We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.
Critics suck. That’s not open for debate. But the internet took the old adage “Everyone’s a critic” and turned it into an ridiculous reality.
In its early years, it was good. Sites like IMDb were good. People had meaningful discourse about movies they liked (or disliked). Legend has it, some people even changed their minds during some of these conversations.
The world wasn’t binary. Flame wars were frowned upon or outright forbidden in online forums. They were considered gauche rather than de rigueur.
Then along came Twitter and Pinterest and a stack of other platforms to further destroy already shrinking attention spans. And shortly thereafter, nuance was dead. Except as an overused buzzword by those people who say synergy, disrupt, or binary at least four times a day. (The previous paragraph only uses one of those it once.)
Dialogue was dead, substance burned to the ground, and only the flames remained.
IMDb closed its message boards because people’s feeling were being hurt. (Also, they were also bought by Amazon.) Rotten Tomatoes recently deleted a zillion negative ratings and killed their “Want To See” metric because people were being mean to Brie Larson. (They were bought by NBCUniversal and Warner Bros.)
The middle-aged internet is a shell of its former self. Sure, it’s bigger, faster and flashier. But it’s nothing more than a slew of corporate-owned properties offering diminishing options and freedoms.
And people aren’t helping. They’ve devolved into giving a movie 1/10 or 10/10, and very few movies are either of those. Everything has to be The Best or The Worst ever. You must hate it or love it.
At least with critics, we get a thousand or so words of bullshit reasoning behind their ratings.
I effectively quit Facebook a little over a year ago (Oct 20, 2015 to be precise). Effectively, but not completely. I stopped posting updates to my wall and stopped commenting on others’ posts, pics, etc. But as very few people followed me in my return to email–not that I went Jerry Maguire on them or anything–I still need to use its messaging, lest I stop contacting friends and family altogether.
When I go back, I try to be as quick as possible. Kind of like sneaking a quick peek at a nice skirt walking by. I open the main page, immediately scan the top row of icons and determine whether there are any messages or new contacts. Sometimes I click on the little globe icon to see if there’s any activity from “important” friends–but generally not.
And sometimes I get sucked in. Something catches my eye and my quick peek becomes a glance which then becomes an ogle. Before I know it, I’m sliding down that rabbit hole greased with the idiotic comments and clickbait that got me to abandon the blue and white digital cesspool in the first place.
Yesterday, Christmas Day, I went to check messages and deliver a few good tidings and seasons greetings to friends. Something caught my eye on my news feed. A very long-winded “Merry Christmas” full of qualifiers. So I scrolled own and saw another. Then another. And more and more and more.
Many people were posting something to the effect of “Merry Christmas! But Only If You Celebrate Christmas. If You Don’t Then, Sorry, Please Just Ignore This.” My evangelical atheist friends had to qualify theirs with: “Although I Don’t Believe in God, I Wish Those Of You Who Do A Happy Holiday Season.”
If you want to say “Merry Christmas” say “Merry Christmas”. People know who you’re talking to. Your Jewish friends aren’t going to hate you. Your Muslim friends aren’t going to get offended. And your Atheist friends… well they’re probably exchanging a few gifts anyways.
When Ramadan roles around, nobody says “Happy Ramadan… but only to my Muslim friends.” Muslims don’t add qualifiers to “Ramadan Mubarak” and Jews don’t offer conditional “Happy Hanukkahs”. No one really gives a shit if you say, write or sing “Merry Christmas”. Unless you’re writing it in the snow. On the hood of their car. With your pee.
This is not a rallying cry for that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News rubbish about the War On Christmas. People just need to stop being such annoying pussies and have a little faith in others. After all, it’s Christmastime!
Google is like a goddamn mosquito buzzing in my ear. For a company founded on the core principle of simple, parsimonious user interface they’ve really lost sight of that.
Even though I have always hated Google+, I am trying to use it a bit more for some forums — sorry, that’s communities in Googlespeak — for Lightroom, Scrivener, etc. But every time I visit Google+ it is asking me to look for my friends.
