|Kingpin: Life of Crime came out right after Columbine and many retailers refused to stock it. It was an excellent game.|
I'm having a hard time with the current debate about whether or not violent video games cause violence. That's not to say that this is the first time the debate has come up. Every few years something bad happens and the bad person has at some point played a video game, and people, looking for reasons come to the conclusion that the video games the perpetrators played are part of the problem. I just don't understand that thought process.
Now I do understand that bad people do bad things. I do understand that video games portray violence. I just don't understand how those two things correlate. I keep seeing articles saying that violent video games are essentially "Murder Simulators". As you can see some of those posts are years old, others are in the wake of the most current tragedy. Video games are being blamed for violence, people don't like violence, some people want violent video games to go away.
These all seem like logical steps. If something causes violence and that thing goes away it's a reasonable assumption think that some of the violence will go away as well. I'm just not sure why something that depicts violence would cause violence.
I've seen lots of things in my life that have caused violence. There have been murders, riots and wars caused by racial bigotry, homophobia, religion, money,and plain old psychopaths. I could see a clear link in what caused the violence. A religion says that abortion is wrong, someone kills an abortion doctor. That's a clear defined link. If that religion wasn't there saying that the abortion doctor was doing something wrong, the murder wouldn't have been committed.
I can't see that same link with video games. At Columbine the perpetrators (and please note I will not be using the names of any murderers in this post. I feel a good reason these mass shootings continue to happen is that the media creates infamous legends out of monsters for TV ratings and webpage views) were bullied in school, they felt like outcasts and they decided on getting revenge on the people who they feel wronged them. That's the cause and effect. If they felt they were treated better I feel it's a reasonable assumption to make that they wouldn't have killed anyone. They didn't kill people because they played Doom, they killed people because they were angry.
However, once it was learned that they both liked to play first person shooters, video games became one of the reasons the two decided to kill. To this day this rational makes zero sense to me. One of the reasons video games became a focus of why the attack was perpetrated is that many people believed that the boys created Doom levels that were mock ups of Columbine High School so they could "practice" shooting their classmates.
This is where we see video games as "Murder Simulators" and by that rational everything is a murder simulator. When I was a child I played with toy guns, I played war, and cops and robbers and Star Wars and an incredibly large number of games that included me shooting, or being shot, by other children. Wasn't that a murder simulator too? Wouldn't it actually be a more accurate murder simulator because real people were involved not two dimensional drawings on a screen? What if they didn't have Doom to "practice" their crimes with, what if they made drawings of the school? Would that mean that paper and pens are murder simulators? What if they walked through their own homes and pretended it was their school? Does that make their home a murder simulator? I would imagine when the two boys walked through the school days before the shooting they were imagining what would happen and planning out their strategy Does that mean the scene of the crime itself was a murder simulator?
Years later we have much more sophisticated video games and the same excuse, that these games are causing violence. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (which i played tonight with a friend) sold over 7.5 million copies in the first 11 days of its release, an incredibly staggering number. If this games (and others like it) are causing violence aren't we all in a lot of trouble?
However, whenever I play a violent video game I never feel like taking what I've "learned" and using those skills in the real world. When I play a game I press a button, or click a mouse and those actions cause reactions on the screen. Sure my Xbox controller has triggers on the back and they work (somewhat) like the trigger of my handgun (Which, incidentally has killed as many people as my Xbox has, Zero) but that hasn't caused me to wish longingly that I was doing horrific things to people when I'm done playing. When I play a game there is no correlation to real life. The "people" I "kill" aren't actually people, and I'm not actually killing them. They aren't real. They're a picture. They're some one's and zero's, they're fake. To me there is no more correlation between killing someone in Grand Theft Auto and a real life murder than there is with me eating a ginger bread man and being a cannibal. A video game is a program that shows pictures on a screen that I interact with, it does so in many ways, some games have "puzzles", some games have "hedgehogs collecting gold rings" and some games have you using "guns" to "shoot" at "people". However, the part that people who don't play video games don't seem to realize is that those "people" aren't real.
Now of course no one thinks that the people in the video game are actual real living people, but if you don't play video games you don't know the detachment I've heard some people think that the detachment is part of the problem. They think that if you can "kill people" without empathy in a game you will be able to do the same thing in real life. The issue is, in real life. people are real.
That seems like a somewhat snotty statement, but think about it for a second. The next time you see a person look at them, they're real. They are physical, you could touch them, you could smell them, you could talk to them, you could be friends with them, they are not a picture on a screen. There is a huge difference. Looking at someone on TV is infinitely different than seeing them in real life. I can tell you that when I "shoot" a "person" in a video game and they "die" I don't feel anything because that "person" wasn't alive. They were a picture. Nothing more, nothing less. If I didn't "shoot" that "person" he wouldn't go on to write a novel, or have a family, or do anything else. Now I can't tell you what it's like to shoot an actual person because if I did I would have to deal with all of those physical and emotional things that go along with it. I would see a real wound in the person I shot, I would smell the blood, I would hear their pain, I would wonder about that person's family, that persons life, because I am an empathetic person. I have feelings and emotions and morals and beliefs. Even if I had to shoot someone to save my own family I would experience those sensations and have those thoughts and it would be awful.
