promises are kept

thoughts from the mind of Mitch Brown

Month: May, 2012

Random Thoughts Vol.3: Weakness, Strength, and Personality

  • My best friend Mike and I were going to the grocery store one night, and I brought up the name of someone we went to high school with, and I asked if he knew what that dude was up to these days. Mike said the last he heard this guy has a severe case of schizophrenia, can’t hold down a job, and was trying get on or is on disability. I then asked Mike “do you feel sorry for him?”

    Mike said he did, citing how fucked up this guy’s family was, and Mike felt that the guy didn’t have much of a choice other than also being fucked up. My rebuttal was that I didn’t have the best family life (and public school was absolute hell for me) , yet I didn’t resort to the choices he did, and I’m currently doing quite well for myself. I say choices because during high school this former friend got into doing drugs, particularity acid, and at that point, our friendship came to an end. The onset of his schizophrenia happened after he started doing a shitload of acid. That’s why I say choice. If his schizophrenia was a hereditary condition, it was most likely exacerbated by his heavy use of acid.

    I tend not to feel sorry for people when their problems are self-inflicted ones, but I’m also able to see the cycle he was trapped in. He felt socially displaced at school and had to deal with an abusive dad. One could say these were contributing factors leading to him getting all drugged out, but he still made the conscious choice to do a bunch of acid. Due to constantly being ostracized at school, this kid desperately longed for a place to belong, and he found it in the drug culture. That clique is not an exclusive clique: anyone with enough money or the dope to kick down can find a place to belong in it.

After mentioning I didn’t have the best childhood, but I didn’t windup like that, Mike then came up with one of his more fitting analogies/metaphors. He said someone being in a fucked up situation they have no control over is like being stuck in a jail cell. Some people will pass the time by getting a hold of deck of cards and playing solitaire, and someone else ends up bouncing a ball off of the wall to stay sane, but Mike said, in response to dealing with displeasing, fucked up circumstances in my life, I find a hacksaw and end up sawing through the cell bars.

He said my intelligence and restlessness is the equivalent of a hacksaw. His explanation of why my response was a hacksaw approach validates my belief that we are all different, something that is often downplayed with the modern promotion of the fallacy of egalitarianism. My internal drive, resolve compels me to push forward where others would have fallen and given up. As  society has become seemingly obsessed with promoting ideas of egalitarianism and equality, the innate qualities that make someone who they are often downplayed or overlooked all together. Behavior can be altered,but personality is a fixed trait.

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This Video Never Gets Old

Boyd Rice VS. Bob Larson

I love this exchange; it’s some of the most entertaining radio I’ve ever heard. The thing is that Boyd Rice holds views that a lot of people would probably consider repugnant, but he is able to articulate them with a clarity, calmness, and intelligence that is second to none. I learned how to better communicate ideas and how to better debate by listening to this and various clips of William F. Buckley Jr  Even if I disagree with someone, I will have respect for them if they are able to articulate their views in a precise manner. Bob Larson was outmatched in this battle of wits, and you can hear how much it frustrated him.

 

Random Thoughts Vol.2: I’m Offensive And When People Don’t Answer Questions

*I’ve received some feedback on this blog: A friend commented that my writing style was fascinating and that very few people are as straight forward as I am. I appreciate that. I don’t feel the need to sugarcoat anything. Also, with me, no subject is taboo; no subject is off limits.

There are a number of people who have influenced my writing, people like Larry Flynt, George Carlin, Eminem, Jim Goad, and Rowdy Roddy Piper to name a few, people who don’t really give a fuck if you get offended by what they do. My best friend Mike told me that there are people out there who wish they could do and say some of the things I do, but they don’t because they lack balls. I’ve been asked before “How can you say that?” Answer: because it’s what I see. If it happens in society, whatever it might be, I’m not going to shy away from discussing it or writing about it. I give a flying fuck about your feelings.

Every single day of my life, I encounter things that bother me, yet I’ve learned how to cope. Maybe some day you will too. If you are offended by any of the things I say or write, then maybe you deserve to be offended.

