Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Mandrake

  1. No kidding. I love how Grant's answer to everything is "Let's just build a robot." I wish I could build robots to solve all my problems.
  2. That's good news! It's even better news that Uwe Boll won't have anything to do with it. I wouldn't call it a challenge to Atlas Shrugged, though. While Andrew Ryan and his city of Rapture are somewhat reminiscent of John Galt and his eponymous Gulch, the plot and themes of the story don't denounce or condemn them in that it's not a story about the failures of the market and the dangers of freedom. I'd say it's more of a cautionary tale against "playing God" and the corruption brought on by power.
  3. I don't know if that craigslist posting is a joke or what but good God that's hysterical! "a lot of people in the 'action figure community' are mean to me because some of my dolls are gay. i have around 65 action figures, but only 5 or 6 are gay. but meanwhile, the people in this hobby act like all my guys are gay. they are mean to me." HI-larious!
  4. Absolutely terrible. I'd been looking forward to Grindhouse because I love Tarantino flicks and I (mistakenly) thought Planet Terror was about zombies--which are forever cool--so I purchased my ticket with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm was tragically cut short when I realized that Planet Terror was not the homage to George Romero I imagined it to be but was instead a steaming pile of crap. Be warned that minor spoilers may follow. Planet Terror goes beyond campiness and into the realm of the retarded. It's tries real hard to be "so bad it's good" but puts so much emphasis on being "bad" (and dude, the machine gun peg-leg is the least of its problems) that it never achieves the "good". It's an extremely self-conscious attempt at recreating 70's style B-grade action/horror flicks. The missing reel gags tried to be cute but they end up expending what little patience the audience might still have. Simply put, don't obliterate important story points for the sake of a cheap joke. Deathproof is a superior movie but that's not saying much. It starts out well enough. Tarantino, who always understood that character was itself action, introduces characters and keeps them interesting with his typical style of dialogue. It plods along at a steady although somewhat slow pace but lets you know that it's going somewhere. Then the movie seemingly climaxes with the abruptness of a brick to the teeth and.... starts over again? At this point it just becomes tedious and if you were in the theatre that night, having just sat through stupid Planet Terror you didn't have any patience left for these kind of games. The movie ends in a pretty crappy way, the credits roll and whoever's still watching groans in relief and gets the hell out. So yeah, Grindhouse... not a fan.
  5. So then this code not only allows the viewing of HD-DVD titles on unlicenced players but actually decrypts the discs and enables pirates to illegally distribute the movies. In light of this I believe you and I are in total agreement.
  6. I'm not sure I understand what the problem is. If the code that was released allows nothing more than the viewing of HD-DVD movies on "unlicensed players" then where is the rights violation? What is an "unlicensed player" anyway? If a person legally purchases a movie should that person not then be allowed to view it on any device that will accept it? I don't see how this aids, promotes, or faciliates IP theft. In my opinion, stipulations by distributors that you watch their movies on specific "licensed" players are unreasonable and unnecessary and I don't recognize their authority to impose such conditions. Although I may not own the rights to the movie itself and am thus subject to the limitations imposed by copyright laws I certainly own the physical aspects of it (the disc, the box, the booklet, etc.) and those are for me to do with as I please. If want to throw the disc around like a frizbee or use the box as a hammer that's my business. Similarly, if I want to play the movie in some kind of frankenstein machine I pieced together from junked parts I stripped off of discarded machinery or a Linux computer that should also be my business.