That's the real issue is that some people, apparently, don't care if they have to deal with those consequences. If you're the type of person that can shoot a 6 year old child in cold blood is it really the video game that made you that way? Or the gun? Or the movies? Or the media? Or anything? Or is it just that there was something horribly wrong with that person? How can we think that if we changed one thing in society that horrible things like this wouldn't happen. If a person is capable of murdering children, or classmates, or whoever how would it be possible to absolutely prevent them from doing something horrible. Do we think that if they didn't have the "murder simulator" video game they wouldn't have been able to practice murder? I was able to practice murder with my thumb and forefinger when I was a child. Sometimes I was able to do it with a stick. A bad mind can turn anything into a murder simulator because that's how they see the world. If the end goal is doing something awful, the person will be able to use what's at hand in order to make it happen.
I still don't understand how we even have these discussions, can we please stop worrying about video games, movies, books and television and instead worry about how some people can live without empathy and compassion? I'm quite sure that if we fix that issue, all the video games in the world won't be able to cause such horrible results.
|Photo via tumblr|
I was sent a link today from a friend. A tumblr post about a cosplayer who wasn't treated very nice at Comicon. It tells a tale that most people who are aware of such things have seen before. Pretty woman goes to a convention of some type dressed up as a character and gets treated badly.
As it's usually portrayed it shows the sad state of how men treat women and as the over 30,000 notes on tumblr (as of this writing) show it's a very polarizing topic. I'm glad the young lady got support. This post, however, isn't about showing her support, it's about showing why we need to look deeper into issues than just one persons (understandably biased) perspective.
What this post isn't, is defending the people who treated her badly. Read the article, she dealt with some complete douchebags. The people that treated her that way aren't nice, they aren't people I'd want to hang out with and it's certainly not how a majority of men act. However, I am tired of this type of thing for many reasons that we'll get into later on. For now let me just lay down some of my basic thoughts so you can decide if you want to venture further in my explanation.
1. This woman was treated badly
2. Some of this is her own fault
3. She treated at least one other person badly (Perhaps more)
She's already pointed out that she was treated badly. I don't think that needs to be disputed or discussed because it's not being contested. She did a fine job showing the bad thing that happened to her, so instead let's talk about the last point. She went to (I'm going to assume) New York ComicCon over the past weekend and one day she was dressed as Black Cat. She describes her costume as having "a fair amount of cleavage (conservative compared to many other female comic characters but a good amount as far as what I’ve ever shown)" so we can clearly see she is aware that her costume is provocative which is great. Of course she should be able to express herself how she sees fit. Please note, she is going out in a public place dressed like this, so people are going to react to that. That's just how people work, we see things and we judge them we react to them. There isn't anything wrong with that. However some people are jerks when it comes to how they treat people, that's one of the issues with living in a free society. You take the good and the bad
Now I am not going to speculate on why she decided to wear that outfit because it's not important. Whatever reason she has is perfectly valid and fine. However since we've already determined she was aware her costume showed a good amount of cleavage, and showing cleavage is usually a sexual turn on for people who are attracted to women, I think it would be fair to say she had a good chance of getting sexual attention from some men and women. That does not mean that she wants the attention, though again, she was aware of the partially sexual nature of her costume. It also does not mean that her costume gives other people an open invitation to treat her badly. However, I think it would be fair to say if you go somewhere in costume getting attention would be one of your goals. Given the fact that this woman gave an interview I think this is a fair conclusion (We'll get to the interview later)
As I stated earlier I feel this woman treated at least one other person badly. This seems easy enough when she writes about it in her own blog post. I'll post the block so we can discuss:
I guess I was not surprised to have a couple men ask to pose with me and then do some doofy “WHOA LOOK AT THOSE KNOCKERS” poses. I just make a really ugly face when I see they’re doing it. One guy with the social graces of a lemur said to me “I was this close to wearing that same outfit. My breasts are large and supple and I think it would have been nice.” Nope. Stop talking.Lets start with the guys taking pictures. She's wearing an outfit that she openly states shows over her breasts. You can see from the above pictures (which she stated in her post "is a shitty picture and there will be better ones of my whole costume coming up") that her cleavage is very prominently displayed. From those facts I'm not sure why she needed to "Put on a real ugly face" when guys pointed out her breasts in a picture. She was aware that she was showing off her breasts, she chose to wear the outfit and as we discussed it is a fair conclusion to think she would get attention from this choice in clothing. So what we have here is a woman who made a choice to wear something showing off her body but is upset when other people acknowledge she is showing off her body. How is that fair?
Why do we live in a world where you can dress in a way that specifically shows off parts of your body but other people aren't allowed to point it out. It's a terrible double standard that we need to stop. If you should be able to wear what you want and along with that freedom other people are allowed to comment on what you're wearing. Please note that she allowed people to take pictures with her. If the people in question were just running up to her and doing it, I can see that as being out of line. However if you allow someone to take a picture why do they not get to act in the way they see fit? They didn't assault this woman, they point out that she had nice breasts. She wore a costume to show off her nice breasts. However, apparently, she's the victim.
