Epistemic Closure...For Nerds

Adam Sternbergh decries the rise of geek groupthink:

Once, a fanboy was defined by isolation: a taste for films, or comic books, or pulp novels, or TV shows that flourished in the shadowed cracks of the culture, ignored or dismissed by the mainstream. You loved what you loved, in part, because it spoke directly to you, and in part because most other people didn't feel the same way. That was the whole point. And while you enjoyed your Sandman comics or episodes of Red Dwarf, you imagined--you hoped--there were like-minded people out there. You might occasionally meet one at a local convention (perhaps while both in costume) or behind the counter of the local comic store.

Now, of course, fanboys all hang out on the Internet, and they are legion. And if there is one thing the Internet is good for, it's bringing together like-minded people, then convincing them that their opinion is the only valid one in existence. Psychologists call this "group polarization," a tendency for people who agree to gather and prod each other toward further extremism. This has long been evident on political blogs, but it's true in cultural criticism as well. If you are wild about Christopher Nolan films, you can easily find others who are nuts about Nolan, and soon you will wonder how anyone else could possibly feel any different. To use a fanboy-approved metaphor, the Internet is like the Tree of Souls in Avatar: a place to plug in and feel as one. But this polarization--along with the fanboy's newfound cultural clout--has led to a kind of groupthink. Once the outcast underdogs, fanboys have become the new bullies.

This seems myopic to me. Sternbergh writes as though fan cultures didn't exist before the World Wide Web, as though you couldn't find conformity in fan circles before, and as though that groupthink never led to fiery passions. He also writes as though the Internet hasn't made it just as easy for people with minority tastes within fandom to find one another. If anything, the isolated enthusiast in Sternbergh's scenario is now much more likely to encounter people who like science fiction but don't like Star Trek, who like comics but don't like superheroes, or who otherwise break with both the mainstream-mainstream and the alternative-mainstream. The discovery might delight her and it might rouse her to fury, but either way it suggests that more rather than fewer ideas are being exchanged.

In culture as in politics, groupthink is annoying. And right now we're both in the middle of the summer blockbuster season and just four months from an election, so there's no shortage of noisy conformists eager to bully anyone who deviates from their tribes. Try not to let it bother you. They only scream so loudly because their turf is shrinking.

(Bonus link: "Instead of a post about epistemic closure.")

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    They are only the new bullies if you give a shit about what the little dweebs think. If you have to seek out others like you to reaffirm your tastes, you are pretty much the definition of pathetic.

  • -||

    If you have to seek out others like you to reaffirm your tastes...

    Careful now.

  • ||

    NTTAWWT, John. =P

  • Anonymous||

    You forgot the "Down with this sort of thing".

  • ||

    I've talked about something like this in the underground music scene(s)...

    There really is no underground music scene anymore. It used to be that if you went to the shows you knew about it, and if you didn't, you were square.

    The underground is available to anybody with interwebs access now, and I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it ain't like it used to be either.

    "Sternbergh writes as though fan cultures didn't exist before the World Wide Web, as though you couldn't find conformity in fan circles before, and as though that groupthink never led to fiery passions."

    You're better off railing against the gatekeepers that used to be.

    You can apply it to car culture or motorcycle culture too. Being a motorcycle enthusiast online isn't the same as getting together in real life. And when online people do show up at these things, you get a different experience than you would have before.

    Things are watered down for by a general audience. You're not getting more distinctive beer when all the marginal fans pour in. You're watering it down.

  • ||

    I think I am the only motocycle rider in America who doesn't like to hang out with other bikers. I love my motorcycle. But for me the fun of it is it being a lone experience. When I go out I want to ride not sit around and talk about riding.

    I like the internet for bikes because you can find out where the good rides are. I really don't get the social aspect of it.

  • The Gobbler||

    I'm with you. When I ride with others, I have to focus far too much on them so I don't cause them to crash.

  • The Gobbler||

    Best place to ride is US Highway 29 between Troy and Tuskeegee Alabama. Sweet, rural, curvy roads with a good bit of distance between small towns.

  • ||

    I lived in Atlanta for a year. Spent a lot of weekends up in the North Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. It is motorcycle paradise down there. I hear Alabama is the same way but I never got over there.

  • ||

    I'd like to buy a place in Ojai, just 'cause Highway 33 goes north from there. Check it out on Google Maps.

    In June and July, I'd say more than 95% of all the traffic on that highway is motorcycles.

    Once it hits the 166, you can go to the Sierras, which is freakin' twisties half way to Oregon if you want 'em, or better yet, you can cut over to US1, camp on the beach and ride the coast up to Santa Cruz.

    ...and then cut across the Sierras.

    I'd like to do the ride down from Montana too through Colorado, into Durango and through the mountains of Northern New Mexico.

    I want a bike that'll let me go iron butt, but on the twisties. All the way to Canada and back.

    I want a Triumph ST so freakin' bad.

  • ||

    It's the customization. And parts. And tuning.

    Especially certain bikes that they've been making for decades.

    That's the great thing about bikes is that you can customize them for the way you ride, and you can see what other people are doing and how well that works.

    I have to say I'm not a harley guy. In fact, I see no upside to a harley at all. So that may not apply so much to harleys. You point 'em in a straight line and they go, and God help you in the parking lot. They're just like Goldwings to me, with about the same cache.

    I'm passin' harleys in the twisties in my car! But for a lot of bikes, you can adjust/customize 'em to do just about anything you want from iron-butt to a day in the twisties.

    Getting it just right can become an obsession, no doubt.

  • ||

    I own a BMW. What I love about it is that it is a piece of bullet proof German engineering. You just get on it and it goes. I love that. But, it also makes it hard to really mess with. The bike is smarter than I am.

    I bought the old Ford Mustang I owned in high school (the actual car) this summer. That is going to be my screw around and learn how to work on things project. My motorcycle I am leaving alone. Although when the mustang is done I might by an old air head. Those are a little more simple than mine.

  • ||

    Harley's are lawn mower technology. I don't get them either.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I knew a guy who was a Harley owner. If I'd had to deal with him on a daily basis, I would've gotten in a fight with him (and probably gotten my ass kicked).

    All he could do was talk about how he owned a Harley. He was a person straight out of a sitcom or a bad story. If I hadn't met him, I never would have believed it.

    Some kid at a store carded him for beer - "hey I had on my Harley jacket. No kid could afford a Harley, how could he think I wasn't old enough..." the guy could work "I own a Harley..." into a discussion of the trade imbalance between Peru and Chile.

    I'm sure he was an outlier, but it still made me not want to deal with other Harley owners, ever.

  • ||

    He is an outlier. They are generally not that bad or any worse than any other biker. They just have crappy over priced bikes.

  • Paul||

    Harley's are lawn mower technology. I don't get them either.

    Why do you hate lawnmowers, John?

  • Almanian||

    I'm with you and Gobbler. Don't ride with other bikers. Ever.

    I do like the interwebs for the technical info - it's hooked me up w/a bunch o' stuff I've done to my Ninja.

    That Harley I'm selling and getting a dirt bike....:)

  • ||

    I mean, Walker, weren't you a rave guy back in the day?

    I always thought of the litmus test for that scene was when the glow stick hoards started showing up in the '90s.

    Glow sticks was when that scene jumped the shark. People who thought it was about glow sticks, were part of the marginal multitude that, quite frankly, destroyed that subculture.

    ...or at the very least, completely watered it down.

    No scene becomes cooler as it gets bigger. ...not beyond a certain point. I mean if nobody's plugged in, then there's no scene, but as a rule, scenes don't scale beyond a point. And it's the marginal fans that are the means of their execution.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I mean, Walker, weren't you a rave guy back in the day?

    No. I've never really gotten into that kind of music, though I like some of it.

    No scene becomes cooler as it gets bigger.

