I often turn to Star Trek for inspiration and guidance because in this world of human future Gene Roddenberry envisioned us maturing past the infantile state we are in today. Looking at the latest development in politics across the pond I remember one episode from Star Trek we might want to take a page from.
In order to save themselves from a troublesome adversary, they created a holographic container for this person to roam free within. This allowed the crew to get rid of the problem while tricking the nuisance into believing it was unchallenged to take on the world. More or less, and there a few variations of this theme around.
Considering how distant the current far-too-white house madministration seem to be from anything outside their small sphere of puppets and puppeteers it shouldn’t be too difficult to take a page from the world of the future.
Simply construct a large set replica of the White House and hire actors to provide the inhabitants with a constant flow of real fake news and reactions to keep them happy and engaged (read: Happily enraged).
It could be like a 4-year 24/7 reality show and social experiment. I’m sure it would generate interest from many parties and it could, potentially, serve as a research project for political science in order to overcome our apparent shortcomings and to strengthen democracy.
It would, most likely, also make for an interesting testing ground for computer science fields such as VR, AR, and AI.
Consider it a mix between Big Brother, the Truman Show, and a large scale Monopoly game. The sponsorship deals alone could finance the entire enterprise. Not to mention the money saved by sand-boxing the related issues into this political zoo.
“But wouldn’t people want to get outside sometimes?” you ask.
Sure, but considering how much effort goes into every excursion already and how little they actually interact with the everyday-person I don’t think it would be very difficult to orchestrate. It would probably be an easy thing to let them think that the world is as hopelessly dangerous as they believe. We could feed them stories like Cuba annexing Florida and introducing universal healthcare and social tax reforms to keep them away from Mar-a-Lago and such places. They probably half believe that’s what’s going on as it is.
Anyway. Think of all the possibilities, not to mention the good it would do for peace and stability in the world.
I think it could be an international hit. All we have to do in order to pitch it to the networks is to come up with a catchy name.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine, who is a vegan, pointed out that the term “vegetarian” in its modern context is somewhat ill-fitting as it quite literally means “from vegetable origin” and that’s not really what people usually mean today.
Granted that the meaning of words and terms shifts over time we both agreed that a word of such obvious origin was less than illustrative of what a modern vegetarian is.
In its origin the word “Vegetarian” simply meant that something was food from vegetable origin or someone who eats food from vegetable origin. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the term Vegetarian first appeared in 1839. The first offshoot, if I may call it that, was “Fruitarians” that appeared as a term in 1893. It weren’t until 1944 that there were a distinction between vegetarian and vegan as it were this year the term “Vegan” were introduced.
Nowadays “Vegetarian” usually means “Vegetarian who also eat dairy and egg derivatives”. The full and more correct, albeit convoluted, term would be Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian but who have time to say all that when you’re hungry.
Solely based on whispers of a memory from ages past I remember something about the term “Vegan” at the term of its conception meant something like “Strict vegetarian (i.e. ortodox) with a political component in lifestyle choices” in order to distinct itself from the liberalisation of “Vegetarians” that we continue to see today.
Today, in Spain where I’m currently living, I still have to specify what I mean by “vegetarian”. Anyway. Back to semantics.
So today Vegan means old-school vegetarian and vegetarian means as-long-as-you-didn’t-kill-the-animal-omnivore (with many variants). There are even modern anything-but-red-meat-vegetarians, and fish-is-hardly-an-animal-vegetarians today, but I don’t want to go too deep into the rabbit hole of semantics at this time.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Being fans of words we agreed that the situation in total was far from ideal and after some thinking I suggested we make a new word to cover the group of semi-strict-liberal-vegetarian (As long as there’s no dead animal parts omnivore) I myself belong to.
After some more thinking, and possibly and injection of caffeine I suggested the therm “Carnivalarian”.
At first it was a kind of shooting-from-the-hip-silliness but as I thought more about it and explained the reasoning to my friend I became more and more convinced it was a good word.
