The Newsroom

My new favorite show is HBO’s The Newsroom. You may have seen edited versions of the “America isn’t the greatest country anymore” clip floating around Facebook for various political purposes. Below is (almost) the complete opening scene of the first episode.

It’s an amazing blend of really serious drama and really silly comedy about news and politics. It almost makes me want to try to write about politics again*.

Mostly because I can strongly relate to the show’s views on news and politics, which from my perspective are fairly centrist. (I imagine it’s popularly believed to be slanted liberal though, because anything that isn’t slammed all the way over to the right is considered liberal these days.) Most importantly, The Newsroom portrays journalists doing what I think they should be doing: Keeping politicians honest. Unfortunately in real life, that job falls on comedians, while journalists seem content in their role of parroting whatever they’re told to say.

* Except I now know that trying to push back the mountains of ignorance that comes out of political discussions every day to be a quixotic effort. Hey, see what I did there? I used a metaphor from the show!

Irony in the Social Justice Warrior

“Social justice warrior” is a relatively new term (to me, at least) used in the last year by mostly-conservative culture warriors to describe a mostly-liberal person who–grossly simplified–pushes for diversity in the arts.

(A “culture warrior” in my mind is a term to describe a mostly-conservative person… I think it gained popularity with the publication of Bill O’Reilly’s book.)

I find it pretty ironic though because it seems to me that a person who fights for conservative cultural values is also a social justice warrior. “Social justice” as a basic concept is about equality and leveling the playing field. With regard to the recent Hugo nomination controversy, the conservatives (“Sad Puppies”) feel that they were disenfranchised from Worldcon (among other things). With regard to the less recent Gamergate culture battle, the conservatives (who don’t have a name other than “Gamergate supporters” so far as I know) feel that they are being pushed out of the games that they love (among many, many, many other things).

By a strict definition, I would say that anyone who feels culturally disenfranchised or threatened enough to fight back is implicitly a “social justice warrior,” and perhaps more generically, a “culture warrior.”

Obviously I know that conservatives would flip right the hell out to be compared in any way to an SJW (social justice warrior), which now to them is just a series of letters or mouth-sounds that means “a liberal extremist who needs to be stopped.” I just find words and their meaning to be really funny and ironic sometimes. The fact that a series of words with very specific meanings can be combined to make a phrase with a totally different meaning is interesting to me.

I guess in terms of common usage and political connotation we can think of a “culture warrior” as a conservative and a “social justice warrior” as a liberal.

P.S. Liberals seem to think that “social justice warrior” is a derogatory term (since it was coined or at least adopted by conservatives), but I have no idea what conservatives might think of “culture warrior”–I would guess they’d be okay with it since Bill O’Reilly popularized it.

Pi Day

Couple things.

I just realized that I hate Pi Day. Because suddenly it’s everywhere and everyone thinks it’s cute to celebrate it. It was funny five years ago. Now it’s just silly.

Because most people in America probably don’t even know what pi is. Whenever I see someone say, “Happy Pi Day!!” I want to scream in their face, “YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PI IS DO YOU?”

So I think from now on anyone who celebrates Pi Day should be required to solve a real-world problem using pi first.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s appropriate for Americans to celebrate the most basic of geometric concepts. It fits with the average level of math education in this country.

P.S. Don’t even get me started on the people celebrating Pie Day.

Netflix Makes Passwords Hard

Because Netflix forced me to change my password into something that was easy to enter with a remote control into a television interface–since my television invariably asks me to re-enter said password every month for no apparent reason–I have now forgotten what my Netflix password is, and apparently LastPass never updated when I changed it. I’ve now been waiting about ten minutes for them to send me the password reset email. Come on Netflix. This is basic IT functionality here.

UPDATE: Oh, and the reason I need a password is because I am attempting to log into my account on my Android phone, because the Netflix app for the iPad is so terrible that it almost never actually plays videos.

Although it could always be Verizon blocking Netflix video, because of that whole Net Neutrality thing we don’t have anymore. Thanks Verizon. Glad you’re at the forefront of making U.S. Broadband Access so terrible compared to the rest of the world.

More Facebook in 2015?

I feel like I should engage more with Facebook in 2015. But, to be honest, I hate engaging with Facebook. It’s incredibly weird for me to interact with real life people in the way that I’m used to interacting with The Internet. (Yes, I think of Real Life and The Internet as two entirely different worlds.) Publishing content to The Internet is a form of creative expression, whereas writing and liking things on Facebook is more like dinner party small talk.

Stouffer's Lasagna Italiano

I don’t quite know what I would say to Facebook anyway. Tonight, after an entirely ordinary day at work, I made myself a lasagna… by opening a box of frozen Stouffer’s Lasagna Italiano and putting it in the oven for an hour. I try to avoid eating such blatantly unhealthy food too often, preferring instead to make something based around a chicken breast, but this week it seemed like a handy shortcut. Also this is a brand new variety of Stouffer’s Lasagna that showed up in my grocery store a few months back, and I like it better than the previous two varieties. It has FRESH CHEESE & AGED PARMESAN, after all.

Anyway, I might post something about the Stouffer’s Lasagna Italiano on Facebook which, to me, would be a hilarious poking of fun at all the foodies on The Internet who post their recipes and report what they’re eating for lunch and dinner. Unfortunately the humor of it would probably be lost on everyone and they would just think it’s weird. Plus all the foodies that I poked fun at would get all defensive. They might start to think that their recipes and lunches and dinners weren’t appropriate content for The Internet. Which, in fact, it isn’t. Hence the humor.

(However, food makes for great conversation in a dinner party.)

Now I’ll head over to Facebook and report on my first Monday in 2015.

P.S. I changed my WordPress theme to the plain vanilla Twenty Fifteen theme. I like it. It looks great on a mobile device.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Out of curiosity, I did extensive research (i.e. briefly went to Wikipedia) to find out exactly when January 1 became the first day of the year. Apparently nobody knows but it was some time before the adoption of the Julian calendar in 45 BC.


Why I’m Not Watching The Interview

Hey, that’s an SEO-friendly title, right? But seriously, I’m not watching it because, using my cynic-powered senses, I can see through this ruse. Everyone thinks they’re watching it to strike a blow against North Korea and censorship, but really they’re watching it because they’re gullible and they fell for Sony’s PR stunt. They may have yanked the film initially out of fear, but they clearly brought it back to capitalize on the buzz. (I would not be even microscopically surprised to learn that Sony manufactured the hacking incident in the first place, because that’s the kind of PR-driven world we live in.)