*One of my biggest pet peeves is when I ask a serious question and someone doesn’t answer me. No, most of the time, the person I’m talking to is not giving me the silent treatment. A lot of times, they usually give an answer that’s maybe at best only nominally related to what I asked. They often give an answer, but they don’t actually answer the question I asked. These are the times when I’ve caught somebody off guard in a subject, an area of knowledge, they are not versed in.

I can only think of one specific time when someone actually didn’t answer at all, total silence. It was at work: a co-worker and I had somehow landed on the topic of religion. I told her if I ever had a religious conversion, which is highly unlikely to happen, it would probably be to Judaism or Islam, because Christianity as it is practiced in the West is Eurocentric ,and, historically, has been used as a tool to subjugate and denigrate people of color. She angrily responded by saying “Do you know what people who are Islamic have done?” Wow, could you be more vague? I asked her for further specifics: “Who are you talking about?, the Sunni?, the Shia?, The Wahhabi?” She fell silent, which resulted in a proverbial TKO for me.

She didn’t answer because she didn’t know who and what she was talking about. The fact she didn’t know and didn’t answer is handing me a victory, and I was kind of giddy about that, but at the same time I was pissed off that she didn’t reply, that she didn’t ask me to explain. If she were to have done that, she would have been admitting her own ignorance. Remember, you can only keep up a facade for so long.

Random Thoughts Vol.1: Opinions And Stupid Questions

Being opinionated is no great crime when one’s opinions are based on reason, logic, and rational thought. Something that really irks me is when people use the “just an opinion” defense, and I’ve noticed it’s double pronged in the way it’s commonly used. One use is when someone gets huffy and says something that’s total bullshit and then remarks “THAT’S MY OPINION,” as if by saying that phrase creates an impenetrable force field around the bullshit they are espousing. It’s as if those who say this believe that their “opinion” should not, and can not, be subjected to analysis or criticism.

These are the same type of fucktards who often state “that’s the way I was raised” as a justification for bullshit beliefs and actions. When I hear “that’s the way I was raised,” I hear someone who is unable to construct a legitimate defense for their beliefs, so they just recite a bullshit line.( as a knee jerk reaction) It’s such a cliché and sounds so stupid. Just typing it, I imagine it being said in a redneck accent. Someone could have been raised in the Ku Klux Klan or raised to believe that incest is ok; it doesn’t change that it’s bullshit. If someone says stupid bullshit in my presence, and I am able to, I will not just say they are on bullshit; I will prove they have said something stupid. I will debunk and deflate the retarded statement they have made, and in the process make them look stupid, but it’s not hard to make a stupid person look stupid.

The other end of the spectrum is when people say “it’s just an opinion” in an attempt to discredit something they disagree with. It could very well be a valid statement, but it doesn’t coincide with their own beliefs, and they are not capable of deflating said opinion, so they will resort to regurgitating “it’s just an opinion.” I once worked with a redneck supervisor who would always want to debate with me. He was always the one who would initiate the conversation, most commonly about issues of race, religion, and politics.

He was a piss-poor debater. Most of his arguments were rife with inconsistencies. Like a typical talk-radio fan, the majority of his arguments were not based on logic; he would simply parrot what his revered right-wing icons would say. One day he said Muslims are the only religious people who kill in the name of their faith. I then asked “Have you ever heard of Paul Hill?” Paul Hill,a Christian, was the first known abortion doctor killer. In Sarasota, Florida, In 1994, he gunned down an unarmed doctor. My boss replied “Have you ever heard of Jeremiah Wright?” Jeremiah Wright has nothing to do with the original topic, the one he had brought up. We were talking about murder in the name of religion, which is a sickness that is not exclusivity relegated to Islam. (OPEN UP A HISTORY BOOK) Furthermore, Jeremiah Wright is a Christian, and he was never accused or convicted of murder; Paul Hill was, and he was eventually sentenced to death for it.

The supervisor I was working for could never admit when he was wrong or misinformed. I’m far more educated than he is, so it was easy to best him in these conversations. One day, I guess after realizing he was not my intellectual equal and that I’m more book smart than he could ever hope to be, he attempts to discredit me by saying “a book is just someone else’s opinion.” I was shocked. It felt like he was trying to imply that he knew more by knowing less, like all of my fancy highfalutin’ book learning was somehow null and void because it was “book learning.” Conversing with him was like talking to a member of the Flat Earth Society. How do you expect to become informed about the world if you are not willing to read? , and I wonder if he views his Bible as “just someone else’s opinion?”

