Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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What's the antidote for anecdotes?

These are just a few issues I've been thinking of recently, but didn't get a chance to write about until now, all combined into one post.

1. Hey, more crap from Sarah Palin! Does she really expect anyone (except possibly Joe Six-Pack, who's probably a Leno fan) to believe that David Letterman intended to make a joke about statutory rape? Sure, the jokes weren't all that funny, but we're talking about Letterman, not Howard Stern. Besides, even if the age weren't a factor, how would it make any SENSE to joke about Willow being promiscuous? She's not the one with the reputation! But Palin thinks Letterman was insulting to all young women, and that there's a double standard as far as people feeling free to make fun of her family and not Obama's. You know, it's really not fair to complain about that when you kept trying to use your kids as political stepping stones. But then, is anyone surprised by the fact that someone who asked about getting library books banned would be the sort who'd go around looking for something to be offended by?

2. I'm not sure why I'm bothered by the idea of Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman dating. bethje thinks I'm jealous, but it's not like I would want to date Amanda, as cool as I think she is. Maybe I just prefer it when celebrities date non-celebrities. I'm not really all that surprised by how celebrity relationships are always failing, because I think a lot of them are just people living out their fantasies because they can. You know, the "I've always thought Neil's writing is cool, so now that I'm famous too, we can go out!" way of thinking. Since they're both active on the Internet and there's a very slim chance they might see this, I should point out that this quite possibly isn't how it is with Amanda and Neil. It's just kind of where my mind goes, I guess. Besides, isn't he a little too old for her? Eh, whatever.

3. One question that constantly comes up at the Monster-Mania Conventions is what the stars think of remakes, to which there are a variety of answers. From my somewhat geeky viewpoint, I think a lot of it comes down to how important the details are, since it's the details that tend to get changed from one version to another. You can talk about originality, and I know I've done that myself from time to time, but I don't think lack of originality in the film industry is anything new. I believe there was a shorter turnaround time for remaking movies back in the early days of the cinema, and films are typically based on SOMETHING, be it a book, a video game, another movie, an actual event, or what have you. Originality is kind of a tricky thing to define, because what constitutes a new idea? But, well, I remember mentioning in an earlier post that all the different versions of The Wizard of Oz are kind of annoying. It's cool that L. Frank Baum's story has reached traditional fairy tale status, but it's also kind of a shame. I see Oz as a quite well-realized fantasy land, and when Dorothy and the Scarecrow are reduced to archetypes, it's sort of like someone is showing disrespect for my old friends. On the other hand, most classic fairy tales had a bunch of different versions anyway. If there are old takes on Cinderella where she gets her fancy clothes from a fish, a godmother, and a tree, coming up with new takes on the tale is basically taking place in the same tradition in which the story was originally spread. Or maybe it's more a matter of a remake being a better idea when the original had some gaps that could be filled in. I don't know. Bringing this idea back to horror movies, I don't think Friday the 13th needed to be remade, and I didn't care for the remake itself. Still, I don't really see it as disrespecting the franchise, since it was already kind of a mess. I mean, Part 9 had Jason possessing people's bodies and finally getting dragged down to Hell at the end, then the next one had him mysteriously back in his own body to be frozen and end up in space. Nightmare on Elm Street was, I think, a somewhat more coherent narrative, with each film building off the last. I guess Freddy's Dead was only sort of related to the others, but it was still consistent, as far as I can recall. Hence, the idea of a Nightmare remake bothers me a bit more, since it would presumably mean changing things the fans have come to know. Sort of like the new Star Trek, I guess, although at least that was a good movie.

4. Also at Monster-Mania, Bruce Campbell told a story about how he was filming a movie in Romania, and everyone but him refused to wear their seatbelts, claiming that they'd heard of a case where people were thrown from a car and lived, while the ones buckled up in the car died. That got me to thinking about how an odd condition of the human mind is that, while most of us are probably aware that you can't really prove things with anecdotal evidence, yet we're totally swayed by it anyway (and I certainly don't exclude myself from this). After all, statistics are difficult to digest, while anecdotes provide situations that we can totally imagine.

5. That actually ties in with another issue I was thinking about recently, which is the current trend of not having children vaccinated. A few years ago, I would have figured vaccination was just as basic for a young child as giving them a name and clothes to wear. Avoiding vaccination is apparently pretty popular nowadays, though. Beth also told me that there are a fair number of people these days who think they can get pregnant without gaining any weight, which at first glance strikes me as a blatant contradiction to the basic laws of physics. I believe some pregnant women DO actually lose weight (for instance, I think Rosemary did when she was pregnant with the spawn of Satan), but it's hardly normal. All I can say is, if you somehow manage to have a baby with no mass, you'd better get him or her vaccinated! I wouldn't want to lose such a biological miracle to the measles! Seriously, though, I think part of the rationale involved in avoiding immunization is the anecdotal evidence thing ("Hey, I heard of someone who became autistic because of a booster shot!"), although in this case I'm not even sure the anecdotes are true. And I've actually seen some people show their complete ignorance of how the immune system works, saying that doctors are pumping people full of disease. Well, sort of, but that's missing some key points, isn't it?
Tags: current events, issues, movies, oz, politics, television
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