Category Archives: social media

Mental Help and NFTs

I’ve been on a bit of crisis in the past few days. Luckily, I managed to find a therapist that could help me work through the whole thing. I thought that mental health services wasn’t covered by the Korean national health insurance system, but luckily I found a couple of places that are willing to work with it. Many English-speaking clinics here are targeting private insurance companies so they could charge more, making it difficult people to find help.

저는 지난 며칠 동안 약간의 위기를 겪었어요. 운 좋게도 모든 일을 도움이 될 치료사를 찾았어요. 정신 건강 서비스는 한국 국민 건강 보험이 적용되지 않는다고 생각했는데다행스럽게도 함께 일할 수있는 곳을 몇 군데 찾았어요. 여기에 많은 영어를 사용하는 클리닉은 민간 보험 회사를 대상으로하여 더 많은 비용을 청구하여, 사람들이 도움을 찾기 어렵게 지였어요.

The last time I went to a therapist, a Korean doctor, she prescribed me with so much drugs that I wasn’t able to function normally. It was good to be able to freely vent out my issues, but my doctor didn’t really equip me with coping strategies to help me in the future, just drugs to numb me and help me sleep. As for moving on, I had to come up with my own strategies, which, looking back now, I’m not sure was really healthy.

제가 마지막으로 한국 의사 인 치료사에게 갔을 때 그녀는 제가 정상적으로 기능 할 수 없을 정도로 많은 약을 처방했어요. 내 문제를 자유롭게 풀어 낼 수있어서 좋았지 만, 의사는 미래에 나를 도울 수있는 대처 전략을 실제로 제공하지 않았고, 단지 나를 마비시키고 잠을 잘 수 있도록 도와주는 약물 만 사용했어요. 계속 진행하려면 나만의 전략을 세워야했는데, 지금 되돌아 보면 정말 건강하지 모르겠어요.

I’m hoping this time, it works out better for me. Some prescription drugs would probably help me, too. It’s been getting really, difficult to focus lately. I just need some help.

이번에는 더 잘 결과를 바랍이요. 일부 처방약도 나에게 도움이 될 것이요. 최근에 집중하기가 정말 어려워지고 있어요. 도움이 필요해요.

Let’s talk about NFT and art. Well, I’m not going to explain what it is. There’s already enough material out there explaining what NFTs are. What’s disconcerting to me is how much material CBC.ca has been pushing out about NFTs and painting them out as a democratizing force for artists. Did someone at the news organization buy a bunch of NFTs? Are there artists there selling their NFTs?

NFT와 예술에 대해 이야기합시다. 글쎄, 저는 그것이 무엇인지 설명하지 않을 것이요. Internet에서 NFT가 무엇인지 설명하는 자료가 이미 충분해요. 저를 당황하게하는 것은 CBC.ca가 NFT에 대해 얼마나 많은 자료를 밀어 내고 아티스트를위한 민주화의 힘으로 표현했는지요. 뉴스 기관의 누군가가 NFT를 많이 구입 했어요? NFT를 판매하는 아티스트가 있나요?

With COVID and the lack of opportunities to show works in galleries, I’ve been showing a lot of my works online and in magazines overseas. I’ve been participating in online shows and being more aggressive with my own SNS art account. This doesn’t necessarily pay off in more sales, but I imagine it’s what many people are resorting to now. But the danger of having work out there is that anyone can basically just take your work. I’m not heavy into selling prints, but really, if someone wants a print of someone’s work so bad, chances are, they can just take a high quality image and print it themselves. The control and ownership of an image is what makes NFTs attractive to me. I think if it’s cheaper and less environmentally taxing, artists should be marking their works and making it more difficult for people to steal them. Much like people who produce pornography, artists need to protect their work. Art and artists are devalued enough as it is, and works of art are easily moved, traded, and given away online. Something has to change that. Turning works into NFTs will hopefully give artists more knowledge of where their works are outside of Googling their own names or doing a reverse image search.