    The issue isn't whether a scene gets better when it gets bigger. Some do, some don't, some it's just a matter of taste. The issue is whether the Web really fosters more groupthink than the other ways fans have affiliated over the years. The Web doesn't create one big fandom with one unassailable orthodoxy; it allows ever more niches to thrive and to interact with each other.

  • ||

    "No scene becomes cooler as it gets bigger."

    totally not true. In junior high I got big into my schools fax club...and fax club got awesome when faxing hit the mainstream.

  • highnumber||

    There really is no underground music scene anymore. It used to be...


    I hate to break it to you, but this is evidence of you getting old.

  • ||

    Yeah. I don't know. But I bet there are a few out there if you looked hard enough. But I am betting anyone over the age of 25 is going to feel a bit out of place.

  • ||

    I heard music underground when I was at Ruby Falls. It was freaky.

  • Ska||

    In Tennesee? That Ruby Falls?

  • Correction Dweeb||

    Ruby Falls actually IS in (under) Tennessee.

  • ||

    Yeah, the entrance is just up the mountain from Chattanooga (the St. Elmo area). You cross the border going to Rock City. The mountain itself runs from Alabama through Georgia to Tennessee.

  • Correction Dweeb||

    BTW, while the falls formation is interesting, Ruby Falls is still an overcrowded, overpriced, way too commercialized tourist trap where large tour groups are quickmarched underground from elevator to falls and back again without much else to see along the way. Raccoon Mountain Caverns, less than 10 miles away, is a far more varied and worthwhile show cave, IMHO.

  • Ska||

    I only ask because I saw a bunch of signs for the place when I was at Bonnaroo, but I had no idea what it was.

  • Butts Wagner||

    SEE ROCK CITY!!!!!!

  • ||

    I agree completely. We've got a three-year old, which makes the cheesier touristy option more appealing.

    While we were there, I did wonder whether there were any private tours of the old Lookout Mountain caves still available (that's what was there before everything became about Ruby Falls).

  • ||

    I always thought Lookout Mountain was a battlefield.

  • ||

    It was. The Battle Above the Clouds. We went to Point Park for a while, which has a lot of Civil War stuff.

  • ||

    I have toured Missionary Ridge and Chickamauga but haven't gotten up to Lookout Mountain. I love civil war battlefields.

  • ||

    Several of my ancestors lived in a house that's still standing in the Chickamauga Battleground Park. I had planned to go there this trip but lacked the time.

  • ||

    It was such a bloody brawl and the terrain so bad for maneuver, it is a hard battlefield to tour. It is a lot like the Wilderness battlefield in Northern VA in that. The best battlefields to tour are Anteitam and Gettysburg. Those battles were out in the open and you can really see the topography and understand what happened and why. You stand on Little Round Topp and look down the ridge and see all of the union monuments lined up in a perfect row, you understand real quick why holding it was the key to the position. There are not any spots like that at Chickimauga.

  • ||

    Losing Chattanooga was a huge blow to the Confederacy, as it served as a base of operations for resupply (it was a major rail hub back then) for the invasion of the rest of the South.

  • ||

    Yes. The war was lost there, Vicksburg and Atlanta. Lee was charging around Virginia getting all the press. But the South lost the war in the west.

  • ||

    I like to think that the troops took a break from the fighting to see Rock City.

  • ||

    I'll start a civil war with anyone who informs me that Rock City wasn't open back then.

  • ||

    Maybe.

    But like I've said before, I still straggle into a local show every once in a while, and the underground just isn't what it used to be.

    It's there, but it's just not what it was. It's hard to describe, but to use an even older scene as a reference, imagine some of the beats in the '60 and early '70s.

    I saw Michael McClure read some poetry in the early '90s. He was great 40 years after the beats were dead. I've seen Ginsberg on film from the '60s...

    I imagine them walking into a poetry slam or something, and people are still reading poetry today, but it isn't like it used to be.

    And is that because McClure and other beats got old?

    I saw him perform, he was as good and as vibrant and as relevant as ever. But times changed, and the beat movement became common knowledge to marginal fans like me, and the scene just isn't what it used to be. And I think the fact that McClure got old didn't have anything to do with it.

    The scene was destroyed by young hipsters (aka "hippies"), and that was that. Sure, the beats got old, but that doesn't mean the underground scene was what it used to be.

    It's just that before, they had new underground scenes, and nowadays, when everything is pretty much above ground, it's happening to pretty much everything across the board--in every scene. Art, music, poetry, motorcycle clubs, you name it...

    I think it's different this time, and I don't think it's because I'm getting older. I think the game's changing.

    Wide acceptance of gay people might be an excellent example. Gay culture probably isn't what it used to be, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing--in the case of gay culture and its acceptance, that probably isn't a bad thing. But just because gay culture going mainstream isn't necessarily a bad thing, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    Same thing happens in other subcultures. That's all I'm tryin' to say.

  • Paul||

    But like I've said before, I still straggle into a local show every once in a while, and the underground just isn't what it used to be.

    And everything since the Beatles sucks.

  • ||

    I wasn't born yet when the Beatles hit, dude.

    I am old enough to remember before a lot of stuff hit, enough to appreciate the originality of stuff when its new.

    I've talked about this with other people around here (where's dhex when you need him?), but I'll hear death metal people shit all over Slayer for instance...

    You can't judge the quality of what came before by what came afterwards; but you can judge the influence of a band by what came after them. Venom was the biggest joke of a band there ever was, but you have to take who they influenced and the impact it had into account.

    ...if you're some kind of musicologist.

    If you're a fan, you judged 'em by the shows you went to. When you were 1 of 300 that went to that show at the VFW. You went and saw Napalm Death, or whoever, and there just wasn't anything else like it. There wasn't any other way to experience it either. Recordings were hard to come by and weren't really anything like going to a show anyway...

    When music is something you experience over the internet, it's just different. Music made for the radio is different from music made to listen to while high and wearing headphones. Music made to see in a tiny club is different too, and the audience is different.

    I saw Battalion of Saints and other hardcore bands when I was like 12 and 13. The audience and the subculture changed, and that's not a good thing or a bad thing, it just is what it is. Scenes get destroyed by their own popularity.

    I remember when most people didn't know a skinhead from a skrewdriver--now there's a straight-edger that headlines wrestling matches on the WWE.

    When I was was growing up, I thought gay people were about as common as siamese twins--now that subculture is mainstream. The average netzien knows about Furries and Goreans now. People talk about the Black Block at G20 summits like it's common knowledge--because it is common knowledge. The underground just isn't as far underground as it used to be.

  • ||

    It used to be that if you went to the shows you knew about it, and if you didn't, you were square.

    It's the same scene, people go to the shows and know each other. The webs haven't changed much in the way of nobodies playing dank barrooms.

  • skr||

    it is easier to find out about the shows though so the barrier t entry is lower.

  • ||

    What Sternbergh misses is that, while the internet gives all this micro-fan-cosms the opportunity to really hang out together, familiarity still breeds contempt.

  • ||

    Is that when they get into Nerd fights over how many episodes of Star Trek there are or who is the hottest smurf chick?

  • waffles||

    the hottest smurf chick?

    isn't there only one?

  • ||

    I don't know. I never saw the movie. I assume there was more than one. There was a whole race of smurfs right?

  • Joe M||

    There were two. An adult and a child. So... *shudder*

  • ||

    Then how the hell was there a war? I thought the whole movie was about the evil corporations killing the groovy blue people. You mean there was only two of the little fuckers? They couldn't kill two lousy smurfs one of whom was a child?

  • Tim||

    You're thinking of Cameron's AVATAR.

  • JEP||

    Are we talking about Avatar or actual smurfs?

    Or South Park making fun of Avatar?

  • ||

    We are talking South Park making fun of Avatar and nerds arguing about which blue person was hotter. Sorry to be too esoteric there.

