Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monsterhearts: New Skin, The Doppleganger! Draft Version
I've never played Silent Hill 2 (or any of them) but I know that the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack has some major gems in it.

Hey there! Got a burst of interest in the idea of Dopplegangers after something my bro said, so I wrote an ApW-style shapeshift move. After a little more thought, I decided I could totally write a skin based off of it for Monsterhearts, so I took a quick break from Avatar World to, uh, do so.

While I came up with the original idea based on the monster itself, the design really came out of the teenager-archetype/metaphor idea of it. The Doppleganger is jealousy and self-loathing and wanting to be everyone else, seeing all the others things people have and how they don't have the flaws you have and how things could be better if you cold be like them. It's combined with the same sort of hero worship a lot of teens express, and the sort of admiration that creates successful people. The sort of people whose default nature is like that of The Queen's clique would make good Dopplegangers.
It's also about not liking yourself as you are, obsessing over your flaws and trying to get rid of them. Dopplegangers have low self-esteem, low self-confidence, low self-image, low self-everything.

I wasn't totally this guy in high school, but I certainly had elements of it. The other main reason I fully fleshed this out beyond just a couple moves is because my group is starting Monsterhearts in a couple weeks and I really really want to play this guy.

Stuff in quotes is game text, with bracketed indicators for stuff I specifically talk about after the quote. Usually it's stuff I want some feedback on, whether it's a simple "does it read" clarification or something more balance-based.
The Doppleganger
Description: All those people seem so special. They have their icy glares, their smoldering good looks, their razor-sharp intellect. You don't have any of that, and you wanted it. Then you discovered you could become them, and suddenly, it was all within your grasp.
Stats: Add 1 to one of these: Hot -1, Cold -1, Volatile +1, Dark +1.
Look: Pick one from each list.
* Paper-white skin, Boring and average, Unappealing, Inconspicuous
* Empty Eyes, Prying Eyes, Jealous Eyes, Distant Eyes, Harmless Eyes, Brooding Eyes
Origin: Rich and neglected, orphan, smothering and overbearing parents, depressed, delusional
I'm not having a great time with these. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Also I have NO names, any ideas for that?
Backstory: * You've been impersonating someone recently. Who, and what sympathetic token do you have on them? Gain an additional string on them on top of that.
* Someone caught you while reverting to your own form once. They get two strings on you.
* Add 1 to Hot (max+3)
* Add 1 to Cold (max+3)
* Add 1 to Volatile (max+3)
* Add 1 to Dark (max+3)
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take another Doppelganger move.
* Take a move from another skin.
* Take a move from another skin.
* You belong to a Shapeshifter Cult[!]
[!] I dunno, I just made something up. Any ideas for something that might actually be relevant? Or that might replace it, cuz I don't really see Dopplegangers as a very social sort of monster, or at least the sort that wouldn't be interested in being with others of its kind.
You begin with Transform and one other move.
Transform: "When you use a sympathetic token[!] to take someone's form[!!], roll+Dark[!!!]. On a 10+, you've got it just right. On a 7-9, choose one:
* The disguise doesn't hold up under scrutiny[!!!!],
* Assuming the disguise is an agonizing process, take 1 Harm[!!!!!],
* The disguise won't last long.
On a 6-, the MC chooses any or all of the above and makes a hard move."
[!] Two things. One, I'm not positive I want to require a sympathetic token at all. The other thing is how to establish the wording. I could reproduce the Witch move, but that seems weird to me. Might do it anyway though.
[!!] Confirming: It's got to be someone. You can't take generic shapes, you need to try to be another specific person.
[!!!] I've been debating about what exactly this move is stat-wise, and I think in the end Dark is the best. I considered Hot, since this is very much about appearances and all, but the Doppelganger ISN'T hot until they take a form.
[!!!!] Close scrutiny. What exactly is wrong is essentially up the MC's final approval - maybe you don't know until it comes up. It might not even be physical, it could be that you've gotten a fundamental part of their personality wrong in your impersonation.
[!!!!!] I'm touchy about this one, but I like the general idea.
As a side note, this is also the move you roll "When you ingest Polyjuice Potion...".
Walk Like You, Talk Like You: "While you're disguised as another PC, when you make a move, use their stats instead of your own."
Impressionable Personality: "When you return to your original form after being disguised as another PC, you temporarily change one of your stats to their value for that stat. This alteration goes away when you next transform.
Crawl Inside Your Head: "When you spend time and intimacy with someone, it counts as taking a sympathetic token on them."
Your Evil Twin: "When someone is blamed for something you did in their form, mark experience[!]."
[!] I debated what the reward should be for this; my main options were Strings and XP. I could reason how strings could make sense logically, and XP is a bit more significant, but I think it's worth it - it takes some real work, and some rolls, to set this sort of thing up.

I could probably use another move if I don't include the Witch's Sympathetic Tokens move, and even if I do I have room for another. Any ideas? I'm pretty much spent for the moment, though inspiration may strike again.
Darkest Self: "You despise yourself. All these other pretty people have everything you've ever wanted but could never have for yourself. In fact, no one would even notice if you were just...gone. Just be someone else - ALL the time. And if you need to get the "real" them out of the way to pull it off, so be it. Escape your Darkest Self when you accept your flaws[!] and voluntarily return to your own form."
In essence this is: you don't just want to BE them - you want to REPLACE them.
[!] This is logically sensible but may be asking too much of a character whose whole gimmick is about hating his flaws and wishing he was a person without them.
Sex Move: "When you have sex with another character, you must Hold Steady or return to your original form immediately afterward."
I'm excited about this. I don't even know if you deserve a roll if you're having sex in an assumed form, but sure, have one.
Side note that DOES make me a little uncomfortable: Pretty sure tricking them into thinking they're having sex with a different person might be a little close to the rape line. I 100% believe that's a thing a misguided and depressed teenage doppleganger would do, but that doesn't mean it's a bit bothersome to my mind.

