I reckon this is the first post in a long while on this website. We’ve been having meetups for the last one year, but most of the things discussed are lost in time because there is no record of it. I thus felt I needed to put some of the stuff discussed in our March meetup.
This month’s meet up was hosted at Big Square- some decent fast food joint- in Adlife Plaza. A healthy amount of members showed up and one of the topics that was heavily discussed was: Black Panther - the movie.
Black Panther is a recent film based on a Marvel Character by the same name. It is basically about a mythical African country, that was successfully able to avoid colonization and has been hiding its technological prowess from the world. The movie has been lauded by critics and audiences all over. Some of the book club members had also watched the film, and there were mixed reactions to it.
There were people who did not like the film. They felt that it focussed too much on an American’s view of what a successful Modern African country should look like. This, they claimed, had a queer side effect of making the movie too similar in appearance, action, plot and feel to American Sci-Fi movies, which is a bit unsettling.
Furthermore, those who like the movie felt like it had a great representation of African culture. This is a good thing, but I felt like it should be an afterthought and not a key point to why the movie is good. If not an afterthought, it can be argued that this implies Africans are only worthwhile in entertainment.
Another argument raised was that vibranium is of critical use in Wakanda. It is used everywhere, and is one of the main reasons for its scientific developments. Vibranium is metal that is otherworldly, which kinda implies that the only way Africa can develop to that level is if it had some divine intervention.
For a movie that was primarily of black cast, an argument was raised that it was pretty good. The success of the movie would lead to more inclusion in Hollywood. A counter to that was if that was what blacks could come up with, with all the resources given, it was pretty disappointing. Something more should have been done.
As with most book clubs, anime was discussed. Key was One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist, ReZero and Death Note.
One Piece was hailed as one of the greatest anime of all time. It’s a brilliant story that mixes social and political strife with a dumb witted character, where one need only think a bit deeper to get the implications of what happens. An example is the elites of the world wanting to have beautiful slaves (why?) or even racism with the fishmen and how it affects relationships between the two races. It also has the best idea of searching for freedom, and of what freedom is, that I’ve seen.
The anime, however, clocks over 800 episodes (around 280 Hrs), which is a great hurdle to get over. For potential fans, you’re advised to start watching it because it’s only going to get longer and longer.
Other great animes to watch are Full Metal Alchemist (it questions who is God and what is the price of a human’s life) and Death Note (what would happen if you had the power to kill anyone in the world? Would it even be possibe to arrest you?).
Harry Potter and the methods of Rationality
This takes a turn at the Harry Potter series. It is written by Eliezer Yudkowsky. It takes an approach where Harry Potter is actually smart and makes better decisions than in the original books. Those who read it claimed it changes their view of the original book.
Wheel of Time series
This is a 13 book series, written between 1990 and 2013. Each b0ok has around 900 pages. I’m currently reading book 2 and its a pretty interesting fantasy series. Also since the series is done, I won’t have to wait another 6 years like the Game of Thrones for another book.
A glass ceiling is a barrier to advancement in life. Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers explores this concept and looks into the structures created to maintain the glass ceiling. It is a beautiful story, with well built characters that will leave you feeling more despondent that happy, and understanding why some people, no matter how hard they try, will never be able to succeed.
Some people look down on their workmates when they fail to fix common problems. This is especially true for IT practitioners in Kenya. However, since IT is domain specific knowledge, they should not be condenscending but try to understand their workmates. Whatever might be too simple to you, might seem too complicated to you mate. However, if you fix the same problem day in day out, how should you deal with this workmate?
If the end is all there is to life, what should happen when someone achieves all their goals in life? Should they just die or continue living what would be a pointless life? Leo Tolstoy’s book deal with existentailism, so one might find answers there.
Who owns your life? Is it you or the society? I believe I own my life and should do whatever I want to do with it. So why is someone else preventing me from taking it?
When someone is successful at something, the first praise is usually to God. This is ok, but it shouldn’t end there. The problem with failing to acknowledge the effort you did to achieve success should be emphasized a lot. The problem with this is that it implies that others who failed were not worthy of winning/succeeding. The problem with this is that people watching at the sides will assume that is the case. Some may even forget about the hard work put into the work, and go into crazy God mode. I think if one is successful, they should be honest about what led to it. Put in hard work, as the major points and end in God (although luck would be a better fit).