The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trickle-Down Sociology

I wanted to try looking at the question of sexual responsibility from another position. Some of the replies I've gotten seem to wonder if I'm letting guys off the hook, by saying women are more responsible for this. I sure as hell don't want to. I'd be happy to live in a world where the capacity to bear children cycled between males and females, or there were no real males or females: we could all get pregnant. In such a world, sexual mores would be equivilent for both sides.

But trying to be politically correct here is cultural suicide. It is trying to shape the world in the image of what would be "fair" or "good" from some point of view that has nothing to do with either biology, sociology, or history. It's the Liberal equivalent of Trickle-Down Economics: looks good on paper. It sure SHOULD work. And it never has, and never will.

It's "Awakening your Kundalini Backwards" or trying to create a world in the image of your theories. A little thought experiment, please.


Let's say that you have a hundred kids. Fifty boys, fifty girls. Basically law-abiding, but otherwise healthy, frisky kids. The intent is to minimize the number of illegitimate births. You can have absolute control over forty-nine of these kids. What strategy will produce the smallest number of bastards?

Seems pretty obvious to me that if you can control forty-nine of those girls, you've pretty much got it licked. Only one girl will have the risk of getting pregnant, right? On the other hand, what if you controlled forty-nine of the boys? That one loose cannon penis could impregnate every single girl over the course of a year. Easily. This, to me, is a no-brainer. It is easier by far to control fifty eggs than fifty billion sperm. The numbers just don't work any other way, and I think this is the reason that I can't think of a single culture...screw that, a single PARENT who puts MORE pressure on the boys than they do on the girls. Regardless of the fact that it's "not fair," any other approach simply doesn't work.

Let's turn this around. I take the position that the balancing "unfairness" is that males are expected to die to protect women and children. In what culture, on what world, can you imagine a scenario in which males refused to go into combat unless an equal number of females were in COMBAT positions at their sides? Again, I know of no where, at no time in history, anywhere in the world, in which this would work. The fact that this is "not fair" to boys is both untrue and irrelevant.

The reproductive scenario only seems unfair to women. Try to turn this upside down by thinking you can control the situation best by putting equal strictures on both groups, and you are fighting a mighty force in human survival, the male urge to screw everything in sight and then move on. You don't fight this, you USE it, by forcing males to commit to their sexual partners. To finish school, to become civilized, to be able to present themselves to the parents, to make sufficient resources to support a family. Otherwise, the girls keep their legs crossed. And so far as I can see, you can actually make this approach work, and it has worked, all over the world. The middling alternative is to say that both sides are equally responsible.

That takes an extraordinary amount of conscious control, and most human beings, male or female, just don't have it. Right now, much of popular culture spreads the idea that women can and should be as sexually aggressive as men. The result is an avalanche of illegitimate births. Single mothers raising male children, who then have no models at all of how to be fathers. Who go out and perpetuate the cycle. The society begins to break down.

Yes, I think that women are, in this sense, a civilizing force. I can just barely see a way to make the situation equal...if we could reset the human reproductive default so that you had to WANT to have babies, you had to THINK about it to get pregnant. But even then, you'd have to deal with the wiring in women's heads relating to the infamous "reproductive clock." If you think you have trouble not heading to the refrigerator for a midnight snack, if you think people's unconscious eating gets their diets into trouble, you ain't seen nothing when unconscious "forgetting to take the pill" or "we were just too turned on to put on that rubber" kicks in.

Fair? Unfair? If women don't hold the line on this, the entire culture dies, taking women and men BOTH with it. If men don't accept their responsibility to take primary responsibility for defense of the homeland, BOTH men and women die, and take society with it.

It's not about what we want. It's about what works. From my point of view, you'd actually have to change some very basic things about human biology and psychology to make this work differently, and thinking "it's not fair" doesn't pull the plow. You are literally damaging the very children you're trying to help.


This is definitely related to the feeling many black people have expressed that "blaming" poor blacks for having unprotected sex, or babies out of wedlock, is some kind of genocide. That's the short-term view. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The bonded human family seems to be the bedrock of human society, and has been since the cave. The extended family is great, fantastic, terrific. But about 95% of what we see out there, if not more, is pair-bonded relationships as the bedrock. Yes, an expanded tribe should be able to care for orphaned children. Yes, uncles and grandfathers should be able to help boys become men. But the instant you let those reproducing males off the hook and say: "you're not needed!" too damned many of them say: "Yep! I'm out!" and take off.

