Saturday

How "Free" is the Internet?


A few nights ago I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to a talk by Morgan Spurlock - famed documentarian and filmmaker- whose credits include "Super Size Me", "30 Days (TV)" and "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?".

The main component of the night was film and the first amendment. Did you know Spurlock has 24 lawyers working for him? For freedom of speech, that's a bitch. He and a few others talked about how the internet is making it very hard for free speech to be enacted, because it is by nature spreading the information around the world - and therefore into different jurisdictions who don't have the same freedoms of speech and press that we do.

This was all very interesting, but at some point during the night it was mentioned the idea of how "free" the free press really is.

To print a paper, you need the ink, you need the paper, you need the distribution and you need the publicity. This is all not free. I realize this seems obvious, but I'm getting to the point soon.

So in reality, the physical press is an expensive business, which is being ran by a few instead of the many, and this is mainly because of financial issues.

So where has the free press migrated to? The internet.

With people like me and you numbering in the millions exercising our freedoms of speech, the majority of the independent free press has migrated towards the internet.

It is easier for people to read, easier for people to post, and all around easier to get your message out there.

But is it really free?

Everytime time I publish, and everytime you read, we are giving money to large corporations.

It cost money to get on the internet, remember? Internet is not free; it is not a commidty. We are paying to be able to absorb "free" information.

Everytime we log on the internet, we are being bombarded by advertisements, and with each site we visit we are, as the moderator of this event (I forget his name, but he was brilliant) said, "Making CEO's smile."

But is this all that bad?

You have to play by the rules to win the game.

Although we are making these "CEO's smile", we are also making us smile. Information is a commodity and we are its consumers.

But it's not the worst thing to be consuming, is it?

One day, maybe in the future Internet will be free to all, but it will still be riddled with business. But this is life, and we have to learn to live with and embrace it. Spurlock's show plays on a Murdock network, but he's still saying what he wants to say and getting his word out there.

So maybe the free press really isn't as "free" as we'd like; but at least we can still operate inside of it, and maybe if we play by their rules, beat it.

Friday

The philosophy of Everclear


Remember Everclear?

I'm pretty sure they were a big hit a few years back with songs like "Wonderful",  "Father of Mine" and "I Will Buy You a New Life" . They're still around and all, but I don't think anyones really heard of them for awhile.

I was listening to their album So Much for the Afterglow and was jamming out to the major single of the album - "I Will Buy You a New Life" - and one of the lines really struck a chord with me and made me start thinking.

 "I hate those people who love to tell you / Money is the root of all that kills / They have never been poor / They have never had the joy of a welfare christmas"

This made me think a lot. He goes on to say how he will buy us a new garden, a new car, a new house (up in the west hills!) and overall, buy us a new life.

But it was that line that stuck with me after the song ran out.

I have never been on welfare. I've been pretty forunate in my life and my family has had its struggles, but never to that point. And thoughout my life, I can't tell you how many times I heard that "money was the root of all evil" - enough times to brand it into my conciousness.

But is it?

It's true, money can lead to a lot of bad things. A lot of the problems in the world involve money - this fact is undeniable. But after thinking upon it, I realized something.

Money isn't the root of evil, Greed is.

It's greed that fucks us up, not money. When money consumes your life, it isn't the actual money that's doing that, it's the greed. Money isn't evil.

And to someone whose family struggles with financial issues, it must be hell to hear that what your being denied of is evil- and therefore implying that it's good you don't have it.

Like I said, I never experienced the "joy" of a welfare christmas, but I'm starting to begin to understand it.

So, thank you Everclear. I hope you come back into the spotlight someday.

Thursday

David After the Dentist




Hey all,
 
You've probably all have seen this, but I just ran into it and its hilarious. It's a little kid thats tripping after getting dental surgery. Check it out:


-Nick

Wednesday

Why I Enjoy Metal Music

So, as my roommates must know, I sometimes like to indulge in music of the metal genre.

After as few instances of my rocking out, one of my roommates told me that he could not understand why people liked listening to it.

This is my response and reasoning to that.

So, first of all, Metal vocalists do not have beautiful voices, or really any voices at all. This usually comes up first in such a debate, for many don't understand how listening to a man (or woman) scream can be pleasing to the ears.

Well, it's not the voice that us Metal listeners are enjoying.

It's the feel of the music (at least for me).

The musicianship in metal is amazing. Metal houses some of the best guitarists and drummers of all time- but this fact is only vaguely recognized by few. Their techinical prowess and artistic ability are often passed by during critical analysis by music critics, and this is once again because of the nature of the music. And it is the nature of the music I like, and it is for this reason;

Metal makes me want to move.

