Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The Death of Youtube

You know how certain phrases stick in your head? A lot of them are from advertising. “Just do it”? “You deserve a break today”? “It’s the real thing”?

It’s insidious! Advertisers literally take things and stick them in your head. That’s why I stopped watching commercial television ten years ago, and my mind has become a clearer, quieter place.

I watch movies instead. Sadly, theatres started running ads before the movies about thirty years ago, and it’s gotten much, much worse, but I try to arrive during the previews to avoid them. It’s especially sad to see advertising before something that you already paid for. Pretty sleazy on their parts.

Netflix and iTunes are pretty cool–no ads at all, at least not now.

Talking about phrases getting stuck in your head, here’s one I heard when I was a kid: “We’ll be back in sixty seconds”. That was sixty seconds of advertising. Some years later, in the early 80’s if I recall correctly, Tom Snyder, who hosted the Late Late Show, would say, “We’ll be back in two minutes and ten seconds.” That’s twice as long! And it’s gotten longer and more frequent.

Back in the mid-sixties, a one hour television program was actually only 50 minutes long with 10 minutes of advertising: one sixth or a little under 17%. Now, a one hour television program is only 43 minutes long with 17 minutes of advertising–close to twice as much! When you watch a commercial television program, a little under 29% is advertising–that’s almost one third!

People are voluntarily watching entertainment where, almost one third of the time, advertisers are sticking phrases in their heads!

That’s almost unbelievable!

But believe it because it is happening. How did this come about? The advertisers slowly acclimated us to it. Over the course of fifty or so years, they slowly raised the time given over to commercials so that it seemed normal to us. If you haven’t already heard it dozens of times, think of a frog in a pot of water: if you raise the temperature slowly enough, the frog will not jump out; it will just sit there until it cooks.

The same process is now happening on Youtube. (See, I finally got to it.)

Youtube used to be completely commercial free, and it was pretty cool. You could see lots of interesting and useful things there. Now advertising is creeping in, and I am creeping out.

Can’t fool me, Google! (They own it.)

They’re doing the old frog-in-the-pot routine, but I’ve spotted it and have responded accordingly. They bought out Youtube, and are busy introducing advertising where previously there was none, and it’s really, really sneaky.

First, they made advertising optional at the beginning of some videos, then more and more. A commercial starts, but there is a little box at the bottom right that says, “You can skip the add in 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . skip add.” Obviously, they are hoping that you will get hooked at some point during the countdown and watch the rest.

After a while, they started introducing commercials in that same format during the course of longer videos. Now, they are placing commercials at the beginnings of some videos that do not have the “skip” function, so you have to watch the whole 20 or 30 second commercial if you want to watch the video.

The end result will be – drum roll, please! – commercial television.

I have no intention of watching THAT.

Television could have been a noble medium, but it was taken over by commercial interests whose only interest is taking your money by programming you to buy things. It is finally realising its true potential through internet services like iTunes and Netflix where you pay money to watch content – free of brainwashing.

Meanwhile, the cancer of commercials is metasticising onto Youtube, a formerly free content provider, and as we all know, cancer may or may not kill you, but it certainly won’t do you any good.

Youtube, you just lost a viewer.

You Get What You ARE

We talk to other people, ask and offer, react to what they say as they react to us, leaving impressions and setting future events into motion in thousands of ways, not just with our words but our deeds, body language, and in even more subtle ways. As we directly effect their actions, thoughts and moods, that effects how they will, in turn interact with others. We create ripples that spread out in very direction, effecting events that we are never even aware of.

Sometimes, I think of some past interaction, something someone said or did years ago that had no importance for me at the time but now resonates in some meaningful way. Others remember the same of us.

It’s all one, big web of interaction and effect.

I believe that these influences occur on more subtle levels, too. Intuitions, intentions, wordless communication with others, present and absent–who knows in how many ways? We are deep, mysterious creatures with astounding capabilities that science is just beginning to find out about. Those stories we hear about meaningful coincidences, precognition, near death experiences, extra-sensory perception . . . they come from somewhere. Why not trust that they contain some truth.