  • Tim||

    You sound epist off

  • ||

    epic John, epic

    John makes James Cameron cry

  • ||

    Loving how you keep saying 'they'.

  • Almanian||

    lulz

    *takes time to reflect..*

    :)

  • thenino85||

    Until you have legions of these fans descending on someone's doorstep to beat them up because they said something on the Internet, pfffffffffffffffft. Who gives a damn what an asthma-ridden dweeb thinks (I can say that because I'm one, you can't*!)

    Something tells me the author is a lot like this:
    http://xkcd.com/386/

    * Though I have a hunch that a lot of Reason blog readers fall into the same camp.

  • WTF||

    No shit. That XKCD comic is one of my favorites. And yes indeed, the majority of Reasonoids are aptly described therein.

  • Butts Wagner||

    that comic totally describes me if you change the word wrong to naked. And if you assume that the voice saying "are you coming to bed?" is just a voice in my head.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    XKCD fucking blows.

  • ||

    The weekly standard hates them too.

  • Paul||

    And if there is one thing the Internet is good for, it's bringing together like-minded people, then convincing them that their opinion is the only valid one in existence.

    Does one need to read past this sentence? I mean, it's pretty clear this guy has never spent much time on the internets, or even understands it from a broad conceptual view...

  • ||

    Clearly. The one thing the internet is good for is watching porn. The rest is just gilding...

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    This complaint sounds like any of the other myriad "the internet has made my little fiefdom overpopulated" whining that you hear constantly.

  • Paul||

    It's worse than that. It's highly self-contradictory. The complaint essentially sais "The internet has made me realize my fiefdom isn't the only one... GROUPTHINK!"

    Yet this Sternbergh cat doesn't see the irony.

  • ||

    That is one of the most annoying things about the last 40 years in American culture. Maybe it existed before. But it seems to have gotten worse. There is this whole idea that something being good is not sufficient. It must not only be good but hard to find and available only to an elite to be good.

    I was thinking about this point a few weeks ago when I was in Memphis. I had never been to Memphis. So I went to Beale street. Understand that Beale street is a total tourist trap. It is the largest tourist attraction in Tennessee. Also understand that the house bands at most of the bars there are of a quality unseen in nearly every major city in America. You could find blues bands that good in Chicago or New York but you are going to pay for it. And most of the real blues bands I saw in Austin couldn't get a job on Beale Street playing for free. I looked at this and went "wow this is cool. these guys are great". But I looked around and could see why some people would hate it. It was all just so accessible and non elite. That didn't bother me a bit. But I know it would bother the hell out of a lot of people. I really hate that and don't get it. If it is good, what difference does it make if it is mass marketed?

  • ||

    Bigger than Rock City?

  • Correction Dweeb||

    Rock City is actually in Georgia. See seven states (only one of which is TN).

  • ||

    I'm aware of that, but it's definitely marketed as being in Chattanooga. Kind of like Orlando and Disney World, even though the park is in another town in totally different county.

    I just took the kids on the Lookout Mountain tourism express--the Incline, Rock City, and Ruby Falls. Hadn't done any of those things in decades.

  • ||

    I had a "Rock City" barn near my house when I was a kid. I begged my parents to go. We went to Opryland instead. Where was I terrorized by a person in a mandolin costume.

  • ||

    You'll be thrilled to know that mandolin-garbed terrorists are strictly forbidden on the Rock City grounds.

  • Tony||

    I'm partial to their Big Cock Randy Mountain ride.

  • ||

    Could you show us on the doll where the mandolin touched you?

  • ||

    All of the musical characters were terrifying. But the mandolin was especially grotesque. It didn't really have a head, just eyes and beak.

  • ||

    SF,

    My great-grandfather had a See Rock City barn. Sadly, it got burned down by vandals a few years ago (the property is still occupied by my great aunt). My grandmother commissioned a painting of the barn, so I have a print at home.

  • ||

    The Rock City thing is a weird coincidence. I just saw one of these the other day and got to talking about Rock City with my wife.

    The Rock City barn near my house was abandoned and eventually consumed by trees.

  • ||

    Bought one of those birdhouses for my dad last birthday. I also picked up a Christmas ornament of the same design last week. It's a family thing with us. Though we don't actually go to the place so much.

  • Correction Dweeb||

    The Walt Disney World Resort is partially in the same county as Orlando (Orange) and partially in another county (Osceola). The bulk of the public areas is in Orange. None of it has ever been in the city limits of Orlando, nor has the entire resort been within another city (probably you were thinking of nearer-by Kissimmee). However, there are two technical municipalities within the resort, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, both of which were created, along with the Reedy Creek Improvement District, to provide services normally associated with a governmental body for what was sold to the state by Walt Disney as an experimental but fully functioning community with a theme park/resort attached. They still exist today although the voting population is limited to a few residents in the employ of the Disney company.

  • ||

    Ah, well, half wrong.

  • T||

    If it's mass marketed, it can't possibly be good, John. Because the pink puffy people and the lumpy proles have horrible taste, and what defines us cognoscenti is being different from those losers. If they like it, it must suck, because they suck. Ergo, anything they like must not be any good.

    I remain open to alternative theories, but that's my current bet.

  • ||

    I am totally lacking in doucheoisie sensibility.

  • Joe M||

    Heh, doucheoisie, that's pretty good.

  • ||

    I am not sure where it came from. But I heard it somewhere. And it it pretty well fits doesn't?

  • JEP||

    Yeah, I've never understood the "i'm going to put on the tightest pair of jeans I have, throw up after every meal to maintain my "six pack" abs, go to the nearest Starbucks, order a 5 dollar cup of mediocre coffee and water it down with soy milk, and sit there for hours on my trendy Mac laptop perusing trendy websites about expensive things" attitude.

  • Mo||

    Show me on the doll where the hipster touched you.

  • JEP||

    +1

    I was unresponsive.

  • Whoopi Goldberg||

    Well, that's rape rape, then.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If it's mass marketed, it can't possibly be good, John

    I had a college roommate who absolutely hated it when Pearl Jam got big. After all, he'd heard of them before.

    I can understand this - to a point. It's one thing to have something that you feel is your own personal treat or whatever, and it loses some of that cachet when everyone hops on board.

    But it's a very different thing to have something that you love, and then totally abandon it, simply because other people now like it. (e.g., "if it's popular, it can't be good - QED"). That's the mark of an elitist asshole.

  • ||

    Music is terrible about that. Some bands are hated for no other reason than they are popular. Take any popular band and give them the right underground street creed and the same people who claim to hate them now would be claiming to love them. Don't believe me, I give you Hootie and the Blowfish as exhibit number one. And I am not kidding. If they had never sold a record and spent their lives playing frat houses in South Carolina, I guarantee you they would have a hipster following or at least be respected as this "great little indie band from South Carolina". It is absurd.

  • ||

    Hootie is awesome. Hootie was my obama.

  • robc||

    Was on Beale St last year. I agree exactly with John's assessment. *shudder*

  • ||

    B.B. King's All Stars are unreal. Those guys can play anything. It is good that it is that way. It would really suck if B.B. King had a lousy house band for his bar.

  • ||

    Serious interview with real Jedis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugk37TvIR8E

  • ||

    I tried to read McCaffery's Dragonflight a few months ago, and heartily endorse "Go Threads!" buttons.

  • ||

    Yeah, I don't understand why Jesse's friend was physically attacked...oh wait, yes I do, because they were McCaffery fans.

  • ||

    I was lukewarm to her "Freedom" series. Is "Dragonflight" any better?

  • WTF||

    I liked the Dragonflight books when I read them - when I was about 13 - 15 or so. Probably wouldn't care for them so much these days, but don't read fiction anymore anyhow.

  • ||

    I also enjoyed them when I read them about that age. I still like SF and Fantasy, but reread anything of hers so not sure if I would still like it.

