Wednesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Got my COVID booster and flu shot the other day. Not only do I feel great and have improved 5g coverage, but I’m picking up premium channels on the microchips. Win-win!

    20
  2. de stijl says:

    Akin to yesterday’s musings on harsh grading and “being fired” vs. not having your contract re-upped.

    One Sunday afternoon I drove to Omaha. A six hour drive. (If it’s less than six I vastly prefer driving over flying – way lass hassle and you are in control.)

    Rolled in to my residence hotel, checked in, did the billing thing, did laundry. Bog standard Sunday. It was a long gig – I had been doing the same thing every week for 9 months or so.

    Sauntered in on Monday morning. I was getting odd looks, and weirdly stilted replies to my “Good morning” greetings from collegues. Noted some weirdly empty desks. Sat down, started beavering away.

    About 10 minutes later a manager unattached to the project, well, vaguely attached, walked into my cubicle. “So… um… the project was shut down. Ed (the project sponsor) was fired. You’re not supposed to be here.”

    They’d left a message on my boss’s phone. Greg was on a fishing vacation up in Canada. He wasn’t really my boss, more of a handler, he found gigs for me and in return I gave him 20% of my income.

    The drama all happened on Friday afternoon while I was driving back home. Ed was a very bad boy, apparently. Kick-backs, shenanigans with his assistant he did not share with his wife or the company. A scandal.

    After a very brief out-processing, I was officially unemployed. My contract was not renewed. At 9:25 on a Monday morning. Downtown in a city that wasn’t home and home was six hours away. Okay.

    No one told me. I showed up one morning and kicked off a mini HR crisis.

    Picked up my shit from the hotel and drove home. I was kind of elated, actually.

    5
  3. de stijl says:

    Gig work is odd.

    You are away from home. You are out of town. You know no one. You are adrift and unmoored. You live in a hotel, or a residence motel, or a leased apartment. You don’t get to choose you own furniture.

    The work is the easy part. Yeah, you get thrown into the deep end of the pool immediately, but I know how to swim. That’s the easy bit. It’s the hours outside of work that are hard.

    Sometimes you get intensely homesick. Staring out the window of yet another hotel into a nearly empty parking lot in the ass end of yet another city at 2 AM and feeling absolutely adrift and forgotten is incredibly daunting at times. You feel intensly alone. Is this Phoenix? Is this Dallas?

    Thankfully, your colleagues lift most of the weight. If you show the slightest bit of interest in their town, many of them are delighted to show you around, squire you. The downside is that they invariably try to show off the best bits of the town. The best restaurant, the coolest bar, the hottest club. The absolute worst is if someone takes you to a strip club which is the most depressing place on earth. I am a straight guy, but I fucking hate strip clubs.

    I very much prefer the grittier, down-to-earth places in town. I don’t really like Le Fabulesque, give me a solid diner with a good grill man. I don’t like the hottest bar, I like a scuzzy joint where you can converse and chat with the local bar-flies about nothing much at all. Shoot the shit. Have a ball, get loose. Watch the game. No worries.

    Some of my best friends were people I met on jobs. Either at work or after in strange towns where I was utterly alone and in an existential crisis.

    I have a very strange and varied Christmas card list.

    7
  4. Kathy says:

    Funny story. Last Saturday at the supermarket I wanted to pay with my debit card, and found I didn’t have it with me. I figured it got left at home.

    It wasn’t at home, either. So I checked my account and there were no charges. I used the bank app to block it, figuring I’d left it at the office. Come Monday, it’s not at the office either. I had last used it the previous Monday at the convenience store downstairs. I went to ask whether they had seen it. Nope.

    As I was about to call the bank to report it and ask for a replacement, a coworker comes in and asks me “Is this debit card yours?”

    It was.

    Now, how did she end up with it? She had it in her wallet, and tried to use it on an ATM on Sunday, where she learned the card was blocked (she thought she’d entered the PIN wrong and it had been blocked).

    I did wind up calling the bank’s helpline to get the card unblocked, because they put a block on top of mine as it had been used at an ATM while blocked by me (it gets confusing). But all is well now.