So, that's what I have. There's four very specific things I'd really love some feedback on:
1) Names List Ideas
2) Origins
3) A Potential Additional Move
4) How you might visually represent a Doppleganger while also making their image noticeably human. I tried a couple of art ideas and none of them have worked out so far.
Thanks in advance for any help!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 30 (The The - Naked Self)

DAY THIRTY: THE THE - NAKED SELF(Boiling Point, Shrunken Man, The Whisperers, Soul Catcher, Global Eyes, December Sunlight, Swine Fever, Diesel Breeze, Weather Belle, Voidy Numbness, Phantom Walls, Salt Water)
Surprise, it's NOT electronica! This is a little incongruous with my standard taste, but The The and this album have repeatedly topped my favorites list. I have passing obsessions with a song or a band, but when it gets down to it, I always return to The The and Naked Self. Boiling Point is the first song on the album, and it builds up slowly at first, working you into the album in the same way that Salt Water winds you out, starting at manic pace and easing you out. Every piece is an amazing song to me, though some more than others.
The The has a bit of trouble in its history. It started in the 80s, with Matt Johnson. Matt Johnson is the band's creator and first member, and the only member to remain throughout the history of The The. His first album was a solo album titled Burning Blue Soul(technically though, it's a duo of him and Keith Laws), and it is only sometimes accredited to The The, though it is always known as Matt Johnson's. His next album was made with a good size cast of guest characters, though no one I know other than Matt Johnson. This second album was Soul Mining, and is classed as synth-noir actually. It still features Johnson's wonderful wonderful voice and lyrics though, so it's all good. My dad thinks Soul Mining is The The's best album(followed closely by Infected). Despite the guests, it remains a solo album. Third was Infected, the only album I have not had the pleasure of hearing. It's supposed to be wonderful. The fourth was Mind Bomb, my least favorite of his albums, which he does with a full band. Actually, I lied a minute ago, I haven't heard Solitude either, but that album was a North American release of a song(Solitude) and an EP of remixes.
Then came Dusk. Dusk is my second-favorite of The The's albums, though not my second-favorite album overall. It has a darker tone, and some different country elements creep in. One of his songs here, Love Is Stronger Than Death, was written soon after the death of one of his brothers. This is a good point to mention that another of his brothers, Andy Dog Johnson, did all the album arts up through Dusk. They're pretty weird, and one in particular was very controversial(it was a Infected's cover, and it featured a devil masturbating).
After Dusk was Hanky Panky, which was a tribute album made entirely of Hank Williams cover tunes. It was done with a different band than Mind Bomb and Dusk, except for Matt Johnson of course. It's alright.
And then came Naked Self. Made with a different band than Hanky Panky, it is, in my opinion, the peak of his talent. Unfortunately, it is also the last of The The's albums. Matt Johnson continues to maintain The The(releasing a best hits album a couple years ago) alone, and has done a number of movie soundtracks, though both are without his vocals and don't at all match the amazingness he's expressed in the past. "Tony" and "Moonbug" are notable soundtracks of his.
His most famous song is "This Is The Day." It comes from Soul Mining, and has remained his most known song. It was featured in an M&M commercial last year.
Day 30 was given a special directive in the original Songaday concept: it was to be our favorite. Well, The The is my favorite, and NakedSelf is my favorite album. It's a very significant album to me, and is personally significant - the album helped me through a pretty formative part of my life. I'm always willing to talk about this guy ;) .
This was actually the album that I sent to Andy Kitkowski as my part of the Story Games Secret Santa in December.

Naked Self's Tracklist:
Boiling Point: Embeded above.
Shrunken Man: (one of my favorites)
The Whisperers:
Soul Catcher: (this is a live recording I didn't know existed, because the original isn't uploaded on Youtube - if you can, I recommend finding the original).
Global Eyes: (live recording, poor quality)
December Sunlight: (the 45 RPM version - that's his singles album. It's still good, but I far prefer the original and if you can find a good way to listen to it, DO)
Swine Fever: (live recording, not great - first half of the video is Swine Fever, back half is Phantom Walls)
Diesel Breeze: This song has NO videos anywhere of any kind and it is a damn shame.
Weather Belle: Also no videos >:(
Voidy Numbness:
Phantom Walls: (live recording, not great - first half of the video is Swine Fever, back half is Phantom Walls)
Salt Water: No videos.

But seriously. Go buy the album, and every other The The album you can find. I love him.

I don't know what tomorrow holds for Songaday. It could be nothing, or I might write something new. I'm done with J-Term now, so I've got a week off of schoolwork.
End Recording,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 29 (Verve Remixed)

Well, almost done! Verve Remixed is a (currently) 4-disc(5-disc if you got the collection with the first three discs) series of remixes of verve songs. There are some real gems in the set, and some iffier songs. There's also a Christmas disc and a few discs titled "Verve Unmixed" which, obviously, feature the unmixed version of the songs on that Remix disc.
It's ended up making for a fantastic set of background music for if we have company or family over. It's excellent in that regard, even the not so great songs make for a nice atmosphere.
I'm sorting link songs by Disc. This song is off Disc 1 if you're curious.
Their Site:
Feelin' Good(Joe Clausell Remix)(Disc 1):
See-Line Woman(Masters at Work Remix)(Disc 1):
Sinnerman(Felix Da Housecat's Heavenly House Remix)(Disc 2)(This one got to be in an iPod commercial!):
Whatever Lola Wants(Gotan Project Remix)(Disc 2):
Sing, Sing, Sing(RSL Remix)(Disc 3):
Come Dance With Me(Sugardaddy Remix)(Disc 3):
Just One of Those Things(Brazilian Girls Remix)(Disc 3):
Peter Gunn(Max Sedgely Remix)(Disc 3):
Fever(Adam Freeland Remix)(Disc 3):
California Soul(Diplo/Mad Decent Remix)(Disc 4)(This was in the Lincoln Lawyer, or so I've heard):
Evil Ways(Karriem Riggins Remix)(Disc 4):
Tea For Two(Chris Shaw Remix)(Disc 4):

Wow, just one day left to post. I'm well aware that I missed Sunday Songs again - it's weird getting back into the swing of that. I'll try to make just a separate music post as a late edition of Sunday Songs. Not sure what I'll do for Historical Songaday Day 31 - September has 30 days, so the original didn't actually have a Day 31. Meh, maybe I'll write something new.
End Recording,

Monday, January 28, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 28 (Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas At Sarajevo)

There's no good reason Trans-Siberian Orchestra should work. Here, I'll pitch it how it was probably originally pitched - "We'll do rock/metal covers of traditional Christmas songs" "Dude wait what? WHY?". But somehow, from some bizarre fluke, they've managed to become a fantastic and huge endeavor. The songs are good, and Sarajevo is my favorite of a great list of songs.
TSO is among the few bands I've seen live, and before I saw them I never would have considered a rock-covers-of-christmas-songs band to have so many LASERS. It was good, although we didn't have great seats.
To their credit, not all their music is Christmas music anymore. For example, they have a version of Carmina Burana. If you want non-Christmas stuff, listen to Night Castle, their most recent album.
Evidently, they're a large band(a whole orchestra), so there has never been any major drama about cast members.
Um, I think that's it other than links.
Their site:
First Snow:
A Mad Russian's Christmas:
Toccata-Carpimus Noctum(video was taken at a live show):
Night Castle(video was taken at a live show):

End Recording,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 27 (The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize)

