pithy comment, Bruce walked in with a serious look on his face.

“Kal… Diana…All is well I presume?….” Kal shrugged as if to say ‘meh’ and Diana rolled her eyes and returned her attention back to her tablet.

“What is the status of next week’s operation?”

Silence.

“Do we have a belligerent to attack Munich?”

Silence.

“Guys! What the fuck? We have a plan and we’re supposed to stick to it. Why haven’t you scheduled any belligerent?”

Diana cleared her throat. “Nobody wants to work with us. They are all scared since Kal broke Zod’s neck.”

“Oh fuck them and fuck you for saying that!” Kal snapped, indignant.

“She’s right, Kal -you fucked up. Have they flat-out refused?”

“Some did…Brainiac gave us his ‘fuck-you’ price.” Diana said as she turned her tablet in Bruce’s direction for him to see.

“Jesus! We could level the city to the ground, buy it for peanuts and still lose money if we paid him that.” Bruce looked disapprovingly at Kal, who stared intently at his tablet, pretending to be unaware of the negativity focused on him. Ever the pragmatist, Bruce swallowed his anger, “We need to purchase that city. I’m open to ideas.”

“Well, you’re Bruce Wayne -you could always pay ful….”

Before he could finish, a pillow thrown by Diana hit him with the force of a moving car, exploding into a blizzard of white plumage as it hit his cheek.

“Pth pthh!….well that was unnecessary.” Kal retorted while spitting out the goose down feathers now fluttering about his head.

“I told you, we pay full price as an absolute last resort. With the sheer number and scale of acquisitions we are making, we can’t afford to pay market price -I CAN’T afford market price.”

“Well, me and Diana coul-”

“Diana and I…you stupid fuck.” Diana interrupted.

“Diana and I,” Kal resumed. “We could toss on black masks and dark clothes and just go wreck shit.”

“No! Too risky. We’ve had to endure too much scrutiny the few times we resorted to that.” Bruce sat at this and let out a sigh. “We need a clear-cut villain and not some mysterious man in black with suspiciously Kryptonian abilities, otherwise it’ll be the fast-track to registration, ankle bracelets and panoptic surveillance like they’re dealing with in 616.”

At this, Kal and Diana looked at each other, then at Bruce. Bruce remained looking straight ahead, only his gaze was fixed on something which seemed thousands of miles away. At length, he blinked and seemed to awaken. “Kal, do you still have it?”

“The motherbox? Yeah…. but are you sure you wanna ask for their help? Just think about what they’ll ask for in return.”

“It’s true,” Diana chimed in. “But at least we know it won’t be money.”

“Listen, I know I’m not the smartest one here, but it seems we’re opening up a can of worms that we may not wanna open. What if they want us to fight on their behalf in their universe someday?”

“It’s true,” said Bruce, standing with resolve. “But we can set the terms for such a payment, and if we set the terms far enough off in the future we may negotiate some wiggle-room. And who knows: when they call on us it may be to champion a cause we can actually get behind.”

“Ugh, I feel so dirty”

“Do it!” commanded Diana.

Kal left at a grudging pace, decidedly well slower than he was capable of. When he had gone, Diana walked to Bruce who was now staring out at the vast expanse of space and the world below them. She stood beside him and watched the world twinkling below them. A skin-coloured object moved incredibly fast past their field of view and seemed to terminate somewhere in the Arctic circle.

“The idiot didn’t even bother to put a shirt on.” observed Diana. “…Bruce. Do you think it’s really worth it? Buying the world?”

Bruce grimaced. “You know I do.”

“Do you ever feel like we’re becoming the villains?”

“I do.”

“So does the end justify the means?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m not justifying anything anymore. I’m stopping crime.”

“By destroying cities?”

“If necessary, yes! I spent years, Diana -YEARS- beating the shit out of petty criminals and the mentally disturbed. But they weren’t the problem -they were symptoms. Every city that Wayne Enterprises has bought has been completely overhauled -better infrastructure, better connectivity, integrated agriculture, energy independence, decentralization for greater local autonomy, universal standardization for greater compatibility and cooperation with all other cities…..ABUNDANCE, Diana. People in my cities no longer want for things. And as their circumstances have changed and they’ve been freed from drudgery, their values have changed too and we’re are seeing a marked increase in innovation, virtually no crime, a flourishing in the arts. There is a veritable renaissance going on below and it’s all thanks to-”

Bruce caught himself and took a breath.

“What I mean to say is that we are already seeing the fruit of our labours. Besides, the cities that are destroyed are typically those we can’t afford because the people have become so soulless and speculative that they no longer view domiciles as homes, but as assets. Their loss is a sacrifice I gladly make for the greater good.”

They both stared out again at the Earth. The glass in the window darkened in a split-second as the sun peeked over the Earth’s horizon.

“You really hate gentrification, don’t you?” Diana asked.

“Not as much as I hate yuppie scum!”

Then they had sex with no condom.

THE END

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“He Who Laughs Last Probably Died Laughing”

Friends,

An army friend of mine once related a story to me when we were in Afghanistan about a game he used to play in university lectures called, “Bait the Jew.” The premise of the game was simple: in class discussions he would say deliberately inflammatory things which would rile the Jewish students, particularly those with Zionist sympathies. He would then have a laugh at their expense. I cringed at this and felt kind of embarrassed for him but it was one of those situations you find yourself in all-too-often in the military where you gotta let some repugnant shit slide because for better or worse, this dude has my back when shit hits the fan.

But if you think about it, Bait the Jew is emblematic of how humor is generally done these days: inflammatory remarks are levied at various demographics (with various degrees of cleverness) and the “injured” party’s reaction only increases the mirth of those who see the humor in it. Sometimes, the injured party’s reaction is relatively benign (legal recourse, appeals to the government or similar jests in kind), but sometimes it’s pretty severe:

247A1D8400000578-2904637-image-a-61_1420910134759

I’m gonna go ahead and say exactly what’s on my mind here: Some people are VERY happy about the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Why?

Well, to me, I think it validated a lot of pent-up xenophobia and and Islamophobia and it certainly made a fair number of self-described atheists pretty euphoric. There is a definite under-current of these emotions in the wake of the attacks and a jubilation which some are hard-pressed to contain. It goes deeper than the validation of prejudice though. Some, like certain military friends of mine, have a vested financial interest in war because (at least in the Canadian military) there’s lots of delicious tax-free money to be made fighting commies/Nazis/insurgents. But there’s also the awards, honours, medals and respect that come from service overseas.

military-humor-soldier-russia-listen-here-noob-memeYou basically get some new bling to keep your uniform frosty.

Medals are a status symbol in the military and the worthiness of your career is (unofficially) related to the size of your rack of medals. In the context of being in the military, it’s considered a more or less objective indicator of whether or not someone is a good soldier. Sure, a guy may be an insubordinate, racist drunkard, but look at all his medals. Also, there is an unspoken resentment against superior officers who presume to command subordinates with more operational experience, and thus more medals, than them. So in my estimation, a lot of war-mongering has to do with guys who want to legitimize their careers and authority, while at the same time becoming one of the highly decorated veterans they vaunt.

