Monthly Archives: September 2009

Don’t have heroes

I regularly get comments on my YouTube videos along the lines of “You’re my hero” which is, of course, nice but also more than a little weird for me. I always assume people don’t mean it literally, if they were put on the spot they’d admit they didn’t really mean I was their hero – the wanted to be positive and supportive and that was an easy way to express it. I’m perfectly comfortable with someone liking what I do, agreeing with what I say or maybe how I say it. Even being inspired by what I do and wanting to somehow emulate it themselves.

But the term “hero” is dangerous if taken too far. If I could offer one piece of advice on the topic it would be “don’t have heroes”. Role models are great. Aspiring to match great achievements is awesome. But declaring someone to be your hero is very dangerous for one simple reason: heroes don’t exist. They are fictional constructs.

People achieve great things. People can stun you with their ability to triumph over odds that seem impossible. People are capable of heroic acts – self sacrifice on a scale that takes your breath away. But people aren’t heroes. People are people. They can’t be heroes 24 hours a day and it’s ridiculous to expect them to be that way.

The only possible outcome of holding someone up as a flawless hero is crushing disappointment when they fail to live up to that ideal. And they will fail. Everybody stumbles at some stage. Everyone has their bad points. Sometimes a person held up as a hero has truly horrible failings.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time, the idea first occurred to me when a particular celebrity murdered his family and committed suicide. I remember being shocked when a friend said he was doubly upset by the news because he’d always regarded this guy as a hero. I was shocked because it seemed like a pretty sucky hero to have but it made me think about the idea of being failed by your heroes.

Let’s leave the idea of anyone as shallow as celebrities or sports people being a worthwhile hero and look at people who have been called heroes because they did truly great things for other people, not for themselves.

Fred Hollows was an eye doctor who decided it was unacceptable that so many people in Australian aboriginal communities were being blinded by treatable conditions like trachoma. He dedicated his life to treating people who were being ignored by the world. He perfected a low cost, effective procedure and taught others to do it so it wasn’t just that he saved the sight of thousands by himself, he set things up so that even after his death his Foundation continues this work around the world.

So what’s not to like? He’s a hero, right? No.  He’s a human. A human who did great things but still a flawed, mortal human being. I heard him interviewed once and he went on this bizarre rant saying that homosexuality should be outlawed because that’s how AIDS was spread. He was by no means a stupid man but he was clearly homophobic and this bigotry caused a huge blind spot for him. (It wasn’t until I wrote that line that I realised it would look like I was trying to make a joke. Insert your own “no surgery would heal his blindness” line here.)

Now of course some people would say he’s even more of a hero for speaking out against what he saw as promiscuity and the evil of the “homosexual lobby” but those people are morons and I’m not talking to them.

I find his opinions in this area not only reprehensible but also, frankly, stupid and unsupportable. First, gay sex is not the only disease vector for AIDS, it isn’t even the primary disease vector in a lot of the communities he was concerned with. Second, leaving aside the morality of wanting to dictate to people how they can live their lives, history shows you can’t successfully legislate morality. It’s an absolute waste of time that not only fails to change people’s behaviour, it usually makes things worse by driving the activity underground which means less protection and often more risky behaviour.

Even with that, Fred Hollows did more good in an average day than most people do in their lifetime. As far as I’m concerned, his life’s work means he’s still worthy of respect and admiration. But he wasn’t a hero. He did great things but he was a human being with all the flaws that involves.

For another example, let’s look at Edward “Weary” Dunlop. He was a surgeon who served in the Australian army during World War 2. He ended up being captured by the Japanese and was one of the many soldiers who suffer the horrors of Changi prison camp and forced labout on the Thai-Burma railway.

If you don’t know what happened in these places, it’s worth reading a little background to understand what Dunlop lived through. The way the Japanese army treated prisoners of war (and civilians for that matter) was some of the most vile, disgusting acts in the history of humanity – far more prisoners died than survived.