Rounding out the basic electronica/Big Beat trio(although while researching these I've found that Fatboy Slim should be there too, but I don't like too much of his stuff) is The Chemical Brothers, formerly The Dust Brothers until they realized that someone else was already using that. It was the original Dust Brothers that made Fight Club's soundtrack, but the Chemical Brothers rapidly became a big name in pioneering big beat music. Push The Button is my favorite album, followed by We Are The Night. This assumes, of course, that I'm not counting Push The Button's remix album, Flip The Switch, which I reference in the Prodigy post, which very well might take first place.
Actually got panicked for a moment there. I went to find it so I could listen to it, and couldn't find it in our digital music collection. Went to see if we still had the CD form, and thank god, it was there, buried under a ton of other music in an unlabeled case. Anyway, it's definitely worth a listen, even if you're not so big on the other Chemical Brothers stuff. Like I said on the Prodigy post, the album was free, so feel free to use one of the torrents of it, they're legal.
So what've these guys been up to lately? Well, after releasing Further last year(I think) they've been doing movie soundtracks. They were partially in charge of the Black Swan sound track, and did the entire Hanna soundtrack themselves.
While Prodigy has punk elements, Chemical Bros have rap elements, and in general are a lighter tone of music than either Prodigy or Crystal Method.
Rounding out the electronica trifecta, Chemical Bros.
Their Site:
Hold Tight London(this is among my favorites):
Block Rockin' Beats:
Do It Again(dang, there's a lot of bad videos of this one out there. I don't vet all my link videos, hope none of them are crappy!):
The Salmon Dance:
Wonders of the Deep:
The page for Flip The Switch. No song downloads here, sorry, would if I could:
Believe(Belief, Elektric Cowboy)(from Flip the Switch, this is an awesome remix):

For good measure, here's the link to the page for Screamixadelica(the Screamadelica remix album) since I won't be doing a Primal Scream day:

End Recording,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 26 (Prodigy - Voodoo People)

I grew up with more Prodigy around me than either of the other basic electronicas(Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method). Oddly enough, they're my least favorite of the three. The songs I most remember as being near me in the past are Firestarter and Breathe, and we have the Prodigyremixed album Always Outsiders, Never Outdone. I'll talk about that for a moment: the musicremixed project was a group/website that, to my knowledge, produced three remix albums. One was of Primal Scream's Screamadelica(called Screamixadelica), another was of Chemcial Brothers' Push The Button(called Flip the Switch), and the third was of Prodigy's Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned(titled Always Outsiders, Never Outdone). thesethree remix albums were great. Unfortunately, the site died relatively recently. Just know that the albums were all FREE when the site was up - while you can't get 'em from the source anymore, torrents are out there, and are NOT illegal. Totally get 'em.
Anyway, back to Prodigy. Fat of the Land is still their most known album(probably due to the controversy that surrounded Smack My Bitch Up), and it's pretty good. I'm kinda hit-and-miss with Prodigy. They are, just like half this freaking list, British. Over time they've gained a lot more punk elements, and I think that's what I don't like as much.

Their site:
Voodoo People(Pendulum remix):
Voodoo People(Haiti Island Remix)(It's pretty obvious that this is my favorite song of theirs, and this is my favorite version of it):
Smack My Bitch Up:
Get Up Get Off:
The page for the Remix Album:
Girls(Idiotech Remix)(this is from the remix album, and is so much better than the original):

If you like Prodigy, GO CHECK THE REMIX ALBUM.
End Recording,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 25 (The Crystal Method - Trip Like I Do)

Wow, almost done. Anyways, whenever someone speaks about The Crystal Method, it instantly brings two other bands to mind, which are The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy (or just Prodigy, I can never remember). To me, they define the basics of the electronica genre, in different ways. Classic The Crystal Method, by which I mean their first album Vegas, are hard electronic techno stuff, with the exception of Trip Like I Do. The whole album is awesome, even if it does get a bit repetitive. Their latest (Divided By Night), on the other hand, does a lot of different stuff, with tons of guest artists and such. It's got a bit of the techno (mostly Double Down Under and Divided By Night), but a lot of it is much more melodic. I like Kling To The Wreckage and Come Back Clean.
How would I compare its sound to Chemical Bros and Prodigy? Well, Prodigy is more conventional and lyrical(sort of), Chemical Bros are light British electronica, and Crystal Method is their darker American cousin. Which one is better? I don't know. I love 'em all.
Having acquired sufficient fame a while ago, they've been used in all sorts of pop culture. Most notably, I'm fairly sure they were in a Matrix movie. The Matrix movies ended up using all sorts of cool electronica music, didn't they? The FOX tv show Bones had Crystal Method create an intro song for them too.
Sounds about right. No new albums in the past year to my knowledge - unfortunate, I've been jonesin' for some new TCM. On time today!

Their site:
Busy Child:
Double Down Under:
Divided By Night:
Kling To The Wreckage:
Come Back Clean:
Keep Hope Alive(MSTRKRFT Remix)(It's really good, off of the Vegas Deluxe edition):

End Recording,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 24 (Enigma - TNT For The Brain)


...There was no text on the old entry. But this is Enigma, a band who does cool things that make for great calm meditation music as well as great near-ambient electronica. If you like the Meditation-style side of things, check out MCMXC A.D. (their original album). If you like the electronica side of things, check out Voyageur or the L.S.D. Love Sensuality Devotion Remix album, which is my personal favorite overall. Probably the best mix in my opinion is The Screen Behind The Mirror (and this is my favorite non-remix album) but you can also check out Seven Lives Many Faces for some more recent work.
I'm not so fond of Seven Lives Many Faces compared to the others, but a really interesting side note would be that the indie game Bastion (great game btw) pretty much directly lifted a riff from the title song of the Enigma album. That's on From Wharfs To Wild or something like that.

No links today. Just google those terms I wrote. Enigma is 100% worth checking out further.

End Recording,

Historical Songaday: Day 23 (Propellerheads - History Repeating)

Apparently I'm a fucking retard who can't update Songaday two days in a row. My bad.
Propellerheads is a British big beat style band. They're way good. They've only had one album, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll, but it was totally awesome. I don't feel like writing more right now.
The next disc of September Songaday will be compiled soon!
They no longer have a site.
Take California:
On Her Majesty's Secret Service: 

End Recording,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Schoolwork: Help Desired! (Non-Lethal Weapons Paper)
Yeah, it's popular-type dubstep, but it's one of the things I scrounged out of my pop binge after a webcomics run. It's a pretty good one, despite its mild overuse.

