Monday, 16 November 2009

Just another addiction ......

Computer games. I used to be amazed at the amount of people playing crazy games on the internet. When I joined Facebook it seemed to be full of posts about people moving up in Mafia Wars, or Vampire Wars. Do these people have nothing better to do, I pondered somewhat bemusedly. I never grew up in the computer games era, or even the computer era, so found all this totally bizarre. Aimlessly I clicked on one of my FB friend's requests for 'neighbours' in some game. FarmVille. Oooh, I could build my own little farm, didn't need to get my hands dirty, and could grow the prettiest crops. No problems with pests, or lack of water, or a bad crop. I could have my animals too, and a dear little cottage. I was hooked. I also wanted to gain the points. But why? I even looked at Mafia Wars and Pirates. Café World was a no-no. The first three dishes were onion soup, bacon sandwich and a burger. Once I had made the onion soup I lost interest. I do not want to be told what to cook. I started a Happy Aquarium, even though I don't really agree with keeping fish in tanks... They were very pretty. And there is Fish World, and naturally - FishVille. Oh and Island Paradise. And Robin Hood. And Roller Coaster Something. There may be others too where I still have a dormant presence. (Note, I am still on my idyllic island...) The truth is, that if other people need 'friends' to move up in the games, that's fine by me, but I don't have to play. Happy to be a sleeping non-participant. So what on earth is the attraction with the continual clicking of a mouse/trackpad to see points pointing up? Mindless? Well, in my opinion yes (and don't forget I am doing it). Escapism - without a doubt. Living a fantasy life as Robin Hood, or a Pirate, or a Mega Mafia Mobster. But the one that really seems to be on a winner, is Farmville. And Farmtown. I should say at this point I don't like the graphics on FT and I hate the unnecessary clicks to sell produce. Hence I have relapsed to an orchard where the fruit never goes off. It's the fantasy idea that we all dream of though. That little place in the country that is so easy to maintain, live off the land, and have a modest, but perfectly comfortable house. And for those of us who tend to be somewhat anal, we can lay out our farms perfectly, colour co-ordinate them. We can play the games to get more money, more points, more awards, more mastery signs - whatever we choose. At no risk. Nothing further from real life. I never watched soap operas until I hit on some bizarre production called Sunset Beach. It was too unreal to be true and a total load of rubbish - but the unreality of it was what made it entertaining. I watched soaps in Spain too - mainly because it was an easy way of learning the language. But for the most part, what are soaps? Mindless unreal escapism. Just like some of the adventure films/serials where the hero struggles against all manner of perils and always, just always, wins out. Computer games? No different. Mindless, unreal, escapism. A different screen, a different distraction. Heaven forbid we all go back to speaking to each other again - or even worse, reading books, and thinking. (For the record, Level 32 on FarmVille with 65,000+ points, and the fuck off biggest farm at 22x22).

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Mobile 'phones and APNs

When I ring up my mobile 'phone company and ask if they have changed the APN (which apparently stands for Access Point Name) I expect them to give me the correct information. If, for some reason, they decide to change it, it would be helpful to let me know. In fact it might explain why I am unable to get hold of the internet from my 'phone when it changes from .net to .com. Thank you Gibtelecom. Good one.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


