A Man For All Seasons: A Will to Nothingness

“Be on thy guard, also, against holy simplicity! All is unholy to it that is not simple.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, “Thus Spake; Zarathustra”, Commons translation.

The film A Man for All Seasons, like all religiously motivated films, depicts the religious main character, Thomas More, in a sanitized light. His day-to-day activities only detail the expected norms of a stereotypical Catholic family. The filmmakers didn’t go into his barbaric actions regarding beheadings during his time and attempt to normalize the raving stupidity of his time period by implicitly expressing the false idea that it was normal during his time period in the 1400s for religious figures to go around slaughtering people of other religions for crimes of blasphemy. Very few people seem to acknowledge the fact that life was actually more prosperous and less barbaric for Asian regions before Christianity. In fact, Mesoamerica and Asia were some of the most highly technological countries in the world with golden eras before the Abrahamic faiths; specifically Islam and Christianity began wars in their regions and spread their diseases. When Christianity gained a foothold, there began a mass genocidal crusade against people for not believing in Jesus Christ as their savior under the argument that non-Christians souls were eternally damned so there needed to be forced conversions or death. Christians of the ancient era later justified their genocidal tendencies by arguing that the foreign countries were full of savages because they weren’t white skinned and never believed in Jesus Christ. More himself burned at least six people alive at the stake and apparently oversaw this as a holy duty as Chancellor. It is extraordinarily likely that he oversaw beheadings similar to his own.

In the film, Thomas More represented an ignorant stance within the politics of the United Kingdom during the 1400s. The simplistic belief system that he held, often admired and idolized by religious teachings, proved to be a worthless sham. Dynastic blood feuds are the hallmark of European political struggles during the medieval times. If the King wasn’t allowed to remarry then his Kingdom would have massive feuds over a rightful successor to the throne. Even given the supposition that this wouldn’t have happened, it is still true that it was significantly more likely to happen should the King not have an heir and that dynastic blood feuds occurred in times periods prior so he had sufficient reason to be worried. Christian doctrines proved to be unsuitable to keep the people safe from civil wars and without drastic action the King’s legacy would have meant a total failure of the system. Defending the Church’s doctrines is implicitly argued to be the highest virtue, yet the King’s authorized beheading and killings of dissenters wasn’t anything new before that time period. Catholicism demanded people be beheaded, burned at the stake, and slaughtered for crimes of heresy, for the crime of using English words instead of Latin, and conducted a massive amount of beheadings and other forms of brutal slaughter. During the 1800s, the Catholic church’s genocidal tendencies increased in intensity and magnitude against foreigners and foreign faiths that they decried as devil worship. Yet, people think this was normal across the globe, many people don’t realize that the level of violence has, and remains to be, unique to the Abrahamic faiths. Genocide in the name of Yahweh supersedes any other deities. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Bible is full of stories celebrating genocide in the name of Yahweh.

Thomas More’s “sacrifice” for his belief, that the King didn’t have the right to remarry, proved to be a moot point after his death. Despite the attempts in the film to make his death seem honorable and holy, the underlying reason for his death didn’t foster any continued religious debates that the King should be subservient to the Church, and his death is rendered thoroughly meaningless in modern contexts because we have no concern for how people remarry in our secular lives or what Kings do in their personal time anymore. In fact, religion will never hold such an importance in ruling over us as a government entity ever again because it has been so thoroughly discredited. Does this perhaps seem too cruel of an answer? I would make the counterpoint that “dying for the faith” in order to argue its “truth” is a bizarre and pathological argument. I would strongly make the argument that it isn’t heroic, there is no reward in the afterlife for dying in such a manner, and this viewpoint of dying for the faith – so cherished by many religions – is proven to engender insanity because it asks you to die. If religion truly gains fellowship by self-sacrifice of one’s life then that religion is proven to celebrate death and give sanctity to death worship. After all, can we name another social system that asks people to sacrifice themselves for the sake of living under supposedly moral teachings for the sake of a reward after death? In the end, beyond just being a history of ignorance of science, a history of systematic cognitive biases, and having a history of bloodshed; religion is also just a positive way of saying death cult.

