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Conspiracy Theories for 2011

This is a list of conspiracy theories for 2011, that you can feel free to refer to when you need a fresh perspective on your life.

I am writing these not based on what I see in the mass media, but what I see in my own mind, elitist writings, and what people are hinting at like Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Charlie Sheen, Andrew Nepolitano, John Mica, and to a lesser extent, Glenn Beck.

Procrastination

Procrastination can be due to laziness, but more likely it’s because what you’re procrastinating on is stupid and boring. The answer may be to trudge through school, college, work, family life, or whatever you need to do, or it may be a full paradigm shift, i.e. a cross-country road-trip in your car, reading or writing a good book, or disappearing for a while.

The important thing is to maintain liberty throughout your life, and the way to do that is to live below your means, have plenty of income, live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood, own a few good cars, eat healthful foods, have dogs to guard your house, and be married with children to take care of you when you get old.

Almost anything that you are procrastinating on is non-essential. No one is capable of procrastinating on ingesting foods and fluids forever, so if you worry you are procrastinating, you are still eating (hopefully), so you have nothing to worry about.

Infinity

The opposite of infinity is zero, and both infinity and zero exist only in the imaginary number plane, not in the real plane, except when expressed as concepts rather than constants.

Nothing in life is infinite, but our minds are infinite for practical purposes, excluding those attacked by fluoride, chlorine, genetic defects, cancer (prevented/cured by amygdalin), environmental problems, or psychological limits. However, we should not assume the world is infinite, because it is squarely finite, and this means that are brains are all powerful enough to handle the world, unless we are dead. Your brain’s playground is paradoxical sleep (dreaming), so you should always get plenty of sleep without fear or anxiety.

Now that satellites, telephones, and computers spy on us constantly, postmodern life is an exhibitionist’s dream or a voyeur’s nightmare. The key is peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation. Never give up your computer, Internet, or cell phone, though. Those are your lifelines to the world.

Nationalism

The world needs to be splintered into thousands of states, and people should choose which state they want to live in by face value, by changing the state to fit their needs, or a combination thereof. Both nationalism and internationalism are dying right now, but statism can last at least another 100 years if power falls to the grassroots. However, this cannot happen without unprecedented cooperation between shadow leadership (the Trilaterial Commission, CFR, NSA, EU, UK, Vatican, EU, David Rockefeller, Rupert Murdoch, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Beatrix, etc.), the public (rednecks), and puppet leadership (Barack Obama). Similarly, both force and coercion will not work, because people naturally want freedom and liberty with no knowledge that they are not truly free because they are always bounded by the vagaries of reality (the human circulatory system is not designed to sustain a life for more than 110 years). If people gain knowledge of their slavery, they generally want to explain it away on the rational plane without resorting to the imaginary plane. For this reason, life is generally all or nothing: people want to be completely free or completely enslaved, which is the path of love vs. the path of fear, respectively. This is a question with one right answer and one wrong answer: love is right and fear is wrong.

Ignorance is bliss only to the reptilian and feline brains, but not to the executive brain, so only full disclosure can work. Democracy is not yet the answer, because most people do not want to have the responsibility of power — instead, they want to cede power to representatives they trust, to go and represent them on the global stage. Most Americans do hold respect for the U.S. Congress, Executive, Judiciary, and state legislatures, but when they see corruption in government, corporations (super-governments), and queendoms, they temporarily lose trust. That trust can be easily regained with genuineness, since most people subconsciously see the world as a projection of themselves, so they feel dirty or embarrassed when watching stories about the latest escapades of congressmen or even general Hollywood stars.

Lucifer

The story of Lucifer from the Bible is that he was an arch-angel who wanted to show people both good and evil, but when God said no, Lucifer betrayed him. The crime was not giving people knowledge of evil — it was disobedience to God. Since we are crafted in God’s image, all evil is an illusion to convince our executive brains to cede control to our reptilian or feline brains (all humans have three brains), i.e. give power to fear instead of love. Lucifer is satan and satan will attempt to magnify any inconsistencies or bad thoughts in your minds to prevent you from seeking truth, love, and power, because he believes you will allow the seed of evil to fester like bacteria in a petri dish. The answer is not to control or prevent the spread of the bacteria — it is full expulsion and destruction of the bacteria, before it gets too big. People are never evil, but if their actions are evil, for practical purposes, they are evil, but most of these people are “vulnerable” to deathbed confessions.

Lucifer wants you to believe there are too many people and we need to kill people off. Jesus instructs you to believe that we should be fruitful and multiply. The people who believe in the Georgia Guidestones are our enemies, but we must not give into fear. Their first commandment says they need to kill 94% of the people on Earth, so let’s make that as hard as possible. :)

Extremism

There are at least four dimensions: height, width, depth, and time. Humans are capable of extremism in only three of these four dimensions: height, width, and depth. Machines are capable of extremism in all four, because they lack sentience.

The real enemy is machines programmed to hurt people, be them bureaucracies, nuclear submarines, or New York City. The solution is intelligence — a combination of fear, avoidance, love, weapons, power, etc. For example, if a rattle snake is left on your doorstep, you should be very careful so as not to allow it to bite you, but it’s unreasonable to expect a rattlesnake on your doorstep if you have no information that suggests you are going to find one.

We can choose to be paralyzed by fear, or we can choose to be empowered by love. Being paralyzed by love or empowered by fear are the paths of Lucifer, so we should only follow the path of Jesus.