    Yesterday I realized what happened.

    “Remember,” I told the coworker, “we had to make an urgent transfer to the agent in Chihuahua, and I lacked about $100 in my account? You transferred it to my debit card and I paid you on the spot from petty cash?”

    That was it. I gave her the card so she could enter the number in her app, while I contacted our agent to inquire for her account number. She then forgot to give it back, and I was distracted with other work.

    So I’d misplaced my card and didn’t realize it for days.

    1
  5. Kathy says:

    I had an idea for this week’s cooking, I just don’t have a name for it.

    It’s kind of a pepperoni pizza with a beef base.

    Take some flat beef milanesas dredged in egg and a mix of breadcrumbs and cornmeal, lay them flat on a baking sheet. Cover with tomato sauce, some cheese, and a slice or two of pepperoni, then bake for a few minutes.

    On the side I’m thinking mashed potatoes mixed with sauteed snow peas and a mustard sauce. I’m working out the latter. I’m thinking sweet cream, garlic powder, grain and yellow mustard, nutmeg, and white wine.

    I know that’s not the usual stuff to put on mashed potatoes, but I’ve been mixing mustard in them since childhood.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    The Herschel Walker abortion scandal is a perfect illustration of Steven’s Law, i.e. that party affiliation trumps just about everything. I am willing to bet that despite the primacy of anti-abortion in his supporters rhetoric, this doesn’t move the needle at all. If I’m wrong about that I think it will because it is actually more likely to help then hurt him.

    6
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    True, but the GA R party is trapped by GA law, they can’t replace Walker on the ballot unless he withdraws.

    1
  8. Mu Yixiao says:

    Based on yesterday’s “recommendations” (he said sarcastically), I decided to check out Rings of Power. I didn’t even make it to the Magical Light Vagina.

    Holy hells is that show bad!

    The writing is beyond amateurish[1]. I wrote more coherent stories in high school. The casting is utterly confusing (why do all the elves look like they’re from New Jersey?), the visuals are idiotic[2], and the acting was beyond wooden. Galadriel’s teeth never separate. She delivers all her lines as if her jaw is wired shut. I’ve seen ventriloquist’s dummies with more expressive faces than the entire elven cast (the Harfoots were… passable).

    None of this has anything to do with it being Tolkein. I’m not a purist on that at all. It’s just bad.

    ===
    [1] “We have no word for death”. Really?? You’re hunters and warriors and you have no word for death?! Why, exactly, are we supposed to root against Sauron? The only explanation given seems to be “He wears a black hat”. And why, exactly, are we supposed to root for Galadriel? She’s utterly unlikeable.

    [2] So… who was climbing up on top of all those helmets to make the pile 30 feet high? And… where exactly–at the top of a frozen mountain–was all that water coming from to make the waterfall?

    2
  9. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    That would be Beef Parmesan.

    2
  10. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I think it was Dana Loesch who tweeted that she didn’t care if Walker paid for “one broad’s abortion” because his opponent wants all of us to pay for everyone’s abortion.

  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @<a href="#comment-2736843″>MarkedMan: Didn’t click on the article, but a late-night Yahoo News post noted Republicans Rallying Around Walker Following Abortion Revelation.

    A more or less famous pseudo-Republican once made a comment about shooting someone on some street in a big city and no one caring. Can’t remember the details, but he or she seems to have been right.

    1
  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Haven’t watched it and don’t intend to (not a Tolkien fanboi), but still, it can’t be any worse than the first episode of Picard was.

    (The above was not spoken for truthfulness or accuracy, just to note that opinions are like anuses; everybody has one. For all I know RoP may be the worst show in the history of television. I’ll never find out though. For the moment, Picard is in my personal Top 10.)

    1
  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s not a case of “I don’t like this”. There are objective measures to weather a piece of entertainment is done well or done poorly–at those are entirely separate from whether or not one likes the product.

    While I thought Picard was “meh”, it was well-crafted. On the other hand, Ultraviolet is a slapped-together piece of mediocrity–which I absolutely love.

    1
  14. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “There are objective measures to weather a piece of entertainment is done well or done poorly–at those are entirely separate from whether or not one likes the product.”

