I'm not a huge fan of people. In fact, you wouldn't be wrong if you called me a misanthrope. Don't get me wrong, I like individuals just fine. Well, at least, I can like individuals just fine, but the mass of humanity... not a fan. I don't believe in the inherent goodness of humanity or anything close to it. I think people are pretty not-good, and it's closer to the truth to say I believe that humans are inherently selfish morons. This is not to say that I don't believe that people have the capacity for good. I do. I believe that (most) people have great potential for goodness. But that's all it is. Unused (or rarely used) potential.
I'm not saying any of this to imply that I'm any better, either. I'm sure that I'm not, but, at least, I'm aware of it, which is more than you can say for most people. It's like that whole thing about wisdom beginning when you realize how much you don't know.
Yes, I have examples:
1. I was driving the kids to school yesterday morning. Driving to school is not something I'm really enjoying having to do, at the moment, although I'm sure my kids are. But the dog isn't crate trained, yet, so she has to go with us, and I haven't been able to have the work done to my bike that will allow her to ride on it with me, so we've been in the car since the dog acquisition. (I'm hoping to get that changed after the new year.) Anyway... We were running a bit later than normal (yes, it was my fault, but I'm blaming the dog :), so I was feeling rushed. However, let me just be clear: I don't speed. (There's a long story about that and being late to a final during college (NOT my fault).) We're coming up the street to where we need to make a right onto the street their school is on. The light is green, and the crosswalk had the big red hand up barring pedestrians from entering the intersection. However, I see on the sidewalk on old woman with a bundle of sticks on her back (yes, I'm totally serious) making for the intersection with no signs of stopping. She didn't look around, she didn't slow down, she didn't act as if she realized she wasn't out in the middle of the woods gathering said sticks on her back. She also didn't stop at the corner. She walked straight out into the intersection and proceeded on her way. This is the kind of behavior that can kill you (you may now refer back to the "selfish morons" comment). Let's pretend that I was driving the same way that she was walking, especially since I was in a hurry. What we would have had was a dead pedestrian, a wrecked car, injured children (and dog), and sticks all over the street. But, as it was, I gritted my teeth and mumbled something about stupid people as I came to stop at a green light so that someone could cross against their own light.
2. Some of you may have picked up on the fact that we're big Star Wars fans in this house. Some of you may also know that Star Wars was recently (I use that term loosely) released on blu-ray. This was a cause for much debate and angst in our household. On the one hand, we own way more copies of Star Wars than anyone needs. I have a very special limited edition collectors set of the movies on VHS that have a leather case, a holographic cover, a book that only came with this edition of the movies and a 4th tape that was also limited to this edition. These are quite old at this point. I also have the last release of the original trilogy on VHS before Special Edition came out along with the Special Edition release of the movies on VHS. And we have them on dvd (it was the dvd release that actually prompted our first dvd player purchase). The original trilogy and the prequels (and The Clone Wars movie and the first two seasons of the show and a bunch of spoofs and parodies (Thumb Wars, R2-D2: Beneath the Dome, Hardware Wars, etc)). As my wife put it, "we don't need another set of those movies. Which is, objectively, true. But there's supposed to be all of this special, never before released stuff on the blu-ray edition, so "I wants it, my precious." (to mix a metaphor (except not)) My kids also wanted it. Hence, debate and angst. Not to mention the complication of the 3D versions which begin coming out next year, and I know I will want to buy those, even if I can't watch them in 3D, at the moment. So... do I buy the blu-rays knowing full well that I'll be repeating that purchase in the near future when the newer versions begin coming out on blu-ray 3D?
I began doing some research into the reaction of people about the blu-ray collection. I also mentioned to a friend of mine the dilemma we were facing, and his response was, "Oh, we pre-ordered them. You can borrow them when we get them." This was awesome. So we're in the midst of "borrowing," right now. But I was still doing research.
When the blu-ray collection came out, people began to immediately complain about Lucas tinkering with the movies again and all of these scenes that got added back in and how they all sucked and how Lucas has just continued to ruin everyone's childhood by messing up a good thing. There were even references to specific scenes in some of the reviews and how they sucked and made the movies suck. Because the implication of every review that I read was that all of these scenes had been edited back into the movies.
IT'S ALL HOGWASH!!!
The collection is 9 discs (which could have been reduced to 7, thus reducing the price by $20): 1-6 are each of the movies, 7 is special features (including deleted scenes) for the prequels, 8 is special features (including deleted scenes for the originals), and 9 is documentaries and featurettes. There are no new scenes in the movies themselves. The only tinkering is with the sound in a few places, the removal of the scream as Luke falls down the shaft in Empire (which was the only thing added in the Special Edition that I really couldn't stand, so I'm glad they took that back out), some bits of dialogue between holo-Emperor and Vader in Empire (which is the only thing that's a significant change), and a cleaning up of the blaster exchange between Greedo and Han so that it's less clear who shot first (that change having already been made, this new version is better than the first). None of the deleted scenes are added into the movies. They're on completely different discs. In fact, they are no different than deleted scenes from every other movie, and it's just stupid to get all upset that Lucas is letting us see them. Personally, I find it interesting to look at what was cut from a movie, especially if there's an explanation as to why it was cut. (And some of those scenes I've been waiting since I was 7 to see, so I think it's awesome that Lucas finally put them where we can see them if we want to do that. There's nothing to force anyone to put that other disc in or to watch the deleted scenes if you think it will shatter your delusions.)
In the end, the uproar over the deleted scenes is another example of the stupidity of people.
And, although I'd really love to own the blu-ray edition (mostly because of the Luke/Biggs scenes that are FINALLY included in the deleted scenes), I've decided to save my $90 and wait for the 3D releases.
3. Have you seen the news about the post office? In an effort to become more competitive in these troubled economic times, they will be lowering the quality of their service. Not that it will become cheaper.
It's no secret that the post office has been struggling due to loss of business to the internet. Why send a letter when you can send an email. It's both faster and cheaper. Physical letters are on the verge of extinction. Even cards are becoming endangered. Starting next year, in an effort to save money, the post office will be doing away with 1st class, next day delivery. Even if it means holding the mail because it's within the same city. In fact, they're kind of saying that delivery times will be sporadic and unpredictable. This whole move strikes me as something more along the lines of punishing us for not sending enough mail. A move of smite.
See, the smart thing to do here would be to figure out how to become more competitive. But of the three main shippers in the US: USPS, UPS, and FedEx; USPS is the worst. They cost more and offer less already for any kind of service that allows you to track your package. And for anything of any real weight, they cost quite a bit more than UPS, and UPS offers FREE insurance. However, instead of looking at ways that they could, you know, become viable, they decide to stick their tongues out at us and take their ball and go home.
It's a good example of the power of the dark side. Reacting in fear is quicker, easier, and this shows every sign of a fear reaction, which is the general way that people react to these types of situations. I'm not going to start making a list of historical examples of people reacting out of fear due to economic upheaval, but, if you want to do the research, you should quickly find enough on your own.
4. Which brings us to the publishing industry. I only mention them specifically, because their way of reacting in fear to the decline in traditional publishing affects many of you guys out there. They're being the same as the post office in many ways. People are buying less books, so, instead of figuring out how to be competitive, they hike prices and squeeze their authors. This, of course, prompts people to buy less books and the authors to start looking for alternatives.
Fear is the path to the dark side, people! Go back and watch Star Wars again!
I could go on with this stuff all day, I'm sure. As you can see, I'm not overly impressed with people.
Let's just call this post practice for Grumpy Bulldog's upcoming BlahgFest
Merry Bah! Humbug!