Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CSIence Fiction, Double Feature

CSIence Fiction, Double Feature

Okay so I don't watch CSI.  I don't watch a lot of tv.  I don't have cable and I destest comercials which means I need to download CSI to watch it.  I can think of literally dozens of better uses for my bandwidth.  So of my friends who are more plugged into the internet than I am brought to me the atension of the quote, "I'll write up a GUI in visual basic to tracka killers IP adress".  Yep that graphical user interface is gonna come in real handy.  Of course anyone who has worked in IT has learned that they can just say fancy shit to their non IT bosses and they will think you are a fucking genius.  Whatever.  I am done talking about CSI.

I am not done talking about Star Trek the Next Generation though.  See here is how sad things have gotten.  When most people talk about TNG they are talking about their distorted memories of the show rather than what the show is really about.  TNG is one of my favorite shows of all time because it is just so different, it is something that could only really work in the 90's, it is something special.  The show itself took 3.5 seasons to really get its swing down and by the 4th season it had a pretty established pattern of what would happen in the episodes but those first three seasons is where the magic is most powerful.  It is where that show is both at its best and worse.

At many times over the course of the show, when a problem develops, someone will confidently say I need to use X and Y to reconfigure Z.  Reconfigure is a word they use all the damn time.  Lets take this sci-fi device that does this one thing and we'll make it do this other thing with SCI-FI magic!  Though that is what litterally happened that isn't what we were supposed to believe.  Piccard relentlessly cross trained all of his personnel, every episode starts with some members of the crew engaged in some sort of intelectual hobby.  We are led to believe that these are smart capable people so when they spout off their sci-fi stuff they know what they are doing.

One of the criticisms that a lot of people levy at TNG is that every one seems to know exactly what they are doing and how everything works.  Yes they do.  It is called being a member of Star Fleet you don't just end up flying around the galaxy doing shit, especially on the enterprise which is the Federation's flag ship.  This show put forth a bold new vision of humanity that was no longer driven foward by greed but rather the pursuit of knowledge and interests, a dream that the writers of DS9 and Voyager were unable to carry out because they didn't believe in it.  Which is sad. You look at the hope in TNG then you look at what they turned Star Fleet into over the course of DS9 and it is almost unrecognizable and more than a little sad.

I say all of this because TNG had smart capable characters using sci-fi vocabulary to solve problems.  The CSI moment I started this post with used real world words in a nonsensical way to do the same thing.  Anyone with some basic computer knowlage would know what she said is utter bullshit.  It feels like we've taken a giant step backwards and we are now enthralled by what we use every day.  In a way it reminds me of the very end of 100 Year of Solidtude where the gypsies return to the town and they start showing off the same tricks with magnets and ice that they did at the start of the book.

By now everyone should know better than "I'll make a GUI in visual basic to track their IP" but instead it is all Star Trek...still.  I am upset by this.

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