COVID 데문에 갤러리에서 예술품을 보여줄 기회가 부족해 온라인과 해외 잡지에 많은 예술품을 보여주고 있어요. 저는 온라인 쇼에 참여하고 있으며 제 SNS 아트 계정으로 더 공격적으로 활동하고 있어요. 이것이 반드시 더 많은 매출로 보상되는 것은 아니지만 많은 사람들이 지금 의지하고있는 것 같아요. 하지만 예술이 Internet에 있는 것의 위험은 누구나 기본적으로 당신의 예술을 맡을 수 있다는 거예요. 저는 인화 판매에 무겁지는 않지만 누군가의 예술을 인쇄하려는 사람은 예술의 이미지를 찍어 직접 인쇄 할 수 있어요. 이미지의 제어와 소유권이 NFT를 매력적으로 만드는 요소요. 저렴하고 환경에 부담이 적다면 예술가들이 자신의 예술품을 보여 주기 쉽고 사람들이 훔치는 것을 더 어렵게 만들어야한다고 생각헤요. 포르노를 제작하는 사람들과 마찬가지로 아티스트도 자신의 예술품을 보호해야해요. 예술과 예술가는 그 자체로 충분히 평가 절하되고 예술품은 온라인으로 쉽게 이동, 거래 및 제공되요. 무언가를 바꿔야해요. 예술품을 NFT로 바꾸면 아티스트가 자신의 이름을 검색하거나 역 이미지 검색을 수행 할 때 자신의 예술품이 어디에 있는지 더 많이 알 수 있기를 해요.

Getting into the NFT market however is another thing. Using blockchain technology and turning works into NFTs require gas fees. Last time I checked, gas fees are ridiculously high, and rates are getting worse as the hype over NFTs increases. Say minting an NFT costs $50. If an artist has a portfolio of 50 images, that’s $2500 he’s already lost on art that already exists with no guarantee on returns. And while people say that the world of NFTs is currently the wild west for artists, artists will still need to sell their works based on their names and reputations (not on the quality of their works. More on this.). Smaller and unknown artists will still compete with more well-known and established artists who already have a more comfortable foothold on the NFT market and can afford to turn more of their works into NFTs. It is not spreading democracy in the art world. It’s dividing artists even more and making it more difficult for newer artists to compete.

그러나 NFT 시장에 진입하는 것은 또 다른 일이요. 블록 체인 기술을 사용하고 작품을 NFT로 전환하려면 가스 요금이 필요해요. 지난번에 확인했을 때 가스 요금이 엄청나게 높고 NFT에 대한 과대 광고가 증가함에 따라 요금이 나 빠지고 있어요. NFT를 만드는 데 50 달러가 든다고 가정 해 보겠습면 아티스트가 50 개의 이미지 포트폴리오를 보유하고 있다면 이미 $ 2500이며 반품에 대한 보장없이 이미 존재하는 예술품에서 잃어버린 거예요. 그리고 사람들은 NFT의 세계가 현재 예술가들에게 황량한 서부라고 말하지만, 예술가들은 여전히 자신의 이름과 명성을 기준으로 자신의 작품을 판매해야합니다. 작고 알려지지 않은 예술가들은 NFT 시장에서 이미 더 편안한 발판을 가지고 있고 더 많은 작품을 NFT로 전환 할 여유가있는 더 유명하고 확립 된 예술가들과 경쟁 할 것입니다. 예술계에 민주주의를 전파하는 것이 아니요. 아티스트를 더 많이 나누고 새로운 아티스트가 경쟁하기 어렵게 만들어요.

And yeah, since we’re talking about blockchain technology, I shouldn’t forget to mention that it takes a huge toll on the environment to mint NFTs. Blockchain technology is resource-hungry. I can just imagine thousands of processors working overtime minting virtual objects that may or may not be assets in the long run. People have estimated that minting NFTs takes anywhere between weeks to years of an average person’s electricity consumption. No wonder it’s so expensive! Now multiply that to several NFTs.

그리고, 우리는 블록 체인 기술에 대해 이야기하고 있기 때문에 NFT를 발행하기 위해서는 환경에 막대한 피해를 입히는 것을 잊지 말아헤요. 블록 체인 기술은 자원이 돼지요. 장기적으로 자산이 될 수도 있고 아닐 수도있는 가상 객체를 채굴하면서 초과 근무하는 수천 명의 프로세서를 상상할 수 있어요. 사람들은 NFT를 채굴하는 데 평균적인 사람의 전기 소비에 몇 주에서 몇 년이 걸린다고 추정했어요. 그렇게 비싼 것도 당연헤요! 이제 그것을 여러 NFT에 곱하세요.

My biggest problem with NFTs is that it turns artists into gamblers and treats art not as art but as speculative commodities. Will my work make it big in the NFT market? Who knows? Let me invest some money into it and see. Well, that worked out. Now let’s turn more of my works into NFTs. With a considerable price to pay to get into the NFT market, artists would be more concerned about the attractiveness of their works as an investment, not as artworks. And I wouldn’t blame them. Celebrities could probably turn non-artworks into NFTs and compete quite well against true artists. As of this writing, Jack Dorsey turned his first tweet into an NFT and is selling it for $250,000. And as for valuing and appreciating art. Forget that. They’re all investments now.