The Man for All Seasons expresses the death cult aspects of religion quite well. First, purposefully ignoring Thomas More’s barbaric tendencies, the film attempts to depict a holy and self-sacrificing figure. This cult of human sacrifice is celebrated and justified by this simplistic, childish, and fairytale notion of heaven and hell. Heaven, representing a good death, is thoroughly celebrated as the positive motivation to do moral actions. Hell, a bad death, is where the unchristian-like are condemned. In all respects, this is a celebration of death and not of life; life is perceived to have less significance for the sake of a higher purpose after one’s death. Heaven, however, is just a sanitized and largely fictitious notion to celebrate death itself. Hell, by contrast, is to give a sense of self-exaltation so that Christian morals are made to feel unique, special, and superior to other belief systems. It is nothing more than an insidious attempt at demonizing other people for living for their own values outside of Christian schools of thought. It is important to understand that this is exactly how Christianity existed in ancient times by people who believed in its literal translation. People believed in talking snakes, Adam and Eve populating the world, Moses and Noah’s Ark, and it was only secularism and capitalism that allowed for Western prosperity after Christianity had finally weakened enough to no longer impede economic progress.

It is important to understand that capitalism, by its very definition of valuing principles of self-interest, has thoroughly discredited Christian teachings. We live in a secular capitalist society and socialism came into a theoretical framework by ardent Christians or former Christians who believed in doctrines of pity and giving to others. While Socialism does have a veneer of secularism, its teachings were still Christianity in origin. However, even disregarding that, Christianity itself has gradually become more impotent because of its harmful effects on society. Society has become all the better for this shift in power because, after all, we don’t behead people for heresy as a spectacle unlike more religiously motivated societies. ISIS is probably following Christianity more truly than Christians in secular countries because they have a more literal slant on their interpretations of religion; besides which, Islam is just another version of Christianity since they value the teachings of Jesus and consider him an important prophet equal to Mohammed. The only reason Christianity and Islam try to distinguish themselves from Judaism and don’t consider themselves a sect of Judaism is because of their historic hatred for Jewish people throughout their history. Yet again, a verifiable indictment against the Abrahamic faiths: Hinduism doesn’t consider Buddhists or Sikhs as “non-Hindu” because they have different interpretations of faith and different concepts regarding God. They’re celebrated as having origins in Hinduism, many Hindu scholars argue that Buddhism is just the teachings of Hinduism re-interpreted for export into other countries.

Apart from extremist groups, there is little to no animosity between these subsets for religious reasons. While violence certainly has erupted in the past and present, it was almost never because of “blasphemy” like the history of the Abrahamic faiths under the time of Thomas More. The violence was usually due to Caste roles or Sikh’s wishing for better representation. Despite that, religious violence still does exist within Sri Lanka between Buddhists and Hindus because of Britain’s dismantling of their lifestyles during their genocidal and imperialistic periods since the 1800s. Most other cases are due to Islamic terrorist groups attacking civilians and Hindus attacking Islamic civilians in reprisal. However, once better education and economic opportunities aid in helping the lives of the people then we will see a shift to the positive; it may take ten years or longer like China but it is a worthwhile endeavor and thankfully secularist organizations like the Gates Foundation and secular Christians have done more to help decrease infant mortality rates in impoverished regions than any religious organization in the history of the world. The Gates have argued for humanitarian and secular reasons, not because of their religious faith and have denounced the Catholic Church’s efforts to curb condom use when it could stop the spread of HIV infections. In other words, capitalism – once religious factors creating imperialism were removed – has done nothing but save the lives of millions of innocent children throughout the world and reduced world poverty to the lowest standard imaginable. That will be the legacy of secular capitalism comparatively to the violence of Thomas More’s time and later imperialistic genocides that engendered more violence under the sanctity of the Christian faith.

I’ve heard arguments in which people have said I should be ashamed of ridiculing such religiously motivated sacrifices because of their importance; but this argument struck me because of its need for thoughtless obedience. Look at it from my perspective as my background permits me to view More’s sacrifice more impartially: If, for the sake of argument, Judaism was proven to be true then what use is More’s sacrifice or any Christian sacrifice? If any other religion is proven to be true, then what use is the pro-sacrifice argument? Furthermore, wouldn’t an apologist only ridicule this counterargument because they need to believe that the lives of these people had a meaning beyond dying pointlessly? Wouldn’t such a high standard for this belief system require people to unquestioningly obey because they need to believe there is meaning in those deaths despite the overwhelming contrary evidence? Therefore, the only argument for pro-sacrifice is the cognitive bias of the sunk-cost fallacy. That is, because there have been sacrifices for 2000 years, it needs to be true and there needs to be more self-sacrifice because otherwise the sacrifice of those in the past will be rendered meaningless and if that is true then all that meant is that the religious belief was not truly divine and Christians don’t have a unique relationship with the one true God. In the end, it is a very pernicious circular reasoning that keeps religion afloat in modern times. Thomas More’s death was meaningless; his arguments against the King remarrying are no longer of any interest or of any significance to people today.

