Asked by Anonymous
I think nerds do, yeah. A lot of people seem to think that picking out plot holes or logical inconsistencies, usually really small ones that have no impact on the dramatic arc of the narrative, is more fun than involving yourself in the story or the characters and makes you “smarter” than the filmmakers. Witness those “everything wrong with [insert movie]” videos that are nothing but bullshit nitpicks that have all the valuable, insightful critical analysis of a wet bag of dog poop.
Normally the stuff that gets pointed out as a “flaw” or a “mistake” is either a meaningless continuity error or some minor bit of plot convenience that’s required to get the story from point A to point B. In bad movies, these conveniences are so huge that they take you right out of the story and all you can think about is how ridiculous the leap of logic is. In good movies, even noticeable plot holes don’t matter because you’re so wrapped up in the drama/comedy/whatever and you care about the story and the characters enough to just go with it. A lot of people are very resistant to even the idea of the latter, so we wind up with a bunch of pointless, insight-free nitpicking disguised as “film criticism”.
The best film criticism isn’t about “gotcha, now I’m smarter than the screenwriters” posturing - it’s about appreciation, about understanding what the filmmakers were attempting to do and if they were successful in terms of execution. Movies are, by and large, all about how they make you feel, what they make you think about, how the characters build, how the story unfolds. Focusing on “hey, there’s no way that car could’ve made that jump!” or “that computer OS doesn’t operate that way!!” is missing the point. That stuff can be fun to point out in a movie that’s failing on most levels, but if you’re watching something that is genuinely dramatically gripping and the only thing you have to offer in analysis and discussion is a bunch of myopic nitpicking, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s the mini I made for Genghis Con! It came from a joke I made on twitter a while back about dogs and wi-fi.
I still have some physical copies of the book left so if you’re interested in buying one, send me a message or email or something. There are a lot of ways to contact me.
I LAUGHED WAY TOO HARD AT THE DUDE JUST CRASHING BECAUSE HIS GPS WENT OUT.
While [Stewart Baker, a one-time general counsel for the NSA] and others support using surveillance to tarnish the reputation of people the NSA considers “radicalizers,” U.S. officials have in the past used similar tactics against civil rights leaders, labor movement activists and others.
Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI harassed activists and compiled secret files on political leaders, most notably Martin Luther King, Jr. The extent of the FBI’s surveillance of political figures is still being revealed to this day, as the bureau releases the long dossiers it compiled on certain people in response to Freedom of Information Act requests following their deaths. The information collected by the FBI often centered on sex — homosexuality was an ongoing obsession on Hoover’s watch — and information about extramarital affairs was reportedly used to blackmail politicians into fulfilling the bureau’s needs.
… James Bamford, a journalist who has been covering the NSA since the early 1980s, said the use of surveillance to exploit embarrassing private behavior is precisely what led to past U.S. surveillance scandals. “The NSA’s operation is eerily similar to the FBI’s operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets,” he said. “Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history, today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history.”
That controversy, Bamford said, also involved the NSA. “And back then, the NSA was also used to do the eavesdropping on King and others through its Operation Minaret. A later review declared the NSA’s program ‘disreputable if not outright illegal,’” he said.
Baker said that until there is evidence the tactic is being abused, the NSA should be trusted to use its discretion. “The abuses that involved Martin Luther King occurred before Edward Snowden was born,” he said. “I think we can describe them as historical rather than current scandals. Before I say, ‘Yeah, we’ve gotta worry about that,’ I’d like to see evidence of that happening, or is even contemplated today, and I don’t see it.”
Jaffer, however, warned that the lessons of history ought to compel serious concern that a “president will ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist or human rights activist.”
“The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn’t use its power that way in the future,” he said.
"The NSA should be trusted to use its discretion" Um… no.