NFT의 가장 큰 문제점은 예술가를 도박꾼으로 만들고 예술을 예술이 아니라 투기 적 상품으로 취급한다는 거예요. 내 예술품이 NFT 시장에서 크게 만들 수 있습니까? 누가 알아? 돈을 좀 투자 해 보겠어요. 글쎄요. 이제 더 많은 작업을 NFT로 전환 해 보겠습니다. NFT 시장에 진출하기 위해 상당한 대가를 치르면 예술가들은 예술품이 아닌 투자로서의 예술품품의 매력에 대해 더 걱정할 거예요. 그리고 저는 그들을 비난하지 않을 거예요. 유명인은 아마도 비 예술 예술품을 NFT로 바꾸고 진정한 예술가와 꽤 잘 경쟁 할 수 있어요. 이 글을 쓰는 시점에서 Jack Dorsey는 첫 번째 트윗을 NFT로 바꾸어 $ 250,000에 판매하고 있어요. 그리고 예술을 소중히 여기고 감상하는 것에 관해서. 잊어 버려. 지금은 모두 투자이예요.

“That’s a wonderful picture. It truly is amazing. I love how colors are so surreal without digital manipulation. Is it an NFT? Why not? You could probably see its price quadruple in the NFT market.” And then the conversation turns more into investments and speculation rather than art.

“멋진 사진 이네요. 정말 놀라요. 디지털 조작없이 색상이 얼마나 초현실적인지 정말 좋아요. NFT입니까? 왜 안돼? NFT 시장에서 가격이 4 배가되는 것을 볼 수있을 것이예요.” 그리고 대화는 예술보다는 투자와 투기로 변해요.

I read an account of one artists who said that with NFTs, he earns a 10% cut every time his work is re-sold. That’s great and all, but then again, did he make art or did he just make a commodity that’s traded? What was the point of the piece originally? Did Warhol ever demand or wish for a cut every time someone sells his work? If I sell my work, it’s gone. It’s not mine anymore. I have no connection with it other than it’s birth. To wish for a cut every time something is sold speaks of a weird greed which could be justified by some people, I’m sure, but not artistically.

NFT를 사용하면 예술품이 재판매 될 때마다 10 % 컷을 받는다는 한 아티스트의 이야기를 읽었어요. 훌륭해요. 하지만 다시 그는 예술품을 만들었나요 아니면 그냥 거래되는 상품을 만들었나요? 원래 작품의 요점은 무엇 이었습니까? 워홀은 누군가 자신의 작품을 판매 할 때마다 삭감을 요구하거나 바랬습니까? 내 예술품을 팔면 사라져요. 더 이상 내 것이 아니요. 저는 그것을 만들었는 것 외에는 아무 관련이 없어요. 그것은 어떤 사람이 정당화 할 수있고 무언가가 팔릴 때마다 컷을 원한다는 것은 확실하지만 예술적으로는 아니요.

Recently, investors burnt a Banksy and turned it into an NFT. These people are morons. First off, artwork doesn’t have to be turned into an NFT to have it exist forever. Diego Rivera’s Man at the Crossroads is still studied to this day no thanks to blockchain technology. Also, making or treating art as investments seems to really go against the spirit of what Banksy does. The man travels the globe and makes wonderful art for free. To willfully destroy artwork and turn it into a digital commodity is like ghoulish capitalists turning wonderful artwork into wasteful nerd coins. And no, it’s not elevating art into a different form. The burning of the piece is not art in itself. This is not conceptual art. This is dumb greed.

최근 투자자들은 Banksy의 예술픔을 태워 NFT로 전환했어요. 이 사람들은 바보요. 첫째, 예술 예술품이 영원히 존재하기 위해 NFT로 변환 될 필요는 없어요. Diego Rivera의 Man at the Crossroads는 블록 체인이 없지만 오늘날까지도 연구되고 있어요. 또한 예술을 투자로 만들거나 다루는 것은 Banksy가하는 일의 정신에 반하는 것처럼 보이요. 그는 전 세계를 여행하며 무료로 멋진 예술을 만들어요. 예술 작품을 고의로 파괴하고 디지털 상품으로 바꾸는 것은 멋진 예술 작품을 낭비적인 머저리 동전으로 바꾸는 끔찍한 자본가와 같아요. 그리고 예술을 다른 형태로 끌어 올리는 것이 아니요. 작품을 태우는 것은 그 자체로 예술이 아니요. 이것은 개념 예술이 아니요. 이건 멍청한 탐욕이요.