As a doctor and an officer he was directly responsible for saving lives and easing the pain of countless other prisoners. He stood up to the brutality of the Japanese and inspired his men to keep going in a situation that would have crushed most people. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear those whose lives he saved call him a hero but like anyone else, he was just a human being. A human who did incredible things and showed almost unbelievable bravery and strength of character. But still human.

After the war, he went back to work as a surgeon and continued to do great work. But apparently he was a bit of a prick as a boss. A real control freak and he didn’t give a shit about anyone who had a problem with how he did things. But you know what? I’ll give him that. After everything he did, he earned the right to be a grumpy old bugger. Because, like other humans, he had flaws.

There are a lot of people who do great things. It’s great to have someone as an inspiration or role model to give us something to aim for. But always remember that even the greatest people are still people and they have flaws. Don’t hold anyone up as a flawless hero because you’ll end up seeing them fail somehow and end up disillusioned. And maybe don’t be so hard on yourself about your own shortcomings because everybody has them. Outside of comic books, heroes don’t exist.

And even those so-called “heroes” wear their underpants on the outside. What’s all that about?

5 Comments

Filed under General Angriness

TFU Comix – Left 4 Dead 2 banned

Thought I’d put the comic version of the previous post here for anyone who wanted it:

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Filed under Comics

Left 4 Dead 2 banned in Australia

Few things piss me off as much as censorship that treats adults as if they aren’t grown up enough to make their own decisions. I actually agree with limiting what kids see, there are all sorts of things that are appropriate for adults that aren’t for kids. Not everyone matures at the same rate but given the lack of any objective measurement of maturity, age will do.

Stopping kids from seeing things that aren’t suitable is fine. Stopping adults from accessing thing because they aren’t suitable for kids is totally fucked up! I bring this up because Australia doesn’t have an 18+ rating for video games. The highest rating we have is 15+. That means that if the government censors think a game isn’t suitable for someone under 15 then it gets banned from sale. That’s right, the government sees nothing wrong with saying that if a game’s too violent, gruesome or maybe sexual for a 15 year old then adults aren’t allowed to have it.

The latest victim of this totally fucked up regime is Left 4 dead 2 which has been refused classification in Australia. This means it will be illegal to sell the game here. I am well pissed off about this Because Left 4 Dead was pretty much the coolest fucking game ever. Hell yes it was violent. Hell yes it was bloodthirsty, gruesome gratuitous and scary as fuck to play at 4am.

I would not for a second let my kids play it because it very nearly gave me nightmares. This was possibly made worse by playing 6 hour sessions at night fuelled by toxic doses of energy drinks. But I digress. I’m a fucking grown-up – I should be able to make the decision to do that to myself if I want to.

And if you’re one of those fuckwits who say video games are different to movies because they’re more immersive and interactive just shut the fuck up. If someone can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, how the fuck is that my problem? Saying I can’t play a video game because someone with a mental illness might not be able to handle it is just as fucked up as saying I can’t play it because a kid couldn’t handle it. You’re worried that some unbalanced individual will think the game is real and start killing their zombie neighbours? Some people think their fucking cat talks to them! Are you going to drown all the cats as well in case they cause a killing spree?

When most gamers are in their 20s or 30s it’s unforgivable to not have an adult rating for games. The government needs to wake the fuck up and put video games on the same footing as movies. Until they drag themselves into the 21st century and recognise the validity of video games they don’t deserve to be taken seriously. Arguing that to protect children you have to take away my rights as an adult is totally fucked up!

I also did a video version of this – a collaboration with Shaun AKA Blordough who did my heavy metal theme. I did it as a comic because lip synching would have driven me crazy. Even so, that one video lip synch gave me about an hour of pain.

2 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging

Video tutorial – How to tell someone you don’t give a fuck about them

For the sake of completeness, here’s the video version of how to tell someone you don’t give a fuck about them:

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Filed under Video Blogging

How to tell someone you don’t give a fuck

It seems I have to spend an inordinate amount of time telling people online that I don’t give a fuck about their worthless dribbling. So I’m trying to come up with creative ways to tell them. Sure, I love the simplicity of “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” but I also like variety.

