So, I woke up today and went on Twitter, liked and retweeted a few things, and then came across this particular entry in the category of Obvious Things We Knew Already And Didn’t Need To Be Told About:
And it got me to thinking about how, in the past ten years or so, with the proliferation of social media, that the desire to appear intelligent is nothing more than a thinly-veiled excuse for being a smug asshole.
This sort of article does not exist in a vacuum but comes about from a culture where appearing intelligent and talking down to others is seen as a moral imperative spurred by shows that mock caring about anything, such as South Park and the more recent Rick & Morty.
There’s also Youtube channels such as the infamous Cinema Sins, which came about from older websites like That Guy With The Glasses and The Spoony Experiment where mocking bad movies became synonymous with critical thinking. CinemaSins in particular often hides behind the lie of being critical and being satire, sometimes both at the same time, in order to avoid answering people who point out the litany of mistakes they make with their Sins Counter. The Youtube channel Shawn has numerous good videos about it, such as this one:
What really gets me is that the writer of this Times post (which you can find here but is behind a paywall, so I can’t get the full context of the article nor do I feel like paying for it) thought this was a necessary thing to write, and in the process wasted the time of several scientists to back the article up. Were people actually believing in the existence of these titan creatures and creating a new religion around it? Did Rhys Blakely fear the onset of people abandoning their critical thinking skills and getting their education solely from a science fiction film?
Or did he just not like that people enjoyed a good film between two giant monsters who are pop culture icons and haven’t been seen on screen together since the original in 1962?
To be honest, I don’t know. In browsing the other kinds of articles he writes (only the titles as, again, they’re behind a paywall with a free trial), he does write about important stuff such as booster shots protecting against variants of Covid, how harmful articles go viral much faster than others, and the development of new jet fuel that could cut down on pollution. So it seems strange that such an article finger waving at others over how giant monsters can’t exist could be written in the first place.
Going back to what I said earlier, about how such a piece came about from a landscape of people who enjoy, and profit off of, decrying the joy that others have over a piece of fiction. Cinema Sins is a top contender for this, and shows like Rick & Morty seem to take vicious delight in cutting into anything that people enjoy. And of course, South Park has made a career of making fun of everyone while sowing the message that caring about something is stupid and not cool at all.
With regards to social media, and what we’ve seen highlighted by the ongoing pandemic, it’s that much more frustrating because science deniers and anti-vaxxers have grown in popularity and reach, with little to nothing being done by the platforms they propagate upon. Many had large audiences on Facebook and it’s only been in the last 6 months or so that Facebook has actually done anything about it. Twitter has shown time and time again how they only care about interaction, regardless of how many Nazis, FARTs (Feminist Appropriating Reactionary Transphobes) are spreading a campaign of hate and backed by JK Rowling and American Far Right Money against Transgender people (because that IS where the LGB Alliance is getting their money), using arguments that were weaponized against gay people back in the 80s.
Their main goal is money and they just don’t care whose blood is shed to get it.
I suppose what I’m getting at here is that this article is superfluous and a waste of time. We know King Kong and Godzilla aren’t real, we know that being that size would kill them (much like how the size of the spiders in the Resident Evil games would crush under their own weight), and we don’t need a finger-waving smug person getting high on his own farts to tell us this.
Yes, being critical of the media we enjoy is important. It’s a saying from Feminist Frequency I believe wholeheartedly, and my critical thinking with regards to representation on screen never goes away, even with media I am head over heels in love with, such as Pacific Rim, the webcomics I read, and the video games I play. Part of that criticism comes from a genuine love of those mediums of entertainment because I want them to be better, I want more people to be able to see themselves in them and enjoy themselves and feel uplifted and celebrated. To know that this is something that includes them, from D&D to superheroes and sci-fi.
It doesn’t include acting like a smug asshole stating the obvious and holding aloft their “I’m intelligent!” trophies.
And if this is satire? Then guess what, you’re doing it wrong.