“Yeah, but Banksy shredded his own art in an auction before!” Yes, he destroyed it to make a statement. The people who burned the Banksy are hoping to start a trend and rake in profits. What’s their statement? “NFTs are now a thing. Come on and invest on NFTs!”

“그래, 하지만 Banksy는 전에 경매에서 자신의 예술을 찢어 버렸어!” 예, 그는 성명서를 만들기 위해 그것을 파괴했어요. Banksy의 예술품을 불태운 사람들은 트렌드를 시작하고 수익을 올리기를 희망하고 있습니다. 그들의 진술은 무엇입니까? “NFT는 좋아요. 어서 NFT에 투자하세요!”

Again, I’m not against certifying digital works and giving them secure signatures. It’ll be nice to have some sort of virtual permanence to digital works. But the way this whole thing is developing reeks of speculation and greed. And when someone says, “anything can be turned into an NFT,” then not only does it lower the bar for art (down to a celebrity’s hangnail), it makes art nothing more than gambler’s token. After all, “you can bet on anything at the stock market.”

다시 말하지만 저는 디지털 예술품을 인증하고 보안 서명을하는 것에 반대하지 아니요. 디지털 예술품에 대해 일종의 가상 영구성을 갖는 것이 좋을 거예요. 그러나 이 모든 것이 추측과 탐욕의 냄새를 풍기는 방식이요. 그리고 누군가 “무엇이든 NFT로 바뀔 수 있습니다”라고 말하면 예술의 기준을 낮출뿐만 아니라 (연예인의 자른 손톱을으로 레벨도) 예술은 도박꾼의 토큰에 지나지 아니요. 결국“주식 시장에서 무엇이든 베팅 할 수 있어요.”

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Hijacking the #MeToo Movement

Good Doctor

At 4:00 am, a couple is having drinks in a bar in Seoul. The franchise is known for its cheap drinks, thus it gets really crowded and tables are often close to each other. Because of this, and because it’s typical of people when they consume alcohol, people tend to be quite loud when they speak.  The couple gets harassed by a neighboring table. They were two women who for some reason started to harass the table. According to the couple, the two women have been exceptionally loud prior to them trying to ruin their neighbor’s evening. The couple decided to leave.

Not long after the couple left, a neighboring table of four men made comments at the two women. The group claims that they asked the women to quiet down and stop harassing other people. One of the women said that at some point, one of the men began filming them. The two women didn’t take this lightly and started arguing with the men.

The argument spilled outside when it got physical. Ultimately, it resulted in the two women getting seriously beaten and the police getting called. Everyone was arrested and now we have two conflicting stories and some people trying to tie the incident with feminism and the #MeToo movement.

I don’t care so much about the insults or the women’s claims that the men insulted them for them for not looking feminine. It was 4:00 am, people were drunk, and I am sure the two women must have hurled equally vile insults at the men. The women claimed that the men attacked them first, however, security camera footage proved that the women were the first to attack the men. I was never on their side, being obnoxious bar patrons, but this puts them in legal jeopardy and provides defense for the men. The men were trying to diffuse the initial situation (being good Samaritans), were initially attacked, and have a good argument for self-defense. The women were proven to have initiated the attack and are bad actors, providing false statements.

Korea doesn’t have a very good record when it comes to self-defense. Usually it is often the one who is most injured that gets compensation, which makes it wise for people to just walk away from a confrontation even after they have been physically assaulted (grabbed, touched, lightly hit) or threatened. There are self-defense laws, but in the country, it is often countered by laws over excessive force. I believe that at least one of the women thought that she could get away with physically assaulting a man and not have any repercussion due to the tendency of people to avoid physical confrontation and the unwillingness of most men to physically confront women. I’m in no way an MRA apologist, but I believe some women DO goad men into what they believe is an unwinnable trap, where men are either cowards for walking away or are monsters for hitting a woman. I think that these two women thought they could “win” the evening or satiate their bruised egos by putting at least one of the men into this trap.

Unfortunately for the men, it doesn’t look good that there are four of them and only two women. The excessive force argument is also pretty convincing. Most people could imagine four men easily defusing the situation with not as much injury. But if you follow that idea a bit further, the question becomes: what is the reasonable amount of injury is enough to diffuse an attack from a drunk and violent woman? You inevitably come to another trap. Are the courts and society at large willing to say that it is reasonable to lay a hand on a woman? In this day and age of feminism, equality, and the #MeToo movement, that would seem like a bridge too far.

It goes without saying however: it is never good to hit women! It is never good to hit people!

