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Pop culture annoyance meme

Comment on this entry with your biggest annoyances from pop culture. These can be advertising buzzphrases, political slogans, idioms, etc. Then post your answer with this meme in your own journal.

  • 1. I wish folks wouldn't say "P vs. NP" as if it was some kind of a contest. In the last 15 years I've seen "is P equal to NP" problem mentioned twice on TV: once on The Simpsons and once on Numb3rs. There was a whole episode where the young brother sleuth withdraws from society to work on what he seemed to believe was a proof - of what, they never said, but it was weakly implied that he thought P = NP (this being associated with the "idealistic minority view"). What was odd was that proving that P = NP (or perhaps P != NP, the sure knowledge of which would also be useful) was treated in that episode as if it were not a holy grail of complexity theory, but an idealistic crusade. It was referred to once as something that had never been proven, but several times as "unprovable" or "unsolvable".

  • 2. Commanders being "above" the technical details on SF shows. This varies greatly from show to show.
    Sometimes it's meant to be endearing, e.g., Jack O'Neill's apparent indulgence of Samantha Carter's technical discussions about science and engineering on the TV show Stargate: SG-1. To be honest, however much I'd like to believe a Ph.D. in astrophysics would be taken more seriously, she might very well command more attention for her rank as Lt. Col. as for her doctorate. But whether this is the case in the USAF or not, it seems to be good-naturedly "tolerated" as a personality defect than respected as a set of skills and knowledge. Watch Mitchell and even Jackson's expressions the next time Sam launches into what would probably be marked "[technobabble]" on a Star Trek script.
    Some shows depict commanders as being outright annoyed at ambiguous, highly-technical responses. Watch how Adama replies to Baltar (even when he's not looking distracted or simpering).
    BTW, what do all of you Stargate, ST, and other SF fans think of this?

  • 3. Out-of-place Chinese dialects in US film and television. guoyu ("national language"), putonghua ("regular speech"), what? The official language of China is Mandarin Chinese. It's perfectly fine to have any regular character speaking Cantonese, a regional dialect, or even heavily-accented Mandarin (as Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat demonstrated in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). It's not OK for everybody from the Chinese embassy to be conversing in Mandarin that's so Cantonese-laced that it's incomprehensible to the American-born! How would you like it if everybody in the American embassy in Riyadh spoke with a thick Texas drawl? (That's just an example; for all I know, they really do that in Arabic film and TV.)
    Also, how come so many Chinese-American and even Hong Kong-born actors can't pronounce Chinese decently?
    Oh, and don't even get me started on the Firefly mangling of Chinese. That, at least, was funny. ;-)



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 11th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
Some reality shows grow on you!
I like the premise of The Amazing Race (though that's more of a Fear Factor-class contest show than a Survivor/Big Brother/The Apprentice "elimination genre" show), and The Scholar kind of grew on me with its youthful idealism.

I also told myself that one season of Beauty and The Geek was enough (and I still haven't watched a whole ep of S2), but its fascinating in a can't-tear-your-eyes-away-from-the-train-wreck kind of way.

Feb. 11th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Finally something I can comment on!

In reference to the Stargate thing- I really honestly feel like O'Neil just there to advance the plot sometimes. It's like the writers of the show said "Here, we need someone to be an idiot and just ask questions of our reallysmart! female character just so we can dispense with writing an extra ten minutes into the episode."

However, I do think sometimes it's kind of funny- I just watched an episode the other day where she was in the middle of 'technobabble' that explained a good idea of his and he stopped her and was like "Hey..what happened to my good idea? Keep it simple!"

...but i also have issues with him just because he was mcguyver, and I keep wanting him to get people out of trouble re: the stargate with a paperclip.
Feb. 12th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Rampant consumerism and people being sheep. But especially consumerism. Cartoons that are all about the toys ... or the breakfast snacks. Movies that are all about merchandising ... and ... going even broader than pop culture ... people being addicted to *stuff*.

Don't be a consumerist whore, ffs.


Feb. 12th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
I loved your anti-consumerism Christmas cards
*surrepitiously flashes Dem some subliminimable adverts for Banazir Brand MelkorCHOKLIT*

Feb. 12th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Re: I loved your anti-consumerism Christmas cards
It's becoming an ongoing theme in my life. Does BC have a marxist refuge?
Feb. 12th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)
The Balrog Cuttings Smurrow Commune (BCSC)
Haven't you heard of the BCSC?

If you don't fancy farming mushrooms with Smurves, you can lawaz join the Arcuturan Penis Astronomy Club, which has communist agenda (obviously).

It's always about mushrooms, regardless.

Feb. 12th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
Re: I loved your anti-consumerism Christmas cards
I think not many people would take offense (or even notice;-) ) if you were to avail yourself of some of the rooms in Arkady's Kremlin, which has been empty for quite some time now.

It's also very close to the White Horse...
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 12th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)

Did I say that out loud?

Feb. 12th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
Oooh, the P == NP ? question, I work on heuristic algorithms on NP-Hard problems. If P==NP it would make my works go wasted ...
Feb. 12th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! Waste 'em!
Seriously, I'm an AI researcher, and the same would happen for most of my work in approximation, randomized algoriths, and genetic and evolutionary computation.

God speed the day!

Feb. 12th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
re: technobabble

I really think there needs to be a balance between the two. Jack's (and Mitchell's and everybody else's) impatience with technobabble (not just Carter's, but also Daniel's, etc) is quite realistic. Military folk aren't concerned with the "what" or "why" or "how" of a problem, they want to know what to do with it. And Carter has a bad habit of assuming her superiors will draw the conclusions for themselves when all they want is the conclusion in order to make a decision.

It also stands to reason that people of different disciplines don't understand each other, hence those time's Daniel's impatient with Carter, or vice versa. Get me going in musical terms and I'm off like a rocket, but when you do your computer stuff, I admit it's very hard to follow.

On the other hand, it adds to the plot if we have some idea of just what's going on. We need to send an active Stargate into a sun, why? One thing I like about Stargate is that sometimes someone other than the Resident Technobabble Authority realizes there's something wrong with the equation.

Good sci fi shows are about both people and machines that go "ping!"
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
Perhaps Adama is reacting to Baltar's ambiguousness. Baltar hasn't done much (IMO) to command Adama's respect. Unfortunately we don't have any other scientists to compare Adama's interactions with.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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