Monday, August 31, 2009

Woodstock and the Modern Generational Conflict

The Outside Lands Music Festival is going on in Golden Gate Park as I write this. By no means a modern Woodstock, such a festival does not mark a major ideological shift in generations. However, there is no denying that conflicts still exist. Battles are still fought within families today. However, the topic of the fights has changed.


Woodstock was a music festival that occurred at the end of the sixties. It marked the ushering in of a new generational mindset, more openly liberal than before. Attracting over half-a-million Woodstock_redmond_stageattendees, the festival was a logistical failure, but a cultural success. For many, it was life-changing. It showed individuals that people who had common interests and experiences existed. Ideological clashes with parents were commonplace in this period, this gathering brought together people with common wishes. This was a generation that would never trust anyone over the age of thirty. What has changed?

Forty Years Later

Forty years later, the original attendees of Woodstock are in their sixties. Weeks ago, the fortieth anniversary of the festival was celebrated, and the ongoing relevance of Woodstock was questioned. The attendees of Woodstock are the parents of this generation. Does a conflict on the scale of the sixties still exist? That is questionable. Do small-scale familial conflicts still exist? Absolutely.

Families that have never experienced the counter-culture of the sixties still hold on to socially-conservative values. Immigrant families lack exposure to such values. As a result, there still exists a generation conflict in those families. Unexposed families still deride their children for trivial reasons. Their lack of appreciation that they have for counter-culture is the driving force for the conflict that they hold with their children. 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Sites 37

Sorry for no post last week. I was a slight bit busy. But do expect one to come out this next week.;title;3b The Blind Gaming the Blind. How do blind people play video games? A Simple Method for developing an innovative activity. Live an idiosyncratic life and your envy of others will cease. Living unconventionally and dealing with loneliness

That’s it for today. I’ll see you in a few days with a new post.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Sites 36

The penultimate Sunday Sites of the summer comes with these additions. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods and an economic philosopher, weighs in on the conflict over ObamaCare Facebook represents a huge annoyance to anyone who has over 100 friends. Who are the most annoying types of friends? Click here to find out A bill was discussed regarding language freedom, or the right to speak whatever language one wants to regardless of situation.;title 100 things that the Internet has taught us;_ylt=AjXTRxevy8Fy6REoJcU18a6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTMyaWdqbGthBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwODE5L3VzX29iYW1hX211YmFyYWsEY3BvcwM0BHBvcwMxBHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5faGVhZGxpbmVfbGlzdARzbGsDb2JhbWFlbmNvdXJh Barack Obama discusses dialogue as a means to peacefully avoid violence in the Middle East. FACT CHECK, lies and misinformation surrounding Health Care reform

That’s it for now. See you some time next week on the Information Superhighway.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthcare Reform, Hysteria and Ayn Rand

I am certain that this will be my most controversial blog post. With no doubt important and divisive battles rage on in American Town-Halls, and with good reason. Ideological differences split conservatives and liberals right down the middle on the topic of  health-care reform. Like with past controversies, mass misinformation and hysteria abound, causing many people to make bad decisions in unintentional ignorance. Some Americans angrily shoot down the idea of reform without consideration, quickly saying that it subverts the constitution by being socialistic. As of this writing, several of the most controversial parts of the bill have been removed or considered for removal, such as government-run insurance. 

Mass Hysteria

Take a look at any town hall meeting in America and you can tell that lies are mixed with the truth, confusion blends in with misinformation, creating a caustic blend of slippery slopes and arguments from ignorance. People freely accuse Obama of promoting Nazi-like death-camps, spreading dirty rumors online to confuse others. Flip through the television channels and you will see that, while the same video clips may be shown on the same stories, the words used to describe them remain very subjective.  

This is a very personal fight for all parties involved. Violence and personal attacks erupt from both sides of the conflict. Republicans and Democrats suppress each others ideas to promote their own views. Everyone is passionate for their own views, as the battle between liberty and equality is being brought into question. Silence has become immoral.  Needless to say, this is a time of mass media hysteria.

Fear of Socialism and Randroids

By far the most radical accusation that some opponents have created is that America will turn into a socialist state if reform is made. This is clearly a slippery slope, fallacious and unconvincing, it comes directly out of McCarthyism, the 1950 crackdown on freedom of thought.

Quite possibly the worst part of these kinds of fallacies is that the people who sling them around do not know enough about socialism to understand it and how it will relate to the health-care bill. The most radical opponents of health care reform have been indoctrinated with the pretense that any effort towards social equality are the precursor to fascism. Such people represent the most close-minded of participants in this debate, using the little experience they have with such concepts to brutally attack this bill.

I myself used to be a devoted adherent of Objectivism, the philosophy of writer Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged was my first exposure to philosophy and frankly, it strongly distanced me from understanding socialism. I suspect that same blind belief in capitalistic values is what causes the slippery slopes and rapidly spreading fear of reform. However, this phobia represents only the most irrational and illogical reasons opponents of heath-care reform have. Other opponents have stronger justifications of their opposition to reform. However, such justifications are based off misinformation and being lied to.


"It is clear that Republicans have decided 'no health care' is a victory for them," ~ Andy Stern

Why are we Fighting

The healthcare reform debate is set to be the first strongly divisive decision that President Obama has put forth so far. Such a battle teaches us about other people and the ideologies they hold, that is their interpretation of the Constitution. If we go even deeper into the debate, fundamental questions about human nature are raised.

How important is accurate interpretation to making good decisions?

Why do people grossly spread misinformation to cause others to blindly support their cause?

How does adherence to a philosophy cause an unwillingness to understand different ways?

How should the documents of America’s founding be interpreted?

At the heart of the health-care debate are these questions. To take in the turbulent events of the last week wisely, such questions must be answered.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Sites 35

I was unable to post last weeks Sunday Sites because I was out in Tahoe. Enjoy this belated posting.;title;1 A discussion on the usage of video games as a storytelling medium. How does storytelling succeed with the problem of interactivity? Jumping off this weeks post on Islamophobia and last weeks post on Fundamentalism, this is a great timeline of incidents of religious persecution and intolerance. Does motion control enhance video games? Read on.;_ylt=AiNpvWaC3BncNVoRc6PQ4b6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTMwNmVjdHM5BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwODE2L3VzX29iYW1hX3Rvd25faGFsbARjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzIEcHQDaG9tZV9jb2tlBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA29iYW1haW52b2tlcw—The health care reform battle is intensely personal for all parties involved.

That’s it for now

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Islamophobia grows faster today than any other prejudice still existing, taking the position once held by anti-Semitism. Considering how Americans uncritically view news stories that are fed to them, with no doubt that misinformed fears would erupt. Quickly entering the mainstream, Islamophobia is caused by, and causes, closed-mindedness.

Like any prejudice, Islamophobia dehumanizes massive groups of people, creating confusing stereotypes that damage understanding. Extremes stand out, and, because they are the first to be noticed, they make the first impression upon people.

Misinterpreted and Misconstrued Words

I myself question Evangelical thinkers who tag Islam as a “bloody and brutal faith centered around intolerance” and challenge them to look at their own premises. Those thinkers should very much submit themselves to the same type of scrutiny that they subject Islam to. However, I find that these critics and bashers are very much misinformed.

Reading through the Koran, one can easily notice a somewhat defensive tone. However, like any other religious text, the Koran is not meant to be taken in literally. Without any prior familiarity to the religion, it is very easy to dismiss Islam as an intolerant faith. Although Evangelical pundits might have picked up the Koran once, they lack the level of understanding needed to truly see the Koran through the eyes of Muslims everywhere.

Right-Wing Fearmongering

“When I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see . . . a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children.” ~ Savage Nation


The harshest Muslim-bashing originates from the right wing blogosphere. Writers such as Michelle Malkin, Mike Savage and Daniel Pipes all possess “us and them” attitudes that are obstructive towards peaceful dialogue. Our close-mindedness only incites more violence. Should this fail to change, no progress in peace will take place. I am wholly supportive of free speech, but not when arguments are based off ignorance.

The thousands of readers who rely on Malkin’s view of the world are influenced by her insecure fear-mongering. By doing this, they incite Islamophobia in us, and thus, our ire towards Muslims increases. Muslims react to this type of American bigotry acridly, and the cycle of hatred continues.

The Problem of the Media

The media contributes to the mass suspicion of Muslims. Why is it that when news of an assault made by a Christian, Jewish or Buddhist man comes out, his religion is never highlighted. When a Muslim man assaults a person, his religion and ethnicity is always highlighted. The media, like the blogosphere, is responsible for partially controlling the way people think.

Resisting Change

I don’t expect to change any minds with this blog posts. The adamant ways that people cling to their beliefs in spite of overwhelming arguments against them will always remain. I attempted to discuss this problem with Islamophobes that I know to no avail. They simply choose to ignore the topic, saying that they will refuse to be open towards those who try to kill them. Needless to say, the current mindset of today’s Islamophobes is resistant to positive change.

Ecumenical dialogue with enemies has become taboo. We have grown fearful of “the other”, and we simply refuse to step out into the open to face our fears. Islamophobes must learn that their greatest enemies are only imaginary.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Back Pages is now on Facebook

Give man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him how to use Facebook, he won't bother for weeks!

~ God on Facebook


My Back Pages now has a page on Facebook, feel free to add yourself as a fan.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Sites 34

Yet another small Sunday Sites posting. A really good read, one of the best bloggers out there tells us how he grew into his lifestyle. This ties directly into my previous post on fundamentalism, and check out the page on Yahoo! Buzz and see what close-minded reactions did this story create.