Weekly Rochester Events #404: Not Found
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Okay, so I've been kicking around some ideas in my head and for some reason these two things are compelled to be related, but I haven't yet figured out what that relationship is. There's some pattern that my brain is recognizing and claiming is present, but I'll be damned if I can chart a logical course between the two.
Several months ago, my friend Sondra and I were talking and she brought up the notion that the divisiveness in this country leads to a very specific goal of social stability regardless of the actions of the government and the country as a whole. Specifically, by ensuring that the populations of "Red States" and "Blue States" are enemies, debate on any topic can be neutralized by declaring it political. If, for instance, one were to claim that wiretapping without a court order defies the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, ... well, see, warrantless wiretapping is a tool that the President and his administration feel are necessary to stop terrorists, so by being against it, you're really against the President and therefore must be a terrorist sympathizer. There's no need to debate the actual points being brought up because each camp is automatically mortal enemies of one another.
It's an exercise in conspiracy theory to claim there are people who are in actual control — that is, that there is a group of individuals having secret meetings and wringing their hands in glee that the country is divided this way. However, what I've come to conclude is that there is a system in place that is being coerced such that divisiveness gives it strength. On the one hand, I'm not saying that the United States Government has attained a consciousness and has a will to live for which it will sacrifice its own values to ensure its growth; on the other hand, that isn't such a bad description after all.
Just this past Wednesday I was in a meeting of the Mount Hope Improvement Project Task Force. It's about engineering changes to the "Mount Hope corridor", particularly between Elmwood Avenue and Westfall Road. Anyway, we talked about accident rates and vehicles-per-day and options for redesign. However, there wasn't an inkling of thought that maybe this whole way we do things is totally fucked up. I mean, tens of thousands of individuals each get into their own steel contraption weighing a ton-and-a-half and burn a nonrenewable resource to commute — primarily — between their homes and their places of employment. And some of those jobs are such things as figuring out how to ensure that more people can do exactly the same thing. Others are "needed" on site to sit in a meeting and listen while someone else outlines a project which is essentially exactly what we do already but just a little different — and un-debatably a vast improvement over that exact task that was done before.
What I'm getting at is that we have a system which keeps people on edge a bit (but mostly comfortable) so they will think that this is the most perfect alternative possible and any deviation from that leads to a loss of wealth, safety, or comfort. So there's no possible way to debate the status quo because by definition, the status quo is the current state of affairs, and what else could there possibly be?
I had a discussion with my brother Adam a month ago where he noted that people who are the most irate and divisive about any particular topic are the ones who know the least about it. It's not the researchers in labs studying the development and behavior of stem cells who are out picketing and beating one another up, it's the ones who believe it's assembly-line abortions forced upon women to harvest the stem cells in their unborn babies. Curiously, the thing nobody knows anything about really — how everything works and if there is a god and if so, Whom? — is the exact thing that is a great reason to kill one another.
Digging further into that, I find that people aren't really aware when they make a decision based on their own reason or when they make a decision based on the opinion of someone else. [And the unrelated postscript is that I wrote the conclusion of the sentence a different way but I just finished reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation and couldn't remember if it was supposed to be "someone else's opinion" or "someone elses opinion" so I circumvented the problem entirely.] I know I've been in the middle of an argument (thankfully drifting to "the start of an argument") and thought to myself, "why am I even arguing this? — it's not even my opinion." I'll be arguing that Little Miss Sunshine is not a very good movie, but I'll be basing my entire opinion on the Filthy Critic's review of it. See, I've found that his reviews have matched my opinion far more than 90% of the time on movies that I've seen that he's reviewed, so I feel pretty confident I won't like "Sunshine" — however, I really have no basis for any strong opinion on the topic at all.
There's a more pervasive current of like-minded thinking that is almost, well, systemic. Like a decade ago when I was looking for a cordless telephone and wanted (among other things) a hands-free headset jack. I was laughed out of the store — "only one of our phones has that, why would anyone want it?" I settled for a crappy phone and had to replace it a few years later. Upon returning to the same store, the sales clerk pointed out that, "every phone we sell has a headset jack." What happened between? Either (a) my idea was stupid but suddenly became brilliant in two years, or (b) a headset jack was a fine idea all along but popular opinion changed. I'll assume it's (b) and leave the discussion of (a) to a yet-to-be-seen public critic. I find it fascinating ("fascinating" in that way that it's "fascinating" that every person you know will be dead someday) that people will follow some largely unbeknownst-to-me common opinion.
But back to charting a course:
So it all seems quasi-related. It's only the society's us-versus-them mindset that permits the consensus opinion to be used by a sales clerk to claim superiority. It's only the need for to firmly land on one side or "the" other of a particular issue that compelled me to express a strong opinion of a movie I'd never seen. It's rooted in common opinion that the way we drive long distances by ourselves to work is considered "normal" rather than "really fucking absurd". Because of differences of common opinion, we have "Red State" and "Blue State" ideologies that vie to be the one, true common opinion.
