Toth

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  1. Umineko: When they Cry

    Hello boarders! This is the second attempt of mine to talk about or introduce one of my all time favourites to you guys here. The last thread disappeared during the forum roll-back quite some time ago and I never got myself to revitalize it. Hopefully some people have given "Umineko no naku koro ni" a try in the meantime. If not, I'm gonna try and explain what this story is about right here. Which is harder than you might expect. So... why do you love A Song of Ice and Fire? Well, for me, the reason is mostly the sheer megalomania of GRRM having created a whole world full with complex layered characters with deeply interwoven fates. It's an intelligent story that doesn't treat the reader as a fool who needs everything offered to him on a silver plate, but instead asks us to challenge the characters and find out the motivations which drive them. I start out with this because I think the intelligence behind "Umineko no naku koro ni" or "When the Seagulls cry" is similar in a lot of ways, even though the stories couldn't be even more different. While GRRM's world is a deconstruction of the classic Fantasy Setting, making it less black and white and more raw on emotions, Umineko takes the classic genre of the Detective story in the vein of Agatha Christie, deconstructs it viciously and then reconstructs it as a love-letter to the genre. Even as someone who wasn't really all that much into Fair-Play-Whodunnits I became really, really hooked afterwards, which is an accomplishment in itself. It is written by a Japanese author under the pen-name Ryukishi07, originally as a series of Visual Novels, but it was also adaptated into a terrific Manga version and a pretty terrible and rushed Anime that succeeds spectacularly in ridding the first four novels of every shred of nuance. By the way, it is the second installment of the "When they Cry" series, with the first one being the widely acclaimed "Higurashi - When they Cry", if anyone here has heard of that one. But what is Umineko about anyway? Well... Umineko's setting is inspired heavily by Agatha Christie's "And then there were none". It is October the fourth, 1986. For the yearly family conference of the filthy rich Ushiromiya clan 18 people gather on a mansion on the secluded island of Rokkenjima that is cut off from the world by a typhoon soon afterwards. The typhoon passes two days later, and with the return of both the seagulls and the boat that was supposed to bring the family members back home, nobody was found alive. What happened? That simple question is what Umineko is all about. You may say that 8 novels with together twice the wordcount of "War and Peace" is a little too much to tell the story of just two days, but Umineko begs to differ. It starts out relatively straight-forward. The brilliant but mad patriarch Kinzo is about to die, his children are bickering about the inheritance, but then the letter signed by Beatrice, the Golden Witch who is said to rule over the island at night, appears and challenges the Ushiromiya's to solve the riddle of her epitaph till midnight of October the fifth. The epitaph itself is supposed to be a riddle made by Kinzo that leads to a treasure of gold that is hidden somewhere on the island, but if you read it literally, it describes an occult ritual in which everybody on the island will get sacrificed in order to revive his dead mistress. Panic, reasoning, heated confrontrations, murder... all this ensues as the whole cast gets picked off one by one by an unknown murderer. But there are two sides to the story, just like to the epitaph. The barriers between mystery and fantasy begin to blur. Soon enough demons and witches bleed into the story, keen on convincing the reader that they are responsible for each gruesome murder. And yet while the closed-room mysteries seem fantastic, every crime is solvable by the application of rational thinking. And it is the task of the reader to find out who it is, what drives him and what all these fantasy scenes are about. To find not even the true culprit, but the truth itself, you must dig deep through layers and layers of storytelling, which seem conflicting and contradictory at first glance, but trust me, it all makes sense, it will all click into the right place once you found the answer, and this ride is wonderfully rewarding. A ride you do alongside the characters, by the way. Each and everyone wonderfully layered, with motivations both clear and hidden, and you will get engaged with every single one of them as they descend into both the deepest layers of the story and the deepest layers of their own issues, showing them from their best and their worst sides as the story torments them unrelentingly. Layers are a thing Umineko manages to do masterfully. Nobody is what he seems to be at first glance, heck, the story itself is never what it appears to be. With every new revelation the meaning of plain every word changes drastically, because every truth is buried under clever metaphors and distractions. Without love, it cannot be seen! Especially since with every installment, the fantasy aspects become more and more outlandish, even crazier and even more gory in their sudden mood-shifts. But don't worry, the story is never confusing for the sake of being confusing. Given time, it offers you the tools to unravel everything yourself. The entirety of Umineko is structured after a clearly defined rulework made up of the Knox decalogue for Fair Play Whodunnits and very specific use of unreliable narration, the trademark of writer Ryukishi07. It is not like LOST, where the writers made shit up as they went along, because the ending is pretty much already there in the first novel, for those who are able to see it. Everything makes sense. Everything has a meaning. Part of the reason why I try to revive this thread is this tribute video, which I find relatively safe for newbies to watch to see just how mental the story can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owQwykuLWEk I also tend to link this essay, which wonderfully captures the impact Umineko has upon its readers: https://kakeracomplex.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/umineko-is-more-than-just-a-story/ Personally I prefer to recommend the Manga-version up to Episode 6. The last two episodes are in my opinion safer to read in the original Visual Novel, considering that the way the Manga blatantly reveals the culprit is a little contradicting with the overall message of Umineko. The Visual Novel keeps the catbox closed and I find that somehow more rewarding an experience. So... anyone up for a challenge?
