Time to provide some more details about that announcement I made in the last post.
I am excited to say that Home, my first collection of poetry and short stories, will be launching on April 7th. As I said before, it’s a fairly modest collection — comprised of 31 individual pieces — but I’m really excited to share my writing with, well, anyone who wants to read it.
Hello and welcome to my new site: weightedwords.ca! Arguably Intelligent, the previous incarnation, is no more, though its URL will redirect to this site until it expires early next year.
With the new name comes a new look. Isn’t it fancy? I think it’s fancy. While I might make some minor changes to it going forward, I think the overall theme is here to stay.
So what do these changes mean? Why did I make them? Why haven’t I posted anything in close to two months? All good questions.
I’m not sure whether I should write this as an explanation or an apology. Functionally, I suppose, the difference between the two is mainly a matter of tone and inflection, both of which can be hard to convey in text. Perhaps I’ll just let the reader decide how they would like to categorize this post.
It’s been a while — a month and a half, to be specific — since the last post on this blog, which began rather similarly to this one and was written on similar premises. I’m not a fan of repeating myself, though, so I won’t.
Hi there. It’s been a while. Or, at least, it’s been longer than it was supposed to be.
I decided to skip making a post last Monday because, to be honest, I felt like that was the better choice. Heading into the preceding weekend, I had been mulling over a couple of topics in my head but hadn’t firmly committed to anything or started any detailed research.
That weekend, of course, was the start of Mount Allison’s fall reading week, which meant I had a week off from classes spanning in front of me. Although I didn’t have to go to class, I knew I had a number of assignments that I should work on, along with memorizing the script for a play in which I’m performing early next semester.
Furthermore, it had been previously determined that my parents would be visiting for the week, and their flight arrived on Saturday evening.
None of this was a surprise to me. I knew the circumstances of my reading week far in advance. That just made it all the more difficult to admit that I probably wouldn’t be able to make a satisfactory blog post for that Monday.
Most people who know me probably know that I like video games. They’ve played a nontrivial role in my upbringing, and I can’t actually remember a time when they weren’t a part of my life.
The same could be said about reading, school, my friends, or my family, but all of those things are generally viewed as being formative and positively contributing to an individual’s development. As I’ve discussed previously, video games (and those who play them) carry a lot of stigma, both among the older generations in society and even in some parts of today’s youth.
Broadly speaking, many people don’t believe that video games can have any positive impact on an individual. Some may even believe that playing games can be a detriment, leading only to laziness, aggression, moral degradation, and a host of other psychological and behavioural problems.
I take issue with this belief. Of course, I may be just a little bit biased, but I think that games can have an immense and positive influence on those who play them. So, with the hope of convincing some naysayers that video games aren’t actually the root cause of everything wrong with our society, I’d like to introduce what may end up becoming a semi-regular series on this blog: the Value of Video Games. We’ll begin with a discussion of the captivating phenomenon known as “flow.”
Sports are weird. So are the people who watch them, provide commentary for them, and even vehemently avow their indifference to them.
I’m entirely a part of this problem, too. After being roped into joining a fantasy football league in 2012 (when I knew nothing about the NFL), I basically started to care about football to justify the amount of time I spent on it. After the Seattle Seahawks’ defense dominated the Arizona Cardinals and saved my fantasy team that week, I felt like I owed them my allegiance. I’ve been a Seattle fan ever since.
It’s rather telling that, if they met me, some people would probably like me more just because of that fact, and that a lot of people would probably like me a lot less.
Sport fandom is weird like that. It gets in your head, messes with your perceptions, and causes all kinds of biases. It can be fantastic, it can be painful, and it can be downright bizarre. Psychologically speaking, it’s a surprisingly complex phenomenon. And despite the stress it can cause, it’s incredibly beneficial.
I am not a philosophy student.
There are a lot of other things that I am not, but “philosophy student” is the most important one right now. I have to mention this fact because the premise of this post could be derailed pretty quickly by the simple mention of moral relativism.
I am not interested in that conversation right now. It’s a fine enough conversation, but it’s not the one that I want to have here. For my purposes, I will be working with terms like “good” and “evil” as typically outlined or implied by our sociocultural norms, rules, and laws. If you don’t personally subscribe to these viewpoints, that’s alright (well, maybe not, depending on how it influences your actions), but recognize that I’m choosing to play by society’s rules for this post.
Not that it really matters all that much anyway. While setting moral relativism aside means labels like “good” and “evil” aren’t entirely meaningless, both of them (the latter in particular) are typically used as absolutes that fundamentally misrepresent the real world. We don’t get the luxury of absolute evil, but life would be so much easier if we did.
Now there’s a title I never would have imagined myself writing five years ago. It’s moments like these that really make me stop and think about how much life and society has changed in recent years, and ponder the myriad ways that it could change in the future.
Or, y’know, I could forgo the abstract contemplation and just write a blog post. Not everything needs to be taken so seriously.
For an oddly specific example of this principle, consider the remarks made by announcers during the Arizona Diamondbacks game on September 30th (you can watch the full clip here). By the next day, the internet was dissecting the exchange and deeming it yet another example of rampant and socially hegemonic misogyny.
Personally, I’m not really following the logic by which some of these people got from point A to point B, but I’m always up for a good, rational discussion. So, just like that title says, today I’m going to step into some uncharted territory for myself and talk about selfies, baseball, and misogyny. I’m sure it’ll be quite the wild ride.
At approximately 10:38 in the morning on October 1st — just a few days ago — a student walked into a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, armed with a rifle and several handguns. Ten minutes later, eight students and an assistant professor had been killed and nine others were injured. The shooter took his own life after a brief firefight with police. You can find the full story here.
This is a tragic story, and it’s one that has become all too familiar in the United States, a country that has seen 294 mass shootings (in which at least four people are killed or injured) in 2015 alone. Click on that link and take a look at some of the other statistics, because they’re terrifying.
Even scarier, though, is the realization that nothing is really being done to solve this problem.
As promised in last week’s post, this will not be another discussion of post-secondary education; instead, I’m going to be focusing on a bit of a younger demographic. To be specific, today’s post will address how our ever-evolving technological society is changing the way we raise our children.
In recent decades, the rate of technological advancement and proliferation has been absolutely staggering. The processing power of computers has doubled approximately every two years since 1975. Concepts that were once the stuff of science fiction — 3D printing, for example — are on the verge of widespread household integration. Internet access is increasingly being viewed as a fundamental human right.
These developments are sparking incredible innovations in basically every field you can imagine, but not everyone is happy with the increasing role that technology plays in our lives. In a surprisingly blunt attempt at fearmongering, Nature Valley released an ad this summer that plays off the parental fear that children are spending too much time cooped up with their phones, computers, and video games.