    And yet, RoP has an 84% positive critical response on Rotten Tomatoes based on 330 positive reviews and 59 negatives. I’ve still only seen a few minutes — figured I’d wait until all the episodes are out before I commit — so I’ve got no dog in the Tolkien fight, but unless you are asserting that yours is the only opinion that counts and all others are simply ignorant or wrong, then what you’re assessing turn out not to be objective criteria, since it is indeed possible for many to disagree with you…

    2
  15. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    You’re making the same mistake of “I like it” = “it’s well-made”. They’re separate things. Popular opinion is not an indicator of quality craftsmanship.

    For example: A McDonald’s hamburger is not an example of craftsmanship in cooking. It is, however, very popular. Rolls Royce is an incredibly well-crafted car. It’s not very popular.

    As someone who spent 25+ years in the entertainment industry, I believe I’m qualified to understand the difference between a well-crafted production and a poorly-crafted one–regardless of whether or not it’s popular.

    1
  16. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    Up to a point, people want what they’ve always have been given. Give them something that’s not cliche and conventional, say “The Last Jedi,” and a great many will feel cheated.

    Novelty does better in spectacle. New visual effects, say, especially new ways of presenting them regardless of how they are made. Like the “bullet time” in the Matrix movies, the CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, etc. Not in storytelling or characterization.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Rolls Royce would be plenty popular if it didn’t cost an arm, a leg, a kidney, and a gonad to buy one 🙂

    1
  18. @MarkedMan: Indeed, I have a post rolling around in my head along these lines that I have not had time to write as yet.

  19. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    The larger point is to get a majority in the senate. Some of those who support Walker don’t care how many abortions he subsidized. They even admit it.

    2
  20. Jen says:

    I’ve been busy with work, so I apologize if this has already been shared on another thread, but The Onion’s amicus brief (PDF) doesn’t break character and IMHO is a thing of rare beauty.

    8
  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    In the “super luxury” car market, RR only holds a 10% share.

  22. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    For example: A McDonald’s hamburger is not an example of craftsmanship in cooking. It is, however, very popular. Rolls Royce is an incredibly well-crafted car. It’s not very popular.

    But these are poor examples. McDonald’s may not be an example of haute cuisine, but it is an example of other types of craft, e.g. system design.

    The RR example is even worse. It’s not that a Rolls lacks popularity–it’s only attainable to a very few consumers. So no. Bad example in this case.

    You chose two examples that have so many other differences, that they aren’t even comparable in any way.

    You would have been much better off comparing food-food or auto-auto, rather than food-auto. But even then, you will run into problems.

    Your apparent need to believe market metrics are objective is blinding.

    3
  23. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    Gig work is odd.

    I spent 8 months on tour. A different city every week* (and a month of a different city every other day) with no locals to show us around. In a couple places, there was no “around” to show.

    I grok.

    ===
    * We had two weeks in NYC and two in Montreal.

  24. Beth says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Galadriel’s teeth never separate. She delivers all her lines as if her jaw is wired shut. I’ve seen ventriloquist’s dummies with more expressive faces than the entire elven cast

    The only RoP hill I’m willing to fight on (besides wanting to watch it with Reynolds as he gets more and more frustrated and unhinged) is that Galadriel is supposed to be like that. I think the only thing that works is if you look at her as a deeply traumatized, unhinged maniac that is only different from Sauron in that she maybe, possibly, potentially, stop being evil. Like we’re told Sauron is this great evil, but we’re shown that Galadriel is basically evil herself.

    Also, have you not seen the Glowering elf? How are you not stirred by his hot glowery-ness.

    5
  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kurtz:

    The RR example is even worse. It’s not that a Rolls lacks popularity–it’s only attainable to a very few consumers. So no. Bad example in this case.

    Within its market (super luxury cars), RR is not popular (10%)

    Your apparent need to believe market metrics are objective is blinding.

    You, also, are conflating “popular”, with “well-crafted”. And I didn’t say market metrics are objective. I said that there are object measurements of whether a thing is done well. Popularity is completely divorced from that.

