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Nintendo: Once and Future Overlords of Gaming (and the World?)

Friends,

On July 6, Nintendo/Niantic released the “augmented reality” game, Pokemon Go. In this new instalment of the franchise, players are required to move around the world, the real world, in order to capture monsters digitally super-imposed onto the landscape around them and observed/detected/captured with their smartphone.

While an interesting idea, I was a little cynical when I first read up on this mechanism of the game. Why cynical? Well it seems to me that Nintendo has been trying to incorporate physical activity into gaming since the release of the Wii in 2006 (although in a broader sense they have been trying to get gamers out of the house more since the release of the Game Boy back in the 80s). While I appreciate this good intent, I remember that on the handful on occasions I played Wii, after the initial novelty had worn off, I kinda just wanted to play sprawled out on a couch in a dark room with the blinds drawn and wearing dirty track pants, like nature and God had intended.

But this is different. The memes tell the tale.

Cm-KlcYUEAAm_NX

Cm-LbeIVYAA2uJe

Or, most tellingly…

sorry-mom-ill-be-leaving-our-hometown-next-year-to-1213139

People are literally being mobilized to go out into the world in a way that video games have not been able to (nor sought to) make them thus far.

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Far-Fetched? Maybe, Maybe Not…

Why is this incredible? Well, Nintendo, or more specifically Niantic has figured out a way to not only get people to move around in the world, but has theoretically also found a way to get mass groups of people to all congregate in certain places at certain times. If you look at Niantic’s last augmented reality game, Ingress, you see a world where people try and dominate the global-digital landscape with whatever colour they have chosen, blue or green.

ingress-screenshots-r471x

They can “attack” and thus take over any region held by the opposing team provided they physically go to that area. However, beyond co-ordinated attacks or other such player-driven events, there is nothing driving people to be at a certain place at a certain time. In the case of Pokemon GO, all the Pokemon (at least those which have been released thus far) seem to be distributed more or less evenly in the countries where the game can played*, taking into account of course that certain types are only found in certain geographic conditions i.e. water-type Pokemon only found by bodies of water, etc. But as suggested by the above Bear Grylls meme, what’s to prevent Niantic from placing a Legendary (thus rare and prized) Pokemon like Articuno, somewhere inaccessible like Everest Base Camp? Nothing, save for the limitations of Google Maps.

But let’s take it a step further. What if Niantic released a statement saying that a certain incredibly rare Pokemon would appear only on the lawn of the White House, and then only for twelve hours? People would MOB D.C.!

……

Okay, this scenario is probably beyond a “step further” but I think you get my point. Even if Niantic did a 5-day Pokemon appearance event in a certain city, we could see mass-migrations of people. How serious am I about that? Well, according to Wikipedia, the app, after less than a week of being released, and then only officially in three countries, topped daily usage of Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat and Instagram. That means, it’s beating out people’s libidos and narcissism -no mean feat.

The effort put into capturing Pokemon may seem unbelievable to non-gamers, but is it that surprising? We take our games very seriously especially when there is a ranking structure and an opportunity to demonstrate our prowess and superiority. MMOs in recent years have seen this vulnerability exploited as people will stay indoors on a beautiful, sunny Saturday playing games online in order to take advantage of Double XP weekends. It’s about bragging rights and Pokemon GO differs only in one critical arena -your couch is the last place you wanna be.

Artificial Scarcity
I’m fond of talking about the power of scarcity to motivate people and games truly exploit that power. Whether it’s reddit karma, Pokemon in your pokedex or having a Vex Mythoclast in Destiny, these are things that take work to accumulate/acquire. It’s hilarious because they are digital constructs -lines of code, which by their nature are infinite. But, limit their available quantity or occurrence, attach some status to possessing them and all of a sudden people will scramble.

712862

For now, this is all guess-work and hypothesizing on my part. But it seems foolish not to make the thought-experiment. Maybe this potential hasn’t occurred to Niantic/Nintendo or maybe they are just waiting for an opportune time to mobilize their willing army of Pokemon trainers against the regimes of the world.

All I know is, if it turns out that there are to be different Pokemon in different parts of the world, I will be on the front lines becoming the greatest Pokemon master of them all.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

*The game has at this point only officially been released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but lo and behold, here is a picture of me playing it in Canada…

IMG_1609
Fuck the P0-lice!

