Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pete Prometheus - Olympus PEN E-PL1 Contest

We've got five days left! Everybody follow through, vote thumbs up/like on Youtube, and pass these on to your friends.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Scraps 02: The Cargo Cult of Human Relationships

“So what do you think my problem is?”

“You ever hear of the Cargo Cults?”

“I’ve heard the name, not much else, though.”

“Well, they break down like this. In World War II, both the US and the Japanese built air bases all through the Pacific. Suddenly both sides are flying in goods that the natives had never seen, oftentimes sharing it with the local guides and such. Only since it was a war, there weren’t any missionaries or anthropologists to explain what was going on to the natives. They could only watch, puzzle and take what cargo they were given.”

“Interesting enough.”

“Problem is, the war ended, and the cargo stopped coming. For the natives, this was all magic and these cults started springing up that imitated what they saw the Americans do to bring the cargo. They built faux runways, did military drills with mocked up or salvaged weapons, carved coconut headsets and worked wooden radios. They imitated the behaviors they saw, hoping to bring cargo from the gods, without knowing what any of the real meaning of the activity was.”

“Wow. That’s weird as hell, but why bring it up.”

“Because that’s you.”


“That’s you with women, heck, it’s you with people in general. You’ve watched everyone interacting your whole life. You understand scraps, you imitate the little rituals. You’re funny, you pay complements, you wink and nod and smile and laugh at bad jokes… but there’s a disconnect there. That’s why it doesn’t work. That's why you say the wrong thing or just spin your wheels. You’re the cargo cult of human relationships.”

He didn’t respond. He just sat there, looking somewhat depressed and frustrated. Part of him was clearly searching for a response but the rest was trying.

“There is a bright side.”


“Sometimes… when a plane got struck by lightning or got lost in the dark, the pilot would look out and see a runway complete with lights. It didn’t matter that the lights were just torches and the runway packed dirt. It was close enough. You see. Sometimes… just sometimes… the rituals worked. Sometimes the cargo came.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Scraps 01: A Score to Keep - Why the Heroic Fantasy lives on

Armchair Psychology follows.

The appeal of the heroic fantasy, by which I mean the defeat of evil (be it in mortal or monstrous foes) and the completion of quests is common in men of my demographic (for lack of a better term). White knight syndrome in male/female relations is more than common despite its general irrelevancy and its lack of overall success.

The reason is simple. Human interaction is, largely, a game. Its rules, however, are not written down in any satisfactory way and there are exceptions and cheats across the board. The result is a deeply unbalanced playing field, in which the disadvantaged not only fail to achieve victory but are, in that failure, denied psychological essentials to human survival.

The appeal of heroism, then is obvious. Denied absolute rules, the holder of the fantasy longs for a different game. The fantasy of heroic deeds brings the nebulous realm of romance into the concrete and measurable. Young men, especially, often unable to determine how to increase their own value on the market are sure to want something more concrete. He longs for sexual currency, a scorecard for human interaction to replace the baffling subjective chaos that courtship appears to be.

Heroic deeds are pretty straightfoward in theory. An obstacle is overcome, a foe slain or subjugated, an innocent rescued, a quest completed. Success is measurable and a clear account of worth. That is what the hero-fantasist really longs for: a measurable account of self-worth for evaluation from within and without. It appeals to ancient longings. "Of course I'm a good mate, I just killed a goddamn sabertoothed tiger."

For the modern B-list fellow, there is always that point, amid the awkwardness and embaressment, that he wishes that he could just fight a hydra instead.