100 Ways to Tell You’re a Follower

1. Your Twitter name has your birthday in it.

2. Your car has a “My child is an honor student” bumper sticker on it… and you don’t even have kids.

3. You bought an iPhone for the camera.

4. You’re a Roman Catholic because “that’s where the power is.”

5. You bleach your jeans to make them look old.

6. You registered faaaceboook.com and you think it has value (it’s available… 3 a’s and 3 o’s).

7. Your computer’s desktop background is a picture of Barack Obama.

8. You buy Girl Scout cookies.

9. You have a tattoo where nobody can see it.

10. Your car’s rear-view mirror has teddy bears hanging from it.

11. You’re a straight gay-rights activist.

12. You believe the capital of Montana is Hannah.

13. You registered your first MySpace account in 2010.

14. You wear a fake diamond ring… and keep the real one in a safe.

15. You have a Mac because all artists have Macs, right?

16. You are a Unitarian Universalist.

17. You say age is “just a number.”

18. You believe Al Gore invented the Internet.

19. You started a blog on Viagra to make money.

20. You put your career before your family.

21. You go to the gym. (There are so many better ways to exercise… like mowing the lawn or building something. And you just know the exercise machines are hooked up to a generator and the owner of the gym is selling electricity back to the power company.)

22. You use “Scotch Magic” tape for good luck.

23. Your cell phone’s ringtone is “Für Elise.”

24. You bought General Motors stock in 2008 for “the long term.”

25. You believe the U.S. healthcare system is “the free market at work.”

26. You think Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

27. You just bought a new xD Picture Card for your digital camera.

28. You pay to download music.

29. You have an unlisted phone number.

30. You have the electric company average your bill out over the year. (What are you, a baby?)

31. Your office is at “Panera Bread.”

32. You live in “Vancouver, Canada.” (And I live in “Ormond Beach, United States of America.”)

33. You believe 2000 was the beginning of the millennium.

34. You believe “free download” means what it’s supposed to mean.

35. You have cable Internet but you pay $15 a month for dial-up just to keep your old email address.

36. You believe all websites start with “www.”

37. Your answering machine message is a popular song.

38. You constantly refer to “The Matrix” when talking about everything.

39. You believe the square root of 2 is 1.5.

40. You started smoking at 18 and drinking at 21. (Actually, this might make you a leader because most people start at 8.)

41. You believe cancer is cured by radiation. (Hahahahahaha…. sucker! NOW YOU DIE!!! Google is your friend.)

42. You believe “42” is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

43. You think the IRS must be constitutional. (OMG EPIC LOLZ :big-grin: )

44. You believe in unconditional love. (All love is conditional. “Unconditional love” is called “being a doormat.”)

45. When you want to eat something American, you get a pizza. (Thank you Archie Bunker.)

46. You believe “you get what you pay for.” (OH GOD WILL THE LAUGHS NEVER STOP :big-grin: )

47. You’re offended by the word “nigger.” (“Nigger” stopped being offensive in 1999… the same year THE MATRIX was released… free your mind!)

48. You believe the 1st amendment lets you take pictures at Walmart.

49. You read “The New York Times” (herein referred to as “The Nazi Times”).

50. You still hyphenate “email”… and you use “Micro-Soft” products.

51. You go to college to get a good job. (There are plenty of good reasons to go to college… scholarships, fraternities, Pell grants, networking, dating, student employment, getting out of the house, discounted movie tickets… But you’ll need a lot more than a 4-year degree to get a good job. Something called EXPERIENCE.)

52. You write about personal development. (OH NOES self-deprecating humor.)

53. You believe Judaism is a race. (It’s a RELIGION. If we call it a race HITLER wins.)

54. Your favorite website is LOLcats. (I CAN HAZ CHEEZEBURGER?)

55. You sent your CASH to Haiti, just like George W. Bush told you to.

56. You’re fat because you had kids… or you have bad genes. (It’s called GLUTTONY, and it’s a mortal sin… join the club.)

57. You believe Barack Obama (Barry Soetoro, citizen of Kenya) is making the economy recover.

58. You follow Scobleizer on Twitter.

59. You’re still using Tweet This even though I haven’t updated it in a year and it’s broken in WordPress 3.0 (I’LL GET AROUND TO IT EVENTUALLY).

60. You quit your job after reading The Secret.

61. You believe in THE POWER OF INTENTION. (Note to Wayne Dyer: next time listen to your publisher and call it THE POWER OF ACTION.)

62. You believe there is a lot of money in selling clothes on eBay… hand-made clothes.

63. You have a Nintendo DS, a DS Lite, a DSi, a DSi XL, and you’ve pre-ordered the 3DS.

64. You believe “When I’m 64” will never apply to you. (SURPRISE SIR PAUL YOU DID NOT DIE YOUNG.)

65. You believe hard drives last 10 years. (You’re lucky to get 2.)

66. You judge cameras based on the number of megapixels.

67. You pay for satellite radio.

68. You pray out loud.

69. You wrote an article on your blog titled “69 ways to improve your love life.”

70. You believe 70 mph is the MINIMUM speed on I-95.

71. You refer to the ‘net as “the Internets”… and it’s not a joke.

72. Your nest egg consists of paper Confederate money.

73. You have a Wii and it’s the funniest thing ever. (Thanks Nintendo.)

74. You believe children in Africa are starving because they’re UNMOTIVATED… if you had a million dollars, you’d send them all a copy of The Secret in Swahili.

75. You believe in global warming. (SUCKER!!!)

76. You are “emo.”

77. You believe “The Simpsons” will never get old.

78. You give people cash for their birthday and then get the same amount back for your birthday.

79. You have a vanity license plate.

80. You have a SoHo in SoCal.

81. You believe ZIP codes are meaningless.

82. You have a .me domain name. (Yes I know Thripp.me is available, but I have enough crappy domains already. Besides, I don’t want “Thripp Me” to become a meme.)