Hey there! I could use some help. As you may have noticed from the post about the Ethics in Apocalypse Now, I'm taking a class on Military Ethics this month. So I've got this assignment, this Policy Essay I've got to write. So I wrote it, and turned it in, cuz it was the day to turn in the first drafts.

Yeah, first drafts. You can probably see where I'm going with this now.

Let's describe the essay's little components. Heck, here's my prompt material (thanks prof!), broken up so you can see the important bits. One of the prompts is about Non-Lethal Weapons specifically, which is my chosen topic.

"Write a 2500 – 3000 word paper on one of the below topics...
...While it is necessary that you spend some time laying out the problem and engaging the philosopher/text, it is crucial that you also present your view (with supporting arguments), consider counter-arguments to your view and defend your position in light of these counter-arguments....

...YOU MUST HAVE AT LEAST ONE OUTSIDE, SCHOLARLY SOURCE FOR THIS PAPER! An outside source is defined as one that was not assigned as a reading for the course. [Encyclopedia articles OF ANY KIND(yes, I mean Wikipedia) are excluded.] You will need to have proper documentation for your sources, which will mean a citation within the paper, as well as a Bibliography.
HOWEVER, Please note that this is not a research paper.  Any outside sources that you use (regardless in which Step they appear), should only help you make your argument, not be the argument.  Clearly outside sources can be very helpful in Step 1, especially analysis and Step 3, to help flesh out objections to your view....

...15 – Non-Lethal Weapons:  Some scholars view non-lethal weapons as a way to make war more humane by limiting the damage and harm inflicted on both combatants and non-combatants, as well as property and the environment.  Other scholars are concerned that such weapons represent an erosion of the moral limitations on war and/or the blurring of the lines between war and other kinds of activity (policing, peace keeping etc.)  What is your view of the ethical acceptability of implications of the use of non-lethal weaponry in warfare?  How might the use of such weapons impact the jus in bello aspects of the Just War Tradition? What are the implication of non-lethal weapons for thinking about the moral questions and concerns associated with warfare?"
Those are the components of the essay that I was given to work with. The prompts in the Non-Lethal Weapons section are idea prompts, suggestions of things to write about, not a list of bullets to hit or questions to answer.
For your general reference, throughout the class we have read:
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Immanuel Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals
John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism
Brian Orend's On War
Helen Frowe's The Ethics of War And Peace well as a number of smaller texts, such as Plato's Laches and Epictetus's The Enchiridion. This is just so you have some context of what I've already read and am primarily drawing my knowledge from, as this draft is NOT properly cited. Credit where credit is due.

