Health tips are annoying

Seriously, they are so basic, it is insulting.

We do know about the benefits of exercise and balanced diet! We do know what happens when we fail to fulfil them! Believe it or not, most of us do have basic knowledge in human health!

They don’t realise that most of us want to hear something new and useful.

I want tips on how to start eating right, how to start exercising, how to maintain the lifestyle in the long run and without bankrupting myself. Less on WHAT and more on the goddamn HOW.

You cannot expect (demand) people to do something when you never tell them how to do it.

I don’t know exactly why they keep regurgitating the same basic knowledge. I assume it has something to do with their conceitedness.

The inclination may have led them to think they are the only ones blessed with basic health knowledge. While their hearts are in the right place, you cannot help others by infantilising them. If anything, they won’t take heed of any of your words.

Maybe their intention was never pure in the first place. They regurgitate the same shit over and over again because they love preaching on other people’s faces, because self-righteousness is their only source of empowerment.

Or maybe, just maybe, they are so convinced about their method’s effectiveness, they insist on repeating it… and, instead of blaming themselves for the failure, they blame it on other people.

Overall, those people suck and they have no right to complain about not being listened to.

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What a fugly piece of work

 

In a busy part of Jakarta, there used to be a rather infamous art installation called Getah Getih, created by artist Joko Avianto. This is the picture:

Getah Getih.jpg

Every time I look at it, I can’t help by thinking how fugly it was. It looked like carrots that were so deformed, they almost looked like a reclining nude body. Half a billion Rupiah was spent on that monstrosity. As the governor claimed it was meant to be a temporary installation, it was eventually disassembled… thankfully.

In a comment section of a newspaper’s Facebook page, me and other readers bashed the artwork for its ugliness. Unsurprisingly, there was that one person who thought the installation was beautiful and the haters were uncultured peasants.

He praised the installation because it was made out of bamboo, which he said was traditionally Indonesian, and it supposedly signified the battlefield flag of the soldiers of an ancient kingdom; I did find out Getah Getih was the flag of the Majapahit kingdom.

The more I think about those arguments, the more I find them idiotic.

The installation was an abstractly-shapedbamboo-based public art work that supposedly depicted a historical event, located in an arguably westernised Indonesian big city dominated by concrete-dependent international style architecture, asphalt roads, machinery and strong disregard of the country’s own heritages.

As it was meant to be public, it had to blend in with the surrounding; but, instead of doing so and -as it was meant to be artistic- enthralling the urban inhabitants with visual beauty, the ill-conceived contrast made itself a giant eyesore. Being different just for the sake of it is a good advice… if you don’t care about contributing anything.

If Getah Getih was a stand-alone installation in an art exhibition or used as a decoration of an indoor place with ‘traditional’ or ‘natural’ aesthetics,  it would be a lot more beautiful!

And surely, if you want to teach the historically-illiterate masses about history, shouldn’t you be careful when utilising abstract shapes and make sure they cannot be interpreted too loosely? Even after knowing what the title means, I still cannot unsee the deformed carrots. At least, make the shapes more clear-cut!

I know I sound like bashing the artist. But, I have seen photos of his other works and they actually look beautiful! Even without any thematic contexts being presented, their abstract bamboo aesthetics harmonise really well with their surroundings; I love The Continuous Stage way more! The problem seems to lie on the poorly-thought-out commission.

Oh, and about that pretentious snob (no, I am not talking about myself)…

He said his museum visits made him an art expert. When I said I also had visited museums, he chastised me for being conceited. So, you know, he was hypocrite…

… And too delighted of himself.

He patted himself on the back simply for calling an art work ‘beautiful’ and ‘meaningful’. While this sounds like an angry and far-fetched conjecture (which it is), I would not be surprised  if he call a literal pile of shit ‘beautiful’ and ‘meaningful’ if it was presented as an art work that represents human shittiness. As much as I love the arts, I would never praise any art works willy-nilly, regardless of their styles and themes.

I also don’t know why he was so obsessed with bamboo; Indonesia is not the only place where it is a traditional material. But, even if it is exclusively ours, I don’t see how it makes an art work more profound. If there is a bamboo art work that glorifies our colonial past, I doubt that person would see anything profound about it (or maybe, he would).

 

 

 

 

 

Living the life… like an idiot

A friend of mine constantly criticises me for being ignorant in certain topics. But, instead of giving me evidences that prove my ignorance, he simply advises me to ‘live the life’.

Of course, there are two problems with that.

First, the phrase ‘live the life’ is obnoxious. When my friend says that, I know he means I should leave the house more often and do things other than staying at home, watching Youtube videos. But, technically, me enjoying online entertainment means I am living the life. Saying that I am not is as self-righteous as saying Marvel films are not cinema.

Second, what he is basically saying is I need to have more anecdotes. Unless you are a Lauren Southern wannabe (which many humans are), you know damn well that understanding the world  requires something more concrete than our personal experiences. I use a lot of anecdotes in my blogs and I admit that they make my writings argumentatively weaker.

