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Prophets of Science Fiction 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:53 am
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
Right after Heinlein is George Lucas. How serious can this series be?


Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
holmesiv wrote:
Right after Heinlein is George Lucas. How serious can this series be?

Lucas has been in the opening credit sequence since the first show - and the parallel credit is for "energy weapons." Gosh, I dunno how sf got along without energy weapons until 1977. Poor Doc Smith had to sit around waiting for over 40 years, I guess.

I will watch these at least until they get to Heinlein, but not with any enthusiasm. Anyone know what revelation RAH is to be paired with?


Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
JamesGifford wrote:
Was disappointed. I don't see how anyone can watch these History/Mystery/Sci/Eddication programs any more. MTV for the forebrain.
The Onion: "Science Channel Refuses To Dumb Down Science Any Further"
http://www.theonion.com/articles/science-channel-refuses-to-dumb-down-science-any-f,2897/

Quoting from the article:
Quote:
"I don't like it when the science people talk about things no one can even understand," said Rich Parker, an Ohio resident. "It's like, just quit your yapping and dip the chain saw into the liquid nitrogen already."

David Zaslav, CEO of the network's parent company, Discovery Communications, said he has not ruled out rebranding the Science Channel as the Stuff Channel.

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:12 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
Dear Ghod, Punkin Chunkin is a real program.


Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:24 am
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
I think there's a frog-in-boiling-water thing going on with perception of TV quality. Those who watch it on a more or less continuous basis, no matter how lightly, quickly become acclimated to the downward spiral of intelligence and quality.

Those of us who only peek in at multiple-year intervals are badly shocked each time at the devolution.

I think a lot of it traces to the now-lack of any pretense to the contrary that their aim is to hook you and hold you for the next commercial block, with absolutely every other consideration omitted or consigned to a subsidiary level. We're in a Spinrad/Dick nightmare where mass communication is the blunt-trauma tool of marketing, surrounded by stygian void.


Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:56 am
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
JamesGifford wrote:
I think there's a frog-in-boiling-water thing going on with perception of TV quality. Those who watch it on a more or less continuous basis, no matter how lightly, quickly become acclimated to the downward spiral of intelligence and quality.

Those of us who only peek in at multiple-year intervals are badly shocked each time at the devolution.

I think a lot of it traces to the now-lack of any pretense to the contrary that their aim is to hook you and hold you for the next commercial block, with absolutely every other consideration omitted or consigned to a subsidiary level. We're in a Spinrad/Dick nightmare where mass communication is the blunt-trauma tool of marketing, surrounded by stygian void.


This may be a little off track, but your last paragraph reminded me of the book I'm reading, "Slick," by Daniel Price.


Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:20 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
PeterScott wrote:
Dear Ghod, Punkin Chunkin is a real program.
It may sadden you to learn that not only have I watched the Thanksgiving-evening airing of the Punkin' Chunkin' special in both 2010 and 2011, but I have also attended a major pumpkin-throwing event.

The pumpkin festival in Lewes, Delaware is larger and more famous as the birthplace of pumpkin-flinging contests. But Morton, Illinois, styles itself the Pumpkin Capital of the World, plus

(1) it is much closer to where I live and
(2) Morton is the home turf of the legendary Aludium Q-36 Pumpkin Modulator, an 18-ton pneumatic cannon with an 80-foot barrel which has projected 10-pound pumpkins as far as 4680 feet. (It helps that a lot of Caterpillar employees live nearby, I think.)

In 2010 the Higgins family journeyed to Morton to see the trebuchets, centrifugal flingers, and air cannon competing in the annual contest. I don't know whether I will become a frequent attendee, but it was a wonderful thing to see at least once. Dozens of infernal machines firing into a clear autumn sky.

From TV and newspaper articles, I had been aware of the distance-shooting contests-- with scoring and precision measurement and GPS readings on the crashed punkins-- but I had not realized that there would also be spells where the mighty engines aimed their wrath at three junked vehicles parked in mid-field. Less intellectual, more visceral.

The best surprise came at the end of the day: The Aludium Q-36 crew invited spectators to pick a pumpkin out of a pile and bring it up to the gun. My wife got in line. The crew loaded her pumpkin into the breech, then allowed her to pull the valve handle, pressurizing the weapon, and to push the Big Red Button. FOOMP! I was so proud.

We might be drifting off-topic a little.

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Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
holmesiv wrote:
This may be a little off track, but your last paragraph reminded me of the book I'm reading, "Slick," by Daniel Price.

Off-track and off-topic are terms without meaning in the forum world. :D Besides, we've run out of scurrilous things to say about the OT until they barf out another instance.

Nothing new in Price's book. The notion comes around every few years and has done so since at least the '50s. Nobody listens. Like the bizarre insanity of "Black Friday," nearly everyone publicly heaps scorn on TV fare, and then goes back to watching it. Can't remember if it was Spider who had the formulation of a room full of people watching some drivel, one says, "Why are we watching this crap?"... and everyone nods, smiles, chimes in, and goes back to watching.

It gets tougher to ignore it once you've explored the thinking of Adbusters, Renegade Consumer, et al. Once you understand just how hard you're being yanked around in the name of simple greed, you never quite see things the same way. But getting the message from the medium doesn't stick. (F'rex, Max Headroom made a completely naked issue of it ...forgotten.)

Bottom line, anyone who thinks that mass media in this country has ANY remaining function except to sell things in the most targeted and efficient manner is simply not paying attention.


Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:34 am
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
JamesGifford wrote:
We're in a Spinrad/Dick nightmare where mass communication is the blunt-trauma tool of marketing, surrounded by stygian void.


YES. I read Solar Lottery back in the early 1980s and I've never forgotten a line about how the television advertisements were of a much higher quality than the programming. Dick saw this coming in 1954--maybe it was already true in 1954? But I never have looked at advertising the same way.

BTW, I don't see television as a complete wasteland--there are a number of science and tech programs I watch with my seven-year-old. Usually DVRed and fast forward through the ads. Best of all possible worlds.

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Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:51 pm
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Post Re: Prophets of Science Fiction
JamesGifford wrote:
holmesiv wrote:
This may be a little off track, but your last paragraph reminded me of the book I'm reading, "Slick," by Daniel Price.
Nothing new in Price's book.



No doubt. In fact, it resembles what I've read about Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop," published in 1938. I have an interlibrary loan request out for that one.
While it may not be new, it is a good and fascinating read and I recommend it.


Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:02 pm
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