Conservatives for secular morality and cultural relativism

The Mitrailleuse

Not cool, Austin Petersen:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.29.27 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-15 at 2.30.50 PM

This is from his public page. What’s a little Catholic bashing to establish your Cool Atheist bona-fides? It’s apparently news to Judge Napolitano’s former producer that the Holy Father isn’t quite on board with the liberal paradigm. I wonder if he’s told his former boss he’s a member of the “cult of Christ.”

Let’s reassure him by noting that there are some liberal Catholics trying to sanctify Charlie Hebdo, and claim that Western Civilization depends on the protection and dissemination of publications like it:

The attack on Charlie Hebdo was an assault on Christendom. Magazines that publish sophomoric cartoons mocking religion are, paradoxically, part of the Body of Christ – if perhaps its lower intestine.

We also have conservatives like the neocon Herodotus Victor Davis Hanson engaging in a little moral relativism, which should cheer an atheist like Petersen:

Unfortunately, when we look to prominent defenders of the Western faith in…

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Poetry

I said like a year ago I’d post some creative writing, so here it is:

Untitled:

a still gray mass
a light gray mist
enshrouds a corpse
the body of a tree
fallen wayside
that will not be mourned

though many pass
and many leaves
descend to the ground
the burial procession
like a cold gust
enlivens the walking dead

Morning:

the songbirds praise the new day
on the graveyard shift

as the birds twitter and wassail
the sun creeps uninvited

intruders and interrupters
of the dreamer’s mind

he knows not their goodwill
only the incessant cacophony

the chill of morn
the blanket pulled tighter
the pillow pulled higher
the body stretched further
the mind dulled

gradually
made sharper

by the shrill noise
only matched
by the ultimatum:
the clock beeps

at least the birds
stay outside

Wadi Rum:

red sand and yellow sun
and the deceptively cool breeze
up a dune
down another

up a dune
down another
the heat hides
the sweat steals away
yet the mind
feels betrayed

you slip
away
utterly

in the red
of the sand

up a dune
down another

Cat Seppuku’s Mene Gallery (Work in Progress)

Before reading, please see earlier publication, The “Mene” As Post-Art.

In an attempt to preserve the original context and history of our precious menes, and to further academic mene scholarship, especially in the realm of Art History, I’ve decided to create the first “Online Gallery” of memes and menes.

As memes, menes, and internet art is often anonymous and undated, I will use educated guesses from my own research to determine such things. However, artist name will almost always be Anonymous and I will not seek out the artists of the pieces, as this goes against the spirit of the anonymous nature of menes.

In addition to artist and date, I will include the model meme of the mene presented, as well as a short blurb about my own interpretation of the piece. The title of the piece will be the filename in my possession or the most common filename I see used. If I don’t possess a filename, and no filename is preferred by the general populace, I will make up my own title.

In order to decide which works of art to display, I’ve created the following criteria in order of importance:

1. Trueness to the original model.

2. Innovation

3. Aesthetics

I believe trueness to the original meme to be the most important part of any given mene, though I’m sure others might disagree. Innovation keeps our menes from stagnating and has always been one of the most used metrics in determining an artist’s value.

Aesthetics are obviously relevant in the context of the art of the mene. While this part comes down to tastes, I believe menes at their core evoke certain emotions, and these emotions can be enhanced by the artistic rendering. However, this art is not necessarily “good” by popular standards. Instead, menes possess a certain wabi-sabi aspect, where the feeling is enhanced by the sense of imperfection and crassness.

That wraps both the purpose of this gallery and the methodology used to choose the images.

Enjoy.

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The Journey to Enlightenment in Ping Pong: The Animation

Fine Whining and Breathing

I’ve recently been catching myself rewatching the last few episodes of Ping Pong over and over again. The show is incredibly well-constructed, with every frame and shot made with the complete dedication that only a genius like Masaaki Yuasa could offer. After reading select chapters from the Ping Pong manga, it’s obvious that Yuasa uplifted the original work by adding his own directorial flair, including important pieces of character development and philosophical exploration that the original mangaka often never included at all. And it’s difficult not to scream out in internal joy when we see folks like Kazama and Smile finally becoming enlightened at the end of the show.

Ping Pong: The Animation - We're all alive, that's why we laugh, red hands in a circle reaching for the sun
Yes, enlightened.

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Eastern Philosophy in Ping Pong the Animation: the Conclusion

For a professed fan of the show it sure took me a long time to finish it. But I finally did last night.

The show blew me away, but that’s a post for another time. Instead I’d like to go back to my earlier post, Eastern Philosophy in Ping Pong the Animation.

If you don’t want to reread the entire article:

Kong represents Confucianism

Peco represents Buddhism

Smile represents Taoism

I think by the end of the show these roles become even more rigidly defined. As I mentioned in the previous article, the three characters were ultimately “bad” representations of their philosophies, but by the end of the show, they become paragons of their respective beliefs.

 

Kong and Confucianism: 

In the previous article we concluded Kong  had Confucian tendencies, but these were overshadowed by his anti-social personality. By the end of the series, Konghas completely transformed. By working with his team he is able to gain a greater understanding of his own position in life. Rather than be a asocial mercenary he becomes the leader and teacher his team needs.

With this character growth he’s rewarded greatly; the end of the series has him excelling at the international level.

kong

Interesting as well is that Kong and Confucius share the same surname.

Peco and Buddhism:

I think Peco’s enlightenment highlighted a very Zen sort of Buddhism. In Zen, the idea is basically: “the master for whom, before his studies, mountains were only mountains, but during his studies mountains were no longer mountains, and afterward mountains were again mountains”.