As the mildly observant reader might already have guessed its based on the word Carnival. But as you might understand it has nothing to do with parades in Rio or any kind of party as such.
To explain, but without going into religious practices. The base of the word Carnival is the latin words “Carne” which means “flesh/meat” and “levare” which means “to remove”. So carnival literally means removal of meat. Hence the word carnivalarian which means “Omnivore who doesn’t eat parts of animals” or “Slightly liberal vegan” or just “Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian”.
One might argue against the introduction of yet another term to define diet preferences, but I find it reintroduces clear semantic to a confusing situation.
Since his inauguration Trump and his lingering shadow Pence have continued to show that things probably won’t settle down and get more presidential any time soon. At least not presidential in any sense fitting this, still young, millennium. The Trumpet has been hard at work in his quest to alienate the media. Because who needs journalists when everyone should just read the daily bulletin the, now, far-too-White House. Journalism, and not to mention those pesky scientists, just gets in the way of alternative facts with their questions and “evidence”.
The mainstream media might have, somewhat, lost their touch in the ever growing business of click-baits, corporate agendas, and quarterly reports, but there’s still a need for investigative journalism and its quest for the truth, and there’s still a lot of good and hungry journalists out there. The media might get things wrong every now and then but I’m hoping that this barrage of alternative facts from the stool – probably more like a chair but I haven’t really paid attention – in the oval office will get the journalists corps back into the trenches of investigations and facts. We need the journalist to be at their best and to take on this oozing trumpster to find and expose whatever is causing this infectious wound.
Only a few days have passed and Trumpencestein have already started to build whatever monstrosity they have envisioned will put the Great back in Gre… wait.. that’s Brexit… right… put the great back into the decreasingly united nation built on immigration, hope, and dreams. We have already seen the first of the rollbacks being signed into effect and we will, no doubt, see many more in days to come.
While it might just have started I think it’s clear that whatever is starting to take shape in the dark corridors of power it is something ugly. Something that is pieced together with parts from the festering, and still very much foul smelling, corpses of ideologies that should have remained buried together with the ignorance, hate, and centuries that gave birth to them.
But things are not all dark. The many marches taking place around the USA shows a level of commitment to engage in politics that bodes well for the future because politics is not something we should leave to the few. Politics is something that should engage us daily and get us out of bed. Politics has very little to do with titles and chairs (or the occasional stool) but very much to do with the everyday lives of the everyday person.
When life gives you darkness and a big pile of dung you light a torch, roll up your sleeves, and start pitching. Or was it lemons and lemonade? Anyway.
: something that happens against reason and with great negative impact
Full definition : A circumstance, due to a large number of unsuccessful
fail-safes and against the best efforts of people and in the defiance of conventional logic and reason, with strong regressive and negative impact. Often associated with short term personal gain of a small number of people who orchestrate and/or facilitate the circumstances leading up to it and/or the compound ignorance of large groups failing to understand how things relate and affect each other.
– As a result of this trumpencestance we lost years of progress and social improvements.
– It was pure trumpencestance that lead to the breakdown in diplomacy and the subsequent termination of relations.
– The fire in the factory was the result of a trumpencestance after years of poor management and failure to adhere to basic safety instructions.
Just finished* watching the movie Into the Woods and I thought I’d write something about the experience. I have long thought that it would be fun to write some thoughts on movies and other things I experience but so far haven’t gotten started. So why not start here.
All in all I found the movie surprising. First surprise was that Netflix thought we would consider it a 2-star movie. In Netflix world a two star grade simply means “Didn’t like it”. I found this surprising considering it was a Disney movie jam packed with well known faces such as Meryl Streep, James Cordon, Chris Pine, Emelie Blunt, and – future Miss Squirrel Girl – Anna Kendrick. I have yet to see any movie with any of these actresses and actors I haven’t enjoyed. Chris Pine and the reboot of the Star Trek universe is a longer thought for another day. Oh, yes. Johnny Depp was in it too. Anyway. A two star review felt a bit surprising but undeterred I suggested we watch it anyway. An important side note here is that I most often watch movies at home with my girlfriend. She enjoys many of the fantastic movies I enjoy, more on that later, but also enjoy the occasional tear jerking drama where everything starts less than great and, as a reversed heroes journey, gets increasingly worse from there just to get your hopes up just in time for a devastating end that often leaves you reexamining your life choices (most pressingly: why on earth you watched that movie). Ok. I admit. I’m not entirely truthful here but I’m the one writing so stop reading or get over it. Now, where were I? Oh yes. Into the Woods.
