Shailene Woodley arrested at #NoDAPL

With nearly 40k people watching live this morning from her Facebook streaming video, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested.

She retreated from the peaceful gathering as asked, yet returned to her RV on Highway 1806 to find it surrounded by police.  As she hands her recording phone to her mother, she is informed she has trespassed and will be arrested.  She asks why she has been singled out – is it because she is famous?  Has a trending live video?

The officers cannot be heard or seen reading her her rights.

Woodley is being held at Morton County along with other Protectors following the US Court of Appeal’s denial of Standing Rock’s injunction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Shots from the live video:

buzzcut season.

And nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true
I live in a hologram with you.

-Lorde, Buzzcut Season.

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I keep trying to picture this world in other times.  I only have music, books, journals, and what I can pull from history to tell me what life was like before this era.  As I mentioned in my last post, the Hollywood version of Noah’s story depicted what looked like the end of the world, what I would expect to be the last straw before humanity wipes itself out.

Oh, right…that’s what happened.  By the hand of God.  He restarted the planet.

Sometimes I get scared in thinking it’s really not that far off.  I’m not scared so much for the world coming to an end since fretting won’t help anyone, I’m more scared by people and how they can be so ruthless.  Survival of the fittest and competition is one thing, but not in a world where we currently have the means to provide for our global population.  We’re just not distributing it properly and neglecting immorality and inequity.

I like to imagine 100 years ago, with more moral people and less egocentrism.

I like to imagine 500 years ago, with increasing humility and simplicity in a positive sense.

I like to imagine…but it’s hard to imagine.  I mean, was there ever a time when people really were all good and perfect and they didn’t stray from living in harmony?  It seems so unlikely…and I’m not sure what sets off in the first guy’s head to do evil, but it sure sends around a chain reaction.

Explosions on TV, and all the girls with heads inside a dream…

All of the chaos we see around the world.  All of the people wanting to turn a blind eye and take up the lives of rich, well-dressed, fine-dining celebrities….

The men up on the news, they try to tell us all that we will lose…

But what is this pressure we feel?  To outrun the chaos and arm ourselves with riches?  And then the downtrodden feeling that only a select few are entitled to those privileges…

But you see, THAT is the HOLOGRAM.

It’s so easy to see the bad.  The good only ever seems to shine if it’s pure good, but bad taints it.  Because NOT EVERYONE is trying to obtain those things.  In fact, who really wants it anyway?  When you know that happiness comes from having a certain list of things that make you safe, sound, and comfortable, how many of your lists would honestly need materialistic things?

The media sure wants us to believe that.  And the media plagues the TV with horrible scenes.  If it can’t cause the audience to shed a tear or gasp, it’s probably not going to make enough of an impact to get whatever feedback quota or credit it desires for that given day.

So WHAT IS the hologram??

The hologram is not seeing life for what it is.  The celebrities live in a hologram because their lives consist of artificiality.

Now we live beside the pool, where everything is good….
It’s so easy in this blue, where everything is good….

Play along (make-believe it’s hyper real)…

And I’ll never go home again.

The hologram is living in that artificial life, or living in the ordinary life and not seeing the simple things that make it taste, feel, be, the things that make it real and NOT that artificial life.

We ride the bus with our knees pulled in…
I shut my eyes to the song that plays.
Sometimes this has a hot, sweet taste.

Cola with the burnt-out taste
I’m the one you tell your fears to
There will never be enough of us

But it’s not just rejecting the hoity-toity life or embracing the simple one, it’s also about seeing the good in something overshadowed by the worse.  Like how shocked I have been at times to realize how many people actually careabout finding peace and accepting people and who go out of theirs ways to help.

Anyway, just a thought.  And I really like that song.

 

modern Noah.

The news on Google today was flooded with photos from the 2014 Met Gala Best Dressed.  I humored myself for about eight seconds of perusing posed shots of celebrities in fancy clothing before I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore.  It’s like when you cut sugar out of your diet and you no longer can stand the rush from sugar.  I can no longer even fathom what thrill people get from these kinds of things.

I used to look at outfits and appreciate the creativity, flow, contrasts, etc. of each piece.  If it were a school assignment, sure – I’d whip out all of those elegant words from the bank and I could fool anyone.  But today was completely different and I felt nothing for the outfits.  Nothing positive.  Actually, I felt disgust.

I’ve been applying for several travel scholarships lately in the hopes of scoring an award to either a global sustainability class or a service project in one of the least attractive corners of the world.  I constantly want to push forward and do something.  That something generally involves putting time, effort, and money into working with impoverished people in this world who are the voiceless, working bodies holding every society together.

In other words, when I saw those outfits, I saw the faces of the people who grew the cotton or mixed the dyes.
I saw the anguish, the integrity, the bleeding hands.