83. You talk about memes…

84. You use LightScribe blank CDs. (OH GOD THEY’RE SO EXPENSIVE AND THEY FADE OUT IN UNDER A YEAR.)

85. You use Adobe Photoshop because “that’s what everyone does.”

86. You live in New York or London because “that’s where the power is.” (Repeat of #4, I know.)

87. You run for president every four years… and you’re 27.

88. If you could just get your car up to 88 miles per hour…

89. You identify as bisexual because it doubles your opportunities.

90. You replaced all your lightbulbs with CFLs. (Enjoy your mercury poisoning, SUCKER!!!)

91. You do background checks on your friends.

92. You use Parcel Post when mailing blank CDs because Media Mail is for pre-recorded media only. (SUCKER!!!)

93. You have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.

94. You believe that the best thing to do when arrested is to talk to the police. (SUCKER!!!)

95. Your chihuahua is named PRINCE TACO and you make residuals on stud service.

96. You believe diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

97. You laugh at any measurement of distance from 4 inches to 10 inches.

98. Your ass has its own Congressman.

99. You think 99 is as funny a number as 69.

100. You think you can write a list of 100 things without a sex joke and without calling your readers suckers. (It’s really hard because you’re all suckers… it’s so difficult to come up with original ideas. :smile: )

Constitutional Morons

There are a lot of morons out there who believe the U.S. Constitution gives them privileges and protections that simply don’t belong to them. Here, I will examine the Bill of Rights in brief.

First, the first amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Little do most morons know that this amendment is barely worth the paper it’s printed on. Even the third amendment is more important than this piece of crap.

Notice that is says Congress SHALL MAKE NO LAW abridging the freedom of speech. It does not say that you have freedom of speech, because more often than not, you don’t.

For example, you have no freedom of speech on the Internet because every website you visit is owned by other people… except your own website. Even then, your hosting provider or ISP has the right to censor you. You have no freedom of speech in businesses or residences because those are not public places. The owner has the right to kick you out.

When you make a comment on my blog, you forfeit all your rights. I have the right to delete your comment or edit it however I want. I also gain key information about you such as your email address, website, location, ISP, and IP address. This is my space and my rights trump yours.

You don’t have the right to hand out fliers or demonstrate at Wal-Mart, even in the parking lot. Unless you live in California, whose state government affords you additional rights.

The government has the right to regulate the “time, place, and manner” of your speech through the use of free speech zones which may be far away from where you would like to demonstrate. This is often done at political rallies and has been authorized by federal courts.

If you are soliciting, all your free speech rights go out the window. Commercial advertisements can be banned even in public places.

Just because you have the right to free speech does not give you the right to slander or libel people. Many types of obscene, offensive, and defamatory are not allowed based on local or state laws.

If you write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, does your “free speech” give you the right to have it published? Of course not. Whenever you are contributing to a venue that is not your own, be it a newspaper, magazine, book, T.V. show, or website, you waive all your rights.

Also note that the first amendment didn’t really kick in until 1925, when the Supreme Court ruled it applies to state houses. Before that, states and local governments were free to abridge whatever they wanted.

Moving on… The second amendment upholds your right to possess firearms even if you are not in a militia, although gun-grabbing nuts will tell you otherwise. The last half says “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This was affirmed in the 2008 Supreme Court case “District of Columbia v. Heller.”

The fourth amendment protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures, but only when you are under duress. Policemen are free to knock on your door and “ask” to look around, even when they are armed with pistols and clubs. They call it “knock and talk.”

The fifth amendment protects you against self-incrimination, except when it comes to the IRS. If you steal a car, you’re guilty of grand theft auto AND not telling the IRS. Also, the “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” part is called eminent domain, and “just compensation” is usually 50% below market value.

The sixth amendment guarantees your right to an impartial jury, but since juries have no power, what good is it? If they convict you and recommend a sentence of 1 year, the judge is free to sentence you to 10. Juries do have power, but jurors don’t know it, so they’re useless.

In cases involving more than $20, the seventh amendment gives you the right to a jury. Yeah. Good luck with that.

The eighth amendment protects you from cruel and unusual punishment. That’s why we use the electric chair. Nothing cruel or unusual about that.

The ninth amendment protects rights not mentioned in the Constitution. Oh really?

The tenth amendment gives all other powers to the states or the people. Another useless amendment.

Don’t even get me started on the rest of the Constitution…

10 Reasons Why All Bloggers are Gay

1. Bloggers share their FEELINGS with the world. Who does this? Women and men pretending to be women (gays). MEN do not share their feelings because they do not want to appear gay. Women are already gay, so it doesn’t matter for them.

2. Blogs can be commented on because bloggers love feedback and discussion of their sad lives. REAL publishers don’t get a f*ck what anyone thinks of them (besides maybe the New York Times). They don’t need feedback because feedback is for wimps.

3. Bloggers are self-involved and like to talk about themselves. They derive their identities from their blogs, just like gays derive their identities from gay sex.

4. Bloggers install plugins because they enjoy have widgets inserted into their blogs… Just like gays enjoy having carrots inserted into their holes. Bloggers and gays both want to be penetrated.

5. A blog is a public diary. Bloggers, therefore, enjoy sharing intimacy with loads of strangers, without commitment. JUST LIKE FAGS. Normal people are private and open themselves up to only a few other people. Normal people guard themselves against rape. Bloggers and gays invite rape and dream about being raped because they all have rape fantasies and Daddy issues.

6. All blogs look and act the same, just like all fags and all women look and act the same. Normal people (straight men) are interesting, varied, deep, passionate, conscious humans. Gays and bloggers are dull, simplistic, shallow, apathetic drones. You’ll never see a blogger criticize another blogger, just like you’ll never see a gay criticize another gay. They stick up for each other like weak hive-minded ants. Real men are just that: real. Gays and bloggers are fake.

7. While real men value quality over quantity, gays and bloggers are the ultimate measurbators. Whether it’s pageviews, RSS subscribers, in-links, penis size, or Twitter followers, you can bet there is a metric and a community for it. “Sites” (or should I say, piles of crap) like Technorati are a blogger’s ultimate wet dream. Normal people look at Technorati and say “eww, gross,” just like normal people look at gay anal sex and say “eww, gross.” Blogging is so gay.

