Sunday, January 20, 2013
For every human creation or concept, there is a nerd who has devoted some chunk of brainpower subsuming every available nuance. And a lot of them are eager to share. Most of the time, I’d say that’s great. Lit nerds, movie nerds, music nerds, game nerds, all can provide context and information that enhances enjoyment. Computer nerds fix our stuff. Car nerds can give invaluable consumer advice. Nerds are instrumental elements of our society. Yet, not every nerd encounter is a positive one. All of us, even we nerds, has had the experience of watching something unspeakably awesome, like, say, Guy Pierce and Shannon parachuting to Earth from low orbit, only to have some physics nerd say “The structural integrity of their suits wouldn’t have made it past the thermosphere. I don’t have a problem with dumb movies, but I hope someone got fired for missing that detail.” You can’t help but think “Jeez, shut up, nerd,” even if you are one. But eye-roll for eye-roll, annoyance for annoyance, pound for pound, none are worse than gun nerds.
Friday, January 11, 2013
In the days since I last proclaimed my love of lists, they’ve well and truly metastasized. They have long been a reliable space filler on the internets, but the past few years have seen them adapted into something that feels unseemly. Lists are by their nature, pretty trite, which makes them easy to write, easy to read, the perfect junk food. Quick little chunks, they are far from a weighty critical tool, but lists are increasingly used like they are—“15 Problems with Movie X,” “9 Reasons Film Y Makes No Sense,” these are the new archetype, because unlike the classic New Year’s form, they can be posted year-round. These sorts of lists bug the shit out of me, not just for their laziness, but because their laziness unintentionally or not recasts the alchemy of story as pure, cold mechanics. Someone compiling their 10 Favorite Musical Stings of the Year, that’s fun, but 7 Plot Holes That Ruined Series Z, invoked as valid criticism? That bugs me. Maybe I don’t love lists so much anymore.
That doesn’t necessarily mean I shouldn’t have Five Resonant Films of 2012, though, right? I didn’t get to see every movie I wanted to this year, not every great movie came through my town this year, and I’m even still waiting for a few to arrive, but of what I saw, these struck nerves.