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Filed under blog, futurism, gaming, opinion, pokemon, travel, Uncategorized

“Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Bridges…”

Friends,

A lot of you didn’t know me back in 2012. It was a rough year for me and something of an awakening process. I was becoming aware of just how profoundly screwed up society is at a fundamental level, predicated as it is on the maintenance of artificial and unnecessary scarcity to maintain high levels of profit and a dependent, compliant workforce….but I digress. The upshot was that I was very argumentative both IRL and OL.

It was bad.

The benefit of such dissatisfaction is that it spurred my creativity and caused me to blog quite prolifically, albeit angrily, and I was never at a loss for what to rant about.

Fast forward four years and I am a much happier dude. My convictions haven’t changed, but I realize that rather than smashing my face against the keyboard to spur along the change I want to see, it’s better for me to become a living example of what I’d like to see. As such, I never get into heated arguments in-person anymore and only occasionally online, and even in those latter cases I am not so emotionally invested because I realize that if either party is saying anything truthful it will sink in and take root over time. Trying to FORCE someone to see your POV is like screaming at a seedling to make it grow faster.

******

So why this pre-amble? Well, a few weeks ago I had a cathartic relapse which even now, a month and a half later with a clear head, I struggle to feel remorse for. A (former) friend and colleague of mine went on a militant SJW rant basically declaring war on anyone who made off-color comments around her. I find such righteous indignation and vitriol on behalf of ostensibly progressive ideals ironic and all-too-common. I suppose the basic underlying premise is that the best remedy for misanthropy in the world is a great big helping of misanthropy. Who the fuck knows?

In any event, I wish I’d screen-capped the whole conversation (FORESHADOWING ALERT: She deleted fucking everything and unfriended me, cause ya know, that’s how adults roll) cause it was a pretty terrific example of…well, something. Not sure. But I laughed.

It basically unfolded with me calmly and respectfully explaining that when I read her post it made me want to spout off some horrible shit for a laugh then have a solid eight hours of sleep while she racked her brain putting together a thousand word diatribe of hatred which I would ultimately never read. I softly suggested that she might sway more people with calm and sober discussion. Naturally I was accused of tone-policing, which I guess is a new buzzword which means “suggesting that people don’t scream at you like assholes.”

*******On a related note, I swore in front of my dad once when I was a kid and he “tone-policed” me upside the head. I think we really water down the meaning of the word when we apply it all willy-nilly like she did, but I digress because as an adult who knows how to speak to people respectfully I have little chance of people telling me to modulate my tone so I really don’t have a vested stake in what constitutes tone-policing.

In any event, my gentle suggestions must have smelled like blood in the water to the lurking wolves…sharks….w/e, and they pounced. All of a sudden they were lighting me up left, right and center for being against the cause of human progress (I guess), telling me I had no right to tell aggrieved groups how they should talk, and jumping to my former friend’s defense, a defense which for the record was wholly unnecessary because up that point I had been nothing but civil.

Here’s where I made my only mistake: I remained calm and explained respectfully that I hadn’t told anybody what they had to do, only how they could more effectively reach me, and I suspect, many others. This was only perceived as further weakness and I was roasted for my level-headedness. I decided to just pull out of the conversation and let jackasses be jackasses. Even this was seen weakness:

Male SJW: “Oh what? No response? Is that cause a straight white male chimed in or because I’m right? Or are those two things the same to you?”

Me: “Actually its because I’m jerking off to pictures of the holocaust so can you fuck off while I get this nut?”

The beauty of this line was that they immediately realized that I no longer gave a fuck how I was perceived by them.

Me: “Oh what, no response? Is it because you have a problem with the extermination of millions or because you have a problem with the sexual gratification of a straight, white male? Or are those two things the same to you.”

You ever watch an MMA fight and one fighter gets punched square in the jaw and for the rest of the fight he’s just clinging to consciousness trying not to get hit instead of hitting? It was like that, and I’m not ashamed to say that I relished seeing these paper tigers fold. I had even endured so much abuse up to that point that I was like, “Fuck it; I’ll double down!”