But in my opinion, allowing women the defense of being the weaker sex is in itself sexism. The women were proven violent instigators and they should be seen as that in the eyes of the law. The men’s actions don’t exist in a vacuum, and it should be seen as a separate case. The men would appear to be excessive in that early morning brawl, but that doesn’t give the women excuse for their earlier action. The problem is one of the women already started an online petition calling for an end to hatred against women. “The women were beaten up just because they wore no makeup and had short hair.” She is trying to make the case about men hating women instead of men hating obnoxious bar patrons who harass and physically assault other customers. And if they’re claim that men attacked them because they didn’t look attractive enough. Wouldn’t there be more evidence of this behavior? Perhaps other victims of this “gang’s” misogynist attacks, be it physical or verbal?  Or maybe other customers in the bar noting that the men were criticizing patrons for their looks? So far there’s been none. Just witnesses corroborating the men’s accounts and video footage showing that the women attacked first. Unfortunately, it would appear the women already have sizeable support on the Internet, turning the whole thing into a nationwide gender debate.

True sexism and misogyny is assigning the women weakness and freedom to harass other customers due their weakness. Being a woman does not allow anyone to lay a hand on a stranger free from consequences despite that stranger hurling insults. True sexism and misogyny is allowing incidents like this to be under the umbrella of feminism and the #MeToo movement when it has nothing to do with the movement. I’m a visible minority living in South Korea. If I initiated a physical altercation with two people and lost, I cannot immediately cry racism. It would be an insult to genuine victims of racism as well as a disservice to the fight against prejudice if other people took me seriously.

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On Journalism and Everyone Who Practices It (Whether Inadvertently or Not)

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Journalism is noble profession. The problem with journalism however is that far too many people fancy themselves as doing journalism when they’re doing anything but. Either that, or it gets muddled with punditry and people would sometimes no longer have any idea what they’re reading or listening to anymore. Do people who watch Shawn Hannity actually believe they’re not watching the news? I’m sure they think they’re watching the news and not just some college dropout opine about conspiracy theories. And with the rash of news and opinion outlets which cater to every political persuasion, anything that doesn’t fit or contradicts with our own biases could easily be waved off as fake news. The president of the United States does it. My father does it. Even my wife does it from time to time. I myself am not immune to consuming news from outlets that only share my opinion. I often get my news from left-leaning outlets. Probably the most right-leaning outlet I would occasionally watch would be Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, but that’s only because the vileness of the current political climate have left them no choice but to go against their former right-leaning ways.

And one of the reasons why I tend not to consume anything from the right is that it’s often awash with conspiracy theories and generally vile attitude towards others. How the heck did Alex Jones get an audience? Who would trust anything that Jesse Watters says? And that’s just people on TV. There’s a plethora of right wing talkers on the Internet who dare I say are more unqualified to talk about politics and the news but still command a sizeable audience. And this again blows my mind because none of them are funny and witty at all. Without actually informing their audience, I would expect them to either be witty or funny at a minimum, but no, they’re just not. Outside of wit and humor, they just often resort to hate, which I understand is just as entertaining and addictive.

But what’s most ironic is that while the president of the US denigrates and makes villains out of real journalists, many right wing commenters who often cloak themselves in the amorphous mantle of journalism/punditry join in and attack the free press as well. “These are fake news.” “lame stream media.” As if they don’t belong and are not protected by the same rights real journalists are working under. It’s the same way Trump and many of his political supporters attack the government and this fictional “deep state” as if they’re not the ones currently running everything. It is insanity.

Just yesterday, five journalists were gunned down in Annapolis. This was after the president called members of the free press the enemy. This was a day after Milo Yiannopolous publicly opined that he wanted journalists to be hunted down. And again, ironically, Yiannopolous also happens to work for Info Wars and previously worked for Breitbart which would in some ways make him part of that group he wants attacked. And while they all attacked the 1st Amendment, I’m sure it would be that same 1st Amendment they would use to protect themselves from any liability. “I was just kidding.” “It wasn’t serious.”

God bless the journalists who do their job right and do their job well. We all need them now more than ever.

Maybe it’s not the most appropriate example from many liberals because he is a right winger who I often disagreed with, but I always admired how Charles Krauthammer went from Harvard medical school, to speechwriter, to journalism. I wish I had his courage and his gift to write.

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Hostage Families

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Outside of the Ice Bucket Challenge, I cannot think of anything that Facebook has been involved in that ultimately resulted in good. Right now, it’s my main platform for keeping in touch with my family over the Internet, but we could definitely switch over to other ways of communicating if only someone would teach my father how to use WhatsApp (which ironically is another company which Facebook bought).