Piss off, Google. If I want to look for friends I’ll look for my goddamn friends. I don’t need you poking me every five minutes like some annoying little brother. I understand that giving users the option to add connections is standard protocol when setting up a new service, but generally after you make your selection the first time they stop asking. They Do Not. Keep. Asking.
But Google+ seems so desperate to increase its floundering user base it feels compelled to ask about my friends every bloody time I access it. Even if I’m already logged in.
It offers two options:
Spam your friends
Spam your friends later.
They apparently have no qualms about keeping it more worthy of being called Google-.
A lot of my friends are not racist. It’s not like they’re antisemites or something. They just hate Muslims. And refugees — from “those kind” of countries. And rightly so. Refugees represent a threat to their safety and security. After all, the few Canadian terrorists there have been have all been born in Canada. They’ve not been refugees. So, let’s not help get that ball rolling. Best to keep our terror homegrown and let foreign children drown, starve and get sold into slavery. Or better yet, get picked up by ISIS/ISIL, al-Shabab, or some other radical asymmetrical warfare group that will mold them into a real threat.
And seeing as so many of them love to show their support for things by splashing colour overlays on their profile pics (ex: French flag, Pride flag, Pink October), I thought I could help them out. This profile pic could clear up any wrong impressions people may get about them from their posts and comments. But perhaps I should make a translucent version as well.
In the months preceding the Canadian federal election I began to see this growing trend of “acceptable prejudice” from many friends and friends of friends on Facebook. That typical Facebook World of people you know, people you knew and people you never will. But, of course, that was Stephen Harper’s election plan after all — divide and conquer. That’s why he hired the detestable and despicable Lynton Crosby to be his Campaign Manager of Propaganda & Fear. And it worked. Because it seems most people have very little capacity for independent critical thought. What I saw, day in and day out, was quite saddening. People, they really are the masses.
All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.
I have a very low tolerance for intolerance, so most of my Facebook posts for the better part of 2015 were anti-Harper posts. And it got tiring. And heated. And somehow, Islamic cultural attire became the most important campaign issue facing the nation. I was honestly surprised at how many people are so vehemently anti-Muslim. And that this overtly racist sentiment (absolutely no different than antisemitism) is apparently quite acceptable to a great majority of people. Of Canadians. The idiotic fake driver’s license of a burka-covered face was quickly shared by an astounding number of people. Without even questioning its prejudice, let alone giving a half-second thought to its veracity.
By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.
I got into more than a few debates, dialogues and arguments with friends and strangers. And I realized — it’s not worth it. So in late September I decided that after the October 19th election I’d pack up my virtual Facebook bags and take a break. A two-week vacation, in fact. Two weeks from actual Facebook time that is. And I figured that if I spend an hour a day on Facebook that amounts to 365 hours a year. And that equals 15 days — or about two weeks. So on October 21st, with a very brief post simply asking people to get hold of me via email, phone or some other avenue, I stopped visiting Facebook.
And it’s been bliss.
However, after seeing news of the attacks in Paris I logged into Facebook to check on my friends who live there. I was relieved to see both are fine. (One of their friends was actually at the Bataclan. Thankfully, she made it out okay. Physically.) I then made the mistake of glancing at my newsfeed. I saw a friend of mine, his profile pic overlayed with the French flag, had a status asking people not to spread the hate because, obviously, all Muslims are not evil terrorists. The reply from a friend was as swift and seething as it was ignorant. But this, this is now par for the course in Canada. In the West. This is blatant, vocal racism is acceptable to a great many people. And there is apparently no shame in it. It even got “likes”.
I had only to scroll down one small flick of my finger to see another post of a similar vein. But this one, she was blaming the refugees! The people running away from the chaos! Her thoughts and prayers were with the people of Paris, but not with the millions of people displaced by war outside the French capital. Heartwarming. And, of course, she had people immediately support her call to close the gates and fuck ’em all.
Anyways, two ignorant posts were more than enough. I had confirmed my friends were safe and that was my reason for being there. It was time to quietly duck back out before I had another friend warn me about evil refugees and fucking jihadis. Maybe they don’t know The Forgotten Rebels were being sarcastic when they sang Bomb The Boats.
