Monday, November 20, 2006

The Cut-throat world of Chuck E Cheese's

Ashley and I took Samantha to Chuck-E-Cheese's the other day. Normally I don't mind the place. Sure it's obnoxious, but it's skeeball and pizza, two things that I happen to like. It was on this occasion that something occured to me. It's something I had realized as a child but didn't really put togeather what exactly what was going on. You see, we went on friday night and as such it was very busy. We've gone with Samantha a few times over the past couple of years but it was usually during the week and not busy at all. What I realized (stay with me...hear me out...) was that Chuck-E-Cheese was a microcosm of the adult world. At first I thought it was just the corporate world that it resembled, but the analogy can apply to all of it really, and I'll explain how. It hit me when I was waiting in line behind some kids to play skeeball. I was polite and patient and I gracefully waited my turn. I should have known that the kids wouldn't behave as such as they kept just walking up and cutting in front of me. At first it pissed me off, but they're kids; I can't exactly scold them for cutting in front of an adult to play a game at what is cleary an establishment for children. But then I saw these kids cutting in front of other kids that, like me, were waiting patiently to play the games (which brought back wonderful memories of my own experiences at the exact same place). The first thing I did in my mind was jump up on my high-horse and think to myself that us adults know how to behave properly and these kids need to be tought a lesson. Then something else happened in my almost sounded like the laugh track from Three's Company slowly creeping from my sub-counscious into my counscious mind. Us adults don't do that? I can't remember the last time I was at the grociery store or the pharmacy and some jackbag didn't try to muscle his way in front of me in line (it's usually meatheaded men or really old women). Then I noticed other things going on, kids were stealing tokens from other kids cups, they were stealing tickets that other kids had won. One kid even stole some of my french fries (but in his defence he was like 3 and I think he thought his mom had ordered them). All this behavior was rampant, but what was most rampant of all was the blatent cheating. Mostly with skeeball, but with the soccer ball kicking game and others as well. And were the parents there teaching their kids to play fair? I didn't see a sinlge parent correct their children. So, what was all of this lying, cheating and stealing for? Prizes of course. Peaces of crap that they didn't need. How much of this sounds familiar? All of it I'm guessing. This kind of behavior is commonplace in both the working-class and corporate world. Taking short-cuts, lying to employees, customers, and the public . I'm sick of this attitude that something isn't cheating if you don't get caught. I'm sick of it from kids, people, and corporations. I'm sick of children being tought that it's just the way the world works and you better learn to do it better than the next guy or he'll get a bigger house than you. The world is what you make of it, and I don't think the entire world is like this. We've gotten it burned into our culture's psyche that this is the way it is, and that you have to play the game before the game plays you. This isn't ok. This isn't life. I fully submit that it may be in our nature to be this way, but that we are smarter than this. We can be above this. We can take a stand and say no matter what the outcome, no matter what the other guy is doing, that we're not going to be cheater, the theif, or the liar. We can do better.

(It's late, this is a rough-draft...I will spell check and proof-read tomorrow)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Damn straight, fucker.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scientific Rationalism & Man With Mustache

The first thing I want to mention today is the most brilliant podcast out there right now, it's called Point of Inquiry. It's a science-centric show focusing on, as the host of the show puts it, "Asking the biggest questions of the day through the lens of the Scientific viewpoint". Other than issues directly relating to Science, it also desls with social and political issues, again from scientists' and rational thinkers' points of view. There is a guest each week, what initially brought my attention to the show was the recent interview with Richard Dawkins. So check it out, it's Point of Inquiry, subscribe to it with itunes or download the mp3s directly off of the site.

The other thing I wanted to mention was Entertainment Weekly. A few weeks ago they had a picture of the now familiar character Borat (played by sacha cohen) on the cover with the words "Has this man made the funniest movie ever?". Inside the pages were glowing reviews of movie, interviews with Cohen and so-on. They were kissing Borat's ass basically. Then, this week a rather large article appears in the magazine days before the movie is set to release, slamming the movie and telling everyone that it's going to flop because the studio over estimated the internet-buzz of the movie exactly the way they did with Snakes on a Plane. I'm not quoting exactly here, but it also said something to the effect of "When is hollywood going to admit to itself that internet marketing just doesn't work?". Now, lets review the reviews. Snakes on Plane: 69% on the tomatometer, while still considered "Fresh" 30% of those reviewing it still gave it a negative review with average overall rating being 6.2/10. Borat: 96% on the tomatometer with and average rating of 8.3/10. As many of you might know by now, Borat completely blew out all studio and media expectations and opened with 26m (it was expected to open in the 10-15m range and place 3 or 4th). The reason for the low expected take was that Borat was only opening in about 800 theaters this week, that's about 1/2 to 1/3 of what the other major releases that didn't fair nearly as well opened in. So EW, backpedaling and not wanting to look like asses they way they did when SoaP "Flopped" after they too had gotten caught up in the hype (I put 'flopped' in qoutations because it's a relative term, the movie still made a tidey profit), recanted their praise of the movie at the last second because they found out about the initial low theater count.

Did EW not look at or even care about the reviews of the 2 movies (SoaP and Borat) before shooting their mouth off? Does that not matter any more? Sure, plenty of great films go unnoticed by mainstream audiences all the time, but the usually have one thing in common: They were not made for mainstream audiences. So, did EW think that nobody was going to go see a movie that was obviously targeting the mainstream and had the best reviews of the year(96% has been the best tomatometer score for any film this year)? I don't know what it is about moive-market anaylsts and their gloom-and-doom predictions, but they don't seem to be based on anything like common-sense. Did I think SoaP was going to do a little better than it did? Yes, but not by much, because I saw the reviews ahead of time and they were luke-warm at best. Did I expect Borat to do better than SoaP...honestly, untill EW's article I wasn't really compairing the two, but I expect it to do well considering the reviews.

Thursday, November 02, 2006