White men who oppose Trump: Make yourselves known
November 11, 2016
I am a straight white man, born in a conservative California country to upper middle-class parents. I went to school in a wealthy district, and my classmates were almost exclusively white. College was not just an option for my friends and me growing up: it was a requirement. I earned two liberal arts degrees. And after grad school, with no job prospects, I moved back in with my parents and worked part-time for my dad—because he ran a company that could hire me. When my grandmother passed away, my mom used part of her inheritance to pay off my student debt.
In other words, I am privilege manifest.
If I wanted to capitalize on this moment, I could literally pen a "red pill" blog claiming that I'd seen the light emanating from Trump, don a MAGA hat, and join the fascist movement. In fact, as a turncoat, I imagine I'd be welcomed with open arms. Like Genghis Kahn, Trump's power comes in part from the fact that he celebrates his vanquished enemies once they've pledged their allegiance.
All of this is to say, I was born with the freedom to do as I please. Power is mine to claim because of my gender, my skin color, and my class.
But, suffice it to say, I reject the offer.
Instead, I vow today to work to oppose tyranny, and defend the rights of all people who don't enjoy my privilege. If you've followed my hyperbolic political statements over the last four years, I've talked a lot about revolution, and "risking my life" for justice. I always thought I meant it. But those statements were lobbed from a theoretical battlement.
Today, though, I find myself in a real battlefield, holding a shovel. Women, people of color, Muslims, the LGBTQI community, the poor, the differently-abled—everyone singled out for attack—I'm with you. I will help you dig this trench and hold the line.
This is real. It's going to be terrifying, and frequently disheartening. We will be arrested. Some of us will actually be killed. But in the long run, it will be worth it. Because to do anything less is to capitulate to tyranny.
Fellow white men of privilege who reject hate: Make yourselves known.
Don't just assume your allies know you're there. Reach out personally. Show up for rallies. Listen to people's fears before you prejudge them. Make action plans. Then take action.
Like that? Then you'll definitely dig this.
Space Out of Time, part II: An intro to VR philosophy
June 3, 2016
It's tempting to think of virtual reality as an extension of cinema. After all, it seems to bubble from the same fount. In the live-action evocation of both disciplines, you use cameras to capture subjects—either in native or artificial environments. In the computer-generated expressions of both forms, where a digital landscape is rendered in three dimensions from which any perspective may be selected by the animator at any moment, the similarities seem even more apparent.
Space Out of Time, part I: An intro to VR technology
June 3, 2016
On a high desert plain north of Joshua Tree National Park, Hidden River Road becomes a graded dirt track, flanked on either side by single-family homes, unadorned, prefab steel buildings, and trailers. As you continue east, at the base of a low hill covered in reddish granite boulders, two strange structures appear. One is black; the other is gold. Designed and built by the Los Angeles-based architect Robert Stone, Rosa Muerta and Acido Dorado are nominally habitable residences. Both have refrigerators and bathrooms, for instance. But in philosophy and execution, the homes are as austere as the desert surrounding them. In fact, in a sense, the homes are the desert surrounding them. The roof of Rosa Muerta, except directly above the bed, is open to the sky. When it rains, it rains indoors as well. The walls of Acido Dorado's common space—great, reflective golden windows hung on tracks—slide back to let in the breeze, or whatever else is coursing through the desert. One morning Stone woke to find a rattlesnake coiled in the middle of his living room.