Incidentally, The King’s breaking away from the Catholic Church began the rise of Monarchies and was a small step towards a more secular world. The fact that a Queen took over after him was inadvertently the greatest act of Medieval serendipity because the Catholic Church was forced to acknowledge that a woman could be just as intelligent and command just as much political power as any man; therefore, women’s equality was elevated and the Catholic Church’s arguments regarding women’s roles as inferior in intellect and needing only to be home caretakers was thoroughly discredited. Secularism’s dominance today against religiously motivated violence has given us a conscience understanding of why women deserve equal rights and how we still haven’t fully bridged the gap even among first world countries.

It is imperative to understand, Thomas More’s barbarity was sanitized and explicitly ignored just as Christian imperialist genocides have routinely been ignored throughout history; here is a better understanding of what Christianity has done to the world and continues to do to the world today:

India suffered a genocide of 30 million people during the British’s imperialistic rule and the lives of Indians were thoroughly ignored and facts regarding these genocides were destroyed by British officials; only fact-checking by Indian scholars who published their works in 2009 have given us the full depictions of how far the British’s systematic mass famines from the 1770s to the 1940s had been conducted. Approximately, 10 million Indians died during every century and the British still continue the narrative of civilizing the savages. These genocides were conducted through systematic starvation of the population. The British have a history of starving people to death by keeping food under military control zones; they did the same thing to the Irish. Incidentally, ancient Hindu women only burned themselves on funeral pyres as a last resort to get away from British soldiers as British soldiers are known for conducting crusades in war rape:

http://www.oldindianphotos.in/2009/12/bengal-famine-of-1943-part-1.html

The British committed the only known successful genocide in history. They killed all the men in the Island of Tasmania, raped all the women, and forced these raped women into labor camps where they died of exhaustion and exposure. The crimes of the Tasmanian people were that they weren’t Christian and that they were black skinned:

http://www.massviolence.org/List-of-multiple-killings-of-Aborigines-in-Tasmania-1804?cs=print

The British were found culpable of destroying most of the evidence of their mass genocides, most of the records today only detail their skinning alive of Mali peoples for being black skinned. The British conducted systematic rape and systematic potato famine of the Irish for the crime of having a different interpretation of Christianity and went so far as to enslave 20,000 Irish people to send them to South America:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18/britain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes?newsfeed=true

To this day, the British lie, deny, ignore, and downsize the actual figures of what they did in so many countries:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/23/british-empire-crimes-ignore-atrocities

It is important to understand that this will be the legacy of Christianity because Christianity significantly promoted or ignored these human rights abuses throughout the British rule. The British still thoroughly deny these human rights atrocities and argue they only civilized “savages” by giving them better rules of law. This isn’t even bringing up the Christian motivations for the Holocaust; in which Hitler convinced Germans to kill innocent Jewish people under the argument that Jews deserved to suffer for killing Jesus Christ. Whether or not Hitler was Christian himself is irrelevant, he still successfully committed genocide under the argument that Jesus Christ’s death needed to be avenged. Also, most Nazis were proud Christians, their belts all had the term “God With Us” in the German language as they were killing Jewish people and others:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/1069962/

Christian attempts to rewrite or ignore this history only prove the following: The lives of these people matter less than the need for an accurate interpretation of the Christian faith. Yet, Christianity now claims to be openly interpretative, so how can there be open interpretation and yet wrong interpretations that lead to genocide? Answer: people are still attempting to justify this argument from ignorance because their families and forebears, who have had far less ability to learn information and less education than them, believed in these superstitions.

 Lastly, I’m not particular sure why Christianity gets so much praise as a force of goodness. I begin to wonder whether people truly understand what Christianity really means if it were true, so for the sake of my last argument regarding why More’s sacrifice was irrelevant, let’s assume that Catholicism is true. The major tenant of which is that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation. Now, if believing in Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation then doesn’t that mean every Jewish person who died in the Holocaust went to hell? If they were in “purgatory” and were asked to accept Jesus then doesn’t it seem pernicious that the very belief system that committed genocide upon them is what they’re being asked to accept? This is also true for the long dead Tasmanians and for my own ancestors in India who suffered under British rule. Yet, this is the sort of thinking that led to savage killings like the ones More conducted during his lifetime and all they would really require is Jesus’s forgiveness for the sin of murder to go right back to killing without remorse. These killings were conducted upon Christians of a different sect of the faith too.