  2. French politics: houlala!

    Now that sure is interesting. I was especially curious at arte and TV5Monde, since those are the main french channels you can watch in Germany. Kinda funny to see that it literally says that those belong to the German and French governments. Somehow expected something more sinister. On a more serious note: Still crossing my fingers for the election. Please, France, don't fuck this up!
  3. On a not entirely unrelated note: Hot Shots 2 came yesterday in TV. Is it that horrible that I thought Lloyd Bridges' character Tug Benson made a better president than Trump? I mean sure, he is stupid as a brick, a walking foreign relations disaster and has a penchant for ridiculous interventionism, but at least he's not thoroughly rotten, just oblivious to his failings. Kinda lika George W. junior, come to think of it. And on another utterly unrelated note: I already knew that Trump was gonna dial back his investment in American outposts outside the US, for example here in Germany, but replacing your stuff with WW2 equipment goes a little too far, doesn't? I'm joking around because a fighter looking like this (speaking more about the paint job than the actual model) drew circles above my house today. Apparently there is an Air Show next week, but it was certainly a very odd thing to watch (and hear).
  4. German politics xth attempt

    Tomorrow is the referendum in Turkey. I'm not really concerned that Erdogan will not win (even if he looses he'll likely call for re-elections until he likes the result better, that's kinda his thing), but I'm still concerned about the Turkish equivalent of Ermächtigungsgesetz. The German media is full of polls and interviews about it right now. Weirdly enough, the polls say that it's currently an utterly open race (which I find pretty dubious, especially in regards to the opposition crackdowns that completely wiped out any kind of counter-campaigning). The media impression also pretty much confirms my suspicions in regards to the Turkish Germans. While Erdogan manages to rile up his usual fans (old people who always voted for him and see nothing wrong with it, as well as badly integrated other ones across the board), the opposition appears split between a small number of politically interested young people who will actually vote 'no' and politically uninterested who go "It doesn't affect me anyway, so I won't bother". Damn...
  5. Mmh... sorry, point for you. I wasn't paying enough attention to the thread and was therefore under the impression that those 'dramatic actions' which were mentioned were about the events leading up to a regulation reform. I actually can't see what else besides stricter licence and storage regulations you can aim for. Confiscations will come afterwards, when blatant violations surface and then those will only affect individual nutjobs who can be dismissed as just that by reasonable gun owners. The problem I see is that the Gun lobby will inevitably call even that a 'dramatic' crackdown by evil communist-nazis who are out for your children, so that gullible mid-westerners will go out on the streets against it. I also don't see why this has to be a federal issue. You would never get it implemented in red states if you don't make it a national law. Never. That's why even such a tiny push needs to come from above. Especially due to this it will end up looking dramatic, so to speak, completely unrelated to how dramatic it actually is.
  6. You really think higher gun regulations equals getting into people's homes and forcefully take away their guns? I agree that the American culture would make that end bloodily, but it would be unfeasable under any culture when there are that many guns and gun-owners involved. I believe the bone anyone fighting for more regulations is trying to achieve is only that: More regulations for acquiring and storing your guns. That's it. The major difference would be that it takes longer to acquire a gun license due to the checking of your background and mental state. For anyone who is already a licensed gun-owner who doesn't tend to store his guns in the back of his pants like an utter idiot, barely anything at all would change. Sure, you get your guns taken away when you are declared mentally unstable or have committed a crime, but I thought gun-owners see themselves as harmless Average Joe's who only want to have some harmless fun at the range. Speeking of which: There ARE rules on a range so that you don't end up shooting Marvin in the face, right? Those regulations would be just like that: Enforcing of common sense to ensure that hazardous morons won't get a chance at spoiling your fun. I believe the moment that more regulations are in place and people realize that their gun-crazy hobby is barely affected at all by them, a cultural change to accept them as normal will set in quite swiftly. I also believe that this is the main reason why the gun-lobby is putting such a ridiculous effort into suffocating every discussion about gun regulations: Because they don't actually care whether you get your guns taken away or not. They only care about your ability to buy them willy-nilly. After they have your money, you can go shoot yourself for all they care.