I’ll defer to Bill Hicks here:

billPortraitWhat kind of people are these with such low self-esteem that they need a war to feel better about themselves? May I suggest, instead of a war to feel better about yourself, perhaps … sit-ups? Maybe a fruit cup? Eight glasses of water a day?

I was one of these guys when I got into the army. I saw dudes who had deployed to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cyprus, the Golan Heights and when they’d rock their medals on parades I wanted my own taste of that. Well, I got it. And, surprise surprise, all of that admiration and veneration from the younger generation didn’t mean all that much when I finally had it.

How far do you have to go down that road before you see where it leads?

***************
But I digress here because I didn’t set out to write a scathing indictment of the military mindset wherein a solider validates himself, his existence and his career through violent campaigns and occupations which leave people dead, orphaned, bereaved and embittered.

Rather I was writing about humour and the way it is done. This hits a little close to home for me because as of late I have been trying my hand at stand up comedy so I find myself very much concerned with what is funny and what is not. Now at the outset, let me be clear: I am not above laughing at crude, insensitive, racist, sexist, etc. jokes. I’d like to qualify that by saying that I only laugh at them if they are clever, good-natured and well-wrought but that would be lying. I’ve laughed at the worst of the worst and will continue to do so provided I find the joke in question funny.

Now I think many of us would agree that if I, as a white male, went around making racist jokes about blacks, saying the word nigger all willy-nilly and advertising bigotry, the people who were the butt of my jokes would have a legitimate qualm and reason to not find them funny. If things were taken a step further and I got my ass kicked by the injured parties, a lot of people would probably be like, “Well he got what he deserved.”

Now notwithstanding the fact that there are orders of magnitude of difference between the shit-kicking I deserve and a shoot-out in the streets, can we at least acknowledge that a similar dynamic is at play here?

1)Someone makes a joke at another party’s expense
2)The second party is offended by the joke
3)To vindicate their bruised honor, the injured party does (decidedly less whimsical) violence against the jokester (and anyone else unfortunate enough to be nearby)

Some of you may say that I have abstracted the Charlie Hebdo massacre too much to make it congruent with my hypothetical black joke scenario, but I maintain that this is an important mental exercise which helps us to recognize common kernels of causality. So yes, while there are worlds of differences between the CH massacre and me getting my ass tuned up by a bunch of hypothetical aggrieved African-Americans (Canadians???), there is a similar dynamic of vindication here.

Or how about this: A lot of people here in the west think it’s stupid for Muslims to freak out over pictures of the Prophet Mohammed, BUT GOD HELP YOU IF YOU DON”T STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT A HOCKEY GAME!!!

Yes, cause that makes infinitely more sense.

Or a lot of people might hate on (again) Muslims for those honor killings we hear so much about, but I would posit that “vindication of the national honour” (i.e. “honor killing” on a massive scale) is the main mobilizing premise used to dupe scared people into joining the war effort in the wake of some (usually trifling or made-up) initial provocation.

Don’t get me wrong I am no apologist for Islamic violence, but I recognize that it’s pretty presumptuous for us to poo-poo them for their violence when we cumulatively as “the West” are perhaps the greatest purveyors of direct violence (war), indirect violence (proxy wars) and war profiteering that have ever existed.

***************
But again I need to digress, because this is neither meant to be a scathing indictment of Western foreign policy.

So what is funny and what is worth killing someone over? I think the answer to both is, “It’s all relative.” Furthermore, there is a degree of overlap, so some hilarious shit might get someone killed.

batmano
He who laughs last, probably died laughing.”

I recognize doing stand-up that a joke which I find funny might get my ass kicked if it offends someone, and whether popular opinion is with me or against me depends on a number of factors: The disposition of the general public, whether I am part of the privileged class, whether the subject of my ridicule is a downtrodden minority and last but not least, the prejudices of the general public. Let’s face it, if Charlie Hebdo cartoonists saw some humour in making cartoons at the expense of rape victims and a bunch of feminist extremists IRL pwned (killed) them, there would be a lot of people of the mindset of, “Well, that’s what you get for talking shit.” But since the indignant transgressors were Muslims, the attitude seems to be “Fuck them and their feelings!

So, should Charlie Hebdo cartoonists have showed some restraint with regard to their jokes about Islam? Absolutely-the-fuck-NOT! We NEED people to push limits and say things that are on their minds even if the group-mind doesn’t deem it politically correct. The fact of the matter is that it takes a lot of guts to say some shit that you know isn’t popular, which incidentally, is why I mostly reserve judgement against the Westboro Baptist Church. Much as I might disagree with their message I have to laud their guts.

And while I think it sucks that people sometimes get killed for speaking their mind, I also think it sucks that we live in a system which necessitates the speaking of one’s mind in the first place.

What do I mean by that? Well, speaking one’s mind (whether that is asking for a raise, telling off a rival, or making an unpopular joke) is a form of asserting oneself and one’s views. But the necessity of self-assertion pre-supposes some marginalization happened as a pre-cursor. So the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists felt they had to assert themselves at the expense of devout Muslims, and the devout, more extremist elements of that group felt they had to re-assert themselves against those who had made light of their faith. Like so many struggles within a competitive socio-economic system, it’s just another case of one group trying to get ahead at the expense of another.

So again, for perhaps the hundredth time, I want to ask, “Shouldn’t we, instead of focusing on the individual acts of violence or insult (the latter being just another form of violence), instead look to transcend the structural mechanisms which pit people against one another in the first place?”

It doesn’t matter whether you identify more with Muslims or the cartoonists, cause while you bicker over who was in the right or wrong, someone is profiting from this whole debacle at the expense of both groups.

France

And what I find incredibly offensive about any new legislation pertaining to surveillance and privacy that will come to pass from this massacre is that it will likely disproportionately target Muslims (at least initially) and also that it flies in the face of the freedom of speech which Charlie Hebdo stood for.

So while we take sides, everyone loses.

Problem => Reaction => Solution

***************
But I digress, because I didn’t set out to talk about how we are being manipulated and played against each other.
Also, I ran out of clever shit to say.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
Instagram: @dreguan
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Demo Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gdwhemiqzc

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“One Fish, Two Fish, Putin, Obama” – A Study in Imposed Dualities

Friends,

Something occurred to me last night as I was getting ready for bed. Let me explain it in a roundabout way, my preferred method of explanation: You see, I have been following the buildup to World War III for about a year now, and before the US was making overtures toward attacking Syria in an attempt to goad Iran into conflict, it was stroking itself to the idea of attacking Iran directly.

iran-wants-war

While that more direct route was being considered, Russia and China had already made statements to the effect of, “We will fight you if you attack Iran,” “You fuck with Iran and you fuck with us.”  These sentiments from the once and current Communist blocs have not really changed too much even though the US is considering a more meandering route to Iran.  Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been very vocal about condemning Obama, and, in light of these criticisms of American war-mongering and his harbouring of Edward Snowden, he has gotten a weird sort of good guy image makeover in the view of the West.

ggp
(To be clear, I made this image to illustrate my point)

This heel/face turn has been helped along by the letter (incorrectly attributed to Putin) “From Russia With Love,” which was written in the Russian President’s voice and has been making the viral rounds.