Peco makes an ultimate return to the essence of Ping Pong. He is able to surpass the Dragon by playing as a kid again, by playing for fun. He sees ping pong as ping pong.

peco

In reaching this enlightened state, Peco is rewarded as Kong is. He is able to be the best as he lets go of his desires to win. Though Peco wins anyway, I think the ultimate take-away is that it wouldn’t matter if he wins or loses. It’s hard to imagine a reality where he wouldn’t keep playing ping pong.

Smile and Taoism:

Smile makes the biggest turnaround of all three but still sticks to his core. While we can’t know for certain, it appears that ping pong is no longer his life after the final game and final time skip. He much prefers teaching.

smile

Ping pong was never about winning to smile, but it also wasn’t just something to do before he dies like he claims. It was his connection to Peco.

Thus, Smile comes to the realization that we outlined he lacked previously:

“When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.”

Smile was never content to be himself until that game with Peco.

 

In Defense of Lawrenceville

It’s odd to see your high-school blow up in the news, it’s even more odd when you feel a specific connection to the news piece itself.

I’m referring to this absolutely trash piece of sensationalist drivel, “What Happens When A Prep School’s Black Student President Mocks Her White Male Classmates“.

TL:DR, the school president I voted for our senior year broke school rules and was voted out by HER OWN STUDENT COUNCIL.

But if you read the article you’d think it was the start of a goddamn race war. I’ll lay the facts on the table, specifically about the instagram fiasco since that’s what most people are going on about.

The article completely misses what was offensive about the photo. No one cares that she made fun of preppy kids. I do that all the time. Every student of Lawrenceville does that all the time. What people cared about was she targeted a very specific group of kids on campus (yes you clickbait authors, stop calling them white “men”, they’re kids).

Her post mentioned in the hashtags a specific dorm on campus (the Cleve house). And also featured a rather misogynistic hashtag of #wherearethepucksluts.

Now, did the kids in Cleve have it coming? Maybe. But anyone who thinks it’s appropriate for a school president to call a certain group of boys (not everyone in Cleve is white!!) “confederates” and a certain group of girls “sluts” should face disciplinary action.

I like Maya, so what I find even funnier is that she commented on the entire fiasco herself but no one noticed except me. She’s under an alias but if you check the FB url, it’s her. The comment can be found here, in which she writes in regards to “why she was forced to resign”:

I think it was a mixture of a lot of systematic issues (not only race) as well as my own mistakes. I am not undeserving of what happened. That being said, ignorance, microagressions, and the unintentional marginalization of people of color, queer people, people who are not wealthy, disabled people, people with mental illness, so on and so forth in the world and especially in prep schools like Lawrenceville did play a role in what happened. These issues need to be spoken about. Whether or not I am to be considered right or wrong (if that can be determined) is not what’s important. I am not and will never be what’s important in this conversation. What’s important is the reality that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism and other forms of discrimination are REAL and IMPORTANT. What’s important is that privilege exists and it leads to the unfair punishment and treatment of those who are not fortunate enough to benefit from the institutional hegemony that exists in the world that places white, wealthy, straight, cisgendered men on top.

I agree with her completely. She admits her own mistakes, and furthermore she admits prep school is a hierarchical place. Everywhere is. I wasn’t rich (I went to school on financial aid), I wasn’t popular, I didn’t get the best grades, I wasn’t that athletic, I was a nerd (that’s why I got anime pictures on the top of this blog) and occasionally I got teased for things like that.

I’m angry as much at the bullying in American schools as she is. Sure, I didn’t get called a nigger. I doubt I faced even close to the amount of ostracization she did. I’m not going to erase her own experience either, but what I will say is that I’m even more angry at the irresponsible and blatant political charge that’s been attached this incident.

I’d like to post a friend’s thoughts on the issue, he didn’t write this for publication so just ignore the internet vernacular:

You probably already know this, but the real villian of this story is that clown of an author, Katie J.M. Baker. She doesn’t give two shits about Maya or what she stands for, all she cares about are those sweet, sweet pageviews. She’s using Maya as a liberal martyr to ignite flame wars in the comments and further line her pockets with ad revenue. 

Even though we were acquaintances at best, Maya was still a decent person who just made some dumb choices in life. Did she deserve to get depresidented? Maybe. Did she deserve publicity in the thousands, possibly soon to be millions for what she did in high school? lel no. Even when the article fades into the asscrack of internet obscurity, this will still be among the first page of results when future employers google Maya’s name. Though i’ve disagreed with a lot of her actions, I can’t help but to think of Maya as a tragic anti-hero who has fallen from grace.

In the end however, I have still played right into Katie J.M. Baker’s hand, as my clicks have contributed to her already growing pageviews. Whatever, at least I have Adblock, so she will never get my internet Illuminati dollars.

Can’t we stop this garbage? America has issues with race, everyone knows that. This was not an issue with race. Well that’s probably not true, race definitely played a part. But please for the love of God let’s not pin Lawrenceville for being racist or the majority of her students for being racist. This was a complex issue that’s being blown out of proportion for the sake of race politics and furthering the divide between black and white.

I hope students of the Lawrenceville school can set this straight. Overall, maybe it’s a positive thing. Maya will certainly get a platform to talk about the oppression minorities face. I get my platform to rail against internet exploitation.

I just hope Lawrenceville’s reputation isn’t tarnished completely. That school gave me the best four years of my life so far and an amazing education.