Thursday, June 08, 2006

Admittedly, A Bit of A Hodge-Podge

I don’t know if people like it better or worse when I just list a bunch of interesting things with links to other places rather than a lengthier, focused, and unified entry. For some reason, I feel like these are cheating, but my hunch is no-one really wants me to go in length about anything (Especially pseudo-statistics or “fuck”), and that the shorter entries are actually probably better.

In any event, today we have special trees, bloop, sci-fi/sf, and, of course “fuck”.

BoingBoing had a post on this originally, but the goods on this really come from the source of all things cool, Wikipedia. What am I talking about? The list of famous trees. For the most heart-breaking tree-based narrative in the world, you can read about Arbre du Ténéré. For a big tree with an unexpected former name, I would recommend General Sherman Tree. And for sheer oddity, I recommend the Tree That Owns Itself.

Bloop: What is it? A strange deep unidentified sound recorded by the Navy in 1997. What is it from? Something big and mysterious that lives in the deep.

There’s a Language Log post about replacement words for “fuck” in science fiction. However, the article touches on two things aside from this main topic which are worth mentioning. Apparently lots of sci-fi fans prefer for science fiction to be referred to as “sf.” The summary of the argument is encapsulated at the relevant Wikipedia page, however, I can’t let this pass without comment. One of the reasons listed in aforementioned Wikipedia entry is that sci-fi fans hate how the term has come to be used by the mainstream as a blanket including fantasy, horror, and other elements of nerdy fringe culture. This is ridiculous: is the complaint really that the damn trekkies are afraid the Dungeons and Dragon set is making “sci-fi” look dweebie?

Fuck that.

As a devoted D&D player throughout middle and high school and a present connoisseur of the rare delights of contemporary fantasy pulp fiction, I would like to point out that my friends and I would never have called ourselves sci-fi fans. Fantasy fans, by and large, look down upon sci-fi fiction as overblown, pseudo-scientific babble with the prose cleverly written in style of an average VCR instruction manual. I could try to explain our superior way of thought by laying out a finely articulated argument in which I compare sci-fi to modernism and contemporary fantasy to post-modernism, but I have a feeling that such an analogy would fizzle out somewhere around the obvious connections and contrasts with Tolkien, Derrida, and Borges. The sci-fi/fantasy rift aside, let me instead just say this: If even sci-fi fans don’t want to be called sci-fi fans, what does that reflect about the genre?


The other thing about the article is it mention Elliott using the word “frak” on Scrubs. It just made me suddenly realize how much of its own vocabulary the show has. I wonder if there is a list of Scrubsisms somewhere. Kelly Ripa, anyone?

And finally, on to the word I can’t write enough about: “fuck.” A law has just passed increasing the maximum fine for broadcasting indecency to $325,000 per incident. If the Internet were susceptible to such stringent guidelines, and if we were to only consider the word “fuck” and ignore variants and other indecency, my recent googling indicates that the FCC could potentially collect a cool $45,175,000,000,000 dollars from that single category of indecent speech. Okay, so that’s a ridiculous and far-fetched scenario. But, how about this: A network wants to show the classic film, Scarface. The FCC would be in its rights to collect $59,150,000 in fines for uses of the word “fuck” and variants alone. Counting all the examples of indecency in Scarface could results in fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. Am I wrong to say that hundreds of millions of dollars in fines is not a reasonable response to broadcasting Scarface?

Oh right, we have to protect the children. Well, fuck.


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