And the result? Sons who have problems accepting responsibility for their own children, or see no need to. Girls who get pregnant before they've finished their education, who seek from random men the support and affection and attention that they should have gotten from their fathers. And I've seen this pattern countless times. So: no, I won't back down from my position that black culture needs to force its boys to take responsibility for their children, and its girls to abandon the insane belief they should be as sexually aggressive as men.

And I won't back down from my position that anyone who thinks you can manage reproduction as efficiently by equalizing the pressure on males and females. Unless you can apply 100% pressure, you will fail. It takes one guy to impregnate a hundred women. And it is the children who will suffer for your lovely little social theories, or sense of what is "right" and "fair."

Call it trickle-down reproduction. Yeah. I think I can point to that as an equivalent insanity to the conservative theories of distribution of wealth. It will never work, and you're damaging the people you're trying to help. It ignores basic realities of human behavior: a certain irreducible percentage of the human race are ASSHOLES. The same percentage of rich as poor. Of males as females. Trying to set up a society that doesn't take this into account is madness.


I wonder how this would apply to our individual lives? Something along the line of: "a certain irreducible percentage of the time, I am going to act like an asshole. How can I protect myself, my family, and my community from that?"

I suppose that would be setting up a budget, and giving your spouse access to the financial books. In that way, unless you are both assholes on the same schedule, there's gonna be hell to pay if you're raiding the cookie jar for expensive toys, or lottery tickets. You have family councils in which your children are encouraged to call you on your bullshit. You look at the results you're getting in all three major arenas of your life, and allow others to judge you by them as well. You vote for laws that create painful consequences for asshole behavior. Not because you're an asshole, but because you will spend a certain percentage of your waking hours exploring your asshole potential. And if you're like me, you've got a lot.

You just don't set society up so that only angels can function within it. Shame and blame works great on children, and you don't remove those things, don't remove the emotional or physical pain from the feedback loop until their logical faculties have evolved to the point that they behave primarily on the basis of reason and logic. And in truth, how many of us really do that more than 50% of the time? Pain is a great teacher.

Marching up the Chakras, or up Maslow's Heirarchy, FIRST set up your rules to control the basic animal urges and behaviors. Then set up strictures that provide physical pain for violation of survival principles. As the organism or society evolves, move that up to emotional pain: shame, shunning, guilt. And then logic. The last step...the VERY last step is the being who is self-motivated, who performs "right action" without outside stimulus, who is "beyond good and evil."

Otherwise you get people who function as Aleister Crowley suggests: who find joy specifically in rebelling against authority, rather than in responding to their most basic nature.

I remember my mother believing that I loved Toni because she was white. That, in essence, I was rebelling against a bi-racial mother. (This was hysterical to me: Toni and my mom were the same skin tone.)

Later, I had a relative accuse me, indirectly, of marrying Tananarive out of...wait for it...rebellion against my light-skinned mother. Wow. Can't win for losing, can I?

Sure I can. These people are telling me why THEY make choices. They're projecting themselves into the external world. I chose Toni because she was the first person in the world who believed in me, who really supported me in my dream of being a writer, bless her. She could have been black, Asian, or a Martian. After that marriage broke up, I wondered whether I had deliberately avoided black women, and went out of my way to date them. That didn't work out well at all, and I went back to my pattern of simply choosing partners based on shared interests. That meant primarily white ladies, and I was happy with that. Then, quite by "accident" I met Tananarive, and found someone with whom I had an insane amount in common with, while maintaining those delicious differences that make the relationship "pop". Frankly, I wouldn't have been ready for her in college. Toni was perfect for me then, and I love her still. But Tananarive represents who I am today more fully than anyone I've ever met. And she makes me want to be a better man. Her family was all about Blackness, while mine was shamed and troubled by it. I never had any support for that aspect of my Self, and was forced to dig deep to find my bedrock in just being human, or just existing. Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog, knows that there is still a mountain of unprocessed bullshit around race that I shoved aside into locked rooms, and am now processing a shovel-full at a time.