Let's move on from her picture taking and onto the person with "the social graces of a lemur". She was obviously not nice to this person. Just look at what she said about him. She judged him as being a social pariah but she has no idea if he has actual social issues or is just a jerk. Why is she allowed to judge but he isn't? Not only that but this guy was trying to make a joke but her response is (I don't think she actually said this but thought it_ "Nope. Stop talking".
Ohhhh I see, you're allowed to express yourself how you want but he isn't. You can dress up and you're ok with attention as long as it's attention that you want (We'll get more into this later) but if it's not good attention it's the other person fault. Now I'm assuming he's making a joke (or he really does think he can pull off his own Black Costume and if so, more power to you sir) but why is he not allowed to make it? I'm sorry you didn't like this guy for whatever reason, that's totally fine, but don't you see the horrible double standard? That's not ok. You didn't like the guy, fine, move on. Sorry he isn't up to whatever standard you have, but I don't see why you had to insult him in your blog post for no reason.
As we can see, it's easy to gloss over that stuff because of what comes next. I'm going to keep this part short because as stated before, the guys conducting the interview were assholes. At least in my opinion. However we do need to look at something. Lets start with what she writes:
This group of men from some kind of Stan Lee fan club blah blah internet video channel blah blah asked to interview with them on camera about Comic Con. I said well okay, sure. Camera is rolling. The “host” is a middle aged, rotund dude. It’s an all-male crew and lots of people (mostly guys) were beginning to crowd around
So she, being dressed up, was asked to do an interview with "some kind of Stan Lee fan club blah blah internet video channel, blah blah"... And she accepted. She has no idea who these people are, no ideas what their motives are, what their show is about but she thought "hey I'm down for some press, I'll give an interview" isn't that nice of her.
See the thing is they didn't ambush this woman into an interview. They asked her for one, she accepted and then gave it. You can read about it, the guys asked her some pretty terrible, unfunny questions but it was their vision of what they wanted to ask. See again, they were expressing themselves how they wanted. They didn't treat this woman nicely, in fact they treated her badly but they are allowed to. They followed the social protocol "hey would you like to do an interview?" and then they asked her questions.
This is another problem, the fact that she gave an interview shows she wanted attention. That's what interviews do, someone makes you the center of attention, asks you questions, wants your opinions. Now in this case they were questions she didn't want to answer. These guys were maybe some shock-jockery, they did some sexual innuendos, they asked her what her bra size was, etc. These are questions. This woman has breasts, she is showing them off and they asked her what size they were. Now she doesn't have to answer and it's fine if she's offended. However it is a fair question. They kept harping on it of course because they're assholes and they apparently have no idea how to conduct an interesting interview. She writes in her description of the interview:
A few males start to shout out cup sizes as I stand there looking at this guy like this has to be a fucking joke, then look at the crowd and see that no amount of witty banter or fiestiness will stop making this whole thing fucking dumb. It was clearly a ploy to single out cosplaying women to get them to talk sexual innuendos and flirt with this asshole and let him talk down to them simply because they were in costume and were attractive. Whether I’m in a skintight catsuit or not, I’m a fucking professional in everything I do and I don’t need to play nice for this idiot.Ok so she has now determined that the purpose of the interview was to "single out cosplaying women and get them to talk sexual innuendos and flirth with this asshole and let him talk down to them". See she doesn't think this is nice, and to be honest it isn't. However it might be what they wanted for their YouTube show. They asked you for an interview. You accepted. Maybe you should have said no, maybe you should have asked them specifically what they were going to ask you, because to be honest they have every right to ask you whatever the fuck they want. She states that she's a "professional in everything I do" well no you aren't. Being a 'professional' doesn't mean you give random interviews to people you don't know. You tried to get some publicity and some guys treated you shitty. They didn't start cat calling you across the room, they didn't ambush you. They asked you for an interview. They asked you questions you don't like. Tough. Fucking. Shit. Sure you can walk away. I would have done the same thing if I was being asked questions I didn't like. However it takes two people to do an interview and you accepted it. Maybe next time you don't let some random assholes ask you questions so you can be on YouTube. You are just as much to blame as they are.
Just because they are doing something you don't like doesn't mean they don't have the right to do it. You have every right not to like what they do but you chose to be a part of it. You have every right to walk away, you have every right to be angry but make sure you point some of that anger on yourself. Maybe you should stop begging for attention and this wouldn't be a problem. Again, dress how you want, but don't offer to take pictures, don't give interviews, fuck don't talk to people. You chose those things, you need to take the consequences for your actions instead of solely blaming other people.
In the final paragraph she writes how women should not put up with being treated that way, and she's right. Again, no matter what I've said previously, she was treated badly, but she deserves some of the blame. If you want attention and you get the wrong kind of attention, part of that is on you. If she said no to pictures, if she said no to the interview these things wouldn't have happened to her.
She deserves her freedom of expression but other people do too, and I'm tired of people having a double standard when it comes to freedom.
This article turned out pretty long but I promise the payoff is good. If you can't read the whole thing read the first few paragraphs and then go down to the last screenshot. It's a pretty wild ride.
So I got into an argument about sexism recently. It all started simply enough I was looking at my twitter feed and saw this (I got as many screenshots just in case someone wants to be cute and delete their bullshit)
Lets start with the comic and then move on to the stupid. As we can see we have a gentleman who has seen better days. He's obviously incredibly hurt, close to passing out (given the weird speech bubbles) and nowhere close to coherent. He talks about seeing Wonder Women in his (most likely sexual in nature) dreams and that she's usually only dressed in whipped cream. In response Wonder Woman drops him.