There is no rational justification or reasonable argument for these religious justifications. Thomas More was a crazed fanatic who died for his death cult and it’s best not to lie to ourselves by making him out to be a hero or to celebrate anecdotal aspects of Christianity that thoroughly ignore the extensive damage of the wider impact. I don’t, of course, think ill of any Christians today who have nothing to do with the history of religious violence but it is important to understand that secular values, not religious values, have improved humanity and not vice-versa. A Man for All Seasons simply argues a historically discredited lie and tries to ignore the barbarism of religion to the extent that they ignore relevant facts about Thomas More’s life and actions. People are led to value the myth and not reality; that is a dangerous precedent that people should no longer tolerate from any religion. Finally, these questions and lack of argument against religious beliefs need to stop impeding scholarly discourse because they can and do determine the lives of people and sometimes – rather tragically – their deaths. We must, collectively as a society, be willing to honestly scrutinize religious values as we have evaluated political, social, and educational institutions.

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 (PSP)

Customization: Right from the start you get a very good variety of customization for the character you wish to create, a much more improved formula than the previous game. The classes, while only been giving a couple new ones, have been given a much more improved moveset for all of them overall. Add to the fact this game features downloadable content and more items than the previous game and its a pretty satisfactory recipe.

Gameplay: Superior to it’s predecessor. Much faster attacks, much more accurate attacks, more movesets at your disposal, and more Tales characters making the whole point of the game that much more fun.

Some drawbacks though, certain characters from the old game haven’t really been built up to shape with the speed of this game (Luke). Some of the characters lack a large portion of their moveset (Yuri). A significant amount of characters (Veigue) lack Hi-ougi’s/mystic artes.

I know I’ll get flake for this but I think the way the Hi-ougi’s were made (hitting the opponent, no matter what) creates a much more balanced and fair environment. I mean, who wouldn’t be upset if you pull off your favorite characters mystic arte in a boss battle only to have the entire thing miss?

Recruitment: The new recruitment system is eons better than the first game, where the characters would hate you for no reason. As you progress more into the game, everybody likes you more. The more you use certain Tales characters the more they like you. So yeah, vastly improved in this department.

Story: Let me say, Goede was interesting. But otherwise, I can’t really judge, but from what I got, the story was simply okay. I liked what happens in the end…aside from a certain long drawn out art event, I found it interesting when Goede appeared and when he asks you to help him destroy the world. I wish they had explored that further.

Overall: Good PSP game. 7.5/10.

The Ox-Bow Incident

The Ox-bow Incident captures the violent era of the Wild West in full galore. Beginning from the opening scene of the main character assaulting another individual, the barkeep smacking him behind with a beer bottle, and the general consensus of the town treating random acts of violence as common occurrences that constitute “fighting” seem to be skillful foreshadowing for the later events of the film. These acts of savagery are considered normal and past violence is used as a justification for any acts of future violence because they are so common among the common people. Uneducated, temperamental, and trigger-happy men broadcast their pernicious urges upon innocent people under the guise of morality, Christianity, and the law. The common people were using any justification and paranoia to defend their violent atrocities.

From my perspective, the most important event in the movie was the Deputy Sheriff deputizing the entire lynch mob. This justification ultimately meant that the mob only recognized an authority figure that sanctified their violent urges and ignored the legitimate authority of the Judge. Once a higher authority took the responsibility, their already weakened social restraint was removed and they rode onto dangerous areas just to commit a heinous act of torture and murder. This Ox-Bow Incident, in contrast to modern films, shows the negative consequences of violent and rash actions by showing the silent shame of the perpetrators at the end of the film. The film makes this more explicit by the son of Tetley demolishing his father’s judgment to lynch those three men; he argues that Tetley knew they were innocent but chose to kill them to satisfy his own bloodlust. The film further shows the savagery of the common people by remarking how the wealthy old man, Tetley, is responsible and ignoring the fact that they chose to agree to kill those three innocent people.

The uniqueness of the Ox-bow Incident to films today shouldn’t be understated. Modern films justify the violence of the protagonist under the guise of heroism. They depict almost no bloodshed and display happy endings instead of focusing on the wrongful deed committed. Thus, the difference between this film and modern films is that modern films prefer to show violence with no consequences and implicitly teach our children to celebrate violence without consequences.

Unfortunately, this film implicitly celebrates Hollywood’s time honored tradition of depicting women as objects to be owned. The young woman, that the main character was in love with, finds a man of the same social stature and intelligence as herself. The film depicts her as a conniving shrew for the crime of being able to choose her own happiness freely. The main character rides off into the sunset to tend to a wife and children of one of the dead. In the beginning of the film, the argument that the killers would rape their women was used to justify the murders that would follow. Thus, the ending of the film implies that a man is required in a household and we’re expected to take heart to the fact that one of the men who initially agreed to lynch this woman’s husband has unilaterally chosen to take over his role as caretaker of the wife and children.