Few genres make people react more physically than that of metal. A breakdown can make you jump around and break things- even when your not angry. This is probably one of the only types of music that can do this.

Even as I write this, I am constantly breaking away from the keyboard to air guitar and hand bang, listening to an old local band called BYNOMEANS.

I listen to the music not because it is distinctly pleasing to the ear, but because it is not - and this is what makes it pleasing to the ear.

I realize what I just said is somewhat confusing, but what I mean is the un-listenability of it is what makes it listenable.

Think about that, you metal haters.

Maybe its not for everyone, but it is for a few. And I am one of those few.

And my roommate just closed his door.

Tuesday

Reaction to the Oscars

The Oscars we're pretty good this year.

But like always, I didn't agree with somethings.

This is how the major awards went-

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Sean Penn for Milk
Best Actress: Kate Winslett for The Reader
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for the Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz for Vicky Christina Barcelona
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire
Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle for Slumdog Millionaire

This is how I think they should of went-

Best Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Director: David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler and Sean Penn for Milk
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz for Vicky Christina Barcelona
Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonaugh for In Bruges
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle for Slumdog Millionaire, or Claudio Miranda for Benjamin Button, or Wally Pfister for The Dark Knight -- I still can't decide.

As you see, I didn't totally agree with everything the academy said, but I still think they did a good job.

But, as we all know, the single movie that made the biggest impact this year, and may just be the best- was The Dark Knight.

But we'll figure that out later.

Saturday

Thanks to all of you and Request for requests!

Hey everyone-
    How's things? For those of you that been checking the blog regularly, thank you! It's awesome to see that people are reading, and it means a lot to me that you spend part of your day listening to me.
    I also wanted to ask you out there- wherever you are- if there was anything in particular you wanted to hear about!
    I'd be happy to write about anything- and if there is anything out there at all you'd like to hear me write about, let me know and I'll do it!
   But that's all for now, I hope you all have are having a good weekend and hopefully I'll be hearing from y'all soon.


NICK

Thursday

"500 Days of Summer"


As many of you may already know, I am currently (and always been) in love with Zooey Deschanel. She's got a beautiful face and a beautiful voice (and I imagine her personality is great)- so what more can you ask for?

But all bias aside, her new movie looks fantastic. It's called "500 Days of Summer" and it's directed by Marc Webb - a music video director that has directed videos for Brand New, My Chemical Romance, and Fergie, to name a few.

Zooey plays the role of Summer, the love interest of Tom (played by Joesph Gordon-Levitt), and together they relive 500 days of their relationship in random order - but the coolest part is the fact that they break out into song while doing it.

Normally I hate musicals, I mean really hate musicals- but the fact that this has Zooey singing, and is directed by a music video director, makes me really psyhced.

HERE is the trailer and official website- you must watch!

-Nick
 

God & The Government : Part Three - The Judicial Branch

God has no part in the judicial branch, either.

In this blog I'll be mainly arguing that aspect for two specific cases: Gay Marriage Rights and Roe v. Wade.

1. Gay Marriage

If you have read my other posts, you will know that I am a supporter of Gay Marriage. I believe that it is everyones right to pursue their happiness, especially when it doesn't affect others. And, in fact, doesn't that seem constitutional?

The only reason why Gay Marriage is illegal is because of the Religious Right who is forcing their views of morality onto the law- thereby merging religion and the Judaical branch.

Now, why exactly these people are doing this, I am not so certain. They say it's to save the sanctity of marriage, but it looks like to me as if they just want to deny the right of marriage to others.

My friend once said that she supported the idea of "having Gay people get something like a marriage, just not called a marriage". I asked if she meant it was separate, but equal, and she said "Yes."

Doesn't that sound familiar?

Gay Marriage is just the new civil rights movement (if you want to hear more of this argument, please check my blog archive and you'll find a past post about this).

For the sake of time, I'll move onto Roe v. Wade.

2. Roe v. Wade

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, 'Roe v. Wade' is the name of the trial that sanctified the legality of abortion. It put the decision into the hands of the woman, not the state.

Christians have been fighting this since it's inception. They believe it's wrong, and it's state sanctified killing.

Ironically, most of them have never faced the choice they are fighting against.

I am mostly against abortion- but I am for Pro-Choice.

How is this you ask?

Well, even though I believe aboritons are often misused, I don't think that the government should be telling people what to do with their own bodies.

If you are faced in the decision of getting an abortion, the Christian movement begs you to keep it and raise it. I usually do as well, but if a parent feels like they cannot properly raise a child- they probably can't.