First of all, the whipped cream thing is hack. Yes I remember Varsity Blues, that scene was awesome when I was 17 and internet porn was harder to come by (I know, I know, I'm so old) but by today's standards it's pretty tame. Who's to blame in this small section of comic? I guess I understand Wonder Women being mad, but the guy looks close to death. He said something stupid. I think it's shitty of a super hero to drop someone they are trying to save but she's more than welcome to act how she wants. He said something she didn't want, he paid a price for it. The end.
Oh but no, apparently not. Apparently while I was busy living a productive life some people have decided that finding women sexually attractive and thinking about them in sexual situations means they're sexist. This means that for the last 17 years while I have been a verbal proponent for women's reproductive rights and at the same time being the son of a single mother, husband and father to a little girl I've been a raging sexist. If only I knew.
However I sometimes don't accept what people tell me, and when that happens I ask for clarification. I present you now with part one of our "conversation"
Oh here we go. She linked a Wikipedia article. Specifically this portion. You know the one that starts with "Some Argue." What a great way to make a point. I guess at that point I could just link to this Wikipedia article claiming the holocaust didn't exist. I'm glad I'm finally learning how to be a good debater.
Lets stop for a second and inspect what we're actually talking about. Sexism. Lets look at an actual definition for that word and not one that "Some argue" (If this was wikipedia there would be a little "who?" link next to this and that link would go to the wikipedia article for douche canoes)
Sexism: 1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially :discrimination against women
2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex
Now for all you astute readers out there you will notice that no where in that definition does it add "And if you think about a girl in a whipped cream bustier you're also sexist. Also thinking about something sexual makes you sexist you guys. Man you guys are awful". I'm pretty good at reading between the lines but I didn't see that anywhere. Again, something might be wrong with me.
So I responded, and if you know anything about me the fact that I didn't use any of Carlin's seven dirty words to describe her or her genitalia this would be considered the nicest thing I have ever written:
Some argue that sexual objectification is a form of sexism" ) isn't a trump card. You can't just throw out a shitty link and then go "There you go, I won the argument, there's one sentence that is disputed on wikipedia. Good game loser". That's how a child argues. Or apparently a stupid feminist. I mean read that paragraph, the rest of it talks about how to market body wash. I was tempted to vandalize that part of the article myself but it's already so piss poor that it's a parody of itself. Please note that I didn't call this girl an asshole or an idiot unless she actually edits the Sexism wikipedia page and if she does I can think of a few other things to call her instead.
So of course now that she couldn't win with posting a shitty link she decided to talk about how I can't talk about sexism because I'm not a woman:
There just aren't any words. I want you to do me a favor. Think of the most horrible things you could call a women and insert them below. I'm going to leave a space for it. You just add whatever terrible shit you would throw at a women who speaks like this to anyone. I want it to be special and personal for you so just go buck wild. Ready? Here we go:
Ok now that you've thought of those awful things to call a woman. Increase that by several orders of magnitude and that's what I would have written in that space above. That's where I was when I read that. Now moving forward. Apparently because I'm not a woman I don't know how anything works. I'm apparently the "Default gender" which doesn't make any fucking sense. There are two genders. We're split up pretty much 50/50. I haven't experienced "Systemic sexism" apparently because I don't have a vagina. So therefore I'm not allowed to talk about knowing what the definition of sexism is, even though as we saw earlier it's readily available in any dictionary ever printed.
This is the major problem with people who argue with me. They always assume that I don't know anything because I'm not some specific thing. Oh I'm not a Russian space pirate? Therefore I can't talk about the trade federations ban on intergalactic rum sales. No I guess living in the same world they do I miss every important piece of information when it comes to any argument. I could be the mayor of anti-sexism town and still be call uniformed because I'm just a 'dude'. I want everyone to remember how much she hates guys, because that's going to come into play at the end.
So right after I posted those last responses the girl blocked me. Which is fine. That's something nice about Twitter, I wanted to have a discussion and she wanted to "win" so when she couldn't win due to the fact that I have a functioning brain she decided to take her ball and go home which is a valid strategy. I'm very good at arguing and I would suggest that everyone just leave before they get embarassed. Too bad she was about 3 posts too late.
Now here's the thing about being blocked. She can't read my shit. She decided she didn't want to read what I write anymore. And now we see what a gigantic coward she is because a little while later after I was blocked I posted something. Apparently even though she didn't want to see what I was reading, she logged out of Twitter, looked at my feed. Unblocked me for a moment so she could Retweet my posts and then block me again. An incredibly powerful tool. And how do you know I was blocked first? Because if she didn't block me I would have spoken to her directly instead of writing in general. Here's proof of her retweet:
You see if I wasn't blocked I would have just told her that myself but I couldn't. She wanted to "get me" so she decided to put that on her feed so people could go and attack me. You would assume that no one would do that because there aren't big enough assholes in the world to accomplish such a feat but you would be sadly mistaken. I had already gone to bed, but when I woke up I got a few messages.
