I haven't posted much recently, so here are a few collected ideas that I've gathered which don't deserve or require a full post.

1. I have a tough time understanding how people will often claim that a movie they just saw is one of their all-time favorites. When I look at Facebook, for example, I find it humorous to see how many people list movies that were just recently released. To me, this doesn't illustrate taste, but rather the lack thereof, or the fact that a person doesn't have a very broad knowledge of film. As for myself, to consider a film a favorite (ie. a part of my top 50 list), I generally have to see it more than once. This is not the case with everything, as there are some movies which just immediately spoke to me. However, as I see more films, the criteria for inclusion becomes more selective. Not to mention that most of these films have stood the test of time and critical acclaim. I fail to understand how a movie you saw in theatres last week could not be one of your favorites.

2. Are religious schools forming atheists? I went to a Catholic elementary school, and it was a wonderful experience. It was wonderful because I got a first-hand view of the problems with religion and religion-based education. What has surprised me, in connecting with friends from elementary school, is the resounding percentage of them who are agnostic or atheist. It makes me wonder if a religious education like this makes people even more jaded and enlightened about the truth once they reach the age of reason.

3. The state should not sponsor religiously-segregated schools. There has been the discussion in Ontario to merge the public and Catholic school boards. This seems perfectly acceptable to me. Religious schools should be segregated. Children should be exposed to a wider set of values, and should not be needlessly subjected to indoctrination and child abuse, as Richard Dawkins would put it.

4. Pick up your shit! I was disgusted recently when I looked around the lecture hall I had a class in, only to discover that the place was completely littered with garbage. This isn't your fucking living room. It's a matter of etiquette and respect. Here is a short list of items I noted: spilled juice, empty chip bag, glass bottle, popcorn (and empty bag), paper coffee cup, candy wrappers. There are other class etiquette rules which should be observed. First of all, what gives you the right to come into class 30-45 minutes late and disturb everyone? If you're that fucking late, don't bother showing up. The same goes for the people who regularly leave 20+ minutes before class is over. Other random crap people do that pisses me off: talking loudly, eating (and subjecting everyone else to the putrid smell of whatever cafeteria shit you're pumping into yourself), laughing, needlessly making noise, ringing cellphone, monopolizing class time by asking the prof stupid questions and not shutting up, and sleeping.

5. The cellphone and the bee. Bill Maher recently commented in his "New Rules" segment that we are killing the bees. Some may recall Einstein's prediction that the world would collapse when the bees die. Einstein was right -- the bees are dying. It turns out that cellphones interfere with bees' guidance systems and cause them to fall to the ground. Bee populations are dropping in many areas of the world. As we know, bees are vitally important to pollinating important plant varieties, and there is no known substitute. Artificial pollination has been attempted in labs, but have proven to be no substitute for bees. Maher asks the question of whether we are willing to give up our worthless phone conversations in order to save the bees. Will we give up cellphones, or will we kill ourselves?

6. Political scientist Robert Putnam wrote a book called Bowling Alone which I had not heard of until yesterday. It deals with the disintegration of civic life (specifically American being that he lives in the US). The results of his studies for the book demonstrated that every ten minutes of commuting time from home to work result in 10% fewer social connections. There is therefore a direct link between commuting time and social isolation. This would be a great companion argument to the excellent documentary The End of Suburbia. We know that the suburban way of life is an unsustainable failed dream, but when will we give it up?


At 22/4/07 9:26 PM, Blogger Chartier said...

1. This has been a great source of stress for me. It's interesting to notice that Nick, a child part of my girlfriend's family, is 7 years old and yet his most anticipated films of the year mirror that of 23 year olds. I don't understand how someone stayed stable for so many years.

I also walked out of theatres last night after having watched Hot Fuzz. I thought the movie displayed editing, writing, acting and the translation of geographical space (if I was sent to Sandford, I knew my way around the village just by seeing this film. It's amazing how well geographical spaces were explained and displayed) brilliantly. However, that wasn't the sentiments of some of the people I was with. One simply brushed my comments off as "just my opinion". Well, nevermind how the critics took it (88% fresh on tomato meter, 90+ on cream of the crop), if you think shit taste good, it won't make it good food, regarless of opinions.

5. I find this research to be a fascinating subject and am looking forward to reading the results. However, I find it a bit to early to say conclusively that their is a link, but I won't ignore a correlation. This reminds me of cancer and cigarettes.

6. I was thinking about this exact subject on my way to work. Since I work walking distance from home, I leave my car to my girlfriend so we save on gas and I simply walk to work instead. While I was heading to work today, I started to think that as I grew up, something started to feel off about the weather. I'm only 21 and I can see a major change from when I was a child. Yet, this is an issue overlooked and not the first one to surface at table conversations. Why? Well, my conclusion was that very few people spend their time outside anymore sociolizing with others. I see fewer kids running with their friends. More of them stay within close proximity to the house, or simply indoors.

Facebook is an interesting experiment. I spent very little time on it. I average an easy 10 minutes per week, but I know of several people who spend hours on end. It's a web-site design to bring people closer and connect them, yet, I find most people on facebook have this false notion of life. Pictures of parties, and almost photo-op feel to it. This isn't sociolizing, this is psychotic behavior! Psychosis to an extreme! Lack of insight into global problems, disorganized thinking and a major loss of contact with reality.

At 23/4/07 1:48 AM, Blogger Portelance said...

Some interesting comments, Eric. I enjoyed your analogy about Facebook. It seems to me that you're right... Facebook is like a personal advertising service where each person is desperately trying to craft a specific image of themselves and advertise it to the rest of the world. ie. people who look "social" but might not be, ex-loners trying to re-establish themselves (I can think of a few from high school!), etc.

I also enjoyed the remark you made about changes in childhood behavior. I, like you, have noticed a dramatic difference from when we were kids. It seems that kids travel from place to place together, but they also increasingly rely on rides from their parents. They basically stay indoors and play videogames or whatever, which is completely different from when I was a kid and I used to play cowboys and indians in the street with cap guns late at night. The street WAS the entertainment. Each street had their own little mini kid village, and there was a social hierarchy which tended to develop amongst the kids. Cliques, as well. Anyone who says that kids aren't smart, or they're not as worthy as adults, are so wrong. I remember plenty of examples from when I was a kid which demonstrated ingenuity, thoughtfulness, and so-called "adult" behavior.

Here's something I JUST thought up. Have you noticed that bikes have completely gone out of passion? As a kid, my bike was like my pride and joy. I took care of it... it was a very important object to me. It represented my first bit of freedom from my parents. Everyone else felt the same. I look around nowadays and I can't remember the last time I saw a group of kids biking somewhere together. It's depressing.

At 23/4/07 4:22 PM, Blogger Portelance said...

Here is some further information on the disappearing honeybees. No mention here of the cellphone link, though.



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