Quantam mechanics has become stranger than any religion. We live in a universe of wonders, and it may be that we are the greatest wonders of all, magicians creating our own realities, not just through words and deeds but by faith and intentions.

We create our own reality, beginning with our deepest impulse, radiating out from the core of our beings through our deepest thoughts and emotions and unconscious impulses to conscious strategies, which are the most obvious but not necessarily most effective means of achieving our desires–we see that in people who unconsciously undermine themselves.

We manifest our realities, but what we get may or may not be what we consciously desire, which itself may or may not be the best thing for us. Ultimately, we do not get what we want so much as we get what we are.

It all begins with us, so when we want something, that’s where we should start.

As Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see.”

If you want love, be love. If you desire abundance, unbind your thinking. If you want anything, make a place for it in your heart and mind, especially in its deepest levels. Be sure that you really want it–if you are undermining yourself, it may be that what you are striving for does not really suit you, and if that’s true, investigate that.

Get to know yourself.

If you become what you want to attract, it will come to you like iron to a magnet.

How could it be otherwise?

Pity the Kids

When I was a kid, back in the 1950s, I did a lot of things on my own. I played with my friends up and down the street, having only to be home by dinner or by dark. We road our bicycles all over the neighbourhood. We ran around in “the woods” nearby. I walked to school by myself from kindergarten on.

And I was safe. It was what every child did, and they were all safe, at least in suburban Toronto. Not only did nothing happen to me, nothing happened to any of my friends or anyone in my school – ever.

I’m not saying that bad things never happened to unescorted children, but it was very, very rare.

How about now? Well, in the first place, if a parent gave his child that kind of freedom today, he would get arrested for child neglect, and have his child taken away from him by the state – guaranteed.

And to be honest, I would never give my child that kind of freedom nowadays, because I think he or she could be in real danger.

Why the change? Why is it so much more dangerous to be a child these days than it once was?

Hint: it’s not pollution or climate change.

It’s people’s behaviour.

Society has changed, and if it puts children at greater risk, how can these possibly be a good changes?

Society, back in the 1950s, ran a tighter ship. More was expected of people. They were taught more responsibility. Rules were meaningfully enforced. Morality was stressed.

And it was no accident that children were safer.

Today?

– sexually, almost anything goes

– moral relativism is king

– criminal sentencing has become so watered down as to become a virtual oxymoron

– common societal standards and practices have been replaced by the chaos of multiculturalism

Metaphorically, you can almost get away with murder.

Is it any wonder we have to put our children in a buble?

I was born in Canada, and lived my whole life there, so you would think that I would be waving my flag on July 1st, but I don’t, and I never will for the simple reason that this country is no longer Canada, at least not the Canada I know.

For one thing, they changed the name of the country. The Father’s of Confederation were afraid to antagonise our neighbour to the south, so they did not use the name they really wanted–the Kingdom of Canada–and settled for the Dominion of Canada, a uniquely Canadian innovation: no other country had ever been called a Dominion before. For anyone too young to remember, that’s where Dominion Stores took their name, and that’s why our national holiday (up to 1982) was “Dominion Day”–the day we became a Dominion Day.

So why did we change it? “We” didn’t. Pierre Trudeau, who hated all things British, was determined to get rid of every vestige of our British heritage. To be fair, it started earlier, under his predecessor, Lester Pearson, but Trudeau took it, as they say, “to a whole new level”.

Pearson got rid of our true, historical flag, the Red Ensign, which featured the Union Jack in the upper left quadrant, as well as three Canadian maple leaves and a few other symbols, a move that was opposed by the majority in English Canada.

Trudeau patriated the Constitution, making it more French and less British with his politically correct Charter of (so-called) Rights and Freedoms which was the basis for things like affirmative action and bilingualism.