Me: “Male SJW I bet you’re the kind of guy who apologizes to a girl after having sex with her. You fucking cuck!” (lol, “cuck” is one of my new favourite words)

Female SJW (Friend of OP): “I bet Male SJW only apologizes to women he has sex with for making them come too much.” (I wish I made this up but the twat actually said this. I don’t think I could cringe harder if my mom walked in on me masturbating and offered to help).

Me: “Relax Male SJW; just cause she’s jumping to your defense to show solidarity doesn’t mean she’s interested in sleeping with you.”

I don’t remember much of the details beyond these lines, but I remember how I felt when I decided that I didn’t care what these people thought of me. I felt FREE. I felt POWERFUL. And I felt UNENCUMBERED.

For the record I don’t advocate aggression for its own sake but when you are dealing with people of low-intelligence they won’t respect you unless you display some. Thankfully, I deal mostly with people of higher intelligence so I very often feel like my life is similar to floating on a cloud made of whimsy and good humor. But every once in a while a dumb motherfucker doesn’t appreciate such good-natured detachment and so I gotta flex nuts. C’est la vie. And I’m not even saying that these people are low-intelligence in any absolute terms, I’m simply saying that within the context and circumstances we conversed in they bore all the earmarks and behaviours of low-intelligence bullies and so I had to treat them like the retards they were being in order to shut them up.

But what does this whole encounter point to more broadly? Well, I wanna not give a fuck and I am actively working toward that level of serenity and enlightenment. It’s something of a process but I feel I am making good progress. The last four months of traveling have actually been very good for me in that regard because removed from the toxic, politically correct climate of where I live, I have been able to find my own voice and speak more freely with less care of repercussions. As well, coming into my own as a film-maker is helpful because not only does it allow me to tell the stories I want to tell, it also makes me less dependent upon others for work than I was when solely an actor. Let’s face it, actors though they may have the coveted autonomy of a self-employed contractor, are still dependent upon others for work, and these others may have feelings and get offended by realness.

Ultimately though, I don’t want to box myself in, whether career-wise or life-wise. I look back on old posts from like 2008 and cringe at the dumb, reckless shit I used to say but at the same time I smile at how little I gave a fuck. I wanna get back to that zero fucks level but this time be informed with the better taste and judgement I have accumulated over the subsequent years.

Some people may see this as a regression. Fuck them! Their path isn’t mine and what they eat doesn’t make me shit. I have attained a level of freedom, mobility and financial security that is the culmination of years of work, ongoing discipline and a reflection of righteous values. And the benchmark for how successful I am is how happy I am. So how happy am I?

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IMG_0679[1]

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Note: “Shake ya Ass,” while a great tune is not actually on this playlist. I just happened to be listening to it causelike I said; great tune.
Note 2: I welcome suggestions for songs to add to this list.

That’s right: I actually have a whole playlist devoted to those times where I sit and reflect on how awesome life has been so far…UNHAPPY PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT!! So solipsistic as it may seem, that’s all I need to know to know that I am on a righteous path.

So in closing I am going to keep testing my own courage to say what’s on my mind and when someone calls me on it I am going to endeavour not to be fazed (I may even snap back) because my fear of other’s perceptions is and has been the great limiter and inhibitor of my adult life.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
#justmightbeok @dreguan

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“Won’t Someone Please Think of the Children?!”

Friendos.

How goes it?  It goes well with me, thanks for asking.  I haven’t posted in a while but that’s a good thing because the acting is going well and that tends to keep you busy.  Getting some good roles which I will elaborate on at a later time.  Right now I simply want to comment on the latest topical shitstorm pervading the Facebooks: Toronto Police unloaded on some kid with a knife who didn’t pose an immediate threat to them.  That use/abuse (depending on your POV) of lethal force can be viewed here.  Predictably, people have flocked to the police’s side or the side of the victim/perp,

Sammy Yatim_2
Sam Yatim.

Now obviously Sam Yatim wasn’t dressed like this nor was he a small child at the time police shot him.  Why then am I posting this picture?  Well, because as I scrolled through my newsfeed this picture caught my eye as it was the cover photo of a story relating to the shooting.  I felt this was kind of low; we witnessed this same sort of chicanery with Trayon recently, with his advocates posting pics of him as a child

Trayvon-Martin

to demonize his killer and now we see it happening again.  I don’t mean to take up the cause of the police and George Zimmerman here but posting these pics is no better than posting pics of Trayvon throwing up gangs signs as if the fact that he took some goofy pictures justifies his death.