So. We had the movie on our to-watch-list since about last week and feeling a bit uninspired but curious this lazy Saturday I halfheartedly suggested we watch that movie. The other option close at hand was “Oz the Great and Powerful”. That’s something for another day if my girlfriend will ever let me chose a movie again. At any rate my girlfriend agreed and we started the movie. It started like many other Disney movies with a song and my first thought was: “Nice. It’s another live action Disney movie.” You know the kind, fairytales with occasional song numbers, like Enchanted (which I thoroughly enjoyed for many reasons). The opening song continued and after about 10 minutes I realised that it was probably a musical. I do enjoy musicals but not having read anything about the movie prior to pressing play might have put me in an unexpected situation. After about 30 minutes of singing I no longer doubted that this, in fact, was a full size musical with the occasional non rhyming speech. At this time my girlfriend had sighed one too many times and I decided to pause to check if we should watch something else instead. She didn’t really like it but was intrigued enough to keep watching. After another half hour I did the same thing. She answered in the same fashion as before. After another 30 minutes of sighing I paused for a third time and told her that it’s only 30 more minutes to go. We soldiered on. Right now I cannot remember one movie I started watching but never finished. There are a few, I’m sure, but right now I cannot name them. Another reason for me to write a few thoughts on things I’ve experienced. To help me remember. Anyway. 30 minutes after we finished and I asked my girlfriend what she thought. I take grading movies very seriously since I’m a fan of Netflix suggestion algorithm and want it to work with good data when it comes to us. So much so that if we disagree on a grade I put my grade on the movie on my profile so Netflix can use it for my personal recommendations. Being aware my girlfriends sigh-levels I expected a low grade from her. Myself I liked the movie. Had I known, and I’m the only one to blame for it, that it was a musical I would probably have chosen to see it at a more musical-susceptible-time. And maybe by myself. At any rate she didn’t think it was worth any stars but since that’s not a gradable option she voted for one. Myself, being a fan of Disney movies and musicals, thought it was a well deserved three. So, after some kindergarten arithmetics we evened the grade to a two, and Netflix, once again, demonstrated that their algorithms work.
About the movie. Like I said, I’m partial to these kinds of movies and had I been better prepared for it, let’s say with a bottle of wine (read: a few Gin and Tonics) I would probably have been up in the sofa giggly with this movie. The movie, which is actually based on a musical, is a clever mix of several fairytales and how they blend into a new one. The average theme of the movie is suitable for any age but occasionally the throw in a rather grown up curveball that added to my general surprisedness. The characters are well performed with varying degree of absurdity and silliness. The actors sometimes seem to act an actor who’s acting in the movie. It fits with the absurdity of some parts of it. Chris Pine does a better job of channelling William Shatner here than in the Star Trek reboot. So, in his case, Chris Pine seemed to play William Shatner playing Prince Charming. Hilarious. And also, the song lyrics are downright clever, dark, and deliciously witty at times.
I won’t go into more details because I don’t want to rob you of the experience. Just remember to “hydrate” properly before and while watching.
My girlfriend said: “You don’t make many mistakes, but this was one, and that goes for most of the involved actors too. I will never be able to see Star Trek the same way again.”. (Well, entertaining as they might be no one serious about Star Trek sees the rebooted movies the same as Star Trek in general, but like I wrote before, that’s for another time.)
Anyway. Into the Woods. I was entertained and chances are you’ll be too. If you like musicals and have something to drink.