Devaluing Sarcasm

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Archive

I can understand why one would use sarcasm, but I don’t understand the need for it in the english language. The concept of sarcasm and its prevalence is interesting to me. It’s a cruel form of language that I am unfortunately accustomed to hearing. Why? Well, it could be because of my heritage or the culture I grew up in. Regardless, that isn’t important, lets discuss why I have devalued sarcasm.

Sarcasm, to my personal understanding, is a means of mocking indirectly without conveying what it is you want to really say, so in other words a passive form of ridiculing.

According to Merriam Webster, sarcasm is “a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter,caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual.”


Now, to me, I don’t believe sarcasm is entirely necessary or at all valuable. I know there is a time and place for it. I can certainly understand its value on TV shows, like the Daily Show, Colbert Report, or Tosh.O – that would make complete sense to me. The impact the comedy has on the audience depends directly on the construction and delivery of the sarcasm itself. In fact, any form of political jokes, sarcasm is preferred to avoid direct attacks on politicians or sensitive audiences. Sure, that’s reasonable to understand.
Devaluing sarcasm is meant to be understood in the context of those you have a close relationship with.
In a real-world context, like when your with family and friends, I don’t find it always appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that some people are naturally more sarcastic than others, but “too much sarcasm” will not only hinder communication but cause unnecessary tension among those your closest with. It’s reasonable to assume that a person would not be as inclined to share information with the person who is being sarcastic to them. Would you tell a bully how your day was in the 3rd grade – no? You would be afraid he’d beat ya up or take your lunch money or my case….judge you. Extreme example, but you catch my drift.
Solution: The almighty rule of thumb — think of using sarcasm like the way most of us use salt – use sparingly and not with everything because too much will leave you bitter. True?
If you know a person who is always sarcastic (like dishes out 2 or more comments a day),  you have to question the persons real motives and self-esteem here. Because it’s a negative use of language to begin with, so add the thought of hearing contentious jokes more than 3x a day and you have yourself a negative nancy my friends….and that just isn’t cool. The less association with these set of people, the better – promise. they’ll probably tell you you’re too sensitive or not easy-going enough, but truthfully its a way for the attacker to convince themself they’re not wrong or not capable of being hurtful. It’s self-deception in its most subtle form.
Hope I’ve brought more awareness to the topic and those who are reading this use the almighty rule of thumb! The end.
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So much to say about this man, but my words could do no justice if you haven’t watched his show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” already – on HBO. He brings attention to topics that most shows wouldn’t touch because frankly there isn’t many individuals out there who can deliver this subset (branded by him) of comedy like Larry does. His daring comedy brings to light the idiosyncrasies of his friends and peers and his own. The authenticity of Larry’s personality is what makes his comedy so enjoyable because you know it is exactly how he would act if it weren’t for societal norms and social etiquette.

How can we forget the “shit bow” or the infamous “chat and cut” or the “sit and pee”? His show seems to follow a consistent format that contributes to his success over the years. There is always a tendency for the show to coin a phrase out of an idiosyncrasy – giving the fans an easy way to quote the show. Typically, Larry will (in)voluntarily involves himself in several problematic situations with his friends and peers, and as the show unfolds, we find out that each problem shares a common link, and that link is what harmonizes his comedy into one delightful show. In a recent episode – the bi-sexual – where the central problem revolves around his battle to win over his Jewish lover before Rosie O’Donnel does. Then follows the sub-conflicts which arise from his journey to win his lovers attention…and in the end it never works out for Larry. All his antics backfire on him (including the “juice”), and rarely does his outside-the-box thoughts and outspoken behavior provide him with the personal justice he hopes to achieve.

At times, I feel the shows seems to force some of the comedy to fit the “usual” structure of the show; nevertheless, you won’t find me complaining after watching Curb on Sunday nights. I love the fact there is no other show like this on Television. I also love how most of the previous episodes don’t carry weight in future episodes. It gives the show a chance to be creative and focus on substance without being constrained by the character involvement and such. He’s perfected the delivery of a rare type of comedy – no else has tried that I could remember. I love the creativity and genius behind his comedy; only a master of their trade could make this show the success that it is. What better person than the creator of Seinfeld – Larry David.