But taking joy specifically in a motion against others? What the hell is that? Where are YOU in that? You are allowing others to define you just as much if you rebel as if you conform. Exactly the same thing. Rather, just seek to discover who you are. You will be pleased and disturbed to see how often you want the same things, and conform to the same behaviors, as your parents. And in other ways, you will be very different. And that would be true if you weren't raised by them at all. Or if you were adopted. Or if you chose your parents out of the phone book, at random. Certain behaviors and qualities just WORK, and if you move away from pain and toward pleasure, you'll find yourself doing many of the same things other human beings do, and it ain't because you were programmed. It's because certain behaviors work, and others don't, and we have to be careful to throw the baby out with the bath-water when we seek adulthood, or social change.

The key of Joy is finding the truth of Self, and seeking to live that truth every day. Crowley obsessed with not being like his family. That is the adolescent position. Adulthood is something very different.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do the Work


More children are abandoned by fathers than created by thoughtless mothers. By far. I expressed my open, clear contempt for men who do this. I don't feel contempt for women who make this mistake. I consider it emotional damage more than laziness and irresponsibility. Are such women "bad"? The ones I know worked their asses off to try to be good mothers. I think that they made incredibly poor decisions, though, and that their children paid for it.


How does a boy with a bad father/absent father find male energy to push against? Coaches, martial arts instructors, teachers, bosses with a heart...priests and ministers, neighborhood Real Men who you can ingratiate yourself to by offering services or trade...there are many ways. And how are they supposed to know to even try to do this?

Because people like me say things like this, openly and publicly, and take the heat for it. And the more people who say it, the easier it will be to rail against the images in popular culture.


What are things like outside the U.S.? I've traveled a fair amount, and I think some things are pretty universal. The more a child's survival is influenced by memes rather than genes, when those memes must be (or are optimally) passed from both mother and father, the more likely that child is to survive if the father sticks around. Further, if the child is relatively helpless for a long period, then either the father sticks around to provide, or the mother must have strong family support, or the child's probability of survival diminishes.

So, even in the animal kingdom, IF a child's survival is enhanced by the presence of the father, the genetic or memetic propensity to raise one's children enhances chances of successful reproduction.


Now, then, what do you say about the fact that, rather clearly, one sterling reproductive strategy is to simply have all the kids you can, and with as many different mothers as possible? I think this works in the short term. What I see in American communities where this has happened is that the communities are no longer self-sustaining. They do not produce goods and services that can be healthfully exchanged to provide the food, water, power, education etc., and become pus-pockets that drive out the most responsible and hardest-working and capable members of the community. They collapse within a few generations. Short-term gain, long term pain.


Do I hold women more responsible for the welfare of the children? Yes, because they are uniquely biologically suited for that position. Do I hold men more responsible for the physical security of the community? Yes, because they are uniquely biologically suited for that position. Yes, this is men judging women. What of it? Women judge men whenever they want. In fact, human beings judge human beings. It's what we do. If I had a baby-machine in my tummy, I would have been MUCH more careful about who I had sex with, I promise you. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties that it even occurred to me that women might have a different set of imperatives about sex, and that led to my realization that I'd been an irresponsible ass.

The truth is that if the problem is in our back-yards, we all pay more attention to it. Trying to pretend that men and women have equivilent priorities with non-equivilent biologies seems self-defeating. You can make it work on paper, but you can't make it work in the real world.

I've never known a single person who was MORE strict with their sons, sexually speaking, than with their daughters. Not one. Many who tried to make the rules the same for both, but frankly, the majority, men and women, in any culture in the world I've ever studied, are far stricter with their girls than with their boys. Pure practicality, and we can rail against that, and call it bullshit, or whatever you want, but you can't get past the fact that boys don't get pregnant, and if your son gets a girl pregnant, it simply doesn't impact you the same way it does if your own daughter gets pregnant.

Maybe we SHOULD react that way. We'd be better, more spiritual people if we did. But we're not. We're just people. And as tragic as it may be if your neighbor's house burns down, we breathe a secret sigh of relief that it wasn't ours.

So, yes, I give women more responsibility, because nature did. But I will do my level best to make my son live by the same rules his sister did.


No, fat doesn't equal sick. Obesity is a medical problem, however, fat is fat?