I've watched a couple of films recently that perfectly exemplify the concept - or rather use/abuse - of women as sex objects. No not 'sex symbols', or people, or anything else. Objects. The first one was nauseating. Described as 'a stylish and brutal glimpse into the intense violent underbelly of a ruthless underworld where the mob boss rules with an iron fist'. (slightly adapted.) The blurb went on to say.. 'In an empire of fast cars, upscale drugs, and expensive women, money is god but power and money alone can never buy trust...' Upscale drugs? Is that another word for expensive? Sort of like 'top end'? Anyway, I digress. I should have been tipped off by the term 'expensive women.' What does that signify? Well, it signifies that the women in this film, have expensive tastes, presumably in jewellery, champagne, clothes, etc etc etc. But more to the point, it signifies that these women are bought. Purchased. Possessions. Objects. They sell themselves without even realising it. Not just their bodies, their independence, their freedom, their volition. In some cases their lives. Once the women are involved with these nasty, obnoxious, violent, abusive, immoral, murdering, raping, so-called pieces of humanity - they have sold their souls. They are no longer treated as people, as sentient beings who merit respect. They are literally objectified. They are passed around like a bottle of beer or a communal joint. "Hey want a beer? Hey want to fuck her?' There is no difference between sharing the beers or the women. Who cares what the women think or feel? One of the head thugs abuses his wife for not producing a boy. Naturally it is her fault that she produces girls not boys. It is her fault for having two X chromosomes and not his failure, despite having the determining Y chromosome. It goes without saying there is no fidelity within relationships. The same murderous thug is at some club with his mates and a few of their sex objects and some young woman is suddenly thrust into the scene. Apparently she wants to work at one of the brothels they run, so naturally he takes her into the toilet to fuck her and decide if she is good enough. She wasn't. He brought her back and dismissed her with a few derisory comments about her lack of ability to perform/please/gyrate sufficiently. I watched it in the hopes it might get better. It didn't. It certainly wasn't stylish and it was extremely offensive and disgusting. Onto film number two. Naturally this again featured women in their essential role in life as sex objects aka prostitutes. A couple of American teenagers were kidnapped by an eastern European gang to become part of their prostitution network. Obviously this involved turning the women into drug addicts by imprisoning them and forcibly injecting them with heroin. The backdrop for this was some filthy sleazy hovel where all the women were chained to beds while they were undergoing the addiction process. Top tough American father managed to rescue his daughter, just after she had gone on parade on the internet to be sold as a virgin. Despite looking totally off her head. Some different messages here. Man as abuser. But also man as saviour, hero, protector. We women just can't do without that type of man, can we? Or can we? Ironically both films were set in Europe (with the exception of a few scenes in the second film). Is Europe the hotbed of rape, prostitution, and abuse? Both films also included scenes where women were shot to make a point. In the first, an Eastern European woman was killed as a token gesture to frighten all the others who were being exported for prostitution. (Again, she hadn't made the cut). In the second, the 'hero' shot a former colleague's wife as a negotiating point. 'It's only a flesh wound,' he said, as the woman lay there on the floor terrified out of her mind. Yeah right. 'And the next will be between the eyes if I don't get what I want.' Some hero eh? Looking after women, saving prostitutes, and shooting his former colleague's wife - who had incidentally, welcomed him into the family home, invited him to dinner etc etc. Before I posted this I thought I would check out the reviews. Naturally the second one was described as a good, hard-hitting action film with a strong performance by the leading (male, of course) character. Did the reviews mention the horrific abduction, rape, drug addiction, forced prostitution of the women? Well, they did mention the terrible drilling of the knee enforced on one man. Not for the squeamish apparently. Onto the first film. Seems this one also got some rather good reviews because of its tough action. And that's what matters. Isn't it? Here is a quote from one review: It features gangsters 'trying out' prostitutes, raping people with pool queues and calmly executing east European prostitutes as an example to those that are being loaded onto trucks for export. It also comes very close to being misogynistic. Were it not for Claude's wife Beatrice being the only character with a shred of humanity and empathy, it would be easy to slate this film's depiction of women as violently misogynistic. This is a film that lacks a story, lacks proper characterisation and presents a form of 'realism' that is utterly contrived. But despite this lack of bottom it is an amusing way to spend a couple of hours as it is never dull. Very close to being violently misogynistic? Dear me, what dictionary are you using? Now, for the benefit of the dull ones out there - one redeeming female character does NOT, I repeat NOT, counteract all the total abuse and violence against women from men in this film. Where is this reviewer coming from? Secondly, watching women (and men) being raped and murdered is not an amusing way to spend a couple of hours. Amusing implies funny, entertaining. This film was neither of those. I haven't named either of these two films as I have no desire to publicise them. I daresay anyone interested enough will be able to find them anyway. And while ever crap films like these are justified as amusing, entertaining, action-packed - and the rape/murder/abduction/abuse of women is barely mentioned - women will continue to be seen and treated as sex objects. Because they are just films aren't they? This sort of thing doesn't happen in real life? Does it?