Saturday, July 29, 2006

Why do we find conspiracy theories compelling?

I believe the reason is very simple.

First, humans get a pleasure response from doing survival related things... hunting, growing things, eating, having sex, solving puzzles, recognizing patterns and building things. Our advancement as a species is directly related to the fact that we love to do these things even *beyond* what is needed for survival.

As bizarre as it may seem, the compulsion that gives us science also gives us conspiracy theory. We are hardwired to seek out and make sense of patterns of every sort. The more complicated the pattern the better.

Secondly, there is something utterly seductive about having knowledge that other people do not have. You'd think, logically, that if most people are satisfied with a mundane or obvious version of events we'd question our more elaborate version... but we don't. It's riddiculously easy to believe that all the experts are wrong/compromised/in on it, if we can believe in our own greatness at the same time.

What brought this up? Public access television. It's useless to argue with the conspiracy theorist because opposition to conspiracy is the basic proof of it's truth. I think that's part of what makes it so maddening.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

While I've been away...

Israel went to war with Hezbolla.

I had a good reason to be gone. My grandmother died on the 4th of July. I'm saying that just as an explanation for why I was away. I could talk about her and the funeral and seeing all my relatives for pages and pages but I won't.

Just this one observation: Grandma was difficult, but well loved.

What I wanted to post about: It's weird being off-line.

My father has dial-up. It works well enough for him for e-mail and mailing lists and besides, I'm not sure anything faster is available. While I was visiting I didn't even try to get on-line. I saw a little bit of the news so I knew what was happening in the world but the connection was missing, the discussion, the *processing* that comes with living on-line.

Now, I *can* talk politics with my parents, which is probably unusual in the grand scheme of things, so that helped a little bit. But still... being off-line is weird.

Monday, July 03, 2006

UltraViolet : Movie review

It wasn't *bad* exactly. Milla Jovovich did a good job. It was supposed to be very comic bookish and the affect was of an animated film. I haven't watched the commentaries yet but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it was almost entirely green-screen sets.

The DVD we got is the unrated extended cut. Lots and lots and lots of killing but it's all very sanitary. I wasn't sure if the minions falling left and right were supposed to be human or sort of robots. No gore to speak of. The freakiest thing is right at the beginning when Violet sits in an auto-examination chair.

The kids will get an okay to watch it.

Worst part? Way too much explaining at the beginning... which was hard to follow anyhow so it was a lot of narration for nothing.

Best part? Fight at the end... the bad guy starts with the very standard "you're evil too" pitch, and asks her if she thinks that God will welcome her into heaven after all the hundreds and hundreds of people she's killed. Very un-standard answer... "After this, He just might."

I'll admit that the ole "you're just like me" and the hero's struggle not to "become" the villain is one of my *major* pet peeves. That may explain why one of the tenets of the script I'm working on is that the hero finally decides that her reluctance to compromise herself is fundamentally selfish.

We also bought the DVD of THE PINK PANTHER with Steve Martin. Parts of that were so good that the bad parts really stood out in stark contrast. Way way too much explaining at the beginning of that too.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Peace activist Zen

If there were no hammers, there would be no nails.