Awe everyone look at the cute little white knight. He even CC'd his man hating girlfriend! Adorable. Here's the thing he didn't read anything that happened. He saw what she posted and decided he needed to insult me. He doesn't follow me but he needed to contact me post haste! What a big man he is, and by that I mean he's a gigantic fuck stick. I went back and berated him for a while and then got this:
Yeah no shit asshole, I wasn't talking to you, I don't know who you are and frankly I don't care if you die in a fire tomorrow but you decided to butt in, and when I called you out on it and your bullshit you folded like a cheap tent. I'm 100% for freedom of speech. Don't like what I have to say? Awesome. Think I'm a fucking retard. That's cool. It's all fine. Even his stupid comments don't bother me. What does bother me is needing to attack me because I gave an opinion. Oh sorry I didn't agree with your dumb opinion you better look up some three dollar words in a thesaurus, send me a message and copy in your BFF. You'll notice he didn't CC her on the apology because of course he doesn't want her to get mad at him since he apologized. What a fucking asshole.
Sadly he wasn't the worst. The worst was this guy:
Lets look at his twitter profile for a moment shall we, he writes that he's a " Kung fu fighter, bi-poly kinkster, circus freak, and ruby developer." yup that's right the bi-poly kinkster isn't ok with me having my own opinion. Apparently he can live his life however he wants but if I say that fantasizing about women isn't sexism then I better get scolded. Seriously this guy could not be more of a cunt. He kept telling me about his sociology background and a bunch of other shit. I don't even want to take the time to screen shot it so you can look at my feed if you want to see more of this moron. Eventually he apologized too:
Now I don't want you to think that the hate was universal. I had serveral friends that stood up for me and gave me encouraging words and they all meant a lot to me. I even had a guy randomly message me with his support and I was incredibly grateful. There was just one problem though. I knew I wanted to write about this but I didn't know how to end it. Luckily my friend @Sp0on took up the cause and started talking to the original girl and we had our resolution.
Sp0on, like me didn't understand why thinking about someone sexually is sexism. She had a brief conversation with the original girl and at one point stated that women can objectify men so does that mean they're sexist as well. I think it's a fair quesiton don't you?
Well hold on to your horses folks. Here we go:
Read that again. And one more time. Please? Read it again. Now lets go way back and look at that definition again: "prejudice or discrimination based on sex" now read that definition again. One more time? Got it? This is the most hypocritical thing I've ever seen. Saying that only men can be sexist is and of itself is incredibly sexist. It's meta-sexist actually. It's probably the most sexist thing I've ever seen written.
This is what we're dealing with folks. We're allowing people like her to spout hatred of men and normal human activities like sexual fantasy and at the same time we're allowing her to be incredibly sexist herself. There's a lesson in all of this, don't back down, don't let people push you around when you know you're right, because eventually they'll do more harm to themselves than they ever will to you.
Also: Don't argue with me, you'll lose.
|A typical day in the life of a Doctor of Adventuring|
So last night me and my friend were watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (the third best Indiana Jones movie) and we got into a discussion with how awesome Indy's life is because we both wanted to be Indiana Jones when we grew up. I think pretty much every boy, deep down, wants to be Indiana Jones. He's probably one of the greatest characters in film history. He's not only achieved a doctorate, and obtained a cushy job as a professor but he also travels the world searching for historical artifacts and beating up/shooting Nazis. He does so under the guise that he's an "Archaeologist" but we all know he's just a badass adventurer. He kicks ass and takes names, and that's awesome.
While discussing the merits of being Indiana Jones we made the incredibly common observation "I wonder how many people went to college for Archaeology because they wanted to be Indiana Jones?" The question of course lends itself to the fact that studying archaeology does absolutely nothing in the way of preparing a person to use a whip, fight Nazis and travel the globe committing homicides. I mean just look at this Archaeology curriculum, sure studying "Old World Prehistory" and "Digital Terrain and Watershed Analysis" will help you be an Archaeologist (somehow I'm sure) but I don't think it'll help you break into a Nazi controlled castle to rescue your kidnapped father.
That brings us to my exciting new educational program: Going to College to be Indiana Jones. Going to school to be an Archaeologist isn't going to get you close to becoming a world traveling tomb raider and neither is any current college educational program. This is something that needs to be fixed and I think I have the solution.
The educational system has been good at adapting to the new careers available thanks to the computers and the internet. You can go to school to learn to program video games or you can have someone else go to the University of Phoenix Online for you and get a degree no one gives a shit about, but you still can't become Indiana Jones by going to school. However with my plan a college could create a whole new unique curriculum that will turn the student from an average human being into a world class adventurer who seeks out danger at every turn. Turn them into someone who has the social graces to attend high society events along with the physical skills to swing through ancient temples and out box Nazis twice their size.
Now make no mistake your degree in Adventuring isn't a 4 year program. No one can go from a normal person to Indiana Jones in just a few years. No you can only achieve a doctorate in Adventuring and your final thesis is simply to steal an ancient artifact from a wealthy collector, because dammit those things belong in a museum, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Your Doctorate in Adventuring covers many different aspects of adventuring, from self defense and survival classes to international customs and ancient architecture you will gain a wide variety of real world skills that will prepare you for riding horseback into the desert to find religious artifacts that will change the course of human history.