  • ||

    Penny Arcade sums up my feelings for McCaffery.

  • ||

    My only experience with this was a firefly fan site in which i would talk about what i did not like about the show or a particular episode.

    No matter how many times i said i liked the show or even said what i liked about it the fan base there would freak out whenever i posted. They accused me of being a puppet of another guy who had his own criticisms. i got posts deleted and a few suspensions from posting.

    Anyway the whole experience convinced me that Joss Whedon fans are the worst people in the world.

  • ||

    To be fair, your criticisms were all invalid and stem from the fact that you fail to appreciate the genius that is Firefly. Otherwise, sounds like you have a legitimate beef. ;)

  • ||

    What an awesome show (though it did have flaws, of course). Something not right with a world that doesn't have five seasons or more of that series.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but I was never a firefly fan. That's mainly because I am an anime fan, and it seemed to me that most of firefly was derived from "Cowboy Bebop" and "Outlaw Star" with a splash of Whedon's over dramatization mixed in. In many cases it is not a perfect match, but similar enough. Sure, it's not an exact ripoff, but you can clearly see where Whedon probably got his main ideas for the setting and cast.

  • ||

    well atleast your sorry, ;)

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Is the post directly above meant to be satire?
    I really, really can no longer tell.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    (NOT L_I_T's post. Goddamn. Wish I were smart enough to operate in a threaded world.)

  • ||

    I got you. Threads are hard. Especially when there's a nest limit.

  • ||

    Lol, no it was not satire. Like I said, it is not a perfect copy, but the environment of Firefly is way Cowboy Bebop with characters coming from Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star (and just some general anime memes). On its own, this would not put me off of the show, but I hate the dialogue on Whedon's productions. If you watch Buffy or Firefly high off of your ass, you'll notice that it is part high school play, part self important fluff, and part adolescent nonsense. Of course, weed makes me ultra critical of a lot of media.

  • ||

    Whereas Cowboy Bebop was a completely original work.

  • wingnutx||

    Firefly seems to derive a lot from old Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle novels.

    I regard this as a good thing.

  • ||

    it seemed to me that most of firefly was derived from "Cowboy Bebop" and "Outlaw Star"

    Nope...although you are right in noticing the similarities but they are similar because they are all derived from the same source which is Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon and in the case of Cowboy Bebop a little of Boba Fett mixed in.

  • ||

    There are much stronger similarities between Firefly and Cowboy Bebop than there are between Cowboy Bebop and Star Wars. Sure, Cowboy Bebop, Firefly, Outlaw Star, and Star Wars all take cues from the "space cowboy/samurai" theme, but I'd argue that the similarities between anime such as Cowboy Bebop and Star Wars are all superficial. When I watch Cowboy Bebop, I don't feel at all like I am watching Star Wars, but when I watch Firefly, I feel like I am watching a poor man's Cowboy Bebop. Yes, both Cowboy Bebop and Star Wars take place after a massive war, but in Cowboy Bebop and Firefly, the war is a war of independence that ends up failing. In Star Wars, the Clone wars is a separatist war that leads to the creation of the empire and the fall of the Republic. Yes, all three involve a preceding war, but the similarities between the recent, failed revolutions of Cowboy Bebop and Firefly are more relevant than the similarities between the wars preceding either series and the original Star Wars trilogy. Neither Cowboy Bebop nor Firefly are as black and white as Star Wars. There are no characters on Cowboy Bebop that resemble any character in Star Wars in any more than a superficial way. The similarities between Spike and Mal are much more striking.

    I could go on and on about the general anime Memes associated with Firefly, but I have to go to work. I'll admit that everything is sort of derived from Star Wars, which itself was derived from the Westerns and Samurai films of the day, but I still think that the similarities between Firefly and certain high profile anime are much more striking than any similarities between Cowboy Bebop, for example, and Star Wars.

  • ||

    Ok i can take that all in stride.

    But let me ask you this:

    How did Wedon and Minear pitch this show to TV executives?

    Did they say "Its a post civil war wild west show set in space after the earth blows up and the US and China colonize a different solar system...."

    or did they say "Imagine a show that follows Han Solo and his career as a smuggler before he joined the rebellion?"

    My guess is they pitched it as the latter.

  • ||

    Also the first time we see Han Solo is in a Cantina having architecture suspiciously similar to Mexico with Jazz playing in the back ground...oh yeah and there is a shoot-out later in that same Cantina between Han Solo and a bounty hunter.

    Aside from the existential, everyone dies alone, malaise that perforates Bebop that 15 minutes of Star Wars is the entire plot of Cowboy Bebop.

  • ||

    Yes, Bebop takes the coolest, edgiest 15 minutes of Star Wars and runs with it in a much cooler way. As I've pointed out; even in the cases where Bebop and Star Wars are superficially similar, Bebop is much better. Bebop also stands on its own merits more often than not. Bebop has a lot that is derivative, but Shinichiro Watanabe gives it a soul all of its own. Sure, Samurai Champloo is probably similar to the thousands of Samurai anime that have existed, which are simply derivative of the hundreds of samurai movies that came out in the black and white cinema days. However, I've never seen a Samurai anime or movie that is nearly as entertaining or gripping or intelligent as Samurai Champloo.

    "that 15 minutes of Star Wars is the entire plot of Cowboy Bebop"

    I disagree that anybody would agree that that 15 minutes of Star Wars is the entire plot of Cowboy Bebop.

    I don't diss Firefly for being derivative, lots of great works are, but I don't think that Firefly has a lot of original elements that make me want to stand up and clap. Most of the good parts of Firefly are derivative and the parts that are not derivative are hardly worth mentioning, i.e. the characters, the dialogue, most of the subplots, etc. That all being said, Firefly is probably one of the better sci fi shows to appear on American television, but mainly because it rests on the shoulders of giants who came before.

  • ||

    Something not right with a world that doesn't have five seasons or more of that series.

    My understanding is one particular Fox exec had a hard on to kill the show. Plus try explaining the plot to a non-devote. The result is that you discover that the show really was too weird to live.

  • waffles||

    firefly is a shameless ripoff of Cowboy Bebop.

  • waffles||

    which was already said above by someone wiser and nerdier than I. I want a corgie.

  • ||

    I take my victories where I can get them.

  • ||

    Cowboy Bebop, firefly and Outlaw Star are all ripoffs of Han Solo.

  • ||

    Name one person in Cowboy Bebop who is like Han Solo. Han Solo is a trucker who sometimes smuggles goods and infrequently uses a gun. Spike is an ex syndicate badass who lives with a death wish and a past that still haunts him. Yes, Cowboy Bebop runs with the whole "Space Cowboy" theme, but it does it soooooo much better than Star Wars ever did. In every way that Bebop is similar to Star Wars, it does it so much better! It's a better western. The characters are cooler. The environment is so much more intense. The plot is less black and white. I could go on and on and on.

  • Fluffy||

    The brownshirts just feel bad because all other science fiction fans laugh at them and snicker at their taste in shows.

    "Firefly? What's that, a Buffy spin-off? I never watched Buffy myself. Not a big chick-show fan." Etcetera.

  • Brett L||

    I totally read: "Not a big chick fan."

  • ||

    Or "Not a big fan of chicks."

  • Brett L||

    Quite. The word "big" obviously modfied their fandom, not the chicks.

  • JEP||

    I think that once you find a site that's so specialized, you've already filtered out all the normal people and you're left with the fanatics.

    Of course, you could say that about H&R as well - but being educated in political theory/philosophy is a lot different than knowing way too much about sci-fi

  • ||

    "but being educated in political theory/philosophy is a lot different than knowing way too much about sci-fi"

    and how many here could claim to be educated in political theory/philosophy?

    I gotta admire die hard sci-fi fans. They devote more time to memorizing the minutia of their genre than I would spend time trying to parse out a true political philosophy.