Without further ado, here's the essay:
Max / Ego
PHIL224 – Policy Essay
Word Count: 2982
      [Intro here] Ultimately, with a few qualifications, the use of non-lethal weapons in war is morally justified.
     Non-lethal weapons are a relatively new force in the modern world. Prior to the Twentieth Century, the vast majority of weapons were intended to do a single action: kill their target. Clubs and stones bludgeoned their targets to death with blunt strikes. Swords and spears and axes sliced lethal gashes or created deadly puncture wounds. Firearms tore through skin and flesh, with early guns leaving huge gaping holes in people and later ones leaving smaller holes that were no less lethal. If your first attack did not kill them, you struck again to make sure. Sometimes wounded combatants were captured, but this was the exception the the norm. However, with the advance of technology, a new variety of weapon has arisen, the non-lethal weapon. Rather than death, non-lethal weapons have as incapacitation as their primary goal.
     Early non-lethal weapons were quite simple and direct in their use. One early example has been in use for many years, before the general rise of non-lethal weapons: the water cannon, which blasted a high-pressure spray of water to repel crowds. They were useful and easy because they were already likely to be found near their targets – high-pressure hoses are used in fire-fighting, making them useful during riots both against angry mobs and against the fires that accompany riots. Later spray agents that have become common are tear (CS) gas and pepper spray, useful for their pain-causing but usually non-lethal abilities. Another non-lethal weapon that has become very wide-spread is the Taser (and its related brethren, as Taser is technically just a brand name), a close-combat device used to direct an electric shock at the target. These, however, all seem to be peace-keeping weapons. They are primarily used by the police and for peace-keeping military troops, rather than for general military application. However, a few non-lethal weapons have become standard, especially in specific circumstances. Military riot-control operations use many of the police weapons, and there are a fairly large selection of non-lethal ammunition types that are used, such as rubber bullets and beanbag rounds. Hostage situations are handled with the assistance of gas-type weapons, particularly tear gas, though its use is declining due to side-effects. One the less-controversial (though not completely without controversy) military-use non-lethal weapons is the stun grenade, or the flashbang, which is able to temporarily remove vision, hearing, and balance from those exposed. It is used to great effect as a breaching agent, catching the target by surprise and removing their ability to react.
     These are the current and standard non-lethal weapons, however. There exist a number of special and new devices, some of which are new approaches to existing technologies and some of which are entirely new concepts. An old idea that has been explored in recent years is Skunk and other malodorants, a form of spray that causes a horrible scent that deters its targets. One of its best benefits is that it is entirely organic and can even be consumed harmlessly (though it would certainly not be pleasant to try). Brand new technologies being used include sonic/acoustic weapons (which use projected soundwaves of varying frequencies to deter or scare targets out of a target region), laser weapons (intended to temporarily blind) and microwave weapons (which induce the sensation of being on fire without causing permanent damage).
     Non-lethal weapons, despite the name, are not always completely non-lethal. Improper application of a non-lethal weapon, whether by incompetence or by circumstances beyond control, can still result in death. One case of the former would be SWAT officer Fred Thornton, who was killed when he accidentally set off his own stun grenade while secure his equipment (The Agitator). A case of the latter might be the case of Ruben Salazar, who was killed by being hit in the head by a tear-gas canister – the canister itself, not as a side-effect of the gas – and the firing officer was deemed to not have been ultimately at fault (NNDB).
     Different schools of thought would approach the use of non-lethal weaponry differently. Those of the realist philosophy would likely not stand behind it, for example. The realists believe that morality and war are entirely unrelated, and that actions should be taken to complete the war as quickly as possible with as little damage as possible, using whatever tactics are considered necessary. I imagine that it is without debate that realists would agree to the use of non-lethal weapons alongside standard armaments – just another tool to be used in the right situation. The realists would not agree to exclusively using non-lethal weaponry though, as it would be based primarily on a moral argument. Realists might agree to the use of non-lethal weapons first when there is no clear tactical difference between the two, however. To a realist, having an incapacitated target would mean more options; if death was really the best choice, morality has no stake for them and they would follow through, but they would have other choices (ransom, prisoner exchange, interrogation, etc) that a lethal approach would not provide.
     The pacifists are a strange case when it comes to non-lethal weaponry. In the end, pacifists would likely still disagree with a war fought with non-lethal weapons. If the war involves a side using them alongside lethal weapons, their position would be a clear dislike with the situation, for all the same reasons as they would normally use. Even if both sides were to use exclusively non-lethal weapons, they would still disagree. They would likely acknowledge the strategy's superiority over the use of non-lethal weapons, but would still not consider it justified. It would still be an act of violence, with the intention to do harm to another, even if it is only temporary. They would believe that the choice of non-lethal weapons over lethal ones is a moral choice, but the choice to apply any weapon at all on the scale of warfare would not be moral.
     Immanuel Kant espoused a moral philosophy based upon the universality of morality. To Kant, an action is moral if it that action would always be considered moral regardless of context, or if they (the action) are pursued for themselves in and of themselves (and not as a means to an end). By my understanding of Kant, he would support the use of non-lethal weapons, regardless of whether they are used exclusively or not. The use of a true non-lethal weapon can be applied in nearly every situation that it would be used in, as its effects would leave after a given amount of time and the target could resume whatever they were doing. If the technique is universally applicable (although it is not always ideal), it can be considered moral. However, a complication arises in that Kant highly prizes autonomy, the ability to make our own choices. For at least a temporary span, use of a non-lethal weapon removes autonomy. However, in the situations where it would be used, the alternative (lethal force) permanently removes one's autonomy (as you cannot make choices in death), while non-lethal tactics only remove it temporarily, making it superior. It is possible that Kant would consider even the temporary removal of autonomy to color the entire idea of non-lethal weaponry as immoral, but I don't believe he would. (Groundwork)
     A final philosophy I will bring up is utilitarianism, specifically according to John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism argues that the moral action is that which will bring the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest number of people, or in other words promote the greatest general happiness. Non-lethal weaponry allows for many people's lives to go on when previously they would have died, and I would argue that even an inconvenienced life produces more happiness than a dead person does. Especially if a true non-lethal weapon is developed and utilized that will allow a return to life exactly as before, non-lethal weaponry would be something Mill would absolutely agree with.
     I think that the use of non-lethal weaponry is a completely moral strategy in war based upon the scale of deaths it prevents as long as a few qualifications are met first in order to remove a few key counter-arguments from the picture. Several of these counter arguments are in my opinion very poor arguments to stand the test of time, applying only in the short term.
     The first obstacle that will fall away over time is the lack of a definition of non-lethal weapons. As of now, it is still somewhat foggy why precisely constitutes a non-lethal weapon and where along the spectrum of force one should draw the line. This is a valid concern in the short term, as it prevents any sort of law from accurately regulating its use. However, time will give way to a definition of non-lethal weapons. I suspect it will involve sectioning off non-lethal weapons into multiple varieties, each with their own definition, but whatever the eventual result is, a definition is only a matter of time and debate.
     The same applies to the next concern: a lack of laws regulating the use of non-lethal weaponry. Time and debate will produce laws of the same caliber, or greater, than the ones we currently use to govern lethal international conflict. After the qualification that time be provided to answer these problems first, the second qualification I have on the morality of non-lethal weapons is that laws are actually implemented to govern their proper use, both on the national and international scale.
     A third conflict that I'm considering solved by time is something I've mentioned several times already, the idea of a “true” non-lethal weapon. While what exactly that means technically will depend upon the eventual definition, what I use it to mean is a weapon that can be directed at a target, incapacitate them for a desired length of time, and allow them to be physically unaffected in the future by the experience. The advancement of technology is rapid, and has progressed from the simple stun grenade of the 1960s to the microwave-emitting Active Denial System of the current day. Given even more time, the technology will only be refined and perfected until such qualifications are met. Given that this qualification of time is met, the argument of lasting physical side-effects or unintentional effects of weapons (such as in the Moscow theater incident) is removed. (BBC)
     I have a third qualification, and that is that the users of the weapons be sufficiently well-educated enough about the use of the weapons to use them competently and appropriately. With this qualification, I rule out the arguments that non-lethal weapons are problematic if improperly used. The complaint still exists, but if the practice is to properly teach the use of the weapon, the argument becomes aimed at individual violators rather than the policy governing the weapons.
     We will assume these three qualifications (time for definition and development, legal regulation on an international level, and proper education in use) are met, as I'm not arguing the morality of the weapons if they are not met.
     The morality of the use of non-lethal weapons hinges on a single main argument: that causing fewer deaths is a morally good thing. I place my basis for this on the shoulders of utilitarianism, that the action that supports the general happiness is the morally correct thing to do. Therefore, in order for my argument to be true, I need to reinforce the idea that causing fewer deaths creates more happiness that creating more deaths. In the current day, this would not be so simple to argue. People are left with debilitating wounds and occasionally even death from non-lethal weapons, casting doubt that death is always the less-happy route to take. However, once my qualifications are met, those concerns evaporate quite readily. The true non-lethal weapon leaves no permanent effect, allowing a person who would otherwise have died, ending their potential for happiness, to continue living and become happy. Additionally, while their death could prevent their own unhappiness at the fallout from the non-lethal weapon, their death would also cause unhappiness in those around him while he contributes no additional happiness from not suffering, resulting in the net result still being a negative amount of happiness. If both create unhappiness, but one allows for additional happiness afterward, would that one not be the better choice? If it was the current day and the injury didn't allow for additional happiness afterward, perhaps, but that is not the case in our scenario. Thus, not killing an individual will result in a greater net happiness than killing them would. As such, opting for the option that would not kill them, the non-lethal weapon, is the moral choice, and the choice of warring non-lethally becomes morally justified.
     This position is not without its opponents. This trio of arguments all attempt to defeat this moral position, but are all refuted by the same general line of reasoning. The first argument is that of non-lethality being a poor deterrent. A non-lethal state has a hard time avoiding having war declared on it for its potential vulnerability and the lack of harm directed at the aggresor since the non-lethal state is not killing them. The second argument is that using non-lethal force primarily actually lowers the inhibitions against war, making it seem more reasonable to go to war over something as the targeted group is not at as much risk because you will not be killing them. The third is that war will stretch on longer than before as sides are less-inclined to surrender early to avoid destruction and damage is felt less as the opposing side isn't really losing any lives.
     My response to these arguments would be that they are true, yet do not change the situation. They can be summarized as this: You will have war declared against you more, you will declare war against others more, and wars will last longer. The first can be mitigated if you retain lethal force for defense of the country, but don't use it for aggression, even in peacekeeping or humanitarian intervention. The latter two are true, but are outweighed by the benefits of the non-lethal weapons. Overall, the wars will be more frequent and last longer, but there will be less death happening on either side, and the general happiness will accordingly be higher. People may become restless or tired of specific wars, but significantly less so than one would be if the death toll was higher.
     Other counter-arguments are more difficult to break. One would be that, along with the lengthened wars, they would become more economically unfeasible. Take into account that you need to actually do something with all of those incapacitated enemy combatants, and you have a sizable financial problem on your hands. In one way, this could actually be turned into a benefit: if wars are more difficult to maintain in a morally-strong way, wars will be less frequent. The second argument above, that we will have lower inhibitions about going to war, will be removed if we have the increased inhibition against war because of the difficulty of maintaining it economically. This doesn't solve the problem however. I could argue that the saving of human lives is more important than the saving of money. However, spend enough money on the non-lethal effort and your country cannot support their own people, which creates a great level of unhappiness, more than the happiness being left possible by not killing the enemy. I think that the best way to approach this is to consider the benefit of economic difficulty deterring war. If a people thinks a war is unjust, they will not tolerate the huge economic destruction it would cause for them. If the people think a war is just though, they very well may be willing to sacrifice their own economic prosperity to succeed in the war. In this way, the economic troubles of a non-lethal war actually help to deter unjust wars and only take up just causes in creating war.
     There are two more primary counter-arguments against non-lethal weaponry's morality in war. The first is not really applicable to this discussion, and that's the potential for abuse of a non-lethal weapon if obtained by the wrong people. For example, a chief concern is the potential for terrorist use of an electromagnetic bomb ruining our society's economic and informational infrastructure. However, this is not actually a fault of using non-lethal weapons at all but of even developing or theorizing about them, and even if we do not pursue them the terrorist groups (and enemy nations) may still produce them on their own, leaving us completely unaware. Because of this, even development and theoretical conception of the weapons is vital, if for no other reason than to know how to protect ourselves against them.
      The second and final counter-argument is the measurement of non-physical harm, either lasting or temporary. I've established with my qualifications that the weapons used for this discussion have no lasting physical side effects and the target is physically left exactly as they were once the effects wear off. However, there are emotional and mental traumas that can never be fully removed. The dehumanization and embarrassment of being victimized, and the denial of someone's autonomy, are very real problems for non-lethal weaponry, regardless of how temporary its temporary effects are. My arguments against this are again based on the alternatives. Those alternatives are to allow the offending behavior to continue, or to act with lethal force. One is not morally allowable – leaving an unhappiness-causing behavior unaddressed does not increase general happiness at all, instead decreasing it. The other would not give them the chance to be happy again later, because even after the emotional trauma, death is still worse than not dying.
     [Conclusion of some kind]