To start the prospective doctoral candidate will need to take a wide variety of classes in self defense and weapons training because as we all know, whenever you're on an archaeological dig site there is a 100% chance that you'll be attacked by someone trying to steal what you just stole out of a tomb. Students will be required to learn Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Krav Maga and Judo for the hand to hand combat portion of their curriculum. It's important that the prospective adventure be versed in all aspects of standing and ground combat along with a solid base of submission techniques in case they need to knock someone out and steal their uniform in order to infiltrate some type of enemy base.
Along with self defense the early years of the students education will also deal with survival topics. Students will learn all manner of building fires, catching and cooking food, buliding rudimentary campsites, and shelter. In addition students will learn basic firearm, automotive and machinery repair. From field stripping a rifle to fixing a leaking generator all Adventurers must be able to use minimal supplies to keep their supplies in top working order. In your line of work being a professional adventurer you'll be shot at almost every day and you'll be happy you took that three credit course going over 1001 different uses of duct tape.
Finally during your first years studying to be an Adventurer you'll be taught how to wield a wide variety of weaponry. You'll spend hours at the firing range shooting all manner of handgun, shotgun and rifle as well as learning the basics of throwing knives, axes, swords and whips. In addition to traditional weapons you'll take a course instructing you on how to improvise your own weapons. From gigantic wrenches to torches made out of old bones and cloth you will never find yourself in a situation where you can't physical maim or kill people, the cornerstone of any successful adventurer.
After becoming an effective killing machine you will learn need to learn about the different cultures who you intend to visit in order to "obtain" their priceless historical artifacts. You'll learn a wide variety of local customs from places around the world. No adventurer wants to walk into a bar in foreign country and be shot at because they forgot to take off their hat. From required clothing and behavior to knowing which police forces are corrupt and bribe-able each candidate will be able to acclimate themselves to even the most remote and tiny third world village while still being knowledgeable enough to know that 50 dollars is enough to buy your way out of a second degree murder charge.
Next in order to find the rare and valuable the student will need be be well versed in ancient languages and folklore since we all know that every single artifact described in ancient texts is completely real and totally magical. Students will be required to be able to read all manner of scroll, tablet and cave painting along with interpreting vague clues to the location of lost civilizations and sacred sunken temples. After completion of this section of the curriculum the candidate should be able to decipher any ancient scrap of information and be able to determine, within 5 miles and 3 years, its exact origin.
Now that the candidate can effectively blend into their environment, defend themselves against all manner of potential murder, read 5000 year old dead languages they can now begin to focus on traversing ancient ruins for fun and profit. Students will study all manner of ancient architecture with a special focus on trap disarming. Candidates will not only learn through classroom study but will also go through a wide variety of specially built ancient trap simulators that cover all the most basic traps a professional Adventurer might encounter including "Room where the spiked ceiling slowly comes down" and "Gigantic boulder crushes you unless you run fast enough". In addition students will learn which columns of the ancient structure to destroy in order to completely demolish what's left of the tomb when their done with it.
After completing the required coursework and finishing their thesis of "Stealing a priceless artifact from an evil collector" the student will graduate as a Doctor of Adventuring and go on to a life filled with adventure and violence which, in the end, is the goal of pretty much every person ever right? Indy would be proud.
|Above: The true face of evil|
I spend a lot of time thinking about Star Wars. At this point its universe contains about 68 jillion different works. From movies, comic books, novels, toys, cartoons, action figures Star Wars has enough source content to think and talk about endlessly. In the end though if you ask me why I like Star Wars it can basically be broken down to "it has space wizards with laser swords". That's all the justification I need for my obsession.
When you think about Star Wars for any length of time you come to find out that, when it all comes down to it, the whole universe is very cut and dry. The Rebels are the good guys, The Empire is evil and something makes lightsabers stop about 3 feet up instead of going on forever. While the Rebels are the heroes of the stories they aren't the interesting party. The Empire is. The Empire isn't just your regular "keeping the lower classes down while filling the pockets of the rich" type of governmental evil, it's "lets build fucking gigantic death machines that will literally ass fuck a rebelling planet into oblivion" type of evil (Yes, grammar snobs, I meant literally, I dare you to argue that the Death Star doesn't literally create an anus in Alderaan and then blows it the fuck up). That's what makes them interesting. Good people doing good things is what's expected, evil people doing over the top evil shit, now that's a fun topic of discussion.
When we want to talk about the evil shit The Empire does, the Death Star is at the top of this list. The station is the epitome of evil, and if we take it as an entity has committed genocide. While most people think that Darth Vader (or perhaps Tarkin) is the villain of the movie when it all comes down to it the Death Star is really the bad guy. It blows up a planet. It attacks Luke and kills a bunch of Luke's compatriots. Lets be honest it's a gigantic fucking asshole. A moon sized douche bag that threatens to kill your parents if you don't give it your lunch money.
That's why it's the location of one the greatest underdog fight scenes of all time. In the conclusion of A New Hope, Luke pilots a tiny one manned star fighter and destroys the Death Star by carefully guiding a missile into the Empire's vulnerable exhaust port, because in the Star Wars Universe I can make anything into an anal sex joke apparently. Suck on that George Lucas.