  26. Beth says:

    So, in Gay news:

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/3ad5j3/uprising-bakery-drag-show-proud-boys-harassment

    Those Awake chuds have been threatening a friend of mine. She’s a “middle-aged lesbian” trying to help open a part-time LGBT youth center in the Chicago Suburbs. They’ve doxxed the director, have thrown shit fits at village board meetings. Sent her emails that tell her that her daughter will always be a boy and they are going to call DCFS on her. Uno reverse, her daughter is a cis girl.

    I don’t understand why they need us to suffer. I would have loved a place I could have gone to be myself as a kid. I don’t want any kids to be terrorized to the point of PTSD because they are gay or trans. It’s evil.

    Also, in the evil dept., a Trans woman we know recently died of a suspected overdose. Her scumbag family intends to inter her as a man, under her deadname. I am seething with rage that parents can be so evil to their children.

    8
  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m unclear about how the weathering of a piece of entertainment is well or poorly done–or even how to recognize such weathering. But even “well” and “poorly” are subjective standards either way.

    As I used to tell my students about what topic makes a “good” paper, your paper doesn’t have to be “good” it has to meet the conditions stated on the rubric. “Teacher thought the paper was good” is one of them, is it?

    And even then, my tangible, measurable, and objective standards for performance differed from those of my peers, and our opinions of how well writing met those tangible, measurable, and objective standards differed when we would get together to score sample papers to validate some particular rubric.

    1
  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: “…unless you are asserting that yours is the only opinion that counts…”

    Is that what most of these discussions do? Am I missing something?

    1
  29. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I mean, I am objectively right all the time. I have the market analysis to back it up.

    1
  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: AARRRRRGGGGHHH!!!!

    First word of my response should be isn’t, not is. 🙁

    1
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: 😀 😀 😀 😛 😛 😛

    2
  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m unclear about how the weathering of a piece of entertainment is well or poorly done

    Coherence of plot
    Creation of sympathetic/empathetic characters
    Clear explanation of motivation & history
    Continuity of character behavior
    Appropriate interaction between characters based on the above
    Clear diction
    Expressiveness and realism of acting
    Suitability of expressiveness to the moment
    Practicality of scenic elements (are the realistic within the given world)
    Practicality of costuming and prop elements
    Consistency of pallet and graphical/symbolic features
    Framing of cinematography
    Pace and timing
    Appropriate of above all in relation to the intent of the piece

    Goethe (the father of modern critique) based the quality of a work on three simple questions:

    1) What is the artist trying to do?
    2) How well did they do it?
    3) Was it worth the doing?

    Airplane! is a quality piece of entertainment because it achieved its goals–being silly and making people laugh–and did so with well-crafted story, character, props, timing, etc. Transformers (the first one) is a quality piece of entertainment because it achieved its goals–a fun ride where you can turn off your brain and watch cars turn into “people” and blow stuff up–and did so with fairly well-crafted (if simplistic) story, impressive effects, appropriate cinematography, etc.

    Rings of Power falls short on so many of the points I list above.

    2
  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Yep. A billion dollar enterprise and the writers are two hacks from the stable of the uber hack, JJ Abrams, the IP-killer. They have no idea at all how to tell a story.

    You know why a rock sinks and a boat doesn’t? Because the rock looks downward and the boat. . . oh fuck off. Fuck the fuck off with your air-headed, sounded good in a room full of sycophants, attempts at profundity, you lightweights, you smug buffoons. The sea is always right! Jesus fucking Christ. If I wrote that kind of shit I’d cut my wrists and I write for teenagers, FFS.

    And the fight sequences! Oh my God. Watching those poor stunt men stutter-stepping because Ms. Clark cannot stick the rhythm, watching them fall over in pieces as she limply waves her sword in the general direction of her target.

    First ep and the writers have Galadriel demanding they leave a wounded member of her troupe to freeze to death. This is how the writers think you show she’s tough. The lead character abandons her own. The only people more morally contemptible than Galadriel are the absolutely psychopathic ‘cute’, ‘Irish,’ Harfoots. Again with the, ‘leave him behind!’ this time to demonstrate their. . . cuteness? Hollywood needs a refresher course in basic morality. Same issue with Wandavision. Do these people just literally not know the difference between good and evil?

