What We Have Here…is a Failure to Commune with Kate

I started this blog ages ago…and really haven’t done much with it; I think it may be time to correct that.

Those of you familiar with my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/BionicDance) may’ve notice that it has gone a bit neglected lately, too.

There are reasons for this, chief among them is that making videos takes a lot of effort: I have to drag my computer and camera over to the greenscreen, set up the microphone and soundboard, download the video I’m going to respond to (and possibly convert it to a format my editing software likes), make the background images that I’ll be chroma-keyed into, spend the next hour or more recording my responses to the points made by the other person’s video, make a suitable thumbnail for YouTube, then process the resulting response video into a format and size suitable for uploading to YouTube, which I then have to do. And sitting on the floor—even with a pillow under me—really starts to hurt my ass after a while.

But the other reason is because, let’s face it, I’ve said everything there is to say at least eight times. I’ve heard other YouTubers stop making videos for the same reason: they’ve said everything there is to say, and they’re bored. The only reason I’ve gone this long is because there is still a fight to be fought; religious people are still hurting others, still trying to force their beliefs on the rest of the world…and that’s Not Okay™. I repeat myself because there is still a message that needs saying, and the more people it reaches, the better. And the message has to stay fresh and current; if you leave your old videos up and expect those to be seen by people, you’re fooling yourself. New content is how people find you and what you have to say.

Another reason is that I originally started my channel as a place to showcase my animation; those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning may remember “Rational Station”, the animated series I did that was my first foray into debating religion. Well, I have been wanting to get back to animating again, which is a lot of work, and is taking up a lot more of my time now.

So, with all of these various factors, I’ve just not been motivated to make more vids recently. And the few I have made have been more about science fiction, animation, or both, rather than atheism and religion. 

I sincerely hope my viewers, my subscribers, understand. And if some religious nutjob says something heinous enough, I’ll definitely jump back into the fray. But for now…I need some time off, and a chance to work on my art.

Thank you.

asker

wejustvisitinguniverse asked: So when do you think religion might end or will it get worse

I’m not sure that religion will ever actually end…but I’m not sure it’ll get worse, either.

I think there is a chance we could end up where religion—the mainstream religions—are treating much the same way we treat people who meditate with crystals and incense: sure, the public thinks it’s silly, but really, what power do they have?

When I design my fighting robot-mech that’ll fight the religious zealots trying to take over the planet, it’ll have lasers, plasma cannons, and missiles that can be fired from its upper legs.


I’m going to call it “Blast-Femur”. 

Apparently I’m a Romulan…

Has everybody but me just forgotten how to communicate?

…no, seriously.

I’ll ask a question, a very straightforward question. Let’s say, for example, I’m trying to accomplish a goal. But I lack a component, or I don’t know how to do something in order to accomplish it, and I need to ask somebody for advice. So I’ll ask a question like, “Hey, I’m trying to do X, but I don’t have or don’t know how to do Y; can you direct me to the appropriate resource in order to continue to proceed toward accomplishing this goal?”

…and SOMEhow this gets construed as, “Please tell me an anecdote from your life that is vaguely related to the goal or the component, but which will in no way actually help me to get any closer to my own goal.”

And that’s just one example; it seems as though anything I say gets a gazillion extra things read into it, loaded down with baggage I never intended, far more than it ever used to. I’m a pretty straightforward person, so this gets pretty frustrating.

And I can’t help but wonder…what happened? Because I don’t think my manner of speech has changed, but to think it’s the rest of the world gone bonkers is, well, bordering on hubris. I have to admit that. And yet…

One friend of mine just thinks it’s me being too smart for the rest of the world. I took an IQ test recently, and it came up 133; that’s barely one point above the minimum requirement to join Mensa, the high IQ society.

Another friend thinks I’m just plain not human…which I kind of suspect myself, more often than not; I’m adopted, and many adoptees feel like we don’t fit it, and like our parents—our birth parents—are space aliens from another planet who will one day come swooping down in a spaceship to take us back to the homeworld. Well, this friend thinks I’m a Romulan because I respect logic and reason, but I’m also still passionate.

I guess I can see where he’s coming from.

In any case, I find I understand humanity less and less; communication just seems more and more difficult as time goes on, and the fault doesn’t seem to be on my end. I wish I knew why, what was going on. Weird.

One thing I haven’t done in a long time is any creative writing. Fiction.

I just either haven’t had the time or the stories in my head just didn’t seem to want to come out or whatever. But last night I decided to finally do it again, to start writing.

I’ve had this…idea in my head; not a full-on story, just an inkling of an idea, and I felt it was time to finally get it out. As most of you know, I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd. Well, I’ve had this idea for an alien race called the Ikakurog; they’ve been in my head for a long, long time…I’ve been developing their culture, their language, their history, all kinds of things, and they’ve changed a lot over the years. I’ve always meant to write a story centered around them somehow; they were going to be part of my old webcomic, The Adventure of Kanira Baxter, but when that kind of died on me, well, I never really got around to putting them in.

Well, now I’ve got this story started. I guess we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Childhood Lessons…?

Yanno, one thing that has always bothered me has been some of the lessons that had been imparted to us as children in the form of fables or fairy tales. Many of them always seemed just a bit…off-kilter.

I think the one that bugged me the most was The Tortoise and the Hare. See, the lesson in that one was that “slow and steady wins the race”…but it always seemed to me that the lesson really ought to be “don’t be an over-confident douche”.

I mean, c’mon…a rabbit and a turtle are racing each other, and rabbit is way the fuck out ahead, which is the obvious outcome, right? So what does the rabbit do? He takes a nap.

That’s right. Instead of just crossing the finish line, proving he’s best, he decides to be a dumbfuck and rub it in the turtle’s nose that he’s faster by going to sleep. “Aww, I can cross the finish line any ol’ time,” he figures. “I’ll just give that turtle a big ol’ neener-neener and sleep right here, then cross the finish line just as he’s about to, to taunt him!”

Uh-huh…except he over-sleeps, and the turtle manages to cross the finish line just before the bunny, apparently proving that “slow and steady wins the race”.

Except that, had the bunny not been a jackass about it, he would have royally kicked the turtle’s ass. 

So what kind of less is this, really? What are we teaching our kids? “Don’t worry,” we’re telling them, “if you royally suck at life, it’s fine; your enemies will totally drop the ball for you, and you can kick their asses at the last second. Nobody will ever take advantage of you. All you have to do is work hard.”

…really? REALLY?

And, come to think of it, what kind of lesson does this story send to people who are good at things? I mean, what if, in life, you’re the rabbit? Does the story have a lesson for you? Hell, look at nearly every kids’ movie out there…it’s always about the underdog; have they ever made a movie about the badass? I bet there are kids out there who are really good at things who need life lessons too. Like not picking on the weenie kids, or not being over-confident. But the focus is always on their victims, never on them; the protagonist is always the bully’s target.

And that’s just one story. If I really think about it, I’m sure I can come up with others that bug me. Seriously, childhood stories, fairy tales, fables…they’re pretty messed up sometimes. If you think about ‘em.

Not Religion…But Magic!

One thing I find that I actually can relate to with regard to religion is the wish. You know…actually wanting it to all be the case, to be true. To have something more than this mundane existence we’re all living through, some magic in the world, something special like in the movies, or the books we read. That’d be nice.

I mean, goodness knows that I’ve been a Star Wars junkie since forever; even if the Force didn’t exist, I’d give a left bodypart to live in a universe with that level of high technology. I mean, seriously, where are my flying cars and bubble cities, my hyperspace-capable spaceship, right?

The problem is that the religious have taken it way the fuck too far. They’re like that one fanboy who cosplays 24/7, or who learned Japanese to watch anime without subtitles (but who otherwise never uses it), or who had their ears surgically pointed to look like Spock or an elf. Even if we don’t know someone like that personally, we’ve seen them in a documentary; fans like that exist…and that’s who the religious remind me of. They’re god’s psycho-fans.

…and, unfortunately, there’z a lot of them.

If only there were some way to remind them that—like every other book—it’s just a story. Oh, maybe it has a less or two in there worth knowing (though many of them are actually quite horrible), but the bits about magical sky fairies…? C’mon. Why should believe that any more than, say, Rapunzel? Or Indiana Jones?

Honestly, sometimes I think the only reason religion isn’t classified as a mental illness is because there’s a lot of them, and they’ll make a fuss.

Geekery Dilemma

So, when I was younger, I went through what I suppose is the inevitable anime phase; some people never grow out of it, some people do, but it seems like almost everybody goes through it at some point in recent generations. (I could get into why I stopped watching anime, but I have a feeling those reasons might piss off a few “Dragonball Z”, “Pokemon”, and “Sailor Moon” fans, and I don’t really wanna go putting out those fires, so let’s just leave it at that…)

Really want I want to talk about is this: I mentioned in a previous post that I like to combat Attention Deficit Disorder by filling the gaps in my attention with movies. But I also like to watch anime in the original Japanese…of which I only speak the tiniest smattering, not nearly enough to have an anime on without subtitles. And, unfortunately, most English-language dubbing is wretchedly bad.

So what is a person to do?  It’s as though anime has been made into a form of entertainment which must be given one’s undivided attention…or not watched at all. At least for me, anyway; obviously my specific circumstances have a lot to do with this.

Still, it’s a bit of a geek dilemma; I do still have several anime I like to watch, even though I’ve fallen out of the fandom. So…what do I do?

TO VICTORY!!!

I’ve been involved in a lot of debates online, believe me. And there is one tendency I’ve noticed in people that, frankly, often makes one want to pack up one’s toys and go home. Cuz the other kids don’t play nice.

It’s a desperate need to win, regardless of the truth.

This can come in many forms, this debating style, but the one thing it doesn’t actually do ishelp move the conversation forward in any meaningful way…yet it seems to be preferred among many, if not the vast majority of netizens. And it can be awfully frustratingly counter-productive.

I’m almost hesitant to describe the techniques because I’d hate to provide a How-To Guide for budding assholes, but it’s worth it to explain what one sees from time-to-time in order for others to spot it.

For example:

  • Misconstrue what you say, or infer things you hadn’t said from what you had, then refuse to listen to clarification, insisting you defend their misinterpretation.
  • KEEP THIS UP! So long as the other side has to keep putting out the fires of your misunderstanding, you never have to defend your side of the argument.
  • Deny the importance of context when discussing which definition of a word is relevant, insisting a definition which supports their view but which otherwise has little or nothing to do with the topic under discussion is the correct one to use.
  • If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them will bullshit; throw hard-to-check statistics at people from not-terribly-credible sources, then demand they defend their position against it.
  • When all else is lost, make fun; sometimes even the best, most fact-based argument will lose against a damn good taunting.

Personally, I don’t mind having my position changed—even being shown wrong—if someone does it in a civil, reasonable, and fact-based way. Heck, I just took time out from writing this to say, “Gosh, I never thought of it that way, but you have a point!” to one of my YouTube subscribers who’d left a comment on a video.

But I will dig my heels in when confronted with rudeness, and I will never change my mind if the facts aren’t on your side. You see, it’s not about winning…it’s about finding the truth. 

And yet, it’s odd to me how many people see unable—or is it unwilling?—to distinguish between the two…