So yeah, it seems like Vladimir Putin is a pretty cool guy.

But if that’s the case, then why do I not feel right about singing his praises and vaunting him as the last bastion against American imperial expansion?

Well for starters lets rhyme off the superficial reasons for mistrusting Putin:

1) He’s former KGB

Putin_KGB

2) This is the same dude who has taken a heavy hand with feminist activists, Pussy Riot.

-

3) This is the same dude who has taken a heavy hand with gay rights activists.

enhanced-buzz-6581-1374515190-381-840x550

4) This is the same dude who has taken a heavy hand with Chechens.

8095_1

Hmmm, all these factors combined certainly make me reconsider my earlier statement that Putin is a pretty cool guy, but they don’t really account for my incredulity with regard to his good guy image.  I think my mistrust has more to do with IMPOSED DUALITIES.

Imposed Dualities
Do you ever notice that most of the choices you are presented with come down to two main options?  And while often these choices are only distinguished from each other by the most superficial of differences, people will still make great judgments about you and your character based on which of the two you choose.
Let’s review some of these dualities:

Evil vs. Good

Dark vs. Light

3

images

2

communism-vs-capitalism-575x250

Presentation1

125177754

It’s no accident that both sides of any of these choices are broadly similar and superficial differences are emphasized to create the illusion of diversity.  A good example would be how many video game retailers will have retailer exclusive DLC for games pre-ordered from them.  In the game Batman: Arkham City for example, you could get various costumes for Batman depending on where you pre-ordered your game. Voila; diversity of choice!

new-batman-arkham-city-bonus-costumes-revealed-earth-one-the-animated-series-batman-beyond-and-more

This is what freedom of choice looks like.

I have a hunch that its also no coincidence that red and blue are used extensively for the purposes of distinguishing broadly similar factions/parties from one another.  I am no colour psychologist though, so I’m not exactly sure what this denotes.

However, I want to draw attention to the last red vs. blue duality I included:

125177754

Most people probably recognized this as denoting the rivalry between the American Republican and Democratic parties, respectively.  These two parties have often been accused of being broadly similar in recent years,

demopublican

yet they manage to keep the veneer of differentiation though head-butting on issues like women’s rights, gay rights, fighting insurgency, etc.  However, since they are both essentially fed by the same hands,

The Most Dangerous Kind of Politician

there are necessarily proverbial  hands that both parties won’t bite.   This is not to say its a grand conspiracy where the wealthy elite control the puppets.

demopub

On the contrary, its a rather common and disingenuous conspiracy where parties and politicians recognize where their self-interest lies and make the appropriate choices to maintain their positions of power vis-a-vis campaign funding, airtime and favourable press.

Furthermore, do you notice how any up-and-coming candidate for the presidency (and by association, senate and congress seats) always pledges to undo the wrongs of his predecessor should he be elected?  This angle resonates with those disaffected most with the existing administration while polarizing the incumbent’s base, a base who, though they might not be 100% satisfied with their candidate’s performance when held up to his campaign promises, still prefers to stay the current course rather than make a departure

So how does this relate to Putin?

Well, someone’s gotta be the bad guy and someone’s gotta be the good.  That is, someone’s gotta be red and someone’s gotta be blue.

If you think about it, in spite of his newfound popularity, Putin is not so different from Obama: He criticizes Obama for his handling of the Snowden affair while openly admitting that he would have prosecuted a similar Russian whistle-blower for treason. You might recognize this position as the broad similarity I mentioned earlier when talking about imposed dualities and intra-national politics.  It seems that broadly similar imposed dualities exist at the international/global level of politics as well.

sdg

“It’s not about the one I like more, its about picking the one I hate least.”  (Paraphrase)
-Cynical Voters

Putin vs. Obama is the latesst permutation of Obama vs. Bush*, and in each case the appeal of the former is a direct function of how dissimilar they appear to be to the latter and how much the latter is hated.

Soooooo, why waste time waving the flag for either?  Good question!

I quoted Miyamoto Musashi in my last post, “When Truisms Lie,” and I will quote him again here:

“If you know the way broadly, you will see it in all things”

I think if we apply this view of imposed dualities at all levels of politics (global, national, provincial, regional, state, municipal, INTERGALACTIC!!!) we will see it represented faithfully, which to me is a testament to its truth.  And it follows that if we should avoid getting fooled by the smoke and mirrors at one level (say, national politics), then we should avoid getting fooled by the smoke & mirrors at all other levels as well.  In all cases we must look past the obvious conflict which is being presented to us and see who is benefiting no matter which side wins. 

CUI BONO?

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

*I realize Obama never ran against Bush but he was touted as being the remedy to two Bush terms and two un-winnable wars.

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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Skyfalls (Spoilers)

My Friends,
   Forgive me if this post is a little less than timely.  Life happened and I never got around to it.  In the past year (2012, for those reading this in a distant future) two movies came out whose similarities were made much of:

The Dark Knight Rises, and…
 
Skyfall.
 
I wish to jump on that bandwagon by doing my own comparison & contrast-ison.
   Now before I continue I want to point out that I am writing this blind in the sense that I haven’t searched out any other blogs, articles, or reviews which might be making a similar case, save for some of the initial reviews of Skyfall (those which gave me the idea for this post) that pointed out superficial similarities with DKR in regard to how dark they both were (Given that one of the films has “dark” in the title I think we can do much better than that).  So you will have to forgive me if someone else has already written these exact same things elsewhere because I never bothered to look.
 
First Off…
 
What’s Different About These Movies?
   For starters, everyone in Skyfall seems to have an inexplicably British accent, 
 
…well, most everyone…
 
…while just about everyone in DKR  seems to speak ‘Merican.
 
 Except him.*
 
So yes, there are serious linguistic differences in the film.
That just about covers the differences.
 
On to the Similarities:
   Compare & Contrast is a peculiar species of review which demands discretion, because any movie abstracted to a certain point is identical to any other movie abstracted similarly.  Like I would have a hard time saying that Billy Madison ripped off The Land Before Time if I compared the plots of the two films.  But if I abstracted both plots to their most essential details as follows,
 
Protagonist faces adversity
Protagonist struggles with adversity and meets new friends along the way
Protagonist overcomes adversity

you can see that Billy Madison is a direct rip-off of The Land Before Time which came out years earlier.  So I will try not to be too abstract when comparing the similarities between SF and DKR, but ultimately its not an exact science.

 
On to the Similarities For Realzies This Time

The Characters and Their Relationship to the Plot
   It seems to me that almost every main character in DKR has a parallel in SF.  Sometimes, one character from one movie has similarities to two or more characters from the other movie but still they function in largely the same capacity.  Let’s start with the easy one…

Bruce WayneBatman vs. James Bond

 
   The obvious comparison.  As protagonists, these two share a common arc involving a fall and a rise.  In the case of DKR, the focus of the story is redemption.  Bruce Wayne’s struggle is a largely internal one and questions about how (physically) ready he is to don the cowl after a lengthy sabbatical are more or less put to rest when he straps some hi-tech brace to his leg and kicks down a brick wall.
 
 
Later, when he is physically bested by Bane in their first match, we get the impression it is not because of any physical flaw, but due to some mental block which he overcomes while watching Gotham tear itself apart as he recuperates in the prison Bane sends him to.  As if to reinforce this point, Batman neatly, if not easily defeats Bane in fisticuffs in their next encounter. 
   In SF, Bond’s “fall” comes early on and it is a literal fall from a bridge after Moneypenny accidentally shoots him when he is fighting some douche-fag on a train in Istanbul.  He recovers from his apparent death pretty early on however, and unlike Bruce Wayne, he struggles more with the physical difficulties of getting back in the saddle than any emotional blocks or guilt.  (*This actually seems to be a consistent distinction between the two films: the struggles and repercussions in DKR tend to be more emotional and mental, while the struggles in SF are of a more immediate physical kind).  Still, we really only see Bond’s physical difficulties in his training montage.  When he goes back to active status he seems to fare pretty much the same as ever and the only give-away that he is struggling is when other characters allude to how old he is.
  Oh yeah, James and Bruce are also both orphans


Bane vs. Raoul Silva

 
   The two antagonists serve as dark mirrors to the protagonists in many ways.  What’s more importantly (sic.) is that in some ways you feel sympathy for these characters because both have been fucked over by The League of Shadows and MI6 respectively.  Of the two, Bane is definitely the more sympathetic even though his crimes could be considered worse.  Generating sympathy for a guy who wants to nuke a city of innocent civilians is an impressive feat to accomplish especially when his hulking, lumbering gorilla frame makes him seem a brute.  But then we have the revelation from Talia that it was she who escaped the pit, not Bane.  It was he in fact who protected her and facilitated her escape.  During the telling of this story the camera pans to Bane and we see this:
 
 
 
2:00-2:20 (You may have to view it on youtbe to see the tears clearly)
 
He’s not just a hulking lumbering gorilla, he’s a hulking, lumbering gorilla with feels.  
   And if we didn’t already feel bad enough for Bane at this point we then realize that he loves Talia but she at some point went and fucked Bruce Wayne.  The fanboys of the internet found this particularly offensive and have pointed out this injustice in their memes:
 
Bane, a sympathetic character if ever there was one
 
   While we don’t ever feel the same level of pity for Silva we do find out that M handed him over to the Chinese where he was tortured and unsuccessfully tried to commit teh suicides a la cyanide.  We start to think, “Wow, M is kind of a bitch and maybe, just maybe she deserved this guy coming after her and MI6.”  This potentially great conflict however is neutralized not long after it is introduced when M explains herself to Bond and justifies her actions for the greater good, explaining that Silva had become problematic in the field.  “Oh, so basically he is/was not justified in the least?  M is/was completely in the right and Silva is/was completely in the wrong?  ‘Cause that’s how real life conflict actually works…”  M’s explanation seems good enough for Bond who doesn’t question M’s leadership or choices and does not even seem to realize that but for the grace of M herself, he could be the next agent given up to an enemy nation.  Since a clear line between MI6’s good and Silva’s evil is drawn in the sand (and because he doesn’t cry while telling his story) it is hard to feel sympathy for Silva even though he has so much potential to be an interesting character.  
   But this lack of sympathy is a double-edged sword because I also don’t feel much disdain for Silva either.  Remember a few lines back when I said it was impressive that the creators of DKR make you feel sympathy for Bane even though he was gonna nuke Gotham?  Well, you would think that because Silva is ultimately less sympathetic that it would be easier to condemn him for his transgressions.  Buuut, I have a really hard time caring about his victims or his targets.  Let’s review them, shall we:
 
James Bond: Not even a primary target, just a guy who got in the way.  Also a sociopath whose chosen profession allows him to kill with impunity while he drapes himself with the flag and sings “God Save the Queen” to lull himself to sleep.  I am supposed to care about this guy who works in the shadows to maintain the hegemony of an empire with a legacy of murder and oppression around the globe?
 
M: An ice queen and bureaucrat who tries to keep fear alive in her country to justify her inflated position and salary.  Too dumb to realize that she should have turned over Silva to the Chinese with the caveat that they must kill him when done with him lest he come back for her and vengeance.  I don’t really care about this character.  
 
MI6: Uses up the tax dollars of the average working Briton and doesn’t divulge its secrets.  Its existence is predicated upon the fear of external threats and xenophobia.  
 
If you ask me, Silva should have used more explosives.
 
Severine: I cared so little for this character’s death that I actually had to look up her name.
 
When it comes down to it, the only victim of Silva I feel bad for is the glass of 50-year old Macallan scotch he wastes when he shoots Severine.
 
Evidently, Bond feels the same way.
SILVA, YOU BASTARD!!
 
On the whole I would say that Bane is more menacing as well as more sympathetic, while Silva (although creepy as fuck) doesn’t elicit a lot of hate or sympathy from me.  That said, both fill their respective roles in their respective films well enough because DKR is, like I already stated more about internal struggles while SF is more about action and therefore needs a less complex villain.  In fact, giving Silva any complexity at all is simply icing on the cake, so my criticisms of his lack of depth are given with an awareness that the same film series that produced Silva also produced Jaws
 
This guy is a regular fucking Hamlet.
 
Catwoman/Selina Kyle vs. Miss Moneypenny

 


   I find the greatest similarity between these two characters is not that they are both femme fatales, but the role they play in the fall of their respective protagonists.  In the case of Selina Kyle, she led Bruce Wayne down to the underground base where Bane accidentally his spirit and his body (sic.).  Moneypenny was a little more directly responsible for Bond’s downfall, y’know having shot him and all.  From a plot perspective I think Selina Kyle is more necessary to her film as it could have been any rookie field agent who shot Bond, or even a bad guy, but the fact that it was Moneypenny sets up a cool sexual tension and a grounds for flirting throughout the film.  There is definitely a romantic tension between Bruce and Selina Kyle as well, but it is less grounded in physical attraction and more a result of mutual fascination.
   Again, I have to point out here that this seems to be in line with the more internalized struggles in DKR versus the more physical ones in SF.  In fact, the relationship between Bruce and Selina never strikes me as particularly sexual at all, which is interesting considering that their relationship at film’s end seems perfectly natural and genuine.  This is important because there was high potential for their courtship to be glazed over and their romance assumed to be a given simply because he is the hot male lead and she is the hot female lead.  Also, Bruce fucks Miranda Tate after already being fascinated with and attracted to Selina.  This is great because its how romance works in real life; you can have a crush on someone and still bone someone else.  If Bruce had refused to bed Miranda cause he liked Selina and saw her as a fellow nightkin, it would have been unrealistic as hell.  Especially since, from a strictly sexual perspective, the tension between Miranda and Bruce was much more tangible at that point in the film, so boning made sense.  But carnal delights and sexual gratification have no place in a film about internal struggles and succumbing to temptation must be punished.  Want proof?  Look how their relationship ended:

   By film’s end both Selina and Moneypenny each have a retirement of sorts, with Selina (presumably) giving up crime and Moneypenny taking a desk job.  In a way this is kind of disappointing because both “retirements” really only serve to facilitate their continued relationships with their respective protagonists: Selina has to give up crime because Batman wouldn’t allow it (although in the comics, her bad girl streak is precisely what made her so alluring to Batman.  I guess since he’s no longer Batman by film’s end, all bets are off.), and Moneypenny had to give up field work because Bond couldn’t have another operative in the field always shooting at him and such.  Plus he needs someone to flirt with/wave his penis at tauntingly when he returns to HQ to get briefed.

Robin John Blake vs. Gareth Mallory/Miss Moneypenny


   I could probably abbreviate this criticism to be just between Robin and Mallory.  I only include Moneypenny in the comparison because who these characters really are/what they are to become is revealed (cheekily) at the end of the film.   That said, lets keep the comparison between Blake and Mallory.
  Blake as a lowly beat cop seems to butt heads with Deputy Commissioner Foley because of his willingness to circumvent the chain of command and his sharp instincts.  He saves Gordon’s life (twice) and is instrumental in helping the resistance in Gotham after Bane takes over.  Later, he throws his badge into the bay when he realizes that the structure of the police force cramps his “do what needs to be done” style.  At movie’s end he reveals himself to be Robin, finds the Batcave and presumably goes on to fight crime as Bruce Wayne’s replacement.
   Unlike Blake, Mallory starts off with some status, being the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.  However, he still alludes more than once to his dickhead boss, the Prime Minister.  He ends up saving M twice, first when he gets the Intelligence minister to lay off during the review hearing, and then again when Silva tries to shoot her.  While he never abandons the establishment he is part of, he does show a willingness to flout the rules when he discovers Q unofficially assisting James in setting a trap for Silva.  By film’s end he reveals who he is to become, namely M’s successor at MI6

Lucius Fox vs. Q


   This one is a no-brainer, as every modern hero needs a gadget-guy (as well as a 1337 haX0r).  Q’s cheeky-as-fuck attitude and hipster fashion sensibilities are reminiscent of his older Gotham counterpart, but the similarities continue from there.  Both characters prove to be instrumental to the bad guy’s plan too, as Lucius’ handscan lets Bane access the fusion reactor and Q’s hacking allows Silva to escape from MI6’s emergency HQ.  After these respective fuck-ups though both turn their efforts toward stopping the bad guys, Lucius aiding the recently-returned Bruce Wayne when Gotham is under siege, and Q leaving a “trail of crumbs” for Silva to follow to Skyfall.   At film’s end both characters are still alive and while it is certain that Q will go on assisting Bond, we can only assume that Fox will help Blake when he eventually takes up the mantle of the Batman.  Otherwise why would he have been running a diagnostic on The Bat’s auto-pilot at film’s end?

Commissioner Gordon vs. M

  
   Both of these characters serve as quasi-parent figures in their respective film series.  You will remember that scene in Batman Begins when Det. Gordon protectively puts his coat around a recently-orphaned Bruce Wayne to comfort him at a police station.  Later on throughout the series, Bruce reports to Gordon as Batman, and while he doesn’t strictly take orders from him, he works collaboratively with Gordon where possible.
   Ditto for the relationship between M and Bond.  As far as a parental dynamic, Silva spells it out during his first meeting with Bond when he says,

Mommy was very bad,” 
 
about M.  And throughout the film James shows a steadfast, if rebellious devotion to M, which is in line with the parent-child dynamic.  Everyone calls her ‘Mum’ for shitsakes!
   The similarities between Gordon and M deepen though as both are plagued by past crimes.  In Gordon’s case it is guilt; the opening of the film almost sees him come clean about the circumstances regarding Harvey Dent’s death.  Later, when Bane outs him for lying about Dent, he tries to justify his actions to a disappointed John Blake.
   M on the other hand is haunted by past indiscretions in a much more tangible way by former operative Silva. 
 
 
I mentioned this distinction between the two films already; while the struggles in DKR are of a more emotional nature, the ones in SF are typically more in the form of direct physical threats with little emotional struggle.  To be fair, M does show some regret about having to give Silva up but she views things in Machiavellian terms, acknowledging that it was a necessity of her position and for the greater good.  Beyond this, she doesn’t let her past keep her up at night.
   There is one final similarity between Gordon and M which bears mention; both are explicitly referred to as relics of war-time who no longer belong in peace time  In the case of Gordon, this happens in the party at the film’s beginning when Foley is ambitiously plotting to become the next commissioner.  In the case of M it is at her hearing when the intelligence minister is criticizing her paranoia about the threats in the world.  It is sad that the paranoid types and symbols of war like Gordon and M are eventually vindicated by the events in their respective films, as it reinforces the message that constant paranoia and vigilance are how things should be and that we should be wary of peace of mind and a lack of fear.  I don’t know if the majority of viewers picked up on this sub-text but it kind of made me cringe.  It didn’t hamper my enjoyment of either movie too much because I realize that they are fictions, but we should really try and stay mindful that the good/evil duality is unrealistic and only works as a narrative tool.

   Two notable omissions from this character comparison are Talia/Miranda Tate and Alfred Pennyworth from DKR.  Although I mentioned Talia in passing I didn’t feel she had a direct parallel in SF, instead sharing similarities with many of the characters in the Bond film at various points in her character’s development.  In the case of Alfred, his disappearance at the beginning of the 2nd act seemed peculiar to me because abandoning Bruce did not seem in line with his character.  Certainly I could compare him to M in the way he chides/advises Bruce, or I could do a very complex reading and compare Alfred’s abandonment of Bruce to M’s abandonment of Silva, but ultimately SF was just more economical in its casting, so no matter who gets compared to whom, some DKR characters will not be paired up with anyone.

 
Miscellaneous Similarities
   Having gone on at length about character similarities, and in the process, plot similarities as well, it is time to have a little more fun and point out the random similarities.  While these are of a more superficial nature, it does make you pause and wonder if the creators were trading notes while developing their respective films.
 
Both films have a literal representation of their respective titles:
   
This is a dark knight ‘rising’
 
This is James Bond ‘skyfalling’
 
Both Batman and Bond mysteriously reappear to their “parent figures” after extended disappearances  to explain their absence and ultimately get back to work.
 
 

Both antagonists have fucked-up faces:

Both protagonists demonstrate proficiency for walking on ice:

Both protagonists seem pretty magnanimous toward the chicks who betrayed or accidentally shot them.