Works Cited:
Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals
Mill's Utilitarianism

Known Issues:
* I lack the introduction and conclusion. I want to be confident in my main points before moving on to those. I may have written an introduction into the beginning anyway by accident, but there is definitely no conclusion.

* I am dangerously close to the word count limit for not having any intro or conclusion. This will likely be rectified by reducing my exegesis and removing things I don't need.

* I have not properly cited anything. These are very loose uses of the texts right now, and I'll be narrowing them somewhat and citing them properly – at this point I'm having trouble finding specific pages to cite for the broadness of my descriptions. Additionally, there isn't an additional scholarly article included yet, though I could likely find one that argues at least one of my counterpoints. The description of what an outside source is though (An outside source is defined as one that was not assigned as a reading for the course) makes me unsure of whether the news articles I use as reference count for the requirement. Even more descriptions (such as for some of the weapons) could probably use additional sources as well.

And that's the essay. Here's what I'd really like help with: I'm looking for three varieties of assistance.
If you are at all familiar with any of the moral arguments or discussions of non-lethal weapons or you have a basic common sense input (or even just a belief that ought to be represented), please share it. This includes complications to the argument, as well as additional support. If you know of any scholarly sources to aim at, even better. This is kinda like getting help at a revision level.
Second, if you have any experience with writing papers, I'd love some assistance if you think I did something poor in the general use of my language. Did I mess up something organizational? Did I make some really lame sentences that could use tons of improvement? Tell me. I need to know. This is like getting help at an editing level.
Lastly, if you have no experience with paper writing or morality or philosophy or non-lethal weapons, you can still help! Please, point out my basic errors: punctuation goofs, typos, duplicate sentences, stuff like that. This is like getting help at a proofreading level, and is no less important than either other part.
Please. Help me get a good grade. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the essay, and I'll post it again for realz when I've rewritten it with help from my peer critique partner, my professor, and any of you that can help.

End Recording,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 22 (Ladytron - Predict the Day)

Okay, made the deadline. Barely. Anyway, Ladytron is a British electronica band who often incorporate elements of pop and synthpop. Five albums, of which I know Velocifero(album 4) most. Haven't heard the latest one at all, which is probably to be expected since it came out less than 2 weeks ago.
They're pretty special for a band of this strength in that they don't seem to have ANY member strife. From 1999, they seem to remain unchanged. Pretty uncommon, isn't it. They do a lot of remixing for other artists, and get featured in films, games, and ads from time to time. I know that *I* found them through the tv show Fringe(the song was Burning Up, off of Velocifero).
That should be a good amount of data.
They've actually released a set of remixes of each of their albums(except the latest) under the name of each album with the added phrase "(Remixed and Rare)". They're pretty good. I love it when bands do this, personally.
Their site:
Predict the Day(Grey Ghost Remix):

End Recording,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Historical Songaday: Day 20 (Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This))

British pop rock duo Eurythmic's breakout hit, it has appeared a bajillion times in movies and such, gets covered and remixed all the time, and is generally a very popular song. One cover is from Sucker Punch, by lead actress Emily Browning, and it is excellent. So that's it for tonight.
This song was selected by my little brother!
Woops, missed posting this yesterday. Not posting Day 21 though, it's not worth it. Use the Music page if you really care.

Their site:
Emily Browning Cover:

End Recording,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Schoolwork: Military Ethics in Apocalypse Now
Further is definitely not my favorite Chemical Brothers album but it is still a good one. This is a good song and you should like it. I tried to find a song that gave me the right Apocalypse Now feel but it wasn't coming to me so just enjoy good unrelated music.

Hey, finally a post-able essay from this class! So here's the assignment:
We were given a list of movies at the beginning of the class. Each movie had an associated due date, and we all signed up for a movie to do the essay on, with the restriction of each movie having a two-person limit. The most interesting thing is the list of movies: it was actually good. This wasn't a list of stuffy educational films, but a real, feature-length, theater films. Full Metal Jacket, The Hurt Locker, Saving Private Ryan, as well as films not considered top-level filmography but topically related like Troy and 300 (yeah, 300). In fact, a pretty amazing piece on the list is gonna be due on the last couple days of class: Zero Dark Thirty. That only came out here like a couple of days ago! Very topical.
So what'd I do? Apocalypse Now. I picked Apocalypse Now because I enjoyed the movie the first time I watched it a couple years ago and knew I'd have plenty to talk about. It is a heavily troubled movie when it comes to morality. For the record, I've also read Heart of Darkness but don't recall it too well and it wasn't at all relevant to the project, I just thought it was vaguely relevant to mention.