Needless to say, both sets of pics miss the point.

Ultimately these pics only have relevance if one mires themselves in the limited debate of shooter vs. shot, reasonable vs excessive force, etc.  This is a pointless debate and my only evidence for this statement is that this is the debate on the mainstream news.

However, if one digs deeper these events can be mined for insight into the human condition.  I will endeavour to dig deeper:  Why does a childhood picture of an adult victim make us feel worse about their death?  I’m sure there are some genetic characteristics which make us more compassionate toward kid, but -wait, no, I’m being dishonest now.  That’s not really the line of inquiry I think is interesting.  What I find interesting is this:

normal_Pauly_Poo_as_a_kid

In case you’re curious, that’s a young Paul Bernardo, Canada’s most notorious murderer and rapist.  I doubt many feel any compassion for this guy and anyone posting his baby pics in an attempt to garner sympathy for him might actually face real physical harm (ironically, from well-adjusted people).  But I think it illustrates an interesting hypocrisy about which kids we are willing to forgive.  Advocates of Yatim play down the fact that he was carrying a knife (again, not choosing sides here) while the fact that Bernardo grew up in a physically and sexually abusive household was unknown to me and I had to look it up on Wikipedia.  But knowing that now, should we perhaps reconsider our round condemnation of Bernardo as evil?  Or perhaps abandon concepts like good and evil altogether?

“Probably not” many will say and that’s fine.  I suspect that the notion that human beings are highly susceptible to environmental stimuli is outrageous to some people, who ironically don’t realize their outrage at hearing such ideas is a textbook case of human beings responding to environmental stimuli.  Ah well, it’s a slow process this thing I’m trying to do, and writing tired doesn’t help.  But I will say this, please don’t play the childhood innocence card in your arguments of persuasion unless you want to accept that “humanity’s worst” were all children once and are deserving of the same compassion.

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

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Seeing my Privates

“Our technology has exceeded our humanity”
-Albert Einstein

My Friends,
   A friend of mine posted this link last night about a currently unavailable app called Girls Around Me. The writer of the blog/review recounts telling a group of friends about an app which allowed someone to find people with public facebook profiles in a certain geographic radius.  These didn’t have to be people on a friend’s list, but anyone who had logged onto facebook from their iphone, basically allowing the user to see facebook users nearby and view their profiles, though it could be set to locate boys, girls or both.  Predictably, the boys of the group thought it was funny while the girl’s thought it was invasive and upsetting.  The rationale for the female apprehension was that a guy could find a cute girl at a bar, look at her pics to see what kind of drinks she likes, what some of her interests are and where she is at a certain moment so that he could go intercept her and come off as Mr. Right, either through slick conversation of liberally applied “frosty margaritas.”
   By the article’s end, the writer describes how his friends, males included, were all uneasy about the invasiveness of the app, and describes how its main function in his eyes was to hammer home the importance of being aware of your facebook privacy settings, and online privacy in general.  I don’t take issue with this conclusion, and the company which created the app maintains that people could always have adjusted their privacy settings.  Rather what I take issue with is the knee-jerk reaction to this technology because it is misdirected, as I find most indignation typically is.
   The girls in the article took issue with Apple and Facebook for allowing this app to be created and sold, and of course with the potential rapists and stalkers who would undoubtedly try and use it to rape and stalk more efficiently.  Because if there is anything the ambitious rape/stalker values it is maximizing his preying to prowling ratio.