He changed our system of weights and measure from the British imperial system to the French metric, which none of our major trading partners used.

He did everything he could to denigrate the role of the Monarchy, trashing the name “Royal” from every Canadian institution he could–only the RCMP successfully resisted. He further removed the Queen’s likeness from most of our paper money and virtually all of our stamps. He even slid down the bannister at Buckingham Palace to show his contempt for our Queen.

He made the country officially bilingual and gave preference in hiring to unilingual French. He made the country officially multicultural . . . goodbye “English” Canada. And he strictly limited the number of British immigrants.

Finally, he changed the name of our national holiday because he thought it was too British, even though it was a strictly Canadian invention.

And how did he do that? He rammed it through Parliament late one Friday afternoon with only thirteen Members of Parliament present–that’s less than a quorum. That means he snuck it through. It was illegal!

Trudeau was a traitor.

So that’s why I do not, and never will, celebrate Canada Day, symbolising, for me, as it does, the death of the country I love.

Why the hell should I?

I am not a person to condemn something blindly nor am I given to unreasoning prejudice – I think about issues before I make decisions about them.

Regarding Islam, I have done a lot of reading and spent a lot of time in thought. I read the Koran cover to cover and found it absolutely appalling. First of all, there is no meaningful order to it; neither chronological nor thematic, merely from longest book or surah to shortest. Secondly, it is filled with violence and intolerance. It seems that every few pages there are vivid descriptions of the eternal horrors to be inflicted on unbelievers, like molten metal being poured down their throats. It doesn’t even seem like a religion in its own right, more like a heretical sect of Judaism which, admittedly, has some pretty gruesome passages in its own holy book, but nothing to rival the Koran.

Current events and recent history are filled with barbaric acts perpetrated by Muslim extremists, but the behavior of so-called “moderate Islam” – a textbook oxymoron – is pretty appalling in its own right. A couple of examples:

The Muslim majority at Don Valley Middle School in Toronto somehow managed to talk the Toronto Board of Education into turning the cafeteria into a mosque every Friday afternoon. That’s bad enough, but the seating arrangement is sickening. Boys sit at the front and girls sit behind them – so the Board apparently accepts blatant sexism in the schools as long as a big enough group wants to do it (but that kind of hypocrisy is another subject). Even worse, girls who are menstruating are forced to sit at the very back because they are “unclean”. I can’t think of many better ways to publicly humiliate young girls, some of whom would be getting their first period.

Notice, too, that it’s women who are blamed for sexual impurity of all kinds when, logically, by their own actions, Muslims display their hypocrisy by not placing the blame where they themselves show us that they believe it lies – men.

Women look at men and, as nature intended, lust after them (to put it Biblically). Women also lust after men, but that’s a bit more complex. The Western solution is to tell men to behave themselves. The Islamic solution is to make its women cover up in anything from a head scarf to a portable tent that covers everything – including their eyes. The message is clear: women are temptresses are should hide themselves. I vividly remember teaching a class in the hot, humid weather that included a Muslim brother and sister: he was comfortably sitting at his desk in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt while she was sweating under a heavy, black garment that covered her almost completely, head to foot, with only her hands and eyes showing. Back home, she might have been stoned for dressing as her brother did. That’s an extreme example, but the hijab, which I saw almost universally worn by female students, is the same principle at work.

To listen to the left wing, you would think that this kind of intolerant behavior comes from a tiny minority of Muslims, but it is widespread, and that this kind of enforced female modesty is just a cultural practice that is no different than the Western fondness for, say, blue jeans, but it is uncomfortable and largely unwanted by those who are under pressure to endure it.

I have heard average students defending Sharia law, telling me that the only reasonable way to treat a thief is to cut off his hand – it’s a mainstream view.

I could go on . . .

But let’s stop there, and I will tell you why I am thankful for Islam: it tells me that Official Multiculturalism, as set out in the Canadian Constitution and the so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms is wrong-headed and needs to be repealed­–now.

