What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Confessions of an Obama Fan Girl

I'm an unabashed Obama fan girl. When it comes to our President, I'm like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert. He is a charismatic speaker who has that kind of hold on me. No matter how much I try to be rational, middle of the road reasonable, the truth is that deep down inside my mind has already been made in favor of Obama. I'm his cheerleader, jumping up and down trying to get the crowds pumped up for him. I fall in place amidst the bleeding heart liberals who have their heart set on hope and change. I'm one of them. Embraced into the crowd.

But I have some confessions to make. Deep dark confessions that might tear me away from my crowd. Closet beliefs that no liberal worth their salt ought to have. They are not that secret really, I'm quite vocal about them. However, these confessions all together, might make people wonder - Am I really a liberal or a traitor planted within.

Here goes nothing

I wanted Detroit to go go bankrupt. The auto industry bail out to me was the poorest economical decision Obama ever made. Sure it saved thousands of job. The American auto industry is back on track. It is a robust, innovative and growing industry. But for how long? This is not the first time the American auto industry has needed help. The history of the American auto industry is full of lethargy, missteps, complacency and overall inefficiently run business. Yes, we do have some iconic industry pioneers and revolutionaries. We have had our highs. But the industry has always needed help to compete with nimbler foreign manufacturers, especially Asian manufacturers like Toyota and Honda who have so much more hunger, passion & competitiveness.  The only way we can compete with that is to let the auto industry as we know it die its long due death and get reborn. We keep making short term fixes, that will need to be repaired again in the future.

The finance industry bailout was absolutely necessary. It is true the rogues on Wall Street were the giant iceberg that sunk our Titanic economy into the cold rough seas. It is due to the finance industry rogues that we perished. And even today they continue their vice like grip on us milking the last drop of blood out of ordinary citizens. But we needed the bailout. They were the backbone of our economy. It would have been a disaster if all our banks and major financial institutions had become insolvent. The idea of giving money directly to the people is a noble one, and in an ideal world that is how we would fix things with people at the grassroots. But this is not an ideal world and the finance industry needed that injection of cash to hold up the spine.

We need to outsource a lot more. American labor is just too darn expensive. Economies of scale cannot exist in the United States, at least not in the manufacturing industry. People should focus on their strengths, not weaknesses. Our Achilles heel is manufacturing. High labor costs make it a foolish endeavor. There is a whole world out there with low cost economic labor that can churn out products faster and better at fraction of the cost. Our strength is innovation, creativity, breakthrough technology the next Flying shuttle, the next Spinning Jenny, the next Steam Engine, the Next Super computer, the next iPod, the next tablet PC, the next Google, the next Twitter, the next YouTube. Can we stop wasting time on the past?

Free trade is a beautiful thing. Demand and Supply are elegant economic models. I don't understand why people find free trade to be so cruel and unfair. It is a very logical and reasonable model. The market negotiates freely, people put their wants and needs and demands on the table, all these elements interact fluidly setting prices, creating trade and transactions. The only real problem is when people cheat or game the system. Sometimes irrational human behavior leads to imbalances like monopolies and oligopolies both amidst sellers and consumers. The role of the government is not to change the game, but find and punish the cheaters. The government is also there to smooth out the inconsistencies of irrational behavior and keeping us back on track when we sway away from the elegant model. Social justice then complements this model, not antagonistically replace it.

The war in Afghanistan and Iraq is the greatest disaster in the history of US military endeavors. It breaks my heart that despite Vietnam, we have not learned any lessons. Withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is a bad idea. What we are doing is going to someones house, throwing a house party, tearing the place apart, then leaving the mess for the homeowners to clean up. I want to bring our soldiers home. I don't want anyone to die on either side. I wish we could all just get along. But this is our mess that we walked into. We have responsibility and accountability to make sure we clean every last bit of it before we can finally walk away.

People don't like Big Brother. I believe US has a moral obligation to be a Big Brother. As a nation with more wealth and stability, we owe it to share it with those who are not as fortunate. As a progressive democratic nation where freedom means something, we owe it to the oppressed to discover their freedom. Unfortunately, what the United States has done is become a big bully. We are the obnoxious meddling relative who is just bossing other people around telling them what to do. What we really need to be is a big brother or sister who is there to help a younger sibling in need. We need to be that sibling who is the delicate blend of parental sternness and a friends love and recklessness. We need to be that big brother and sister our younger siblings can truly trust and respect. We do need to be a better nation than we can be.

While I am an ardent supporter of gay rights and believe that homosexuals deserve more respect and acceptance in society. Gay marriage is not a big issue. At least not as big as it is made out to be. There are many more important things to argue about than gay marriage.And even if we make it important what good is a marriage if you t have a society which does not you hold hands and kiss when you want to. Our efforts should be focused on how can we change society. How can we help people shed their fear of the unknown and embrace differences. After all, once we actually accept each other, marriage and all other rights will come along.

And this is the final and biggest zinger. Some people will consider me a heartless soulless beast for it. I actually believe in some aspects of Social Darwinism. Lets face the truth, All men are not created equal. We are all different, very different unique and special with our own strengths, weaknesses, desires, motivations, abilities, inabilities, likes, dislikes, priorities. Each of us has a whole psyche and experience that makes us uniquely us. How can we be equal? Now I'm no racist saying one race is more superior. I'm not going to justify cock and bull theories that promote eugenics and fascism.