There needs to be more shows like this because I can’t get enough of it. A half-hour every week of Curb isn’t enough to satiate my comedy taste buds. Ideas anyone? New show ideas?

The 3 Types of Facebook Users

Posted: August 4, 2011 in Archive

Here is how I would categorize three types of users on Facebook. There are other types out there of course, but I really just felt the urge to mention these. By no means can one person be perfectly boxed into one, but at the very least you may find it amusing since it probably rings true to some degree within your group of friends. Take my opinions like a grain a salt too, I am no prophet (not yet at least)..

1. The Voyeurs – There are those type who don’t post anything…their essentially shadows with minimal profiles. They work like Zorro in the heat of the night just waiting to pounce on their mistress. They merely sign-in to Facebook to ingest their daily dose of social feeds (as if all the people they scroll through they genuinely care about), get their social fix, and sign-out. Maybe it fills some emotional void they’re not getting elsewhere? Maybe Freud could answer that.  I’m assuming most of these types enjoy using Facebook as a stalking device to prey on meat (i.e., Barstool would translate meat to women).

2. The Critics – Oh, and then there are the critics. They only comment and never post individual status updates. Most of the time they are naysayers, but sometimes not, they could be just Like fanatics. Easier to hide behind Likes I guess. I am not sure why they feel the need to be a critic a majority of the time. Is it the fear of redeeming comments from their peers or is it the lack of likes they may not accumulate or is it the fear of allowing their “friends” to close to their daily lives or they simply aren’t motivated or creative enough to post….we’ll never know. Don’t get me wrong, its fine if you be a critic, but maintain a balance of posts too. I don’t mind these types as long as their participating and aren’t always negative. Because good or bad press is still press – right?

3. The Post Enthusiasts – At last, then there are the post enthusiasts who post oh so frequently…to the point where I just want to delete them as a friend. And yes, I have deleted those I have accepted as friends initially because I find their postings to be obnoxious, self-promoting, and(or) annoying. Like seriously, must you post your saga with your x’s or recite lyrics that parallel with that hard knock life of yours? These types are sometimes so excited to be on Facebook, that they “check-in” everywhere they go too…including eating lunch and going to the gym. Weird and Obsessed? You cannot possibly have that much idle time to be posting 3-5x a day…and if you do why?! Shouldn’t you be learning something…at least watch Jeopardy or Shark Week.

One last thing…Is anyone tired of all the girls who now think their models with their countless defaults? Like how many pictures of yourself must you take? Picture 1 – Me, Picture 2 – me from another angle, Picture 3 – me with my new dress, but tighter, bronzer, and cleavage showing …makes me want to vomit. How superficial can you be? Yes, we get it, your good looking. I can understand if your goal is to be a model or an actress because self-promotion and networking is the name of the game. But, if it isn’t, then that would lead me to believe your only taking redundant pictures of yourself for attention? Cmon now. Don’t you see that guys are only seeing you as a piece of meat, certainly not an intellectual? Knock, knock whose there……no one home?!

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again dangitt. There needs to Facebook etiquette for the sake of our future generations. Facebook has become embedded into our culture. Just like there are proper ways to read, write, speak, and eat…shouldn’t there be socially correct language for Facebook (and I am not talking about “you cannot write obscene and vulgar stuff….no sh*%.? Am I right though?

Done pontificating for today.

Fads.  An intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, esp. one that is short-lived; a craze. A widely accepted social view is a fad too.

The world around us is driven by them. If we stop and think for a moment, the thought of constantly changing styles, clothing, looks, and technology is quite odd, yet interesting. How is it the human psyche can like or enjoy a clothing one minute, and the next minute not? Weird? How is it that Pauly D’s shiny, title wave hair piece  – that circles his head at a perfect radius – “in” at one point? AMAZING, but true.

I enjoy questioning these kind of societal norms. If you question ideas as simple and well known as this, more likely than not you discover something interesting about human behavior. You uncover a peculiarity. Humans are notably and commonly fickle; we enjoy all different walks of life – some shorter than others. Remember when Chuck Taylors sneakers, slick back hair, high waters, bubble jackets, yo yo’s, baggy jeans, collecting baseball cards, comic books, Nextels’s were “cool”?  Anyway, the point is there is an interesting reason why fads were once (and sometimes still) socially acceptable.

