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Author Topic: A Hot Dense State  (Read 2643 times)

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Romosome

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A Hot Dense State
« on: May 09, 2013, 11:45:38 AM »

Caught a Big Bang theory ad where the "joke" was "I've never played D&D with girls before!" "It's okay, sweetie, nobody has!"

Impressive to see that show crossing the line from offensively stupid to offensively sexist in addition. I will go inform all the female gamers I know that pop culture has decided they either don't exist, or that they're not real women.

It's okay though, it's for the sake of continuing a schoolyard bully level paradigm of guys being judged based on how many chicks they bang. Remember being into anything that doesn't lead to you putting your dick in a woman means you're not a man, you should devote every waking hour to getting laid.

Fuck the Big Bang Theory, fuck the writers of the Big Bang Theory, fuck the actors, and fuck everyone who enjoys the show.
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Büge

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 12:27:22 PM »

http://butmyopinionisright.tumblr.com/post/31079561065/the-problem-with-the-big-bang-theory

Quote
The humour in The Big Bang theory relies on the audience siding with and relating to Penny, the character coded as “normal” in comparison to the main four guys. It also relies on the audience having a sense of superiority over Leonard, Raj, Sheldon and Howard. We’re supposed to feel like we’re cooler than them and that we’re better than them. This then prompts us to laugh at the things which make them nerdy, which stop them being cool, which make them lesser. This is done, in my opinion, to stop them from seeming intimidating. It’s essentially Chuck Lorre saying “Don’t worry, these guys may have fancy degrees, they may be more successful and more intelligent than you but they like sci-fi and read comics. They’re socially awkward and can’t speak to girls. You’re much cooler than they are so you’re still better than them.” This isn’t to say that we’re not meant to sympathise with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard. Chuck Lorre doesn’t want us to hate them. He does, however want us to pity them. We don’t root for Leonard and Penny to get together because we think they’re a good match. We feel sorry for Leonard, we think Penny’s out of his league and we root for the underdog.

every time
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Thad

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 04:55:45 PM »

fuck the actors

Mayim Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience.  She's earned the right to make her own call about whether or not the show is pushing offensive stereotypes about smart people.  She's also earned a PhD in neuroscience.

I frequently find the show pretty off-putting too, for exactly the reasons you mention.  But let's not get carried away and broad-brush everyone involved with every aspect of its production as being some kind of Traitor to the Cause.
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Büge

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 12:34:33 AM »

Mayim Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience.  She's earned the right to make her own call about whether or not the show is pushing offensive stereotypes about smart people.  She's also earned a PhD in neuroscience.

I don't think it's so much an offensive stereotype about smart people as it is an offensive stereotype about women vis-a-vis gaming and other so-called "nerdy" hobbies. This is the type of stereotyping that pushes women away from hobbies they might otherwise enjoy and leads to people snarling at "fake geek girls".

I mean, how would you feel if they said something like, "oh, women don't watch Doctor Who." You and I both know that's a big lie, but the target audience doesn't. They just laugh along with the laugh track, parrot the lines and perpetuate the attitudes.

Quote from: that editorial I posted
And this isn’t even touching on the way TBBT portrays women. Most notably the fact that until recently the only female character on the show had no understanding of science or nerd culture, and the episode in which it’s treated as a miracle that a woman is in a comic book store – “she must be lost” they say. Even Amy Farrah Fowler isn’t the geek girl representative we may have hoped for. She’s portrayed as distinctly asexual and when she mentions sex it’s always played for laughs, because of course intelligent, socially awkward women shouldn't think about sex at all.

Just because she has a degree in neuroscience doesn't mean she's immune to making problematic decisions decision in her acting career.
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TA

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 02:49:20 AM »

Just because she has a degree in neuroscience doesn't mean she's immune to making problematic decisions decision in her acting career.