This film attempts to show justice gone awry but I think it is more suitable as a beacon to the justice system of our own culture. The lynching of black men during the time frame of the late 1800s wasn’t uncommon. Our justice system has recently built a smokescreen with laws such as the NDAA and Patriot act, we have a legally justified torture program that has killed people, we’ve had a history of legal abuses during the McCarthy era, and we have protests now against the perceived violence of our law enforcement. This film is simply depicting the nature of violence that is so common in our culture that the abuses have always existed in some form. After all, can we truly call ourselves peaceful when, throughout our history, we have launched wars and then confused ourselves over the justification of those wars? If these questions are too complex for justice then our justice may need significant reform. Overall, this film sheds light on what modern people don’t seem to wish to acknowledge: America has always, and likely will always, be a nation that celebrates and legally justifies violence with no regard for consequences. Once those consequences happen, we remain silent and ignore the events to holding onto our self-righteous beliefs. Our belief in our uniqueness as a nation has simply blinded us to this truth.

5 Myths about Black America that the Corporate media peddles to divide people by “race” in the United States

Myth 1: The majority of Black Americans are in poverty.

Fact: Black America makes up 25% of welfare recipients. By comparison, White Americans make-up 40% and Hispanics 10%. It’s important to note that absolutely none of this has to do with racial background; it has to do with the numbers of the population and how the government chooses to codify people by racial ancestry.

Source

Myth 2: Black on Black crime is unique among crime statistics.

Fact: Every racial background except one has a higher crime rate within their specific racial background than having violence outside of it. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are all astronomically more likely to be assaulted, raped, or killed by a member of their own racial background than people outside of it. One might wonder why this is, it’s because you’re more likely to be killed by a jealous family member (i.e. people with the same racial background as you) or friend than anyone else in life.

As for the racial background that’s unique in this? Native Americans; they’re more likely to be killed, assaulted, or raped by people outside of their racial background. This is because up until 2012, they had no right to sue their rapists in US court and the media has helped the government ignore the mass rapes happening to them by ex-criminals of all racial backgrounds.

Source

Source 2

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Myth 3: Black America is more likely to have fatherless children.

Fact: This is a problem for people of all racial backgrounds in the US. Even the highly praised Asian community is seeing the nuclear family slowly erode; the problem seems to be American culture rather than a specific subset of the American people.

Source

Myth 4: There are more Black Men in jail than in college.

Fact: This idiotic bile has been espoused by Liberals – including President Obama to speak of how the US still needs changes and Conservatives to condemn Black America as more prone to crime for their own political schemes via portraying the majority of Black America as some sort of criminal class. This is a completely disgusting and racist perception that has no bearing in reality whatsoever.

The Justice department of 2001 evidently failed in their counting of the actual numbers of Black Americans in college by ignoring the institutions where Black Americans most frequently go to college. Political Scientists have examined the numbers and conducted their own examination to find that for the past 15 years, from 2000 to now, there have been an overwhelming amount of Black Americans in college than there have ever been in jail. The difference in number is approximately 300,000.

Meaning, there have always been at least around 300,000 more Black men in college than in jail.

Which begs the question, why did the US government lie to the public about this? This would have been the perfect success story of what it means to be an American and have American values. Could it perhaps be to continue political controversies for their own agendas?

Source

Myth 5: There are more issues with Black poverty than other people in poverty.

Fact: Native Americans have the worst circumstances in poverty on average. The overemphasis on Black America is to peddle racist narratives and try to make people believe that only Black Americans are poor. Essentially, it’s not one racial group in the poverty zone that is somehow a problem; it is the media focusing on this one particular demographic of lower income Black Americans, ignoring the middle and higher income Black Americans that outnumber them, ignoring the poverty issues of White people in poverty who are facing worsening issues and the grotesque level of apathy for the rape crimes against Native American women, and essentially trying to distract people from the militarization of the police force, weakening hold on the Middle Eastern wars, and the weakening economy.

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (PSP)

It was lackluster; not bad but lacking in depth.

The customization feature that is so hyped from the manual and the back of the box is very limited and you can’t even choose the eye color (I like choosing eye color, it just makes the face to me, you know?). You can choose between male and female characters but its rather limited on both ends and most special armor items that are intended for early use in the game from shops seem to have more female options and isn’t even all that great looking.