  7. Though it's in the Book of Jubilees and so not technically a Bible story, the Tower of Babel remains my favorite because this story shows God for what he is: a mean, oppressive jerk that gets mad the minute we start dreaming of greatness. Jubilees was supposedly revealed to Moses secretely while he was spending those forty days and nights on Mount Sinai so I think it has a place here. ______ There comes a time in every man's life when he wants to meet his creator (or tormentor as, judging from the other stories told so far, many probably saw him) face to face. In an astounding feat of global cooperation the whole of mankind gets together and undertakes to build a tower so great and tall that it will reach heaven itself and allow them to finally meet their beloved Lord. Talk about ambition! Maybe God didn't want people bothering him at home. Maybe he was afraid we'd climb up there and catch him without his pants on. Maybe he was just a big fat jerk. Whatever the reason, he thought this whole tower-building thing was no good and so like a petulant child smashing his younger sister's sand castle he knocked the tower over. Then, to really set his mind at ease he decided to scatter everyone to the four corners of the Earth and to make their speech incomprehensible to one another so they'd never try anything like that again. After all, what good is universal peace and cooperation if it's just gonna be used to build phenomenal structures and other such undreamed-of marvels? All this construction takes precious time away from worship!
  8. To be fair, Olmert had little choice. It's we, the West, who are to blame for forcing Israel to end the war. It's France and America and the rest of us who said nothing or didn't say enough--we made Israel stop. Now, Hezbollah gets to walk around with its head high, bragging about a holy victory, its supporters vindicated and emboldened and we once again look like impotent jackasses. Israel doesn't need a better PM. It needs better friends.
  9. The way I see it the propaganda videos will have a similar effect to that of child molestation allegations; even if proven false the acccused has to live the remainder of his days with the stigma attached to his name. She can renounce her statements all she wants back home, the words are out there and the damage has been done. Many people, particularly in the middle east, will hear her declarations in the videos and come away thinking "this woman was held captive by these guys for months and still thought they were fine fellows. Maybe she's right." It might not be a perfect, bulletproof plan but it will influence minds. Besides, I'm sure there is host of idiots out there who will claim she only recanted due to pressure from US government--and Israel.
  10. I think there may have been a misunderstanding. I'm with you 100%. I've never listened to Stern because I never turn on the radio but whatever it was he said that pissed off everyone, it was wrong of the CRTC to ban his program. Making fun of french-Canadians is a pretty touchy affair in this country, though. We're a very vocal minority and when the english take shots at us we tend to respond with epic indignation.
  11. I was being quite serious. For a number of years Howard Stern's broadcast was banned in Canada because, I think, he had a habit of insulting French-Canadians. It's only now that he's on satellite radio (where the CRTC, our version of the FCC, i believe, has no jurisdiction) that he'll be heard in this country again. I agree. The thing about Canada is that we love your culture but we're also terrified that it will stiffle our own (whatever it may be). As such, we're fiercely protective of our hazy, ill-defined 'national identity'. This has resulted in Canadian content requirements and other government-imposed means of artificially preserving a supposed culture to which the average citizen pays little more than lip service. However, although American satellite broadcasters are forbidden to do business in Canada most of the channels they offer (including Fox News) are distributed through Canadian satellite providers.
  12. Oh America, is there no room in your heart for your little brother to the north? Notice us, please! You mention Norway and Denmark (what have they ever done? Nothin' fer nobody!) but you don't even give a passing thought to us Canadians. Remember the first time you left home to smash all of Saddam's toys? We were there. We brought like, 3 boats with us and everything. Oh how we laughed! Remember how we laughed together, America? Or that time in Kosovo when Milo started playing a little too rough? We were there. We had some really really stern words for that guy. You were all like, "we're gonna bomb you back to the stone age, Milo!" and we were like, "damn right they will!" Weren't those good times, America? Didn't we have fun that day? And then there was that time you took one on the chin, America. While you weren't looking some bearded jerk came from behind and sucker-punched you. We winced when we saw that and we were hurting for you and while you picked yourself up and shook it off we took in all those planes that had nowhere to go. Then you went and thanked Mexico. We thought "ouch, America," but we marched to Afghanistan with you, though and damn it if we're not trying to impress you there. So yeah, maybe our toys aren't as fun or as new as yours and our helicopters don't always fly right and our submarine occasionally catches fire. Maybe we're not strong, or tough and don't have much to brag about but damn it, America, don't be ashamed to tell people you know us.
  13. You're right. I've come to agree with those of you who have said this all along. The more I read the more apparent it becomes that France's socialist mismanagement is the root of the problem and that the racism and xenophobia are merely responses to its effects.