Trying to fix the Error Microsoft gave me when it tried to automatically update my Windows 10 today. I tried to open the manual update page in Firefox but it told me to use Internet Explorer. Okay, so I opened Microsoft Edge, which I thought was Internet Explorer’s cutting edge replacement. So I was surprised it couldn’t handle their own website.
The page then told me it’s best to use Internet Explorer — which it reminded me I have on my computer (news to me actually!). So fine, I clicked the “Open with Internet Explorer” link the page provided.
The new page then told me that I “must be running Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.” So I checked the version of my IE (seeing as I haven’t used IE since 1997 I really had no idea what version I ‘d be on). But I’m running version 11! Much much later than 6.0 I reckon. What say you Microsoft?
It’s not unheard of, or even rare, nowadays in this world of clicks and impressions and maximizing the online ad revenue of every single pixel. But that doesn’t make it excusable.
Today in The Ottawa Citizen, smack dab in the middle of an open letter titled “Fear-mongering shows contempt for a politics of mutual respect”, was an ad by Christianity.com justifying the genocide and apartheid currently underway in Palestine. It is promoting the very “wedge politics” and “fear-mongering” that the letter is denouncing.
Mind you, it only showed up when I read the letter on my phone, but was not there when I checked it on my PC.
The letter is not about what is happening in Israel and Palestine, and it is safe assume that it hit upon some keywords that Christianity.com was hoping to attract: fear-mongering, Harper, barbaric practices, etc.
Still, that does not absolve the news outlet of responsibility. Unless it was intentional. Then that, of course, is a different matter altogether.
Players in the AFC Champions League laid down on the field yesterday for a moment of remembrance for those affected by the Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami three years ago. It’s a day many will never forget. Not I, who was was in nearby yet faraway Tokyo. Not those directly in the path of the destruction. Not those who lost loved ones or homes or got sick afterwards.
I’m not sure who is in charge of the @AFCCL Twitter account, but their access should be revoked. It’s a glaring mistake to call it the “Hiroshima Tsunami”. That’s like saying the 9/11 Attacks took place in Los Angeles.
With risk of looking like a prick to Customer Service workers everywhere, I feel this incident makes a nice follow-up to this morning’s earlier post. I recently signed up for a free trial of Base CRM’s Professional service plan, which is $45/month. Because they have (what has become a business standard) an “Opt-out” free trial, I determined the cancel-by date and marked down the day before on my calendar. It is something I always do (and something everyone should make standard practice) lest I find myself paying again for a year of e-greetings I don’t really want.
Well, my two week came and went and I didn’t really get to use Base CRM as much as I had wanted to. So when I went to cancel my trial the site recommended I downgrade to the $15/month plan for a two-week trial. I figured Why Not? So I cancelled my $45 subscription a day in advance of its automatic billing date and signed up for two weeks of the $15 plan.
The next day I received an email from Base CRM stating they had billed me $45 for my new Professional Plan. Still in the aggravated midst of getting shafted by Synology I immediately replied with the following email:
I had tried to be as pleasant as possible in my angered state… the whole “catch more bees with honey” thing and all. After pressing SEND, I had a moment of worry as I ran through last month’s sign-up process in my head. Like a murderer going over the crime scene, hoping he didn’t make a mistake. I realized I hadn’t taken a screenshot of my registration page (something I also try to do when signing of for Free Traps Trials). Still, I was ready to go battle. It’s not about the $45. It’s about the principle. I’d do the same for 45¢. I received an email reply from Victor at Base CRM within the day:
I was taken aback, horrified almost. Was I on Hidden Webcam? With slight trepidation I decided to continue my trial. And thank Victor for not going to war.
Victor agreed. It’s not about the $45. He also followed up with a detailed, non-scripted, non-boiler plate reply to explain what had happened.
It is so nice (yet sadly uncommon) to encounter a business nowadays who does not treat their customer like the enemy.
It also helps that Base CRM makes a great product that lives up to its marketing.