Or problematic decisions in her personal speech.  Telling women that they're Bad Feminists if they choose to shave their legs or put on makeup, and using that vaunted PhD in neuroscience as an authority to argue against vaccination.
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Brentai

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 02:58:00 AM »

If nothing else I can respect sitting so comfortably on the extreme opposing ends of what people think the political spectrum should be.
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Thad

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 01:38:42 PM »

I don't think it's so much an offensive stereotype about smart people as it is an offensive stereotype about women vis-a-vis gaming and other so-called "nerdy" hobbies. This is the type of stereotyping that pushes women away from hobbies they might otherwise enjoy and leads to people snarling at "fake geek girls".

Fair, and that barely begins to scratch the surface of how problematic Penny is as a character.  She's not that bright, she's insecure, she's a serial college dropout who's failed at her life goals, but she's pretty.  The boys are smart, the girl is pretty.

The addition of actual geek girls to the show's cast later on helps a bit, but as you mention down below it IS striking that none of them have the same hobbies as the male characters.

I mean, how would you feel if they said something like, "oh, women don't watch Doctor Who."

Oh, I'm not beginning to argue in favor of stupid reductions like that.  The show's problem is that it's pure lowest-common-denominator.  It'll take a cheap laugh over subtlety or accuracy every time.

But while I certainly think it deserves to be called out when it does something wrong, I also think that howling against the writers and cast is another form of "fake geek" accusation.  My point was that there are people involved in the show who really are the genuine article.  Bialik is one, and while I wouldn't call myself a Chuck Lorre fan I think naming his main characters after Sheldon Leonard qualifies him too.

My point is that it's entirely possible to criticize the show and its ridiculous broad-brush depictions without indulging in any of our own.  I'm not a huge fan of the pandering humor, but that doesn't mean everybody involved is a terrible person or a phony.

And while it's not something I would ever watch if my wife weren't a fan, it's not all bad; I get a good laugh out of it now and again.  Stephen Hawking playing himself as a sore loser and trash-talker is funny; Raj getting drunk and Wallowitz's bachelor party and talking about the time they double-teamed a 300-pound Sailor Moon cosplayer is...well, not funny ha-ha, but I definitely have to give the show credit for pushing boundaries of the hoariest possible sitcom tropes.

And I think it HAS been a positive influence in how people with Asperger's are depicted in popular culture.

Quote from: that editorial I posted
And this isn’t even touching on the way TBBT portrays women. Most notably the fact that until recently the only female character on the show had no understanding of science or nerd culture, and the episode in which it’s treated as a miracle that a woman is in a comic book store – “she must be lost” they say. Even Amy Farrah Fowler isn’t the geek girl representative we may have hoped for. She’s portrayed as distinctly asexual and when she mentions sex it’s always played for laughs, because of course intelligent, socially awkward women shouldn't think about sex at all.

Just because she has a degree in neuroscience doesn't mean she's immune to making problematic decisions decision in her acting career.

I'll grant the person writing the editorial has probably seen a lot more episodes than I have, but from what I've seen the joke is that she's plenty interested in sex but is dating a guy who's repulsed by it.

She's described the role as similar to herself and I take her at her word.  It's hard for me to say it's a problematic decision if the role resonates with her, even if other people find it lacking.  Again, that's exactly the kind of judgemental attitude that we're criticizing here.

I haven't seen the comic book episode this season that caused a kerfuffle and I'm only dimly aware of what people were pissed off about.  I've seen fairly mixed reaction to it.

On the one hand, it's sad to see the stereotype of comic book shops as horrible dank pits that are hostile to women reinforced.

On the other, far too many of them actually ARE; I've heard any number of stories of women going into comic shops and being made to feel uncomfortable by staff and clientele.  That's totally unacceptable, and the shops that ARE hostile to women absolutely deserve to be called out for it.

And it occurs to me that it never bothered me to see the absolute worst stereotypes about comic stores and their owners depicted on a popular television show when that show was The Simpsons.

Or problematic decisions in her personal speech.  Telling women that they're Bad Feminists if they choose to shave their legs or put on makeup, and using that vaunted PhD in neuroscience as an authority to argue against vaccination.