8. Gays have Gay Days, just like bloggers have Blog Carnivals. Both are sickening displays of peacocking and indiscretion.

9. WordPress.com, LiveJournal, and other blogging service providers give their members (yes, members) SUBdomains under the main DOMain, just like gay relationships involve and DOMinant partner and a SUBserviant slave. Compare this to a normal website, which is owned by one person with a TOP LEVEL DOMAIN. Normal people OWN their websites. They are not sharecroppers.

10. Bloggers and gays have no souls. A blogger or a gay’s entire life is a series of hedonistic debaucheries. They have no connection to God. They are proud “atheists” who believe in the magical tooth fairy known as “evolution.” All bloggers and all gays love feeling superior. They put on a mask of power to LOOK superior when in fact they want to be controlled like children. Bloggers and gays believe they were abused as children. They hate children while secretly coveting their freedom and power. BLOGGERS AND GAYS ACCOUNT FOR 99% OF THE WORLD’S PEDOPHILES. Michael Jackson wanted to start a blog but his attorneys said no. He was going to call it “Pikachu, I CHOOSE YOU.”

How Not to Be a Photographer

• Make sure everyone is smiling and pretending to be happy before taking the picture. Candid photography? Never heard of it.

• Don’t take photos of people; they don’t want you to take their photos anyway. Just stick to rocks and plants.

• Make your rocks blurry and your flowers over-exposed. Then claim it’s art.

• Pump up the saturation and contrast on that rose, so it’s just (255,0,0) all over. Then everyone will appreciate the beauty.

• Print your photos, then scan the prints at 600 pixels per inch. Now you have 48 megapixels!

• Never switch from auto mode. Only scary people use aperture priority. Manual mode is for the fully insane.

• Or, switch to manual mode, and refuse to use auto-focus. The camera doesn’t know how to focus. It’s just blocking your artistic vision.

• Always talk about your artistic vision, and the wonderful community of photographers your a part of. Maybe people will start believing it.

• Say a 12 megapixel camera is 20% better than a 10 megapixel camera.

• Buy a $2000 DSLR, then stick a cheap lens on it.

• Set your new $2000 camera down to go to the bathroom. Follow the advice in 10 Ways to Get Your Camera Stolen. Why would anyone want a camera?

• Refuse to use anything but a prime lens. Those zoom lenses are too modern and convenient. They’re not sharp enough either. It’s settled. You’re not a real photographer if you use a zoom lens.

• Constantly talk about “real photographers” versus the non-real photographers that are pervading your art form. Make sure some reference to film vs. digital is included.

• Say that film is useless, because digital is magical and does everything.

• Say that digital is useless, because film is the only true photographic medium.

• Assume you should always keep your camera zoomed out, because whenever you zoom in, you must be losing quality.

• Complain about the scary focal lengths on SLR lenses. 18-55mm? What’s that mean? 3.06x zoom? Why didn’t you just say so?

• Assume that 4x optical zoom is the same for all cameras, and that all cameras have equivalent focal lengths by default. You have no concept of wide-angle or telephoto.

• Keep your new DSLR at 18mm all the time, then wonder why everyone’s so fat and distorted.

• Use big words like barrel distortion, pincushioning, vignetting, chromatic aberration, etc. You have no idea what these mean, but they must make you look smart.

• Refuse to buy a camera that doesn’t use AA batteries.

• Use the flash all the time. If you have beautiful ambient lighting and a fast lens, kill it with a blinding strobe.

• Never use the flash. The flash is evil. Fill flash is eviler.

• Say that digital is no good because all print copies wither and turn green in three months. Chemical prints? For digital? That’s crazy talk.

• Ask if you need a lens to use the camera.

• Print your photos, then DELETE the digital source files. You don’t need them anymore, right?

• Assume anything with “digital” in it must be great. You need a “digital” lens, with which you should use digital “zoom,” because it must be the way to go.

• Keep calling your memory cards “disks” over and over. Windows does it; it must be right.

• Refuse to edit your photos. It’s just not true photography.

• Create a 20-page policy booklet before you snap any photos. You have to stay at 50mm all the time, because that’s most photographic. Certain menus on the camera are off-limits, because they’re too un-photographic. Those menus are: white balance, exposure bias, picture styles, color toning, sharpness and contrast, and several others. You can edit on the computer, but only to make the photo look more like the original scene. Contrast adjustments are okay, but cloning is not. Dodging and burning must be reviewed by a committee.

• RAW beats JPEG. If you use JPEG, you’re an idiot. Make sure to polarize all your friends on this, and then shun the ones who have ever used JPEG.

• JPEG does everything RAW does. The picture quality is identical. You only need RAW if you’re doing lots of editing, but if you need to do that, the photo is no good anyway!

• Plan out a sliding scale of quality settings to save space. 10MP RAW is just for special art photos. 10MP JPEG is for normal shooting, while 5MP JPEG is for birthdays and events (because of the volume of photos). Use the 0.3MP JPEG setting for anything you’ll post online. Heaven forbid you should accidentally shoot a special art photo when you’ve planned for something else.

• Keep no backups of anything. Just one copy of your photos in My Pictures. Or, make a backup copy… on the same hard drive.

• Catalog your photos by giving them descriptive file names. How to give file names to photos is bunk.

• Make eight copies of that photo: one for your flowers folder, one for macros, one for colors/red, etc. Nevermind that you’re wasting 70 megabytes.

• Complain that your DSLR’s LCD screen is broken.

• Complain that new digital cameras immediately become obsolete. I didn’t know they stopped making SD cards and batteries.

• Complain constantly. Be negative all the time. Photography is crap. Print articles like 10 Reasons Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form to prove it to everyone.

• When someone shares his photography with you, ask him if it’s Photoshopped. If he says anything like a yes, shun him. If it’s a no, accuse him of lying, then commence the shunning. We photographers are so good like that.