I haven’t updated my Facebook for years now. A couple of times, hacked accounts have even posted pornographic ads on my wall, and it stayed there for days without me even noticing. I guess like many people, I have outgrown the platform and are now more into other platforms like Twitter or Instagram (again, another company which Facebook bought). It really doesn’t benefit me to distant relatives and acquaintances’ baby pictures or vacation photos. And it really doesn’t do me any good to debate people I sorta know about political issues we both believe we are experts on. That’s what Twitter is for. I get to post a comment and leave it at that. Let some stranger deal with it. I could engage with responses if I want to. It’s different on Facebook when an uncle is telling me on my wall that I’m a communist.

The biggest turn off recently is that what people have long suspected about Facebook has finally been confirmed. Cambridge Analytica was using Facebook data to manipulate elections by feeding people propaganda. This is only one company that was revealed to be using this. Who knows which other companies are using Facebook data and to what end? And Facebook is caught in a true damned if they did, damned if they didn’t situation. Either they were complicit to Cambridge Analytica using Facebook information, or they were asleep at the wheel and let their users be subject to political propaganda. They’re either evil or stupid. And the thing is, the main tool they used to reach their goals is narcissism. It’s a perfect ball of evil. It’s often narcissism that compels someone to maintain and keep up a social network page. It’s narcissism that compels someone to seek out news that reinforces their own beliefs. It’s narcissism that pushes people to share the news with like-minded people. People never do it to inform or change minds; they do it to show how well-versed they are with a subject. And it’s narcissism and boredom that compels people to take those inane quizzes and surveys that Facebook frequently posts, the main tool which people used to collect data.

And to what end? What has Facebook done? Well, at the most innocuous, they sell our data to marketers who in turn sell us more things we don’t need. At its most insidious, they allow companies data to manipulate people’s views and shift elections and policies. Or simply they sell data to companies who will in turn use it to monitor people. Just recently, news broke out that Facebook lets ICE agent track undocumented immigrants and deport them, breaking families apart. Good thing those families have Facebook. Children could use it once mommy and daddy are forced to live in another country.

The most major event I could think of that Facebook was widely credited for allowing to happen was the Arab spring. And even that event is mixed. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube were great platforms to share what was happening out in the streets in Africa and organizing protests. But that was 2010 Facebook and fake news was not as prevalent then as it is now. Also, it is notable that Mark Zuckerberg seems more open to courting Russian and Chinese authorities to the platform as opposed to doing damage control and making sure the platform is an open and welcoming space for people living in the west, where free speech is assumed to be a priority for a company like Facebook. But going back to the Arab Spring, I don’t really think it resulted in progressive change. If anything, it set many people back in Africa. There’s more instability now. Shiite and Sunnis are fighting now more than ever. Col. Gaddafi had grand visions for Africa and kept his country together.

Anything historical or progressive Facebook pushes now I’ll always see with a cynical view. To what end are they pushing this? And if I’m getting this news or political push, surely another person is getting the exact same news but given a diametrically opposite slant.

In any case, I’m depressed enough as it is and don’t need Facebook in my life. I’m already wasting enough of my time doing other useless things. I really don’t need to scroll through people’s Facebook posts wasting more time. Well, I want to sometimes. We all want to see how wretched our past acquaintances are compared to us. We are all small, petty human beings. But I wouldn’t want a giant company to use my evil desires to enrich themselves and further their own evil agendas.

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Stormy Daniels, Slut Shaming, and the Diminishing Returns of Writing about Trump

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It’s very unsatisfying to write about US politics, especially in relation to Trump because whatever outrages me at the moment will soon be overshadowed by another scandal that is bound to come. That, plus with the myriad of controversies surrounding the administration, focusing on one scandal would seem to be doing a disservice to the other scandals/crises which are of equal importance. Just off the top of my head, on March 22, 2018, there is the Russian collusion and Trump’s piety towards Putin where he appears to be bullied/extorted right in front of the world (Putin: Say you congratulated me on my election victory. Trump: Yes, sir.), there is the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal which makes me really want to delete my long-abandoned Facebook account, there is the continuing gun crisis as well as violence against black people, there is the scandal of firing Andrew McCabe 26 hours prior to his retirement, the list goes on and on.

