A theory on Big Bang Theory

This isn’t really something I initially felt compelled to comment on, because the story seemed relatively benign; a long-running TV show is coming to an end, and is doing so on top. But this opinion piece at news.com.au prompted me to write a response.

The column contends that detractors of the Big Bang Theory sitcom largely have things wrong and that criticism of the show is misguided. The thrust of the argument seems to be that it has given rise to nerd culture, and that it proves an inspiration to people to show an interest in science.

The article also outlines that:

… viewers now realise nerds can be funny and charming and not just locker stuffing.

The last part of that sentence being rather glaring – in that it doesn’t denounce the bullying of stuffing nerds into lockers, and rather seems to “normalise” it.

The reason that I care not for Big Bang Theory’s demise is that the brief watches I did have of the show didn’t celebrate nerd culture as much as it made it the butt of jokes. The characters were playing Dungeons and Dragons, and that was the joke. They were passionate about comic books, and that was the joke. Sheldon did something socially awkward, and that was the joke.

Big Bang Theory was not so much a celebration of nerd culture as much as it was the gentrification of it. It seemed cynical. The pastimes of nerds was distilled down to cliche and stereotype, and then served in a milquetoast beverage for people to consume. This lead to dilettantes to move into the space that nerds had long received bullying for pursuing, and then have them dominate proceedings.

Star Wars, for instance, was that nerdy movie franchise with the very dedicated fan base. Now it’s akin to a religion, with nigh on everyone excited for the next episode on the franchise. It is almost creepy.

Comic books are being transformed into mainstream blockbusters, rather than being a niche product for a passionate audience.

It could be argued that this is something that should be celebrated, as it brings greater prominence to something that needed it, but I would counter that, like any gentrification, that kind of flourishing robs any culture of the genuine heart, soul and character that had given it the charm, and it replaces it with a thin veneer that satisfies enough to stave off complaints, and remains – ultimately – profitable.

Big Bang Theory, from my observation, was an initial breaking of dirt of the gentrification of nerd culture. It has brought much success to the culture, and has introduced new people to something they might have dismissed (or stuffed nerds into lockers over), but it has seemingly left behind those initial customers who had given it the culture to begin with.

I don’t care to rate the humour of BBT, as comedy is subjective. I don’t care about how it introduces science to people – anyone with an enthusiasm for science will get into it anyway, and I would guess that anyone who obtained an interest in science from BBT would soon abandon it for being too boring.

But BBT has left an indelible mark on nerd culture, and it seems to have been administered in a largely cynical way. I understand that capitalism relies upon presenting a product that people want, but to appropriate nerd culture in a way that seems to mock its core is the kind of offensive that I would have though more people would understand.

But nerds are still just locker stuffing, right?

Orbiting the drain

Further to yesterday’s post, in where I highlight the bellowing dumpster fire that is, and forever will be, Roseanne Barr’s poorly-thought-out tweet, I have begun to notice that somehow, prominent people have seen fit to point score – like the Activist Journalists they so desire to be.

Will ampersand Grace star Debra Messing was seen making the following observation:

I am not one to usually cast stones when it comes to acting chops, because I get the feeling these days that whether someone’s acting is “good” is often associated with whether the judger of the acting actually likes the actor. However, if I could use this tweet as a gauge of the kind of ACTING that Messing performs, then I don’t think much of her ability.

Tears? Of relief? That someone who made a single, albeit racist, tweet got shown the door? Because that person shows inklings of wrongthink? Get a grip.

But its the middle part that really raises an eyebrow. “Trump’s orbit”.

What exactly does this mean? Well, from what I can tell, Messing is trying to draw a correlation that it’s a certain kind of individual that is attracted to Trump. This is divisive rhetoric to say the least, and it’s the kind of thinking that needs to go die in a well. It’s the extremist view that suggests that if you don’t one-hundred percent condemn anything associated with Trump, that you’re a racist. An irredeemable human.

Did these people not learn how they got Trump? This is how they got Trump. And this is how they’ll continue to get more Trump. When one side is willing to throw horrible labels at opponents, as well as people who are undecided on the fence, then they shouldn’t act surprised when fence sitters shrug and say “Well, I might as well side with the other guy then, if I’m such a bad person for asking questions”.

Did they learn nothing from Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” speech?

Speaking of Hillary Clinton, shall we do a quick analysis of the kinds of people in her orbit?

Because let’s be consistent here. If we are to judge people upon the company they keep, or of those who are drawn to them, we should apply the same standard, right? Let’s do a quick look.

Hillary Clinton with former KKK member Robert Byrd. Sure, he stopped being a member, but when has time passing been a redeemer of people?

And of course, the kicker, the man whose lechery kicked off the Me Too movement; Harvey Weinstein, long-time supporter and donor for Hillary Clinton.

What I write here is not to defend nor condemn anyone, but rather highlight how stupid it is to try and shame people for being in “an orbit” of someone. People are not their groups, and cannot be condemned for the bad actions of the company they might have kept.