Freakonomics author Steven Levitt argues that this fact when coupled with the effect of Roe v. Wade is the reason that the crime dropped so drastically in the 90s. His argument is extremely persuasive and revolves around this idea: when abortion was illegal, mothers were forced to have children they knew they couldn't raise- and they therefore grew in broken homes and got involved in crime; but when it was legalized, mothers that knew they couldn't properly raise a kid didn't have too- and then the crime wave dropped.


What am I getting at though? A woman's free will, a woman whom may or not believe in God, is constantly being protested against. Free will is being protested against because people are forcing their morality onto the justice system.

And because of this, God's judgements should be reserved for His people, and not everyone in the eyes of the law.

------------

This ends my God & the Government series, and in conclusion I'd like to end with this:

God & the Government should never be mixed. Neither were created to be intertwined with the other, and the morals of one God differs from that of the general populace. In a land founded on the freedom of religion, the idea that religion is infiltrating the government  and taking away that freedom is appalling. Everyone is free to worship (or not worship) as they choose, and the morals of one should never be pushed upon another.

And like I said in the beginning of this series:

God is not Government, and the Government is not God.

And it should stay that way.

-Nick Danger

Wednesday

God & The Government : Part Two - God & The Executive Branch

There are many things in the executive branch to talk about in it's relationship to religion, but there is one I'd like to focus on for this article, and it is one that strikes close to home; God & The Military.

Now, in the past few months a very good friend of mine has informed us that he will soon join the military (the army specifically), and he is to sign up on his 18th birthday. This announcement obviously brought concern and controversy in our circle of friends, and I'm still not sure if that controversy has subsided.

But here's the dilemma; my friend is extremely religious and has devoted his life to God and Jesus Christ.

This opened up an philosophical can of worms for me. Mainly revolved around this quesition: Does the system of belief that he dedicated his life too agree with the choice he is about to make? Or easily put; how does a Christian join the military?

From what I understand, Jesus of Nazareth was a pretty peaceful man. Everything I've been taught about him was about turning the other cheek, and love, and never casting a stone onto another, and how we should all just love one another.

Now before I dive into my interpretation, let me make this clear; This is not a religious blog; and therefore I will not be quoting scripture in making this argument. If there's one thing I've learned about scripture, it's that it can be used to make any point for anyone- even the Ku Klux Klan had scripture to support its beliefs.

Back to the topic- my fundamental perception of Jesus Christ and His teachings is tells me that I should turn the other cheek and love everyone.

So how is killing another fit into that?

No matter what the reason is for war, at it's most fundamental perception it is a "justified" form of murder. People who oppose one another for whatever reason, kill each other to settle the matter.

I'm not going to be talking about this war specifically; as many of you may already know I don't agree with it or the reasoning behind it and I don't want this to turn into a political discussion; so please by war know that I am talking about all war; not just this one.

I guess it's just this fundamental question - can a pacifist God support the idea of War?

In my opinion, I don't think so.

Now I realize that the Christian God - the one my friend belives in- has a general contradiction between it's two parts- the Old and New Testaments. In the Old one, God killed. In the new one, God didn't.

But being as the doctrine adopted to explain the differences between the two - called the New Testament Convenent- says that things said in the Old Testament were redone by the New.

So maybe the God of Wrath was too.

--

I guess in the end, like everything, it is up to interpretation. I just think that a God who never cast a stone wouldn't be shooting and bombing either.



Tuesday

God & The Government : Part One - God & The Legislative Branch

The Government is not God, and God is not the Government.

These are two basic facts that one needs to understand before arguing the topic. You don't worship the Government, and the Government doesn't worship God.

In fact, the United States Government is founded on several ideals, one of them being in the separation of church and state.

God has no place in lawmaking.

Though, in a country like ours (Center-Right Based) many feel like it should be. They feel like our countries laws should adhere to their religious morals. And here's why:

1. Not everyone believes in the same God that you do, or even God at all.

America was founded on the ideals of religious freedom. It's first European settlers came here to avoid religious persecution. People were forcing their religion on them, and they left to avoid that. Isn't infusing your religion with the law forcing your moral judgements onto others? Is that not what the Pilgrims were avoiding?

People have the right to follow their own moral beliefs, whether they fall under your religion or another, or no religion at all. And when lawmaking merges with a single religious viewpoint, you are infringing upon the freedom of religion of others; and that is wrong.

2. Government operates better without God involved.

Look at history; religious states are always temporal and rather oppressive. I mean, look at the middle east now- extreme beliefs associated with the most conservative forms of Islam are being forced upon the entire country- and we are fighting to relieve them of that. Why aren't we fighting the same battle at home.

3. The more religion merges with politics, the more we lose our individual freedom.

We are the "Land of the free", right? Fighting to outlaw or enact laws for things that correspond with one group of people considered taking away the rights of others?