  7. I am afraid you may be right. Even though from what I've read the North-Korean boy-dictator allowed the relations with China to cool down quite a lot over the past few years. Unsurprisingly, I'd think, since the Chinese leadership values regional stability to keep up their trade income. Trump or not, I suppose they would try anything to de-escalate the situation anyway.
  8. Just skimmed through my notes and saw that it was not a book, but just a paper. Sorry for the mistake: Emilio Biagini: Roman Law and Political Control – From a primitive society to the dawn of the modern world, In: GeoJournal Vol. 33, No. 4, S. 331-340, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, August 1994 I'm definitely reading far too much these days...
  9. Nah, Augustus' idea itself was actually rather simple: He needed more aristocratic babies so that Rome's decreasing elite won't suffer the Spartian fate and for some reason he thought the most simple way to improve the baby-making was lifting most discouraging restrictions on divorce and remarriage so that noble women don't get stuck with fruitless husbands, that accompanied with laws that give more rights to a woman the moment she gives birth to a child. That he and his predecessors somewhat eroded the position of the pater familias was purely incidental in my opinion, but it still happened over time. But you're right, women's rights had absolutely nothing to do with it, even though this didn't stop Augustus and his successors to brag with it. The author from the book I've read wanted to draw some broad picture in which an ambiguous central power purposely tried to erode all competing power structures and the family was one of them. I did think that some of his ideas went a little overboard and had more to do with the fact that many of the institutions of the Republic he took as an example were only disassembled because they were designed to run a city-state, not an empire (the legislative assemblies for example). There were still some good observations about the decline of the pater familiars there, that's why I've noted it. And because I thought that anecdote of Apollinaris was rather interesting in seeing how thick-headed Roman aristocrats could be in regards to what they consider traditionally normal behavior for a daughter.
  10. Yeah, the studies about the conservatism of the young keep piling up. And I think I am fairly happy with it, because it is a good kind of conservatism (not the one corporate whores of certain political parties claim to be theirs). Young people want safety nets to fall back upon, simply because they see a certain dearth of them in their own daily lives. When many jobs has fixed terms, low entry wages and ridiculous qualification requirements, a certain healthy conservatism to keep your shit together is quite necessary. For that matter, I am somewhat envious that you have something to fall back upon. And that you've seen quite a lot of the world due to your study arrangements, which must be stressful, but also pretty cool. I think that is a good way to fix your thinking and I'd like to consider it in regards to my anxieties. Even though I to a certain degree think that my urge to live on my own once I become teacher in training is not only to give in to societal standards, but also to brush aside those anxieties and make myself able to try out things I couldn't due to my current situation. Socializing more, as the foremost thing. I am a little resenting myself for not being able to form any lasting friendships due to my evasion of private topics, even though university should be the best place to meet like-minded people who share your passions. I did make improvements to my general social ineptitude here, but I still couldn't completely overcome it enough to actually keep relationships alife and it may also be too late by now to make new ones.
  11. I take Berlin as a large city. I didn't move far (from the county of Brandenburg to Berlin), so that's not where my impression comes from. It may have something to do with the statistic bias of the people I surround myself with. My subjects are Computer Science and History. In Computer Science the male/female ratio is about 7:3, so in my first semesters I hung out mostly with young men who did indeed still live with their parents, but were about to move out. Most of them succeeded, I guess, I don't know exactly, because I barely have any contact with them anymore. Mostly because I'm rushing through my studies in the minimum amount of time and since I evaded the high failure rates in Computer Science, I seem to have left most of my peers behind me. The only ones I am surrounded with now are the brave few Computer Science Master of Education students like myself. We are 13 people, to be frank. Most of them are in their late twenties and have their own households for a long time, others are as young as I am, but get support from their families. Male to female ratio is somewhat more even here. In History the male/female ration is 2:8 in your ordinary course, but 1:1 in the Master of Education. Since the failure rate is barely existing in this subject, my fellow students seem to be younger, but still at least 2 years older than I am. Since I for some reason tend to hang out mostly with women, I do get the impression that almost all of my acquaintances live with boyfriends who are having full-time jobs and support their studies financially. Something that is backed up by the statistics I've found for the opening post. I believe my bias stems from this strange combination of subjects and the haste in which I rushed the Bachelor and Master. It is kinda weird to always be the youngest in the group who can only nod silently when the conversation of the day drifts to family planning once again... @ Raja / Theda: I should better mention that in these 4 years of my studies I actually managed to successfully keep it a secret from most of them, so I never got into the situation where people actually looked down on me for it. These anxieties are just baggage from the tiny ass village, where every shown weakness was used against me. One of the things was my relationship with my mother, which is frankly baffling, because the only thing people saw us do in public is doing groceries together once in a while (a result of my father having to be dragged kicking and screaming to the supermarket if we wanted use his car, so when we had to stockpile beverages, we were instead forced to haul them the old-fasioned way with our hands). People saw us do that and soon enough I was picked on by total strangers for, well being 'the guy who always carries bags with his mother'. This labeling as some kind of 'Momma's boy' really irritated me, mostly because it was one of the few things I couldn't trace back to that sore douche who caused our ostracism in the village that existed anyway. And even though the environment changed and the people in Berlin are far less hateful and petty, I can't help but worry that they think the same way and are just less inclined to laugh directly into your face. Well that is one of the reasons, the other one is that it makes for a godawful conversation subject where the best you could get for bringing it up is pity. To not taint any of the relationships with my acquaintances with my backstory, I tend to just evade talking about anything personal and keep it strictly on hobbies and professional stuff.