The final battle isn't between Luke and Vader, or Vader and Kenobi it's between Luke and the Death Star. One man, a robot and the Force vs a gigantic battle station firing hundreds of laser canons and filled with Stromtroopers. Pretty fucking badass.
What I've been thinking about lately though is what it took to get that final epic confrontation. Just imagine the insanity it would have taken to create the Death Star. This wasn't them taking a ship they already had and sticking a really big laser on it. They had to construct an entire moon shaped structure whose only purpose was to blow up planets. I can't imagine that business proposal was too well received.
The good thing for the Empire was the fact that it was run by one man. In the end no matter what crazy shit Palpatine wanted done the choices of the people below him were "do it" or "get choked to death by a 7 foot cyborg" not a very hard decision. Even so, this wasn't just your normal, run of the mill, dictator insanity. This was "Holy shit our boss is literally creating a weapon that could kill everyone in the unverse" insanity. I can't imagine being part of that project was a very fun assignment.
When you really look at it the first thing you need to understand is the Death Star was FUCKING HUGE. According to the wonderful Wookieepedia the original Death Star was 160 Kilometers in diamater and the second Death Star was 900 Kilometers in Diamater. Can you imagine being the imperial officer whose task it was to get the materials for that project?
Imperial Officer: Yeah hey Stu, how's it going? It's Tom over at The Empire, I need to get some supplies for a top secret project. Think you can help me out?
Stu: Of course! You know I never say no to the monolithic ruling government with no ethical qualms about killing my entire family if I refuse *nervous laugh*
Tom: Wonderful. Well lets see, hmmm first off we're going to need about one point nine quadrillion cubic feet of durasteel.
Stu: What? Is that even a real numb...
Tom: Then we're going to need 60 trillion miles of copper wire, a few billion...
Stu: Wait you're serious?
Tom: Oh deathly serious Stu.
Stu: What the fuck are you guys building? Your own moon?
Tom: .... Whoever told you is so getting Force choked to death.
The amount of material needed to build the first Death Star is almost too voluminous to comprehend. After a little bit of math I came to the conclusion that the Death Star had a volume of 2.1 million cubic kilometers. To put that in perspective the Empire State Building has a cubic volume of 37 million cubic feet which equates to 0.00104772 cubic kilometers. That means the Death Star has the volume equivalent of about two billion Empire State Buildings. How the fuck do you get that built.
Lets just take one part Death Star, the detention block where Princess Leia was being held as an example. The name of the block itself, AA-23, shows that there are, at the very least 22 other detention blocks. Princess Leia was being held in cell 2187 showing at the very minimum there were over 2100 cells in the Death Star but probably countless more. Here is what the main room of the detention block looked like:
This tiny part of the room as a part of a much larger detention block but we can see it has a large number of overhead lights, consoles, buttons, floor tiles, elevators etc. Lets assume that every single floor tile in the entire Death Star is exactly the same. That's still at the very least billions of floor tiles that need to be produced, packaged and installed in the Death Star. Wookieepedia states that it took 20 years for the first Death Star to be completed but even with that much time it would still take billions of man/Wookiee/Fish Monster/Giant Space Slug/Easily Marketed Stuff Animal hours to complete. The Empire would need to conscript every single floor tile maker in the galaxy to produce enough to cover the entire space station, and that's just the easy stuff.
All of those computers not only had to be usable by the human staff but had to be R2-D2 compatible as well. I'm not sure but out of every robot they showed in Star Wars R2-D2 was the only one I saw that had that kind of adapter. It wasn't like they were adding USB ports to their computers it seems like they needed to add custom interface ports for each different model of droid available. There was probably one guy whose job it was to research the interface of every droid and make sure they had a way of plugging into their flying, planet sized, weapon of mass destruction. Actually it was probably several guys because after a few days of doing that I'd swallow my blaster rifle (which coincidentally is the only way to be sure of getting a kill shot).
So now not only is the evil government creating a gigantic moon shaped doom laser but they're also using every available resource in order to get it made. No wonder there was a rebellion. I'm sure after 20 years of not being able to get a replacement for your cracked land speeder windshield because all of the space glass or whatever is being used for the one way mirrors in the Death Star's conjugal visit rooms I'd want to blow up the government as well.
Speaking of which what happened to the economy after the Rebellion blew up the original Death Star? The Empire sunk 20 years and almost unlimited resources into building that thing and after one space torpedo the entire thing was vaporized. Right now on this planet gold is around $1600 an ounce and that's not with the government seizing all of it to build the required R2-D2 adapter ports for 500 million computer terminals. Every resource in the galaxy must have been at all time highs and the middle class must need to take out a home equity loan if they want to put a new front door on their house.
When it comes right down to it the Death Star was the cause of all the galaxy's problems. It was the vanity project of it's evil, insane ruler whose only purpose was to cause other people harm while at the same time crippling the economy. I can't imagine The Empire paid any of it's employees very well. I'm sure some guys who spent 20 years laying down floor tiles on the Death Star didn't get health benefits and a decent wage. Can you imagine the Tile guy wanting a raise? I'm sure The Empire's counter offer was not throwing him into a garbage shoot where he would either be eaten by a garbage monster or crushed to death. I'm pretty sure who would be winning the negotiations there.