    And Bezos signed these the writers up for a second season. Amazing. I’d have fired them, I’d fire the casting director, then I’d hunt down the executive who hired them and pissed away my money and beat him with a stick.

    @wr:
    If you read the establishment critics you find an awful lot of talk about set design, and an awful lot of talk about diversity, but I doubt you’ll find much about story or dialog. I think some of these guys leaned over backward because they saw the racist and misogynist assholes out front spewing their rage.

    Two eps in and the numbnuts are padding scenes. What does that tell you as a writer, wr? From the first episode it’s padded. They have no story, because they have never written a story in their entire professional lives.

    2
  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I agree with all that.

    TL;DR: If the audience is thinking, “I really hope someone kills that character, because that character is a horrible, insufferable person,” and the character in question is supposed to be your lead, you’re probably not a very good writer.

    2
  35. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Clear diction

    I’ve given up on that. I just put on the closed caption.

    As to Transformers, I can’t hear the term without recalling the joke about it in The Good Place: “How do you smell loud and confusing?”

    3
  36. charon says:

    Pre-arranged surrender, apparently – thread:

    https://twitter.com/TpyxaNews/status/1577704673334636551

    The Russians are being captured together with the BMP-2 in the Kherson direction

    https://twitter.com/TpyxaNews/status/1577704855677931522

    3
  37. Scott says:

    @charon: Can’t wait for this to happen:

    Iraqi soldiers surrender to AAI’s drones

    It had to be a military first.

    News reports out of the Persian Gulf war zone told of an Iraqi soldier spinning around and around with his hands in the air trying to attract the attention of the pilot of a small plane flying above him.

    Only it wasn’t a plane. It was a pilotless drone, called an RPV (remotely piloted vehicle), with a television camera mounted in its belly.

    That story — and a second one about 40 Iraqis trying to surrender to another RPV

  38. JohnSF says:

    @Beth:
    And later in the storyline, Celebrimbor creates the Three Rings…
    “Now,” he muses
    “Who gets these? There’s good ole’ Cirdan, and Gil-Galad’s High King, so gotta be one for Gil. But number three? Hmm.
    I know! That deeply traumatized, unhinged maniac Galadriel!
    Nearly evil, but moderately cute!
    I’ll tell her it helps with the whole empathy business.”

    Not to mention a very important, in fact thinking of it, bloody crucial bit of the whole damn Second Age story line is you could just sail to Valinor.
    In a bog-standard ship (assuming it didn’t spring a leak).
    No luminescent portals required.

    Somewhat later on in the Second Age:
    Advisor to Emperor Ar-Pharazon the Golden (nervous):
    “About the invasion of Valinor, now you’ve stomped Sauron, Your Majesty?”
    The Big Pharaz:
    “Yes, minion?”
    Minion (cowering):
    “Err, giant glowing lady-bits required.
    Apparently.”

    Big P (scowling):
    “Damn. Postpone it till next year then. Check that wizarding for beginners catalogue, OK. Schedule another orc BBQ on the beach at Umbar for this summer.”

    1
  39. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Beth: The situation with your friend and the LGBT youth center sucks. I read about this sort of thing and I shake my head because I don’t get it.

    Even at my most evangelical, I would not have dreamed at behaving this way. And if I had, I would not have dreamed of having divine sanction for my behavior. At my most anti-queer, I would have simply ignored them, much as one ignores alcoholism or drug addiction or gambling or whatever.

    I’m sorry now to make those comparisons. I don’t think they are the same — now. I did then, though. But even then I would never have engaged in this garbage, nor would I have endorsed some theory of “grooming” that will turn people gay or trans or whatever.

    And yet, resistance to gay acceptance is more or less what gave us Trump, and it’s what Putin is riding on.

    Maybe queer people are being scapegoated for a shift in attitudes toward certain behaviors associated with old-school masculinity. As in, “we’re not going to put up with that garbage any more”. And they are digging in, because that’s what that persona does.

