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. ;-)