Virtually every person I have interacted with has implemented my friend’s advice… and I can certainly say many of them are more ignorant and immature than I am.

Almost all of them believe in pseudosciences and easily fall for conspiracies and hoaxes.

Lots of them believe popularity defines quality. Therefore, they believe popular people and things should and always be respected.

Many of them do not know how to handle contentions. They, even older people, will resort to childish attacks against me and they always fail to provide refuting evidences; for them, their old ages prove that they are right and I am wrong.

One Muslim activist, who has supposedly dealt with a wide range of nasty people and learned how to deal with fellow human beings, thought the proper way to silence my harsh criticism against her was to criticise my profile picture.

Not only teachers gave me wrong information, some of them even inserted their literally-interpreted religious beliefs into the lessons.

People who have travelled all over the world and have interacted with people of highly contrasting backgrounds can still end up as identity-politics-loving bigots.

And I haven’t taken a shot at complete strangers yet.

In Indonesia, our current coordinating minister of human development and culture suggests that wealthy people marrying the poor will eliminate poverty.

A nutritionist working for the Indonesian Child Protection Commission introduced the Indonesian public to the urban legend of getting impregnated while swimming.

The mayor of Indonesian city of Tangerang, who has a master’s degree in healthcare administration, once claimed that instant noodles and babies formula milk turned babies gay.

The current Indonesian health minister says prayer is the be-all and end-all protection against the COVID-19 viruses.

When campaigning for the gubernatorial election, the incumbent governor of Jakarta once said a city would still beautiful even with the presence of slums.

The current minister of education had to teach the MPs what competence assessment was.

In America, there are medical professionals who openly oppose compulsory vaccinations, despite the scientifically-proven importance of herd immunity.

Despite his years of experiences as a science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson still tactlessly tweeted about how Americans should not be emotionally-invested in mass shootings because of the relatively low death rate.

A University of Oklahoma journalism professor, someone who is supposedly competent in words usage, thoughtlessly compared the word ‘Boomer’ to the N-word.

Donald Trump, a supposedly successful businessman who graduated from an Ivy League university, does not know how tariffs work, does not know how to create deals without pissing off the other parties and does not know how to speak like an educated adult.

Marketing and PR professionals, who supposedly know how to read the fucking rooms, still end up with insensitive and tactless ideas.

I can do this all day.

What makes this even more frustrating is that my friend and I LOVE to bash those idiots. In fact, much of our interactions revolve around that activity!

If he simply told me to ‘live the life’ because I need to fulfil my basic human needs, I would be okay with it. Instead, he had to embellish the advice with this pseudo-philosophy.

I have done things outside my house… and frankly, they teach me nothing.

I used to take various extracurricular activities like Bridge and basketball (the latter was forced by mom). I used to attend more family gatherings and I actually tried hanging out with other students in my senior high school.

And I learned nothing from those activities.

The extracurricular activities taught me nothing. Bridge taught me nothing about the importance of competitions, cooperations and strategy. Basketball taught me nothing about the importance of physical fitness and the joy of exercising. My interactions with relatives and school mates did not teach me social skills and did not teach me the joy of human interactions.

In fact, my interactions with fellow human beings fed me pseudoscientific and problematic views, which I gobbled up easily. All of my moments of realisation occurred when I was alone.

If it wasn’t for my solitary reflections and my time spent online and writing, I would have never realised how piece of shit I was (still am).

I would never knew how gullible, immature, pretentious and self-righteous I was. I would never knew how pseudoscientific and problematic most of my views were.

Thanks for my ‘not-living-the-life’ lifestyle, I have learned to accept that life is inherently grey and will always be, regardless of my attempt to pigeonhole it.

I have learned to accept that my words, including the ones in this ranty essay, will definitely bite my ass in the future.

If I do the so-called ‘live the life’ lifestyle, I am certain that not only I would never improve as a person, I would probably end up becoming an even more horrible individual.

It is not far-fetched to say that my old self had the chance of becoming a religious extremist or someone who spreads harmful pseudoscientific beliefs.

 

 

 

 

How to report problem countries

Obviously, every country is a problem country. And yes, including the so-called number one country, the so-called United States of America.

In this context, I am referring to countries like Iran and North Korea which are known for their severe human rights violations and have been extensively and negatively covered by foreign (mostly western) media.

  • I hate sugar-coating. I believe exposing the factual negative aspects of certain countries is not inherently hateful; there is nothing wrong about sticking to the truth.
  • But, it can be hateful when we insist the coverage must be entirely negative and are offended by the idea of showcasing genuine positivity because we want to keep affirming any prevailing preconceived notions.
  • I first noticed this when I watched the North Korean episodes of Departure, a traveling TV show which focuses less on the destinations and more on the journeys; they received backlashes for allegedly spewing pro-North Korea propaganda.

