March 6th, 2006

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Originally, Environmental Extremists Warned Of Global Freezing.

Today's Antihero For Hire (not one of my top five webcomics--which I guess I should formalize one of these days, huh?--nonetheless a good strip) pokes fun at Global Warming.

This is the sort of thing that can only be done in science fiction set in the future. Go ask Michael Crichton what happens when you try it with science fiction set in the present day.

Of course, that has nothing to do with the rest of the strip, but I, someone who could on occasion be called a right-wing extremist even though . . . yeah, not really . . . found it amusing. I enjoy taking potshots at anyone who is louder than they are intelligent. Maybe Mr. Mark Shallow thinks global warming is the most immediate threat to human life, maybe not. The point is, he can laugh at it. Yay for him.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
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How Do You Reflect That Which You Are Out Of Touch With?

I couldn't have cared less about the Oscars. It's not like the movies I like are gonna get much recognition, anyway. Well, maybe in the special effects and other technical awards. But whatever it is that excites and entertains me apparently isn't what excites and entertains the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

But certain talk radio hosts can't shut up. I mean, I guess it's their job to yak, but still.

So, George Clooney thinks Hollywood is out of touch, and should be. He's proud to be out of touch. George Clooney, of course, is an idiot, but the implication of this comment are interesting.

The "out of touch" argument it bunk, though. Conservative Christians--louder than smart, per my last entry--keep lobbing this accusation at Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The reasons they do this are many and varied and simple and obvious. The entertainment industry continues to showcase stories and movies and songs and television shows in which people are mean to each other, and lie, cheat, steal, kill, and suchlike against their fellow man. In short: the people in the products of the entertainment industry don't practice "family values."

Well, duh. No shit, Sherlock. Of course they don't practice family values. Family values don't generally make for entertaining stories.

How interesting is it when a husband and wife are happily married, and treat their children well, and their children respect their parents, and everyone loves each other and everything's nice? There are stories where this occurs, but it's rare that they're good stories. Stories that engage and inspire--inspire the audience to not act like that in the case of the point of the rest of the sentence--and entertain and amuse often aren't ones in which everything is nice.

In this way, Hollywood can be a sort of dark reflection of humanity. It's not good in the real world when a father figure abuses his relationship with a child figure (and get your minds out of the gutter, people, I mean in the physical sense of beatings), but it can make a gripping story. It can be possible to grow empathetic with the abusive father figure in the story. Characters in stories often portray or have aspects of humanity that people normally wouldn't want to be around, but in the safe environment of the story, it can be fun. It can get the audience members to wonder about the dichotomy, if they root for him in their seats but wouldn't associate with him in the real world.

But, here's the thing: this dark reflection is still related to what it reflects. It still has to keep something from the normal human experience, if only to show how out of whack the essence of the story is. It's still in touch with reality.

George Clooney, idiot that he is, thinks this is wrong. Actually, I doubt he really thinks about it at all, he just thought it would artistic to turn the accusation of those he disagrees with back at them, make it something to be proud of. But being out of touch, in this case, isn't something to be proud of, because the reason these dark reflection stories work in a fundamental way is because they still manage to make a connection to people. There's an emotional resonance, still, even though the characters might be doing stuff the members of the audience would never contemplate, if they're doing it for an emotionally realistic reason. If the entertainment industry goes full out "out of touch," they'll lose that resonance, and then they'll really start to see their precious box office numbers drop.

Because humanity will be out of touch with them.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
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