Thursday, November 27, 2008

Online Religion

This is a blog I was supposed to do while I was sick.

The article of the day is called Online Religion and Finding Faith on the Web: An Examination of by Cheryl Anne Casey.

This was about as you can guess, the move of religion into cyberspace. Now I have never really had an opinion on this as I don't know to what extent things are happening. All I know is that with the transition of anything to the internet it can allow for some "dissolving" to happen to content or truth. This can be worrisome of course.

Wikipedia is always a good example of how things can be changed and not many people will notice. What happens when a group of Christian's get together in a video chat room to have 'church' and the person who is being the pastor turns out to be a farce?

The whole idea of religion moving online irks me slightly, not that I think its a terrible idea. I just can see so many things going wrong with it. Though this won't stop emergent groups from jumping online and I say go for it. Just, use caution I guess.

Moving something that has traditionally involved a whole person into a realm that is completely non-physical seems like a huge leap to me. I don't think I could ever get used to it. But I know the move has allowed for some great online material for Christians and so I'm interested to see what will come of it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Woa guys! Just hang on a second!

Do people go out and do studies on whether or not yo-yo's create social groups and cause people to be anti social? Wait let me look.


Phew! After searching the first three pages of a google search on the social effects of yo-yo's I couldn't find anything. Thankfully there's one thing that has been unadulterated by sociologists.

This was a very long winded article. It should not be read right after waking up with a cold as it will give you a headache. It is about online games as third places (ie. comparing them to pubs or swimming pools I guess). Here's the link if you want to read it:

Ok so to start off we should have some things defined. When I refer to people as gamers, I do not refer to what a lot of people view as the current gaming demographic today. That is the x-box community. This is because Microsoft initially and still markets to a very narrow audience. This audience is the bear drinking frat boy crowd and the 13 year old male demographic. This can be clearly seen/heard by going into any of the console community chat rooms or in game chats. You can just feel the lack of intelligence.

What I view a gamer as is, basically everyone else. Either a relatively young age group or the 21-35 year old demographic that started playing games in the 80s. This latter group, mostly, knows a thing or two about about etiquette when it comes to all things done on the Internet.

Now what I am trying to do mostly is, explain the gamer. I thought this article was interesting but it's not something that roughly 95% of the gaming community would think of. And then the authors go and say something like,

"Like sports, MMOs appeal to people in part because they represent meritocracies otherwise unavailable in a world often filled with unfairness (Huizenga, 1949)."

They have just lumped thousands of people into a small small group. The gamer is a much simpler creature. The MMO player is some one who likes to explore a large in-game world, and work with a small or large group of people to improve their personal gaming experience.

Gamers don't play games to feel acceptance. They play games to kill things and get fat lootz.

The article does an exhaustive job of explaining why each and every social aspect of Asheron's Call and Lineage I & II cause gamers to feel like they are in a place where they can fit in.
But really if a player does not feel they can fit into a game world why would they play the game?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mr. Carmody, you are an uneducated bafoon that supports the stereotypes of christian media being sucky.

This whole blog is just abound with frustration. I had almost completed writing this very long entry my google account decided to log it self out. Thus when I pressed the publish button I found that my blog no longer existed and had not been saved. I apologize if this is not quite as good as I originally intended it to be.

I am not happy with the 14th chapter. It's called Converting Comic Books into Graphic Novels and Digital Cartoons by Thomas Carmody. If any of you know anything about my high school career; you will probably know that I spent a large portion of my free time viewing comics, manga, graphic novels, and the like. This was because growing up I always wanted to be an artist but one day it hit me that I couldn't draw. So I moved onto art appreciation and comics was the first genre I started with. This lead me to become the student of media that I am today. All this to say that I know a bit about the comic industry.

I might stray some times into a general rant about the book so I apologize if it breaks up the rant a bit. But I guess this disclaimer is doing just that.

Firstly, I'd like to point out the starting sentence of this piece. "Mark became an evangelical through the ministry of a local church and got excited about sharing his faith with classmates." Why can't people just become Christians any more Tom? Why do you have to immediately lump your potentially fictional characters into the cult you are currently part of.

Next, Carmody jumps into the apparent view of some random critic. Comics are, "crude, poorly-drawn, semiliterate, cheap, disposable kiddie fare." Are you stuck in the 50s Tom? The reason older comics were 'poorly drawn' is because like most other media, comic artists had to keep to a tight schedule. You try painting the Mona Lisa in 500 little panels jumping from building to building fighting crime Tom. It's hard work! With the advent of computers and digital technology it has made pumping out 'better art' quicker and easier, thus raising the total quality of the final product that is known as the modern comic. This would also account for the price increase from 5 cents to around 4 or 5 dollars in some places. Lastly you try reading V for Vendetta and tell me that, that hulk is Semi-literate.