I’ll give it an educated guess since I am no scientist of any sort. We, humans, simply enjoy being entertained. The business of entertaining humans – which sounds weird to say –  is exactly what the iPhone serves to do (may I add does extremely well since Apple takes home yearly revenues of $87B). Apple has found a way to keep our appetite for entertainment and inherent curiosities on a perpetual edge. A piece of technology made so simple even my two-year old nephew can understand how to use an iPad, but not pronounce his name yet. As for clothing, our appetite is much shorter…when it comes to clothes, even shorter… when it comes to food, the shortest. No one actually wants to have mom’s chicken casserole or american chop suey all week long…well maybe if your objective is to pinch those pennies (not willingly anyway)!

So we don’t stray too off course here…..let’s rewind. It’s peculiar our need for the new and our short-lived appetites for entertainment –better yet let’s be more general and say satisfaction. Is there a way of satiating the human need for satisfaction? This may be far-fetched, but if there was, wouldn’t fads end since every one will no longer want to have what everyone else owns since they wouldn’t feel inclined to give in to societal pressures, like their image. I know Lady Gaga isn’t feeling much pressure, ha-ha.

But, seriously look at Lady Gaga. She is a perfect example, along with the iPhone/Steve Jobs. Most will agree before Lady Gaga or Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) there was nobody else like them. You can’t compare these figures of uniqueness and creative geniuses. No one got anywhere being common -the truth hurts!

In closing, the title of this post “by looking upside down, you tend to see the world with the right side up”… I say this because number one – I am a contrarian, and two – In a world that strives to make us the same, its important that we strive to be different.

Our differences is what makes us beautiful. Remember that.

Inspiring from Within

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Archive

Every so often, I find it important to inspire yourself – make that –  frequently. Too many of us, including myself, fall victim to those dead moments or days or even weeks – call it a black hole if you will, ya know those times after work or after a long day where your just so mentally drained that you can’t mustard enough energy to even smile or notice how good you really have it!

Well, a dose of motivation is that mental injection that seems to work quite well for me, whether it be by reading quotes, passages, watching videos (speeches), listening to music, whatever brings on those unforgettable goosebumps. So, I leave with you quotes today… so hopefully those who are having trouble getting over that hump in the week or experiencing the “black hole” find themselves uplifted with maybe a new high on life!

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

 

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back.” 
– Harvey MacKay

 

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

 

“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely” – Kay Lyons

 

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

 

“I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see And pursuing that vision.” – Howard Schultz

 

“In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein


The Billionaire Givers

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Archive

I found this op-ed article in the NYT (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/billionaires-unleashed/?ref=opinion) interesting. It is a fascinating characterization of some of the world wealthiest billionaires and their efforts in philanthropy – particularly Paul Allen and Bill Gates. The founders of Microsoft had experienced a lot of internal turmoil- before they could be such philanthropists- on their road to success. The disgusting amounts of money they amassed seemed to divide their relationship as best friends and business partners. Despite these billionaire boy differences, they’ve pledged to give half of their wealth away before they die. So, the editor is right when he mentions that they will surely have changed the lives, no matter the criticism of public opinion, of those who aren’t fortunate.

I found the writer’s contrast of Donald Trump amusing:

“Consider the alternative. Donald Trump, whose glitzy garbage litters the land, is best known for having an ego bigger than a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. In his case, the helium is the hair. “The beauty of me,” he said the other day, “is that I am very, very rich.”

Oh, and this may be a potential Presidential candidate for 2012 too – great?!. Not. Oh, and there may be a reality show too if he’s elected – “The White House World: DC”. Even though he isn’t my favorite candidate for the election, the man has lot of wit, to be a whistle blower behind Obama’s “fake” birth certificate. I am interested in hearing that outcome..

Anyway, to wrap-up, Billionaires and their philanthropy. For all the wealthy people out there, philanthropy isn’t as common as we would hope. According to the NYT, “In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.” That’s sad even if it was a decade ago. The fact that these grown-up billionaires made a pledge to give a majority of their wealth deserves uber amounts of credit; this list, http://givingpledge.org/#enter, is who we can give credit to. Cheers to them!

Giving back  is an unusual trend, believe it or not, that is worth noting. This article may serve as a nice reminder for yourself to be giving. Remember, giving comes in so many forms…the point is it is selfless and your helping someone else out of the kindness of your heart.  The feeling of giving is remarkable, and is spiritually transformative – you move from only helping yourself to helping others. Looking for a sense of higher fulfillment?

