Comments, Politics, and Entertainment.

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I have an unhealthy obsession. I’m a little ashamed of myself actually. I just can’t seem to stop… reading the comments online.

I know I really shouldn’t but there’s a weird fascination to seeing the worst of humanity interacting. I’m fascinated, repulsed, and I feel a little gross after.

My particular weaknesses are looking at comments on stories relating to Doctor Who, Captain Marvel, CW’s superhero shows, and Canadian politics.

Comic Showing an archaeologist looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics and saying, “I should know better than to read the comments section.”
Comic from Rhymes With Orange

The comments are a squirming cesspool of humanity’s worst qualities and worst arguments. One that I’ve heard a lot lately is that there’s too much politics in entertainment. Make me think of the old Peanut Butter cup commercials, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate.”

Unlike chocolate and peanut butter (yummy), the idea that you can have any form of entertainment devoid of politics is laughable. Even when you think something isn’t political, it is.

The reason most people don’t notice is that the politics align with theirs. If you’re a straight, white, cis, middle to upper class person, you won’t notice any politics in something like Friends, Big Bang, or How I Met Your Mother. You might glance over the commentary on sexism or classism in those shows as just normal everyday stuff. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I can hear the “Well actually, it’s more blatant” and that’s bullshit. If you’re one of those people who thinks old shows didn’t make political comments, you weren’t listening. Star Wars, Diehard, North by North-West, all had political messages in them. It’s nearly impossible to separate politics from art because it’s impossible to separate belief from creation.

Those complaining that things have become too political aren’t complaining about politics. They’re complaining that they aren’t seeing their politics reflected back at them.

Later Days,

Éric

Intelligence?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been watching Scorpion, it’s a fun procedural show. The storylines feel pulled from bad pulp novels but the characters are lovable and interesting. But it has me thinking about Intelligence.

TV Genius

It seems one of the new trends in movies and TV is the stereotype “Genius” (Warning Link goes to TV Tropes). Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a new trend but it seems to have gotten new traction the past few years.

There seems to be two major types of “Geniuses” on TV the charming superbrain who is based off of Sherlock Holmes and the broken super-intellect.

Almost all the brainy detective types on TV are based off of Sherlock Holmes. Monk, Mentalist, Forever, Elementary, etc…

Most of the super-intellects that are broken are in cast centred shows. They vary from the mildly socially awkward but smoking hot Felicity from Arrow, to the broken and unable to function without help of Steve Urkle.

Does television have it right? Does a higher IQ mean you have to give up other parts of you mind? No!

Superiority

The characters of Big Bang Theory are just more interesting to watch for television audiences than a true genius.

Not only are they more interesting, they are more comforting. They always have something the audience can feel they are better at, even if it’s just seeing their own limitations. The audience thinks, I might not be able to understand string theory but they feel superior because they can comfort a friend.

Deus Ex Genius

In a story, it’s easy to believe that the character can determine the chemical composition of slime with their science kit in their parent’s basement, easy as long as the character is smart.

A weak writing plot is to have your super genius work like the hand of god to fix anything. If you’re going to do this make sure you build up that your character has been studying the area of science that you’ll be using. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean they know how to do surgery.

The Lies of Intelligence

The Secret

Let me tell you a secret…

Intelligence is as hard to define as Talent and they are both destructive.

The general idea of genius or intelligence is that you have it or you don’t. That is total Poodoo. If you work, study, and dedicate yourself to something you will become an expert in that field. Intelligence isn’t something you’re born with any more than being able to drive a car or lift a hundred pounds.

I’ve had teachers tell me it was ok that I was getting 50-60 per cent on tests because I just wasn’t that smart. That’s the greatest excuse to give up. It’s also a total lie. I’ve taken IQ tests and I’m firmly in the “Above Average” category. But those tests check for logic and problem solving skills. Those are skills, learned skills.

Emotion

Robots are smart, logical, and have no emotions. So are certain Vulcans. It’s just another lie. Intelligence doesn’t depend on how little emotion you show. It’s not an either or situation. Both can exist in the same person. Some of the smartest people have been highly emotional.

Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

 

Who’s your favourite fictional Genius?

Éric