  12. I'm not quite sure it is going to go away that way. Stereotypes are hard to kill, especially when it comes to perception of family. Case in point, one of the reasons I started this thread was an analysis of the latin word 'familia' and its original meaning of a group of households under the lash of the pater familias who had traditionally a lot of rights to interfere in the lives of his children, grandchildren and other relatives of side branches. It was an archaic part of the earliest days of Rome, but over time lawmakers saw it necessary to deconstruct the political rights of the pater familias in order to liberate his children and create more independant actors in Roman core society. I read that shortly after having read a letter by Sidonius Apollinaris from ca. 370 AD. In it he describes the conflict of an acquainted noblewoman whose husband suddenly died and whose father now demanded she should get back under his roof. Apparently their relationship was pretty terrible beforehand, because the woman seemed terrified of that prospect and insists staying with the family of her late husband. Legally she should have been able to do as she pleases, ever since Augustus (that Augustus) made it law that a widowed woman doesn't need to get back under the guardianship of her father and can stay wherever she wants, with the only restriction that she needs some kind of guardianship as a legal and economic precaution (in the Eastern Roman Empire, this guardian may very well be another woman). So despite the overwhelming legal case of his daughter, this sucker still insisted on his traditional position of pater familias and she therefore had to obey him some 400 years after this position was effectively eroded to nothing but a word. And still Sidonius Apollinaris had to ask a local bishop with his letter to intervene on behalf of the woman. You can make the case that this is a perfect example of law not reflecting reality and that the state's interference in family matters wasn't the result of the declining role of the pater familias like many historians claim it was, but it's still pretty jarring how damn hard those 'traditional' views on family are to kill once they have appropriately settled in. The 80s and 90s were also the time I suspect where this perception has settled in as it did. Well, at least for Germany I can say that this is the time the generation profiting from the 'Wirtschaftswunder' became family heads in their own rights, so at least here they had it unusually easy to get a high living standard. Like Altherion said, the people with the loudest voices are often those with the greatest disconnect with reality. Maybe I'm biased due to my own experiences, but I think my father is a good example how such a mindset comes together. We were middle-class financially, but certainly not when it comes to education. I'm the first one on both sides of the family as far as you can look back who made a High School degree. And yet, instead of seeing that as a good thing, my father was furious that I refused to leave after having my Middle School degree to get a job, make my own money and leave the house. Next to his greed, he also genuinely believed that making yourself a fortune really is that easy, because he himself basically just stumbled into a ridiculously well paid job due to his soccer contacts and then kinda stayed there for the rest of his life, never having experienced any hardships at all. He never had to make an apprenticeship or any kind of education and still stumbled into middle class. I find that as good an explanation for his stance as any. Yeah, me either. Admittedly, I kinda have my own horse in this race for making this thread, since I am 23 and still live together with my mother. I initially planned on trying to live on my own after my father made it clear that he would never support me financially if I go to university, even if this meant juggling job and studies simultaneously, but this all went out the window the moment he dropped my mother and she ended up unable to finance the parental household on her own. That's why I am in a weird position that technically she lives at my place (as if anyone cares for technicalities), but when I rented the apartment, I already knew that she had move in as well and therefore I only lived here 'on my own' for a total of a single crazy week. Now we don't experience any financial hardships and don't have any debts at all, but we only have part-time jobs, living together is a financial necessity, we don't have a car, or holidays, we have to plan in advance to get any new stuff and splitting this household stands out of the question until I finish my studies at the end of this year or the beginning of the next one. It's still causing a lot of anxiety in me. Especially about people finding out that I live with my mother. I could never explain our situation in real life the way I could online, because that would make me be seen like a miserable crybaby. Everyone has hardships, that's no excuse for living with your mother.I keep my familial situation a secret and dodge every question about it, because I'm scared as hell that people make fun of me for it. Weirdly enough, I have yet to meet any fellow student in real life who lives with his parents, something that would take some of that fear off my back. But either they are just as tight-lipped as I am, or they simply don't exist in my subjects. It's especially bad since I am about to become a teacher and my current job is being a teacher. My worst fear is that I am seen with my mother in public and end up losing all respect due to it. That's how negative living with your parents or doing things like getting groceries with them was seen in the tiny ass village I grew up in. Heck, I was made the laughing-stock for it back when I was 16, so how much worse is it now when I'm 23? And I guess this is one of the major driving points for why I want to get out as soon as financially possible. The societal pressure that the reasons for living with your parents doesn't matter, but that it's inherently something bad that needs to be avoided at all costs. At least that's what I was growing up with and that causes me a lot of anxieties.