Hadn't heard about that stuff; not finding references immediately offhand.  If it's true then sure, she absolutely deserves to be criticized for those things.  Not sure why that means she should be criticized for being on The Big Bang Theory, but yes, vaccinations are important and women should be allowed to make their own decisions about body hair.

If nothing else I can respect sitting so comfortably on the extreme opposing ends of what people think the political spectrum should be.

I don't know what people you're talking about but there's a pretty huge overlap between people with strident opinions about feminism and questionable opinions about medicine.

Next time you're in Arizona, take a trip to Sedona; you can't go half a block without hitting a new age shop.  And hey, the weather is way the fuck nicer than in Phoenix.
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Büge

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 02:20:54 PM »

And I think it HAS been a positive influence in how people with Asperger's are depicted in popular culture.

How so?
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Thad

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 03:25:11 PM »

Well, for starters, by depicting it at all.  Secondly, by making the person with Asperger's the most interesting and endearing person on the show.

It's a comical and somewhat stereotypical depiction, but, per the special educators in my family, it's also pretty accurate and impressively sensitive.

Culturally speaking, I think it's reasonable to say that it's led to some degree of normalization and a greater acceptance and understanding of people who have it.
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Mothra

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 04:14:07 PM »

Yeah, but it's all about how inept that person appears to be. I mean Sheldon has pretty much no positive qualities. You're meant to laugh at him because he doesn't understand how people interact.
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Smiler

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 04:26:16 PM »

The most complete bit of Big Bang Theory was a scene where one of the nerds was playing an N64 game on an emulator. Like that was the scene and the joke.
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Mothra

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 04:27:28 PM »

I am 100% with Romo on this eye-searingly terrible sitcom abyss:

Fuck the Big Bang Theory, fuck the writers of the Big Bang Theory, fuck the actors, and fuck everyone who enjoys the show.
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Mothra

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 04:29:24 PM »

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Defenestration

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 06:23:09 PM »

I don't really have anything to add to the conversation that hasn't already been said. I've always described how I felt about the show by describing it as "nerd blackface."
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Brentai

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 06:27:31 PM »

I think it's more of a nerd Uncle Tom thing.  There are clearly people on the show who "get" the culture and are startlingly intelligent... intelligent enough that they've figured out how to extract lots of money from everyone else.
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Classic

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2013, 06:29:44 PM »

Roast Beef defends the show, but I think he mostly defends it for the same reasons he "defends" Catholicism (i.e. tries to fix it rather than condemning it for its problematic teachings). People he cares about like it.
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Brentai

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 06:39:47 PM »

So, like, mainstream bronyism?
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Joxam

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2013, 10:35:20 PM »

When I give The Big Bang Theory any thought at all I generally feel that the biggest problems with it are not how I feel about it, but how the mainstream public feels about it.

Basically, I have a problem with the fact that once every few months or so my boss and I are having a light-hearted conversation about nothing and she brings up something funny she saw on TBBT and then implies that I should watch it because she's sure that I would think its great because I'm a computer nerd and blah blah.

What I'm trying to say is that I do not think a half hour sitcom accurately depicts nerd culture and I don't have a problem with that on its face, the problem I have is that a hell of a lot of people seem to think it does, and that infuriates me.
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Büge

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2013, 11:26:26 PM »

Yeah, but it's all about how inept that person appears to be. I mean Sheldon has pretty much no positive qualities. You're meant to laugh at him because he doesn't understand how people interact.

Which is why the producers have never gone on record saying that Sheldon has autism. If they did, that would mean they've been making fun of someone with a distinct learning disability. But they've made sure to tiptoe around the subject so they can continue keeping Sheldon as a target for mockery.
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Mothra

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Re: A Hot Dense State
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2013, 01:30:18 AM »

Yeah. It is a literally a show where you laugh at an autistic person for not understanding how ~**REAL PEOPLE**~ interact.
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