The Very Specific Desire of Rhye’s “Woman”

I’ve been in a bit of a mood over the past few days, and just started re-listening to an old favorite album on a whim that ended up matching that mood perfectly, so I figured I’d get some musical analysis in and talk about the album “Woman,” by Rhye.  (listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my9JrzHlf9U ) Continue reading

The Moral Conflict Of Opposing Both Welfare And Starvation

I guess this has become a political blog now, which I’m okay with, haha.  Keep in mind most of my political thought tends to be pretty speculative and theoretical, exploring ideas and positions and not expressing any actual convictions I may hold most of the time, because that’s boring (hopefully that sufficiently covers my ass). Continue reading

On: The Moral Implications Of Obligatory Healthcare

What has grown to be perhaps the most interesting line of thought on a slew of political issues for me is the surrounding moral debate (perhaps because that is the one I can competently engage in without having studied all of the many intricacies of economics, foreign policy, etc.).  The debate about healthcare seems balanced upon a central principle; we as a society have more or less determined that a “civil” society doesn’t just “let its people die in the streets.”  What does that really mean though?  And what obligations does such a belief saddle us with?

As it stands currently we have measures in place to, for example, prevent or at least minimize children going hungry, through things like food stamps, SNAP, and free school lunches.  Hospitals in general will not refuse crucial treatment.  Those on the left will argue that healthcare is a fundamental human right, based largely upon the principle of “positive rights.”  What this means in basic terms is that we have a right to life, but if we die due to disease then that right is obviously no longer one we can exercise.  Healthcare is therefore a right because without it that right to life doesn’t really exist in practice.  It’s something that can be taken from us rather easily and through no choice of our own.

Sidestepping the usual beats of that debate however I’d like to focus on one of the implications should we grant that premise and agree that one’s life being taken from them where it could be prevented infringes upon their rights.  How far does this obligation to save them extend?  Presumably in the near future we will be creating a number of different life extension treatments and techniques.  I’d have to imagine that in order to be ideologically consistent one would be forced to say that these are also something people are owed.  While the inverse of this scenario is what generally gets explored, a select group of elites keeping themselves alive forever while the plebs suffer beneath them, I also have to wonder about the logistics of everyone being entitled to this, and the likely expense such a thing could entail.

This line of thinking also raises interesting questions for abortion.  As it stands currently you generally can’t abort a fetus that could survive outside of the womb just fine.  Surely as medicine advances that age will get lower and lower.  Right now it’s just over 20 weeks I believe, at some point it will likely be much less.  How will the debate be then?  When pro-choice advocates will have to argue in favor of the right to kill something that could survive on its own?  I really can’t see how they’d be able to mount an effective defense.

Really this is the issue with saying something is “owed” or obligatory, beyond incredibly basic things.  It might make (some) sense in the context of the current day, but as the capacity to fulfill that need increases so to does the degree to which you are obligated to do so.

On: Self Doubt And Self Destruction

I’m in a place emotionally that I’ve thankfully been largely free from for the past few months, but experiencing it severely enough at present that I felt the need to attempt to alleviate some of it through what has become an outlet for me during that same period of time, writing.

I have trouble believing much of anything with conviction.  This is less of a disillusionment with the world around me, and more an almost paranoid insecurity about my own ability to be correct.  I went to private Christian schools for much of my life, and by the time I was a teenager believed the earth was around 10,000 years old, evolution was a hoax, and had resolved to never consume alcohol in my life.  Even then I was playing devil’s advocate, going against the grain by arguing that Obama was not, in fact, likely to be a Muslim, or have been born in Kenya, and leaving that school and belief system behind I became both intensely skeptical and reliant upon this tendency towards devil’s advocacy to “protect” me from being grossly wrong. Continue reading

Re:Zero Episode 12, Subaru, and Anime Chauvinism

I know many wait with baited breath in preparation of calling “PC police!” when criticism is directed towards representation in media.  I love art, and I love diversity, and so with many issues my ideal solution would be more media that takes a different stance, not a silencing of that which is already out there.  That being said there are certainly instances where I feel things are just in poor taste, and that was the feeling I got from this week’s episode of Re:Zero.

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The Genius Failings of the Kizna System

Many people have criticized Kiznaiver for the absurdity of its central conceit.  Looking at it logically there’s no way that the Kizna system is a feasible way of bringing about world peace, so it just ends up being some gimmicky piece of sci-fi tech just to give the show an interesting premise.  The thing is that on the former of those two points, Kiznaiver seems to agree.  We don’t see it at first, but now nearing the end of the series we have been told quite clearly that those who advocated and worked for the Kizna System were wrong.  The Kiznaiver project is winding down, with the majority of its financial backers now withdrawing their support after seeing that it was indeed a flawed premise.  At the end of episode 10 we are presented with the most striking results of the system’s failure, the vegetative subjects of its experimentation, but more importantly than being told that the technology itself didn’t work as well as was initially hoped, multiple characters also make remarks about how futile the whole thing was from a conceptual level in hindsight, specifically the pair of scientists Yamada and Urushibara who probably display the most regret and guilt.  This is also the only thing that I can think of that defends Hisomu’s existence as a character.  His masochism reveals a one of those clear conceptual flaws that the system had.  For a series to build its initial premise on a novel worldview (in this case the idea that forced total empathy could bring about world peace), and then to challenge and refute that same notion is a bold move, and Kiznaiver deserves some praise for pulling it off as well as it does.  
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Kiznaiver Is the Ultimate Melodrama

Kiznaiver is among the handful of most talked-about currently airing series, and the single element that probably comes up in these discussions most frequently is the show’s (melo)drama.  Did this development take anyone who saw Mari Okada credited as screenwriter and/or read the series’ synopsis by surprise?  Not likely, but I think this series provides one of the best platforms for the exploration of a term that is as widely-used as it is overly-vague.  The term “melodrama” has become almost ubiquitous among the anime fandom in recent years as a go-to buzzword, and an often lazily-employed cudgel with which to express one’s displeasure for a series in scant detail.  To play devil’s advocate, the term does hold some value in that it lets one quickly describe a response to a series that could otherwise require a meticulous explanation of why a series failed to resonate with one on an emotional level, but having this shorthand being employed so often has led to a real lack of critical discussion about those meticulous details.  Along with that comes contention, as those who enjoy a given series are understandably frustrated by this one word being used as if its presence was an automatic indictment of a series’ quality, especially when the question of when drama crosses the line into melodrama is such a subjective one.  As vague as the term is on a colloquial level though, it is actually fairly well-defined.

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