• Print 4×6 photos on an inkjet. You knew it was coming.

10 Reasons Why Photography Sucks and Isn’t an Art Form

The wishing well

2009-12-20 Update: This article is #1 in Google for “photography sucks,” so I see why it gets so many comments. Don’t take me too seriously. Photography is really an art form and I am playing devil’s advocate here. :smile:

“I wish photography could be an art form. I love it so much, but it’s just too easy. If only there were some way to mentally cripple the majority of the population from being able to take beautiful photos, or if I could make the craft so needlessly difficult to only be accessible to a tiny few. Maybe then I can trick others into thinking I have talent where there is none. Oh photography, why must you be so simple and uncomplicated!”

We’ve been tricked—all of us—into believing that photography is an art form requiring skill, talent, patience, and “the eye,” when outside of fairy land, it requires no more skill or talent than driving a car, or pushing buttons on an elevator. What kind of art form would have these ten traits?

1. Anyone can do it. While we’ve not proven the infinite monkey theorem for reproducing Shakespeare’s Hamlet, surely a monkey could take a good, interesting photo. In fact, with today’s auto-focusing, auto-metering, easy-to-use cameras, I have no doubt that a monkey, with some practice, could take a photo as good as Sunrays or The Red-Brick House. Do you like doing the job of a monkey?

2. No talent involved. You’re in a good place, you take a good picture. You’re in a bad place; you get nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have passion or willpower. If someone else is in the right place at the right time, they can easily capture the moment just as well, even if they’ve been handed a camera for the first time. You can’t say the same about any real art form, like playing the piano, or drawing, or sculpting, which require years of experience and practice.

3. No creativity. When you take a photo, you’re using a tool to save a copy of a scene. You’re creating nothing and the camera’s creating nothing. If the camera does create something, it isn’t art—it’s a defect. The more you protest that your badly-composed, out-of-focus pictures bear your unique artistic sensibilities, the more you satisfy your own delusions. Photography is about as creative as mowing the lawn (and if you think that’s creative, then you have my sympathy).

4. It doesn’t help you to look at the world differently, no more than painting, or sketching, or kayaking, or any other hobby. If anything, your view of the world narrows, because you’re stuck looking at it through your narrow viewfinder.

5. It’s an art that’s not a science, and a science that’s not an art. If my five-year-old sister can cover my job on our vacation to Disney world, then what kind of science is that? Normal scientific processes are torturous and difficult to master, like constructing a high-rise bridge or installing an Olympic-size swimming pool. Scientific arts like performing a complex piano piece or crocheting a beautiful sweater require years of expertise and practice. Not photography. Photography is for dummies. Then on the other end, we have b.s. science touted by the “artists,” like megapixels, lens optics, and sensor reflectivity. They have no idea what this stuff means, nor do they need any understanding of it to take pretty pictures, but they pretend it makes the craft complex, and their jobs, difficult and valuable. Kudos to the engineers, sure, but I’m not scientific as a mere photographer, any more than I’d be an auto mechanic for driving a car.

6. No future. You can’t make money taking pictures. If you do, you’re not an artist, you’re a businessman. Nothing more.

7. Life as a technician. You can’t get a good photo unless you Photoshop the heck out of it, like going from this awful thing to Leafy Droplets 4. Is that creative? My 10-year-old cousin can add some contrast, sharpen, darken the corners, and shift the colors with ease. If you put yourself through hours of this drudgery, you’re no more of an artist than the lab operator at Wal-Mart. A computer can easily replace you. How does it feel wasting your talent?

8. Strokes of luck. If you do capture a great photo that needs no editing, it’s because of reason #3. No talent whatsoever; you were just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and disciplined enough to have your camera ready. So basically, your dependent on fate to bring you pretty pictures to photograph. Don’t you want to be in control of what you create, and when you create it? Do you like doing work that relies on luck, discipline, and drudgery, that you’re not even getting paid for? You may as well be digging ditches. At least then you’d be doing something useful for the world.

9. Join a community of morons. Maybe your smart and join a “camera club.” Then, you get to hear a dozen other people complain about the delay of Nikon’s latest DSLR and make excuses why they can never be a good photographer until they have *insert lens here*. Then they’ll complain about how they can’t attract any money. Maybe if they’d add something real to the world, they’d have the money to buy their toys. If you’re a photographer, you may as well be playing the latest World of Warcraft game.

Or perhaps you’re particularly dedicated and follow your passion to a photography university. Then you get to spend four years and thousands of dollars on the dead art of film, while hearing old codgers whining that the youngsters have it too easy nowadays. You may as well learn Latin. If you want to be a professional photographer, take a business class. But you’re condemning yourself to a lifetime of slave labor. If we had today’s photography before Lincoln’s time, then slaves would be photographing our children’s birthdays and recording our weddings. Why? Because slaves were forced to do tedious, boring, uncreative work.

10. You’re a dime a dozen. You’re building no legacy, you can’t pass your business on to your children, you work on assignment for pennies, and anyone can replace you at anytime. In what other artistic field can anyone do exactly the same work you do, with no talent nor experience? Read rubbish like Is Color Photography an Art? with any spirit of inquiry, and you can see what fools we are.

“Okay, so since photography is really nothing, we’ll give it some class. Only photography done on expensive, time-consuming film is art. No color nonsense—that’s too much like the real world. Digital doesn’t count—it’s missing the needless drudgery. 35mm? Are you crazy? That’s the easy way out.”

Can’t you see how dumb this is? If photography was an art form, we wouldn’t have millions of pages debating the subject. It would be plain and obvious. The very existence of a debate proves that photography as art is shaky ground to stand on. You don’t see anyone debating painting as an art form, or protesting the Mona Lisa as uncreative.

“The color photographer has many means of bringing expression into a scene; the selection of camera position, lens focal length, use of filters, depth of field, film type, exposure, composition, and shutter speed all figure into the image that is produced. During printing, the color photographer has control of contrast, density, color balance, and saturation to convey personal expression.”

