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Neal Stephenson on Star Wars

As a follow-on to his latest post regarding science fiction, Glenn Reynolds links to this Stephenson commentary on the Star Wars movies and what it says about American society.

Ann Althouse responds while guestblogging at Glenn's MSNBC digs.

I'm curious what the SF fans on my f-list (which is most of you; even the anime fans like their SF) think of what Stephenson and Althouse have to say. Has there always been a healthy chunk of American neobarbarism that doesn't care how things work as long as the movies are funny/flashy and the microwave popcorn is sufficiently buttery? Does fandom include a larger proportion of pro-technology geeks and nerds than the population at large, or are we just patting ourselves on the back?

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
revolutionaryjo
Jun. 17th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Well here's my first impression after giving the article a quick read-through on my lunch break: We all know I can't do math. I am not enthralled by science, although I have respect for the people who are. I am still a giant sized geek.

Weird that an article about Star Wars of all things by an author I have a great deal of respect for would take such an unexpected left turn and so narrowly define what goes into being a geek. And also discludes those who analyze media in terms of text and story. What about literature geeks?

Anyway, more on that later, and like I say I think I'm missing some of the finer points, but it was just a hasty read-through.
wombat_socho
Jun. 17th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
Weird that an article about Star Wars of all things by an author I have a great deal of respect for would take such an unexpected left turn and so narrowly define what goes into being a geek.

Yeah. Who the hell is he to define who's a geek and who ain't? I know exactly what you mean about not being able to do the math stuff but still getting all geeky over the literature. In my case I used to be pretty fired up over the space program and cool technological shit, and still am up to a point, but I don't see it as the main attraction in SF any more.
revolutionaryjo
Jun. 17th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
I think he is making a semi-valid point about how mass audiences take their media as a distraction and try not to actively think about it though. It's the geeks who question things and look at any given text critically and ask "HOW was that done" and "WHY was it done?" etc. So I'll give him that, but I think he's putting too much emphasis on the science and technology aspects.
wombat_socho
Jun. 17th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
Agreed. There's more to life than science and technology, after all. To paraphrase Bill James, anyone who thinks all the answers can only be found in the statistics is an idiot.

I think it's also a serious mistake (and one unfortunately prevalent in many parts of fandom) to assume that people who don't share your interests are stupid.
wombat_socho
Jun. 17th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
*reads Stephenson's essay*

It's a restatement of the socioeconomic thesis he built the world of Snow Crash on...I thought it was B as in B, S as in S then, and haven't changed my opinion since.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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