DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE

Goddamn it.

the-3rd-man

If you know me reasonably well, you probably already know that I’m not the kind of guy who deals with his emotions very well in public. I hate showing emotions that involve losing control over myself. Crying, anger, what have you — I will forcefully stop myself from showing these kinds of feelings in public. People have asked why I don’t cry at funerals, why I can be so rationally cold hearted when it comes to tough stuff in life in public, or why I can’t “join in” when it comes to what other people are feeling.

Truth is that I’m a very private person (which is quite ironic, given how so many of my personal opinions have gone out there in the media, on this blog or Twitter for that matter) when it comes to my emotions, mostly because I’ve never been in a place where I’ve felt safe enough to display them publicly.

Fact is, I don’t trust people enough generally to feel as if I can or should tell people what I’m feeling. I’ve learned through years of experience that your emotions are really your own thing. Nobody really cares what you’re feeling anyway. Maybe that’s cynical, but hey, I’m very cynical. It’s the way it is.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m terribly sad at funerals, I’d love to join in on things and I wish I wasn’t so damn cold when it comes to what I say and how I say it, but it’s not going to happen.

For me, being emotionally publicly has never been good. It’s always been accompanied by shame, humiliation and embarrassment. When you have a memory like mine (photographic memories are the ultimate blessing and curse), you remember how people reacted to what you did or said vividly, and it’s almost never been good for me. It’s probably why I’ve both admired and resented people who are emotionally free with themselves — I’m in a self-imposed prison when it comes to how I deal with emotional topics. I’ll deal with it, but you’ll never, ever see it unless I let you or the pressure’s too great for me to cope with anymore.

So what’s with the mea culpa here? Well, I’ve been wondering recently about a few things, especially since I recently found out that a fellow blogger and Net Friend, Chez, is splitting up with his wife.

I couldn’t do what he did on his blog; he let the entire world know about the depths of his devotion to his wife, the painful reality that he has to let her go, the very real concern of their eight-month baby girl. I admire him a lot for having the courage to post that kind of material online — I don’t resent him for it, however. I actually admire him more for it — I think there’s a certain bond he’s formed with people by being so forthcoming on his blog. He’s written on so much of his love for his wife that even now, at the end of love, he’s still profoundly affecting with his words.

All this does beg the question, however: why do we do what we do when it comes to how much we display publicly? For some of us, maybe we’ve been through so much painful stuff that we’re just past the point of caring if what we say offends the delicate sensibilities of trolls and intellectual Dilettantes. For others, we’re holding onto whatever semblance of control we might actually have by being tight-lipped with how we feel about personal matters.

I, for one, fall into the latter category. I might tell you, rather forcefully and aggressively sometimes, how I feel about Republicans, Sarah Palin or pizza toppings, but you’ll never hear me say anything to do with the really tough stuff that happened in 2007 and 2008 on here. None of you really need Google to archive my thoughts permanently on that kind of stuff. The people who matter to me already know anyway.

This all leads into a book I’m reading these days: The Ego Boom. It’s an interesting read (even if the subject matter — the triumph of hyper-individualism in this age — is a bit overdone) about how people — well, young people at least — seem to think that the World Revolves Around Them.

While the book’s focus is largely about consumer culture, there’s a parallel narrative going on with the book: the rise of the Emotionally Self-Centered person in all walks of life. We say and do things that blur the boundaries between self-esteem and narcissism, self-confidence and arrogance, et al. Blogs (online life in general, really) are the front lines of this emotional tumult.

I’ve realized that, over the past few years, that Emotional Self-Centered folks were and are still very much part of my life. You could make a reasonably compelling argument about me, too. I don’t fault people for being Ego-driven — after all, not as if people in my age group have much to hold onto nowadays when it comes to guiding institutions or people to admire on the whole (except for Obama).

Still, I’m caught in a tension between yearning to stay emotionally distant and to be more accessible. Maybe it comes down to trust. Maybe not. But there’s comfort in staying emotionally distant, isn’t there?

Anyway, enough of that…

* LIFE.COM: After almost a year of waiting, Life.com is finally live. Millions and millions of photos available for browsing online, powered by Google. I could honestly spend hours on this site.
* Sasha Baron-Cohen’s new movie, Bruno, has been slapped with an NC-17 rating due to a sex scene. He’s apparently heading back to the editing room to get a hard R rating for Bruno.

DIRTY MONEY AND FILTHY ABUSE

*Warning: Very Cynical Post Alert*

One of the hardest parts of this Great Recession isn’t just the job losses, the building stress on the Middle Class in the West, or even the subterranean, reptilian depths some pundits will sink to in an effort to generate ratings (thus fending off the advertising crisis… seriously, is there any sector left that isn’t in a ‘crisis’ now?).

aig_protest_2

No, the hardest part is how, in spite of all the pain the Middle Class and below must absorb during this time, those who actually screwed us are getting away with it. Not only are average Americans footing the bill for an elite subculture’s mistakes, but those who made this monumental Ponzi scheme happen are getting more powerful because of it. And even this guy, try as he might, can’t stop all this from happening, because if he really lets this phony economy of ours run its course and self-immolate like it should, the consequences for him and the American public would be infinitely worse than the current reality.

You have every right and incentive to be angry. It’s almost literary in scale the injustice and misery being forced on average Americans now. And you wonder why Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are being touted as the future of news? Because you — yes you, the unemployed labourer now back with your parents because your bank foreclosed on your house in a south Floridian, overdeveloped condo park, along with millions of your fellow unemployed folks — have every right to be deeply and unapologetically cynical now about democracy in America. Justice? Fairness? I mean, that never really existed in Western democracies before this Great Recession, but at least there was some visual/tactile pretense of it existing.

Now, it’s out in the open: government is helpless to protect you from abuses of power. Thanks globalization!

So on that happy note…

* Last.FM is now going to be charging for access to people not living in Germany, the U.K. or the U.S. Guess that means us Canadians are just going to abandon it then (see Pandora).
* China’s getting mighty uppity now about YouTube. Ah, The Great Firewall of China at work.
* SmartPhones are apparently the new communication tool of choice for criminals (well, at least the BlackBerry which runs its own messaging services) in Canada. Funny how what started as a business tool eventually ended up becoming a tool for crime too (just the natural evolution of things in a lot of areas).

HAPPINESS IN DIGITAL, CINEMATIC SLAVERY

Nice title, no? I’m on a big NiN streak these days on the iPhone. Ghosts and Year Zero are taking up some serious space these days, along with this guy, this girl and this show (Yes, this is super nerd Greg talking).

Of course, the title has a double meaning of sorts: this summer’s looking, well, pretty amazing in terms of movies. I saw Watchman on Saturday and it was tremendous (if a little bit disappointing, since I’m a fan of the novel), and there were a whole bunch of previews that pretty much solidified my entry into Nerd Paradise this summer. I will be spending a considerable amount of time in theatres this summer (unlike last summer, which, aside from Indiana Jones and The Dark Knight, was a real lame-o summer movie-wise… God, Get Smart was honestly considered a box office hit? Jeez).

terminator

* Terminator: Salvation. I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of the Terminator series. Aside from the very mediocre effort that was Terminator 3, the series has been a huge part of my love of sci-fi. So now comes what looks like the Best Terminator Film Ever. I saw the trailer and I think I will — nay, I definitely will — be there opening night.

* Star Trek. J.J. Abrams had best get this right. It looks like, so far, he has. The trailers look… awesome. I don’t think my heart could take another Nemesis-esque effort. I love Star Trek, okay? Speaking of love — check out what San Francisco looks like in the new film! Damn! (Aside: Family Guy has all the cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation showing up in two weeks. *grins*)

* Inglourious Basterds. Not sci-fi, but come on: Quentin Tarantino giving World War II his distinct treatment? You better believe I’m there on opening day.