    Correct me if I am wrong. But, from my knowledge, a country’s propaganda should brag about its non-existing divine perfection and work as the ruling government’s ideological mouthpiece.

    Departure does none of those things.

    While the hosts did not mention the human rights violations of the countries they visited, they also never tried to paint them in an entirely positive light.

    The show is entirely non-political. The hosts only care about exploring nature and interacting with the locals; the latter is the theme of the North Korean episodes.

    If anything, I believe the show does the ordinary and unprivileged ordinary North Koreans a great favour.

    Because of the lack of political agenda, the white Anglo-Canadian hosts had no problems interacting with a group of East Asians who grew up isolated from the rest of the world. The resulting interactions were wonderfully wholesome.

    The episodes do not depict cultural clashes, they depict people who enjoy each other’s presence despite the linguistic and cultural barriers.

    They depict humans who see each other as fellow human beings.

    But, some people didn’t like it. They believed the only way to give the North Koreans a favour was to focus entirely on the system that oppressed them.

    I disagree with that belief.

    North Korea is not just an obscure country that most people haven’t heard of; they have, albeit sometimes mistaking it for its sibling down south. Because of that, negative media coverage is not only common, it is over-saturated.

    The over-saturation results in the dehumanisation of the North Korean people. Let’s face it: most of us don’t see North Korea as a country where fellow humans live, they see it as a giant oppressive machine that must be destroyed at all cost.

    And, whether you believe or not, this kind of dehumanisation already has a negative effect on the state of humanity.

    It is not a secret that many people, especially neoconservative westerners, support invasions of repressive countries like North Korea without any regards of innocent casualties; I mean, if they really care, they would not get aroused by the idea of violent invasions and would not perceive any innocent casualties as mere “collateral damage”.

    While I don’t pay as much attention to it, I also notice the same thing with how western media treats Iran.

    The humanisation of the Iranian people is way more well-received. But, unfortunately, the demand for dehumanisation prevails among the politically-outspoken degenerates.

    Many still refuse to see Iran as a place where humans live… which is why, just like in the case of North Korea, they are not hesitant to support violent military interventions against it.

    I do have my own solution to deal with this problem. But, not only it is made by a non-expert, it is also rather tricky to implement.

    If a country has been almost entirely negatively reported by foreign media and you want to make a documentary (or something similar) about it instead of a normal news report, there are two things you can do.

    The first thing you can do is to cover positive things about said country and tell the world its previously unknown faces.

    And when I say “positive”, I mean genuinely so. They should be based on facts instead of the political establishments’ rhetorics. You have to make sure the presentation of positivity does not paint the country in an entirely positive light.

    Youtuber Louis Cole AKA FunForLouis made a series of vlogs of him and his friends visiting North Korea. Even though I was never subscriber, I was intrigued…. and was quickly disappointed.

    Obviously, I should watch the sequels as well. But, in the end of the first video, he said North Korea was not as bad as people claimed simply because he and his friends were greeted with a touristy welcome; at that moment, he seemed to perceive a choreographed performance as an excellent representation of the reality.

    I was already repulsed about those overtly-polished Youtube vlogs. Cole’s ignorant comment only intensified my repulsion.

    Departures has proven that, if you use your brain a bit more and don’t easily fall for deceptive veneers, you can shed a positive light on an oppressive country without becoming its government’s propaganda tool.

    But, if you are reasonable iffy about making positive coverage and still prefer to do a negative one, I have a second tip: find a fresh angle.

    If you keep repeating the same real life horror stories, the only thing you would be good at is affirming simplistic prejudgements about North Korea and discouraging outsiders from humanising the victims due to the lack of nuances.

    I think the Youtube channel Asian Boss does a great job in getting the fresh angles. Instead of treating their North Korean interviewees as propaganda tools to exploit, they treat them as individuals with human stories to tell.

    As a result, not only it results in ethically-dignified documentaries, it also unearths surprising facts about the country they are defecting from.

    For instance, even though the consumption of foreign media is prohibited in general, I did not know that consumption of South Korean media will result in more severe punishments than the consumption of western one. It confirms one of our preconceived notions…. but, in a rather complex way.

    I specifically said this tip is only for those who make documentaries and the likes and NOT for journalists who solely make daily and relatively short reports.

    Why? Because it is obvious that my tips, especially the second one, require in-depth analyses and cannot be simply done in less than a day or even a week.

    Well, they can. But, the results would be sloppy.

    Okay, I am aware of how horrible my suggestions are; not only I have zero experiences in the media industry, my words are not precise and technical enough to be practically useful. Heck, even if I am a highly-experienced professional, my suggestions would not be the be-all and end-all.

    But, even then, the unreliability of my tips does not mean the media industry is perfect as it is. Every person with functioning brain cells knows mediocrity and lacking integrity are embraced as virtues.

    Public discourses about the ethics of depicting authoritarian countries are almost non-existent and, for reasons I have mentioned in this essay, it is something to be reasonably angry about.

