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.

Dec 27

American Society Deems Affection “Tacky”

This is the first of a two-part series.

Or at least it seems so. Last month, a thirteen-year old Middle School student from Illinois received two detentions for hugging her friends while saying goodbye for the weekend. Sam McGowen, the school district’s superintendent, was addressed regarding the issue. He contended that the punishment was in fact fair, referring to the school’s student handbook. So, referring to the handbook, one will find the following clause:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.�

This is simply appalling. Affection, apparently, is now considered “poor taste,” and “poor judgement.” This handbook does not seem to say that is it bad to show affection only at the school, but appears instead to state that this is true of affection in general. So, remember as you hug your son or daughter before they go to bed tonight, the next time you see your boy/girlfriend, or the next time you see grandma, don’t show affection! Be American and give them a good, cold and impersonal American greeting.

Perhaps this seems outrageous to many, who still believe in the importance of affection, interaction, and human embrace. Unfortunately, however, it truly does reflect changes that are taking place in American society as a whole. Compared to many other countries, the physical interaction between Americans is quite cold. It is not customary in American society for people to embrace each other, show their affection for one another, or even communicate sufficiently with one another. This, not coincidentally, reflects many of the widespread problems that plague American society. Without live communication, affection, and other personal interaction among people, it is simply impossible for a society to exist.

The definition of society simply requires that. Virtually all the definitions I found of society demanded “interaction,” and “similar interest.” My favorite, however, came from a Bioethics dictionary:

1. an enduring and co-operating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another. 2. a community or broad grouping of people having common tradition, institutions and collective activities and interests;

Society implies community. You simply cannot have society without community. A group of people living in the same spot under the same government may be part of the definition of society, but it is not complete. Unfortunately, it seems that America is losing the sense of what community is. This can be demonstrated in basically all aspects of American society, particularly the family – the most basic unit of society.

In a society where we communicate less and less, are so busy that we have less and less time to spend with people, and are discouraged from showing affection to one another, it should be no surprise to us that the divorce rate continues to rise at an alarming rate, that crime and murder rates are rising, that kids are bringing guns and other weapons to schools, that domestic abuse is rampant, that we are running out of space in prisons, and that more and more people are walking the streets at night, homeless and hungry.

How can we expect people to spend the rest of their lives together happily when they simply cannot communicate, and have little time to spend together?

How can we expect children to get along peacefully when their socialization comes more from movies, video games, and television shows filled with violence, conflict, and poor taste more than it comes from us teaching them to love and embrace? Should we really be surprised when they show up at school with guns? I mean, it’s not like they spend more time texting and talking with people on IM than they do in real person. After all, we were too busy to teach them the right way anyways, right?

And of course, how could we possibly address the needs of those around us when we’re clearly so busy? Besides, we can’t possibly afford to give away any of our money, possessions, or resources. We need those for ourselves!

So, in the end, should we really be surprised when we look around at all the problems that face us and our so called “society” or whatever it has become now?

Continue with Part 2: Taking Our Society Back.