Monday, July 30, 2012

Stray Thoughts after a Weekend of Olympics

-I know NBC is probably charging a ton for advertising, but could only five companies afford it? How many times do I have to watch those guys drive that car through Patagonia over the next 12 days? How many different athletes are going to deposit a check with their iPhone?

-I may have found something that makes me more uncomfortable than red carpet interviews: post-competition, you-just-lost-gold-by-imperceptible-fractions, how-does-it-feel interviews. I guess it's in some contract somewhere that Michael Phelps has to stand in front of a camera directly after swimming faster than any human has ever swum before. Let me go ahead and respond to this interview for every athlete for the rest of the Olympics: "We came up with a plan to win, and I came out and executed that plan. *deep breaths* No, I cannot convey the entirety of my emotions in a two-second sound bite right now. *deep breaths* I'm going to go over here and eat a steak."

Nope, red carpet's still worse.

-We all agree that opening was a total mess, right? I love me some Danny Boyle. I love me some ancient Anglo-Saxon history. I love me some movies and digital technology. I do not love me all these things jammed together in a multi-billion dollar multimedia extravaganza. If it weren't for NBC's vapid commentary, there is no way my brain could have constructed a story out of that series of images. I wonder what the live audience made of it? Wait, they were probably too busy taking pictures of themselves and tweeting them with revolutionary digital technology.

-Speaking of that vapid commentary, why is Bob Costas so angry? "Most countries won't be winning medals here. This walk will be the high point for them." "Here are three overjoyed athletes representing the highest hopes of their small country. Let me tell you a depressing fact about that country's current regime." "Hey, look, Latvia. Buncha dickheads."

-I am so thankful NYC lost that bid.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thoughts on the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment

For better or worse, a national conversation has arisen over gun control after the Aurora, CO mass shooting.  It will fade in a week or two, to rise again after the next shooting.  I have strong opinions and emotions regarding the issue, but I want to do my best to divorce myself from them in order to address one point:  

Those arguing in favor of loose gun laws and the right to carry weapons as they see fit would do well to forgot about the Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment.

The founders of this country were in many ways brave, brilliant men.  I will forever be grateful that they took great risk to set up a country according to their own ideals, with room to expand and grow.  They acted with foresight and reason.

They were also just men.  They were not infallible.  They owned other humans as property.  They did not give women the right to vote.  They did not give unlanded men the right to vote (if you're reading this from a rented apartment, you and your kind couldn't vote until 1850 or so).  They didn't have electricity.  They couldn't easily travel.  They are over 230 years old.  They could not begin to imagine the sort of society their Constitution would govern three centuries later.

Every morning, we wake up as a brand new country.  We look in the mirror, and we see neither the America of yesterday or the America of tomorrow.  Every single day, we have the right, ability, and duty to look at our laws and see what works and what doesn't.  I believe such decisions work best when made using facts and logic.  Dogma has no place in that conversation.  It's a flimsy chair in a pie eating contest.  It's a knock-off purse.  It's Old Testament.

The founders of the country got a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong.  Thankfully one thing they got right is the ability to cancel or add to what they said.  We've done it before and we'll certainly do it again.

By all means, make your case for or against guns.  Strive to get your point across and change minds.  But do it with evidence, with facts, with reason.  Don't do it because someone else said so.

You do our Founding Fathers a disservice by boiling it down to "they said so."  They didn't take that for an answer, and it led to the creation of the United States.  So neither should you.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On Cars, Advertising, & the Death of Language

The car you see to the right is called the Nissan Rogue.  I didn't know it existed until I walked past one today.  Today I learned that Nissan has committed murder.

Rogue: 1. vagrant; tramp; 2. a dishonest or worthless person; 3. a mischievous person

You see Merriam-Webster's definitions above.  By extension and connotation, "rogue" has grown into more romantic notions as well; that of a devil-may-care, individualistic adventurer, perhaps.  Blackbeard.  Han Solo.

You may have noticed that what is pictured above is a fucking hatchback.  It's not a villain.  It's not some wild animal who's broken from his pack, looking to maim anything in his path.  It's not a swashbuckler looking out for his own best interest and damn the consequences.  It's the car that a dental hygienist drives to Arby's.  It's what an accountant buys used for his 16-year old daughter.  It's a compromise on four wheels.  It's settling.

I love language.  I love the multitude of words we have to describe every aspect of the human experience and beyond.  We have spent actual millennia weaving a rich tapestry of sounds and figures with a common meaning in order to express what lies deep in our hearts.  One of the first tasks set upon Adam by God was to name everything in existence. 

Now we have advertisers for that.

They have committed robbery and murder.  They've stolen the word "rogue" and stapled it to this piece of plastic and metal in the hopes that that word, vs., say, "banality," will trick a few more slack-jawed, glassy-eyed consumers into giving Nissan their money instead of any other identical company for any other identical car.  In doing so, the word means a little less to me now.  It died a little.  So, correction: they only murdered a little. 

That's just one word.  Think of all the words used in all the commercials, by all the politicians, stretched and twisted to convince us of something that just isn't true.  Thousands upon thousands of innocent victims are scattered across a desolate literary landscape.

Looks like we have a word for that too: verbicide.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.