For now, let me focus on Stormy Daniels. There are countless of articles and videos explaining what she’s doing and why she’s doing them. Perhaps she’s doing this for money, exposure, whatever, I’m not really interested in that. She can do whatever she wants, and I really don’t hold it against her for sleeping with Trump back then (he was a goofy character on television). I don’t want to put Ms. Stephanie Clifford in too high a pedestal, but I really do admire how she handles Trump’s defenders and sycophants. Most of them attack her based on her profession and her “lack of morals,” and that’s it. That’s the tired well they keep coming back to. And since she doesn’t really get fazed by people’s slut-shaming, it’s like she’s bulletproof. She just swats their insults off like ugly background noise. And ultimately, isn’t that the nightmare of the conservative male? A strong woman (many of them want to sleep with) who has full control of her sexuality and is unfazed by their slut-shaming?

If Internet statistics are to be believed, the biggest consumers of online pornography in the United States are those living in the Bible Belt. So the same men slut-shaming women who are fighting for their rights, be it the right to use contraception or the right to use their body any way they please, are the same men who probably have had Stormy Daniels cross their screens once or twice when their wives are not at home. It’s a really perverse twisting of self-hate and guilt, and I know self-hate and guilt. I’m a depressed Catholic.

Anyway, it is amazing how so many of Trump’s supporters are willing to ignore his sins while casting stones at Ms. Clifford. I feel like someone should remind them that they’re not married to Donald Trump. They don’t have to live in denial about their partner’s sins. I read one Twitter supporter proclaim that all of Stormy Daniels’ fans are disgusting. This ignores the fact that prior to all of this, Trump was actually a fan of Stormy Daniels, probably one of her biggest fans, enough to send her $130,000. Most men have admired women in pornography before. Many have been obsessed with porn stars. But not many could say they spent $130,000 on one.

In any case, should the whole Stephanie Clifford saga simply just be about her making a name for herself or selling a book or whatever, she’s still coming out of this whole thing not only ethically from a higher ground, but she’s also using a much smarter strategy and employing a savvier lawyer/promoter. She’s never professed to be a good Christian and was never forgiven by evangelical leaders, unlike Donald Trump who has been nothing but a hypocrite throughout this whole thing. If she’s doing this for monetary gain to the detriment of Trump’s marriage, have you ever known Trump to respect other people’s marriages and spouses? Nope. He insulted Ted Cruz’s wife and also McCabe’s. Trump didn’t even respect his own marriages. And really, we can’t really fault her for doing this for monetary gain. Trump has hurt so many people for monetary gain or even just through his public actions (Central Park Five, anyone?). When was the last time Ms. Clifford’s work hurt anyone?

And yeah, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, could teach Trump’s legal team a thing or two about looking sane on television while shamelessly plugging his own agenda. I also doubt if Mr. Avenatti would be paying for his clients sexual dalliances through a home equity loan. Seriously, where did Trump’s lawyers get their JDs?

Well, before this gets too long, here’s to Ms. Clifford or Stormy Daniels. May you get whatever you want out of all of this! I really hope the 60 Minutes special does not disappoint. It’s very telling when the only two people Trump does not attack on Twitter are Putin and Ms. Clifford. Please, live up to the hype. And keep on making Trump supporters hate themselves for wanting to be with you while slowly destroying their orange father figure.

*Update: As I post this, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who had an affair with Trump, is now on television talking to Anderson Cooper about their affair. Also, Trump just tapped one of the chief architects and cheerleaders of the Iraq War, John Bolton, as National Security Adviser. Congratulations, people who voted for Trump because Hilary Clinton was a hawk. As I look back on the entry, it just seems so old now. But then again, I’m sure we’ll be back to talking about Ms. Clifford come Sunday.

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Pizza and Theater

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There’s a reason why people would rather watch Marvel movies than documentaries. Marvel movies, despite their mythology, is far easier to digest and is made more interesting with its fantastical storylines compared to most documentaries. Just the word “documentary” itself would turn off most people. It speaks of the mundane. It almost sounds like homework.

That’s the problem right now. Everywhere, it seems like conspiracy theories and fake news are winning over actual, mundane truth. Call me naïve, but I actually believe basically the story that ‘This American Life’ did on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, that she is basically not very tech savvy and that the whole e-mail scandal thing is due to her need to keep using just one machine, an outdated Blackberry. The story is not very exciting, but it actually fits what I see in real life: older people not being tech savvy and clinging on to things that they’ve gotten used to.

Unfortunately, right now, #Pizzagate is trending on the Internet. According to Internet sleuths, John Podesta’s love for Italian food, as made apparent by the e-mails Wikileaks posted, is actually code word for something else. Because liking pizza is too mundane. It has to mean… I don’t know… something connected to an underground sex ring that the rich and powerful indulge in, along with pizza. Depending on how deep you get, there’s also talks of pedophilia and devil worship.