In an agrarian society, having lots of kids can make you wealthy. But in our society, the way to life yourself from poverty is most certainly NOT to have lots of kids. So poor people who waited ten years to have kids, using that time to complete their educations, get a trade, learn how to manage their money and so forth...will build a better foundation for their future generations, if they can postpone the "fun" of 3am feedings. Remember: your hind brain wants to make babies. Boy, does it ever. You have to learn to say "not this time" and roll on a freakin' rubber, o.k?


Yes, it is genetic suicide not to reproduce. But I know too many people without children who live happy, healthy lives to think it's the end of the world. I'm sure they feel regrets at times, but so do parents.


I stick with the position that healthy people can find and maintain healthy relationships. I'm sure exceptions to this rule exist, but I haven't seen them yet. People say "I know a man who is apparently healthy, who keeps getting his heart broken..."

And the first thing that comes to me is that he has poor judgement in women. And that means, to me, that he doesn't know himself, or his own feminine side, very well at all. That doesn't sound like health to me.


Am I saying women who deliberately get pregnant out of wedlock are man-haters? No. I think they are confused, damaged, and overestimate their own state of health/balance. In my mind, you can't hate the outside world without hating yourself. This is one of the reasons that you have to start with self-love, the ability to look in the mirror and see the little boy or girl you once were, and love that child without reservation. To realize that every choice you've made your entire life was an attempt to feel loved, safe, and closer to the Divine. To forgive yourself, and others.

That is a path of healing. And as long as you would be attracted to yourself, really, should be able to find a partner. The only problem I've ever seen is that people don't want to do the work necessary to heal.

Again, (by the way) I don't mean this is true in 100% of cases. But I'd be willing to bet on better than 95% of cases, and considering that most of the people I know who are alone either

1) say there are no good men or women or

2) Beat themselves up unmercifully and consider themselves worthless

I'll maintain my point of view. Love yourself. Take responsibility for your results. Do the work.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why Not You?

In response to my recent comments saying that I object to women deliberately getting pregnant out of wedlock as much as I disrespect men who do not take responsibility for the children they make, there were comments that I was blaming poor people for being poor, or denying poor women the same right to get pregnant out of wedlock that rich women have, or insisting that children need a two-parent family, or whatever. That if you aren't healthy enough to have a relationship with another adult human being, you aren't healthy enough to raise a child.

Well, Duh. What the living hell do you expect someone who is fanatical about balance, who has spent decades healing the wound of an absent father, who was willing to trash his own career to be a father to his daughter...what do you expect me to think and say? That doesn't make me right, but don't my comments seem right in alignment with my stated values? And to a degree, that's all this blog is about: what does the world look like to someone who tries to live his life in alignment with the values of balance, personal responsibility, and steadily increasing energy?

So let me look into these charges, specifically.

1) Blame poor people for being poor? Blame, no. There are circumstances that have nothing to do with your effort or capacity that can place a person in grinding poverty from which it is horrifically difficult to extract herself. BUT, (and this is a Big But) you ARE responsible for finding your way OUT of poverty, or living with the awareness that you have limited resources.

2) Denying poor women the same right to be unwedded mothers that wealthy women have? Did I ever approve of those wealthy women acting irresponsibly? Hell, no. And those who are in the public eye (actresses, singers, etc.) I consider horrible role models, in a context in which they know damned well that part of their huge salaries has to do with the fact that people idolize them, not merely the objective amount of talent and ability they bring to their roles. In my world, such adoration demands responsibility...if you are an adult. "The student becomes the teacher", remember? But responsibility does come in there. If you have a leaky rowboat, it makes no sense to complain that you can't go as far to sea as an ocean liner. Wealth provides a safety net. You can act like a fool, crash cars, steal from stores, and sometimes even murder your spouse, and have a MUCH better chance of getting away from it.

Complaining that it "isn't fair" is what a child does. Adults say: I have no shoes. Best I not play in the snow.

3) Am I saying I believe that children are at greater risk in single-parent homes? Well, again, Duh. I'm saying that it is easy to amass fantastic amounts of both anecdotal and statistical evidence suggesting that this is true. Correlation does not prove causality. Yep. But when there is a debate where the cost for being wrong is the welfare of children, I'm going to err on the side of caution. Every time. I was at Cliff Stewart's (my Silat instructor) birthday party last Saturday, and they told a story about a gigantic young man who wanted to train in the UFC. He began his relationship with Cliff by trying to cold-cock him. Bad move. Short nap. He had a reputation for going to different martial arts schools, and beating up their instructors. The sober assessment of this young man was that he would end up dead, or killing someone.

