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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A hard life if you don't weaken

The redoubtable Jim Henley recently did a post on Heroes where he was generous enough to link back to my previous post regarding race and gender roles in said show.

This sent some traffic my way, for which I am deeply grateful to Mr. Henley.

It also touched off a spirited debate in Mr. Henley's comment threads, which my regular readers may enjoy.

This is reproduced pretty much exactly. In the original thread, though, you'd see that "John Doe" is actually a live link, and foolishly thinking I might find out something about my newest fan, I clicked on said link. However, it only leads to the main page at blogger dot com. So, clearly, whoever this is, he or she prefers to admire me from afar.

Long distance being the next best thing to being here, etc, etc.

For all I know, there's still more to come. Mr. (or Ms.) Doe doesn't strike me as the sort of person who is capable of allowing someone else to have the last word. But this is what we've got so far:

1. Comment by John Doe —

January 30, 2007 @ 11:33 am

My goodness, though, what a tedious post complaining about “race and gender issues.” Nearly 4,000 words straining to construe every action by every female or minority as somehow subordinate to the white males. One could just as easily write an exhaustive and tedious blog post explaining that every action by Claire’s father is just a “reaction” to what Claire does.


1. He has to scramble to dig up fake parents when Claire wants to meet her real parents.

2. He has to scramble around erasing people’s memories when Claire demonstrates her abilities to her friend.

3. He has to rush to the high school on homecoming night to chase after Claire.

Etc., etc. All of which proves nothing except that someone needs to lighten up and stop hyperanalyzing everything like a lawyer.

2. Comment by Doc Nebula —

January 30, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

Deeply, deeply sorry my ‘hyperanalyzing everything like a lawyer’ offends you on such a thalmic level.

Oh, no, wait… I’m not.

My writing doesn’t intend to prove anything; as with so many others, I’m simply stating my views. If you find them tiresome, that’s a big boat with a lot of people in it, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and respond to it at all, even if it is in someone else’s comment threads.

Good night, and good luck.

3. Comment by John Doe —

January 30, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

I’m responding here because your article was recommended here. Anyway, you can do what you will, obviously, but IMHO, life is happier if one can just chill out and enjoy TV without dissecting every aspect of a show with an enormous chip on one’s shoulder.

4. Comment by Doc Nebula —

January 30, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

Anyway, you can do what you will, obviously, but IMHO, life is happier if one can just chill out and enjoy TV without dissecting every aspect of a show with an enormous chip on one’s shoulder.

Life is happier without many things, nearly all of them including actual rational thought. However, the world these ‘happier’ dolts inhabit is a bleaker one for the lack of said thought, and a considerably shabbier one than it needs to be for the minority of us who actually do try to think more often than not.

My particular life is greatly enriched by my efforts to actually process data and reach reasonable conclusions and and otherwise ‘overanalyze everything like a lawyer’. I hypothesize — utterly without evidence, of course, because the world just ain’t like this — that the reality we all share would be a much better place if more people were equally analytical, engaged in rational thought more, and elevated their standards as to the entertainment products they consume/support, as well.

There are literally millions, if not billions, who ‘just chill out and enjoy’ TV, movies, books, comics, radio, pop music, etc, etc, etc. This enormous audience of nondiscerning swill consumers is why we have movies like DUMB AND DUMBER (and why its big budget, yet still entirely idiotic, exemplar, FORREST GUMP, won multiple Oscars).

I understand that there are many MANY people in this world who enjoy actively not thinking about anything, and that I am in a pronounced minority as I get actual pleasure from just the opposite. I equally understand that many MANY of these people become disgruntled, surly, and/or actively hostile when they are actually asked to think about anything at all for any length of time, but it seems to me that you are taking this to an entirely unprecedented level by becoming surly and truculent with someone ELSE for daring to think about something in your presence.

I could be wrong.

I admit it frankly, I have high standards. I think about things. I write about the results of my thought processes. For some reason, you seem to find this offensive, and believe on some gut level that I owe you an apology for all this.

These are Mr. Henley’s comment threads, so out of respect for him, I will not resolve my response to you as I absolutely would in my own. However, were I in my own threads, I’d have just two more words for you, and those two words would not be ‘Happy Birthday’.

More to come?


At 4:22 PM , Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Hardly the first time the ADHD crowd has chastised you for talking too much. I think they're okay with you thinking to yourself. They just don't want to know about it. Though I'm not sure why they'd read it in the first place if they didn't. It boggles the mind, I tell ye.

Oh, and 'Happy Birthday'...::hee::

At 9:49 AM , Anonymous Always Esteemed Scott said...

I was trying to figure out why I hadn't read that entry before now, and then I remembered that at the time, I hadn't completely caught up with HEROES and didn't want to read anything to spoilerish beforehand.

Now that I'm caught up, I'm glad I went back and read it. I hadn't considered that perspective before. To be fair, since you wrote that, Claire has taken some independent action, even if it is just re-establishing her friendship with the nerd guy and trying to find her real mother.

The Nikki/Jessica character is just a no-win all around - she's either a weak slut or an insane monster. Either way, that storyline is just not all that interesting to me.

The Haitian is the most egregious example of what you're talking about - not only is he very black and scary looking, he doesn't even have a freaking NAME.

