When Thinking Ruins TV

Sometimes I wonder if I think too much. In many cases, my enjoyment of entertainment is ruined by my thinking.

Star Trek

For instance, last week, I finally got to see the new Star Trek movie. After the final Star Trek: TNG movie, Nemesis, I wasn’t planning to see another Star Trek movie. I figured the franchise should remain in my past where I enjoyed it more. But, I’d heard good things about the new movie, which sort of departed from the present by visiting the past. I saw it, and loved it.

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When I first heard about the show “Dexter”, I wrote it off. It was an interesting concept, but I had preconceived notions.

For one thing, it’s on Showtime. My impression of most Showtime and HBO “original” series is that they follow this pattern of development:

1) How much soft-porn can we cram into 60 minutes?

2) How many cuss words can we work into the dialogue around the 60 minutes of soft porn?

3) OK, now that we have our soft porn and cussing quota, what kind of story can we write around it?

The first 2 episode of True Blood were enough to validate my opinion.

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“Raising Awareness” vs. Getting Results

I really don’t want to write this post. I probably shouldn’t. I guess I can take solace in the fact that nobody reads my blog, so I can write whatever I want. But I also don’t want somebody to stumble by and misunderstand me. Some people can be incredibly irrational, and from the depths of misguided emotion, will draw conclusions that were never intended.

For instance, I once wrote a post that did little more than make my reader(s) aware of a humorous post Tim Challies wrote comparing Joel Osteen’s (ghostwritten) sayings to fortune cookies. Somebody stumbled across my post and somehow drew the conclusion that because he had a fortune cookie with a proverb in it, we should stop reading the book of Proverbs.

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TAPS and Hellboy

I’d never seen this before. Hellboy is one of my favorites.

What Is The Difference Between Joel Osteen and a Fortune Cookie?

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited with this post. I'm linking somebody else's work. Tim Challies ate Thai food and read the fortune cookie. From Tim:

 I thought "This fortune sounds like something Joel Osteen would say." And then it struck me–there is very little difference between Joel and those fortune cookies (except that the cookies are delicious, of course).

Tim then sampled some of Joel Osteen's work, and created a 12 question quiz to compare the two. You can take the quiz on his blog. Let me know how you do in the comments. 

Why Do People Waste So Much Energy Worrying Their (fill in the blank) Makes Them Dumber?

I'm starting to think there is something wrong with me. Am I missing something?

I don't spend any time worrying that my (iPhone, Dell, netbook, nook, TV, DVR, refrigerator, washing machine, GPS, reading lamp, stand-up shower, power mirrors, RSS Reader, or whatever the heck else) is making me dumb.

None. I don't waste any energy worrying about it.

Yet I read tons of content from other people worrying that such and such is killing their brains. Consider this from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW): Is My iPhone Making Me Dumber?

I don't get it. But I see these things as very useful tools. I enjoy them while I have them. If they all disappeared some day, I'd find a way to get by. I'd really miss my broadband Internet and air conditioning though.

Do you worry about these things making you dumb? Destroying your ability to think? Why? Do you have any objective evidence for this, or are you just following "conventional wisdom"?

Cracked: Lotteries

Looks like somebody wrote a topic page for Cracked about lotteries. I figure I’m better off linking to it than quoting much of it directly. This is almost exactly what I would write about the lottery if I were capable of the kind of biting satire Cracked is known for.

From the page:

Even the Wikipedia article says that “buying a lottery ticket reduces the buyer’s expected net worth,” and when someone writing Wikipedia articles on lottery systems starts to call you worthless, you should probably be returned as defective by organ farmers.

I’ve made it sort of a hobby to study the lottery. Or, more specifically, lottery winners. I’ve written many times that I don’t “play” the lottery. I’ve found more constructive ways to waste my money.

I once found a very insightful quote in 1984 about the lottery. I should rewrite that post. Even I can’t stand my writing in it.

The last bit of text on that topic page contains a very saddening development:

Make Me A Millionaire

In final proof that He Who Is Satan has not only come to Earth but set up
a business, California is combining reality TV and scratch cards in
“Make Me A Millionaire” – a game* where contestants pay for scratch
cards for the chance of winning an appearance on TV. The moment people
stopped dreaming of being millionaires, and instead dreamed of maybe
having the chance to be on reality TV, is recorded as the exact date
hope died.

*God awful moron experience

Statistically, I’d say you stand a better chance of winning a spot on a reality TV show than you do of winning the lottery. Maybe it’s not that sad.