The "C" Branch

Jaded commentary on random shit, with an extra helping of cynicism, satire and general contempt for society & Western culture, religion, politics, celebrities, technology, business & more.

Jan 29

These Congressmen Are Killing Me

I happened to come across this news article on the other day – apparently a New York senator wants to ban the use of electronic devices while crossing the street. He doesn’t just want to ban iPods while crossing the street, which actually makes some sense since you can’t hear sirens or traffic if you have headphones on, though it’s still stupid. He actually wants to ban any electronic device, including cell phones, portable video game systems, and video players. I don’t know if he plans on forbidding people from crossing the street while on bluetooth headsets too, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that when I’m blasting music into my ears with my iPod, I’m completely oblivious to outside noises. So, I acknowledge that there is perhaps some degree of danger in crossing the street if you don’t know that there’s an ambulance speeding down the road before it hits you. In fact, I’ll even agree that a bill to prohibit blind people from crossing the road while listening to their iPods would be just dandy. Normally, however, sirens conveniently come from some sort of physical, visible thing that any semi-intelligent living thing (that can see) would be easily aware of. If you can’t handle crossing a road without being able to hear, you just might need to get run over a few times so you can learn how to.

Honestly, if crossing a busy road, I would probably pause the song I was listening to, and turn it back on when I got to the other side. I just like to be able to hear when I’m trying to concentrate. However, if this became a law, I would apparently have to completely take the headphones off, and put them back on when I got to the other side, to avoid the risk of being slapped with a $100 fine on top of court costs.

And, if I can handle talking on the phone while writing a paper, eating a bowl of soup, and watching a James Bond movie, I can certainly manage talking on the phone while crossing a road, especially on a bluetooth headset. In fact, I do it all the time. If somebody seriously thinks he can tell me that I can’t handle talking on the phone while walking, then we have a serious problem, and unfortunately for him, it does not lie with me.

Lastly, if someone is stupid enough to watch a movie on a portable DVD player while crossing the road, then they pretty much deserve whatever outcome results.

I guess you just have to become a senator before you can reach the level of stupidity required for this idea to make sense.

Jan 24

War Against Scientology

Go ahead and do a search for “scientology” on YouTube. You may be shocked to find that the first video that comes up is this one: not an informational video, not a video on Tom Cruise, but instead, a video declaring war against Scientology..

A group of hackers referring to themselves as “Anonymous” has decided it’s time for Scientology to meet its end, and actually managed to shut down the religion’s main website for a little while, as well as other scientology-related websites that still remain unavailable. They’ve also been prank calling the church’s hotlines and sending faxes.

In the video, “Anonymous” claims that Scientology “must be destroyed” and that their organization will eradicate it entirely from the internet.

While many people (myself included) think this is just absolutely amusing, others fear that the actions of the organization will only allow Scientology to play the “religious persecution card.” At any rate, it’s still hilarious to see the brainwashing lunatics of Scientology getting owned.

Stay posted as more unravels regarding this sudden and violent attack on one of the most popular cults in America today.

Jan 22

Taking Our Society Back

This is the second of a multiple-post series.
If you haven’t read the first post, you can find it here.

About a month ago, I wrote about some very apparent and substantial concerns with the directions American society is heading in. Hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to take a few minutes here and there and reflect on the points I brought up. If you haven’t read last month’s post, please read it first using the link above before you continue. This is a follow-up of that post in which I’ll explore some of the opportunities we have to bring about change in our society and to reverse the destructive trends that plague our culture and society.

Last month, I emphasized the importance of communication and interaction and explored some of the trends that are resulting in our society from a grave decline and lack of these important aspects of society. Society cannot exist without a sense of community, and these things are vital to a healthy community. So, in this article, I’ll explore five of my ideas on how we can begin to restore community and interaction.

1. Move beyond your own “comfort zone.”
Before you can begin change anything, you have to start with yourself. Take some time to evaluate yourself and how you interact with people. I know as for myself that even being as extroverted as I generally am, there are many social situations where I’ll become shy or uncomfortable. We must first push ourselves further and challenge ourselves to move beyond our “comfort zones,” perhaps stepping out into the crowd or giving that unexpected hug. If you notice that you spend a lot of time texting or on instant messenger, challenge yourself to go out more and interact with people face-to-face. If you’re waiting in a slow-moving line, initiate a conversation with one of the people next to you.

2. Encourage others beyond their “comfort zones.”
Being careful not to be intimidating or to make others too uncomfortable, gently push people beyond their comfort zones. If you see someone sitting alone, go join them and start talking to them. Involve people who are more shy in your conversations, project groups, or meetings. Reach out to people who seem secluded or singled out. Even if this makes them slightly uncomfortable, you’re really doing them a favor and helping them to grow in a way they just haven’t realized yet.

3. Don’t wimp out on the truth.
Be honest with people and stick with what is right, even when it hurts. Way too much stuff in our society is sugar-coated and diluted. If you believe something is wrong, stand up for it no matter what! If your kids want to watch a television show that you don’t feel is appropriate, don’t let them watch it! If your daughter has received detention for hugging a friend, and you don’t think that’s right, protest! By “playing along” with our society as it is we are only complying and supporting it without even realizing it. Be brutally honest with your kids on how you feel about drugs, sex, and violence, and make it clear that you won’t accept it.

4. Double listening, talk half as much.
Take time to really listen to what people have to say. Pay attention to people! Sometimes we all get so caught up in stuff that we miss out on what’s going on with the people around us. Be sensitive to people’s needs and how people are doing. You can save the life of someone about to commit suicide by being there and caring enough to discover there’s a problem. Instead of getting mad at kids bringing guns to school, talk with them and find out why they feel threatened. Instead of judging people, get to know them and see who they really are first. If we take more time to listen and be there for one another, we’ll be more connected and be able to support each other and grow together again.

5. When it’s time to talk, be bold and make your statement.
Don’t chicken out when it is time to talk. Remember to not wimp out on the truth, but also, don’t wimp out on your mission. Make sure that you’re heard. Team up with people and combine voices. A perfect example is the Free Hugs Campaign that has flooded Facebook. People all across the country and even across the world have teamed up for “free hug campaigns” in which participants will agree on a date, and then stand out in the streets and offer strangers passing by a hug. This makes a strong statement that we don’t feel embrace and affection are “tacky” or “poor taste,” and that we won’t stand for our society turning them into just that. Remember, whatever you decide to do, never give up! Eventually, someone will have to listen. Everyone will have to listen.

So, there are some of my thoughts. I’ll be sure and provide updates on the “free hugs” or any other campaigns or events coming up. I hope you’ll be able to find some time to think and reflect about this, and formulate your own game plan on what you’re going to do to take our society back. Together, rather than trying to “make a difference,” we ourselves can be that difference. I know I’m ready. Are you?