I did not see the floozy in the gown or the million-dollar smile.
I did not know the name of the celebrity, but I wished I’d known the names of the servants who created her.
From a million miles away.
With several million dollars less.
And what has that celebrity done?  Relative to her potential?  ZIP.  ZILCH.  NOTHING.

NOTHING, as far as relative goes.  NOTHING when you can buy up an entire fleet and take world problems by storm.  NOTHING when you have the voice and the potential to be heard by so many sheep who blindly follow.

What can the peasant do?  Keep quiet, keep humble, keep working.

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This all happened so perfectly in timing with my spontaneous decision to see the movie Noah.  Going into it, I had no idea what to expect – I just know the imagery looked intense.  Well, quite frankly, I had two impressions: 1) WOW, that was creepy and 2) WOW, that didn’t seem accurate.

And it wasn’t.

I’m no expert on the book of Genesis, but it’s short and I’ve been around it since I was little enough to get the main ideas.  With a little help from reviews, I was able to back up the reasons for my reactions.  First and foremost, Noah was played out as a maniac trying to kill, kill, kill.  It was all supposed to be showing his devotion to the Creator’s will, but you know how Hollywood takes ahold of things and runs with it.  Now, there were also some technical things wrong with the film, like how Jepath was not the youngest son but rather Ham was, or how Lamech didn’t die when Noah was a child.  But there were also some points in the film that were clearly strategic in capturing any kind of audience: the overlaying of Creation with Evolution.  Admittedly, I know enough people who insist both coexist that I actually really liked the implications the directors  made – but I also know a lot of Christians did not like said implications and took offense to Hollywood selling the Bible for profit.

It’s true, though; one could justly say this group’s scriptures have been misrepresented and sold.  It has been work-shopped questionably and beyond the entitlement of “artistic license”.  From the “rock people” to the dramatic, wordless visions from God, Hollywood was really just pitching a highly animated sci-fi movie – and how ironic, right?

But perhaps one benefit that came from this is the message it gave.  Now, people will argue the message of Genesis is that humans left their god and ran astray, so they were all wiped out – save for Noah, his family, and a bunch of animals meant to repopulate the earth.  In other words, disobeying the Creator is the big no-no.  Well, in this version of Noah’s story, it’s about what humans have done to the planet and less about how they’ve forgotten their god (although it does come up time to time).  Noah’s obedience to God is supposed to show why he has been chosen, but he just comes off as crazed until he learns love with discretion.  Meanwhile, the Flood is allegedly occurring to cleanse “evil” and to save the “innocent”, meaning the animals.  It’s like an eco-friendly, modern Noah story.  Save the planet, or you’ll have nothing left.  At least it’s a positive message, although missing the Biblical mark by a substantial bit.

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So Met Gala.  Noah.
These two ideas finally collided in my mind.

The evil-doers in Noah were transfixed on themselves, on their power, on humanity’s greatness, on their ruling over everything below them, on their image in the eyes of others and not in goodness,… They were eating other humans and holding absolutely no values, bloodthirsty to be at the top just as they were when the Flood came and they scrambled over each other to the highest peak to avoid the inevitable.  Because they thought they were great.  Because they had raised themselves up and not appreciated or ever understood the foundation on which they were standing to begin with.

Wow, just like our society today.

Dog eats dog, climbing over each other to the top, striving to save that extra buck so you can get that much farther ahead.  Idolizing things that should not be idolized, like celebrities who bring nothing of good fortune or true inspiration to a wholesome life.  Meanwhile, we take for granted our foundation, the one as simple as who grows our food.  Do you know how few people could survive without that anonymous web of peasants laboring below us?

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” – Proverbs 28:6

The toil, the labor, the strife peasants pour into providing riches to the already rich… that’s just an example of these same themes.  False pedestals hold false idols, and becoming a sheep to the wrong flock drags you down the road of foolishness.  You can no longer hold what is important in your mind.  You become materialistic and take advantage of the downtrodden.  But the world balances itself out and nature/God/whatever will always have the last say.  “…for a piece of bread a man will transgress.  A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him” – but he is often already poor.

Yes, celebrities and those who idol them are poor and sickly.
It’s the impoverished, the righteous, and the downtrodden who live righteously who are the richest, the ones who are safe from the transgressions of the world – the ones closest to being the modern Noah.

Derby Day in All Its Loathsomeness

I believe in animal rights, albeit I despise groups like PETA that blow small truths out of proportion and generalize entire industries.  I feel like PETA takes it about twenty steps too far.  However, I can’t help but to acknowledge some of the points the activists make and some of the faults they do manage to uncover.