I like ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and I actually think it’s the best Kubrick film despite starring Tom Cruise, but these conspiracy theorists can’t just leave an innocent love for Italian pastry alone and had to mix it with some Kubrick. Also worth noting is that this is the second time I’ve heard of Hillary Clinton being accused of actual witchcraft.

You see, Kubrick films are far easier to digest than watching Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible.’

The same thing is happening in Korea. Instead of actually talking about the real plausible crimes the current president is suspected of doing, there have been too many stories about secret affairs, hidden surgical operations, children out of wedlock, etc. What is happening right now is interesting enough as it is. We don’t have to spice it up with added narratives.

Even in the Philippines! I argue with people online about Duterte encouraging mass murder. And some people would say that the murders weren’t being done on his behalf, and that they were done by “bad people.” WHO? Who are these phantom bad people? Why are they doing this? To make the president look bad? The president is definitely not looking for any of these “bad people.” Why are some people resting easy with the explanation that “bad people did it”? Is ignorance truly that bliss?

The thing is, following the truth is actually a lot like homework. It’s not very sexy. And like homework, we rarely get what we want. Looking at Trump, instead of the media looking at his dealings with Indian business men or his $25 million settlement with the victims of Trump University, the media was more focused on the sexier, easier to digest story of Pence being booed at Hamilton. Then people start speculating that maybe Trump sent Pence to the theater himself to distract from his own issues. Another conspiracy theory. And again, instead of looking at the homework that is the business dealing s and lawsuits, we all obsess about easy to digest stories and conspiracy theories, then bicker about them until we the real issues are forgotten.

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Catching Up on All Things Old

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So I’m just discovering the beauty of Twitter. Well, I had an old Twitter account which I used to follow people before but I’ve been very active with tweeting. But recently, I find myself tweeting thoughts and replies more often. It’s a great way to just put a thought out there. And it’s a bit of a payoff to see someone share the sentiment. I’m not gonna go crazy about it and start tweeting all of the time, but it’s good to put in my two cents with popular issues now and then, especially since I’m a bit of a news junkie.  (same thing goes for  Instagram)

My wife and I are enjoying Minecraft just now. She’s more into it than me, but I can definitely say that I now understand the appeal. When I first tried it out over a year ago, I didn’t really care much for the interface nor for the unappealing tutorial, but we picked it up at a discount and I’m now seeing why people have gone nuts over it. I’m actively trying not to spend too much time with it since it can suck up hours of your day easily. (Same thing goes for Clash of Clans and Nintendo 3DS)

My Christmas was spent playing mahjong, a game I haven’t played since my teen years. My grandmother taught us how to play mahjong when she stayed at our place back when I was in elementary school. She was bored and needed someone to play it with. Later on, my sisters and I would play it with our nanny, with real money. I taught my wife and her friend how to play. I’m rekindling my old love for the game. It’s good to have an indoor activity where we don’t have to stare at the television, even if it involves a bit of gambling. (Same thing goes for Monopoly)

I started reading more magazines, well, their pdf versions. There’s just something about reading a magazine that has all of the information right there instead of news websites where it’s one click bait article after another (no more loading!). With magazines, it takes a fair bit of dedication to devote space to an article, as opposed to some websites and aggregators that print out badly-edited articles about things that just happened to be popular that day regardless of how inconsequential they are.

I realize this has been a fairly innocuous first entry for 2016, but there’s been a lot of bad news in the headlines as well as with people around. Better to sit back, enjoy the mundane, and count our blessings. God knows, we have the rest of the day to be paranoid about our existence.

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Inktober is for Jerks

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Being an artist who mainly does ink drawings, it’s a bit odd that I’m missing out on Inktober. I’d like to blame Jake Parker, the man who created Inktober, for not listing Rotring pens as one of the best ink drawing tools. If he can’t recognize the superiority of the German rapidographs over any other technical pens, then the man must be insane and the movement a sham. Sure, Copic Multiliners and Pentel Pocket Brush Pens are good, but that’s if you’re a child. If you’re a grown man, you use Rotring rapidographs.

Actually, the real reason I don’t do Inktober is that I already draw almost every day. That and I don’t really maintain my Facebook or Instagram account that much. Despite the occasional good that we get from social platforms, I really think that Facebook is a cynical sham built on a foundation of narcissism and the desire to peek into your ex’s life. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I’d rather not provide a multi-billion dollar company personal content for free (or at least try to limit my use of it).

In any case, any movement that gets people drawing more is good with me (despite the misleading title). At least it’s better than Movember, when people grow hipster mustaches and don’t bother donating to cancer research or getting their prostates examined. Less hipster, more drawing please.

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