  • JEP||

    and how many here could claim to be educated in political theory/philosophy?

    I would say that the regular contributors to the H&R threads are incredibly educated in political theory relative to the average individual. And at the very least, they are here to read the articles and thus educate themselves.

    I gotta admire die hard sci-fi fans. They devote more time to memorizing the minutia of their genre than I would spend time trying to parse out a true political philosophy.

    I agree, but having that depth of knowledge about sci-fi is rarely applicable - their time could be better spent.

  • ||

    And at the very least, they are here to read the articles and thus educate themselves.

    Shit, I thought Epi and Nutrasweet just came for the trollolz.

  • ||

    Technically, I'm just here to sup upon your pain.

  • ||

    You are aware, oh "incredibly educated in political theory relative to the average individual" one, that Ayn Rand wrote science fiction?

    That science fiction is littered with political theory? Look at Heinlein.

    That, perhaps, your attitude is more indicative of a 'fanboy' than you are aware of?

  • JEP||

    I'm very aware that science fiction is littered with political theory - I didn't say that it wasn't.

    Reading a book, watching a movie, or a tv series and appreciating the political/social theory involved is different than re-watching every single episode of Buffy bi-annually and knowing every conceivable detail.

    I used to be a big star wars nerd, but I seem to have grown out of it - still remember a lot more than the average person though.

    I'm not dissing science fiction, just those people who never realize that knowing such minute details is almost never applicable outside that small circle of people who know as they do.

  • MJ||

    Rand did not write science fiction. Certain parts of Atlas Shrugged are pushing on the boundaries of soft sci fi, but it does not entirely get there.

  • ||

    I believe that there are two kinds of political philosophers nowadays: the kind that read a few articles in the big name newspapers and maybe frequent some blogs or subscribe to periodicals like "Newsweak" or "TheEconomist," and people who actually study books that give them a big picture view in a historical context that puts them above the rabble of "Google experts." I myself have read "The Road to Serfdom," "A Farewell to Alms," "Sex, Science, and Profits," "Superfreakanomics," and Rothbard's "A History of Money and Banking in the USA" all in the last year and a half. I've read a good amount of fiction too, but I don't think of that as being terribly relevant, as there are few works of fiction that I'd suggest building a view of life around outside of some big examples such as "1984" and some Anthony Burgess works. I'm not trying to brag, really. I just hate arguing with people on the internet whose only knowledge directly comes from the Search bar. Obviously google is a good way to gather statistical facts, but any real context requires reading books the old fashioned way. Yes, you have to put statistics in context, as correlation is not causation, so you better have SOME A Priori reasoning behind your ideas.

  • ||

    I also think that Newspaper and Internet articles are too short to provide the reader with anything more than a premise and a couple supporting facts. That's doesn't give me confidence in the truth of what I'm reading, even if I agree with the premise of the article.

  • ||

    +1000

  • Pip||

    Baseball stats for nerds.

  • ||

    Baseball stats for nerds.

    This statement is redundant.

  • T||

    Of course, you could say that about H&R as well - but being educated in political theory/philosophy is a lot different than knowing way too much about sci-fi

    Judging from the regular crowd here, I'd say they're the exact same thing. Or at least, most of the commenters here know too much about both.

  • ||

    Nothing gets a feeding frenzy going round here like a bit of sci-fi chum tossed in a thread. (A feeding frenzy among regular posters and lurkers, that is, rather than the link-following morons who occasionally overwhelm threads on matters like immigration.)

  • JEP||

    I'd say they're the exact same thing.

    They have similarities, but I'd say the big difference is that being able to list the three people who portrayed Darth Vader doesn't help you flesh out your political/social world view.

  • ||

    Darth Vader is real??? Awww, man.

  • ||

    list the three people who portrayed Darth Vader

    Ins't here 4 or 5?

    You got the kid, you got the teen heart throb, you got the guy in the suit, you got the voice, and you got the guy who is unmasked when he is about to die.

  • JEP||

    Yes, if only the prequels existed instead the shit that Lucas came up with.

    He went full retard with those three movies.

  • skr||

    does the bank robber one count?

  • Hugh Akston||

    but being educated in political theory/philosophy is a lot different than knowing way too much about sci-fi

    Not really. There are hundreds of millions of people out there who don't know who Andrew Breitbart or Dave Weigel are and roll their eyes when you start talking about them.

  • ||

    I think that once you find a site that's so specialized, you've already filtered out all the normal people and you're left with the fanatics.

    Yeah but the show only lasted 12 episodes...the discussions i was posing on were about episodes that just aired the night or two before....

    I think the problem was the there were no fanatic Firefly fans. They were all Buffy fans watching, in their minds, the new Buffy spin off.
    Hell a star trek fan can take criticism of their favorite show...same with star wars fans. In fact these two groups are probably the most critical of their respective universes.

    Joss Wedon fans on the other hand are simply terrible poeple, incapable of introspection and violently opposed to those who are.

  • ||

    No matter how many times i said i liked the show or even said what i liked about it the fan base there would freak out whenever i posted ... Anyway the whole experience convinced me that Joss Whedon fans are the worst people in the world.

    You should try hanging out at Objectivist sites before trying to hog all the tainted glory for J. Whedon fans.

  • ||

    ...ah yes, the people you only wish would go galt.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Wow...never gets old for you, does it?

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Firefly sucked. So did the movie.

  • Firefly Fan||

    Yeah? Well...oh, yeah?

    Joss Whedon would have a snappy comeback to that, I'll bet!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Anyway the whole experience convinced me that Joss Whedon fans are the worst people in the world.

    Indeed, they are. And now their lord and master is set to ruin the Avengers movie.

    I mean, that movie probably would have sucked anyway, but now there's no doubt.

  • Brett L||

    Don't worry, it'll be cancelled in the first 5 weeks of filming.

  • Fluffy||

    I do think that we can look forward to the movie being a Scarlett Johanssen vehicle, where all the other characters are just there to let her say quasi-witty things.

    Not that I have a problem with that. I'm just sayin'. They may as well have cast unknowns in the other roles and paid them scale because Whedon will turn the movie over to her, mark my words.

  • Paul||

    Steinbergh has also not caught on to Paul's Iron Law (sorry RC) of internet debates:

    The less empirical the subject matter, the longer and more heated the debate.

    My guess is, Steinbergh is uncomfortable with the heated debate.

    Hang out on an automotive forum sometime and join a thread about oil or spark plugs.

    I can only guess how heated a debate about the true meaning of "The Force" can get.

  • ||

    Sternbergh writes as though fan cultures didn't exist before the World Wide Web, as though you couldn't find conformity in fan circles before, and as though that groupthink never led to fiery passions.

    "What the FUCK are you talking about? The Rolling Stones are TEN THOUSAND TIMES better than the fucking Beatles."

  • WTF||

    I've never quite understood how the Stones got to be so huge. They don't have a whole lot of talent beyond any decent garage band. If it weren't for them riding the "British Invasion" wave (i.e., Beatles coattails), they would have been just another bunch of long-haired kids with guitars and drums.

    Mick Jagger also is an asshole. My stepmother worked in a bank in London in the late `60s/early `70s, where had some accounts. She told me how he would come in there sometimes and really be, as the Brits say, "a right wanker." If anyone asked him for an autograph his response would be "fuck off."

  • ||

    They had a lot more talent than a garage band. Charlie Watts is one of the great drummers in rock and roll history. And Jagger and Richards have written more enduring popular songs than about anyone. They have had a long career and done a lot of crap. But they also have done a tremendous about of good work. Their run of records in the late 60s early 70s Beggers Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Mainstreet is fantastic.

  • ||

    I like the Beatles and the Stones.

  • ||

    Me to. And Miles Davis to. I love having pedestrian and well known tastes. Hey hipster fuckwad, Patty Smith never sold any records for a reason; she sucks.