---

Yet, even with the points above, people still argue against it.

Here are some arguments and myths people cling too.

1. But America was founded on Judea-Christian Values, and the Founding Fathers would have wanted it this way.

This is untrue. The founding fathers first of all, wrote the constitution the way they wanted America to be: Nothing more and nothing less. We are a country founded on a document, and that document doesn't permit the merge of Church and State.

Plus, it is also important to know that the founding fathers were deists. In large, from my understanding, they believed that God created earth, but then left it to it's own devices. Think about that.

2. But my Religion is right.

No, it's not. It is only right to those that follow it and to no one else. No one is taking away your right to believe your religion is right, just asking for you not to take away theirs.

----

Therefore, the chasm between Religion and Lawmaking should remain and in fact be further opened. The two are fine on their own, but they were not designed to be bridged. Every person has the right to follow their own religion, but no person has the right to force that religion onto others.







Monday

God & The Government: An Introduction

Hello All,

Tomorrow I will be posting the first part of a three part post, and it on a subject I have been wanting to talk about for a long time: The relationship between God and The Government.

This three part series will be divide as so- God & The Legislative Branch, God & the Executive, and God & The Judicial.

I will be examining each branch closely, and touching on the subjects of religion and lawmaking, the military and imprisonment- distinguishing their relationship (or their lack there-of) and arguing their place with one another. Not to mention whether or not they are even compatible at all.

As always, these posts will offer their share of controversy; and as always, I will encourage debate on each and every point.

I hope to see you all in the next few days, and to hearing from you as well.

Godspeed!

-Nick "Danger" Weingartner

Saturday

Beautiful Music


In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd share with you a song sung from my valentine.

It's by the band She and Him, consiting of my future wife Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.

Now it may just be that I'm in love with her and I'm in love with her voice too, but I think it's a pretty rad recording.


-Nick Danger

Friday

"Inglorious Basterds"


Hey all,

I had a big philosophical post saved for today- but when I saw this trailer I decided to put it off to show you this.

"Inglorious Basterds" is Quentin Tarantino's new film (the director of hits like "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill") and- starring Brad Pitt among others- tells the story of a rogue American Battalion in WWII hell bent on "killin' Nazis."

Check it out- I haven't been this pshyced for a movie in a while.
Oh, and the dude with the bat is Eli Roth- director of Hostel.


Thursday

Why The Oscars Don't Mean Anything Anymore

The Academy-Awards are heading down a long and lonesome road.... the road to become a meaningless award.

Award shows are meaning less everyday. The MTV video awards, whom when I was a kid were one of the biggest events of the year - filling up entire theaters, were last held in what looked to be like my high school gymnasium with nice lights. The Grammys, which also used to be an honor to musicians, are almost completely arbitrary. Not a single person I know cares about who wins a Grammy.

And this is happening to the Oscars.

Why, you ask? Because where the Grammys decided to award only the most popular, the Oscars have done the opposite- becoming more and more elitist. My chief example of this lies with the fact that "The Dark Knight" did not receive a Best Picture nomination, even though it is the second highest grossing movie of all time only to "Titanic" which won 11 Golden Statues. And who got the nomination instead? The Reader; I mean, come on.
But that's not the worst part. Even in it's elitism, the Oscars still don't choose by merit. They are decided by multi-million dollar marketing campaigns paid for by the studio- not by who should be nominated, but by who can pay to get our attention.
Now, part of this might rest of the fact that in the last 10 years filmmaking has become extremely more accessible to the point where almost anyone can put together a movie. This has increased the amount of films made, and therefore makes it harder to the Academy to see and judge all of them. And much like the Grammys, this influx lets the people with the most money or power win because they can get people to see it.
If you made the best film ever, in your own backyard right now, I doubt it'll ever been recognized by the Academy. You'd have to get it made by a studio, and that studio will have to spend millions sending copies to every member of the academy, and release it in certain cities at certain times and get you on the news- for you to even get a nod.

Bullshit, right?

Wednesday

A New Manifesto

Hello world!

It is with this post that I wish to announce my return to writing.
 
With this return, you may have recognized a few changes. The main of which is the new name and address of this blog - Nick Danger Now! at www.NickDangerNow.com . I hope this makes it easier to keep updated with the blog, and easier for you all to tell your friends!

Also, I will be posting much more regularly. Ideally, everyday (except sundays), but more realistically every other day. Posts will remain the same - a mixture of life, politics, philosophy, music and film - plus whatever happens to take a stroll through my mind.

Now please, keep updated and check back tomorrow for the first of many a new blogs!

Stay in touch and check often!

     Hope to see you soon,
              Nick "Danger" Weingartner