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  • Feminists and anti-feminists: a common ground

    *puts on a mask*

    Some people support feminism because they believe it is the most effective way to coerce women into embracing western liberal values.

    They shame women who willingly embrace modest fashion, who willingly choose to become stay-at-home moms, who willingly choose to become abstinent and who willingly choose to become/stay religious.

    Their reasoning? They want to liberate women from the oppressive and medieval eastern values, especially the Islamic ones.

    Some people oppose feminism because they want to protect women from western values and coerce them to keep embracing eastern values, particularly the Islamic ones.

    They shame women who willingly show the slightest appearances of their skin, hair and bodily curves, who willingly choose to be unmarried and childless and who willingly choose to have active sex lives.

    Their reasoning? They want to liberate women from the oppressive and overtly-sexualised western liberal values.

    I have to a suggestion for both feminists and anti-feminists:

    Why don’t you just make peace with each other?

    I mean, it is quite obvious how you actually have something in common with each other: you are advocating to take women’s right to think and act for themselves under the pretense of liberating them.

    Wouldn’t your goals become easier to achieve when you find a common ground with the “others” and form a gigantic and influential alliance?

    Together, you can oppress women to the fullest.

    *takes off the mask*

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    The problem with forgiveness

    We think we have the right to forgive every person who have committed wrongdoings.

    But, we don’t.

    The prerogative to forgive does not immediately apply to every person in existence. It only immediately so to those who are directly affected by the wrongdoings.

    If you are directly affected by one of those wrongdoings, you are literally the only person who has the right to forgive those who have harmed you.

    Your loved ones have the right to forgive once you have manifested WHOLEHEARTED forgiveness. After they have expressed THE EXACT SAME THING or AFTER THEY ARE DECEASED, the right now transfers to your acquaintances and also to complete strangers who have heard about your suffering.

    But, what if you are deceased?

    Obviously, that right immediately goes to your loved ones. Oh, and when I said “loved ones”, I meant it. Your immediate family members do not immediately count ones.

    Just because you are related to someone, that does not mean you love one another. If anything, it is no secret that family members have not only trivialised the sufferings of their so-called loved ones, but also have intentionally inflicted pain on them.

    If your best friends have shown how much they care about you more than your immediate family have, then they are your true “loved ones” and your family can fuck themselves!

    I believe this problem exists because we communalise sufferings.

    We believe in the idea that if one person suffers, every other person definitely feels the exact same pain. We believe that there is nothing wrong about pretending to feel the exact same pain.

    Even if someone experiences the exact same affliction that you have or had, it does not mean you fully understand his/her suffering. Literally everybody is different; how you live your life won’t always work on other people. Forgiveness is not a universally effective antidote.

    Those who suffer do not need our pretense. They need our empathy.

    Empathy does not require us to pretend. Empathy requires us to simply acknowledge that what they are experiencing is painful to them, even though we don’t feel the pain ourselves.

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    This anger of mine has been slowly brewing for years and the brewing started to intensify when I saw internet users who believed the Nazi war criminals should be forgiven and we should just drop the idea of prosecuting them just because they are old.

    It deeply disturbs me because not only they trivialised the severity of human atrocity committed by the Nazis, they don’t even have any family members who endured the concentration camps.

    Well, I am inclined to believe so because they didn’t mention having victims and survivors of the holocaust as family members. If they want their pleas to be more emotionally impactful, shouldn’t they mention about having those relatives?

    Either they suck in persuasion or they are assholes.

    My anger peaked when one of those plea makers cited the post-genocide Rwanda as a stellar example of forgiveness.

    Except, it is a dreadful example.

    When interviewed by Humans of New York, Rwandan president Paul Kagame said the country decided to not punish those who partook in the genocide.

    Why? Because he said it was impossible to imprison almost the entire country.

    Essentially, what Rwanda did was not forgiveness. What they did was absolution, a state-sanctioned formality, which itself driven by admittedly much needed yet still callous sense of pragmatism.

    It is just dishonest to call this “forgiveness”, isn’t it?

    Forgiveness is supposed to benefit humanity. Instead, it is being used to undermine it.

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    My favourite sarcastic Youtubers

    They are Boyoung AKA Bubbly, Chris Broad AKA Abroad in Japan, Felix Kjellberg AKA Pewdiepie, Joey Bizinger AKA The Anime Man, and Terry Song AKA TerryTV.

    Unsurprisingly, their sarcasm often go over people’s heads and it leads to some viewers -especially the new ones- to take their words seriously. With Joey, he loves being sarcastic in his QnA video, consequentially frustrating even his long-time viewers who wish their questions are answered properly.

    Also unsurprisingly, they also make Youtube commentaries from time to time, but not too often to the point where their channels become commentary ones. Consequentially, their contents have satirical inclination at times.

    After watching them for years, I just realise another similarity between them that I didn’t notice before: I don’t find their annoying actions to be annoying.