  • ||

    Hey! HEY!!
    That will be quite enogh of that shit.

  • ||

    ""Charlie Watts is one of the great drummers in rock and roll history. ""

    Only because he plays with the Stones.

    The greatest drummer would be able to play the high-hat and snare at the same time. ;-)

  • ||

    He lays down a great beat. He is like a machine. I hate drummer who never do anything that rocks or drives the song. I don't care how technically skilled they are. And yes Neil Peart I am talking to you.

  • Almanian||

    Neil Peart is annoying. That dude from AC/DC is right up there with Watts. Have either of them ever played a fill?

  • ||

    Watts will. I have some live Stones stuff from the early 70s where they extend their songs. I have a 12 minute version of Midnight Rambler that is incredible. In the longer bridges he has some really nice understated fills. I think he is a very skilled drummer.

    But I am biased because I like the music. A drummer more than any other person in the band is a slave to the quality of the music. Gary Mallaber who played on the Steve Miller Band records in the 70s is a tremdously skilled drummer. Listen to those records closely sometime. But, you don't think of him as being great because the records were not great. Same with Peart. Half the reason I find him so boring is because Rush is so boring.

  • ||

    Meh. Carmine Appice is superior.

  • Ska||

    I'll take Ginger Baker as Bonzo's back up in my all-star band.

  • ||

    Baker is amazing. So was the guy who played for Hendrix, Mitch Mitchel.

  • WTF||

    Maybe I've heard more good garage bands than you have. But I don't see the Stones as such brilliant musical talent. They were in the right place at the right time, could mostly play their instruments, and were outrageous in their antics.

    I've seen and heard local bands that blow the Stones away. It's hard to get "big" these days, though. But there are a hell of a lot of extremely good musicians playing small, local venues all over the U.S.

    Charlie Watts is one of the great drummers in rock and roll history.

    Meh. Not in my rock and roll history. He's basically a glorified Ringo Starr, except he gets more hot and ridiculously young babes.

    But how does one objectively rank who's the "best" drummer in rock and roll anyhow?

    Danny Carey - there's a drummer.

  • ||

    I have heard a lot of garage bands. and I have heard the Stones live twice. And there isn't any garage band I have ever heard that could come in and suck the air out of a football stadium. That takes talent. It is a whole different set of talent to be able to play and entertain huge arenas. And very few acts have ever had it. The Stones were one of them.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Charlie Watts had a girlfriend hotter than Barbara Bach circa 1980?

  • ||

    And it was Bill Wyman who kept marrying the 14 year old girls not Watts.

  • Zero||

    "But how does one objectively rank who's the "best" drummer in rock and roll anyhow?"

    Absolutely agree. Danny Carey is awesome but hardly anyone who is not a drummer even knows who he is.

    I'm a fan of Portnoy but it takes some dedication to get thru just one Dream Theater song.

    Dave Lombardo kicks ass but mostly he is great because he is perfect for Slayer and their music is perfect for his playing.

    One of my favorite drummers is Nicholas Barker just because he is so damn fast and fat.

  • ||

    That is the problem. Every drummer I know loves Danny Carey. My problem is I would rather stab my eyes out than listen to Tool. So, it is hard for me to see his appeal.

  • WTF||

    I think I'll opt for listening to Tool rather than the whole eye-stabbing thing. Fortunately, I like Tool anyhow.

  • ||

    Zero,

    Have you heard Tim Yeung? He's sort of like Raymond Herrera, but a lot better.

  • ||

    Zero,

    Have you heard Tim Yeung? He's sort of like Raymond Herrera, but a lot better.

  • ||

    I don't even know how or why it double-posted. Sorry.

  • Paul||

    Now let's talk about the meaning of the Glass Onion. Steinbergh is either very young, or very old. I can't figure out which, and I ain't googlin' it.

  • T||

    Shorter version: I hate it when things I like become popular or achieve mainstream recognition.

    So does everybody. Wah. You have three choices: accept it and move on, purposefully become even more obscure in your tastes, or bitch incessantly about how whatever it was was better before all teh n00bs showed up. We can see what route Sternbergh took, can't we?

  • Fluffy||

    And if there is one thing the Internet is good for, it's bringing together like-minded people, then convincing them that their opinion is the only valid one in existence. Psychologists call this "group polarization," a tendency for people who agree to gather and prod each other toward further extremism. This has long been evident on political blogs, but it's true in cultural criticism as well.

    This is a total myth that has never been borne out by any study of actual user behavior online.

    I realize it makes a certain amount of intuitive sense when you read it. But it shouldn't even do that. Hasn't this guy ever heard of trolls? Sure, people band together in like-minded communities online. And you know what happens? Their enemies find them and troll them. And they find their enemies and troll right back.

    I have been exposed to more honest-to-goodness liberals here than in meatspace. And that doesn't count all the exposure I get to liberals when I go to their websites to pee in their Cheerios.

    Anyone who thinks that fanboy sites promote groupthink should hang out at aintitcool.com when a major tentpole genre film comes out and watch the epic flame wars and general spasms of nerd rage.

  • ||

    I have been exposed to more honest-to-goodness liberals here than in meatspace. And that doesn't count all the exposure I get to liberals when I go to their websites to pee in their Cheerios.

    That was Teh Awesum, Fluffy. Laughed so hard I teared up.

  • ||

    Shorter post:

    Threadwinner!

  • ||

    It goes back to the twisted idea that we have developed in the last forty or so years that your personal value is defined by what you like rather than what you do. It is seriously sick. People seem to be completely devoid of morality or the ability to judge morality in others. But they can judge taste. So they have substituted judging morality in others for judging taste.

    If you want to lie and cheat, that is your lifestyle decision. But if you have bad or odd taste in popular culture, you are a pariah.

  • Stewie Griffin||

    So I'm shavin' last night at this make out party. I took a bunch of pictures. You can see 'em on my MySpace page, along with my favorite songs and movies and things that other people have created but that I use to express my individualism.

  • ||

    +1

  • Pip||

    "It goes back to the twisted idea that we have developed in the last forty or so years that your personal value is defined by what you like rather than what you do."

    I believe it was Marx who said that a person's job is what defines them. It's where they derrive their identity. Are you a Marxist, John?

  • ||

    Actually I can think of another Marx quote about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as comedy. In the 19th Century and before our job defined who we were. And that was a tragedy in many instances. Now our taste in music and video games defines who we are. And that is comedy in every instance.

  • ||

    You have to hang out at a site that thinks flame wars and trolling are evil and must be crushed. Then you'll get thge true groupthink.

  • WTF||

    Shorter version: I hate it when things I like become popular or achieve mainstream recognition.

    Well then you're safe hanging out here.

  • RyanXXX||

    If Reason doesn't mention the Wikileaks thing today it doesn't deserve to be taken seriously

  • RyanXXX||

    Reason, I mean, not Wikileaks

  • Fluffy||

    They did.

  • WTF||

    I don’t know what they have to say,
    It makes no difference anyway --
    Whatever it is, I’m against it!
    No matter what it is or who commenced it,
    I’m against it.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Epistemic Closure...For Nerds

    Was there any other kind?

  • ||

    Epistemic Closure for Nerds would be an awesome name for an alt-indie band.

  • ||

    And there first album should be named
    "Union Wrangler and Other Jobs Americans Won't Do".

  • ||

    "Union Ape Wrangler And Other Jobs Americans Won't Do" forgot the Ape.

  • ||

    Good shit man, I thought everyone had forgotten about "Ape Week".

  • ||

    No. No one will ever forget about Ape Week, however much they will want to block out the horror.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    So, is Inception worth 2.5 hours sitting in a theater?

    Or is it merely torrent-worthy?

  • ||

    That depends...on your attachment to the theory of gravity...

