Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Moment or two on Urban Sociology

I have written on this blog quite extensively about cities, most notably New York City, where I live. New York is where I've lived almost all of my life and in a way, how I look at the world is from the perspective of New York City. As an urban dweller and lover of city life, I am often awestruck by the loneliness and desolation of smaller cities, towns and suburbs.

Arguments For and Against Suburbia

I've been addicted to this site called, where I have been watching on most of my free time for the past few weeks, documentary films about religion, history, science, and society. This one documentary about the cause and effects of suburban sprawl called Radiant City, mentions all the philosophical, societal, and statistical facts of why I already hate the suburbs. Mainly that (1) suburbs, designed around the automobile, disengage people from having to interact in person with others, and foster a cocoon so to speak, of social isolation. (2) Reliance on the automobile creates a culture of laziness, where people don't walk to where they have to go, and this results in further social isolation. (3) Suburbs also force people to live further away from their jobs and where they shop, increasing commute time. And finally, (4) suburbs are typically bland, homogeneous, and decentralize their urban spaces.

In defense of suburban living, many argue in favor of cleaner, safer and quieter streets, better schools and friendlier neighbors. Mind you that cities do not have to be dirty, and dirty city streets are largely a result of their neglect by their residents, and local, state and federal governments due to the absence of the middle class tax base, which was a direct effect of suburbanization. Cities can be clean and vibrant places to live, if society has enough interest to care for them and is willing to devote necessary capital. The unfriendliness or urbanites, characterized by the stereotypical jaded New York attitude is largely a result of the size of the city: with millions of people living in one place, you can expect that most people will be strangers who you will never get to know, and you cannot be on first named basis with all of them as you can in a small town or suburb. It might also be unwise to even smile and gesture at fellow pedestrians on the street because there are simply so many of them.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter's Despair

A wave of sorrow and procrastination has over taken me recently. I can do no more than click my laptop to play the next video that slowly cradles me toward the end. I have come across a fantastic site called It contains over a thousand streamed documentaries on all different subjects, including my favorite topics of obsession: religion, philosophy, science, and history. I have been superglued to my computer due to this, and have as a result, been as lethargic as a sloth; barely able to expend enough energy to feed myself.

As much pleasure as there is in getting free, no commercially interrupted, full length and albeit, illegal documentaries steamed to my comfortable living room(take that SOPA!), I have also been gloating over the current situation in my professional life. I still do retain employment, so I cannot despair as deep as millions of my fellow countrymen do at the moment, but I am hopelessly out of place in the IT industry.

I originally came to this industry because of the multitudinous touting I heard while growing up. They all proclaimed an exponentially growing industry, that delivered large financial payloads. This has more or less held up in some regard, and I testify to this only as anecdotal evidence. But what I forgot to remember, is how much I, as someone who is somewhat antisocial, who doesn't make friends easily, who doesn't vibrate to the stereo-typical, socially popular, favorite pastimes of the "average" person, and who finds trouble befriending those who do, how important it is to be doing something that is dear to my heart.

I'm really a simple man, and I know what makes me happy. Happiness for me resides with in three basic conditions. I am happy when I am doing something I like, with people I like, in a place that I like. I've noticed that if these three conditions are met, I am almost always happy. I hate my job because I am doing something I don't like, with people I don't like, in a place that I don't like. At least with some jobs you may hate the work, but like your coworkers, or you may hate your coworkers, but like the easy commute, I don't have any such thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Porn and perspective

I, like most men occasionally watch porn. The internet has made it so easy for all of us to access virtually unlimited amounts of hardcore pornography, the levels of which I would have only dreamed about when I has a preteen. Discussing porn one day with a friend, the idea of pornographic etiquette of sorts came up. I mentioned that in a porn movie, I wouldn't be able to watch it if I knew the guy in the movie, like if he was my friend or coworker. That would be just too personal and weird. The guy in a porn movie should merely be a faceless, nameless male, in a way vicariously acting out the position that I would want to be in. Anything more than that is just too, dare I say it, gay.

This is largely why women tend to not get off on male oriented porn, because of the lack of emotion and focus on the male. Instead porn made for or by women tends to be more story oriented and sensual, where the guy in it has a much larger personality.

Notice throughout this I don't even bring up the questions of whether porn is moral. We have been so desensitized to hardcore porn, largely through the internet, that most of the arguments of generations past, over whether porn is immoral, have nearly all but dissipated. I have no problem with porn as long as it is consenting adults who are performing in it. And porn, just like anything else, such as a drug, should be done in moderation.

Me and my friend both agree how awkward it would be to see another guy we know in a porn movie. It would render the film, un-jerkoffable. I'm sure most other heterosexual men would agree. Porn as it appears, has roles of normalcy and notions of taste and perspective.


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