Possible Tagline: “Girls Around Me: The industry leader in streamlining raping and stalking operations”
…or perhaps…
“Girls Around Me: Rape Solutions for the Modern Predator”

   In the case of the FB/Apple rage and the uproar which ultimately caused the app to be shut down: is this really the answer?  App censorship?  Making something illegal or removing it entirely is not the proper way to deal with a problem but that logic seems to dominate any thinking about problem resolution.  If we ban enough potentially offensive (or actually offensive) things, will the ne’er-do-wells among us, constantly biding their time waiting to pounce, finally get the message that we don’t appreciate the threat they pose and leave us alone?  Of course not.  When has a law or a ban or a removal of something ever stopped or curtailed undesired behaviours and interests?  But clamoring for new rules is a lot easier than taking time to think critically and address causes I suppose.
   With regard to the so-called “stalkers and rapists” whom this app served as an enabler for, I have to ask: has this app really been that much of a boon?, and do they even really exist?  Now I don’t mean to downplay the problem of rape and obsessive behaviours like stalking, and I am not claiming anything like the stats being overblown because I don’t know the stats and frankly even one incident is too many.  But still, do these people really exist?  I don’t question the possibility that given a certain sequence of events, moods, and opportunities that rapes can happen.  But when people talk about rapists and other criminals like them, their rhetoric always seems to allude to a shadowy group which is constantly watchful in alleys outside of clubs, waiting for an unescorted girl in a miniskirt and wobbly with booze to swoop in on.

First rule of ‘Rape Club’…

Certainly to such a group as this, Girls Around Me would be a boon, revolutionizing the rape game by allowing the predator a menu of sorts, but I question the very existence of this secretive cabal of rapists and stalkers.
   Now remember who is saying this: I am someone who has no problem believing that there are certain powers which pull strings behind the curtains and who are the true controllers of the world we think our “democratically elected” leaders run, however I can’t co-sign the prospect that there are rapists everywhere among us**, and certainly I can’t co-sign the idea that they are legion.
   Well, one exception comes to mind…
   When I hear criticisms of this technology, I see fear that is not unfounded but misdirected.  People are so worried about the implications of technology that they will still use anyway because it is actually amazing and has the potential to be incredibly useful if everyone completely opened their privacy settings.  But we can’t because we have reason to fear being completely open with strangers: why?
   Again we come back to “why,” my oft-asked favourite question.  Why should we be afraid of other people?  Like I said, the fear, though overblown, is not unfounded.  Why might someone use this or any technology to hurt us?
   To those like me who fear institutions more than their fellow man: why would you be afraid of an organization or government using this or any social media to spy on you or data-mine you?  Why would they want to data-mine and spy in the first place?
   In my head it is clear that these potential misappropriations of technology in no way reflect poorly on the technology or its creator, but rather on the system which puts us at odds with each other to the point where we would use potentially beneficial creations as weapons.  If you think about it, all technologies are neutral, yet they get blamed for misuse and the violence which is integral to the system which applies them.
   Think I’m full of shit?  Mebbe, but let me quickly demonstrate how any technology can be hijacked for violent purposes:

1. Toothbrush

   What’s more wholesome and beneficial than a toothbrush?  It conjures up images of young children learning hygiene and taking charge of their dental health.  But to some, this revolutionary technology has far more sinister applications:

“Late night I hear toothbrushes scrapin’ on the floor/
Niggaz gettin’ they shanks just in case the war/
pop off!..”
-Snoop Dogg Lion, Murder Was The Case

2. Pencil

   Arguably one of the greatest pieces of technology ever created.  Allows us to solidify ideas on paper and gives us something to chew on when stumped.  But it can be repurposed…

“…My little homey Baby-Boo took a pencil in his neck/
And he probly won’t make it to see 22/
I put that on my mama, ‘Imma ride for you Baby-Boo’…”
-Snoop Lion, Murder Was The Case

3. Fire
   I don’t think anyone needs me to post a picture of fire nor tell of how it allowed us to cook food, smelt metal and power early machines.  Without saying it is more useful than pencils have been, it has certainly been more fundamental to our early development.  However, it too has been repurposed for negative uses:
I suppose we should ban fire now?

4. Rocketry
It can be either this:
Saturn V Rocket, the kind that sent to the astronauts to the moon

Or this:
Trident II Nuclear Missile

Any questions?

***
   I hope these examples make it clear that technology is in and of itself benign.  Certainly some might be inherently dangerous, such as nuclear technologies, but they are not by themselves malicious or violent.  It takes an aberrant and poorly socialized human being (or human species) to look at something and decide, hey instead of using that for the good of all I think I’ll use it to kill…
…or rape, as the case may be.