    Let me explain that extremely vague statement.

    How they carry themselves on the platform is more or less similar to how their colleagues do it. When other Youtubers -including ones I am fans of- commit those certain actions, I am annoyed. But, when my favourite sarcastic Youtubers are the ones who commit them, I am strangely not.

    Yeah, still vague.

    Let me start straight away with the clickbaits.

    Apart from Chris, all of those Youtubers I mentioned have embraced clickbaits in their video titles and thumbnails, albeit with varying level of intensity.

    Boyoung and Terry prefer relatively subdued clickbaits (which suit their subdued sarcasm), Felix prefers to create bizarre ones (which suit his bizarre content) and Joey is the most shameless as he utilises nakedly clickbaity titles (which suit his snarky tendency); they remind me of the ones used by so-called “news” media outlets.

    With Chris, I notice he loves re-using the same saccharine stock background music over and over again. But, it is not unlike the one used by many Youtubers.

    It is more similar to the one used by American so-called “factual” TV programming; however, it still exude the same sugary, feel-good atmosphere. In his Journey Across Japan series, he used upbeat 80’s sounding theme song that -in my opinion- emits false optimism and pseudo-energy.

    I may be wrong. But, I do notice that -unlike the ones of Felix and many other Youtubers- the online personas of Boyoung and Terry are immensely similar to their true personalities.

    Their speaking intonations barely change and so do their body languages… apart from their eyes and mouths; as weird as it sounds, it’s the only way for me to determine whether they are in characters or not. Took me a long time to notice those details.

    When Youtubers (and humans in general) do those things, I often perceive them as attention-seeking and fake individuals whose purpose in life is to look good instead of embracing their authentic selves, just for the sake of instant fame and fortune.

    And yet, I am not annoyed when the Youtubers I am fans of commit those “sins”…. and the reason for that lies on the title.

    Sarcasm is something in which everything that is being expressed is the opposite of their literal meanings. Not the most articulate elucidation. But, you get the idea.

    Because of the constant stream of sarcasm, I am not predisposed to take those content creators too seriously, unless when morality is involved.

    It also helps that they love to sprinkle a dose of self-deprecation here and there; I personally interpret it as their turndown to stand on high pedestals.

    As a result, I don’t find their commentaries to be self-righteous and hypocritical whatsoever. The ones who think so are probably those who barely watch their videos.

    Even though they don’t make much of them, I believers their commentaries are more superior than the ones spewed by most commentary Youtubers, who mostly appeal to emotions instead of reasons and don’t always practice what they preach.

    Of course, I also have to admit I am being biased here. Not only I am a fan of those Youtubers, I am also a big fan of sarcasm; I regard it as one of the best tools to deal with those pesky humans and to express my anger. Way more satisfying than vandalising properties.

    Oh, and I initially wanted to include Duncan Pain AKA PDR-San to the list.

    Like them, he is also known for his sarcasm which does not always bode well to some people and and being self-deprecating.

    But, he is also different from them because not only he has made even more commentaries (making his content more satirical in comparison), I don’t believe he is “guilty” of the “sins” I mentioned above. As I have missed many of his videos recently, I may be wrong.

    I still mention him anyway because if he is indeed “guilty” of them, I would also not be annoyed.

    And because I am a fan, of course.

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    Are Marvel films “cinema”? (And a long rant about snobs)

     

    Yes, they are. And yes, I am late to the party.

    My short answer should be the end of the story. But, I can’t help myself from ranting and letting cretins ruining my days.

    Yes, it is “days”. Plural.

    On Facebook, a land where intelligent discourses thrive, I made posts on multiple pages and groups on why I disagree with Scorsese, Coppola and their defenders.

    Surprisingly, my comments were more well-received than I expected. It feels nice to know I am not alone with my frustration.

    Unsurprisingly, I also encountered detractors -two to be exact- and their overall counter argument is something I have seen read and heard before. Yet, it still manages to ruffle my feathers.

    Basically, they told me that instead of being “unfairly dismissive”, I should eat the “humble pie” (one of them said that exact term), acknowledge that my taste is shit, acknowledge that my opinions regarding cinema are and will always be inherently less worthy than the ones regurgitated by award-winning directors and acknowledge that I am being pretentious for thinking mine can be better than theirs.

    Five reasons why it is a bullshit argument.

    Reason one:

    Awards are not always what we think they are.

    They do not always indicate appreciation of merits. They can also be used as indicators of how much certain individuals and their creations are beloved by the establishment.

    You cannot expect me to believe they are always about merits when James Cameron’s Avatar, a film which success was entirely dependent on special effects and 3D theatre presentations, was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

    Reason two:

    It advocates status-worshipping.

    Surely, if one wants to determine the merit of an opinion, the most important thing is to analyse the reasoning and evidences being used instead getting fixated on how much the establishment loves the opinion maker.

    It is not anti-intellectual to simply question the so-called experts. If anything, it ensures they are being held to the highest standard.