The Activist Journalist

The media have truly lost their way. This is not a new revelation on my part, because I have long loathed the media way before the phrase “fake news” was birthed out the mouth of a failed presidential candidate. Yes, I am a media-hater-hipster.

There’s always the sensationalism. There’s always the reinforcement of Mean World Syndrome despite us living in one of the most peaceful times in this planet’s history. There’s even clickbait. These things are only incidental to the recent rise of the most heinous of creatures to ever proclaim themselves a “vital part of a democracy”.

The activist journalist.

The activist journalist does not seek to report the facts, trusting their audience to take information from their story and then formulate their own understanding of the world. No, the activist journalist holds no high regard for their audience. The activist journalist must tell the audience what to think. Don’t you know? It’s not enough to provide the story from which the dear reader can walk away feeling informed. No, it is the activist journalist’s role – nay duty – to tell you how you think, or how other faceless people think.

Oh, to think that they feel that lecturing people is the best way to convince them. It clearly worked on them during the years they spent at the Sunday School their parents forced them to attend.

This past week saw a number of photos circulated of the atrocious conditions that children of unlawful immigrants must endure. Activist journalists posted the images far and wide, condemning the US administration for the horrific turmoil inflicted upon the innocent.

Except the photos were from the Obama-era Administration.

Activist journalists, upon realising the “mistake”, quickly deleted tweets, and offered weak platitudes to minimise the story.

This is why activist journalists are a problem. If they were truly about the craft of journalism, and wanted to be true agents of good in a democracy, the photos would not need to be removed and explained away. Why?

Because the photos could have lead to more important questions to be asked. Questions such as, “Is this still occurring?”

Because that is far more important than who was at the helm during the time that the atrocities did occur.

The paving-over of the story because it paints the activist journalist’s preferred team in a bad light reveals the truly dark side of the activist journalist. For all the noise they would make about childrens’ suffering, the deletion of the tweets and photos shows that they actually do not care about these childrens’ suffering.

They only cared when they thought it politically beneficial to care. They only care about lives when they can leverage said lives and use them to forward their cause.

That is not what I want from an industry that is apparently a cornerstone of a good democracy. That is truly evil; an evil that would use lives of children to promote their team before they discard them to the wastebin of history, forever forgotten.

This is why media is currently a blight, and needs a strong clean out, preferably with the coarsest of brooms that leaves a groove in the dirt so deep that no future journalist would want to ever be associated with such cynical, callous and truly despicable practises.

A Royal Memory

The media certainly aren’t afraid to turn up the largesse when it comes to certain things. There are a number of things that happen so utterly infrequently, that when that particular something does occur, the media flip out and scramble their top brass. They will turn on all the lights, and turn the spotlight to the event with such great gusto, you wonder where this enthusiasm is whenever something actually fucking important happens.

Because, before you know it, there’s round-the-clock coverage of a mildly successful actress marrying a largely inconsequential Royal.

It has struck me as somewhat bizarre that the US media has given any airtime whatsover to the Royal Wedding of the Next-Next-Next-Next-Next-Next In Line To The Throne. I suppose that the bride being of the nation of traitors that buggered off from England way-back-when gives the media an impression of having some kind of tie.

Much like how Tom Cruise said he’d married Australia itself after marrying Nicole Kidman, I suppose. This was a sentiment which sent a large swathe of the island nation into thetan exorcism.

In a world where outrage drives the gears of almost everything, I found the fawning over Harry to be somewhat confounding. All the discussion that permeates politics and culture seems to centred around combating the worrying rise of fascism and nazism. Anything which looks like it might even think about being Nazism is highlighted, and shouted down as Literally The Worst.

“Don’t normalise nazism!” is how I would paraphrase the message.

How odd it is that people seemed to have forgotten that Prince Harry, in 2005, dressed up as a Nazi.

“Oh that was so long ago!” I hear some people cry, “People change over time!”

You know what else happened in 2005? Trump’s comments about grabbing women. Yet this didn’t stop us from hearing about it for fucking weeks on end, and how horrible his words were.

“But this is different!” I hear the same people cry, “Harry was young and didn’t know better!”

Alright, keep moving those goalposts. But let’s be honest here. Let’s really be honest here. This isn’t about Nazism, or misogyny, or about how moral we expect our social betters to be. This is about ensuring that People We Like have prominence, and People We Don’t Like are buried.

This is about having the right ideology at the forefront of culture, because when you lead culture, that’s where politicians and lawmakers follow.  Prince Harry married a political activist who toes the correct line, and that makes Harry fine, despite his cavalier brandishing of the logo of one of history’s greatest stains.

And how we scowl and sneer at someone who bragged like a douche to his friends about his abhorrent and boorish behaviour. Trump’s comments, as dry-reachingly vomitous as they sounded, were only a secondary crime compared to his first: being a political opponent of someone who was cherished by culture activists.