In a bit of role reversal, Bane’s troops take on the role of peace officers prior to the climactic battle, ordering the assembled GCPD to disperse.  This role-reversal is reinforced by Dep. Com. Foley as he and the other freed cops advance on city hall toward film’s end.

 
On a more superficial level, Silva and his men just dress like cops for their assault on M’s hearing.
 
 
Both villains have plans which involve getting captured at some point.
 
 
I almost missed it but DKR has some minor homo-eroticism as well in the form of Bane caressing Daggett.  This of course is nowhere near as pronounced as Silva and Bond flirting with each other in SF.
 
 
Well, that’s all I got.  Hopefully you didn’t hate it.  If there is anything large I missed please feel free to point it out.  If you haven’t seen either or both of thse films go check them out as they are both well worth it.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
*I didn’t put a joke about Bane’s muffled voice here because the claims about how difficult he was to understand seemed mostly overblown to me, and even worse it became an easy joke which could be made without thinking.  I try and keep the humour a little elevated here. 
 
 
 

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Six-Week "Adventure" Recap: Part 1

My Friends,
   It’s been a long time and no writing.  Well, at least no writing which I have shared with the world.  Lots been going on so I’l give you some broad-strokes.

“A Man is Rich in Proportion to the Number of Things he Can Afford to Let Alone”  – HDT
 
   I have managed to consolidate all of my worldly possessions into my apartment over the last month; no more shit in my Dad’s basement and no more shit in my grandparent’s shed.  Everything I own is either in my apartment or in my assigned storage unit in my building.  Better yet, this mass of shit keeps decreasing by the week.  See it always bothered me that I had so much stuff scattered about.  Certainly I don’t use most of it, but more than that it is burdensome to carry baggage about and it is a burden which I do not like to put on others.

A George Carlin video clip seems almost obligatory in each post now so might as well get it over with right up front.

Well, in the past month I have gotten rid of the metric shitload of clothing and accessories which constituted my army gear (oh yeah, I am getting out of the army – More on that at a later date).  On top of that I keep on doing the Kijiji thing and I slowly get rid of stuff that way too.  Other than that, anything I can afford to part with for free (books, clothes, etc) leaves my possession at a rate of about a box per week.  I can’t wait til the day when my modest amount of possessions are simply the things I use on a regular basis with nothing held in reserve so to speak.

Flexing My A-Bone

   I started taking improv classes about a month back and frankly I’m not sure why I didn’t start sooner.  I always loved being in plays in elementary school and I took drama throughout high school.  Then after high school I really didn’t do anything in that regard, but I always had this idea in my head that I would act again.  Alas, it was just a general idea so I never approached it in earnest.
   But over the years I have met a few actors and I have always admired their drive to pursue a passion. A little closer to home, my sister, a ham like me, has been taking improv and is starting a Second City course which totally convinced me that I should get my shit together and go do what I feel.  I looked for improv classes in Hamilton and found The Staircase.  I was amused to realize that it was a building which I had driven by a few years ago and which had piqued my curiosity.  I had always meant to inquire as to what went on in there and it is only years later that I serendipitously followed up on that past inclination.  A strong argument for intuition indeed.
   It has been going well thus far;

Top … Gun … Actor!

I go two nights a week and I’ve met some cool peeps.  I even attended the recent Halloween party where there were some seriously wacky costumes.  Among the wackiest was my very own…

BANE

   I’m not sure at what point it occurred to me that I wanted to be Bane for Halloween but it must have been sometime in the summer because I knew I would have to spend September and October bulking up my upper body to be even reminiscent of the top-heavy brawler.  While I certainly didn’t expect to get Tom Hardy big,

 I had no intention of going looking like…

So I started a regimen of push-ups to supplement my as-of-late chin-up-only routine, and I also activated the Goodlife membership my sister got me for my birthday which helped too.  All the while I started putting together the costume.  Working in a gas appliance warehouse was very helpful because the gas fittings and thermocouples on-site allowed me to craft a pretty cool mask using a paintball mask as the foundation.  That coupled with some gear I picked up from my friends at Hamilton Tactical (Shameless Plug) made for a pretty legit getup:

Given the amount of work I put into the costume and the overall menacing look of it, don’t be surprised if I rock it next Halloween.  At the very least I’l have to attend FanExpo this summer to floss it.

Squabbles

   I got into some altercations last week.  Two in two days actually.  The first was when a bus driver, who felt that I had recklessly jumped in front of his stopped bus to put my bike on the front rack, tried to lecture me in a condescending way about jumping in front of vehicles.  I reacted in a counter-productive way and gave him shit back.  Realizing perhaps that he had come at me the wrong way he tried to show me, without lowering his voice, how his condescension had come from a place of concern.  It was enough to defuse me.  I listened to what he had to say and we actually got to talking about mountain-biking, the army (he was a vet) and the sad state of the world.  Given the shitty start of our relationship it actually ended pretty well.  I should fight more bus drivers I suppose.
   The next day I took off work to get my costume ready for the upcoming Halloween parties that weekend.  Going into Toys R’ Us, one of the managers jumped on me right away asking me…telling me to take my backpack off.  I complied grudgingly and went to the bathroom.  On the way I noticed many women with purses and it occurred to me that on top of not liking being told what to do nor being presumed a criminal, I also don’t like being profiled.  I went back to the counter and explained that I was taking my bag and getting what I needed and that he could assign someone to escort me if he wished.  He said I would have to wait a few minutes because he was busy.  I said I wouldn’t wait and when I proceeded into the store (to purchase a Batman mask btw as an accessory for my costume).  He followed and we got into a spat which became, among other things, a discourse about the legitimacy of rules in general, with me quoting Henry David Thoreau much to this manager’s lack of interest:

“Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it.”

I told him that he might as well call the cops and when he left I bought my mask and as I was walking out I saw him on the phone.  I asked him if he wanted me to stick around for John Q. Law to show up and he said he just wanted me to leave.  
I peaced out, glad I had stood my ground and feeling justified for my disobedience, but still not altogether happy.  Somehow I felt I had to rectify the situation and I later did.  But alas, I must go to bed now so I will finish up this recap tomorry.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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The Mission

My Friends,
   I am working in Toronto this weekend east of downtown.  Its actually an easy job: show up in the east end for 8am, set up some stuff for an hour or so, come back at 1pm and tear it down.  Then the day is mine.  However, it is the period between set-up and tear-down I am most looking forward to because I will be in the neighbourhood of a seriously sweet nerd-shop which I visited back in the summer on another job.  To clarify, when I say nerd-shop I mean a place that sells comic books, cards, collectibles, sculptures and most importantly, toys.  As you might recall from my recent post, “The Curious Case of Andre Guantanamo” (23 July 2012) I have in the last few months been on an action-figure binge after recognizing that even though I am ostensibly an adult I still have immature tastes and I should nurture these tastes.  Anyhow, this particular shop made it into a tweet a while back when I sat mulling over which action figure to buy while there.

