Why I Hate Star Wars

The Death of Nerd Culture | The Death of all Culture

By Kyle Mamounis of www.nutricrinology.com

I don’t actually hate Star Wars, I hate what it’s doing to “nerd culture,” and I see a lot of danger in that.

But first, Star Wars:

I never did like Star Wars. I think it’s because my dad didn’t like Star Wars, so I wasn’t shown the movies as a child. That might be the same reason I was never much interested in watching sportsball. My first memories of the franchise were some toys and a poster in the room of one of my grade school age rotational best friends. The toys sat next to cooler looking Alien toys.

The poster showed Luke Skywalker with his hands clasped together and a beam shooting upwards and out to the sides. I didn’t know what it was depicting, a light saber, and figured it was something I was familiar with like an energy power similar to what some X-Men had. Princess Leia was to his side, and the aspects of Darth Vader and the Empire loomed dark behind.

Neither the toys nor the poster inspired me to seek out the films.

I finally saw the movies as an early teen, when they were rereleased with digitally remastered sound and enhanced effects. I didn’t get it at all. Even at that age, a story of good vs. evil seemed cartoonish in its simplicity.

Wasn’t the job of a writer, at a minimum, to dress up good and evil with metaphor?  In Star Wars, the good guys are called the “light” and the bad guys are called the “dark side.”

At age 13 or 14, my first thought was that a child of 6 could have written this. In this tale of light and dark, grey pops up here and there in the form of swarthy rogues and disinterested businessmen. The real moral action is at the extremes.

Walking next to my friend’s dad on our way back to the car, I asked him “what do people like so much about Star Wars?” As a fan and theatergoer of the originals, he would know. His answer was that, back then, the special effects were really something special. It was a kind of grand scope cinematic experience. The effects, even with digital enhancement, weren’t so special anymore, but it was nostalgic for many people.

I always remembered that explanation from a man who was around for the original movies, and unconsciously compare it too the slavering praise given the franchise today by those too young to have been around for Episode I, let alone Episode IV.

The Politics

The politics of Star Wars episodes IV-VI can be summed up like this: political power must be wrested from the hands of Bad People who do Bad Things and given to Good People who will use it for Good Things. That is all there is to know about the politics of Star Wars.

Episodes I-III

Matters progressed. Episodes I-III were roundly condemned as inferior to the originals. They were a grand cinematic event, however, bringing in star (no pun intended) power and top-of-the-line Computer Graphics.

Many people sum up their disappointment in two words: Continue reading “Why I Hate Star Wars”

Conspiracies are Under Selective Pressures

Hindsight and Survivorship Bias in Conspiracy Theory

By Kyle Mamounis of www.nutricrinology.com

The recent (and nearly forgotten) shooting in Las Vegas, complete with shifting story, generated a fresh bout of conspiracy theories. I like conspiracy theories. I believe a good many of them are likely true. The state, after all, is a conspiracy of which libertarians and anarchists theorize.

Spending much time on the internet, however, may provide you a supply of conspiracy theories that outstrips your demand. Meanwhile, conspiracy theory skeptics present with a nauseating level of smugness and dismissal. Those that believe because they want to believe contrasted with those who hold conspiracy theories a priori false.

As Henri Poincaré said:

“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”

Both the naïve believer and the naïve skeptic err, committing Type I and Type II errors through hindsight and survivorship biases.

The error of the conspiracy theorist

The hardcore conspiracy theorist sees all events as tightly orchestrated. Information leaks are intentional, carefully designed to demoralize the public. Whistle blowers confirming only some theories are “controlled opposition.” Visible failures are distractions, to hide a larger coup elsewhere. The unfalsifiable hypotheses set forth by many conspiracy theorists are impenetrable.

What is there to discuss, if both hidden as well as leaked information both serve to confirm total conspiratorial control?

This thinking is like Marxist class analysis, whereby a working-class person holding non-proletarian views cannot truly disagree but is only experiencing false consciousness.

The error of the skeptic

The skeptic has an unfalsifiable hypothesis as well. Conspiracies cannot exist, he claims, because someone involved would leak the information, promptly ending the conspiracy. A state acting conspiratorially would jealously guard all incriminating information, never declassifying or releasing documents; therefore any released information proves the non-existence of conspiracy. “Debunkers” are heralded, even if only addressing a small part of a theory.

Failures of any kind prove that no cabals exert any meaningful control; the inability to do any one thing serves as proof of the inability to do all things.

The government is too incompetent to efficiently deliver mail, how could it pull off a grand conspiracy?

Continue reading “Conspiracies are Under Selective Pressures”