Not all opinions are equal and have equal merit. The opinion of an educated ,informed individual is more substantive than that of an uninformed dumbass.

  • Sometimes I think I should be even more unfiltered with people. For instance, at a job I used to work, this old lady, a co-worker asked me “where are your parents?” I thought what a stupid question.

    This is a woman who neither I nor my parents have any connection to. She is not a family friend. I thought about the typical motivation behind asking such a question. Such a question is usually asked when a young person, usually a teenager, is engaging in destructive or self-destructive behavior, and if a parent was more involved in their life, they could possibly curb such behavior, but that doesn’t apply to me. I think this falls into the list of top five stupidest things anyone has ever said to me. I should have said “what makes you ask such as stupid question?”

    From here on out, if you ask me a stupid question, you might hear me say something like “that’s a fucking stupid question.” (instead of answering you) If you don’t want to be talked to in such a manner, than refrain from asking me stupid questions.

 

New Mac Lethal Video: Mac Goes Hard Over Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”

I was overjoyed when I watched this on my Facebook feed this morning. It’s none other than Mac Lethal spitting fire over a Goyte instrumental. Mac actually lets his fans vote via Facebook on what beat should be used for these videos. A truly talented MC can flow over ANY beat. Google Crooked i-Fireflies for another prime example, a West Coast rapper who was once signed to Death Row records rapping over an Owl City instrumental!

Mac Lethal is more than just the dude who did the pancakes video, but in the era of the viral video, these videos allow his name to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t have known about him. Me, I’ve being listening to Mac Lethal for awhile now. I bought the 11:11 album a few months after it came out. The speed of his delivery on this is jaw- dropping; it’s right up there with Tech N9ne and Twista. The bulk of this freestyle is about the difference between “your” and “you’re” This is something every English major, or just anyone who possesses even the most rudimentary grammar skills, can get behind. Check it out. Mac Lethal is the shit.

School Daze Vol.1: Reflections On The Last Three Years

   As spring draws to a close, and summer is fast approaching, I can’t help but reflect on my college experience thus far. These last two semesters have been really hectic. Last fall, if you were to ask me what I do in my free time ,I would have told you “I don’t have any.” In between, writing for the campus newspaper, trying to get a TV/web show off the ground, which petered out after only a couple of episodes, going to class, and the cook job I was working at one of the dinning halls, I couldn’t fit anything else into my schedule.

School is priority number one; it’s the catapult that I hope will lift me to a higher ground, and getting there is completely dependent on my efforts. That’s why I go so hard and take this very seriously. My future depends on this. My sister once told me I was “obsessed” with academic matters. My best friend Mike said he’s never seen someone as determined and motivated as I am. These last two semesters I’ve really been feeling the stress and pressure. In 2008-2009, I had so many hurdles to scale; I was always thinking I can do this or that tomorrow ,(whatever you wish to proclaim that as) and tomorrow is now today. In 2008-2009, just sitting in class felt exhilarating. Now it often feels like I’m just punching the clock. The spark is still there, but at times it feels like it’s  growing dim. I’m determined to try and rekindle it as it once was.

 Three years ago, I felt like I had so many hurdles to scale, so many credit hours to accumulate and courses to pass, but now I’m well beyond the halfway mark, and I’ve been spending more time reflecting on the amount of courses I’ve taken. I think about the amount of time I’ve spent in a classroom. I think about what my favorites classes have been,which is an easy answer–the introductory biology course I took in the spring of 2009 and history of the ancient world in the fall of 2009. Biology was a favorite because the majority of the course material consisted of unfamiliar information,yet I was able to do well. The first A I ever scored on a college exam was in that class. It’s like the whole experience served as an affirmation that I could do this. History of the ancient world was also an influx of (semi) new information.

