Charlie's Blog

8.27.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 25


I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.
WOODY ALLEN


It is obvious that the world of professional sports and much of collegiate sports is drenched in performance enhancing drugs. It is so bad that an athlete is left with only two options--win dirty or lose clean.

The purpose of sports was to be a test of one's virtue. Sports in the pre-doping era taught things like teamwork, leadership, perseverance, fortitude, and all the rest. As such, athletics was a sort of school of virtue. And it is why we looked to these athletes as heroes. In the doping era, these people are little more than ruthless cheaters with an attitude of winning at all costs. And the reason for this is because winning pays you millions of dollars.

There are those who argue that sports should stop with the farce of testing and let it be a free-for-all when it comes to doping. Essentially, this is the libertarian policy of drug legalization applied to the world of sports. Just like the fact that the government loses the futile War on Drugs, sports bodies are losing a similarly futile War on PEDs. I suspect this libertarian policy on doping will become the standard policy in just a few years. The result is that sports and athletics will resemble the Roman Colosseum and the Circus Maximus more than the Greek Olympics. Athletes will become Frankenstein monsters competing in spectacles for the amusement of fans like chickens in a gigantic cock fight.

People think the War on Drugs is about drugs when it is really about money. There are some people who will do anything to get money including selling poison to our children and murdering the competition and law enforcement. Similarly, PEDs are also about money. There are some people out there who will destroy their bodies and the spirit of sport for a massive pay day. This is one of the fundamental flaws of libertarianism. By erasing restraint, it gives license to the most ruthless among us. You may as well have a sport without rules at all.

Sports was corrupted by money long before steroids and EPO. I fully expect professional sports to continue down this road to spectacle and ruin. But what about the original spirit of sports as a test and practice of one's virtue? That can still be had. It is called the amateur ideal. If you strip the money from competition, you will also strip away the corruption. There should be competitions where no prize money is awarded. No athlete can wear sponsorship logos or be sponsored by a company. There will be no commercial televised coverage of sporting events. Once upon a time, this was how things were. But money has a corrupting influence such that even so called amateur sports like college football are tainted by the greenbacks.

C.S, Lewis put it best when he wrote, "We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst." This is the essence of libertarianism and the libertarian policy on doping. The belief is that PEDs will make the competition better and more spectacular. The reality is that it will merely become more vulgar and disgusting. Already, our athletes are little more than showman and clowns on the field and scoundrels and criminals off the field. We are already far down the road of making a mockery of sports. Perhaps the ultimate sign of this is the surging popularity of UFC which is one small step from being human dog fighting. Gladiators will return, and the spectacle will be bloody.


2. PRESENTED WITHOUT COMMENT

3. Q & A

Q: Are smartphones a fad that will end?

A: I feel like a fool for saying this, but I say yes. I've said this before, and I probably sound like a candle man cursing Edison's electric lights. Or, perhaps I am cursing disco. I am either ahead of my time or hopelessly behind the times. But my gut tells me that smartphones are more like the Bee Gees than the Beatles.

I hate smartphones. When I look out the window when I drive, I see fools driving at 70+ mph while tapping away at the screen of a smartphone behind the wheel. People have substituted social media for real social interaction. The complaint today is that smartphones create a sort of fatigue of always being online. Then, there are the simple facts that the ridiculous things break very easily, are outrageously expensive, expose you more readily to identity theft and invasion of privacy, have a short battery life, and on and on. I have yet to see the "smart" in a smartphone especially when most of the people using these things strike me as complete idiots.

Fads take hold because of their novelty. They are new and different and fun. Then, they fade out as the novelty and the fun wears off.

Smartphones are like a fad factory. The most recent fad is Pokemon Go. Before that, it was Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga and various other time wasters. The iPhone is less of a phone than a glorified gaming device. It has the most in common with this device:

The Atari 2600 was a big deal when I was a kid. Before the Atari, you had Pong which was a dedicated gaming device to a single game. The 2600 was a platform for games, and it was a hit. Every kid either had one or wanted one. Then, those kids grew up, and those Atari game consoles vanished into closets and attics. Right now, I have an iPod touch collecting dust in my closet.

The Atari persisted for years and was replaced with more robust gaming systems from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Some kids never grow up, so you now have the phenomenon of the man-boy playing these games into middle age. But for the rest of us, we stop playing games at some point.

People will argue that the smartphone is not a toy but a tool. Yes, it is true that you can talk, text, email, and browse the internet with smartphones. But Blackberry was the first one to bring this functionality to the world. Aside from business leaders and politicians, nobody cared to own one of those Blackberry devices. Yet, fans of Blackberry devices will tell you that they are insanely productive tools. Unfortunately, Blackberry is headed for the handset graveyard.