So far I’ve come up with:

  • I’ve checked my “things to do” list. Your mum is right at the top but giving a fuck about you just isn’t there
  • NASA sent a deep space probe to the planet Giveafuckaboutyou and confirmed that I wasn’t there
  • Your web search “times I give a fuck about you” returned no results. Did you mean “times I don’t give a fuck about you?”
  • 404 File not found. You apparently thought you’d find me giving a fuck about you. You were wrong. You could try the following – Find someone else who gives a fuck about you; grow the fuck up; just fuck off
  • Today’s lesson is titled “I don’t give a fuck about you”. Tomorrow’s lesson is the same as today’s
  • Wanting you to fuck off and giving a fuck about you are not the same thing. So fuck off

And for those who like visual aids, I produced this Venn diagram on GraphJam:

Venn Diagram

Venn Diagram

 

Feel free to make your own contributions :)

32 Comments

Filed under Charts & Graphs, General Angriness

Twilight sparkly vampire dildo – TFU or total genius?

I sometimes think people in the porn and sex toy industries are the most creative people in the world. Other times I don’t think that. In the case of  dildo inspired by the Twilight series, I’m not sure where I stand.

What I do know for sure is it’s totally worth visiting the website that sells the dildo just to see the comments.

What do you think? Is the Twilight dildo Totally Fucked Up or Total Genius?

9 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging

Dalek reacts to 2 Girls 1 Cup

I’m working with some friends to help promote their show called “Robot versus World” at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.  The characters involved include the original Optimus Prime, the classic Astroboy and an 80s Dalek who have something of a detective agency together.

One of our promotional ideas is to have the Dalek make some archetypal internet videos.  Here’s the first fruits of our labour, the Dalek reacting to seeing the infamously disgusting “2 Girls 1 Cup”:

And yes, I know, this was more of a thing about two years ago.  But Daleks are time travellers. That’s my excuse.

Here’s another little peek of a serious discussion held during a rehearsal:

Yes, we put a lot of effort into planning piss jokes.

1 Comment

Filed under Video Blogging

TFU Files – The end of the world

I have some good news and I have some bad news. First, the good news: Global Warming won’t cause the destruction of human civilsation. Now the bad news: we’re going to be wiped out before Global Warming has a chance to do us in.  While there are a lot of competing Armageddon theories I believe I have conclusive evidence for mine.

Not many people will be surprised at the revelation that humanity will bring about its own destruction.  There are even those who won’t be surprised when I reveal that it will be robots that exterminate us.  What may surprise is how exact my evidence is.  This isn’t a vague “one day the robots will get us” alarmism.  This isn’t some offshoot of Singularity theory – the idea that one day computers will be smarter than us and will be able to build still smarter computers without our help.  Actually, the robots who destroy us won’t be particularly intelligent.

For my evidence, let me show you three significant developments in robotics.  First, the tiny SWARM robots.  These are solar powered robots not much bigger than a flea.  By themselves they don’t do much but they are designed to communicate via infra red and form a group capable of swarm intelligence that enables them to perform a range of tasks (much like ants or bees).

Then there’s the plasmobot – a biological robot made from slime mould that is capable of “solving complex computational tasks” and “It propogates and searches for sources of nutrients”.

My final piece of evidence is the horrifically named “EATR”, a battlefield robot designed to fuel itself with biomass that it gathers from the battlefield.  It has been pointed out that this biomass could include dead humans.  It has also been pointed out that a battlefield robot is designed to create its own supply of dead bodies.

Now, while the EATR alone could cause human extinction (or maybe it will keep us on farms so it has a constant supply of meat) I think our destruction will come from a combination of these three.  The group intelligence of the SWARM robots, the biological nature of the plasmobot and the human harvesting tendencies of the EATR will combine.  In fact we’ve already seen this: It’s the BLOB, people!

It’s the fucking blob and it will eat us all and we are in the process of creating it ourselves.  It gets to the point where saying “nobody could have predicted…” really doesn’t hold any water.  For supposedly smart people, scientists seem to indulge in some really fucking dumb behaviour.  I’m not the first to say “haven’t these scientists seen even one scary science fiction movie?”

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Filed under Science