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
**In a certain manner of speaking, I think there actually are rapists everywhere among us. Perhaps more than even the most paranoid father of virginal young daughters might think.  For I think most anyone can rape or commit a violent act given the right (wrong) circumstances.  It is folly when people, in shock from stories of a horrible crime, ask, “How could someone do that to another human being?,” or even worse when they maintain, “I could never do something like that.”  
   Well, no one is born evil (evil doesn’t even exist) or born a rapist, much less conceived that way.  So the factors which contributed to their aberrant behaviour must be environmental, which means that anyone can be susceptible to becoming a predator or violent if certain conditions are met.  When we are told as kids that we “can be anything,” there is actually a lot more truth there than we realize.

   

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Filed under technology, tzm

Anonymity & Identity

My Friends,

   Been doing a lot of facebook debating as of late.  I mean its one thing to write a blog and hope someone reads it, but if you comment on someone’s post I find it is more engaging; people are more willing to discuss things that they brought up in the first place by posting them.  I would like to think it is always a mutually respectful discussion, but sometimes things are misunderstood, or points aren’t made or someone gets frustrated, or someone makes a joke without putting LOL at the end and things devolve rather quickly.  This is an unfortunate limitation of text-based discussions.  
   Now, between the ongoing discussion I have been having with a friend of mine for over 3 weeks (it started when I implied stated outright that Obama and all other president’s were ineffectual), and the more recent thread I started on the FB group “Veterans Against Occupy Wall Street,” (I tried asking them why they were so against OWS and they accused me of trolling and then deleted the thread) I have spent quite a bit of time as of late elucidating on the ills of society as I see them.  What I didn’t take into account initially was that these comments posted on facebook would be visible to my friends.  People started making references to these discussions (positive and negative) and just today my friend posted this…
…on my wall, along with some choice words about how people viewed me.  Insofar as I let myself get caught up in arguments, he is right.  Arguments, even in person are about being right => winning.  However I maintain that there is still merit to discussions, or mutually respectful discourse.  And the great thing about facebook and other social media is that your rationalism or stupidity is there for everyone to see.  It forces you to choose your words a little more carefully because you never know who might be reading their news-feed and see that you were trolling some memorial page for a kid who died from leukemia.
If you troll this kid’s memorial page you are scum!! … never mind why I’m laughing