  13. H! there. After an argument with my very own mother I got the idea to start a little discussion over… well, the above-stated situation many young adults find themselves in. At least according to the statistics: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ef_publication/field_ef_document/ef1404en.pdf To make it short, 48% of all Europeans in between the ages of 18 to 29 are still living with their parents. Apparently, young men are especially involved. Looking into my own country, Germany, where 65% between 18 and 24 are living with their parents, 71% of the young men in this age live with their parents compared to only 57% of the young women. In the European comparison, countries hit by the economic crisis (Italy, Greece, Spain) and Eastern European ones are 'hit' especially hard. As far as the statistics go, it is an economic reality. With rents in urban areas going insanely through the roof, low entry wages and longer apprenticeship periods, people simply can’t afford to found (and finance) their own households. And yet when I went through these statistics, I found both the conclusions of some ‘experts’ and the comments of other readers pretty galling. People apparently come to the conclusion that this is due to the children being ‘too comfortable’ at home, since there are also statistically less disagreements with their parents than those had in their rebellious era with their own parents. The whole German Wikipedia entry on ‘Hotel Mama’ is just a string of quotes that it’s the young adult’s fault for not being independent enough and the parents’ fault for pampering them and then a lamentation on how dire their development is restricted by it. The gender divide is explained by saying that women, since they helped out in the parental household, are more independent than those lazy men (though I would look into the kind of household those who don’t live with their parents live in instead – I bet the majority simply moved together with a boyfriend who has settled down enough so that they can manage to sustain a household together). Don’t get me wrong, I think they have a fair point that getting more independent is a good thing. But missing the economic root causes so hard is plain weird. Looking at countries like Sweden and Finland where this issue is very limited, it is easy to see that those states offer free education and invest in the future of its citizen to make it possible to create your own household without bankrupting yourself. So why do even experts subtly conform to the idea that it’s just the youth being too comfortable at home? Something society at large seems to be quite eager to underline. And here comes the question I want to discuss with you: Why has our society such an awfully negative view on people who live with their parents? Most of the names describing the phenomenon (of which I put a few into the title) somehow give the impression that those living with their parents are just lazy leeches, momma’s boys or otherwise unfit for society. The weirdest thing about this is how weirdly modern of a view it is. I’m a history student. And I can’t help but notice that all sources up until WW1 are actually quite uniform in the idea that marrying and leaving your parents’ household in your late twenties to found your own is the most ordinary thing in the world ever since freaking antiquity (excluding those weird nobles with their political antics). It seems to be a very recent development that we started considering it the norm to kick your kids out the second they turn 18. How come? An economic boom of late industrialization that allowed several generations to rapidly stand on their own feet? A world in which no or only a short apprenticeship was enough to make a living for the rest of your lifetime? In earlier times, large family groups with complicated ties were necessary to cushion financial hardships, but this recent development tore those apart and created ‘nuclear families’ as a new, far more fragile construct to replace them. So… is this current development just society coming back to reality after the economic boom of late industrialization? How long will it take until we re-normalize what used to be normal? Or am I just sprouting nonsense? And why am I stringing numerous questions together in the vain hope that someone feels compelled to make a statement to at least one of them? Well, I hope we can have an interesting discussion even after this long ass monologue!
  14. Me neither. I get the 'Assad got cocky' story, it is a distinct (if not very exciting) possibility. Then Trump wants to make himself look strong and manly by getting into a war. Kinda reminded me of that Plato quote I read recently, about tyrants always starting one conflict or another so that their people may need a leader. It's the same reason why he pushes for a higher military budget. It makes his ego feel awesome.