Every historian has his or her favorite era, an era they are well versed in: for me, it’s the Cold War and 20th century Middle Eastern events, stuff like the three major Arab/Israeli wars and the 1979 Iranian revolution. The B.C.E. era is not my specialty. One of the coolest books I’ve ever been assigned came from that class– Sources Of World Civilization Volume I, which was a supplemental companion to our main text book. Sources contained a plethora of primary source documents that pertained to the class. I still have the book. Even though the class was not a religious studies course, a theological focus was present, an emphasis on the role religion played in theses ancient societies. The book contained selections from the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Bhagavad Gita.(a Hindu holy book) The book wasn’t completely focused on theology: it also contained classic literature from the ancient world, like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, and Homer’s The Odyssey.

I’ve been asked why I’m also majoring in history, as though it were an irrelevant subject. I even had someone ask me how can you get a job with such a major. My reason for taking on a double major was to increase my knowledge. For a writer/journalist, the benefit is that I’ll have more to write about. The “how can you make money with that type of degree” question is an example of how college, for many, has become a glorified trade school. I have no idea why someone would want to major in something like construction management or tourism. Those aren’t even academic disciplines– THEY ARE FUCKING TRADES!! So many students primarily focus on jumping through the required hoops, and the acquiring of knowledge is secondary. The result of the pervasiveness of such a mentality is the emergence of an uneducated professional class.

There is a difference between vocational training and education. The prevalence of the uneducated college grad is directly linked to the transformation of the base of the American economy from an industrial base to a knowledge based/service economy. Many of the students roaming the halls in lower caliber universities would have been on a factory floor had they been alive and of working age thirty years ago. The four year degree has been devalued. Resources that are the most limited become the most valuable. The increased number of people going to college is a reason for the decreased value of the bachelor’s degree. Those who are serious, who are playing for keeps and chasing after success, not mediocrity, have to raise the bar higher, not only by moving on to a master’s degree, but by doing more than just course work, also being involved in academic-related and extra circular endeavors that will make the student stand out from the average. These are the kinds of things that are always on my mind. It’s just one epiphany I’ve had within the last few years. I’ll share some of the others later.

Occupy The Fire by Jesse Jones

This is a video of not-so-famous musician Jesse Jones.  A couple days ago, out of the blue, Jesse contacted me, wanting me to review this video. I said I would. I don’t know why I’m reviewing this. I could give a shit about Jesse Jones’s musical aspirations. Jesse has been doing this music thing for a long time. I’ve known Jesse for awhile now. I first met him at a New Year’s Eve party, and the only reason I decided to talk to him was because he had on a Black Flag shirt.

He has been chasing the dream of rock stardom for many years now, and it still hasn’t come true; maybe his luck might change, seeing as he has recently made the move to L.A. Jesse was once in the band Dynamo; a band founded by Sonny and Joe Remlinger (now of Super Black Market) Jesse also did a stint in the 8-UPs along side Matti-Mat Alvarado. Somewhere along the way, Jesse went unplugged and is now doing acoustic folk rock.

Let me state once again, I have no idea why I am reviewing this video or why I even watched it in the first place. I’m not into folk music, and to be quite honest, ninety percent of the music being made today, across all genre lines, does nothing for me. With that said here we go:

What we have here is an homage to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” but updated for the 21st century.”We Didn’t Start the Fire” was a condensed history lesson of a post World War 2 society, and “Occupy the Fire” comes off like an urgent breaking news update. I like the idea; the song is decent, but it felt like it was incomplete,missing a few more verses. The events Billy Joel sang about were in a chronological order, and Jesse shots references at the listener in a semi-organized blender-like fashion, but that works as far a capturing a sense of chaos, like the song it self becomes the soundtrack for a nation entering into the fourth stage of Polybius’s cycles of government. I think if Jesse sticks with it, he could still become a really big star one day; never mind that his singing voice sounds like Jeff Spicoli meets Conor Oberst.

Insulated Listening And The Fallacy Of Negative And Positive

Recently I took a course on interpersonal communication; we learned about something called insulated listening. The insulated listener is really annoying to me. Before I had a more technical term, I would refer to them as “the human ostrich.” They simply block out and ignore that which offends them or does not coincide with their own world view. It’s extremely frustrating when trying to talk to the insulated listener. The insulated listener will only listen to that which they want to hear and often avoid bad news. This is a fear based mentality. What if you encounter a situation in which you should fully acknowledge the bad news in order to effectively deal with it. Refusing to acknowledge a problem, because “it’s too much to deal with,” will not cause the problem to magically evaporate.