   I remember one time someone posted a link to a group for sexual abuse survivors.  I think it was called “Sexual Abuse Survivors.”  I saw this thread started by this middle-aged overweight female sexual abuse survivor and saw her attention-whoring about how she was a sexual-abuse survivor.  I made it clear in no uncertain terms that by posting all this about herself on an open forum she was making a great sacrificial lolcow out of herself, and that some troll could easily come and milk her for her delicious lulz.  
Lulz: Where’s Your Mustache?
My warning was interpreted as a troll and it became a bad scene real quick.  I aborted and when I returned to my home-page I saw that the news feed showed like five different posts about how I posted on the sexual abuse survivors group. 
   Bricks were shat.  I didn’t want people to think I was a sexual abuse survivor looking for support, but I especially didn’t want them thinking I was trolling the group.  And that’s probably how it would have looked too; after all I didn’t have to go there and point out their attention-whoring ways.  In fact, my advice was unsolicited and so I kind of looked like a jerk.  This incident made me very cognizant about which arguments were worth getting into on facebook, or at least made me realize that I could change the settings which notified people about where I was posting.  In that regard it helped me to see that if someone is sufficiently pathetic, you can always be in the wrong if you get caught pointing out how pathetic they are acting.  So don’t get caught.
   Then, at some point in time, I discovered 4chan.  Its simply a bunch of different image boards, the most popular one being the /b/ or “random” board which has no rules about posting except that you can’t post illegal things (child porn, how to get child porn, etc…) or else you get banned.  The great thing about 4chan is that posting is done primarily anonymously (although so-called “namefags” can elect to fill out the name field) so the rules you might adhere to on facebook go out the window.  No sexual abuse survivor or leukemia baby is safe.  No pun intended.
   In spite of what you may be thinking, this is actually a good thing.  Not the leukemia trolling specifically but the consequence-free anonymity which enables it.  Sure you can see the ugly side of people but barriers are also torn down.  I guarantee I have been more honest on 4chan on average than I  am in daily life because I know it will never be pinned on me.  The bullshit goes out the window and you see that people, although they have a definite sadistic streak for those who have it coming, are really deeply feeling and fucking hilarious when they don’t have to worry about people poking fun at them personally.  Sure someone may tell you to GTFO or call you a fag, but they’re not calling you a fag, they’re calling anonymous a fag, so they are calling themselves a fag(s).
   Now one April fool’s day a few years back, 4chan’s administrator added a new field to the the established submission field.  It was called “Facebook Connect” and it had a little box to check that would post your 4chan submission (pic & comment) on facebook.  The lulziest part was that the box was checked by default, so if people didn’t notice it was there, then whatever invective, vitriol, faggotry, goatse, heart-warming or noble thing they were posting on 4chan, got posted to their facebook wall.  
   Shit was hilarious.  All of a sudden threads popped up with people submitting screen-caps of their FB profiles with the offensive post displayed, talking about how all of their friends now knew what a racist, sexist, Islamophobe they were and how their lives were ruined.  Thankfully, the admin took it down but it hammered home the point about how your anonymous life and your internets persona but be kept separate and distinct.
   Now you might think, “Good, it taught those guys a lesson.  There shouldn’t be anonymity.  Then people will just behave poorly with impunity.”  I think you would be wrong in this line of thinking; anonymity is the one way we can get away from the pressures of maintaining an internet persona.  You don’t have to post a picture of yourself flexing your muscles, or partying with friends or dressed up nice with the right lighting because no one cares, no one is judging.  Its actually kind of a relief.  
   But its not one or the other: Just as anonymity allows a certain freedom of expression, the accountability which comes with a posting on FB or Twitter is also important because it teaches people what is acceptable in the context of internetting.  For example, anonymity may allow you to express creativity and vulnerability, but it won’t teach you to rebut a differing opinion with anything more than “OP is a fag!,” or “GTFO faggot!”  Likewise, you may learn what is socially acceptable on social networking sites but I find they don’t afford much inspiration or lulz.
  We want an identity but we want anonymity as well.  There is nothing pretentious about the former and nothing cowardly about the latter.  And since I continue to post actively as both myself and anonymous, I have to remember to keep my fb discussions civil or risk becoming a Special Olympics gold-medalist.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
   

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So Many Identities…

My Friends,
   Right off the bat I gotta say that leading a double-life is hard.  You might recall in a previous post (“Identity Crisis,” 21 march 2012) I discussed creating a new online identity using my actual name for the purposes of job-huntery.  The plan was not only to eschew all excesses of jackfoolery tomassery I indulge in as my rad internet self, Andre Guantanamo, but also to go to the opposite extreme and present myself to potential employers a ruthless, power-hungry opportunist all-too-ready to sell his own grandmother into prostitution for capital gain.  But alas, this endeavour proved to be too daunting; when I finally got around to making the actual profile (under my real name) I couldn’t bring myself to portray myself as the huge douche that the idea would have called for.  It is my name I would be besmirching after all…
   Then I had to add a bunch of people who were already friends with me on my original profile and they kept remarking about my “new profile” and “alter ego” on my wall.  If an employer saw this they would know something was amiss.
   Finally, I had to create a new email address for the account.  I then decided I wanted to standardize both FB accounts with gmail addresses instead of hotmail addresses cause “g” sounded slightly more professional than “hot,” so I created another gmail address for “Andre Guantanamo.”
   But since I mostly check my email on my phone during the day and its a pain in the ass to switch between two gmail accounts or two hotmail accounts I decided that one of my gmail accounts and one of my hotmail accounts would forward to a second hotmail account under my actual name which would allow me to rapidly check all my mail from my phone without re-entering passwords.
   As you can imagine I am rapidly losing track of which account is forwarding to which and which account I should be giving out as my “primary personal,” “primary business,” “secondary personal” and “secondary business.”
   This whole experience has taught me that leading a double-life is not for the faint of heart.  I have heard that a prudent man should set up a completely separate identity (email, name, business card, etc…) if he wants to successfully be adulterous.  I can’t see any vagina being worth the frustration of it all.
   Ironically, Ayn Rand, whom I had meant to quote extensively in my douchebag professional profile, had an interesting opinion on lies.  Her view was that lying is self-abdication; as soon as you lie you become the slave of the person you lied to.  All your efforts go toward maintaining the deception you have wrought.  I am feeling it now.  Its so tiresome having 2 lives.