Hey, here's the specific prompt:

This assignment is designed to give you a chance to look at a popular text (namely, a film) and give thoughtful analysis and commentary on one of the ethical issues raised by that film, in light of our discussions of different ethical systems, ideas and perspectives in class. 
You are to write a 1200 - 1500 word paper (please note the word count at the top of the page) in the standard essay format (see below) which should include discussion of ALL of the following in roughly equal proportions:      Introduction: to set up your thesis and the paper. 
What is the one issue that you are focusing the paper around?
What are your going to argue in your paper?  What is your position in Step 2 to be? 
Step 1: exegesis and discussion of one (and only one) of the major ethical issues or ideas explored in the film, which will necessitate some plot summary or explanation of the themes in the movie. 
Step 1: any connections you see between the issues in the film and the issues or theories that we have been discussing in class. (This is similar to analysis in the 4 Step process) 
Step 2:  your assessment and argument concerning the issue you focused on. This is not simply to be a book report on the plot of the film, but a careful analysis and assessment of a major ethical issue presented and your own arguments and ideas regarding that issue. (This should include your thesis with at least 2 supporting arguments, evidence for each point and discussion of what that evidence proves.) 
Conclusion: to summarize what you have proved in your paper and its larger implications for thinking about ethics.
Yeah, I included a pretty long amount of it 'cuz it specified a particular format so you understand.
Anyway, here, enjoy the movie!

Max / Ego
PHIL224 – Apocalypse Now Essay
Word Count: 1595 (technically this assignment had a 1200-1500 word limit but I overshot by what I feel is a reasonable amount)
            The most important plot arc throughout Apocalypse Now, a 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola, is Captain Benjamin L. Willard's mission to assassinate the rogue american Colonel Kurtz. However, this mission is absolutely and completely immoral. Willard's own actions through the film are not always immoral, nor are Kurtz's or the crew of the boat Willard travels on, but the assignment of the mission by the American government was wrong. I believe that Willard's mission in Apocalypse Now, as ordered, was immoral based upon Kurtz's illegitimacy as a target and the determination of the mission as an illegitimate tactic.
            The movie is placed in the Vietnam war, focusing upon the story of Captain Willard. Willard was a U.S. Army Captain and later a CIA assassin. Having returned home, he found himself unable to re-acclimate to civilian life and is back in Saigon hoping for a mission when he is approached by intelligence officers. They give him his mission: to sail up the Nung River up into Cambodia and find Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Kurtz is wanted for murder, and has now leads a tribe of Montagnard natives who worship him as a god. As Lieutenant-General Corman puts it early on, “very obviously, he has gone insane.” The CIA wants Willard to assassinate Kurtz.
            We learn throughout the film of the exact circumstances of Kurtz's crime. Kurtz killed four South Vietnamese people, intelligence agents. He ordered their execution on his belief that they were double agents for the Viet Cong. Trouble is, he had these executions performed without receiving authorization. After that he refused to come in and went up through the country, making hit-and-run raids, performing gruesome acts of violence against the Viet Cong. There was a complication to the charge of murder against Kurtz: he had been correct. After the executions all enemy activity ceased in the region. Until the executions, he'd been a model soldier, dedicated and highly effective.
            There are two things that must be made clear before discussing the morality of the mission. The first is that I'm discussing the morality of the mission as ordered, not as it eventually happened. Atrocities are committed by Kurtz within the span of the movie that, if they'd been known before, would have changed the morality of the mission. The primary example of that is the decapitation of Chef – until then Kurtz was only known to have killed North Vietnamese and Viet Cong and Cambodians. Additionally, we aren't discussing the exact methods used during the execution of the mission by Willard and his crew other than the actions specifically laid out by the mission. To that end, certain actions by Willard don't matter in establishing the morality here, such as shooting the innocent woman in the sampan. Only the actual concept of the mission is being examined for its morality. The second is that I don't plan to discuss the morality of the war as a whole. While McMahan argues that the morality of the war itself cannot be divorced from the morality of the action, to avoid the long discussion of the morality of the Vietnam war (which is not a topic explored in detail through the film) I will assume that the Vietnam war was just – if we were to assume the opposite, the mission, in attempting to contribute to the war's success, could only be judged as unjust.
            Certain philosophers may judge the mission differently based on what belief system they hold. John Stuart Mill, who wrote the text Utilitarianism which clarified the philosophy's conceptual trappings and argued against their critiques. His idea of utilitarianism is that the moral action is the one that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. If we consider the success of the war to be moral and to create the greatest general happiness, then the mission would actually be counter-productive to these aims. On the whole, Kurtz only targeted the enemy, primarily the Viet Cong. Removing Kurtz would leave more enemy troops alive to impede the success of the war. Additionally, redirecting troops from the front lines of the war to engage in this fruitless mission (which does result in the loss of several of their lives) is a sacrifice of happiness that is not counterbalanced by the increase in happiness that may be caused by completing the mission. By this logic, Mill would consider the mission immoral.
            Immanuel Kant, unlike Mill, doesn't believe that happiness, either of the individual or of the collective, is related to morality. For Kant, morality comes in doing something for itself, from doing an action that can universally be considered right. Kant would not likely be willing to judge the mission as moral – assassination as a means to an end, and an act that cannot be taken with universality. It could be argued though that Kant would consider it a duty to prevent or punish treachery, but assassination would not likely have been his moral solution.
            Neither Mill nor Kant would consider the act moral. However, one faction of philosophy that would consider it moral (or would at least be far more apt to consider its potential morality). This faction is the realists. Believing morality and war to be completely separate issues, that war is an act of political motivation, realists would be more likely to consider the mission as moral. It would remove a disagreeing force, punish a traitor, and produce an example to deter other traitors.
            Personally, I think that Kurtz's illegitimacy as a target and the mission's illegitimacy as a tactic prevent the mission from being moral. There are two separate ways of considering Kurtz's status as a target, and both ways would conclude that he is not legitimate. If taken as an individual, Kurtz violated jus in bello by acting outside his authorization and killing on his suspicions, right though they were. However, once he had stricken out on his own in the jungle, his situation changed. He was part of a hierarchical system (the leader of his tribe), but wielded no weapons and wore no identifying emblems. While the Geneva Conventions' Additional Protocols added (specifically to address guerrilla warfare common to situations like Vietnam) that without an emblem a target may be considered a combatant if he still is known to have a weapon before he is attacked, Kurtz had no weapon. He could not be considered a combatant. While recent developments in military ethics present that culpability in military actions (such as that by a commander-in-chief or a tribal dictator like Kurtz) may indicate a person like Kurtz could be a legitimate target, the combined fact of his indirect contribution to the combat and the fact that his aggression is aimed elsewhere indicates to me that he is not a viable target.
            The other way of thinking of Kurtz's situation is as another warring entity. Kurtz's striking out on his own and establishing his own little hierarchical system may indicate that he and his tribe should be treated as a separate body to go to war against, however small. This would require the mission to comply with jus ad bellum as well, or the case for going to war with Kurtz would not be just. If the seven requirements, we could fairly reason that the US has just cause, a reasonable chance of success, legitimate authority, and last resort (this last one is proven by the attempted peace offering and then the failed mission of Captain Colby).  This leaves three. Right intent cannot be known through the film – it could have been a selfish motivator such as fear or a virtuous attempt to end Kurtz's jus in bello-violating brutality. The remaining two, however, prevent the mission from being a just act of war against Kurtz. There was certainly no public declaration of war – the mission was covert even to the American troops. Proportionality is susceptible to the subjective ways it could be interpreted, but my own interpretation is that the mission is not a proportionate response. Kurtz killed enemy troops who the US was going to kill anyway. His greatest crime is that he did so under his own authority rather than under orders. The US planned to kill him for killing the same people the US planned to, although Kurtz did so in a brutal fashion. Assassination was not the best option, and was more harsh than was necessary. Without these final elements of jus ad bellum, even treating the mission as an initial act of war against a new faction run by Kurtz does not make it just. By all accounts, Kurtz is an illegitimate target. It is by this token as well that the mission becomes an illegitimate tactic – proportionality is also a requirement for a tactic to be legitimate, and as the mission is already established as disproportionate, it cannot be legitimate.
            With the mission being both an illegitimate tactic and the being aimed at an illegitimate target, the mission is immoral. The broader implication of this is that individuals who strike out on their own and form groups cannot be removed by assassination if they are not directly fighting against you. It raises larger questions about the precise morality of vigilantism itself and what to do when someone who is arguably acting immorally is actually aiding your side – do you turn aside the help and turn on them, or do you accept it? It is clear now that simple assassination  is not the answer. In Apocalypse Now, Willard's mission to terminate Kurtz is ultimately immoral.

