The Didact's top ten posts of 2014
|Uh, dude, you realise there's a hot half-naked chick right next to you?|
And I'm aware that my writing could be tightened up a bit, and my analysis could be a lot sharper in certain areas. I don't intend to be a Vox Day clone- which is technically impossible anyway, the dude's ridiculously smart and a great writer to boot- but if you've been to Vox's blog, you would have valid reasons to criticise this one as being somewhat derivative of his.
1. Ghost Rider
In every way, I am as different from those around me as a man can be and still call himself human. Indeed, during my most misanthropic moments, I have often wondered whether I could even reasonably be called human, as my capacity for dealing with other people beyond a certain point appears to decrease with the passage of time, and Man is nothing if not a social animal.
I am not alone in this regard. As far as I can tell, most of the readers of this blog are introverts to varying degrees. All of us know what it is like to be outcasts, to be without a real sense of home, of belonging, of security. As Tempest put it, we know what it means to be at the fringe.
We know what it means to be alone.
And oddly enough, most of us like it that way. Most of us would not change even if we could.
Being a ghost rider means travelling the path that few others have the strength to take. It also means having to face certain very hard choices. It means that you'll pay a fearful price for choosing to live life on your own terms. And it means that you'll have to face up to the possibility of hurting those you care about the most, simply because you choose to live as you please.
2. The Phalanx
An apt metaphor for the workings of the 'Sphere would probably be the classical Spartan phalanx. The Spartans were the most feared soldiers of their- and possibly any- era precisely because while they were individually terrifying warriors, when banded together, side by side, they were virtually unmatched. They fought for what they believed in- for ancient rights and freedoms, for martial virtues, for their lands and their people. They lived lives of honour and discipline (yes, I realise I am glossing over certain ugly details here). An individual Spartiate was a citizen-soldier who was a truly formidable opponent in battle- but when banded together with his brothers in the impenetrable unity of the phalanx, he became unstoppable.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I love mucking about with numbers. I do it for a living, it's a lot of fun, and I'm trained to do it well.
But looking at these specific numbers, you know what I feel?
And not just for Ms. Montenegro herself. She probably would reject the notion of being deserving of pity, but I suspect that deep down, before she was gang-raped and tried to escape the hell that she had entered through drugs and sex, she was just like most other young women, looking forward to a life full of promise and happiness.
But now, just like every other woman with a high N, she is irreparably damaged.
Looking at her pictures, you can see that she has aged terribly.
I know a few women in their mid-thirties; none of them look like they're in their early fifties.
The best game franchises either subtly incorporate sexual escapism into games that are a hell of a lot of fun to play, or ignore it altogether.
When sexuality is used to enhance the quality of an already solid game, it works- often brilliantly. But when it is used to sell the game, you can generally bet that the game itself won't be great.
Game of War might be a good game. It might even be a great game. But if it is, why is the company selling it spending so much money focusing on Kate Upton's appearance in it, rather than on the gameplay itself?
Truly great games use sexuality to make the player's experience better. They don't put the women front and centre just for a cynical exercise in marketing.
There is perhaps no more ridiculous exemplar of the risible notion of "moral" rights than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the United Nations tries (and singularly fails) to promote as one of its greatest achievements. If you read the document, you'll find a lot of supposedly unobjectionable language about how you have "right" to an education; about how you have a "right" to get married, and how spouses have equal rights in that marriage (God's Teeth, what a joke); and perhaps most absurdly, how you have a "right" to security and medical care (and presumably rainbows and dancing bunnies too) in the event of ill health, unemployment, disability, sickness, or widowhood.
One can only presume that the people who authored such pabulum were smoking weapons-grade crack when they wrote this. I know weed-smoking philosophy and art majors in college who can come up with better ideas when they're baked than this nonsense.
Why do I write this? Simple. Go back up a bit and read about how rights cannot come without a price. The UDHR would have you believe that these rights can be secured without cost. Moreover, this document would also have you believe that you have the right to another's labour and profit without lifting so much as a single finger to earn it.
Never stop seeking to improve yourself. Never stop trying to better your life, to beautify your life. Never stop trying to see through the lies that others tell you. Never stop seeking the truth. This world is deeply unfair, very tough, quite unforgiving. It rewards only persistence and hard work. There are no shortcuts to getting what you want. You have to be willing to endure great pain and suffering in order to reap great rewards and joys.
You see, it's all well and good to start studying a martial arts style. If you're anything like me and you actually enjoy exercise, you'll soon come to love doing an art because it will make you move and exercise in ways that you've never experienced before. Sooner or later you'll reach a level of proficiency that will make you very confident in yourself and your ability to conduct an intelligent street fight. This is a very dangerous point for a lot of aspiring students, where they think that their skills are sufficient to let them survive on the streets.
However, if you have never sparred or studied takedowns or gotten choked, you are going to be in for an extremely rude, and probably incredibly painful, awakening the first time you get into a real fight.
As I said in my post about sparring, if you have not sparred, you don't know how to fight. So in my opinion the first question that you should ask of any prospective school of any art is, "when can I start sparring?".
This is the fundamental lesson that Americans seem to have forgotten in this day and age. No matterwhat field you want to pursue, success comes from work. There is simply no other way to get good at something. If you want to get good, you have to put in the work.
There are parts of Israel that appear as alien to the human eye as the surface of Mars, and every bit as inhospitable to human life- and yet somehow, through inhuman will and unbreakable faith, the Israelis have created a land that not only permits life, but lets it thrive.
The result is a country unlike any other on Earth. In the forge of God, the hammer of War and the anvil of Destiny have created the only truly advanced nation in the region. This is the only nation in the Middle East that actually practices religious tolerance- in Saudi Arabia, for instance, not oneChristian church is permitted to exist. Other nations in the region have been blessed- or cursed, depending on how you look at it- with abundant mineral resources, but were completely incapable of exploiting those resources without Western help; by contrast, tiny Israel, with almost no real resources of its own, has found ways to tap into the wealth of the land through ingenuity, perseverance, and sheer guts. Her neighbours remain enslaved to a totalitarian political ideology in the guise of a “religion” that embraces a world-view that remains mired in the backwardness and folly of the 7th Century, and that offers nothing but war, slavery, and death; Israel is a modern nation that pushes the boundaries of what is possible every single day, seeking resources, wealth, and knowledge in places and ways that the rest of us could not even begin to imagine.
The Star of David flies high and proud in its simple glory once again over a God-kissed country.
If we want to spend Sunday mornings zerging each other over Battle.net, or playing Advanced Squad Leader with our friends, or creating online mayhem in TitanFall, or playing 8v8 deathmatches inCall of Duty, that's how we want to spend our time, and as far as we're concerned, people like John Scalzi and Nick Denton don't have a damn thing to say about it.
We will not retreat. We will not give in. We will win this war because they need our money, and without it, they have nothing. Our most powerful weapon is one that they cannot take away, no matter how hard they try- because they cannot make us buy what they're selling.
Finally, we will win because, as is always the case with progressive idiots, we are strong, and they are weak. They believe in an ideology that is completely bankrupt, that preaches equality over reality, and that has been proven a false god more times than I can even begin to count.
We stand for the inalienable and God-given right of game developers to write, code, and develop games as they see fit, and for the right of gamers to play the games that we want to play, the way we want to play them.