The music is just bad. Compared to console Tales games, the unique music you can listen to from special spoiler battles seem to have the worst songs the individual console games had to offer. The only real song I personally liked was this one particular spoiler battle and even the final boss’s battle theme is rather bad.

The plot suffers from your cliche flying cockroach teddy bear-esque character essentially acting out your parts. However, admittedly I am probably being a bit too harsh with this part since the game allows you to have choices for different actions but they are usually only two choices and it’s really just choosing if you want to be the cliche type of hero or a complete jerk to other people. Some choices require you to pick out your favorite Tales bunch.

The Recruitment system just fails. It does not seem like a bad concept, and really I think it’s a pretty good one, but the implementation just is terrible. As you progress through the game characters will like you more and if you interact with them in skits and give them favorable responses it will usually boost your relationship but even the well-made relationships will sometimes lead to rejection when asking a particular Tales character to join you.

The Tales characters utterly fail battle-wise compared to the generic henchmen you can get to join you (The feature was originally intended to swap your created characters to put them as a mercenary for hire in another PSP users Radiant mythology game but the US version sadly had this taken out). Some Tales characters such as Leon are terrible at hitting with some of his moves and just terribly implemented.

The combat is horrendous. The A.I. is stupid. No way around it, they are just plain idiots. You’ll find yourself trying to resurrect them in important boss battles and have to deal with the idiocy all throughout the game. Worse yet, the combat system is terribly implemented. No matter how high a level you are, your attacks are ALWAYS slower than your enemies speed. This drop in speed is very noticeable and rather game breaking for some. So, don’t expect to pull off really fast and fluent combos like previous Tales games. The plot itself is rather generic; you meet some Sephiroth/Dhaos wannabe.

The game itself is a dungeon crawler-type game and has no real puzzles aside from finding things. Moreover, it is rather short; the more experienced Tales players may find that they’ve beaten the game within a day. Radiant Mythology could have been much better, there just isn’t much substance to it and it suffers from a extremely terrible gameplay mechanics compared to its predecessors.

I honestly don’t know what to give this game as a final score. It was a good first try by the Tales team despite it’s shortcomings.

Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F (Spoilers for the film)

By far, one of the most pleasurable films to watch this year; the story moves into different segments and seems to skip just the right parts to keep a coherent flow. While Frieza’s surpassing of Super Saiyan 3 seems ridiculous, the film does a wonderful job of belittling his faults and the faults of Goku and Vegeta.

The explanations for why Frieza’s forces have weakened and why Goten and Trunks aren’t around seem pretty fair. I’m not sure why Master Roshi gained a spotlight but it’s probably because he’s a staple of the series. The fights against the minions seemed interesting enough.

The first phase of the Frieza versus Goku fight seemed lacking, but the transformation and then epic fight between Full-powered Super Saiyan God (I refuse to write the official – AWFUL – name) and Golden Frieza was pretty good and made-up for the sluggishness of the first part. Whis and Beerus’s comic relief seemed out of place but I suspect that Toriyama is subtly building a third and possibly fourth movie in which the real reasons for training Goku and Vegeta are revealed. Anyway, Goku’s near-death was actually well-done and Frieza’s enraged state after losing to Vegeta and then totally destroying the planet in a fit of jealous rage seemed fitting. Overall, Frieza’s interactions and then death seemed like an appropriate tribute to a great – possibly greatest – Dragonball villain. He’s certainly my favorite.

Overall, I would rank this film as an 8/10. Definitely worth watching and I will be getting the blu-ray dvd once it is released. An instant classic. The extra scene at the end of the credits was a nice touch by Toriyama and the film production team.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

The film, from my perspective, attempts to depict Southern values from two characters. Atticus, the gary stu of the South, and Bob Ewell, the rapist and attempted murderer. I felt that the film focused far too much on Jem when it was suppose to be Jean Louise/Scout that was to be the focal perspective of the whole film. The narration just didn’t make any sense compared to what was happening since she wasn’t in the events of the film – particularly annoying since she was present for those events in the book. The book was so much better – more characterization, more details on Atticus’s human flaws, more of a deeper perspective on Jean Louise, and a thematic explanation regarding why Tom Robinson and Boo Radley were too good for the world.

The trial was watered down from the book; they tried to depict the most emotional moments but I think it lost some of its impact. Atticus’s ability to shoot being a sign of “manliness” only further solidified the sexism already present in the film since they didn’t even bother giving Jean Louise any real role in the film beyond being her impulsive brother’s sidekick. It was a real disappointment since such a great character was so thoroughly ignored.