The only instance I might disagree with you is the cop - his relationship with the FBI agent seemed more or less equal. In fact, she has to prod him into working with her at first, if I recall.

Finally, I will never understand the "dude, it's just a TV show, lighten up!" crowd. I'm afraid I take the art of storytelling too seriously for that. Characterization, continuity, and narrative *matter*. They just do.

Anyhow, thanks for bringing this back to my attention. I might have missed it otherwise.

At 11:20 AM , Blogger Highlander said...


It doesn't surprise me when Those Who Must Be Mentally Inert come after me. Everything is someone's sacred cow, and one gores that cow at one's own risk. There's a guy in my previous APA -- a gigantic Rush Limbaugh fan, among other things -- who was always willing to analyze anything he didn't like (generally, anything posted by anyone else in the APA that he didn't like) at such length and in such detail as to make them utterly fall apart under the scrutiny (or so he, and doubtless his hero Rush, were desperate to believe).

Yet subject any of his favorite comic book stories to that same depth of analysis, and he'd start screaming things like "Lighten up, this stuff is just for fun" and "you can't spell analytical without A-N-A-L". I'm very familiar with how the crowd thinks... or doesn't.

And in point of fact, if you LIKE an SF TV show or movie, chances are, you're going to have to refuse to think about a great deal of it, because as an overwhelming general rule, SF on TV or in the movie theater is brainless and stupid. That's just how it works. Textual SF is a small ghetto, because only people who can actually imagine something besides the world they live in, and logically speculate about the differences between a fictional world and ours, will enjoy it.

Movies and TV have to appeal to much larger audiences, to there, 'science fiction' essentially becomes an excuse for a lot of cool eye candy.


Yeah, as the show progresses, people seem to be developing a little bit more. Claire is defying her father, yes, but let's note that other than hooking up with her natural mother, everything she has done has been with the help of the Mysterious Haitian, or to re-secure her friendship with Zack, because "she can't do it alone". Still, she does seem to be growing a little, I admit. Maybe Claire and her natural mom will team up to kick a little ass and take a few names.

Hiro's a mess, though, and his losing his powers right now strikes me as having 'plot requirement' written all over it. For some reason, at the moment, it isn't convenient for them to have a guy who can jump all over time and space and help the scattered cast of protagonists hook up together, so the writers power him down for no sane reason.

The Invisible Aussie is bugging the shit out of me, too. I try not to think too hard about how the powers work on this show, because, you know, when you deal with superhumans, you just have to suspend your disbelief a little. But questions like "Why does Peter think this guy can teach him anything?" and "How in the world is it that this guy knows anything about how Peter's powers work?" are certainly legitimate. And I'm not seeing any answers.

And, well... how the hell DOES he turn invisible? If light bends around him he can't see, because no light is reaching his retinas. But he can't just be making everyone around him ignore his presence with his mind, because we've seen Peter fade in and out when Invisible Guy walks out of Peter's range.

Nikki isn't a slut; we've only ever seen her have sex with her husband. Jessica is a slut. It's all part of the "if you have sex with someone you're not married to, there's something badly badly wrong with you" dynamic we see constantly on television these days. I grant you, though, the composite character is tiresome in the extreme.

It's interesting to me that nobody seems to have even considered just how wildly out of control Claire's father is. To date, he has illegally wiretapped people, kidnapped people and done exotic operations on them without their permission, he's kept a prisoner locked up in a secret cell without anything remotely like due process while performing experiments on him, he's had one of his prisoners mind controlled into taking illegal drugs, he's blithely erased the memories of half a dozen different people (a peculiar type of assault I myself find particularly disturbing and offensive) including his wife and daughter (his poor wife has had it done at least twice), and, just last night, he shot someone in the chest and ordered that same person killed when they somehow got away.

He has apparently done all this without the slightest color of authority and without even a twinge of conscience. This guy is a madman.

And yet, we watch the show and we find him likable and feel that all his actions are justified, because, you know, he's protecting his daughter and... and... doing something that hasn't been fully explained as regards this community of nascent genetic superhumans that apparently walks among us.

I'm not sure I'd feel better or worse if it turned out he was working for the NSA or something. But I'd certainly like to see Matt get the FBI after his ass. Someone needs to slap his crazy ass in cuffs, quickly.

At 8:04 PM , Blogger AaA said...

Having watched my tape, I can safely comment.

More irritating no-first-name-for-Claire's-dad shit... I mean please. Especially where they basically grind it into your face with her mom just about to say it and getting interrupted by the dog or whatever. Please. And Syler pressing it against the cage window, and just happening to hold a finger over the name, and when you do get close enough to see it, it turns out to be just a first initial, 'R'.

Oh great, now he's R. Whatever. I'm past caring, it's just pissing me off now.

I am somewhat intrigued/vaguely pleased by the Invisible Hobo's failings as a teacher/mentor. Basically all the snarky nihilistic bullshit he'd been feeding our boy turned out to be the exact opposite of what he needed.

And oh, boy. Claire's mom is trailer trash, well, hey, so are a lot of people, no biggie there. But her dad just happens to be Nathan Petrelli? Funny, she don't look Italian to me...


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