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It’s May, and so the hot topic has been Derby Day.  I was never a fan of Derby Day because I associated it with cruelty towards horses, thanks to my mom’s standpoint growing up.  But my friend challenged my opinions on derby racing when I came to Cleveland.  We were getting gelato in Little Italy a couple Kentucky Derby’s ago and I was appalled by the gaggles of city people lined up to watch a 2-minute race around a track.  I grew up with horses.  My first job was in the stables.  My mom rides western with me and paid for dressage lessons when I was younger.  I understand the deep relationship one builds with a horse and how one should respect these beasts, all their power, and realize how much work it takes to care after one.  Sitting in that room with those Clevelanders, I knew none of them knew the first thing about horses.  How could city people care so much about a dumb race?  I’d never seen people at home pay attention at the bar when the screen was on.  I remember sitting in Sharky’s one year and everyone was more fascinated by the Pirates and Orioles baseball recaps.  And is my mom right about the cruelty that those animals undergo?  I decided to look into it further.

One of my good friends from home actually owns an eighth of a race horse.  Yet her family doesn’t care about the races, just about the bets and the money it brings in.  I decided first to search about what makes the Derby so exciting and if anyone else feels the same sort of animosity towards it as I do.  I came across a post on Angelfire called “The Kentucky Derby Really is Decadent and Depraved”.  I feel like the author makes some good points.  For example, a quote on what makes it so popular:

“I despise the Derby for the same reason I despise 21st Century R&B and 2001: A Space Odyssey. They thrive by circulating so much hype around nearly non-existent substance until the hype becomes the substance. Of course what I call “hype,” Derby fans call “tradition. … Let’s not forget that all this tradition comes from the Deep South. Yup, from the countryside that brought you cotton plantations, the Confederacy, country music, and grits comes little men riding big horses in a circle for less than two minutes. Sell hot dogs in the stands and whiskey at the bar and you can garner enough fat alcoholics with no real lot in life to become obsessed with it. Instant tradition.”

This would explain why so many Clevelanders seem hooked at the bars and over social media.  They don’t care about the actual event, it’s just about the bets, the celebrities, the stupid meaningless stuff – and the hype.  To confirm this opinion, I read a few blogs and recaps from Derby parties.  Nearly every single commentary was the same.  People might add a comment like “Those hoses are so pretty and strong!”, but mostly it was blathering on about mint julepsoverdone outfits, and southern tradition.  PAH-LEASE.  Even PETA recognizes this.  I love the introduction from the PETA Files, which sums up my sentiments perfectly:

“There is a certain kind of person, it seems, who enjoys dressing up like a deranged escapee from some historical theme park and swilling mint juleps just to watch horses run around a dirt track for a couple of minutes.”

So, with the mystery of the hype solved enough for my satisfaction, I now began to wonder if my mom was ever out of line for finding horse racing cruel towards animals.  I asked her last week if she thinks PETA over exaggerates.  She agrees they do, but that they have some truths that shouldn’t be ignored.  Maybe some animal cruelty situations are localized, but the point is they still exist and that horse racing still supports it.  Searching some more, I found another person sharing bitter feelings about a party she attended in Maine with people who knew nothing about the race but supported the hype and didn’t blink once at the thought of what happens to the losing horses after the race.  She describes this night in “Why I Hate the Kentucky Derby”, where her date casually informed her that the losers from the race she watched would be sent to slaughter for the meat industry.  She even recaps the life of the horse who won that day, Real Quiet, and mourns his death as not a steak but as a tired breeding stallion whose genes were used to continue the age-old tradition.  I was still skeptical of tales of stun guns and horse meat until I watched some videos of horses being stunned and of trucks driving hours on end to take horses across the border.  Furthermore, the disappointed date provided an article from William C. Rhoden of the New York Times which seems legitimate enough for me:

“The most significant source of racehorse deaths is the slaughter industry, one driven by overbreeding and demand from the lucrative global meat market. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 100,000 American horses are slaughtered each year in Canada and Mexico to satisfy horse meat markets in Europe and Asia.

Breeding operations produce thousands of so-called surplus thoroughbreds. What happens to the excess, the often anonymous horses? Some are sold to owners who take them overseas. Some wind up racing in Japan. Some wind up in slaughterhouses.”

PETA claims 80% of people are opposed to horse slaughter in the US, yet it evidently continues to happen.  PETA also reads of endless statistics about horse breeding, horse deaths, poor animal treatment, and all of those things I don’t have to bore you with.  My main point – which I think I’ve made – is that Derby Day is a loathsome event, yet so many people blindly worship.  I find it pathetic.  I believe in knowing what I support and, if these sheep weren’t so ignorant, I should hope they wouldn’t support it as well.  Alas, ignorance and stubbornness, the leading follies of humankind.

So all you Team Derby people out there, have fun dressing up, choking on mint juleps, and pretending to be southern for a day while you lose your money along with the life of your bet horse.