Monday, May 25, 2009

Naked Man in the Tree

Naked Man in the Tree is a blog that has nothing to do with World of Warcraft. It's also one of my favorite blogs to read, as it doesn't contain 30 second blurbs about what he fed the cat this week, but contains LONG, usually very insightful posts about a full range of topics. So if you're looking for an optimal DPS rotation today, sorry to disappoint. If you're looking for something online to sink your teeth into, then by all means, let's take a closer look.

Following that glorious introduction, I'm sad to announce that his most recent post doesn't sit very well with me. His posts are usually chock full of well researched information, but his most recent post kinda fell apart in the middle, and he got kind of worked up and emotional about the subject matter. Hell, I went off on a full tirade recently for a post called 'Preachy Douchebag is Preachy', so it's not like I'm above it, but I don't pretend to be any sort of intellectual. I only mention this because if you go off and read that one post, it may leave a sour taste in your mouth. I've read a good chunk of his archive since discovering him, and am willing to take it in stride. I'm kind of coming off as an asshole here, but it's because I respect him, and hold him to a higher standard. He's passionate about what he writes, and that's a good thing. I'm going to rattle off a few links in this post, but again... this isn't something you just go check the link to and then come back to finish my next sentence. All of his posts are worthy of printing out, and taking to bed with you to read before going to sleep. I loaded a few up on my mp3 player as plain text files and read two or three on the bullet train to Tokyo for my wife's visa a week back.

His early posts tended to be 'the big things'. One word topics like 'Religion' or 'Population'. Others put a few of the big words together: 'Racism and Dehumanization'. All of them are written from his own personal standpoint, so many aren't trying to be unbiased views on the subject. This, to me, is what blogging is. This is the big picture, the new media everyone is crapping their pants over. Here's one guy (a twenty something teacher in New York) posting his views in an intelligent manner, and I had never heard of him until just recently. This isn't Oprah. He doesn't have a late night talk show. He has, and he makes me feel like an idiot for wasting my time blogging about warlock SL/Felguard specs.

Then again, that's who I am. Regarding politics, or religion, or huge issues facing the world, I really just don't get it. I feel like the religious of the world are living out in their own little universe out on the fringe, arguing for Intelligent Design in classrooms, and it just makes me roll my eyes. Politicians will do whatever the hell they want to do, and I really honestly feel like there's no point in getting worked up about it. That is my honest to god belief ...and yet I don't actually believe in god... so how silly is that? His most recent entry is one about the oceans, and it's an important subject. Bottom trawling of the oceans is totally fucking up the coral reefs, wiping out entire species of fish, and we're basically just fucking ourselves, and will feel the effects in our own lifetimes, but none of that shit can honestly be stopped. He gets upset in the middle of the post, and goes into CAPSLOCK to drive home certain points, and while I get it, I feel that nothing short of strapping an H bomb to my ass and blowing shit up is the only thing I could do as an individual. And no (for all the feds that just got alerted to my blog), I'm not gonna do that. What's left? Write an angry letter? Who the fuck in any position of power will care?

He mentions Blue Fin Tuna. That in three years, the Blue Fin Tuna reserves will be all but tapped. We'll be out of tuna fish sandwiches. That shit is real, and yet... at elementary schools in Japan they eat fucking whale. Like, it's on the school menu. Kyuushoku is the Japanese word for school lunch, and one day some fishy meat was on the plate, smothered in miso. When I asked a kid what we were eating, they were like Kujira. Whale. Yeah.

I stopped eating school lunch in Japan, but I won't lie and say it was some personal protest against eating whale, I just got sick of seeing all the kids picking their noses, then handling my rice. Then when you take a bigger look at the political system in Japan, you know shit like that is never going to stop. No Japanese politician is ever going to vote to cancel whale on school lunch menus. One guy tried, and he got laughed all the way out of office. They claim they hunt whale for research, but then it ends up on third grade lunch trays. I'm just saying... we have bigger fish to fry... the war and Iraq and oh my god I'm making myself sleepy even typing this up. It's all so fucked, and it's not going to stop. The fact that that last link even says "Faced with a reported 3000 tonne inventory of unsold meat from last year's cull, the ICR contacted the Yokohama City Education committee, suggesting the department include research meat in their school lunches" just goes to show how stupid the entire planet is. Research meat? 3000 EXTRA tons? Of research meat. Yeah.

Ugh. I don't really know where to go with this. This post started out as 'hey check out this one guy's blog, I like his articles', and is ending with 'jesus fuck, we're all doomed'. I like NMitT, because it gives glimpses of the bigger picture, but then at the end of the day, you just realize all the morons are in charge, and it's a never ending cycle of moronity, and it just makes me want to go crawl in a cave and die peacefully surrounded by empty cans of cheap beer.