Has there ever been a villain in any movie, or even real life that even comes close to the Death Star? It blew up a planet killing billions of people, it destroyed the economy of a galaxy and even when it was destroyed it took with it all of the valuable time and resources it took to make it along with it. We may look at Vader or Palpatine as the villain of Star Wars but that title clearly belongs to the Death Star. Vader might have thought that the power to destroy a planet was insignificant to the power of the force, but when you look at it objectively the Death Star didn't just destroyed planets. It destroyed galaxies as well.
|Food and guns, the most important part of any apocalypse|
Now the guns are the easy part. Purchase at least one firearm, along with ammunition for said firearm and you have basic zombie protection. When I purchased my .40 caliber Glock recently (pictured above), my best friend stated he was glad that I finally had protection because when the zombie's come I'll be able to hold out long enough for him to come rescue my family. He said this because, one, he's funny, and two because he has an AR-15. If the zombie's do come someday, I'm totally going to his place.
The food selection though, that's a bit more tricky. Unless you're going to go for something specifically made for a disaster you're probably going to want to stock up on canned food. Canned food has long been a staple of any deranged lunatic that thinks the world is coming to and end. It's easy to store, lasts for a (relatively) long time and after you open them the lid is sharp enough to use as a razor blade. Well almost.
The big question is what foods do you choose? Do you start stocking up on Spam? Or do you order creamed corn by the case? Well the good news is, I've done the work for you! I've done absolutely no scientific research other than looking shit up on the internet. My in-depth analysis included looking at a few nutrition websites and the Wikipedia article for macronutrients. I can safely said I have done way more research than I should have in the writing of this article.
6. Canned Chicken Breast
If we're going to spend our days in a post apocalyptic wasteland we're going to need some protein (that's macronutrient number one) and chicken breast really fits the bill. It'll give you around 10 grams of protein per serving which is great and chicken also contains vitamin B6 which helps with metabolism. It also tastes halfway decent out of the can which is important, if you've ever tasted green beans out of the can you know that even though it's technically edible it still tastes fucking terrible and no one wants to deal with that shit after a day of foraging and shooting zombies.
5. Canned Salmon
Another way to get a much needed boost in your protein intake, canned salmon tastes good and also contains calcium. Why does it contain calcium you ask? Well because it contains not only salmon meat but salmon bones that look like little vertebrae. Yes you read that correctly most canned salmon come packaged with crunchy little fish bones which not only give the salmon a great texture but will give you extra calcium to boot. Win win! If we're living in the world where there are undead freaks chewing through your skull to get to your brain you better eat some fish bones to make it harder for them to chow down.
4. Pork & Beans
The only item on our list that is actually a prepared food instead of some type of animal or plant pork and beans are a staple of any fallout shelter or hobo camp. The simple fact of the matter is Pork and Beans provide a large amount of carbohydrates and protein while including things like Iron and Calcium. Not only that but pork and beans are 100% ready to eat out of the can. Sure you can just take a spoon and dig into your canned salmon but it would probably taste better if you made some type of meal out of it. Not the case with pork and beans. Bust open the can, maybe apply some heat and you have a meal that provides all 3 macronutrients while not tasting awful. On top of everything else they're incredibly inexpensive. Probably the most inexpensive item on the list. That's why they're a hobo staple and that's why you need them in your survival kit.
3. Canned Tomatoes
Now canned tomatoes aren't the most calorie dense food on this list but at some point we do have to add some flavor to what we're eating. Canned tomatoes are one of the best canned vegetables (yes, they're actually fruits but we consider them vegetables for culinary purposes) available. They keep a large amount of their flavor (I'm looking at you shitty peas and green beans) and nutrients even after the canning process. Heat up some chicken breast and tomatoes and you're looking at a halfway decent apocalypse meal. Add in the fact that it gives you not only vitamin A and C but Calcium and Iron and you have a tasty, versatile food that will server you well in any situation.
2. Mandarin Oranges
Now this was a personal choice because of my total fear of getting scurvy. Nothing could be worse than dying during the zombie apocalypse because I wasn't eating enough citrus fruit. Mandarin oranges are delicious right out of the can. Unlike pears which get really nasty after floating in sugar syrup Mandarin oranges taste better. In fact I'm not even sure if you can buy Mandarin oranges that aren't preserved in syrup. I guess if you really wanted to you could switch out delicious pineapple for Mandarin oranges but again: SCURVY. Fuck scurvy.
1. Coconut Milk
So we've done a really good job filling out two of the three macronutrients. Chicken and Salmon have us covered with protein, tomatoes and oranges are good sources of carbohydrates while pork and beans have both. The one area we're deficient in is fat. Now you've been hit over the head you're entire life that fat is bad. Everything is low fat, or 98% fat free but the fact of the matter is we need fat. It's a macronutrient. Your body needs fat to survive. If you have fat in your diet it will keep you sated longer. Coconut milk is also delicious because it's made of fucking coconut. You can use it to cook with, you can drink it on it's own. It has tons of uses and it packs a ton of calories and fat into every can. It's the perfect survival food.
So there you go. A list of things you can put in your pantry in case the zombie's rise up against us. Or you could just put it in your pantry and eat healthier. In either situation it'll probably help you live a bit longer, and in the end that's what really matters.