RotJ Luke, ESB Han, or WW2 Captain America.  I opted for the Cap under the advisement of the clerk.

These three figures were only a sampling of the many figures at the store from both the retro Star Wars line and the Marvel Universe line, my two current favourites.  So needless to say I am excited to go back.  When you factor in that I could also potentially visit the Silver Snail on the other side of the downtown core while in the city, well it occurred to me that there would be a veritable feast of toys to choose from this weekend.
   And therein lay the problem; nurturing a massive toy boner,

Pictured: Another Kind of Toy Boner

I got so worked up about the smorgasbord of action figures I would get to choose from that I prematurely decided to go looking for some toys on the way back from picking up the gear for the weekend from the company’s warehouse in Mississauga.  Chatting with one of the workers there (a fellow nerd) I learned of Gotham Central on Dixie Rd.,  not 5km from my current position.  I asked him to clarify if they had the toy lines I was looking for and he confirmed it.  So I went and checked it out, and while it was a good shop he oversold it a little and it turns out they didn’t carry much in the way of what I was looking for.
   But this was ok, as I had only learned about this place at the last minute and my actual plan had been to hit the Toys R’ Us on Hurontario and the Wal-Mart on Hwy 5 and Trafalgar on the way back to Hamilton; a somewhat roundabout way to get home but planned with maximum toy exposure in mind.  So I hit the TRU and was mostly disappointed.  They really had nothing too much in the way of either preferred toy line.  Dejected I decided to make my way to Wal-Mart but I did notice two shelves of Marvel Universe 2-packs.  The two which caught my eye were… 
…Black Costume Spider-Man & Dr. Doom…

…and Old-School Wolverine & She-Hulk.

Now right off the bat I have to say that I have no special affinity for Dr. Doom or She-Hulk.  I just wasn’t raised on them I guess.  That said I couldn’t really justify buying either set when I would be paying twice the price for a character I didn’t want.  But even more than this, I had a close look at the knee joints of Spider-Man and Wolverine and they looked a little fucky so I decided that discretion would have to be the better part of valor and I proceeded to Oakville and the Wal-Mart there.
   Utter disappointment awaited me here as the only thing they had in the way of Star Wars figures was the shit that no one wanted,
Quinlan Vos anyone?…Anyone?

and for the Marvel figures all they had was toys from the Spider-Man movie.  I gave these a quick once-over to see if any struck my fancy but there were like ten variations of Spider-Man (i.e. Hydro-Jet Spider-Man, Rocket-Boost Spider-Man, Chunneling Spider-Man, etc.) and they all sucked.
   Moving right along, I headed west across Dundas into Burlington where there was another Wal-Mart on Appleby Line.  Again I was presented with the same disappointing array of toys and out of desperation turned again to the Spider-Man movie line.  There was in this case one action figure who caught my eye: 
“Symbiote Strike Spider-Man”

My interest in this figure stemmed solely from the fact that I am a fan of the Venom character and this was Spider-Man wearing the symbiotic black suit before Eddie Brock got it.  But I am a discerning shopper who does not simply buy something flashy if it has no utility.  Thankfully we live in an age of iphones and tech-savvy nerds like me who do things like post toy reviews on Youtube.  I watched this review while standing in the aisle,
and decided to pass on this figure on account of his poor articulation and poseability.  You laugh at my thoroughness, but this is actually the second time I have checked out a review for a toy on the fly.  The first time was about a week back when I was trying to decide between Master Chief from Halo 4 and a Dark Knight Rises Batman:
As you can see, I also consulted the Twitters

I made up my mind to get Batman after watching a review of the figure which allayed my fears of poor articulation and poseability.  In fact the figure turned out to not only be incredibly detailed but very poseable…
as you can see here.

   So I left Wal-Mart still empty-handed, disheartened and resolved to head home.  But like a spiteful harpy bringing deceitful promises of wonderful toys, I saw another TRU as I pulled out of the Wal-Mart plaza.  I suppose they had built it just recently and I hadn’t as such been able to work it into my original plans.   Was it worth checking out?
Worth dying for…
Worth killing for…
Worth making an illegal U-turn for.  
   FAILURE!  This TRU actually had some of exactly what I was l looking for, but its failing was that it didn’t have all of exactly what I was looking for.  I couldn’t believe it: I had checked out five stores across Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington and none carried any of the good toys I wanted, and when they did carry something good it was never the character I wanted or it was bundled with some garbage.  Perhaps this is a testament to my pickiness.  But I like what I like.  And if my woman makes fun of me for spending so much time searching and being picky, I will be forced to remind her that it was the same pickiness and discernment which led me to choose her.  Smooth right?
   Still I think I learned that if you’re excited about something, like I am about tomorrow’s happy toy hunting in Toronto, you shouldn’t cheapen it with little teases at the local toy emporium.  It’s like knowing your going to have some freaky, guilt-inducing sex and getting so stoked about it that you get horny and relent to watching some missionary porn.  What’s the sense in that?  Honestly; why not just wait?
   Anyhow, I didn’t quite get my proverbial “toy nut” today so if I don’t find something incredibly sick tomorrow I run a serious risk of catching the collector’s equivalent of blue-balls.  
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


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Praying On Our Downfall

“I’m an entropy fan”
-George Carlin

“Its the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine”
-Michael Stipe

My Friends,
   You just missed it, but I had the most awesome end-of-the-world boner ever.  It all started on a night like tonight.  More specifically it was tonight.  Here in Hamilton, the lights all of a sudden went out whilst I was browsing a forum dedicated to cheating all government and confiscatory bureaus out of my hard-earned skrilla.
   Suddenly everything went black and after a split-second of thinking, “Ain’t this some inconveneient shit?” I suddenly thought, “Hey, this could be exactly what I have been waiting for! XD”  I shut my laptop and walked out onto the balcony just to confirm that all the neighbourhood lights were off.
   They were.  So far, so good.
   Quickly I went back indoors and sent out a mass text message to my parents and siblings in other cities and provinces asking them if they were having a blackout.  Hoping beyond hope that the message would not send because cell phone towers were out of commission too, I was somewhat disheartened when the message was received by all recipients.
   No matter; perhaps the cell phone towers were on emergency power for just such an eventuality.
   I waited.
   I went out back out on the balcony.
   Then I waited some more.
   I started receiving scattered messages to the negative and realized with a heavy heart that this particular loss of power was no widespread precursor of societal collapse, but simply a symptom of our outdated, inefficient and obsolete power infrastructure.
   My dad responded, wondering what I was talking about.  I responded to him thusly:

   (Sigh) It would have been too good to be true.  Still, it was all dark and stone-age outside and there was a palpable excitement and an air of possibility in the dark world.  Me and my woman set out in search of adventure.  She didn’t actually know we were looking for adventure but I would have dragged her reluctant, non-adventure-seeking, midget ass all the way to the depths of Mordor if I had to.