    Oh, and if you encounter the “Marvel films are not cinema” remark online and you don’t know who said it, you would not assume it was made by intellectual adults hardened by life experiences.

    No, you would assume it was made by immature and pretentious snot-nosed teenagers who think their tastes are the most sophisticated ones.

    In fact, it is way less understandable when a adult does that. You would think life experiences will make her/him more mature and reasonable.

    Speaking about pretentiousness…

    Reason three:

    Those two snobs don’t know what pretension is.

    I don’t have my own personal definition of what cinema is as I choose to stick with the most objective one available: the production and distribution of films.

    As much as I despise films like Michael Bay’s and Batman vs Superman, I have to acknowledge them as parts of the cinema, just like my favourite films are.

    It is arrogant for anyone -Scorsese and Coppola included- to think their subjective definitions of certain words are the only right ones.

    They are trying to convince us that their unsound and petulant remarks are more profound than they really are. They are trying to convince us that among billions of human beings living right now, people like them are the only ones who “get” cinema.

    In short, they are fucking pretentious.

    I, on other hand, try my best to be as objective as possible by not letting my hatred of certain works hinder my judgement and by not pretending my taste is best.

    One of my detractors also nitpicked about my wording. He said it was pretentious of me to use the word “one” as a pronoun.

    When one realises one does not have any good comebacks, one can simply retaliated by splitting hair in front of one’s opponent.

    Reason four:

    They insist on thinking in boxes.

    It has been ingrained in their minds that loving films like Marvel’s is an absolute sign of mediocre taste. As I can enjoy them, they perceive me as thoroughly unsophisticated.

    But, I also told them about my love of Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick, three directors who are frequently considered as among the best by film snobs.

    So, if one takes their words as the truth, it means I have a really good taste in cinema.

    Well, not to my detractors.

    Even with my repeated claims that I love those directors, my detractors kept pretending I could only love Marvel and Marvel only.

    Their black and white mindset cannot comprehend how one’s taste in anything can be difficult or even impossible to pigeonhole.

    If they immediately acknowledged my love of those directors, they would have to accept that tastes can be complex. But, as they insisted on thinking in boxes, they ignored my statement and kept claiming their non-existing aesthetic superiority.

    One of them eventually did acknowledge that I am a fan of those directors. But, even then, it did not stop him from using the condescending tone.

    For him, it does not matter if most of my favourite films are arthouse. Love just one Marvel film and I will ruin the whole batch.

    He probably thinks taste is literally measurable… like a literal, physically-embodied chemical which can literally be poisonous.

    They actually make me proud of myself for having unpredictable and relatively complex taste.

    Yes, I used the word “complex” to describe myself.

    Reason five:

    Where is the fucking humble pie?

    If they wanted me to eat the bad-tasting yet nutritious humble pies, they had to painstakingly make one for me.

    Instead, they took a huge dump on the dining table and claimed their faeces is the humble pie; the refusal to consume is a sign of one’s infantility.

    When I kept refusing to do, they started shoving their faeces into my mouth. Unsurprisingly (and ideally), I retaliated by throwing their shit back to their faces.

    When they showed no signs of stopping, I started to take a dump myself and do the same thing.

    Interestingly, when I said the arrogance of snobs put off others from even considering to try something highbrow, my detractors dismissed it.

    They said it never happens and I am just making excuses for people to be comfortable with their aesthetic mediocrity.

    Except, it does happen all the time.

    I have seen people defecating on certain works even though they have yet to experience them. The behaviours of the fans are considered more than enough to determine the quality of those works.

    I have seen people hating on Harry Potter, Steven Universe and anime solely because of their toxic fandoms. And yes, I have seen people hating on fine arts and quality entertainment because of the exact same reason.

    Yes, what I just said are anecdotes. But, at least, I tried to make my claims sound more believable.

    My detractors, on the other hand, didn’t make the efforts. Instead of trying to give me evidences to counter my claim, they simply dismissed it.

    If anything, the (thankfully not literal) excrement fight I just described above actually supports my claim. The evidence that is against them was displayed right on their screens.

    Their arrogance begets my arrogance.

    How can they expect me to eat humble pie when they have never eaten one themselves?

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    Yes, I know I should not let their snobbery ruined my days. I also hate that I ended up resorting to arrogance as well. Even though I am way more reasonable than those two, I believe there is no winner in this fight.

    But, cultural snobbery has been frustrating me for years because of the disservice they have committed against the masses.

    I would love for films like Andrei Tarkovsky and Ingmar Bergman’s to be even more popular. I would love them to greatly influence film industries in the incoming years.

    I would love if the creative industries of the incoming years allow idealism, artistry and experimentation to thrive more.

    I would love if the masses are starting to think more critically about the entertainment they enjoy and stop associating popularity with quality.

    But, thanks to those snobs, my desires will always be make-believes.