  • ||

    Unless Ellen Page shows the goods, I can't imagine it being worth even a bit torrent.

  • RyanXXX||

    No love for Chris Nolan, John?

  • ||

    I liked Momento a lot. I hear Batman was good. But I just have no taste for comic book movies. He is a good film maker. But this movie looks dumb. I think Hollywood has gotten ahold of him and ruined him.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Good thing Inception isn't a comic book movie then. Go see it, it's great.

  • Coeus||

    Ellen Page's goods seem to have decided to sit this movie out. Blah, Blah, Blah...bag of antlers...you get the idea. It actually made me sad. I wanted to fedex her a sandwich.

  • Jozef||

    I liked it. Not for the acting or visuals (except the one where gravity was turned off), but because it tries to mess with your mind. Not the hardcore kind of mindfuck you find in PKD's books like Ubik, but a gentle mind jolt, good for a hot Sunday afternoon in a cold theater.

    As for Ellen Page, I know she's legal, but she still looks so young to me that the thought of her "showing the goods" just creeps me out.

  • ||

    I thought she looked that young in Juno. But she has grown up. She looks like the classic cute, pretty post college girl now. I can't believe how good she looks in those Sisco commercials. She was kind of homely in Juno.

  • ||

    I'd do her.

  • ||

    It was rather mediocre.

    IOZ has a good take on it.

    Ellen Page is a 12 year old boy with exceptionally stubby legs.

  • ||

    She looks like a girl that's playing the part of a boy who is playing the part of a girl.

    She's not really masculine, but there's something... off.

  • ||

    Maybe I just have a weak spot for short brunettes. But I think she is very cute.

  • Ska||

    Larger than normal forehead.

  • ||

    Next you will be telling me Giada isn't hot.

  • ||

    She reminds me of someone I didn't like, I just can't place who it was.

    I think she's more attractive with longer hair that has some body to it. It softens the planes of her face.

  • ||

    She cute. I wouldn't kick her out of bed. But she is not redhead on Man Men of anything.

  • ||

    What's really amusing is that, like Carey Mulligan, she also looks a bit like a 60 year old woman.

  • ||

    It's all hair for Mulligan too. Cute in An Education, then she cuts her hair and ends up looking like an anorexic 52-year-old lesbian who works as a children's librarian.

  • ||

    That is funny. The guy above was saying he couldn't find her attractive because she looked like a child. You see her and think sixty year old woman. Odd how people can see such different things in the same person's looks.

  • ||

    I said both those things, which are both expressions of her lack of womanly femininity. She looks a bit pre-pubescent and a bit post-menopausal.

  • ||

    You don't have a fucking clue what a 60 year old woman looks like if you think that.

  • ||

    Uh-oh, offended fan alert.

  • ||

    No, just someone in his 50s who knows the difference between fucking someone young and someone close to 60.

  • ||

    Not that either of those is bad, just distinctly different experiences.

  • Pip||

    Linda Blaire of The Exorcist fame?

  • Tim||

    Thank goodness we Reason posters aren't a bunch of emotionally inverted freaks.

  • Brother Wolf||

    That's why I come to Reason. It's the only place on the Net where group-polarization hasn't taken hold ;)

  • ||

    They did run Dondero and Lonewacko off.

  • wingnutx||

    Don't forget Joe.

  • ||

    Joe wasn't ran off. He left of his own volition. He couldn't face a world where he had to explain why he didn't get a pony after the 2008 election.

  • ||

    Tail between his legs, yipping into the distance.

  • Pip||

    More like tail up, ass to the ground, scooting into the distance.

  • Zero||

    The first three in the trilology are worth reading, from there it depends on how much you like her work. I liked the fist three as well the Harper Hall books. But as soon as she starts writing about space ships I ignore those ones.

  • Zero||

    Errr this was in response to the thread above about McCaffrey

  • ||

    gotcha, Dragons redeemable, spaceships, not so much. Maybe I'll try again.

  • waffles||

    so what if Zelda were a girl?

  • ||

    What if Zelda were two girls?

  • ||

    Before Pedantic Dan shows up... yes, I know they're dressed as Link.

  • Almanian||

    Can always count on Sugar Free to come through with the goods!

  • Ska||

    Hyrule would be screwed, that's what.

    For Zelda fans who own a PS3, have any of you tried 3D Game Dot Heroes?

  • ||

    For a horrifying moment there, I thought you were linking to something involving a cup.

  • ||

    Two Links, One Ocarina of Time?

  • Ska||

    If you were a real Zelda fan, your post would say:

    2 Zeldas 1 bottle

    ; )

  • ||

    I have better uses for bottles. Like spare fairies, yo. I got more fairies than an off-Broadway play.

  • WTF||

    I'm not so sure this is something I would be bragging about.

  • TickleStick||

    What you do behind your wife's back is non of our business, thank you.

  • Jack||

    Isn't that Link, not Zelda? Zelda is the princess.

  • Bemjamin Lecrone||

    Well, this has taken a turn for the bizarre.

    First, A disclaimer
    Adam Sternbergh is my first cousin. We, along with my other cousins, spent many holidays together playing action figures and going to movies. He's always been a pop culture nut. He's also hella funny [His book Hey, I'ts That Guy1 is a great look at the unsung character actors who tirelessly grace our TV and theaters]. So I come at this with a bit of a bias.

    Overall, he's being a bit whiny. Technology has brought the exchange of and creation of many new ideas. And just as music downloads and PDF publishers have opened up a flood of great new music and amateur authors, the Internet has given fanboys and geeks a whole new way to be creative and interact.

    That being said...these fanboy cliques can be real assholes. Just read the posts on Rottentomatoes.com. You'll find a level of mean spirited film snobbery that is down right offensive. The same holds true for almost any subset of fan culture. The fans become so protective and possessive of their idols material that they can no longer stand any form of critical input or revision to the source material. I'm sure there were people like this before the Internet but without instant access to all forms of media their existence could go unnoticed to the basement dwellers. Remember, for those of born in the early 70s, including Adam, our formative years didn't include the Internet and so while we may accept and adopt this new media, its very variety can be daunting. And besides I don't think he's taking any sort of anti-libertarian stance here. I think he's just warning those who have embraced the same pop culture that he too loves to be careful not to become so obsessed or focused on one actor, author or director that all the other great bits of pop become the target of scorn and derision.

    I think I'll drop in on his facebook page and point him over here.

    Benjamin

  • Glamboi||

    "Remember, for those of born in the early 70s, including Adam, our formative years didn't include the Internet and so while we may accept and adopt this new media, its very variety can be daunting."

    I was born in the 50's and this is a crock of shit you asscunt agist.

  • Benjamin Lecrone||

    Perhaps it's just me, but at 37 I'm not nearly as tech savvy and addicted to the Internet as my brother-in-law who is just 10 years younger. I still would rather have a hard copy than a book on a kindle and I find social network sites asinine (yes I know i said I'd facebook Adam, but that's just because I have no clue what his telephone number or email address are.

    As for the rest of that comment...Do you kiss you're mother with that mouth?

  • ||

    Seconded. Born in the fifties and not feeling the least bit daunted by the crazy new technology the kids are using these days. Sorry if this throws a monkeywrench into the works of your classification system. Let me throw it further out of alignment by adding that I'm a fangirl and also a mother. Go figure.

  • Pip||

    That you testing the waters, Adam?

  • Benjamin Lecrone||

    I've been posting here for quiet a while and have used my real name the whole time. So to answer your lame question, No.

  • Paul||

    That being said...these fanboy cliques can be real assholes. Just read the posts on Rottentomatoes.com.

    Nobody says they weren't.

    It seems to me that there is this culture of people-- many journalists who are uncomfortable with the internet.

    There is such a free-flow of ideas on the internet that at times, it represents a chaotic, angry storm of ideas. But this is preferable to an ordered, myopic stream of ideas, shaped by 'tastemakers'.