Many world religions center on a duality of the universe, the good vs. evil/dichotomy. Zoroastrianism is one the earliest known religions in which the dichotomy was present. The very notion of an ongoing conflict between a god(force) and a devil(force) comes from Zoroastrianism, which Christianity later borrowed. An even more interesting theological concept concerning the issue of good vs. evil is the Gnostic deity Abraxas. A sect of first century Gnostics worshiped Abraxas. The qualities of Abraxas are both “good” and “evil” rolled into one. Abraxas is a deity that is playing the role of God and the Devil at the same time, the representation of the duality of good and evil without a conflict between the two forces. According to this philosophy, everything under the sun becomes the work of Abraxas. A little kid gets hit by a bus and dies, it’s the work of Abraxas. If your grandma beats cancer and lives to be 102, it’s also the hand of Abraxas. Avant garde musician Boyd Rice has talked about Abraxas, but he doesn’t worship it as a deity. To him, the concept of Abraxas is a representation of nature. In an interview with Bob Larson, he said Abraxas was the positive and negative co-existing, and neither one could be detached from the other. According to Boyd’s train of thought, the insulated listener is denying the very fabric of nature.

I think we have to define what exactly is meant by positive and negative. To the average myopic type, negative means “bad” and positive means “good.” For example, to those with this type of common mentality, hate is bad and love is good. What if someone hates injustice, and their hatred becomes the catalyst for doing works that help ease the suffering of others. What if somebody is in love with someone who has a toxic personality, an abusive type? To use a comic book example, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents is what prompted him to become Batman. Is that event positive or negative? See, it’s not that simple. From a scientific , statistical, and mathematical perspective, the terms negative and positive are emotionally and morally neutral. You have positive numbers and negative numbers. In an introductory psych course, I learned about positive and negative correlation. In one context these words mean something very different from the context people often use them in.

Someone can focus all of their thoughts on rainbows,unicorns, and world peace, but it still doesn’t change the fact that we inhabit a world afflicted with violence, murder, rape, war, and other assorted forms of nastiness. As I started earlier, turning a blind eye to these issues will not make them disappear. An acquittance  once  labeled me “negative.” My answer to that is no I’m not: I’m a realist ,a pragmatist. The person who said this exhibits a lot “negative” personality traits: she complains a lot and is melodramatic. Being overly idealistic is not always “positive,” especially if such a frame of mind allows someone to only see the world as they wish it could be, as opposed to being able to see how the world really is. That’s a form of delusional thinking. I really think that insulated listening might be a by-product of avoidant personality disorder. I honestly feel sorry for these types. I can’t understand what it’s like going through life with an intentional disregard of much of what is going on.

Welcome To My Blog

This is the first entry in my new blog ,so here goes: My name is Mitchell Brown, and I attend the University of Central Missouri. I’m pursuing a double major in journalism and history. I’m a senior and should be done within a year or so. I am constantly writing, so I figured I should start a blog. I’ve thought about it for a long time now, and seeing that today was the end of finals for this semester, for me, I will now have more time to write a blog. I’ve had ideas swirling around in my head for months now for a blog. So what will I focus on? The content is going to be an eclectic mix of topics…

*music

*movies

*pop-culture

*politics

*theology

*school related stuff

*and anything else I can think of

I would just like to issue a warning in advance: you might encounter some things on here you find to be offensive. Not all of the content is going to sit well with everyone. Since this is my creation, it’s going to be in an uncensored, unfiltered, and unrestricted format. I’m a vocal advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of speech. Some people will say they are, yet change their tune and get their panties in a bunch when they hear or read something they don’t like or don’t agree with. I’m a proponent of the free-market of ideas. I’m just as likely to listen to the views of someone whom I disagree with. The protecting of First Amendment rights is essential to maintaining a democratic republic, and with that said–welcome to my blog.