    Thanks to them, the masses will keep on associating mindless escapism with “humility of the ordinary people” and intellectually-inclined admiration with “vanity of the elites”.

    Those beliefs are obviously not true. The presence of humility and vanity does not correlate with one’s standing in a society. But, as those snobs prioritise their egos over actually enlightening others, they unwittingly perpetuate those falsehoods.

    They shoot my feet, accuse me of committing self-harm, shoot their own feet and accuse others of violence.

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    A childhood treasure I didn’t know having

    When I was a toddler, I remember watching feature films from those gigantic laser discs and one of my favourite films to watch was Disney’s Fantasia.

    The original one, NOT the so-so sequel.

    Back then, I didn’t try to comprehend the plots. I was simply mesmerised by the beautiful colours and shapes, adorned with harmonious classical music. It felt like I was watching a magically-animated painting, accompanied by a live musical performance.

    Along with my beloved encyclopedias, I credit the film for making my childhood a colourful and vibrant life chapter where even the sky was not a limit. It felt like every inch of the universe was worthy to unearth.

    When I started attending primary school, VCDs had become widespread. I started to watch more movies on the smaller discs and I started neglecting their bulkier predecessors. So, between pre-school and adulthood, I forgot about the existence of the film.

    Yikes.

    I managed to watch it again when I was eighteen. As I already started becoming a snobby cultural critic, I started to appreciate its merit.

    Even though I don’t think it was an extraordinarily groundbreaking film*, it still effortlessly stands out among many Hollywood flicks. To this day, I am still surprised that one of my childhood favourites is of high quality. Most of them tend to be shit.

    And, because of its uniqueness, it shapes my taste in the arts and entertainment as an adult.

    Magically, absurdly and subconsciously realistic

    The segments that feature abstract animations are my very first exposures to abstract art. Now, I am one of those weirdos who genuinely enjoy staring at abstract paintings.

    I don’t care about the lack of coherent narrative. As long as the combination of shapes and colours impress me, I will consider the paintings beautiful regardless.

    I also have to credit it for inspiring me to love surrealism and magical realism, making me attracted to the weird and inexplicably fantastical.

    Nowadays, some of my favourite films include ones with strong metaphysical themes and/or ones that portray the inexplicable. They include Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 and The Shining and much of Andrei Tarkovsky’s works.

    While Fantasia is of neither genre, its sublimely fantastical depictions of natural phenomena certainly help opening the path.

    And it is certainly metaphysical.

    Unhinged sophistication

    When I listened to Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring supposedly for the first time, it felt like an inexplicable surge of nostalgia ran through my veins, as if I had heard it before. It turned out I had: it is one of the soundtracks of Fantasia!

    My early exposure to the modernist composition possibly influenced my taste in classical music. I prefer the more stylistically-eclectic and/or “unhinged” newer works -like ones by Stravinsky (obviously) , George Gershwin and John Cooliged Adams- over the older ones, many of which I find a bit too saccharine.

    In fact, I now love to complain about how films, especially fantastical ones, are too dependent on cliche-sounding orchestral music and are too afraid to utilise more ambient, more eclectic and more “untraditional” compositions.

    The lovely dread

    Chernabog is probably one of my first exposures to “scary entertainment”, even though I was never terrified by it. Again, I was too busy mesmerised by the beautiful animation.

    Beautifully haunting and sinister animation, showcasing something one can describe as a symbolic representation of the dark side of humanity.

    As an adult, I have a weird thing for entertainment with ominous atmosphere, as in you feel scared even though nothing scary is happening on-screen. You know, actual horror instead of cheap jump scares.

    I am not a fan of the show Criminal Minds due to its dehumanising depictions of mental illness sufferers. But, I do love the episode where the heroes unwittingly cooperate with a police station where virtually every officer is corrupt; it genuinely feels like they can be ambushed at any time. It feels like real life horror.

    Horror is not about what you explicitly show, it is about the feeling of terror you induce on your audience.

    Connecting non-existing dots

    Admittedly, what I just said do sound far-fetched.

    It is indeed absurd to claim one feature film dictates my entire taste as an adult. There are many things that can be taken account as the influencing factors.

    As I hinted in the beginning, I also read encyclopedias frequently as a young child and some of them not only discuss “weird” paintings and sculptures, they also display the photos. Basically, they partook in the exposure.

    One of my favourite musicians is Chrisye, an Indonesian Pop singer whose early works reek influence from Genesis -a Progressive Rock band- and the band’s genre does sound “unhinged” to the “untrained” ears. After discovering that particular musical style, I ended up craving for more “weird” sounds.

    And those films that I love, I also have to credit my time wasted on Wikipedia and my Media Studies classes as contributing factors; I would not have heard of Andrei Tarkovsky if it wasn’t for the former and I would not have watched a single film from West Africa if it wasn’t for the latter.

    My love of ominous entertainment may also be rooted by many years of watching horror films and eventually ended up frustrated with the excessive amount of cheap jump scares, craving for actual feeling of terror.