Fuck, I hate everything.


Anonymous said...

You've probably put more thought into my blog than pretty much anybody I know...

You're right, I did get upset in that post - and I try to be very neutral and set aside my emotion - but this issue is something that is bigger than the war in iraq.

As humans, we seem to have taken for granted how convenient we have made the world to our whims. And the oceans at large are being depleted of all forms of evolutionary advanced life, including the harborer of such life - coral communities - which take hundreds of years to create. And right now we have a stark choice to make - face facts now, accept our losses, and try and resupply our oceans and become sustainable now (obviously the choice that is being overlooked now) OR we do nothing, lose a huge portion of our global (read: global!) food supply - stress already strained food sources made on land - and have an ocean filled with primordial life, unfit for eating...

And the point I'm trying to make might be hard to grasp because of the obviousness, but please imagine the consequences. We will singlehandedly be responsible for the depletion of a major part of the food chain - what else is going to die as a result? An absolute certainty is humans. And 30 Iraq Wars will not equal the death toll that depleting the oceans will. And my entry shows that our oceans are dying. And it's to warn that the consequences will be grim. I'm not asking you to save the world - I'm frustrated too.

Your last line sounded so depressing. Don't think about it like that - think about it as knowing a truth about the way things are and that is better than being most of these fools who go right on marching to their own death. While we might fall with them, we at least did what we could while we could. The only thing you can do is make people aware and support people who are aware and care. Use your personalized skills at spreading important messages like these.

But I get frustrated too, and thats why my entry gets emotional, because the world seems pretty crazy and nobody is willing to acknowledge it. But we need to stop playing games because we are in a serious situation right now and we need to speak directly and at least hope that option a - the option where we save humanity and the planet - can be viral.

But - don't be so down - I mean people had to be alive at the fall of the Roman Empire too. It's just part of the life cycle. In 2 billion years we could've already made ourselves go extinct and a new totally separate evolutionary advanced species digs us up and wonders at this planets past...

and then in 3 billion more years the planet wont exist anymore anyway so even that species will have to meet its end. You just gotta follow your gut and do what feels right, because thats the only way you'll truly be happy anyway...

But thanks a lot for reading and critiquing my site. I appreciate that somebody actually reads them and thinks about them. See - I got you thinking about the oceans now - now lets see who you can get going on the oceans! Eventually it's gotta hit someone who can start something!

Kyir said...

Global Warming will turn our oceans into a delicious fish stew fairly soon anyway. I wouldn't worry about it.

Rich said...

@nakedman: Thanks for stopping by... I know you're frustrated in that post, I mentioned I've read a bunch of stuff on your site, and could tell it wasn't your 'regular' style.

It's obviously a huge issue, but it just feels so overwhelming. Like I mentioned with the whale thing in Japan, it's just something that will. not. change.

Japan in particular (I've been teaching elementary school over here for 5 years) has such a screwed up view of themselves, and especially in relation to outsiders. The only thing I could imagine that would stop the whale for lunch program would be a massive outside influence --it won't happen from within-- and yet, Japan would clam up even more to resist the outside force just out of some principle.

This is an isolated example, but so many things like this are everywhere. Ridiculously rich will never vote for higher taxes for their own bracket; I believe it was on your blog I saw Warren Buffet being quoted as saying his secretary pays more taxes than he does. The system is so locked up within itself that a clean wipe is the only way it's going to change.

What did you call it in that entry? "shifting baseline syndrome", where we adjust according to what we have in front of us. Yes, it's totally fucked that this is happening, but we've grown so accustomed to it that it seems normal. I don't see that changing until we hit rock bottom, and are absolutely forced to deal with it (like, all the fish are GONE). But even then, someone in power will justify doing something ridiculous to put it off.

The system is just too convoluted to even ALLOW itself to be fixed.

Again... defeatist, or realist?

oshin said...

Pretty much nailed the problem on the head.

People get up in morning, drive to work in a suv, have a whale steak, drive home in there suv.

Only thing that will stop them is if the media decides to pickup the stories, but why bother with that if there's news about jade goody to be published.

Only way to solve it is a dictatorship.. oh well, hey maybe we`ll catch them as they come, like the whole cfcs thing ?!

Larísa said...

Big pictures are great sometimes. But please, don't feel bad to write about warlock spell rotations. All this sense of guilt will lead you nowhere. There's a time for everything. You can't walk around 24/7 always trying to save the world. You'll burn out before you know it. Trust me on this!

And don't just fall into depression over the state of the world. I'm a firm believer of the Amnesty International slogan, to rather lit a light than ban the darkness. I belive in doing SMALL things rather than just talking about the huge issues that you can't do much about. Dig in the soil, right were you stand. Care for your family. Care for your backyard. Tend to your garden, as I think Voltaire put it. Just being worried and depressed about the oceans won't change a bit.
But doing small things in the everyday life, things that probably won't be recognized by anyone else, doing this MATTERS in the long run. Do it. But not 24/7.