Steve Jobs's great innovation was to turn the smartphone into a game. The keyword is "apps." There are useful apps that have utilitarian functions. But for the most part, the appeal of the iPhone over the Blackberry was the ability to play stupid games. The stupidity of it all is best expressed in the most ridiculous thing to come from smartphone culture--the emoji:


People include these ridiculous hieroglyphs in texts to me, but my dumb phone will not render them. This is a blessing to me but also a sign of the Illiterate Apocalypse foretold by Neil Postman. The emoji best exemplifies the faddish nature of the smartphone. I think Facebook is also a fad that will fade like AOL before it. Facebook is the number one app for smartphones. That whole world reeks of an inevitable decline into obscurity.

New fads will replace the old fads, and this may be the smartphone's saving grace. Like television, it has the ability to generate brand new novelties. But then again, so did the Atari 2600. I now save my strongest argument yet that smartphones are a fad. It is this:


Can anything be more ridiculous than a smartphone plugged into a virtual reality headset? Can we not see the nakedness of this emperor with his buttocks exposed for the world to see? How can you not see this and know in twenty years it will be as ridiculous to us as this is now:


This fashion sense persisted for almost a decade along with disco. The point is that fads can persist for a long time and then vanish. But I also remember that during these times, there were those who resisted such foolishness. They would not get on the Disco Train. Today, it is the Smartphone Train.


The Drudge Report regularly runs stories of people who reject smartphones to go back to flip phones. People who use flip phones today are either seen as hopelessly outdated like your grandma with her Jitterbug or rebellious in their giving the finger to the smartphone fad such as when a teenager opts for a flip phone when her smartphone cracks to pieces in a sudden sidewalk collision. But the fact that such smartphone refuseniks make the news suggests to me that a coming backlash is in the works much like punk boiled underneath disco.

The counterargument is that smartphones are technology, and we cannot halt the march of technological progress. Now, I have never made this argument against cellphones or the internet. Those things will persist in much the same way that music persists long after the death of disco, grunge, and bebop jazz. But the death knell comes when people express fatigue. It begins as a trickle and then becomes a torrent. I have never felt or heard fatigue from people about the internet or flip phones. But I have heard much negativity about smartphones including from the people that use them. Fatigue replaces fun, and then the ride is over.

The flip phone is a classic. The fact that Motorola made reference to its classic Razr with its new line of smartphones only attests to this fact. And I was very amused when people wondered if the Razr was going to be reintroduced and were disappointed that it wasn't. What makes the flip phone a classic was its simplicity and durability. And they still make them. My company recently replaced its fleet of banged up flip phones with another fleet of flip phones. As for me, I love my flip phone. The flip phone is like the Fender Stratocaster or the Timex Watch. They don't need improvement. They just need replacement when the old ones break or wear out.







4. THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SAID

Smartphones are porn phones. Men use their smartphones for viewing pornography in privacy. Men who take their smartphones to the bathroom are porn addicted perverts.

5. JOKE OF THE WEEK

What did the Buddhist ask the hot dog vendor?
Make me one with everything.

6. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole worlds seems upset.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

Phones with numerical keypads worked best for dialing phone calls. Incidentally, phone calls tend to be the primary function of a phone. 'Smartphones' completely ignore these basic facts, resulting in some of the least intelligent devices I've seen yet. Oh the irony.
ASHLEY LORENZANA

The true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators, but traditionalists.
POPE ST. PIUS X

We ought not to endeavor to revise history according to our latter day notions of what things ought to have been, or upon the theory that the past is simply a reflection of the present.
RUSSELL KIRK

Turn your back on the deceiver when he whispers in your ear, "Why complicate your life?"
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.
G. K. CHESTERTON

I shoot the Hippopotamus with bullets made of platinum, because if I use the leaden one his hide is sure to flatten 'em.
HILAIRE BELLOC

If, when stung by slander or ill-nature, we wax proud and swell with anger, it is a proof that our gentleness and humility are unreal, and mere artificial show.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.
DOROTHY DAY

I am a conservative. Quite possibly I am on the losing side; often I think so. Yet, out of a curious perversity I had rather lose with Socrates, let us say, than win with Lenin.
RUSSELL KIRK

7. ODDS AND ENDS

--Bruce Jenner's tranny show got cancelled. Good riddance.

--If you believe we are progressing, you are evil. If you believe we are regressing, you are good.

--A 40-hour week is merely a good start.

--Alex Jones is nuts but in the good way.

--Evil triumphs because people rot their brains with Facebook.

--Rumors say the Ailes exit will turn Fox News into CNN. That would be sad and stupid.

--The Roman Catholic Church needs to clean house on sodomite priests.

--I am eager for that Wikileaks October Surprise. Unfortunately, the world will be too occupied with Pokemon and porn to notice or care.

--A friend said that he expects that St. Josemaria Escriva will be declared a Doctor of the Church one day. I agree.

8. LINKS OF INTEREST