    Oh, and don’t forget about my personality. Our personalities not only dictate how we interact with each other, they also dictate what we love and hate.

    I am a weirdo and have been called such since forever.

    Therefore, my current taste can still come to being even without Fantasia in my life.

    But, still…

    As I said before, the film is a huge part of my childhood. While it is clearly not the only factor that shapes my taste, it certainly is a major one.

    It certainly accelerates its formation and it certainly aggravated its potency.

    Without the film, it would probably take me a much longer time to love the things I now love.

    *I refuse to call Fantasia a groundbreaking film because I don’t think it is.

    Yes, it certainly has a relatively unusual approach in regards to moving image narratives and may be unappealing for those who want more glaring expositions, who think escapism equals quality and who cannot give more damn about visual artistry.

    But, if you dig deeper into the history of cinema, you would see there were already ground-breaking cinema movements -like surrealism and Italian futurism- that predated the film’s existence.

    And works of those genres are bizarre and incomprehensible for the masses. Not matter how weird Fantasia is, I still think it is relatively comprehensible.

    If anything, its audio and visual aesthetics were already conventional at the time of its release.

    The risk-taking was indeed high. But, it was not that high.

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    Do I regret my ‘useless’ degree?

    The answer is no.

    Yes, it does not help me in my job search. It barely teaches me any practical skills. It is not rigorous with its theoretical education. I wish it is both a vocational and liberal arts degree.

    But, thanks to my media studies major, I now possess a relatively high level media literacy. While it is too low for my liking, it dramatically increases after I started my media studies education. As a result, in my personal life, I am the least gullible person around.

    Admittedly, I still fall for fake news on some occasions. But, to my defence, I fall for fake news reported by the mainstream media which have sleak and professional presentations. The people I know, on the other hand, will easily fall for articles which utilise clickbaits as headlines and over-dramatic language in the content, lack any proper citations and, in some cases, include blatantly-photoshopped images.

    Those same people also easily fall for those arbitrarily-sad, tear-jerking and pseudo-inspirational content, whether on the internet or on TV. Also thanks to my education, I now take heed of the sappy or ‘uplifting’ background music, the unnecessarily lavish visuals and the flowery language. If those sad stories and inspirational words are given raw and unpolished presentation, they would not have the same emotional potency. In fact, their lack of depth would immediately expose itself. Nowadays, such content no longer moves me. It only nauseates me.

    I also no longer easily fall for any rhetoric (well, most of the time). Acknowledging that people lie to and deceive each other seems to be a common sense. But, in reality, we still take other people’s words for granted, especially when they are public figures. We often vote for politician NOT because the actual substances of their words and NOT because their track records, but because they keep appealing to our emotions.

    I also have another reason, a strange reason, why I don’t regret my university education: learning.

    It is strange because I am someone known for his poor academic performances. I always have a hard time finishing assignments and I often get low grades; high ones are anomalies. Overall, it is a miracle that I finished primary education on-time.

    But, I had so much fun absorbing every bit of information. I sincerely enjoyed reading the pages of the library books and academic papers I managed to get my hands on. I sincerely enjoyed immersing myself in research findings and complex theories. I never had any academia-related enjoyment prior to my university years.

    I blame the lack of enjoyment on the over-emphasise of rote-learning, the lack of encouragement to read and do my own researches, the fact that I have to take classes I have no interest in and my teachers made no effort to make them seem worthy to learn about.

    It is a contrast to my higher education in which reading and researching were compulsory, rote-learning was virtually non-existent (at least, in my chosen discipline) and, because I chose my own major, I did not have to take many classes I had no interest partaking. I enjoyed learning when I was a university student because that is how learning should be!

    The purpose of learning is not about receiving information for granted. It should be about the adeptness to gather new information and determine its validity by scrutinising the sources, the reasoning and evidences. It should be for the sake of being enlightened and not expecting any tangible or shallow rewards.

    It is not to say higher education is not susceptible to indoctrination. It is, especially when religion and politics are involved. But, considering how the learning process is executed, gullibility and irrationality are inexcusable. I am thoroughly disappointed by the severe intellectual dishonesty of some of my fellow university graduates.

    I also have to credit my university education for increasing my nerdiness.. After reading quite a handful of genuinely interesting papers and library books, I end up even more interested in the liberal arts.

    I never knew that one could observe human beings through abstract lenses, beyond the surface of their observable behaviours; it gives me an entirely fresh approach to how I tackle my surrounding.

    Are those lenses practical? No, they are not necessarily so. But, they do turn me into a more contemplative person; with the risk of being seen as ostentatious, I even dare to say they make more spiritual.

    Consequentially, I also end up searching for more academic papers, despite the fact that it has been a while since the graduation day. I used to hate reading them. But now, I read them NOT because I want to be a researcher and am intending to publish my findings, I read them simply because I want to!

    Overall, I become a significantly better individual.

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