Well, giving is a remedy that never stops healing.

My question for you is how are you giving? How are you helping others? Tomorrow is great time to start, if you haven’t already…

Now, I first came across Joshua when he made an appearance on the Colbert Report (Colbert Interview) promoting his book, “Moonwalking with Einstein”. He has an incredible story of a rather forgetful journalist, who makes an unlikely path towards success when he discovers his potential to conquer his ability to memorize. He not only improved his memory 1000x over, but he became a national US champion for his memory speed four years ago. Of course there are outliers. He did train with one of the most polished mental “athletes” in the world and practiced for a full year. But, to his credit, this a breakthrough for an average “Joe”! Imagine the possibilities, if we all had Joshua’s ability to remember?

This type of research and mental breakthroughs for the brain are becoming more common. As I have personally noticed, since I have subscribed to Lumosity.com, my neuro-performance has improved through the websites “BPI” (Brain Processing Index). Lumosity was started by a bunch of “wicked” smart neuroscientists who decided they could statistically improve our brain processes (like cognition, attention, memory, etc.) through making engaging games. I won’t bore you with science behind all this, but I’d encourage everyone to either purchase Joshua’s new book or subscribe to Lumosity, like me!

Has Technology Gone Too Far?

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Archive

I think everyone should watch this video for the sake of common knowledge.

It’s incredible how much progress there has been in technology. I am not even out of my twenties yet, and yet AOL dial-up is considered an ancient and obsolete form of connecting to the internet. Now, we have a Watson. The human computer, whose behavior is controlled by precise signals rooted in man-made algorithms.  I can’t help but wonder about the future of such a technology. To think a 100 years ago, no one would of  believed such a technology was possible or even comprehensible. Can you imagine what to expect a 100 years from now in 2111? There will be thousands of Watson taxi drivers in NYC helping reduce traffic and increase safety and efficiency (which may prove to be safer anyway). Sky is the limit..

Watson has revolutionized the concept of human-to-computer interaction. Our culture could experience a significant shift if this technology goes mainstream. I don’t want to begin making too many crazy implications, but it sure is mind-boggling to think about. It’s no longer an ideology. It’s true. Humans can interacts with computers and behave like each other. Computer power has grown exponentially over the last three decades, and its starting to become a scary.

If this blog excites you, then you should check this link out below. This is Time Magazines Top 50 inventions for 2010: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2029497,00.html

What Makes a Good Idea?

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Archive

This is question seems rather obvious from the onset, but I bet you not many of us can answer this question with confidence.  I see most of our society at the labor of “good” ideas, rather than the producers of them. Treat this line of thinking like you would if you had to re-teach yourself how to ride a bike – remember everything you were taught and how you learned it. This thought process tends to stimulate “original” thought by reconstructing the obvious and reaffirming the most simple concepts (as I have witnessed from attending my philosophy classes).

Here is how I would qualify a “good” idea. Keep in mind I am looking at it from a consumer point of view. Ask yourself, is it….

1. simple

2. convenient

3. feasible

4. problem-solving *I would argue is the most important

5. universal

6. sustainable

I would identify these characteristics as the core of a good idea. I don’t use a “great” idea because I believe great ideas depend on much more than its make-up. Great ideas hinge on the person(s) determination, adaptability, execution, and economic influences…

Let quickly put a “good” idea to the test. Facebook is relevant and contemporary example considering my last blog. It’s  simple (easy to use — at least for us Gen Y’s), convenient (access it on your computer, phone, car), feasible (FREE to use), universal (anyone and anyone can use it…from Egypt to China to Alabama), problem-solving (solved that big problem of connecting with just about anyone in the world – ha,ha) and it has is sustained (meaning withstood time, like more than 5 years – dominating the social web for 7 now). You can say the same about companies who have built their good ideas around a company like Coke, Pepsi, Vitamin Water, Microsoft, McDonalds, etc.

I’ve put together a foundation for a good idea, so now it’s up to you to brainstorm your own. I would encourage/challenge you to use my criteria against your newest idea and qualify it on its overall viability – maybe even score it on a scale of 1 to 10. Here is another site describing what a good idea consists of –  http://asix.org.au/content/what-makes-good-idea.