Oh puh-lease. “The cashier has many ways of being creative at the check-out line. She can express herself by scanning your groceries swiftly, grouping them by color, double-bagging at her discretion, and suggesting candy bars and periodicals. She has control of the conversation, by making friendly chit-chat or working without delay. Through the artistic medium of words, she has the potential to positively influence hundreds of people every day.”

At least cashiers don’t delude themselves thinking they’re at the pinnacle of artistic expression and can change the world. Perhaps we aren’t so lucky.

Photography is fine for what it is: a pseudo art form for talentless hacks. But don’t give it more respect than it deserves.

The Profit Police and How They Kill Everyone

Silhouette of a man holding a hammer -- Photography by Richard X. Thripp

The profit police are as old as eternity, but insidious as the devil. They threaten to steal our happiness, to sour us with envy, hatred, and guilt. Their orthodoxy is codified in institutional policies all over the world. They kill everyone. They are us.

Profit is not just money. Profit is also prestige, notoriety, and mere exposure. The profit police take keeping up with the Joneses to the extreme. They tell us that promoting our names or starting a business is selfish, greedy, and wrong. They are responsible for the professionalization of jobs that have no business being bureaucratized. They create sad terms like vanity press, as though not having a book approved by a committee makes the author an egotistical lunatic. Their influence starts with us, at the micro level.

The Junior Anti-Profit League is alive and well on the forums of the Internet. Well-meaning adults persist with policies of “no advertising, no self-promotion, no links to your website, no ‘commercialism.'” They cry foul at affiliate links, for no reason further than to stifle the success of their users (my photography articles are proudly littered with them). Brilliant computer-programmers publish free software with the clause, “no commercial use,” as if every dollar earned with the help of their applications comes straight from their wallets. As if profit is bad. As if the very act of seeking prosperity—called the American Dream by many—is the bane of humanity. Run the phrase, “free for non-commercial use” through Google, and you get 264,000 web pages, all of people afraid of something.

What are they afraid of? The success of others. Why are they afraid of it? Because they perceive that it diminishes themselves. We all do this. Charles Wheelan, financial blogger, elaborates:

“There’s a very interesting strain of economic research showing that our sense of well-being is determined more by our relative wealth than by our absolute wealth.

In other words, we care less about how much money we have than we do about how much money we have relative to everyone else. In a fascinating survey, Cornell economist Robert Frank found that a majority of Americans would prefer to earn $100,000 while everyone else earns $85,000, rather than earning $110,000 while everyone else earns $200,000.

Think about it: People would prefer to have less stuff, as long as they have more stuff than the neighbors.”

This scales down to the minute level. I am guilty of it myself. When I opened my website, I set my Google AdSense advertising up to filter ads for other photographers. I stopped doing this after a week, realizing how silly it is. But the fact is that fear of the success of others is a subconscious human response. It’s also irrational. Another’s persons success is not my loss, no matter how it may seem.

I’ve had my own encounter with The Profit Police as of yesterday. If you’ve read The Thievery of richardxthripp, you know of my rush to secure my name on the popular blogging, photography, and social networking websites after richardxthripp.blogspot.com was claimed by spammers. One of the sites I registered for was 43 Things, a destination for sharing your life’s goals with the world. I’ve admired their community for a while, so I added to the discussion to help others with two things I’ve done, and to drive visitors to my website:

I added to the goal, have a blog:

“I’ve done this now. Set up my blog for my photography: Brilliant Photography by Richard X. Thripp. Started three months ago, but it’s an ongoing project. I’m using WordPress as my blogging software; it’s worth it to have your own domain name so you aren’t tied to any third party.”

And, sharing my knowledge on playing the piano:

“Playing the piano is a great hobby for reflection, mental and finger dexterity, appreciating music, and enjoying with others. I’ve been playing since ten; here’s a performance from January.

What I don’t buy, is that you have to start when you’re young. Plenty of adults learn to type quickly (with our newfound reliance on computers), yet that takes dexterity, skill, and practice, like piano. And also—you can look at your fingers while playing. You may come to memorize a song just from working on it a lot, and then begin watching your fingers so you don’t miss the keys; don’t fight it.”

Don’t bother looking for my entries; they’ve been vaporized now, along with my page. I’m alive in the Google cache for now: have a blog, play the piano (2008-07-31 Update: now removed). Little did I read that they have a policy against my kind of writing:

“43 Things is for personal use only. If you sell or promote products, services or yourself through your 43 Things page, we will suspend your account.”

So promoting yourself is not personal use? Sure, if you own a social network you can enact whatever rules they want, but that doesn’t mean you should. This is the cowardly, suicidal behavior that profit policing drives us to. It is cowardly because it sweeps under the rug the work of others, as if the publisher deserves no credit for his insights. It is suicidal because it destroys discussions and useful information at the fear of others’ gain, reducing morale and alienating users.

I used to release my stock photographs with a license that said “no commercial use.” It took me months to finally give it up. The question: What if someone gets rich from using the resources I provide? They’d be earning money off my hard work! The answer: So what? This is not a Reversi game, where every acquisition by your opponent is an equal blow to you. 200 A’s do not necessitate 200 F’s. Life is not a zero-sum game. It’s time we stopped playing it as one.

Recommended reading:
How Jealousy and Envy Destroy Happiness by Steve Olson
Life ain’t a zero-sum game.
Why Income Inequality Matters by Charles Wheelan

The Thievery of richardxthripp

the pain of it all

I tried to register my name at blogger.com but got the error message above. Turns out someone’s swiped the name: http://richardxthripp.blogspot.com/ is just a parked spam blog, set up just over a month ago (2008-02-20). It’s about two thousand spam link ads.

