Tuesday, August 01, 2006

People Are Not Stupid

I honestly believe that statement. People are, however, completely illogical for the most part. The two attributes can be mutually exclusive. Stupidity is when you do not learn from your mistakes. Being illogical is when you ignore what you learned from your mistakes. Several case studies can easily confirm these definitions.

A. The Dark Knight Returns and Meets The Gay Cowboy: Currently it is rumored that Heath Ledger will play the Joker in the sequel to Batman Begins. Today I found out that it's not just a rumor, the guy's been cast (if I'm wrong, I'll be the happiest person in the world). Gag me with a spoon. I thought they'd find someone with the talent to play more than one personality to portray the Joker! If you remember the downward spiral of the first Batman franchise then you will remember how terrible the picks for badguys were after the first one. Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face? Help. Then we had Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Oh please, does it get any worse? I like these actors, but they are not Batman super villain quality, especially for the parts they gave them. Portraying every Batman villain as a neurotic psychopath is wrong. The Penguin is supposed to be suave and debonaire, a gentleman, a mob boss who receives the stolen goods and resells them, but does not commit the crimes himself (most of the time). He is most definitely not a grotesque, deformed cross between the Joker and the Elephant Man. Mr. Freeze is a manic depressive with a few good one liners. Not a hyperactive freak with a lot of stupid one liners. Thus, the mistake to cast and portray these villains was once made. The mistake was realized and rectified in casting for Batman Begins. However, apparently they did not actually learn from the mistake because they have now cast a one trick pony to play the greatest of all Batman villains.

B. Radiation Causes People To Die: I do not understand how a story could get away with the tired old ploy of people getting messed up by radiation and acquiring superhuman abilities. My co-worker mentioned the movie The Hills Have Eyes, so I looked it up. No, I did not watch it and I do not plan to. I just wanted to see the basic premise. I always thought that the draw in a horror film was the "it could happen to you" factor. Based on this movie's premise I can already say that it could not possibly happen to anyone. There are several reasons for that. First, radiation kills people, it doesn't make them creepy and mutated. At least, not in the way this movie portrays them. Second, any people left would be unable to breed. Duh, that's why they always ask me if I'm pregnant when I have X-rays done. Third, well, why can't we stop using radiation as a cop out for actual research? Fourth, the government does not detonate nuclear weapons in populated areas even if the people refuse to leave (they'd get sued). And lastly, the movie that this is a remake of tanked. Hint, hint, the story is not at all an award winning idea. This is a case of illogic because we have obviously learned a few things about radiation and it has been portrayed in many movies. We're not turning out those weird nuclear scare movies as much and when we do turn them out, they never do well. Still, someone chose to ignore the lessons of those mistakes and make this one.

Now, illogic occurs on an everyday level as well. For example, in my town they do not trim the trees at the side of the roads. Naturally, the trees obscure important things like stop signs. People know this happens. Yet they insist on paying very little attention to where they are going and what's going on around them. To me the obvious response to the tree dilemma is to look carefully when approaching an intersection, especially if there are trees involved. Most people, however, do not bother to look at all. Consequently, they run a lot of stop signs and get into accidents. Or they don't get into accidents, but almost do. Instead of changing their behavior, they go right back to driving around paying no attention to what's around them.

I always liked the Star Trek characters Spock from the Original Series and Data from the Next Generation because they are logical. Spock has a way of putting things that just makes you think. Of course, you end up thinking things like, "No, duh!" But that's still important. In Reunification Part II at the beginning of Season 5 of the Next Generation Spock is absolutely brilliant. No one had to tell him what was going on, he just knew. It's purely logical. He puts everything in such clear cut language that you do not understand why you did not think of it first. Or perhaps you did think of it, and that's why you love to hear him say it. I am convinced that people can be more logical then they pretend. It would help if they learned critical thinking skills in school instead of learning how to regurgitate information. I maintain that all the information in the world will do you no good when you get into a car accident because you did not notice that stupid tree hanging in front of that stop sign. Pause and determine cause and effect, it's really not that hard, it just takes a little logic.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Ignorance I can understand. Wilful ignorance is something else entirely.