Big Bang Theory is Anti-Intellectual

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” Isaac Asimov

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Intelligence isn’t cool and is actually pretty dumb. That’s what television and movies have been telling me for my entire life. The nerds from Revenge of the Nerds, Screech from Saved by the Bell, Steve Urkel, the characters of Scorpion, most versions of Sherlock Holmes, and the characters from Big Bang Theory. These are just a handful of examples of what I’d call Stupid-Intelligent.

When you get a character that is brilliant in a television show, movie, or book; they are automatically given some sort of crippling character trait or traits. Normally it’s a complete lack of social graces or empathy, paranoia, uncontrolled phobias, arrogance, etc.

Have you ever wondered why this is done?

Writers do this for multiple reasons. The first being that the genius easily replaces the wizard in most modern day, or science fiction, stories. With a wave of their thermoscouplers and reversing the polarity, they can save the world. Because of this they need to give the characters flaws or they’ll be more powerful and interesting than the everyman main character, which would be intimidating to the audience.

The second being comedy. Look at the smart guy who doesn’t know how to throw a football…

Both are lazy writing.

What does it matter?

These cardboard outlines of characters represent two communities; those with great intelligence and those with disorders. It creates an impression that intelligence is a curse and that disorders only affect those that are special. Both are total bullshit and are harmful to the communities involved.

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” Isaac Asimov

How is a show about intelligent people, anti-intellectual?

Big Bang Theory is part of the “Hateful” category of American Sitcoms. That means that the characters are all at some point, for comical effect, going to be ridiculously mean to their friends. Normally the plot will revolve around a misunderstanding, prank, or selfish action. It always ends in the pain of one of the characters.

It doesn’t matter that the show is fact checked, mostly, or that it caters to geeks and nerds; it uses them as the butt of the joke and in the end makes each of the characters come out looking like idiots.

This is an old trope, but one that has become prominent in the past few years. It paints intelligence as an inability to see past your own expertise or to think critically. While trying to humanize the character, they devalue their actual accomplishments.

What’s the point?

When you see Sheldon as unable to work with others, function as an adult, or have healthy relationships; it reflects not just on the character but all scientists.

After decades of being told that nerds are broken, unreasonable, undependable, and egotistical ; is it any surprise that people are having a hard time trusting them?

We are seeing a record number of people believing pseudo-science simply because they don’t trust those who are supposed to be the experts.

Here are a few examples of things people believe because they don’t trust science or experts:

  • The Earth is flat
  • Trump is a successful businessman
  • The Earth is 4000 years old
  • Vaccines cause autism or allergies
  • Vaccines aren’t necessary
  • Theories aren’t proven
  • Evolution isn’t real
  • Climate change isn’t real
  • Genetically Modified Organism or GMO’s are bad for you
  • GMO’s are a recent thing
  • Scientific Fact is the same as opinion

This is a small list of things people believe because they’ve lost respect for the authority of scientists.

Is this The Big Bang Theory’s fault? No, it’s just another example of anti-intellectual, lazy, and harmful writing.

 

Disagree? Let me know in the comments,

Éric

Influences on Reality

Fiction has had a lot of influence in our daily life. Just look at all the gadgets that Star Trek suggested would be the way of the future, that we actually have now in 2016! Tablets, communicators, cell phones, etc. But I’d like to look at the places that have been influenced by fiction.

1. Stargate Command

Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado is the base for NORAD, but there’s rumour that there is a door that has a sign saying “Stargate Command”. Unfortunately, since the US military moved back into the mountain, only tours with “a mission-critical rationale for visiting the mountain, where the tour is essential in performing their daily functions in defending the homelands” may enter the complex. Darn.

2. Platform 9 and 3/4

Any Harry Potter fan would enjoy visiting King’s Cross station, and they’ve even set up a trolley halfway through the wall between platforms 9 and 10. The station also has “Hogwarts Express” listed on their screens at 11 am on September 1st. I would love to show up on that day at that time, dressed as a witch. Anyone want to do that with me?

Image from www.cdn.collider.com/
Image from www.cdn.collider.com

3. 221b Baker Street

Although the Sherlock Holmes house doesn’t exist at this address, there is now a Sherlock Holmes Museum that you can go visit. When Doyle wrote the series, Baker St only went up to #85!

Image from www.res.cloudinary.com
Image from www.res.cloudinary.com

4. Ghostbusters Firestation, NY

There is a fire station in New York, Hook and Ladder Company 8, that was the setting for the Ghostbusters headquarters. They have some cute little nods to the movie, both inside and out.

Ghostbusters_Firehouse_2_(2007)
Inside the building. Image from wikimedia.

 

Outside the station. Image from bradstudios.

Let me help you plan your trip. You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Norway

Norway is a beautiful country full of geeky opportunities. Tons of movies were filmed there, including “Empire Strikes Back” (in Finse), “Die Another Day”, “Eight Below”, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra”, and “Captain America: The First Avenger” (in Svalbard), parts of “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince” (in Rauma), “Ex Machina” (in Norddal and Luster), and “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” (in Mardalsfossen). Of course, “Vikings” was shot in many locations in Norway, including Sokndal, Bjerkreim, Gjesdal, Forsand, Aurland, and Stranda.

Note: Svalbard is an island much further North of the continent, and would probably be a trip all on it’s own.

And that’s not even counting Oslo, Norway’s capital. One of the best comic book stores exists there: Outland. They have everything you could possibly want, including Lego, board games, comic books (obviously), and collectibles.

Akershus Fortress is also located in Oslo. It was used as the model for Arendelle’s castle in Frozen, and Norway’s building in Epcot is a replica of the Fortress.

Akershus Fortress picture from www.visitolso.com
Akershus Fortress picture from www.visitolso.com

For History buffs, Norway is an amazing place to visit. They have museums, carvings, and historical centres all over the place. I read through this website, a mom and her six year old son’s trip to Norway was beautifully written.

She also writes about eight haunted places in Norway that you must visit. They have a Ghost Walk similar to the Haunted Walk in Ottawa!

Let’s not forget that Disney’s Cruise Line Magic has a “Frozen” themed cruise to Norway as well. See Norway with that Disney magic thrown in!

Anna and Elsa from Disney Cruise Line www.disneyparks.disney.go.com
Anna and Elsa from Disney Cruise Line www.disneyparks.disney.go.com

If you are interested in a trip to Norway, contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca