Why I’m Okay With The “Take A Knee” Protest

Yeah, I’m totally cool with this.
Source: Statesman

Anyone who knows me knows I couldn’t care less about sports. I’m not into competitive events (especially not ones that boil down to, “hit the other guy as hard as you can”). But when a sport starts stirring up political controversy and touches on issues of social justice by kneeling down during the national anthem, I can’t deny that it sits in several of my wheelhouses.

As you’ve almost certainly have gathered from the title, I have no problems with the ‘take a knee’ protests going around the NFL right now. I fact, as long they continue the protests peacefully and no one gets hurt, I wish them the best and hope people start to listen. After all, that’s the point of a controversial protest; to do something so shocking that people have no choice but to pay attention to you.

But, I also understand how a lot of people have misinterpreted this as an attack on the flag and the pledge. So, in an attempt to bridge the divide between us and promote empathy between divided factions, I’m going to attempt to debunk a few of the common complaints I’ve heard so far.

It was never about the flag

This the most common cry heard on the web right now, so I’ll keep it short. People joining the protest aren’t protesting against the flag; they’re using the flag as a vehicle to protest against police brutality.

It’s like I said at the start; the point of committing a controversial act in protest is to garner attention. If these players protested by doing something benign and mundane, you would be giving a thought about this right now. You have to do something shocking when you’re trying to rally awareness to a cause.

We ‘disrespect the flag’ LITERALLY every day (and the law doesn’t care)

This is probably the second thing people bring up when they hear the complaints of respecting the flag.

If you actually read Chapter 10, Subsection 176 of the U.S. Flag Code which details how to respect the flag, you’d find a shocking number of ways we screw it up every day. Such examples of douchebaggery towards our banner include flag-printed clothing, carrying the flag horizontally, flag-printed uniforms and costumes, and – probably the most damning of all – using the flag in advertising (actually, you can double down on that last one since you’re also not supposed to use the flag as a receptacle).

That said, almost nobody freaks out about these ‘disrespectful’ acts because the flag code makes it clear that it is merely a suggestion. It makes sure that every entry on respect is bookmarked with the word “should” – not must.

The great irony is that this protest would have probably been ignored entirely if most of us just realized what the flag code does…

The flag is not our nation

As I understand it, the reason people get up in arms about respecting the flag is that they conflate disrespecting the flag with disrespecting the nation. The fact of the matter is, however, that the flag isn’t the nation; That’s the role of the people. And this protest’s intent was trying to protect a group of people (a legitimate concern, considering how often we see side-by-side video footage of how long hostile white criminals are allowed to resist arrest compared to less threatening black perpetrators) and, by extension using my previous analogy, the nation.

When you get right down to it, the things we associate with our nation – the flag, our anthem, our pledge of allegiance and more – are just symbols our nation uses. If we started taking the advice of George Carlin and just, “leave symbols to the symbol-minded,” to focus on the REAL substance of our country – our people – we might find that we could improve this home of ours immeasurably.

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YouTube Decency Standards or Controlling Creators?

Why do you hate the people making you money, YouTube?

Okay, that’s an admittedly abrupt way to start an article. But after the long string of problems we’ve seen coming out of YouTube – including their archaic automatic copyright strike system that’s still a problem today – we seeing garbage like this.

The short version of the story goes as follows; YouTube has made a new set of guidelines allowing them to pull monetization rights from videos that they feel may too violent, sexual, or controversial for advertisers. For those like me who are strictly anti-censorship, this would be bad enough. But, they had to make it even worse by defining the guidelines in such vague terms that they could pull ad revenue from videos at random and arbitrarily.

In fact, I don’t really need to say anything as one of my favorite Youtubers, James “Caddicarus” Caddick, said everything that needed to be said in the above video demonstrating the hypocrisy of the new guidelines (bonus points for giving Nicki Minaj’s garbage music a proper thrashing as well).

Look, I know this is going to be the shortest article I’ve ever written, but I just don’t have the strength to keep up with this sort of thing and there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said before. So, I’m just going to say this and be done with it – YouTube corporate, you need to understand that this is not a hobby on the web anymore; it’s a job and people are going to treat it as a job. All of the attempts to control content will only serve to place enmity between you and your creators.

If you’re that worried about how your advertisers feel about placing their product next to Nicki’s jiggling ass, maybe you should try letting THEM decide where their ads go instead of making a blanket statement that you can (and likely will, if corporate greed acts its part) use as a blank check to destroy a channel that rubs you the wrong way.

And if that’s just too much work for you, then stop whining and learn to live the fact that the world will always have a bunch of dreary crap in it and you will never stop people from talking about it.

Bottom Line: If Steven Universe can get away with having Garnet and Amethyst’s sexy fusion dance on cable T.V. (huh, more Nicki Minaj. Weird), we should too.

The Overwhelming Meh (or “Why I Don’t Care Enough to Hate Hatred”)

Oh wow, a gruesomely violent game. I’ve… never seen that before… *sigh*
Source: CraveOnline

If you’re a gamer like me, you’ve likely heard the controversy around the up and coming game Hatred. For those new to the news, here’s a quick primer.

On December of last year, Hatred, an isometric shooter that puts the player in control of a seemingly nameless man (only referred to as The Antagonist) with an irrational and sociopathic need to end as many lives before losing his own, was pulled from Steam Greenlight on the grounds that it’s hyper-violent content would be something that, according to Valve’s director of marketing Doug Lombardi, “we would not publish… on Steam.”

The next day, the game was brought back with an apology from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell and is now slated for release this year.

Firstly, let’s not kid ourselves, fellow gamers; we’ve seen this song and dance before. Games like Hatred love controversy because it spreads the name and sells copies. It worked for Doom. It worked for Mortal Kombat. It sure as HELL worked for Grand Theft Auto. Now, every game wants a piece of the blood-soaked pie and will intentionally insert sex and violence in a rather weak attempt to look edgy. Hell, Valve was probably in on the whole thing and feigned removing Hatred because what helps their third-party developers helps them.

Now, if that were the only issue here, than I wouldn’t even be talking about it. But here’s the thing; not only is it relying heavily on controversy to spread the word, it seems to be relying solely on controversy.

I say that because, looking at the trailers, it’s just not very good.

Think about it; it’s just running and killing with seemingly no story or dramatic weight. I know it may sound silly to expect depth in a game like this, but it’s not too much to ask for.

If the game took a cue from movies like No Country For Old Men or comics like Batman: The Killing Joke and turned its plot into an exploration of abnormal psychology like the obvious Anti-Social Personality Disorder that The Antagonist suffers from, I could care enough to approve of it and give it my blessing. As it is though, it just looks like another dime-a-dozen gore-fest meant to appeal to immature brats who need to justify their hobby with a veil of faux-masculine crimson.

It’s possible that I could be wrong and we may get some info between now and its release that shows that it’s deeper than it seems. But, for now, I’m calling it; Hatred is going to be the unholy union of Manhunt and Goat Simulator that nobody asked for, won’t be worth our time, and that I’m just too bored of to give a damn about.