Ranting Ranters Rant
So, Derek informed me that I haven’t made a rant on the blog for over two months. Two months! The poor rant tag is likely wallowing in self-pity and neglect. This was an injustice I could not ignore so vowed today I would rant about something… anything! Nothing would be safe from my disgruntled attitudes and opinionated opinions.
Except there was one problem – I didn’t particularly have anything to rant about. I haven’t really seen anything disappointing or worth evaluating, much like my colleague (with the sole exception of the new Archer episode but I don’t feel I could get a full blog post from that). What little media I’ve consumed has been passable. Some of it has even been acceptable. Community started it’s fifth season and they came up with both a reasonable explanation to bring the gang back to college but also introduced enough changes to make the series seem fresh again. They also pointed out a number of the issues I had with the series and hopefully they will address them in future episodes. We also got the return of Starburns which suggests that some of the problems plaguing development have been smoothed over.
Sherlock (the BBC one) has come back. They had that messy Moriarty issue to deal with and did it fine. The episode was rather mediocre by the end but they were trying to both address Conan Doyle’s clumsy attempt to kill the protagonist and bring him back in one of the most famous instances of writer’s guilt and retconning. On top of that they had their own bungling of the source material and asinine modern introductions to try and sweep through as well. All in all, the episode seemed to convey “We screwed up and this is us sorting house.” Though the ending did seem to tease another super villain which, if true, will probably ruin the show. Sherlock is, much like his regular incarnation, best suited when he’s dealing with one off adventures than any silly contrived super plot from mega-villains.
I haven’t seen Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit yet and that might not happen for another week so my blood hasn’t boiled over that inevitable coalescence of Hollywood subsidized stupidity. On the gaming side, I’ve been playing mostly Dota 2 and Civilization V both of which are in a good point developmentally speaking. Civilization released a second expansion I finally got my hands on which seems to have added some much needed complexity and depth to its mechanics with the introduction of trade routes and a new World Congress. More importantly, they fixed whatever coding issues made the damnable game take upwards of ten or fifteen minutes to load which is what murdered what interest I had in the title.
Needless to say I was having a bit of a quandary. Then, as I was taking a shower (I do my best thinking there, don’t you know), I realized I could probably ramble on a good long while about television and its narrative structures and how they could potentially be influencing other media. I had a really good argument that would focus on the required nebulous concepts and maintenance of status quo in television series in order to maintain an indefinite development cycle to keep its production employed. I wanted to then extend how these techniques have been bleeding into other mediums like novels with their focus on long, convoluted epics that don’t seem to really go anywhere as well as film and their need for trilogies. I would then elegantly tie it up with franchising in video games, possibly using the always apt and applicable trainwreck of BioWare’s Dragon Age series which is always a great example of everything that’s wrong with narratives and the industry.
I was going to begin that discussion on the foundation that, of all the new media available to the modern consumer, television is the worst cognitively speaking because of its passive consumption with its audience. Due to my scientific and psychological background, I was going to draw on brain activations and mental health as a quick way to demonstrate televisions deleterious effects.
And then I couldn’t find my sources.
You see, we at somewherepostculture try to maintain an air of professionalism. We often fail, bumble or come up short but the effort is put forward. I didn’t want to just blindly throw out the statement that “television consumption is a cognitively lazy leisure activity that encourages its viewer to sit and vegetate instead of engage with its product” without having some fancy dude in a lab coat to have crunched some numbers to support that statement. Now, this statement is practically common knowledge at this point and I figured it would be a quick search through the old Google search bar.
Three hours later and the best I had were a handful of articles on sedentary living and its effects on the development of children’s Theory of Mind.
So, instead of a rant on television, you’re now getting a rant on the commodification of knowledge.
Seriously, I can’t think of a greater sin we can commit in the modern age than to lock away knowledge and theory behind pay walls. The development of the Internet is perhaps the greatest invention of our time capable of revolutionizing the way we view and deal with in information. We have seen its sporadic and unpredictable effects through our lives. There’s the growing focus on the personal lives of the average individual – Facebook and Twitter practically replacing much regular socialization amongst peers as well as becoming its own entertainment. Nations are finding the free flow of information incredibly difficult to dam. The riots and rebellions in the Middle East often take to social networks to organize and spread their message. Australia has tried to control the access of certain irreputable material with about as much success as they have from preventing foreign flora and fauna getting introduced to their backwards country. Edward Snowden revealed the global monitoring and surveillance of the American Government on such a scale that would make even George Orwell blush.
And our universities – states of higher education and progressive thought – first order of business is to try and hide their studies and research behind strong armed publishing arms looking to try and make a buck off the advancement of knowledge. Because, apparently, we as a society still haven’t learned the value in education and must insure only the wealthiest or the most willing to be indebted for the rest of their lives like some rejuvenated medieval serf system are worthy of said knowledge.
This is in the face of rampant misinformation and lies. When an agency like Fox News can boldly throw up outright fabrications and avoid any persecution because they self stylize themselves as an entertainment outlet and not a news agency then we know something is wrong. American right-wing politics is practically composed of a body engaged in a competition amongst themselves to look the most ignorant and out of touch with reality.
Sorry – I generally don’t try and bring any big political elements into this blog.
The fact of the matter is, after the invention of the Internet no one knew what the hell to do with it. The common person takes it grossly for granted. I know, because I was one of those people. Course, being in Canada gives me and my colleagues a unique perspective in that our Internet providers practically run a monopoly on their service and offer such ludicrous deals to the average customer that you can find better service in airplanes than you can in Canadian homes. But, I’m not going to make a grand call of action and demand we storm parliament hill for change. I mean, if you want to then go right ahead. But it’s cold outside and the cost of gas is so high right now.
No, instead I’ll probably write a story about it. A story inspired by how stupidly difficult it is to find a source to demonstrate that television makes us really lazy.