So it's not one another we should be "against," it's the system that pits us against one another, but we're really thoroughly conditioned to agree that it's important that we're divided into opposing pairs — Democrat and Republican, Terrorist and Patriot, hope and fear. And even though the opposites really aren't opposed in anything close to a perfectly contrary way, there's such consensus that they should be opposite that the only logical option is to be mortal enemies. So my little dichotomy never quite connects. Maybe this is like those physicists looking for a unified theory to bring together matter and all forms of energy into one neat equation but finding that although there's terrific parallels, it just doesn't quite work.
[And I'm laying claim to "terrific parallels" as a textually awesome example of itself: when searching Google on October 5, 2006, referring to number of sites with a particular phrase that there's only "about 21 for 'terrific parallels'" — soon to be 22.]
Anyway, there were a couple neat things I got to do. Last Wednesday, I headed to the otherwise terribly annoying Milestones (170 East Ave.) to see The Comedy Block Party which ended up to be quite a pleasant experience. The local crew was mostly quite funny and the headliner imported from New York, Joshua Grosvent was terrific.
On Friday I headed to see the big photomosaic posted by Big Picture Rochester (formerly ROMA, the Rochester Outdoor Museum of Art) at The State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport MetroCenter (55 St. Paul St., formerly the Rochester Chamber of Commerce) The image was very cool and the fact that it's composed of thousands of 4-inch by 6-inch images is really quite impressive. The recognition and awards ceremony was ceremonial and the reception following at VENU Resto-Lounge and Nightclub (151 St. Paul St.) was pretty good. After that I headed to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see Lost in America. It was so solidly funny that I thanked Jim Healy afterward — and he encouraged me to seek out other films by Albert Brooks' other works. The film was about a very yuppie couple who cash-out their career-minded lives for the rogue lifestyle depicted in Easy Rider, only — you know — easy. As you might expect, things go awry and they're forced into a desperate position where all the formerly valuable items enumerated on their resumes amount to nothing at all.
Saturday I headed back to the Dryden Theater Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation which is a shot-for-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark done by three 12-year-old friends. Even if I went in with pretty high expectations, I would still have been amazed. These kids not only did things shot-for-shot, the nuanced bits of acting were meticulously recreated. Heck, they even pulled off all the special effects shots (except for the fight near- and subsequent explosion of the cargo plane) with startling ingenuity. Filmmakers Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb were on hand to talk about their experience. They had many fascinating stories to tell, but perhaps the most remarkable was that — after 20 years of thinking such teenage dreams were unrealistic — they actually got invited and went to Amblin Entertainment (100 Universal City Plz., Universal City, CA) and uttered the impossible phrase, "we're here to see Mr. Spielberg." Yes, after all that time a copy made it to Steven Spielberg himself and they were invited to meet him — and as they said, he paid the ultimate compliment by saying (essentially), "I put in the tape and watched your film. Then I rewound it and watched it again." Even Spielberg himself was amazed at their tenacity, innovation, and creativity.
It's funny how sometimes the opinion of one person who actually formed their own opinion really really matters.
| Last Week |
| Read Guestbook
| Sign Guestbook
| Contact Jayce
Current Rochester Weather
Internet Movie Database
On this day ... October 5
DreamHost Web Hosting
I use DreamHost to run JayceLand.com. Click the ad to buy hosting and I'll get money to run my site. Hooray!
Store at CafePress
Buy some JayceLand junk at sky high prices!
Rochester Music Coalition
Rochester Music Photos
Rochester Goes Out (D&C)
Rochester Punk Rock
Jazz 90.1 Calendar
Delusions of Adequacy
Mystery and Misery
Monroe County, NY Bars
Kids Out and About
Movie links courtesy The Internet Movie Database. Map links courtesy Google Maps — sorry to those people with browsers not supported.
About the title ... According to the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) version 1.1, the status code 404 is for requested items that can't be found.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, October 5, 2006 (Thu, Oct 5, 2006, 10/5/2006, or 10/5/06) Friday, October 6, 2006 (Fri, Oct 6, 2006, 10/6/2006, or 10/6/06) Saturday, October 7, 2006 (Sat, Oct 7, 2006, 10/7/2006, or 10/7/06) Sunday, October 8, 2006 (Sun, Oct 8, 2006, 10/8/2006, or 10/8/06) Monday, October 9, 2006 (Mon, Oct 9, 2006, 10/9/2006, or 10/9/06) Tuesday, October 10, 2006 (Tue, Oct 10, 2006, 10/10/2006, or 10/10/06) and Wednesday, October 11, 2006 (Wed, Oct 11, 2006, 10/11/2006, or 10/11/06).
Send a message to the JayceLand webmaster
Copyright © 2006 Jason Olshefsky. All rights reserved.