Immanuel Kant's "Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals"
- Used for referencing Kant's viewpoint on morality.
John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism and the 1868 Speech on Capital Punishment" (2nd Edition, edited by George Sher)
- Used for referencing the tenets of Utilitarianism and Mill's particular brand of the philosophy.
Helen Frowe's "The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction"
- Used for helping to define the specifics of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Frowe helped define the exact specifics of "Legitimate Target" and "Legitimate Tactic" which form the crux of the argument used in the piece.

I really want to make it clear that this argument is actually INCOMPLETE. This is not everything I generated. This is, I think, my single best argument (that Kurtz was not a legitimate target) combined with fusing that argument together into my second-best argument (about the tactic's legitimacy - this argument could also be much further fleshed out but was held back by the word count limit). The tactic argument also has an unwritten explanation of how the other aspect of legitimacy (there are two main parts of it - proportionality and military necessity, the former of which I, well, I pretty much pay it lip service I guess, but the argument is there). The necessity side would focus around the complete lack of need to hunt down Kurtz. Once again, he wasn't at all a threat to the US and was technically an asset. If the Viet Cong had been the ones to hunt him down it would be an entirely legitimate tactic - he had slaughtered huge numbers of North Vietnamese and posed a substantial military threat. But the Americans had no reason to spend military (or intelligence, as it were) assets to hunt down what was technically a helping force until after they had finished in Vietnam (at which point he would need to be captured and tried as a war criminal). Another argument I have against the morality is the unapproved violation of border integrity, launching a minor invasion into Cambodia. Since Cambodia was a neutral territory technically, the danger of sparking another conflict with them as well outweighed the benefits of catching a man who is killing your enemy for you.
Those are the additional things I would have most liked to have added if I'd had more room in the paper.

To mention, there are other things I'd have liked to explore in the film to do with ethics that had nothing to do with the mission (and thus couldn't be included in this paper). I'd have liked to have talked more about the generalized version of what this view of morality implies, that vigilantism can be tolerated as long as the target remains a threat. A man who takes the law into his own hands to kill a murderer can be punished - the threat he intends to remove is gone. A man like, say, Batman would actually be an illegitimate target to pursue and kill - he's acting on your side and you should take advantage of the help while you can. Guess what? That's basically the story of Batman and Jim Gordon. Anyway, I'd like to talk more at length about the dangers of this approach (I didn't really have much room for counter-points and refutation here). Kurtz, by the end, is revealed to have taken his extremism to the point that he believed the best course of action to be to "Drop The Bomb, Kill Them All," something clearly intolerable by the US (I'd argue that, if Kurtz was armed and disposed to actually pull that off, at that point the overkill and collateral damage would mark the mission as  both necessary and proportionate tactic and that Kurtz is a proportionate and the States's vocal and consistent threat to all potential users of nukes would probably count as a public declaration).
Another thing I struggled against was the morality of the fact that some soldiers seemed to enjoy their job a little more than seems healthy. This applies to a couple of guys, though not anyone on the boat that I can think of, but more than anything to Bill Kigore. Kilgore, on the one hand, seems unhealthily fond of his job - he musically assaults them to cause fear, he commands mercilessly, he seems nonchalant about enemy deaths (death cards), and of course the nostalgia he feels about napalming a whole hill to ash. And he seems to treat the war as almost a game at times - he orders them into worse territory just for surfing. But at the same time, he's actually somewhat honorable. He cares deeply for his men and their well-being, and when presented with a civilian whose been wounded mortally he shows respect for the courage and tenacity of him, though it takes him all of thirty seconds to forget him entirely for the young celebrity surfer on Willard's team. I kinda feel like no soldier should feel good about the individual actions they're taking against the enemy, though they should feel good about the war making progress on a higher level. Morally though, I don't think they should derive satisfaction from the actual killing of the enemy other than the simple relaxation of having one less foe trying to kill them. Kilgore is, to me, a freakin' mystery.

So yeah, now that I've typed you all up an extra little mini-essay here I'm gonna sign off for the night. Hope you enjoy it! As usual, if you're interested you can ask questions or tell me things I don't know/was wrong about or wrote poorly about. I love help, or learning new stuff!

End Recording,