  14. No hard evidence, no. I based that judgement solely on anecdotal evidence provided me by an African friend of mine who lived in France for several years while studying economics and on various articles culled from the internet. I have found this piece, written in 2002, to be particularly enlightening. It paints a horrifying picture of the cités and points a finger squarely in the face of the State. I found this passage to be especially telling: "They therefore come to believe in the malevolence of those who maintain them in their limbo: and they want to keep alive the belief in this perfect malevolence, for it gives meaning—the only possible meaning—to their stunted lives. It is better to be opposed by an enemy than to be adrift in meaninglessness, for the simulacrum of an enemy lends purpose to actions whose nihilism would otherwise be self-evident."
  15. I don't understand why you think radical Islam has anything to do with these riots. I'm sure Islamic radicals are cheering the riots on but I'm not so sure the rioters themselves are motivated by a desire to spread its ideology. They seem to be little more than an angry, delinquent rabble expressing anger at a perceived injustice. Say an Objectivist government inherited this situation in France. Once it restored order, what steps would it take to ensure that such an uprising never happened again?
  16. OK, so what you are saying is that the State shouldn't attempt to legislate its people's attitude toward a given segment of the population as that is not its proper function. I can agree with that. Then you think that this problem is more economic than social? Am I right to presume that you mean to say that the abolishment of the welfare state would spur investment and commercial growth in the blighted cités where these people live thus providing them with the means to take financial control of their lives?
  17. I agree that part of this problem is the result of poor governance but that seems to be only one side of the coin. Racism ingrained in the French psyche plays a very important role in the marginalization of an entire segment of their population. Suppose all socialist initiatives were abandoned today, these people would still be denied employment based on such irrational motives as race, ethnicity, or religion simply because the native French just plain don't like them. They would still be incapable of leaving their ghettos and the problem would fester until some other excuse could be found to set the night ablaze. The real tragedy is that this problem appears in large part to be imposed upon them by a xenophobic population. Doesn't the State have a responsibility to ensure that all of its citizens be afforded the same opportunity? How can a government prevent the unfair ostracization of a given demographic without encroaching on the rights of employers to choose whom they hire?
  18. The poor of the Paris slums have been torching their neighbors' cars and children's schools for twelve nights in a row now. What originally began as an angry response to the deaths of two teenagers who were supposedly fleeing from police has turned into a battle between the destitute and the State they charge with oppression. French journalists--people who have seen these slums first-hand and know of the living conditions therein--hardly seem surprised. Brutal police repression and harrassment as well as seemingly institutionalized racism, they say, work together against the inhabitants of the French cités, ensuring that their social position remains nearly insurmountable. They are shunned by their countrymen outside their neighborhood and condemned to a life without opportunity, without dignity. Obviously, rioting cannot be permitted. This uprising could and should have been quelled much earlier with an immediate and overwhelming response. While I make no excuses for the rioters I must still ask if perhaps their grievances are legitimate even though their methods most certainly are not. If the root problem is--as it seems to be--endemic French racism toward immigrants which prevents these people from fully integrating themselves into society, from obtaining gainful employment and elevating their own social position then is not government intervention warranted to correct these ills? Isn't some legislation required to ensure that these slum-dwellers be granted equal footing? How would an Objectivist government rectify such a scarred social landscape?
  19. You might have heard of the D20 Modern game. Modern does away with the traditional Good/Evil - Lawful/Chaotic alignment system and opts instead for an "allegiance" system. The characters must choose three things they are loyal to and list them in order of importance. For example, a police man might choose "Law, Good, Police Force" while a mercenary would pick "Self, Money, Employer". I've been GM'ing a Modern game for a few months now and played for many more months prior to that with a different group and I think the allegiance system works very well. It allows for much more freedom of action because it can be more specifically tailored to a character's intended personality. My only disappointment with Modern is that it doesn't include the races introduced in D&D and focuses exclusively on humans. However, since both rule systems are similar it's not very difficult to "import" the D&D races into the Modern game, as I've done.
  • Create New...