   So instead I will have 1.5.  Let me explain: it occurred to me that while an employer may do a google search for my real name, they wouldn’t find Andre Guantanamo, I have seen to that.  However, what they do find does not have to be a Facebook profile.  Instead, I have been crafting a Linked-In profile.  Linked-In is optimized for business anyhow and its different enough from Facebook that it doesn’t constitute a double existence (its weird when FB suggests that you add your other profile as a friend because of all the friends you have in common).
   One sticking point is Twitter.  Andre Guantanamo does have a twitter account (@dreguan … follow me and I will show you truth you won’t be able to unsee) but my real self should also have a twitter account linked to my Linked-In account.  Due to twitter being much less encompassing of all aspects of a user’s life, I think this is a dual existence I can endure.
   And so ends the tale of what was to be the ultimate FB troll account.  I will close it in the next few days and if Facebook’s separation anxiety regarding closing accounts is as bad as I have heard (basically, you can never leave) I may have something else to write about in the next few days.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
 
   

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"I Hate the Word"

 “Peace?  PEACE!?  I hate the word.  As I hate hell…all Montagues…and thee!
-Tybalt

My Friends,
   Last night I had a round-table discussion with my woman and her parents about a great many topics.  At one point we talked about naughty language and my use of it and acceptance of its use by others on my facebook account.  Particularly, my woman’s mother, Bev, was concerned that people who knew me only superficially would formulate a negative opinion of me based on my use of profanity, and worse that they would judge her and her daughter negatively for associating with me.

 She had a problem with this image I reposted a week back and its unapologetic use of the C-word.
Unfortunately she missed the Star Wars joke which may have ameliorated her disgust.

This didn’t bother me too much, as I explained that if this hypothetical person got to know me they would probably like me, and if they wanted to judge me for my good-natured use of profanity then they probably weren’t the type I wanted to associate with anyhow.
   Now I don’t want to get into another rant about how people miss the point or message when they focus too much on the words used to convey it, as I had such a rant very recently in my post, “Don’t Judge a Book by RAPE BITCHES KILL PEOPLE” (2 February 2012).  Instead, I want to discuss how this conversation turned into a discussion about words which simply should not be used.  In addition to cunt, some other candidates for banishment were fuck, retard, faggot, and nigger.
  For the record I am very much against any kind of censorship.  Many of my opinions on censorship as it pertains to language specifically were inspired by Orwell’s 1984, and the Ingsoc government’s implementation of Newspeak.  There is a great line in Orwell’s essay on Newspeak which was included as an appendix to the edition I read, which states, “The goal of Newspeak was to limit thought insofar as thoughts depended on the words used to formulate them” (paraphrase).  By corollary I believe the opposite is also true; more words will lead to a greater ability to express more subtle and nuanced ideas.  For this reason we should not deride newly-created words and slang as bastardizations of once-pristine languages, but rather celebrate them as new evolutions of the language to express new ideas.

 “Crunk;” for when “crazy” and “drunk” simply aren’t expressive enough

    Similarly, the re-appropriation of words which have fallen into relative disuse must also be tolerated because they often express things in such a succinct way that to use other (perhaps less offensive words) would simply not get your point across.  A classic example would be the widespread use of the word gay to describe much more than homosexuality.  Still, the word gay is relatively inoffensive and can be used with impunity.  On the other hand, faggot and its derivatives are much harder to defend.  But really its such a perfect pejorative in the same way that gay is except that its more emphatic.  No other word really cuts the mustard when you want to describe the faggotry of bigots, furries, scientologists, newfags, etc.
   I could go on and on with examples of why we need certain words but that would be tiresome.  The main idea is that we need every word because each expresses something, but in a slightly different way than its closest synonyms.  Bill Maher and Seth McFarlane talk about this on this clip from Real Time.  At 3:39 Bill basically states my exact opinion on the matter, but much more eloquently so you should check it out.  In closing, I will say that words don’t have the power to oppress you any more than you let them.
Stay Thristy,
-Andre Guantanamo

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