I didn't even need to ask if the kid had a father. And of course, he did not. Why was it so obvious? Because young men push everything around them, seeking their limits. Jason tries to beat my ass every day. And when there is no male energy, they will seek it wherever they can find it. They want to know that there is something in the world stronger than they are--it is the only way they can relax and accept knowledge and guidance. And if they don't find it, they expand until they DO find it...usually in the form of something like the military, or the prison system. The structure of a gang. It is grotesque to watch this play out, again and again.

And for girls? I'm not as clear, but every nerve in my body said that if I wasn't there to raise Nicki she would end up seeking affection from other men, the same affection she should have gotten from her father. One case does not a study make, but she says she is the ONLY girl in her entire circle of friends who has not had a baby. She was the last virgin standing.

This doesn't "prove" anything. But I will stand by my decision.

4) What about relationships? I say it clearly, and you can disagree with it if you want: healthy people can find, and maintain, healthy relationships. If you can't, the problem is in the mirror, not the statistical tables. And kids raised by parents with nightmare or non-existent relationships have no freaking idea what an actual healthy relationship looks like. And will pass that on to their children. Disagree with my conclusions, but you shouldn't be surprised by them. I've lived my entire life seeking answers to the question: how can we live healthy, balanced lives? I won't back off my conclusions because it makes someone uncomfortable.

5) Is there a limit to personal responsibility? Sure. But I don't know what it is, so I take the position that most of us take far too little responsibility for our lives, not too much. In the triad of body, mind and spirit, body is the easiest. You NEED no one else to cooperate with you to have a healthy body. You may WANT it, but when it comes right down to it, YOU, if you are an adult, are responsible for everything you put in your mouth, and every movement you make with your body. You can walk away from any relationship that tries to damage your body, and many many people have. You need ONE person...yourself.

Relationships are twice as difficult. You need a minimum of TWO people. Can't make a relationship work by yourself. But you have hugely more control over a relationship than you have over finances.

Finance/Career demands the cooperation and interaction with dozens, if not hundreds, of different people. Every dollar you get comes from other people. Do you see where I'm going here? If you want to learn to juggle five chain-saws, start with a single scarf. Be certain you understand clarity, focus, discipline, honesty, and passion applied to the creation of your own body. Move from there to a healthy relationship, the basic unit of human life. And from there, you can build an existence to be proud of.

What am I asking poor people to do, really?

1) Not have unprotected sex. Is that really so hard? And yet I hear all the time that some guy wouldn't have sex with a woman with a rubber, so she HAD to do it. Do that, and you lose the right to be surprised when you get pregnant, or catch an STD.

2) For women to acknowledge that they are the ones who get pregnant. They are the bottom line. No, they can't be as sexually promiscuous as men without it having a differential effect on their own lives. I DISPISE men who make babies and do not commit to raising them. But it's your body, ladies. I didn't create that reality. If you act as if that's not true, you can't then say "you did everything you could." No, you didn't.

3) For women not to CHOOSE to get pregnant without a partner. Gay, straight...I don't care. But someone totally committed to that child. And talking about "extended family" is great in a world in which people live and die within ten miles of where they were born. But expecting uncles to substitute for fathers is crazy. Yes, there are cases where they do, and bless them. But if they move away to get better jobs? Have their own families? To EXPECT them to fill that breech is acting as if 21st Century America is a village society. It is not. And if your brothers, uncles, or grandfathers can't step into that breech, it is YOUR fault for expecting them to. Now, that said, yes marriages can fall apart. Partners can die, or abandon you. Tragic. But if you don't START with the most stable situation, the strongest safety net, the deepest mutual is the child who suffers. I have totally lost count of the women I know...too many of them black women...who were raised by single mothers, had their own out-of-wedlock babies while still in their teens, produced children who see absolutely nothing wrong with imitating the same behavior.

For middle and upper class people, this is sick. For poor people, it is suicide and genocide. Poverty doesn't make men abandon their children, or women have those children without actual relationships with their fathers.