Next, I would like to say something about these 'tribes' that keep getting mentioned in this book. ENOUGH ALREADY! Seriously, the definition given for why the term is used in this book is terrible. It isn't even used by anyone else in the world other than this selection of writers. Why can't Christian groups just be denominations or even just Christians? Why do we have to be linked to the Evangelical cult--I mean 'tribe'?

Tom likes to think that comics are low cost and low tech. The reason they are low cost Tom, the writers and artists are being almost exploited by the big companies like DC and Marvel. The only other reason that I can think of is that Tom has lumped evangelical comics into that fun little place where all christian media seems to fall. That place being low-budget, low value crap that many people keep pumping out. The reason it keeps coming out is because as long as it has that little 'christian' label it has to be sold at christian stores. Oh no! We can't hurt Rupert Murdoch and Zondervan's feelings, they might stop selling us bibles.

I also am growing tired of these little side pieces that Schultze keeps throwing in. Its not that some of them are not interesting. It is that they often ask a question like, Why We Love and Hate Cartoonists. The little section never even answers the question. It just goes into a little spiel about how John Lawing gets offended when people don't find his job an interesting conversasion piece. After he goes on for a little bit Lawing finishes his 200 word section with the same question!

I'd like to rant even more about how Carmody promotes piracy of comics but I just realized that this is getting a little long. So I'll leave the piracy talk for another day.


This is yet one more general rant.

The first thing I'm going to mention is that I despise the Internet and people trying to hawk their product to those who are in a hurry. While trying to edit a video file for the social concerns committee at my school I ran into an interesting problem to do with file conversion. I needed a file to convert said file, so I set out on a quest through the jungle that is called the world wide web. I eventually stumbled upon a site that could provide me with a program that would go above and beyond what I needed. Not only that but all over the website this program was advertised as 'FREE FREE FREE!' I got excited as I found this program on even more reputable sites saying that, yes indeed this program is a freeware program. Well it turns out that this company's view of a freeware program happens to be a $39 dollar program with a free version that will do an incomplete file conversion with a massive water mark on the finished product. grr.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's always gonna be sour grapes with you boy, until you get right with Jesus. Amen!

wow. I really don't know what to say. I am enraged and saddened at the same time. I don't even know where to start so I'll just introduce the article and see where this thing takes us.

Here is the article to begin with.

This week I have been presented with an alternative viewpoint to our lovely text book. This comes out of the pages of Rolling Stone and the article is called, Jesus Made Me Puke by Matt Taibbi. Initially I figured this would be another article bashing the 'christian right'. Long story short: it was, but this bashing was fully deserved.

Taibbi's mission for this issue was to infiltrate a church and join in with a week end 'encounter' event. Initially as he describes the typical church characters getting on the bus to head off to the unknown my stomach sunk a little as I could see where this was going. Taibbi goes through the events of the week end and at first they seem to be a typical Evangelical event. I was first dumbfounded when it came time for people to split into small groups and share an issue from their past. Taibbi's is second in the circle and so he is forced to quickly think something up.
"'Hello,' I said, taking a deep breath. 'My name is Matt. My father was an alcoholic circus clown who used to beat me with his oversize shoes.'"

The fools fall for his story. I don't understand how people can be so blinded that someone making up such an obvious lie. I am saddened for the image that is portrayed of the poor misguided people who have attended these events.

As the weekend progressed things seem to be the typical strange and shallow TV and political jargon that can be expected from the 'christian right'. Then it happens, an exorcism. That's right, the 'pastor' proceeds to tell the group that all of the sin in their lives is not actually their fault but the fault of demons that are with in them.

"He had cast out the demons of every ailment, crime, domestic problem and intellectual discipline on the face of the Earth. He cast out horoscopes, false gods, witches, intellectual pride, nearsightedness, everything, it seemed to me, except maybe E. coli and John Updike novels."
Some of these notable ones being: the demons of Philosophy and Handwriting Analysis. Since when is my degree minor a demon?

I am angered because this is the view that many people are getting of the church today. What this truly is, is a perversion of the original order, a cult. It is also the most outspoken American group of 'Christians'. How are we as Christians supposed to act when we see this kind of thing? I would find it hard to muster the strength to go up to a preacher and tell the man, 'HEY! YOU! YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!' This almost seems to be a potential media crisis that Christians need to dealing with because I get the impression that its leading most of the western world to believe we are crazies.