Image from the brilliant game artists at Ubisoft Montreal
(the startlingly beautiful – Assassin’s Creed: Origins – to be specific)
There are a few tough themes which I have been working on steadily ever since I was a teenager, but I have to say it is more than a little heartbreaking to see standing up for the recognition of universal humanity and the excellence of embracing love become so controversial.
Anger is very understandable in the moment – but always absolute poison as fuel to run on. As much for a movement, as for any individual human being. This isn’t even a moral assertion, this is a repeatedly proven human reality.
We always do our worst evil when we begin from the assumption that the other is evil, and we become less so in our hatred of them – and our anger compounds this error (and all too often horror) by drawing that circle of other wider and wider, until we feel we have absolutely great reasons to hate, all day long.
Twenty years ago, when “W” announced the “War on Terror” there were a huge number of intellectuals who stood up immediately and said – that is dangerously meaningless.
Of course terrorism is always wrong – but you can’t have a war on a generality. What you can achieve this way is declare a new reason to celebrate collective hatred, and lead with suspicion. Reduce the quality of life for everyone.
Now I know I’ll make a bunch of people grumpy pointing this out but fighting the patriarchy makes no more sense – we either confront individual people who do wrong, or we are entering into another fabulous new form of bigotry.
I don’t object to critical race theory because it insults white people – but because the effects of this idiocy will do incalculable and lasting damage to young black kids, most of all – and all kids in general. Trust me – kids aren’t the ones who screwed this planet up – and frankly, we’ve already screwed their whole lives enough, without making them feel individually responsible for, or victims of, the sins of centuries. This is a catharsis at their expense, not a curriculum for their empowerment, and we’ll regret it greatly, (and also quite directly, in both psychiatric billings and increased youth suicide).
The simple fact is that there are a few thousand incredibly powerful and evil people who are screwing up the works – not just making profit from death and poison on a staggering scale, but corrupting our political process in a way that hurts everyone, and keeps all kinds of citizens from feeling well represented – because they really aren’t.
If we save all our fighting energy for fighting them, we could actually win – save the planet, finally do something courageous and honourable for our kids future – it could be our real and practical way out – not via any grandiose untested fantasy, but through proven relationships and a lot of hard work.
Or we can try to defeat entire genders, or cisgenders, or races, or whatever.
Draw battle-lines so broad and absurd that we guarantee we’ll lose. Like now.
I wrote a poem about this kind of feeling not thinking a couple of years ago, that says it in a funnier way. I’ll include that below – but I think this new video (my most complex ever mix) says it rather more toe-tappingly.
Full Screen and Full Volume please (anyhow, we should all be dancing more, get the blood (and joy) circulating). The visuals celebrate two of the most artistic and under-appreciated game studios in the world – the proven and fabulous Ubisoft Montreal and the promising upstart Ubisoft Toronto.
Here’s the poem – If Only We Could Hate Our Way
Bonus (surprisingly helpful) Psychoacoustic Weirdness
A small note for my fellow electronic musicians. I still think in terms of analog studios, and sometimes get frustrated with the few but still very important technical limits of computer music. Mixing with headphones is one of the weirdest sins there is – but you really can’t ever get a properly resolved stereo image that way – it’s not just elitist sneering – it is also true! Or at least, it always was.
Have you tried an NX plug in yet? I was seduced by WAVES offer of a full recreation of the acoustics of the mixing room at Abbey Road studios – inside headphones (even uses the camera to track your head movements). Their Near Field (roughly – car mix), Mid Field (how will it sound on a good home stereo?) and Far Monitors (How will it sound in a club?) are all super useful. What really freaked me out about it was that I could hear all kind of imaging problems right away (in far especially), which were impossible to detect in a headphone mix – but when I switched back into the headphone mix, the improvements in clarity were obvious and dramatic!
Anyhow – if you are tempted, there are several on the market, and the Abbey Road one I like comes on sale for thirty or forty bucks pretty regularly. Well worth it just for the time saved and clarity gained. (And I mean that – at one point, this mix was such a mess I almost threw the whole darned song out).