Those of us who have sacrificed to protect and care for our families know what it costs. Animals have the "right" to reproduce indescriminately...maybe. Even animals make sure that their mates pass certain minimum standards of health. If the children require nurturence, those animals bond, make certain their mates can build nests and hunt...because they know, in their genes, that without this, their children suffer.

Human children require both a transfer of genes AND memes. The little savages must be civilized, otherwise they will just say "I want! I want!"

I want expensive toys even if I can't afford them.

I want to eat whatever I want, even if I have a slow metabolism.

I want to have whatever sexual experiences I want, regardless of whether I have any sense of adult responsibility at all.

I want to make a child, even if I myself am a child.


I'm sorry. Poverty is a grinding burden, and for those weighed down by racism, classism, or the negative and corrupted programming often inflicted upon inner-city people, distracting yourself from the brutally hard work of healing and growing with drugs, sex, food, or the lovely little living toys called babies are RESPONSIBLE for what they do, even if they are not to blame for where they started in life.

If they are not responsible, then who is? Mommy and daddy? "The white man'? "The ruling class"? The man who seduced and abandoned you? The woman who deceived you? The children running wild in the streets?

I have too much respect for the parents who have given everything to their children, working long hours with quiet dignity. The single mothers who burn their lives out trying to provide for children who will never understand the costs, the small-business owners who work eighty-hour weeks just to hear people talk about how "lucky" they are.

No. You can say I'm wrong all you want. But my children are safe because I made them so. Because I placed them above my own life, and wants, and desires. I am the guardian at the gate. I stand at the mouth of the cave, spear in hand. And my neighbors and friends are those who love their families THAT much, who have enough respect for themselves to demand that they become BETTER than the circumstances they were born in. God knows I struggle every damned day, but I won't back down for a single instant from speaking my truth.

And every damned day, I get emails from people, black and white, who thank me for reinforcing the positive voices within them, and not bowing to the small, childlike voice that says "I wanna do what I wanna do!"

Children cannot raise children. Someone has to be an adult, or the world is lost.

Why not you?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Beef Brigade

I noticed a little anomaly couple of days ago. Thinking back over the truth that Hollywood has more liberals than conservatives (as opposed to the lie that Hollywood is exclusively, or almost exclusively liberal) I thought about the high-profile, super-successful Conservative stars. The names that came to mind quickly: Clint Eastwood, Arnold Swarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Sylvester Stallone...

And then something hit me. Was it just an accident that every one of these guys is, very specifically, known for their macho roles? I might be pure accident, but isn't that kind of interesting? Furthermore, every one of them is known for specifically physical performances. Strange thoughts ran through my head when I was in my Yoga class yesterday. I was betting myself that a disproportionate number of practitioners would be considered "Liberal", compared to the general population. Especially if you compared them to the populations of the average, say, bodybuilding gym. Back to that sense of something going on between masculine and feminine ways of looking at the world. Of course, if I really wanted to make that comparison, I'd have to contrast, say, a body-building gym and a dance or aerobics class. Would that hold even more if it was, say, a powerlifting gym (almost pure objective performance) as opposed to an figure-skating school (almost pure aesthetics)? I really don't know, and this is all just B.S. speculation. But it is a little strange.


Speaking of Stallone, anyone who wants to see what hard work, great genes, and all the HgH money can buy will make you look at the age of 62, check this out:

Yow! Sure fascinating to watch his career enter its third act. Or is it the forth? Or the mid-act climax?


Interesting to see what movie stars, male and female, put themselves through for screen image these days. Note the following look for Robert Downey Jr., as Sherlock Holmes in Guy Ritchie's new film:

Now, the re-imagining of Holmes as an action hero doesn't bother me a bit. Doyle made it clear that Holmes was a formidable physical specimen, an expert in boxing, sword, and "Baritsu" (a form of Jiu Jitsu being taught in London at the time) as well as being strong enough to unbend a fireplace power that had been bent by a huge, powerful man. The fact that Watson almost never chronicled a specifically physical case doesn't mean he didn't have them: hard to believe that a man who didn't know whether the earth circled the moon or vice-versa (because the knowledge was irrelevant to his profession) would spend the time and energy (and pain) necessary to become expert in martial arts unless these were, upon occasion, useful skills. Also, Holmes spent large amounts of time underground in the London underworld, it's docks and waterfront bars and opium dens. Shall we suggest that this would be folly, were he not a man of physical capacity?

So...creating an adventure that allows him to demonstrate these things seems perfectly reasonable to me. I like Downey's look here. He has that too-thin, wiry appearance. Clearly this was a very deliberate choice of appearance (note the difference between this and the fit but sensualistic Tony Stark body in Iron Man), and Downey is just an incredible actor. He and Gwenyth Paltrow MADE Iron Man for truth, I liked it better than "Dark Knight."


I was driving last week, and caught a radio segment where talk show host Thom Hartman said that it had been documented that bad information harvested from tortured terror suspects had caused the death of American soldiers: either they had been sent into traps, or on wild-goose chases that resulted in fatalities. While I find this believable, I haven't seen documentation on the topic. Does anyone out there have any?


"Benjamin Button" crossed the 100 Million dollar boxoffice mark. Beyond a doubt, there is a mild but effective love scene between two black characters. While not meeting the real requirements of my sex-in-cinema questions (it wasn't the male star, and in fact I don't really remember the guy's name), there is clearly a positive trend happening here. I still feel optimistic that the line will be crossed by the end of June this year. We'll see.


And another thought on Button. For EFX hounds: there is no Brad Pitt for the first 52 minutes. It's all CGI stuff. For those who worry that CGI will replace actors: I think that's crap. In the history of Animation, I've never heard anyone applaud the "acting" of a human cartoon. People celebrate the "acting" of cartoon animals and teapots, but real human beings are another matter. CGI crowds? Sure. But that inevitable CGI character in a major film won't just be created in a computer: it will be a computer amalgam of movement artists, vocal artists, and actors all combined. What's the problem with that? That's still acting. People whose primary gift is talking to computers don't have much overlap with those who know how to reveal human emotion through voice, body language, and facial expression. We'll just have another venue for older actors, unbeautiful actors, and so forth. But the revelation of the human heart is tough, demanding stuff. Hmmm. Might "B" actors be in trouble? Those who are beautiful but not particularly gifted emoters? Would people react as much to a CGI Pam Anderson as the real thing? Interesting question. My guess: some will, but we'll react more to living, breathing humans we can fantasize about touching. What if we don't know who are the real ones and who are the CGI? Well, if the human factor is there...and it will be...studios will trumpet their "real, live actors" as part of their marketing. That's gonna feel weird, but just as fans complained about the CGI-heavy stuntwork in "Die Another Day" or loved the real-world tractor-trailer flip in "Dark Knight" might make a difference in the box office.

I can see teams of people: body artists, vocal artists, choreographers, actors, etc., working together to make a "Synth-Actor" who appears in multiple films. But I think that it will be far easier to find an actor than it will be to find a computer maven who can also act.

On the other hand, it might be easier to find a computer maven who can act than a extremely beautiful person who can act. Not sure. Maybe Synth-Actors really will have a part in the future. Gonna be interesting to watch, that's fer shur.

Of course, when computers start writing scripts, I doubt I'll be amused.


Starting to record the CDs which will be part of the 101 Program. We've been listening to the comments from the participants, and want to set it up so that you "pop in" the first two CDs and in 90 minutes of driving/listening time, get the overview of the entire system. Sometimes I lose track of what information is easy to absorb, and what is tougher than hell. Here's the kicker: the most important information/techniques for people will often be the stuff that their brain looks at and says: "Huh?" or "What B.S!"

I have to be careful here, but also remember that this is Mark I of a project almost forty years in the making. Sigh.


I've sworn myself to a higher level of functioning this year, and as a result my meditations are like popping up through the ceiling from a clean living room into a musty, dusty attic. GAWD there's a lot of cobwebs and darkness. I can barely see a basic triangle, just glimpse or sense the corners thereof. Frustrating, and a little frightening. But once upon a time I was told that the only thing necessary to do to raise my energy was think about my daughter. I'll broaden that to include my family as a whole, and what's happening now is all about creating a higher level of safety and security for my family. So...I think I'll be able to do this, but there is fear and doubt galore associated. "I" don't know if "I" can pull this off. But then, what's Faith for, eh?

The question of the day is: what is the best, fastest way you've found of motivating yourself?