Darwin had a point. Nature is adversarial. In nature, species are always in conflict with their environment. It is the strongest and fittest of the species that adapt and evolve to survive the ever dynamic ecosystem. In that sense, Society is adversarial. In our society, we humans tend to be in conflict with each other. In a social environment, the strongest and fittest of the species adapt and evolve to survive the ever changing social systems. This by no means states that any human is superior to others in anyway. This is about survival, not superiority. In nature adaptation is varied and diverse. We humans cannot dream of doing things that other species can. Some can survive the harshest freezing snowstorms or the driest hottest deserts. Some can even survive a nuclear holocaust. Some have razor sharp hearing, some can see in the dark, some can smell the faintest trail, some can hear a leaf rustle miles away. Adaptation in society is also varied. Some humans cannot dream of doing things other humans can. Some are math geniuses, some paint breathtaking landscapes, others tell captivating stories with words, some have the brute strength to move mountains, some have infinite patience, some have the most dogged perseverance. We all adapt and survive in our own environments. We all perish and fail in unsuitable environments.

Someday, I hope to reclaim social Darwinism to be an honest and compassionate subject. Take it away from the Nazis, the Fascists, the Racists and use it to better explain the complex beings we are as humans.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


You can't hide from yourself
The more bury your truths, the more startling revelations you make
You can't run from yourself
The further you get away from you, the closer you get to yourself
You can't escape yourself
The freer you find yourself, the deeper you fall into entrapment
You can't lie to yourself
Every web you spin to deceive, the more the truth unravels
You can't understand yourself
The more you get what you want, the more lost is what you need
You can't know yourself
The minute you answer all questions, the answers pose new questions
You can't love yourself
The more you learn to care, the more you loathe yourself
You can't hate yourself
The more harm you cause, the more you love yourself
All you can hope is be yourself
And hope that you and yourself, find the way at the crossroads

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Battle Royale for White People

That is what I called the Hunger Games when I saw the movie. It is not that I did not like the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was thrilling, exciting full of intense action, drama and emotion. Everything that makes a great blockbuster. However, the storyline appeared too trite and repetitive. Such a theme has been done before in Battle Royale. In fact the Japanese thriller Battle Royale was a lot more gruesome and gut wrenching. In comparison, the Hunger Games seems mild, childish and innocent. But that could not be far from the truth. The Hunger games is just setting the stage for later events in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. And the events that unfold are far from being mild, childish or innocent. Prepare for the real battle to begin.

Firstly, I do owe an apology to Suzanne Collins for assuming the Hunger Games is merely a Battle Royale for white people. There are certain similarities, yes. Both are government programs to control the populations and prevent uprisings. Both are brutal, sadistic and pit children against children killing each other in an arena. That is where the similarity ends. While Battle Royale is treated as a military experiment, administered and observed solely by the military and government the Hunger Games is a spectacle with a cruel and publicized history. Panem is a country where the rich and wealthy in the Capitol led by President Snow rule over twelve districts. The Hunger Games are a punishment for a rebellion decades ago. Two children (tributes) from each district will be reaped for the games. The games are to symbolize the strength and sustainability of Panem. The tributes are paraded in the capitol and garner a fan following. The games, a huge event for the capitol is broadcast all over the nation. The victor goes on a lavish victory tour, ensuring that the pain and humiliation of the games is imprinted year round. Despite its lack of blood and gore, what makes the Hunger games even more sadistic than Battle Royale is that the Hunger Games are like American Idol for Panem. People cheering, laughing, screeching and clapping their hands gleefully over children killing each other. It is not portrayed as fiction, but real innocent live taking is normal and entertaining.

The series gets darker and bleaker as it progresses. As you read on you realize that this is no longer a children's book but a much darker tale of apocalyptic times and dystopian futures. The themes and motifs in Hunger Games are far darker than what you might find in Harry Potter. It is not the classic battle of good vs. evil. Things are a lot more gray in Hunger games. It is not clear who is good or evil, as we can see in Katniss difficulty in trying to figure out who her real enemies are. Is it the tributes in the Hunger Games who want to kill her? Is it the capitol who makes them play these games? Or is she in something much more sinister than she could ever imagine?

She has a hard time figuring her allies as well. Firstly there is her complex love triangle between Peeta and Gale. Katniss' choices are far more difficult than the whimpering haplessness of Bella Swann. Unlike Bella, Katniss is strong willed, determined, stubbornly independent, with several walls guarding her heart. She cannot decide if she loves her hunting companion and best friend Gale who knows her heart and mind unlike any other, or does she love Peeta whose gentle soul has carried her through the trauma of the games. She also struggles figuring out which one of her allies can she really rely on. Can she trust the ever drunk Haymitch? Are rebel allies really on her side. 

Harry Potter may have dealt with death, teenage angst and social issues like racism, discrimination and class warfare. Hunger Games touches upon all that and more. In Hunger games we come across corruption and political manipulation. We see games leaders play to sustain their power. There is also slavery, torture and abuse. Not just physical torture, but psychological torture that breaks down a human being at their very core. There is also prostitution. Not just any prostitution, but child prostitution of bare teenagers. There is also substance abuse. Not just Haymitch's alcoholism, but entire populations hooked on morphine like medication to escape reality. It may not be gory in detail, but the emotional weight of the books is not intended for little kids, this is far more mature content. I would not call it an adult novel, it is still very much young teen, but teenage literature has matured many shades.

Finally we have the question of District 13. Who are they really and what are their motives? They caused the last rebellion and then disappeared striking a deal with the capitol, leaving the other districts to fend for themselves. They claim their low profile and obscurity was due to lack of resources. Now that Katniss has lit a fire, they are ready to organize and lead the rebellion. But is freedom for the citizens of Panem what they really want? District 13 and President Coin give us pause to reflect the stark choices we face as humans. Do we really choose between good and evil, or are we wedged between two painful outcomes and choose what hurts the least.