And then go on blogging about your warlock, without making excuses for it. Because we need that too. We need to laugh and we need to relax and escape to Azeroth - it gives us the fuel we need to go on with things that matter in real life.

Klepsacovic said...

I've been unable to find a job this summer. Want to start a social movement? I figure running for US Congress is a decent start. Get someone good in every race and the odds are decent that someone will win. Just voting for yourself is like a percent of the way to a majority with how few people vote these days. Sure there are hundreds of Congresspeople, but each one isn't insignificant.

Fantasies aside, it's hard to make changes in a world filled with logic such as "we can't worry about global warming because it might hurt the economy." There are enemies of humanity everywhere and most don't even realize it, so you end up feeling bad punishing them. It doesn't help that we're all part of the problem in one way or another and even the hermit who just goes off the grid isn't really helping, he's just doing his little piece and ignoring the larger problem.

Anonymous said...

PS - I totally am huge on enjoying the good times and not letting things depress you. I write these entries because I like to know objective truth, not to be a major bummer. Just throwing that out there after reading some more comments. Thanks a lot for the traffic though!

Chris F said...

Thanks for linking the to Naked's site, although my wife was hoping for more "pics". Internet literalism FTW?!

Larisa is on the right path. We don't need one or two knights in shining armor, we need a whole society making true effort. Little positive steps every day become infectious and 1000 small steps is still much furter travelled than 1 large one.

Curious as to your experiences in Japan - much change in the "West" come from young people who watch celebrities on MTV and get the message. They aren't smart enough to think on their own, but if it is crammed down their throat by Cameron Diaz, or Bono, they take notice. (I am not saying this is bad, merely effective in my observations).

In Japan, are elders and tradition more respected? Chance for Whales to be stopped serving at lunch if kids refuse to eat it? I don't know enough about the Eastern Culture to know. Just posing a question. Maybe the kids get a ruler thwapping if they refuse. (Note: sarcasm. unless of course I am right).

Back to the small steps, absolute action from "up high" (no, not heaven) is also needed - but much of that influence could more easily come from educated people (typically in a bracket that votes regularly, to be effective, I would suppose) giving pressure to people who need votes. Without it there is less of a chance. So the up front education of NMiTT is good for that sort of thing.

Jong said...

I guess there are many different qualifications for a "good" blog. Some are informative, funny, witty, well-written, etc. I like your blog because it's unpretentious. Who cares if it's about warlock SL/Felguard specs? When you're angry, you say you're angry, when you don't know, you say you don't know. I got plenty of books if I wanna read perspectives on big picture stuff.

Hatch said...

Ixo thanks for linking to another good blog. I get super frustrated about the state of the world all the time, but I try not to blog about it because a) it would be a bummer and b) if I want to write about a non-political subject, if I say anything about politics it's going to turn people off. I've stopped listening to or reading more than one gaming blog/podcast because they got into politics and I disagreed very strongly with them. Not that you can't feel free to talk about that stuff, I just find it irrelevent to the subject of my blog, and if I wanted to talk about that stuff I'd just set up a separate site for it.

But yeah, I think reading about my thoughts on these subjects would be extraordinarily depressing. Just like what happened to your post here. :)

I 100% agree with you on what you say here, and it's heartening to see someone with similar views (and others in the comments as well) but also depressing to think about.

Things that should get fixed, like overfishing or a million other things, don't because there's no profit in it. This entire century or more we've been slowing moving toward the point every modern sci-fi author explores when talking about the future: money, rather than government, are the real power, and mega-corps take over.

First they take over the government (imo they 80% have already), then they simply replace the government (about 30 years from now, imo). Environment keeps getting destroyed simply because there is profit in the destruction, and no profit in stopping it.

For instance, we the people should theoretically have the power to simply forbid excessive industrial emmissions that harm the environment. 50 years ago, maybe we would have done just that. Nowadays, the only laws we can get passes about emissions set up a system where we the taxpayers PAY businesses to reduce pollution. It's like the companies have the right by default to do whatever they want, and if we want anything counter to their profit interests, we simply have to bribe them. We can no longer force them to do anything. Like you said: we have no power to change anything. I'm trying to train myself not to worry about it or let it influence my emotions even as I monitor it. It's hard to do.

As we can see with Gevlon as an example: profit and productivity and increasingly considered the true moral goods. And we as the human race will keep pushing on our journey to becoming slaves to that. The brief golden age is over. All hail the stockholders and the Board of Directors!

How's that for fucking depressing. :(