  40. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Within its market (super luxury cars), RR is not popular (10%)

    You’re assuming this is consumer choice, rather than a decision by an individual firm to limit production. This happens in different sectors of luxury products as well. Ex: Goyard vs. Louis Vuitton. Patek Philippe vs. Omega or Tag Heuer or even Rolex.

    To return to your other example, we can call McDonald’s a food business. It would be 100% correct. But they are also a convenience business and a value of utility business. Those are also 100% correct. Market share is one of their primary concerns. But share is much less important to chef-driven restaurants.

    I conflated nothing in my response to you. It is you doing the conflating via market share as a proxy for popularity to make a point about something else entirely. And using terrible examples for it, because you chose two wildly different sectors in wildly different market segments within the respective industries.

    Not only that, you’re using examples world’s away from the context of the conversation. But you manage to make a similar mistake in both by ignoring intent of the producer(s) and use case of consumers.

    You’re trying to evaluate something objectively that is inherently subjective. Many people have voiced the opinion that Matt Damon was miscast as Tom Ripley, but I don’t think that at all. Please, tell me how either view about Damon’s and Minghella’s choices while crafting The Talented Mr. Ripley can be objectively evaluated.

    3
  41. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I had roughly the same reaction to yours on Rings of Power. I think I got a little further than you, but I don’t think I made it past 15 minutes, give or take.

    But, as evidence of my questionable taste (and in the interests of full disclosure), I liked Picard enough to watch the 2nd season.

    2
  42. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    From where I stand, if it proves to be bad/mediocre and unpopular, fewer people will ask me whether I’ve seen it and how it compares to the source material (assuming there’s source material).

  43. dazedandconfused says:

    Seismographs in the general vicinity of Tolkien’s grave. Might be worth keeping an eye on.

    1
  44. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “You’re making the same mistake of “I like it” = “it’s well-made”. They’re separate things. Popular opinion is not an indicator of quality craftsmanship.”

    Well, no, I’m not. These are not audience reviews. This is an overwhelming critical consensus.

    “As someone who spent 25+ years in the entertainment industry, I believe I’m qualified to understand the difference between a well-crafted production and a poorly-crafted one–regardless of whether or not it’s popular.”

    With all due respect, wasn’t your time in the biz mostly spent doing stage lighting? (Sorry, if I’ve misunderstood your previous posts.) Either way, I’ve got ten years on you, and all of that spent writing, producing and directing. Does that mean if I like the show that I’m right and you are wrong?

    1
  45. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “Is that what most of these discussions do? Am I missing something?”

    Well, sure. But he’s insisting that his opinion isn’t an opinion but objective fact.

    1
  46. Jax says:

    I also like how there was a pun made on “weather” a show is well-made, vs “whether” a show is well-made, and many multi-paragraph responses, but yet none touching on how you can actually “weather” a show.

    2
  47. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ” I think some of these guys leaned over backward because they saw the racist and misogynist assholes out front spewing their rage.”

    Sure. Because no one could disagree with you in good faith. No one could fail to share your opinion. They must be lying to put forward an agenda.

    Again, I haven’t seen this show. But I have seen She-Hulk, Attorney at Law, and I’ve read the hissing, spitting, hate-filled “reviews” who insist that this show is objectively bad and the writing is objectively bad and all the actors are terrible… and since I have more years in the biz than Mu, I can state categorically that they are wrong.

    So I get your opinion, you’re welcome to it, and when I see the show I might well agree with it. (I am baffled by the fact that Amazon entrusted this franchise to a team of writers without a single produced credit, because running a show is really hard and does require some experience. But again. haven’t seen it.)

    I only take issue with Mu insisting that his opinion isn’t an opinion, it’s an objective fact… because he’s saying it.

    3
  48. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    Either way, I’ve got ten years on you, and all of that spent writing, producing and directing. Does that mean if I like the show that I’m right and you are wrong?

    “I like it” has zero to do with my assessment. I talk about how well it was made (wich is a completely different subject).

    If need be, I’ll post a full critique of the first episode of the show with details and we can discuss it.

    Please tell me why you think the show is well-crafted. Not why it’s popular, why it’s well-crafted.