Why do I write this entry you might ask? This blog is IMPORTANT because all it takes is an idea to change the world, to move our economy, to liberate each other, to live a better life, and to make that million dollar income we all wish we had!

This is what makes an entrepreneur…a generator of ideas; a free and independent thinker not confined to the norms society imposes on us.

 

The Cultural Shock of Facebook

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Archive

Facebook. Facebook. Facebook. Now, even that word, doesn’t need to be translated to be understood from a foreigner. Social media has transformed the way we (humans of course, unless animals have developed a sophisticated voice box I am unaware of) communicate with each other. Facebook has governed the social scene on the internet for the last 7 years. Myspace? Elementary school? One in the same now. Let’s not go there today. They (FB) has created the world’s most interesting party – even more interesting than the Dos Equis commercials – and there is about 600M ppl  in attendance, global, worth upwards of $50B, and it never ends (now that the avg person spends more time on the site than personal email) Talk about a lavish party? Obama’s party for Hu Jintao wouldn’t even come close here – ha,ha. Not to mention strikingly addictive? Ummm…..yes. Imagine, 100 years from now, there will  definitely be a disorder for Facebook — Hyper Attention Facebook Disorder (HAFD)?

What does all this mean though? It means a new medium has emerged in the 21st century. It has created a culture  for those where privacy is uncommon, transparency is welcomed, pictures are revered, and openness is celebrated.

This culture, Facebook has created, is quite frankly amusing. It has caused me to seriously examine the behavioral trends of one another – well, at least, my age group of friends. Has any one noticed if an attractive female, with a coke bottle figure, decides to post provocative pictures of herself….she instantly becomes what I like to call “Facebook Famous”? Meaning, she receives up to 15 friend requests a day from “rando’s”, and probably has well over 2000 “friends” since her last picture in a swimsuit – most of whom she has no “real” relationship with. C’mon?! My first reaction is shocking, second, is okay I accept it..I guess. I can see how desperate, vulnerable male mongrels who prey on Facebook’s most admired women for their looks and features friend (as a verb — weird I know) these superficial, attention-craving women. I mean, after all, isn’t it as close as their ever going to get? This may seem harsh. But, by no means, does this apply to everyone, or in every male/female case.  “To each is own”. There very well can be a justifiable explanation to friend a random, beautiful woman. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll all got that urge to friend that breathtakingly, hot girl that just happened to be suggested to be your friend in the right corner of your home screen — I know I did. That leads me to my next observation, now because so many guys have decided to “creeeeep” on these attractive women, it’s giving us friendly and confident guys a bad name anytime we decide to send a message, or poke (which I never do), or friend!? Seriously, that’s almost not fair? Another great male stereotype layered on by media. Sweet. And as an aside, guys, if I learned anything from Facebook, its pictures can be unbelievably deceiving …thanks to the advent of photoshop and should I say lighting –  clap it up for Thomas Edison? Not.

Anyway, that is the first and most obvious trend I noticed. Now, more than ever, has looks meant more to us unfortunately. If you look at the economics, the more friends you have, the better looking you are, the more powerful your page is, the better chances you have at succeeding (all else being equal – considering you don’t have anything “criminal” or too risqué posted); especially, if your career is in acting, modeling, bartending, or finding suga daddy’s. Yes, I know, personality matters….and that will never change in my opinion! But, let’s not forget that old saying, your only as powerful as who you associate with or you are who you associate with or it’s all about who you know..That holds true still, right? Well, Facebook draws very definitive and bold lines around that network of yours.  It will be much easier to trace and track down a successful network of an individual than ever before, which is the good news. You may rebut, and say LinkedIn has this ability too, but it’s not really much of a social experience, than it is a collection of online business cards and handshake exchanges (in my opinion at least).

Anyway, I will cut this blog short because it seems to be getting awfully long for an average attention span (or mine for that matter). Twitter won’t let you post this anyway because its over 140 characters…shame on them! I’d love to hear more thoughts on your perceptions of this new online social culture we live, which practically constitutes acountry in itself minus all those natural resources you would need to survive. Then again, there is Zynga and Farmville…we may be all set.

I’ve been “deflowered”  by WordPress now, so let the comments roll in. Thank you!

MP