  • Benjamin Lecrone||

    I am in total agreement, and knowing Adam well I think he would agree as well. But remember he makes his living writing for these old fashioned MSM outlets so not only is his job at risk, he also has a lot of worker peer pressure to show contempt for the uncontrolled upstarts that inhabit the Internet. I'm not saying his views are right; I just think he has some valid points in that the Internet helps to reaffirm group think in many of those who participate in its social networking aspect. The level of crudeness, instant outrage and mob mentality on these forums only serve to reinforce my point. This doesn't make the Internet a bad thing. On the contrary it helps to make freedom of speech and thought thrive in the age of the nanny state, but a person worrying over the possible spread of group-think in regards to pop culture should not then become the target of angry group-think by those claiming to support libertarian freedom.

  • Ska||

    Who is the douche that has me singing How Deep Is Your Gunt all fucking day long??

  • Almanian||

    Is that not epic? EPIC I say! I think it was Sugar Free, but I'm too lazy to go back and check...

  • ||

    I am the douche in question.

  • Ska||

    It wouldn't be so bad if I could better explain why I'm singing the Bee Gees to myself in hushed tones.

  • ||

    If they ask, tear up for a minute, and then run out of the room sobbing. They'll never ask again.

  • Tim||

    It's a shame we can't drop you on
    pakistan.

  • ||

    You see, people? This is how you get noted as a testimonial.

  • Tim||

    Tom Hanks was great in that flick.

  • Almanian||

    While the cocoon-builders have taken advantage of the Net et al, the chief effect of the new media has not been to reinforce the cocoons but to increase the likelihood that a stray signal will cross from one ideological tribe's territory to another, budging people from previous certainties and creating new cross-breeds.

    Which is exactly how I found "Reason" in the first place.

    Which has, of course, subsequently led me to be exposed to "feministing", "jezebel", Sugar Free's site...

    Hey, the blog didn't suggest this phenomenon was a force for "good", just for creating "cross-breeds"....

  • ||

  • ||

    Cher. . .again?

  • ||

    Cher... always.

  • Tim||

    She was born in the wagon of a travelin show.

  • ||

    I did like Sonny & Cher's variety show when I was a kid.

  • ||

    Long before the Internet, I had a furious argument with a friend at a bar who didn't believe me that "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" wasn't a song I had just made up on the spot.

    If anything, The Internet promotes harmony within The Drunkards.

  • Almanian||

    Anyone who doesn't know "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Half Breed" doesn't deserve to be among the living.

    That was when Cher looked...normal. And Sonny wasn't dead. And Chastity wasn't a man.

  • Gomer Pyle||

    Well surprise,surprise, surprise!

  • WTF||

    For some reason, the reference to "Half Breed" and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" brought this to mind:

    Cherokee people!
    Cherokee tribe...
    So proud to live,
    So proud to die!

    I guess it's about the same era. I can remember hearing them on the radio around the same time.

    Better than all of those, though is "In the Year 2525." Classic.

  • ||

    Yeah stupid drunken arguments don't go on nearly as long as they used to. Now it is about two minutes and someone says "google it I bet you a hundred dollars I am right".

  • Hugh Akston||

    ONly think I have to say is: Avatar reference? ew.

  • ||

    Citing Avatar is how you prove that you aren't really that far into scifi.

  • T||

    Or it proves you'll watch any shit they throw up on the big screen.

  • Almanian||

    This. I haven't seen it - anyone wanna weigh in with an opinion? Is it worth it?

    *steps back to watch ensuing geek melee*

  • ||

    It's way better than most sci-fi flicks. Great special effects.

  • ||

    It's way better than most sci-fi flicks.

    See, also, "Damning with faint praise."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    It's no Yentl.

  • ||

    That was precisely my intent.

  • Tim||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....Rainforest

  • ||

    You me'd all over that, dude.

  • Tim||

    I don't make mistakes. You must have fooked it up.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I skipped it because 3D makes me ill and I was busying laughing at this: http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBI.....index.html

  • ||

    You could cut and past that article word for word and put in in The Onion and know one would know the difference.

  • Almanian||

    I think Reason posted this - I remember reading it. Classic.

  • JEP||

    Is it just me, or does sound something akin to brainwashing?

    "If you're depressed because you can't live on Pandora, try buying our video games and action figures!"

  • WTF||

    I enjoyed it just for the good special effects. I knew what the whole story line and socio-political message was going in, so I didn't bother getting in a tizzy over it.

    The tall blue chick played by whatsername was hot. They even managed to make Sigourney Weaver's avatar look pretty good.

    It was a fun distraction - of course, I didn't pay to go see it - I got it through Netflix. The head marine dude was totally an over-the-top charicature - and he seemed to have a degree of latent homosexuality for which he was overcompensating. Maybe that was intentional on the part of the writers and director.

  • ||

    I worked for a few years during college in the local flagship department store. A girl I went to high school with worked in the book department (knowing that big dept stores had book departments should date you)and, knowing I read science fiction, would always tell me when the new Star Trek book was in. As if. But she was nice, and fairly cute, and was only trying to be friendly.

  • ChrisO||

    If it wasn't for the magic of free markets, few of us would have the luxury of arguing vehemently about meaningless stuff like comic books and movies.

    The Internet might foster a certain amount of groupthink, but the groups in question get ever more numerous and smaller.

  • Tony||

    In theory greater access to sources of information should make people more informed. In reality, it's more complicated and scary.

    When there were far fewer news sources, everyone pretty much agreed on the facts and debated around those common facts. Now, people just lurk in places where they hear what they want to hear, and there's usually someone with a web site or a cable channel who will provide them the service of confirming their biases.

    I don't think it's all negative, as having restricted sources of information isn't good either. But in order to be an informed consumer of information you just have to check multiple sources and everyone has to agree more or less on which are reliable. That's not what's happened. There are hordes of people who feel that they are free to reject anything that comes from journalism, academia, and even science for the simple reason that it doesn't confirm their worldview, or more to the point, because their preferred sources have directed them that every other source is part of a vast conspiracy against them.

    I don't know whether the old or new way is better, all I know is people haven't been getting any better informed.

  • JEP||

    Yes, Tony, tell us about reality.

  • ||

    Who are you, and what have you done with Tony?

  • ||

    When there were far fewer news sources, everyone pretty much agreed on the facts whatever agenda was being pushed by the MSM and debated around those common facts "facts".

    Fixed.

  • Tony||

    Yeah but for one reason or another the news was pretty factual, and for that matter more confrontational with government (and not in a demagogic way).

    Unless maybe they've all been commie infiltrated leftie megaphones, until the shining white knight of truth, FOX News, galloped into our lives.

  • MJ||

    "When there were far fewer news sources, everyone pretty much agreed on the facts and debated around those common facts."

    What was being discussed was common, but it was not necessarily "fact". We still have evidence of the legacy media trying to push certain basic assumptions about how the world works. The main difference is those assumptions now get challenged and those legacy media institutions deeply resent having to justify their spin instead of having it consumed uncritically.

  • ||

    It does us all some good to be more cynical than we have been the last 100 years.

    democrats need to understand their leaders are warmongerers who lie about being for peace....and republicans need to understand that their leaders are statists who lie about wanting less government.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    In theory greater access to sources of information should make people more informed. In reality, it's more complicated and scary.

    If you are easily scared about your access to information, then I suggest you become a hermit.

  • Tony||

    I'm not scared of that, I'm scared of stupid people in large groups with internet connections.

  • ||

    Tony|7.26.10 @ 5:26PM|#

    Now, people just lurk in places where they hear what they want to hear

    Bereft of irony recognition much?

  • Tony||

    I'm spending time on a site that expresses opinions I disagree with more than half the time, so what the fuck are you talking about?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement