Worst Video Game Ever

Leave it to a nutcase like me to come up with a game about office management of all things.

Seriously, while I was at work I thought to myself, "Hey, an interesting game would be one where you manage a software engineering project from start to finish, assigning engineers to important tasks based on their abilities, ratcheting up pressure through your managers, dealing with unexpected events and failures, and avoiding engineer burnout!"

I think I'm going to go into a corner and sob.


Information Ages

My father, in response to my previous entry on Iran, made the insight point that a key difference between his generation and later ones is how we view democracy. His generation, he says, had an idealized notion of democracy, whereas ours is highly cynical and even fatalist regarding government. I have theories as to why this is, and why this is likely to continue for some time.

Take, for instance, the recent insistence of republicans that the current clamp down on Iranian protests and their subsequent use of social networking tools such as twitter is akin to what republicans have been doing during the Obama presidency. Statements such as these represent a fundamental failure to understand the basic functions of how the world works, or at least to put enough effort into ascertaining the facts of a situation to make a clear, level-headed assessment.

It's this latter possibility that highlights the generational gap. How we process and acquire information is fundamentally different. The new generations are growing up in an era where all the information they could possibly need is at their fingertips. In such an era, it's fundamentally baffling as to why any of these responsible, important people are able to so consistently get fundamentally obvious and crucial facts wrong. They may be busy people, but at least their support staff could have looked it up for them, right?

At this point we're experienced enough to know that most often people fail to ascertain the proper facts of a situation when they have a vested interest in a reality that is unaffected by those facts. Whether this is emotional or financial, the interest precludes proper judgement. So, when we see politicians arguing that it isn't the nicotene in cigarettes which causes cancer but the smoke, ignoring the fact that the contentions concerning nicotene have nothing to do with cancer but addiction, we have to wonder whether they're stupid, emotional, or financially tied to organizations who have an interest in the outcome of the legislation.

This is the source of the cynicism and fatalism. We know so much about the world, its people, and its awe inspiring wonder, and yet leading us are buffoons who can't tell the difference between climate change and weather change. We want to be rid of them, but we feel it's futile because there are so few of us compared to the generations that came before who voted these 5-6 term senators and representatives into office year after year.

Of course, our cynicism along doesn't account for the amazingly voter turnout numbers. Even in last year's amazingly heated election, nearly half of all voters never reached the polls. Voter turnout is barely a third of all possible voters in gubernational elections. This all started before I was even born.

I can only explain, in part, why my generation doesn't seem to care. Why most of the country doesn't seem to care except for presidential elections (and in 1996 even then), I can't say.


On Iran

Iran is currently in a state of chaos. The results of their election, currently being contested under suspicion of fraud, have literally filled the streets with angry protests. There have been clashes with riot police, clashes with loyal supporters of Ahmadinejad, blood, tears, and fires. In short, social uprising.

First and foremost my heart goes out to the people of Iran. The tumult they find themselves in is surely frightening, dangerous and ultimately pivotal in how they may lead their lives over the next decades. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Secondly, these events throw numerous others on US shores into sharp contrast. From the Tea Party protests to the anger at AIG and similar institutions responsible for our economic collapse, a new light is clearly shed on their meaning and relevance.

For those of us who bother to keep tabs on the balance between Republicans and Democrats, the Tea Party protests represented a weak, pitiful attempt on the part of the former group to assert they had grass roots support and legitimacy on a level equal to or greater than Obama. The narrative they attempted to convey was that there was growing, angry opposition to Obama's socialist policies that would boil over into a political revolution.

Today we can see what a political revolution looks like, and it is impossible to do so without observing how little resemblence there is to the Tea Party protests. Revolution is infectuous, massive, and immediately garners forceful responses from those who oppose it. There is blood, violence, hope, despair, and most of all chaos. The entire country of Iran worries as to the outcome of these protests, no matter what their affiliation or beliefs.

Looking back as newcasters proclaimed the Tea Party protests a revolution, it seems at best a joke. One can declare a top a carousel because it spins and all that is proven is one's ignorance.

But that ignorance is important because it isn't limited to Fox News, conservatives or Republicans. The American people, as a whole, have forgotten what revolution is after nearly 250 years of independance. We have been so tamed by our freedoms that the idea of simply protesting something seems revolutionary. Consider the following quote:

"You know, you look at other countries, when they get upset they actually go on strike, they have riots. We just kind of send off e-mails in capital letters."

Jon Stewart touches on an oddity of American politics. For all the vitriol thrown about between parties and sides, however much ire one can draw from friends and coworkers over differing political views, few people put even a modicum of effort into expressing that intense emotion in a concrete fashion.

The massive economic collapse would, one thinks, have easily produced similar, massive demonstrations against the corrupt, disconnected executives who spearheaded our current situation. While we elected a very different president than our previous one, the uprising hasn't happened. Are we naturally more peaceful or naturally more apathetic? I have no special insight here.

Regardless, the American Revolution has long since ended, its memory faded despite frequent invocations. Revolution is not inherently good; the barriers and structures it destroys are not always deserving or necessary. However, it is a truly American quality to cherish and desire revolutionary spirit. One wonders where it has gone.