    Oh. But you haven’t even seen the show!</em

    I only take issue with Mu insisting that his opinion isn’t an opinion, it’s an objective fact.

    Nope.

    “objecive measures” is not the same as “ojective fact”.

    And I never said that my assessments are “fact”, I said that they use objective measurements. Put a scene of Galadrial up against a scene of Kermit the Frog, and Kermit will be far more expressive. That’s an objective assessment.

    But, again… here’s the best part:

    I haven’t seen this show.

    But… you’re willing to insist that I’m wrong in my assessment.

    Without asking for any details.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I think I understand what you are trying to say and, if I’m right, I agree with the sentiment. I suspect the reason you got such a negative reaction was, first, because you didn’t give any concrete examples, and then when you finally gave examples so many of them didn’t have anything to do with objective craftmanship but instead were artistic choices. Pulling just one: pacing. That’s a choice. As an example, take a look at the critically acclaimed 1974 movie, “The Conversation”. I would never recommend it to my kids because they would find the pacing incredibly slow. I picked that movie because there was a 1998 movie that took place in the same universe, “Enemy of the State” and the pacing is so much faster as to render them unwatchable side by side. There were 24 years between those two movies and 24 years between the second one and now. I bet if I went back and watched “Enemy” again I would not find its pacing nearly as frenetic as when I saw it in the theater a quarter century ago.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I agree that judgments of media are by definition subjective.

    She-Hulk is crap, but it’s harmless crap, not targeted at me, and no I don’t know why loons are spitting mad over it. Jesus Christ, it’s She-Hulk, not Macbeth.

    The critics are just wrong on Rings of Power. They were dazzled by visuals and failed to notice story and character. House of Dragons is infinitely more interesting, and surprise, it’s also centering a female lead and has added POC characters to pretty much no outrage. If you have talent, and if you have the confidence to rely on that talent, and not feel the need to run around shouting LOOK AT MY DIVERSITY, PRAISE ME! it ain’t that hard to pull off.

    Nerds don’t hate Ripley or Sarah Connor or Furiosa, they do hate Galadriel, and that’s because the writers of Alien/s and Terminator and Mad Max are good writers and the Rings writers are morons.

  51. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “But… you’re willing to insist that I’m wrong in my assessment.”

    Nope. I’m insisting that you are wrong in asserting that your opinion is actually more than an opinion but somehow crosses over into a factual assessment.

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  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    I’m insisting that you are wrong in asserting that your opinion is actually more than an opinion but somehow crosses over into a factual assessment.

    So you assert that there are no objective measurements by which a work of art can be judged?

    So you must then assert that the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards are worthless–because they’re “just opinions”, and don’t include any “factual assessment”. Right?

    The Irene Ryan awards are just “somebody’s opinion”. The ACTF is just a popularity contest. The Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Polka Hall of Fame… they’re just about who somebody thinks is cool. Right?

    There are countless texts and studies explaining why art is of high craftsmanship or low–going all the way back to Artistotle’s Poetics. It’s not just opinion. It’s about how the human brain responds to various stimuli. There are things we are, via evolution, “programmed” to find appealing and unappealing.

    Hollywood long ago figured out what makes a “quality” blockbuster, rom-com, historical drama, and Oscar bait. You think they don’t have hard data behind that?

  53. @Mu Yixiao: It seems manifestly obvious that the Grammys, Tonys, Oscars, et al. are the products of subjective opinion. It isn’t like it is all graded on some predetermined rubric with points assigned by impartial graders.

  54. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “So you must then assert that the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards are worthless–because they’re “just opinions”, and don’t include any “factual assessment”. Right?”

    Of course those awards are “just opinions” — or maybe you’d like to give me a factual analysis of how, say, Ordinary People is objectively superior to Raging Bull. But why would that mean they were worthless? These are the works that the voters found most valuable at a certain point in time. There’s value right there.

    “So you assert that there are no objective measurements by which a work of art can be judged?”

    I don’t dispute that at all. What I do dispute is that your opinion defines all objective measurement, and anyone who disagrees with you is simply wrong.

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