There’s more films I’m dying to see — Bruno, X-Men Origins: Wolverine — but those are the three must, must-sees.

Alright, so enough of that movie stuff.

* SXSW is in full swing down in Austin this week. Julia Allison, Kevin Rose, and every other member of the digerati are there. You have no idea how far I’d go to have attended this if I was a) going for free, and b) had no prior considerations. Other than that, I’d totally be there.

* Esquire has a list out in their new issue (the upside: Katy Perry looks real purty in it. The downside: it has a big feature on Ben Affleck) of the top 50 songs every man should be listening to. There’s some real gems in that list.

BLOWN UP AND BRAINY

I’ve decided, since my page views have sunk like a stone again due to my less-than-regular posting (hey, I don’t deny it, Twitter’s been easier to post to and I’m feeling, like a lot of people, like this winter’s gone on way too long now) that I’m just going to put up eye-catching blog post titles. Well, sort of.

Anyway, enough with the rationalizing: anybody else think the way the MSM is portraying this Great Recession is just getting a wee bit out of hand now? Jeez people, sure things are bad, but it’s amazing how short people’s memories are — the 1981-82 recession had unemployment in the double-digits and double-digit interest rates. Which you should probably thank your lucky stars we’re not dealing with now, considering what kind of consumer debt levels Westerners are coping with now.

Oh, and while I haven’t seen it yet due to a variety of items on the recent agenda, I’m seeing Watchman on Sunday. I have to post a photo. I’m so. Incredibly. Excited.
rorschachwatchmen1

* Since yesterday’s announcement by President Obama on the long overdue reversal on banning stem cell research in the United States, here’s a piece from Wired about the pro-science approach Obama’s generally espousing. Great to see a Commander-in-Chief who actually cares (and believes!) in the importance of science.
* Ah, greed. Still shaping the music industry even while record companies have never been in worse financial shape. Or calling this worthy of our attention — I’ve never seen anything more Train Wreck worthy this year (and it’s only March!). This woman is annoying in ways I’ve never seen before.
* Interesting article on the high degree of sexualization of women in British media.
* Another good article on boosting your skills during Recession-era slack time. I love Lifehacker. LOVE.

FALLING WAY, WAY DOWN

I know I promised that this blog wouldn’t be turning stale with a lack of posts, but I’ve been crazy busy and I’m battling a nasty flu bug. I figured I might as well get on with getting a post. That and watch CNN — man, these people are such tools sometimes.

Oh, and why the title? Well, all you have to do is look here, here and here. I’m trying to stay optimistic in lieu of the economy in the U.S. and Europe, but, well, that gets harder and harder. Welcome to March everyone! Snow, cold, RRSP investments seem kind of pointless this year and the DOW’s below 7,000 points for the first time in 12 years!

aig_091608

*sigh* Just remember people — it will get better one day. Obama says so.

Anyway, onto the tech stories:

* The Pirate Bay trial still rolls on and now the prosecution is calling for prison terms for the defendants and creators of The Pirate Bay site. It’s hard to say at this point which way the trial’s going to go — we’ll know soon enough — but still: prison time for this sort of thing? These American movie studios and record companies must be really laying the pressure down hard on the Swedish government now. I suppose they must know a conviction’s not so much of a slam dunk.

* Mobiles have long been enjoying broader market penetration in regions of the world where landline connections are expensive and hard to deploy. The Third World’s now one of the world’s most dominant consumer markets for mobiles. Interestingly, a companion piece to this is how Japan — the most mobile-crazy market on Earth — is generally hostile towards Apple’s iPhone. Makes some sense when you read the article.

* Since a lot of people in my generation and younger are abandoning email now and going strictly Facebook or MySpace to communicate non-time sensitive information, it was only a matter of time before this problem emerged.