Outrage, Anger, and Shame

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My parents moved to Rancho California, from Anaheim, when I was young. Back then, sheep herders herded sheep down what would become major city streets. At night, the sky was dark and the stars were bright. But time marched on, more and more people moved to the area. The stars grew dimmer and the desert monsoon weather changed due to the abundance of pools installed. My hometown eventually voted to change the name of the town from Rancho California to Temecula.

Temecula, CA

I loved growing up in Temecula. I loved the small commuter town, situated in a valley, surrounded by beautiful mountains. Living in East Texas now, I miss those mountains the most. The way the snow would sit on top of them in the winter, as seen from my parent’s kitchen.

I have been living in East Texas for 17 years. Far away from the Southern California sun; far away from the traffic that clogs up Interstate 15. I still hear news though from my parents. News about the Mayor of Temecula misspeaking. How he apologized, began receiving death threats, and ultimately had to resign. I hate politics in our country.

I also hate the shame/cancel culture that is taking over our society. How one moment, captured on film and social media is then used to destroy a person’s life. Internet vigilantes–no, not the Batman type–who won’t stop at anything until a person has lost their job and perhaps even their dog.

Have we become a society that has forgotten forgiveness, treating others as we want to be treated?

Does the Internet accurately reflect our culture? How about what you are encountering and seeing on a daily basis?

As Americans, we say that we prize freedom of speech. The actions that I see, especially online, scream that if one doesn’t believe/act/or even look as you do, they have to be nuked. Destroyed lives from high orbit. Their very lives made into burning infernos due to a mispoken word, a bad day, or even a sentence written in a blog post.

We say that we want freedom.

We say that we want to live in a free society.

I don’t think we do.

Katniss Everdeen is a herald from the American future we don’t think can exist. But the general attitudes I’m seeing, the rage, the anger of the Internet, signal that the Hunger Games have already begun.

Detroit: Become Human

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My wife and I recently finished playing through Detroit: Become Human together. By the time the credits rolled:

  • Markus died.
  • North died.
  • Alice died.
  • Luthor died.
  • Hank lived.
  • Connor might as well be dead.
  • Kara made it across the finish line, alone.
  • Alice’s abusive father was given closure.

Decisions, slight choice variations, gave us a super sad ending. Our ending was so bad, that as the credits rolled, Tabitha and I were on Youtube watching other endings. I’m not sure I have ever done that for any other game.

Director David Cage likes to swing for the fences with his games. In Detroit: Become Human, I think he finally pieced together a coherent world with an unrelenting storyline. A story that grabbed my wife and I from the beginning… and didn’t let go. Detroit was the perfect summer game.

— Welcome to Spoiler Country —

I loved:

  1. The feeling of real consequence.
  2. The branching choice paths/story variations.
  3. Playing through the game with my wife. Our late night conversations about the story.
  4. Alice being given closure when her abusive dad shows up at the bus terminal (no, I didn’t kill him in the beginning).
  5. Kara making it to freedom.

Hillary Clinton is President in Detroit: Become Human

I disliked:

  1. The language. I felt like the f-word was used as emotional shorthand.
  2. How much I was made to dislike humanity. Humans are gross pigs! Only towards the end of the game were one or two humans given a chance to shine.
  3. Markus dying. I should have retreated from the police versus sacrificing Markus. Markus held Jericho together; he was the glue. Without Markus, the option for peace was removed and violence became the end game with new leader North.
  4. Connor dying.
  5. Alice dying. The foreshadowing that the river crossing into Canada being treacherous was true. Bullets kill androids too.

Freedom. Equality. The end of slavery for androids everywhere. In the closing moments of Detroit: Become Human, I was presented with two choices:

  • Suicide – In Detroit’s case, this equaled one last defiant act of freedom.
  • Slavery – Become a puppet leader, to an evil corporation, used to control the newly freed androids.

After spending hours with Connor, I struggled with these two choices. There was no way I was going to choose suicide… so I forever imprisoned Connor to his corporate masters. Tabitha looked at me, “Bryan!” I immediately wished I could go back and change that choice. Death was a better decision than eternal slavery. Instead, I let my human emotions enslave a person and a people. So much for all their blue blood spilled.

From Across the Net – “I Opted Out of Facial Recognition at the Airport – It Wasn’t Easy”

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Photo by Keith Chan on Unsplash

Always interesting what we do not question in the name of convenience. Thankful for those who do question.

As I watched traveler after traveler stand in front of a facial scanner before boarding our flight, I had an eerie vision of a new privacy-invasive status quo. With our faces becoming yet another form of data to be collected, stored, and used, it seems we’re sleepwalking toward a hyper-surveilled environment, mollified by assurances that the process is undertaken in the name of security and convenience. I began to wonder: Will we only wake up once we no longer have the choice to opt out?

Until we have evidence that facial recognition is accurate and reliable—as opposed to simply convenient—travelers should avoid the technology where they can.

You can read more here

Fatherhood has taught me forgiveness

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The whole concept of a dad can be challenging for some men. Many have grown up without having a dad in their life. Some of us even had dads that had to work outside of the home, for days on end, to support the family. Anger, resentment, and even a quest to fill that dad-shaped hole can occur.

I am thankful for the men that God brought into my life, as my dad was out working to provide for our family.

I am thankful for my Grandpa Ayers. For him sharing his love for the outdoors, radio controlled everything, and tabletop games. For showing me and my brother that slingshots, knives, and guns are cool toys (when properly respected) to play with. I’ll never forget our late nights playing Chess OR my Grandpa letting my brother and I build our own fires (FIRE!). His unexpected death at 60 years of age still haunts me in some ways. I have found that grief is ever changing but forever there. I am thankful for the time he invested in my siblings and I; thankful for the time that I got to spend with him.

Photo by Jordan Sanchez on Unsplash

For the longest time, I retreated into negative emotions concerning my own dad. Unable to see the bigger picture of what it means to provide… unable (still unable) to see through the family fog-of-war of the example his dad left him with when it came to interacting with family. For years, even as an adult, I’ve wanted more from my dad… But I’ve learned that whatever it is I have wanted from him, I have built into my relationship with Wyatt. Letting the past go, letting anger go, has allowed me to see my dad for who he is instead of who I wanted him to be.

My dad, Steven, is an amazing guy. He is funny, insightful, and a hard worker. The older I get, the more I appreciate him AND realize how much I am like him. I wish I had been able to push past what is deemed, in Christian circles, as a “father wound” sooner. Arriving at a point where I can accept my dad for who he is is priceless. Being able to see the bigger picture, where other men were allowed to step in and teach me and my siblings, and not resent that, is liberating.

All of the above to say, Father’s Day is this weekend. Chuck Lawless reposted a piece this morning that resonated with me titled “8 Reflections on Being Childless and Celebrating Father’s Day“. I encourage you to check it out.

These greeting card holidays can stir the emotions!

Happy early Father’s Day.

Assassins Creed III Reborn

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As a History / Political-Science major, I was excited over the launch of Assassins Creed III. I even pre-ordered the game (a rarity for me). When all was said and done though, Assassins Creed III was a disappointment. So many ideas, poorly executed, with a game engine that couldn’t do the heavy lifting those ideas required. The end result was a buggy, slow-running mess, and I quit.

The upcoming PS4 remaster of Assassins Creed III has me intrigued. I’m wondering if the game engine has been upgraded? I’d love to play through this period of history. Maybe protagonist Connor has been given some hugs/love to help with his sour disposition? Maybe not. I guess we’ll soon see.