Cultural relativism looks pretty harmless when the various cultures are similar, clustering around a common set of values, whatever their individual expression. But what about when cultures are poles apart, like Western culture and Islam? They do not complement each other, as various European cultures might be seen to do; they oppose each other, and that promotes a slew of difficulties.

We are a tolerant, Western nation; tolerance, itself, springs out of Western values. That’s why you will never see anything remotely like multiculturalism in any Islamic nation. In their home countries, they do not tolerate us, yet here, we tolerate them, including their rampant sexism, of which so-called “honor killings” are but an extreme instance of a more widespread pattern of Islamic intolerance.

Not all cultures are created equal. We in the West made that decision centuries ago. It flowed out of ancient Greece and Rome, expressed itself in Magna Carta, philosophy, art and social customs.

We repeal Official Multiculturalism to in order to reflect and honor that tradition and protect the rights and freedoms, not just of Muslim women, but us all.

One of the oddest memories I have from my childhood is going to the movies with my family.

My father would organize the outing, and he didn’t care about something so basic as when the movie started. No, we just showed up any old time, usually in the middle of the movie. Nothing made any sense, of course. We watched, the movie progressed, the ending came – it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Then, we waited for the beginning to come around again, and watched the movie. Then, my father would stand up and say, “Well, this is where we came in,” and we would leave. Now the movie made sense to me, but in a most unusual and disconcerting way.

Ever since, I have had a thing about arriving on time at the beginning of a movie – it really bothers me to come in late, and I think I know why.

It occurred to me today that that is an apt metaphor for our life’s journey. At an early age, we’re thrust into the middle of something we do not understand. And we leave at a time that is not necessarily of our choosing. Things are left undone and unsaid. Someone once said that every live is an uncompleted journey – I guess that’s why.

Please forgive me for meandering my way to the point, but I fear I must.

When my father would become frustrated with my lack of understanding of what he was saying to me, he would sometimes say, “You’ll understand when you have children of your own.” But I never did have any, at least none that I could admit to.

Still, late in life, through an unusual set of circumstances that I consider a blessing, I have been allowed to help raise two beautiful god-daughters, presently aged eight and two – real darlings, and I love them more than I can say. I sometimes say, “I may not have had children, but I do have grand-children,” and that’s kind of how they feel to me. I think, too, that that’s how they look at me. That’s the niche that I fill in their lives, and I am so grateful for that.

I know that the older girl would be very sad if I were to die now, and when the time does come for me to leave, probably in about twenty to twenty-five years, given the average lifespan in my family, it will leave a lot of things undone – I may or may not have had the chance to dance at her wedding – a thought that entertains me.

And at the end of the uncompleted journey that will have been my life, I will have gone from being a child, thrust uncomprehending into this life, midstream, as it were, to being thrust out, stepping off into the great unknown, with the equivalent of grand-children presumably mourning me.

Contemplating that thought, I imagine myself echoing my father’s words in a theatre, so many years ago, “Well, I guess this is where I came in.”

How Important Are We?

“Have you ever wondered how many angels you have? All of them. They insisted.” (Tut.com)

That was a message that I received from tut.com, which sends me an inspirational email message each weekday – I highly recommend it if it appeals to you.

If you’re like me, there are many times that you feel unimportant.

But surely, we re wrong.

Have you ever tried to speak to someone who is, in the eyes of the world, important? It’s not always easy to arrange an appointment. “Hello, I’d like to speak to the Prime Minister.” How do you think that would work out?

But before we feel too bad about that, we should remember we have instant access, any time of day or night, to someone indefinitely more important than the Prime Minister, the President, the Queen . . .

God.

However you conceive Him, He hears us, all of us, all of the time, no matter how unimportant we might feel ourselves to be.

And if He who made the stars thinks us important enough to attend on our every thought, word and deed, should we not revise our opinion of ourselves upwards, just a tad?

Jesus called us His Brothers, and God is the father of us all – we are made in His image.

Not bad?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.