Or maybe not…

   We walked around outside and sure enough things were different; people were out on the streets, sitting on the curb, and I thought I heard some yells a street over which made me think there was going to be an impromptu block-party.  I was pretty stoked and I told my woman how I had messaged my peoples as soon as the blackout happened hoping that it was widespread.  She had previously accused me of looking forward to the coming collapse of society when I was musing about my survival plans for the possible imminent zombie uprising (“My Checkered History With the Undead,” 3 June 2012) and I had been taken aback because she had of course been correct.  But beyond the romanticized, survivalist notions I had in that previous conversation, there had been something else below the surface: A sincere desire to see this decaying society crumble so that we as a species could build something new and better from the ground up.
   Now, here tonight in the darkness of the street, vaguely aware of excited murmurs from others obscured from sight by the night, this thought of rebuilding the world even better from the ashes of what we have today was at the forefront of my mind; all romanticized survivalist notions were absent from my consciousness, notwithstanding the prudent concern of procuring groceries to weather the storm.

“There is no reason to fear the imminent, global financial collapse.”
-Unknown

      To be clear, I look at the societal collapse I have been referring to as a direct result of the financial collapse this quotation alludes to.  But society is not really going to be a collapse even when the financial system does.  Rather, I think it will change.  After all, as long as we’re here there is a society in some form.  And while society is always/has always been emergent (changing), I see a clearly marked period of more dramatic transition on the horizon where circumstances will force us to make use of our stifled ingenuity and compassion, currently yoked by a competitive and uncaring system which forces us to sacrifice a bit of our humanity every day in order to thrive.
   When that unknown speaker says there is no reason to fear the collapse, he is right in ways you might not have even considered.  Most people’s immediate concern, if they are selfish assholes with narrow aims in life, will be, “Oh noes, what about all my delicious monies!?!?”  Relax, when all your money is rendered worthless it will also wipe out all your debt and obligations too.

“Put on your sunglasses; the future is lookin’ bright!”

   Or think of it like this: Every dollar will be put out of its misery too.
   See, I liken every dollar to a sick person who gets weaker and frailer every day due to a sickness called inflation.  Every day your dollars degenerate further, laying in bed on a respirator, shitting into a bag and you are forced to watch as they become more weak, but you never actually get the closure of seeing them pass on and finally be at peace.  Like a terminally-ill person, their time has passed, and though the death will be an initial shock, you can not rightly say it was wholly unexpected and not for the best. 

   As the great warrior-poet, Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges once said, “Drink some prune-juice and let the shit go.”
   Others among you who are rightly less concerned with your delicious currencies than you are with your safety, but you should not worry too much either.  After all, nobody is out to get you who is simply being kept at bay by the current social order and its laws.  I too fall into this fearful category from time to time although I should know better; having been all of over the world and having met many different people, I know that the fear-mongering which we see on television is just that, and that people more or less just want to happily co-exist.  So no, I don’t worry about roving gangs of raider/cannibals marauding when things go sour, acting like a dark cloud trying to steal the sunshine from my apocalypse.

Even when apocalypse is frowning (always), he is still kinda smiling.

   And what about the for realz bad guys; you know, the prison population?  You just know that when people barricade their doors and stop going to work that the prison guards and administrators will do the same.  Rather than leave them to rot in their cages, some well-meaning, compassionate souls will probably try to release them so they have a chance at survival.  Should we be afeared of pissed-off convicts swelling the ranks of the aforementioned marauders?  Methinks not.  If crimes are not committed for monies (and the vast majority are, so there would really be no incentive for them in the post-dollar world) then they are typically perpetuated by so-called “sickos” who don’t do bad things for sane reasons like monetary gain.  Well research has shown that these sickos are people who are likely to respond violently when they feel looked down upon and feel they have no other remedy for the shame they feel, whether that be amends, recompense, or simply some other aspect of their life which they feel proud of and can mentally cling to in their darker moments.  If everyone loses everything and is (gasp!) reduced to being equal, it will be hard for anyone to look down on anyone else in the first place.  
   Besides, if theres anything the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy has taught me, its that convicts, when they are pushed to the brink of survival will act honourably, like they did when they were trapped on the ferry in The Dark Knight and the Joker set it up so that they would have to blow up the ferry beside them full of civilians by midnight or risk being blown up themselves.
You’ve come a long way, DeeBo

   Then again, in Batman Begins Nolan showed convicts as looking for retribution against Gothamites when a paranoid frenzy was induced in the population by Ra’s al-Ghul’s fear toxin.

And then he (Nolan) howed them (SPOILER ALERT!!) as all too willing to take control of society and hold mock trials against their former societal oppressors (which invariably ended in death sentences) when Bane freed them from Blackgate Prison in The Dark Knight Rises.  
So I’m not sure where Nolan actually stands on prisoners to be honest.
   But I digress.  I hadn’t actually meant to go on a tangent dispelling the likely fears people have about the inevitable collapse.  Rather I wanted to extol the benefits and the positives.  But in the same way we define our freedom as not being held captive, and heaven as being absent of the horrors of hell, perhaps it would be more effective if I made a short list of negative aspects of our society which are actually exacerbated by our system.  Which of these system-induced features of our lives could you do without?:
   
The stress of always feeling inadequate because you don’t have as much money as the next person, your big, fat junk-food addicted kids, war, most crime, parking tickets, most neuroses which come as a result of the psycho-social stress of living in a stratified society, not being able to trust anyone you don’t know (and even some you do), taxes, politics, child prostitution/slavery, etc…
   The list could go on but whether you realize it or not, there is not one problem you face which does not relate back to our monetary-market paradigm in some way (Someone call me out on this please!!).  Therefore I say we welcome with open arms our impending financial ruin, and call it what it actually is, our impending rebirth.  When I say it is an exciting time to be alive, I truly mean it.  In fact the worst thing that could happen at this point to me personally is that things go on more or less as they have for the rest of my life, I put money away for retirement, have a comfortable existence, sire a couple kids out of boredom and become a depressed geriatric because all of my doom-saying was for naught.  So when I look forward to ruin I don’t look forward to it in the religious “I want the rapture so I can meet Jesus” way, or the “Hey Allah, where the virgins at?” way, I mean it in the “Oh man, building a new and better world is gonna be dope as fuck!” way.
   I’ll leave you with two things.  First, one of my favourite George Carlin bits (and the source of one of the quotations I led in with).  
George’s insights are as relevant as ever in these wacky, exciting times, and although he would probably call me a fucking liar, I would like to see us work together to mitigate the loss of life which could likely occur during a societal collapse.  But before the collapse anyone is fair game because its just more evidence of the system breaking down lol.
   The second thing I want to leave you with is an idea my younger brother left me with.  I asked him how he would deal with society collapsing a while back (yeah, I think about it a lot).  I asked him, “Would you stock up on food?” “Would you fortify your house?” “Would you get out of the city?”  His response stuck with me: “Naw brother, I’d get a table and a pot and go out into the street and serve soup to people as they were running around scared & panicking.”
   More thinking like that is needed and we’ll be able to weather any storm.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
P.S. The power is back on fml
   



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