Tales of Legendia

Tales of Legendia is part of the “Tales of” series from the company Namco. It’s had many sleeper hit rpgs due to poor marketing of the mostly great rpg’s that are the “Tales of” series.

I’ll start right off the bat with this game’s best quality:

Music: 10/10, some of the best scores I’ve ever heard in gaming. Compared to many other games, it sets a record of how outstanding music can be if given enough time and effort. This game’s music is by far, it’s most innovative and absolute best quality. Other Tales game’s should take a page from the music composer responsible for this game’s music.

Story: 1/10, Unfortunately, the story isn’t that great. Even compared to old super nintendo games, it isn’t all that great. The characters have “unique” weapons, some would say, and that it shows “originality” but really, I won’t mince words, it’s just tacked-on to make the characters seem more interesting than they are. And, really, what’s a mage doing with a hammer if he doesn’t know how to use it properly? The story degenerates to saving a mary-sue character. The entire plot and purpose for over half the game is saving a mary-sue character who, while has great development admittedly, is just talked about how great and awesome she is throughout the entire game. It comes to the point where she’s literally the most important person in the entire world and it gets a bit ridiculous how much emphasis goes into her entire importance to…. everything.

Worse yet, important kingdoms in the story are… mentioned rather randomly and just seems to be for plot progression purposes. It’s as if you’re expected to know about everything in the outside world of the ship when you’ve only first started out in the game and don’t know what’s going on. You’re stuck on a ship…island for the entire game so you have no understanding of the outside world and it’s never clearly explained to you… at all during the main story. It’s… pretty bad in my opinion… I personally found a certain character’s map which had no details on it and just had big blobs of orange with red markers for where you needed to go next insulting to my intelligence.

Characters: By far the worst cast of characters on any Tales game.

Senel, an apparent “alliance marine” goes from being excessively brash (and I mean brash to the point it’s one-dimensional) to generic RPG protagonist later with no real details or explanation on his change in behavior.

Will, the apparent Mayor of the town, is nothing more than the generic “teacher” archetype and is by far the most obsessively used for Japanese anime comedy in the game. Of which, there is an overabundance of.

Chloe is a one-dimensional “knight” character…, her excessive need to see justice is literally explained in one sentence, that being: “She’s a knight”. She’s apparently from a well-known family of knights and everyone on the island accepts the fact she’s a knight. Guess what you find out later, thus making no sense of anything? She’s not a knight, after all!

Norma: Completely random tacked-on character that is just an excessive use for mindless slapstick comedy that serves no real purpose and stops being funny after you see similar antics in almost every other scene.

Moses: Makes absolutely no sense. He’s from a tribe seeking a sacred power, thinks Shirley has the means of giving it to him (since she’s the most important thing in the world ever apparently) and later states the sacred power comes from fighting dinosaurs…. begging the question why he kidnaps Shirley during the entire first chapter of the game. He’s just tacked-on for gameplay purposes, really.

Grune: Random stereotypical “no memory” character that is tacked on for gameplay purposes and has no real story.

Gameplay: 2/10, The gameplay lacks compared to other Tales games. First off, ignoring the 2D plane, it really has nothing to offer in comparison to other Tales titles. 2D tales games have multiple finishers and combo potential. Other 3D Tales games like Abyss and Symphonia have customizable stat or move set items. Among Battle systems, Symphonia had party attack and party combos, Abyss had fields of elemental power that changed attacks and made them more powerful, and Legendia has… Climax… which is just a cheap “Time Stop” ability so you can combo enemies when they can’t fight back….

The name itself is… questionable regarding it’s meaning.

The game is linear, worse yet, it makes itself FEEL linear. You go run around to whatever specified location, constantly get a skit where Senel says to open up the “duct” outside of whatever dungeon your going to so you can immediately warp back to the city, heal, save, and come warp back outside that cave to fight enemies. This game is by far one of the easiest games ever made. There is simply no challenge to it at all. Worse yet, you don’t even need to open up the ducts like the skit tells you to since it opens itself up, which makes one wonder why the game pauses just to keep replaying the same (unvoiced) skit every time you’re near a dungeon.

Moreover, if you’re ever confused on where to go next or forgot because you haven’t played the game in so long, you can’t open up your map to see your current location, it’s on the right hand corner of your screen showing the small location you’re on in the ship but you can’t take your time to see where you are on the map and where you need to go. It gets irritating when you have to double-back behind mountain passes.

Overall: Not an enjoyable game. You’ll probably like purchasing the OST of the game though.