One thing that I’ve always counted with my name (Richard X. Thripp a.k.a. richardxthripp), is that it is so unique that I can go to any website and register as richardxthripp with no fear of my identity already being taken. Apparently, I’m picking up a bit of notoriety and that is changing. The only thing to do next is to launch a pre-emptive strike against the thieves.

http://richardxthripp.deviantart.com/
http://richardxthripp.livejournal.com/
http://www.xanga.com/richardxthripp
http://technorati.com/blogs/richardxthripp.thripp.com
http://richardxthripp.stumbleupon.com/
http://digg.com/users/richardxthripp/
http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard_X_Thripp/593538525
http://www.animalcrossingcommunity.com/user_profile.asp?UserID=28254 (must log in)
http://www.43things.com/person/richardxthripp
http://del.icio.us/richardxthripp
http://www.flickr.com/people/richardxthripp/
http://profiles.friendster.com/richardxthripp
http://richardxthripp.hi5.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardxthripp
http://www.myspace.com/richardxthripp
http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=15787114936809567549 (must log in)
http://www.photoblog.com/richardxthripp
http://www.photoblogs.org/profile/richardxthripp.thripp.com/
http://reddit.com/user/richardxthripp/
http://richardxthripp.sheezyart.com/
http://slashdot.org/~richardxthripp/
http://www.squidoo.com/richardxthripp
http://www.thoughts.com/richardxthripp/blog
http://www.tickme.com/member/richardxthripp.html
http://twitter.com/richardxthripp
http://richardxthripp.wordpress.com/
http://youtube.com/richardxthripp

How do you like them apples? Twenty-six websites where I’ve claimed my identity. Some are old, but there are sixteen ones I registered in the past few hours. Obviously, I won’t update any of these, but at least no one else will be carrying on their evil plans in my name.

These are two great articles on stopping the new-fangled cyber-squatters:

SearchRank: Securing Your Brand on Social Networking Sites
ProBlogger: When Seth Godin isn’t Seth Godin

I ran across these before, but wasn’t motivated enough to take action, unfortunately.

So tell me, is there any killer social networking, blogging, photography, or art network that’s missing from my list?

2008-03-29 Update: Added Animal Crossing Community and YouTube; forgot about those.

The Return + Film is Pointless

I’m coming back. I mentioned way back on the 7th that I had a sore throat, but was recovering. That turned into a cold; I’d recovered by the 11th, but on Wednesday, March 12, I woke up with an awful sore throat, headache, and fever. Two days later, I noticed the white patch at the back of my throat, so Dad took me to the doctor (it’s expensive without health insurance), who proscribed one gram of amoxicillin (a sister of penicillin), twice per day. He assumed it to be strep throat, skipping the test. My Grandma notes how large the dose is; it’s interesting to read that doctors now proscribe super-doses to everyone because the bacteria has mutated, developing antibiotic resistance from decades of being slaughtered. Obviously, this can’t be a long-term solution, as just like with the Borg, the enemy’s adaptability requires an ever-changing attack strategy.

I’ve been on antibiotics since Friday; I wasn’t well enough to go to school today (Monday), though. The white patch is down to specks, and it hurts less to swallow, so I’m targeting Wednesday to return (no classes on Tuesday, though I’ll miss work). No school missed last week, because it was spring break. But plenty of lost money and grades. Instead of studying, I spent five days suffering on a couch, watching the shameful wart that is network television, sipping from a bottle of dry ginger ale when the pain of dehydration would surpass the pain of swallowing.

I’m thinking I’ll get a B in photography class (there’s no formal feedback, though). I need Monday to develop film and print, but missed today, and my teacher said I was below the standard last week because I developed one roll of film instead of two. Apparently it doesn’t matter that the roll is 36 exposures instead of 20 or 24, or that I put time and/or creativity into each image instead of shooting three dozen images of a tree. I’m so glad I’m not going into photography as a career. Not in the neo-traditional, professionalized sense. Or perhaps, I should trudge through the program, commanding worship and respect for graduating from a community college. Then, I can open a studio, get a little plaque saying I’m a Certified Professional Photographer to hang on the wall, and then print up plain-white business cards saying that I’m a qualified professional photographer and imaging specialist. There will be no images on the cards, of course. That would be unprofessional. There will only be promises of terribly professional conduct.

What I do hate most, is being told that film unlocks my creativity. It’s a lie. It LIMITS my creativity. If you use it, you’re being held back, too. It’s terribly expensive, dust-prone, time-consuming, et cetera. Non-zooming (prime) lenses limit your creativity too. Not doctoring your photos in Photoshop limits your creativity. But we’re fed the same rubbish argument from higher math: “it teaches you how to think.” Would we put up with four years of classes of brain-teasers? If any subject does anything, “teaching you how to think” needs to be secondary, lest the whole thing be a diversion. When Jefferson proscribed reading, writing, and arithmetic, he didn’t mean algebraic theory and calculus.

So how do they say film teaches us to think? First, we’re forced to learn the basics of metering, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Then, we put more time and thought into our compositions, because of the terrible expense of film. This logic is putting the cart before the horse. It’s like trying to first learn the alphabet backwards so you’ll be more prepared to learn it forwards. What we need to do, is to take a ton of photos on a digital camera (even a cheap one), without reading dozens of technical pages from textbooks. If we’re making our photos horribly blurry, or overexposed, or off center, or there’s a trash can in the background, we see it right away and correct it, and from practical experience comes expertise. What could be better for teaching us to think? The professionalized model for “learning” photography is like learning how to drive a car from a year-long technical course. It’s hard to believe that standardized education can make fascinating subjects so boring.

One note on the site: I out-sourced to FeedBurner for my email newsletter, instead of running software on my server. I’m on shared hosting, so this will be more reliable, and free up computing resources for visitors. Sign up today; it’s the same stuff that’s in the RSS feed, which is the same stuff that’s on my website.

