Technology and People

Heard a comment today “I’m not into computers, I like people.” I’ve had other comments subtly directed at me a long time ago that were similar, simply because it was easy for me to use and find my way around a computer. “Just because someone has high technical skills, and low personal skills does not mean they will get special treatment.” Why would I ask for special treatment simply because I liked using computers?

Having strong people skills and computer skills are not mutually exclusive. Computers can be a big bear to deal with, but so can people. A computer is simply a device to use, just like a car or telephone or television. When was the last time you knew someone who lived in a village in a hut?

Western Civ

Western Civ was a college course that was required by many colleges and universities in America throughout the 1900s, as a way to learn about history and literature, from the Greek myths and Sumerian legends through Beowulf and English and European literature. I have my mom and dad’s big tomes that were used in their college courses, and their report cards too.

Our current culture, especially American culture, is based on this.  Thus, the representation of women and men in popular culture has deep roots in the interpretation of Greek myths in particular. The Age of Enlightenment in Europe, in the 1700s with the latter part of that century filled  with men and women wearing white wigs and extravagant clothing, this period idolized what they drew from ancient Greek and Roman culture. Neoclassicism. So we cannot blame the current state of graphic novels, for example, in how they show women, as well as men.

If the Science Fiction genre traces its roots back to HG Wells and his novels in the early 1900s about Brave New Worlds, and children “created” in a lab via test tube. Now gestation via petrie dish is actually not uncommon, and yet those babies are still born from a woman. Yet for HG Wells book, the woman and the mother is inert, unnecessary. We can make new people without a mother. Take that, mom!

Going back even further is the example of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. She was in fact the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, who advocated for the Rights of Women. Mary Shelley was creating a horror story, perhaps the first horror novel in western literature, where a person is created out of the flesh of dead people, no mother needed here either. And the Professor has no thoughts of tenderness as he works to create a “new” man. It is entirely from his ego, he simply wants to see if it can be done and perhaps to be the first to do it. Yet he doesn’t know what he is doing, and everything goes wrong. Mary Shelley was a young mother who had children die from disease at a young age.

Violence, Media, Fantasy and Science Fiction

I read about the bizarre and disgusting reaction to the woman who went to the con in May and complained about the lack of and the status of women in gaming. How some pipsqueak pimply pasty white boys jerking off in their basement start sending nasty tweets and messages and starting a gang to flame her bigtime. This type of behavior does just make me want to turn off the Internet and go outside and garden, walk, ride a bike, interact with REAL people in REAL time and/or escape back to my own world.
I’ve never really been into science fiction and fantasy nor have I played many computer games except for Solitaire, Prince of Persia back in the day, etc.
So I recently found another thing I’d written a few years ago.
I have faithfully read most of the Star Wars books, but haven’t ever gotten into George RR Martin, for example, or Heinlein or anything else. Then I gave up on the Star Wars books because either I realized that they’ve been like this all along, or it became too much or I realized the books were heading into a world of too much war and hardness, male male masculine. All relationships are based on tactics, as if relationships are too feminine, ‘soft’ weak, as if it has no place in Star Wars.
For example, some people did not like the Mara Jade character, the character created in the books to be Luke Skywalker’s wife. I think they raised holy hell and whether or not Mara Jade was killed off in a book because of that I do not know. She was killed off and Leia Solo – the Princess Leia from the movies – had to train to become a Jedi Knight. Which I was unhappy with because there are many ways to use and rely upon the Force, if the Force is a term for God in the Star Wars universe. I always felt Leia used the Force as much as Luke, but that she used it as a diplomat, negotiator and not in terms of being a military person or soldier. Especially after the end of the 6th movie, Return of the Jedi. But no, Leia must become a ‘warrior woman’ too, because otherwise she is “just” a woman, a leader. Yet look in real life at how much power and strength world leaders have, even the Secretarys of State such as Madeline Albright, Hilary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice.

War War War. If I keep buying books titled ‘wars’ am I furthering war? I wonder if they promote violence as a means, as well as an end.

It sometimes seems that technophilia is so closely connected with misogyny. And represented by both in works of science fiction and such. Because to leave the earth and try to live elsewhere, which is your mother, the nurturer, creator of all things you need to live, eat, drink, breathe, rest, play, work, live, progress, this earth – you need to reject your mother. Does one then try to hate her to make it easier? To deny her, to do ‘better’ than her. To survive without her.
Right now in 2013, we have no other “ship” than Earth Mother. That is why we should take better care of her. Actually I believe she will survive long after we are gone. The Earth is wiser than us.

My thoughts and feelings on the Fbook place

Facebook, hmmmmm. Lately I have come to dislike Facebook. I use it sporadically, sometimes 5x a day, sometimes not for a month. The ads on the side of the screen really bug me — they seem to have tracked some weirdo cookies onto my browser and no amount of cache-clearing or deleting cookies will make them NOT stick. In fact the ads are so not what I want or am looking for, not at all ME and I just dislike them. I blocked part of my screen off with a paper and scotch tape so I don’t have to look at them. Facebook wants to MAKE me look at them. Fine I can understand other websites doing this — they need to make money. But Facebook has so much ooodles of money, it’s just plain annoying.

Lately I see ads in the scroll that I go through to see what is “going on” with my friends pages. But if I keep seeing it and the noise –  signal ratio gets too high, that’s fine I will cancel my Facebook account and go back to writing friends real paper letters etc.

However, I enjoy Facebook somewhat, yet it is strange too. It’s a bit too much like high school and college etc. It is helpful to remember the origin of this thing — as a way to rate how pretty girls were at Harvard. Basically a gossip rag.

Mark Zuckerberg and his investors / VC people saw something in Facebook as a way to make the Internet more intimate. Not even Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or any other Silicon Valley guru came up with that idea. It took a few young men at Harvard. OK, but that still makes it based on something a young man came up with. Young men are notorious for not necessarily knowing much about the broader world, how it works etc.

I do not like how Facebook is used in bullying, in shaming people, how it is so easy to create conflict and tension and pain — and this is from a computer screen — it’s not real life like your kids or garden or anything else.

Social Media

Heard a talk by a man who is a marketing consultant etc. He gave a talk on social media that missed a few points or ‘didn’t reallly get it’ as much as I thought could be done. So I did leave early to go volunteer at RMSC Schuyler Library with Lea. She is not into social media, she is an older person. Yet some older people are into social media.
Supposedly “social” media means more than tv and newspapers, radio and movies. It means two-way communication, creation of contente by many. Many-to-many. Yet news is news. We can only pay attention to so much news at any one time.
This is my blog, though no one knows it. I do not do much professional work here. I don’t have another blog but may get one.

Steve Jobs

There is so much being written about this man now. hmmm. Well I won’t go into my own stuff. However I read a piece where the guy thinks Steve Jobs killed nostalgia. No. He was against nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. Not that you should not learn from the past, appreciate the past, keep the important stuff from the past. After all, this was a man who owned a company that produced the Toy Story movies, among other very fun, friendly, warm, moving, inspiring movies. Do not get stuck in the past, which is often a trap, a distraction.