In conclusion, it’s unremarkable compared to other games in the series (and lacks in all forms compared to them) and quite forgettable even if it has an excellent soundtrack. Any atmosphere that could have been gained with it was shot down due to poor characters that only display cliche slapstick comedy that’s common in Japanese cartoons.

Final Score: 4/10.

Inherit the Wind: A juxtaposition of modernity and religious ignorance

The film Inherit the Wind is a trip into the past. A place of not-so-olden times in which people living in a fairly modern environment believed in talking snakes, two people populating the earth for 900 years, demons, witchcraft, and the apocalypse. Excuses such as context of time no longer abound once we observe people like us, relatively modern human beings, who emasculate themselves by proselytizing their honest beliefs in Christianity.

Conviction is shown its bitter conclusion once logic is removed and strong feelings influence a large swathe of public discourse. A town of hateful, ignorant, and shallow bigots who have circumvented their own potential, weaken the State they live in, actively destroy the educational future of their children, and present a blight to human progress. People actually believed in the literal interpretation of their religions. Modern discourse postulates some unique aspect of Asian culture that has allowed it to swiftly bring itself to the 21st century in a very short span of years. Yet, here is a possible answer: The lack of the Abrahamic faiths hampering economic, social, and political prosperity. The lack of hatred of Science and of scientific theories because it doesn’t mesh with original sin, talking snakes, a genocidal God, and the idea of a Second Coming.

The end of the film, in which Drummond is shown to be a Christian, and the reporter a lonely shrew is telling. The Abrahamic faiths make one believe that it has to have similar characteristics to it or it is alien and evil. The implication being that Science must be some new way to the Abrahamic God because . . . because it just has to be because a holy book made by a bunch of violent ignoramuses during an age when cannibalism and heresy offenses were common had to have some grain of truth because so many people far less educated than I am believed in it. And yet, we are shown the past in all its glory in a fairly modern depiction that still has strict adherents today with Creationists. We see exactly what true faith does to people. We recognize that science, education, culture, and modernity have brought us out of a laudable pit of ignorance and bigotry; but the majority of us continue to profess faith as if it is goodness.

Ah, but what if it is real and the secularists are sent to hell? After all, if it’s real then we don’t have to worry about eternal damnation or “the absence of God” or a “meaningless” life. But has anyone posed the opposite and scrutinized these beliefs objectively?

Does anyone realize how pernicious such a belief truly is? People are led to believe that being “perfect” in the image of an ancient wise man will afford them eternal life . . . after they die. They somehow don’t see the self-contradiction.

People are encouraged to follow these rules – except they’re openly interpretative now so contradicting them is also fine – so that their “soul” will be sent into a heavenly bliss where all their loved ones will be reunited with them for eternity.

Meanwhile, the “non-believers” – and basically anyone who rejects the Abrahamic God because of their own religion or because they’re a non-believer – will be sent into hell where they will face justice for their transgressions of forming their own opinions and disagreeing with a violent God that teaches it’s believers to be hostile to them. As was shown by depictions of the town.

Ah yes, those secularists will face punishment and the believers will bask in the glory of God’s Kingdom. All technology, advanced medicine, luxuries like homes and sanitation, human knowledge itself, and the wonders of the natural world shall all be obliterated so that God can fight the Devil in an epic mass war and the true believers will be whisked unto heaven while the non-believers rot and die because the world is evil. Those secularists, what a nasty bunch of arrogant people for not being in any similar version to what my God deems as fit, yes?

But what if, hypothetically, a bunch of ancient people wrote stories to give their lives fanciful meaning because they didn’t understand the science behind earthquakes, lavas, hurricanes, and thus set-up a bunch of rules to blame their own societies because they thought it was all connected to their own actions due to cognitive biases? What if, all these mystic visions by these prophets and apostles were just self-delusions that people couldn’t make sense of because they didn’t know what a dream actually was?

What if, you are wasting your life on rules, expectations, and “traditions” that are followed because people are first led to believe they’re sinful because a holy book says they’re sinful and then make them wish to die a good death by forcing these rules: what women can and cannot do, what you must do on Sunday, how you must make love to your partner, what position you must make love, and fear the possibility of going to the wrong part of a dual mystic world that has absolutely no scientific credibility whatsoever? Who is being deceived and who is really damning themselves with their beliefs?

Inherit the Wind arguably shows that selfishness isn’t always wrong or sinful or evil. It is, at times, the best source of freedom from people bringing the utmost misery upon you because they have to go through that same misery. Being an individual above being “chosen” by God.

Incidentally, the Second Coming supposedly already came and went:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Disappointment