$1500 Daytona Beach College Scholarship Revoked

I lost a $1500 scholarship today.

I won a $1500 scholarship from the Daytona Beach College Foundation (of Daytona Beach, FL, USA) in the Fall of 2007. It is split into two semesters. There is a rule: “You can only receive one DBCC [sic, DBC used to be Daytona Beach Community College] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester.” Many of the scholarships are spread out over two or even three semesters. So, in my strategic cunning, I interpreted the rule in the manner that is most beneficial to me: you may only be awarded one scholarship per semester, but you may be profiting from the sacred funds of multiple donors in simultaneity.

I’m not one to ask questions. Ten times the yeses come from decisive action rather than cautious inquiry. I went ahead and entered for the scholarship. Surely if I interpreted that rule erroneously, I would receive no award, right? I finished my application online on 2007-10-25, with a glowing recommendation from Dr. Casey Blanton, my humanities professor in the QUANTA learning community, and author of Travel Writing: The Self and the World. No error messages or notifications of my ineligibility. It must be fine, right?

December 10 rolls around, and I receive this delightful news from the postman:

Dear Richard:

Congratulations! On behalf of Daytona Beach Community College, I am pleased to advise you that you have been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts Scholarship Fund. Your scholarship will be awarded over two semesters for the spring 2008 ($750) and fall 2008 ($750) semesters at DBCC [sic]. This scholarship is not transferable to any other semesters.

$1500 Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts scholarship letter $1500 Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts scholarship letter, excerpt

Compare this to the first award:

Dear Richard:

Congratulations! On behalf of Daytona Beach Community College, I am pleased to advise you that you have been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the James Fentress Scholarship Fund. Your scholarship will be awarded over two semesters: fall 2007 ($750) and spring 2008 ($750) semester at DBCC [sic]. This scholarship is not transferable to any other semester.

$1500 James Fentress scholarship letter $1500 James Fentress scholarship letter, excerpt

Yes! I’ve pulled it off. There were plenty of measly $500 scholarships, but I’d won the big enchilada, twice in a row. Or so I thought.

January 14, the first day of classes. I take my letter of sincere thanks in to send off to the donors for the Elizabeth Barr award. I get the financial aid office mixed up with the bursar’s office, but the kind clerk offers to forward my letter on. You just don’t hear words the caliber of bursar nowadays.

It is on February 1st that I finally get the monies to fund the textbooks I am habitually buying as of late. Yet my beautiful Elizabeth Barr award, which I’ve bragged about to dozens of friends and strangers alike, is ominously absent. Where could it be, I ponder?

As any good coper, I reason that it is just taking longer than normal. “The money will come, soon. There are just processing delays. The gears of the bureaucracy are not well-oiled today.” On February 4, I finally crack and call in.

Charlene Solomon, head of the DBC scholarship foundation, gives me the dreadful news herself: I will not be receiving my capstone prize. It is all a mistake. Up to this point, I am so convinced of the infallibility of the scholarship department, that the word mistake is no more than an Egyptian hieroglyph to me.

The mistake is, that I am receiving the second half of the $1500 James Fentress scholarship this semester, so the rule, “You can only receive one DBCC [sic] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester,” cripples my entire application, as I shuddered to suspect. Because of the $750 I am receiving from the James Fentress scholarship this semester, I lose all the $1500 of the Elizabeth Barr award.

But it gets worse: my precious money was awarded to another student.

Perhaps this would be enough to console a charitable person. But not me. Because I’m just so much better at putting coinage to use, it should obviously be mine, no?

The epic continues: my file indicates that I was attempted to be called several times to be informed of the dreadful thing. Yet I received no such calls. I have devised an ingenious theorem that the messenger chickened out, but marked me as called. I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell a student that his wonderful scholarship, the culmination of years of academic toils, has been rescinded.

It’s not like this is going to ruin my education. Everything is already paid for by our state’s excellent BrightFutures reward program (which I got $75 less of this year), the Pell grant, and the icing on the cake is my previous $1500 scholarship. Suffice to say, there are students much more deserving of the award (if not for academic merit, for financial neediness). I would’ve just saved this $1500 for my postgraduate education, slated for 2011. I’d love to boast that I’m the first person to ever win two consecutive scholarships like this, and that this is the first time the rule has been enforced. But honestly, I have no idea.

Please do not misconstrue this as bashing of the DBC foundation. I know it’s hard to manage so many students and applications, and mistakes happen. But do they have to happen to me, and of such an irritating sort? I’d certainly prefer it that the award was legitimate, yet forgotten to be sent, so long as I’d never found out about it.

$1500 may be a small amount to you, but my family is lower-class so it would’ve greatly helped us. Who’d have thunk it in 1969 that Americans would be paying upwards of a dollar a bottle for water? And how do we profess to respect mother nature when we pile our landfills with such wasteful containers?

I encourage the administration to update their rules. Replace:

You can only receive one DBCC [sic] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester.

with:

You can only receive one DBC Foundation Donor scholarship per semester. If you are receiving a scholarship spread over multiple semesters, you may not apply again until that scholarship has concluded.

And on the scholarships page, replace:

Students may apply for as many scholarships as they are eligible, however, students may only receive one DBC Foundation scholarship per semester.

with:

Students may apply for as many scholarships as they are eligible, however, students may only receive one DBC Foundation scholarship per semester. If you are receiving a scholarship spread over multiple semesters, you may not apply again until payment of that scholarship has concluded.

The current rules are too vague, if the staffers themselves misread them. Don’t let someone else go through the same disheartening rigmarole. If it takes away the faith of one student in our university, then it has hurt my community as a whole.

Scratch the opening. It should be “I lost nothing today,” because I never actually had anything.

2008-02-05 Update: I corrected grammar, clarified parts, elaborated on the proposed rule changes, and revised an overly negative paragraph.
2008-02-10 Update: Read A Postscript on the Scholarship.

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