Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Words Have Meaning

I know it doesn't seem that way, especially in this age of 24 hour non-stop media, where politicians use weasel lawyer speak to debate what the meaning of "is is" and barely literate youths text each other with strings of nonsense characters that form their own barely coherent slang, but this is NOT something we should be celebrating. That any corporate entity would embrace this dumbing down of our culture is appalling. For in embracing a lack of respect for the written word, and the empowering knowledge that words bring, it demonstrates an abysmal indifference to society. In one fell move NBC Universal has said that literacy doesn't matter.

Yet, with the announcement that the Sci-Fi Channel is changing it's moniker to a name better suited to use as slang for syphilis, I began to ponder if, perhaps, the disconnect between "commercial" broadcast series and/or movies and the print medium that gave birth to scientifiction, the grandfather of the science fiction genre, wasn't perhaps far more egregious. Originally science fiction was an ill defined genre that seemed to be found only in the pulps, being the cheapjack magazines of yesteryear. The writing was formulaic, many of the stories not exactly innovative, yet, somehow, the genre flourished and grew and evolved. Science fiction is a popular literary medium that has impacted society. It has created the basic tropes and memes that continue to be recycled as clich├ęs in everything from campy comic books to big budget space opera movies.

There is a vast science fiction fan base in the world. We don't ask for much. So long as a movie and/or series is decent and not designed by a marketing department to pander to the tween angst emo demographic with dumbed down monosyllabic catch phrases and blatant product placement we're relatively content. Alas intelligence doesn't seem to be on the checklist of things movies and/or series are supposed to have these days. Rather the studio executives seem to forgo common sense in favor of throwing money at marketing firms looking for a "hook" to reel in an audience.

Battlestar Galactica was but a drop of water in the vast ocean that is science fiction. There's a LOT of other "properties" with fanbases. Why not a Lensmen series? Why not a Gor series? Or how about a series set on Barsoom?

True BSG had/has a vocal fanbase, but most of those are fans with crossover interests in other things science fiction. The backlash from the miniseries, I think, proved just how the suits miscalculated. But that aside even if in ten years time the series, in retrospect, is deemed to be only half as good as people currently think it is just imagine how much better it could have been; if only. .

I apologize for the non sequitur, even though it's a perfect illustration of the problem at hand.

In closing I'd just like to reiterate that "SyFy" is a meaningless nonsense word that sounds more like pejorative gutter slang for syphilis. Now, world, I implore you, stop doing stupid things so I can get back to posting movie reviews!

Thank you.

#end of line

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