The Cheekies

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Thing I Made

Over the last couple of weeks, a couple friends and I made a satirical trailer for The Odyssey called The Obesity, featuring d'Obbessius, my interpretation of a 21st century version of this ~3000 year old hero.

Republican Priorities

Well, it's that time again, specifically the time after that time that you tried to make a set of resolutions for yourself, and have since failed. According to statistics from 2014, by now, almost a month into the New Year, almost 26% of you had failed your resolution this month last year. Barring some spontaneous increase in the American will power, I'd say that we're at that same threshold now. So, happy failure people! I, for one, am proud of myself. I promised a post a week a couple weeks ago, and stuck to it for about 2-3 weeks, already an improvement from last year, when I didn't even make resolutions. This year however, there's another major New Year failure in town: the Republican Party. A few months ago, they won quite the majority here in the U.S. in both the House and Senate. Campaigning on a platform of economic ideas and generally being silent about their positions on social issues, they managed to pull of a significant victory. Republican social positions, thankfully, have generally been on the decline in the U.S. and the GOP recognized that if they were going to pull off a big win in this day and age, they would have shuffle around some of their less popular agenda. Republicans left 2014 off with optimism, and when they weren't gloating in general, they were usually advocating the major economic reforms that they were going to bring to the table come 2015. Well, guess what time it is? 2015! And have we gotten this Republican reform? NO! Instead, we've gotten an abortion bill, a bill to fund Homeland Security but also to revoke all the immigration reforms President Obama has made, and a border security build. What does that have to do with the economy? Priorities people, and the Republicans are sure setting them straight. The sad part is even the Republican House has so far been UNABLE pass their abortion bill despite domination, the Homeland Security bill will in no way pass the Senate or a veto by the president, and a border bill in shambles. Honestly, what is it about Republicans that inevitably attracts them to social issues whenever they have power? Haven't they learned by now that their ideas aren't supported, and don't make sense for the U.S. to pass? What is it with them and female body parts? Republicans have been campaigning to the masses declaring they will bring a smaller federal government to the table, yet here they are trying to legislate broad federal decree for something totally unnecessary! "Hey, let's reduce government! But first, make sure we just fund huge border operations and large federal decrees!" Republicans have a serious issue on their hands, and they need to fix it fast.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Charlie Hebdo, Satire, and Terrorism

For the past few days, there has been much angst and outrage expressed over the killings of 12 satirical cartoonists working at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris. The public at large has had to do a lot of soul searching in light of these dark actions, and now some are starting to search for answers on as to why this attack was possible, and who should bear the blame. The attack marks the second time the Charlie Hebdo newspaper has been attacked, the first time being after the release of cartoons which represented Islam in an unflattering way, including representations of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who many Muslims believe should not be portrayed. However, the newspaper faced a very different response to the attacks then, with many believing that the newspaper had almost brought it upon itself via its offensive drawings and imagery. Now the debate seems to be back on the table, with commentary on the limits of free speech and religious right, as well as to whether the attacks are even religious in nature, or should be called such. In fact, some have already begun questioning the tactics of the newspaper and the satirists. Can you really mock such a large portion of the population so profusely, and not expect to get a response? Is it fair to attack a religion with so many devout followers in such an offensive manner and mock them so thoroughly? Does mocking religion even serve a purpose? The answer is yes to all of those, or at least should be. Religion is no different from any other human institution; it is not free from scrutiny or criticism, no matter what topic at hand. No matter how holy or sacred something is, freedom of speech and secularism mean that people have the right to attack and thus ridicule it. Not only that, but when they do exercise that right, they are PROTECTED by law, and should expect no harm to come to them, whether they are majority or minority. There is no fairness to it, there is only right and justice. Imagine what a world it would be if people were restricted just because their opinion differed from someone else's? You don't have to imagine it. Go to North Korea, and see how nice it is there. As soon as we as society start to play favorites and censor when it comes to opinions, that is when we lose our democracy and transition into oligarchy. Everything has its flaws, especially religion, and feelings will not change the real pain to people caused by those flaws. Satirists don't just make things up; they take the truth and they exaggerate it, getting society to pay attention some of the many problems it has by making them appear so big until it has to notice. That's why they're so important to society; they test its foundations and identify issues with them. And that's just what the people at Charlie Hebdo were doing when they were brutally murdered by radical Islamic terrorists. Now, some are calling into question the religious motivations of the terrorists themselves, like in this article by the Telegraph. Throughout this attack, there has been a move by many to defend Muslims and stop people from generalizing them all as terrorists. While I wholeheartedly agree that you cannot generalize the actions of some terrorists to the entire 1.6 billion Muslim population, I also think its absurd to deny that these attacks weren't religiously motivated. The fact of the matter stands that not everything in the Koran and Sharia are peaceful, and that as a result, some Muslims will interpret this literally and commit horrific acts. Part of the reason that terrorists are so powerful is because they believe so profusely that they are carrying out acts of god against infidels, and are just. The terrorists in this case were shouting Allah Akbar, or god is great. These aren't just people with motivations like money or power; these are people with their eternal afterlives in front of them, and they are fully committed to their paths to it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year Day and Some Calendars- Randomosity #3

Happy New Year!

Well, it's finally happened. 2015 is here, and luckily, it's not like it was in Back to the Future, thank goodness (no double ties!). Thanks to this blogs readers, and I personally hope that you have a fantastic New Year ahead of you, and that you somehow, against all odds, manage to complete those resolutions you've been making. Mine are firmly entrenched in 4K territory, though I suppose 1080p is passable (no, my dumb jokes will not go away). Specifically, I hope you guys finally make good on all those weight loss promises (and in no way am I saying this because I stocked up on gym stocks over Thanksgiving- full disclosure people), hopefully by visiting a franchise gym near you! Anyway, now that that stuff is out of the way, let's focus on the date at hand. No, not the day you're reading this or January 3rd, the day I posted (better late than never?), but January 1st, the start of the New Year, that is if you use the Gregorian Calendar. If you use the Julian Calendar, which Greg replaced, you celebrated your New Year a while back, 13 days ago. If you're a Roman enthusiast and use the old Roman Calendar (read: not very many people) then you still have a while to go, celebrating New Years nearer to the Kalends of Martius, or March 1st. The Chinese Calendar says February 19th, converted to Greg, and the Islamic Muharram was from October 24 to October 26 in 2014. Finally, the Hindu New Year is all over the place, depending on the region; here's a link to the list. Anyway, why, you might ask, just why did I go through all that strenuous exercise of Googling random dates and clicking through those Wikipedia links? Think of the amount of variation I just mentioned, and think of the thousands of other major calendars I could have mentioned instead. These calendars go all over the place, and this is just the start. All of these calendars were based around the lunar cycle or extensions of such mixed in with the sun; we haven't even gotten into the galactic calendar which is in year 61 BB. Think of all the fun we could have with that! The point I'm trying to make is don't let this day rule your New Year. Let everyday be your New Year, because even if you go heliocentric, each moment the Earth reaches another spot unoccupied for 365.25 Earth days. And that is worth celebrating. Once again, have a fantastic remainder of the weekend as you struggle to get back to work (and the gym- most franchises are having sales up to 50% membership!) and may you not fail totally at everything you seek to accomplish. Cheers!