Friday, December 18, 2009

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (1/7)

It's ten minutes long, part 1 of 7, and one of the best things, evar.



Part 2 is better.



Mr. Pony said...

Oh shit the deflector shield bit in part 4

Galspanic said...

I have to say I think my favorite part was the end of part 6. The substance of it was strong. There's a hell of a lot of funny bits in this series.

Heeero said... it just me or is that Tim at 5:32 or part 7?

Mr. Pony said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you're right. He's famous!

Lungclops said...

The behind the scenes section of part 7 is devastating. You can see the panic in the producer's eyes.

kamapuaa said...

Who wants pizza rolls? This guy is brilliant.

Ruby Tenneco said...

These are amazingly perceptive! That guy should teach an intro to screenwriting course. My sister-in-law and I have been obsessively discussing the intricacies of his analysis nonstop for 24 hours.

Galspanic said...

You get a lot of coffee for Xmas, Ruby?

Ruby Tenneco said...

Actually I did get some 'Connecticut Yankee Coffee' from the Mark Twain House

Galspanic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Pony said...

Galspanic, that has got to be the dumbest reason anyone has ever given for liking Mark Twain.

Galspanic said...

I like Mark Twain's writing, and enjoy visiting places he frequented when I visit my family's homestead in Northern California. It is a nice way to view literary history and enjoy a lovely country.

Fuck you, Mr. Pony.

Litcube said...

Was it Mr. Pony that removed your post?

Galspanic said...

No, I removed my own post because it wasn't a clear expression of what I was trying to convey.
The message it gave was that I liked Mark Twain because he hung out where my grandparents died. At Mr. Pony's "prompt", I realized I must have written something that didn't make sense. And so before you is the revised version of my original statement. I blame lack of sleep and an overload of holiday spirit for my original statement.

Litcube said...

Are you angry at Mr. Pony?

Galspanic said...

No, I'm not angry at Mr. Pony. I could never be angry at Mr. Pony! (That's like being angry at a summer rain!) I did feel his method of telling me that my comment made no sense lacked refinement. So because I couldn't make him eat a bowl of diarrhea, I responded with cussing.

I mean, what if I had sincerely liked Mark Twain because he hung out where my grandparents had died? What if that really was the case, and made sense in my mind? Mr. Pony would have called me dumb because of my personal sentiments!

No one should ever be called dumb because they feel a certain way. Feelings are feelings! Wrong, maybe. Crazy, sure, but not dumb.

That's like calling someone dumb because they liked the ending of BSG!

Mr. Pony said...

Well, technically, it's like calling someone dumb because they liked the ending of BSG because their grandparents are buried near the field they shot the later scenes in.

But I really wasn't calling you dumb, and you should know that I really hesitated before posting that post, because I didn't want to somehow invalidate your feelings. I used to believe that feelings weren't real, and were something to be overcome, but after spending much time among real humans, I know that people take their feelings very seriously, and even make certain important decisions based on them.

I only meant to suggest that your reason for liking Mark Twain was dumb. Not you, not your ancestors, not your feelings or sentiments, just your reason. I never assumed that it was a miscommunicated thought, because again, I don't think you're dumb.

I'm a little angry at Mr. Pony for making you think that I thought your feelings were dumb.

Fugu said...

Vulcans rule.

Lungclops said...

But what if Mr. Pony feels that you're dumb for liking Mark Twain because he hung out where your grandparents died? What if I feel that 2+2=5? What if KKK guy feels that black people are inferior to white people? Can Mr. Pony not call KKK guy a racist? Why are feelings beyond criticism? Can't they tell us a lot about those who feel them?

Galspanic said...

'Clops (may I call you 'Clops?), My heightened sensitivity is going haywire with all the jibberjabber signals coming off of your post. It's like a premonition I get when someone is about to invoke Godwin's Law.

How do you set up criteria for what is a "good" feeling as opposed to a "bad" feeling? What qualifies/quantifies feeling? Actions based on what one feels can definitely be judged, like with your KKK guy. If he felt that black people were inferior, but never gave any indication of such feeling would he be a KKK guy? No. He'd be that guy you just gave money to help the orphans. It's by what KKK orphan helping guy says and does that brings any said feelings into the realm of the quantifiable. The problem is that unless we are Vulcans, (or up until recently Mr. Pony), we have a pretty hard time separating feeling from action/statement. Perhaps "feeling" isn't the right word for what you want to be able to judge? At what point do the Thought Police come into this?

Lungclops said...

Convenient how you didn't mention the orphan was white.

Litcube said...

I figure feeling something is an action. I figure that we are the sum of our actions.

Fugu said...

If we are the sum of our actions and therefore defined by the choices we make, then the only universally immoral act is one that prohibits people's ability to make choices. It is therefore okay to call people who do this sort of thing dumb.

Galspanic said...

I didn't think it was possible for anyone to love American values as much as you do, Fugu.

Fugu said...

You think Americans thought that up first? But okay—as a purist, sure. America is all about hypocrisy now, though.

DUDES, I spent X-mas at my grandmothers, where FOX was playing on the TV. There is not enough alcohol in the world to deal with this, but I learned two things:

1. People who watch Oreilly did a vote, and they hate Friends, and love Seinfeld. I feel so completely justified in believing the exact opposite.

2. One of Oreilly's favorite moments of his 2009 show was where he rambled on about hating gays. I suppose I already knew this. This guy is so much more than a douchepocket it's unbelievable. I keep thinking that someday before he retires he will make an announcement saying that he faked the whole fucking thing, and that only people with slugs in their brains could possibly believe the crap that came out of his mouth during the show.

Anyway, this circumferential fart will return to the main point with the following: conservatives are dumb.

Fugu said...


Fugu said...

From @physorg, my favorite twitterer:

Researchers explore 'moral hypocrisy' in powerful people

Heeero said...

Litcube said...

"I figure feeling something is an action. I figure that we are the sum of our actions."

Sorry, Litcube, just wanted to bounce this off you. I feel that people (or a person) is not really just the sum of our actions, but also the intentions behind those actions. I mean, do we look at someone who does something charitable in return for a profit or tax write off in the same light as someone who does the same charitable action altruistically?

I had this same fundamental issue with my ex who was a Buddhist. She said that she would do something good with the intention of being good. At which point I replied, if it is in your nature to do good, you do not need an intention to do so. Also, I believe this is why Wu Tang and Shaolin tried to kill each other. On another note...good scotch seems to have a similar effect as caffiene once the buzz has worn off. Doom on me.

Litcube said...

Heero, good point. But if you accept that feels are an action in my original theory ("I figure.."), than you might agree that an intention is a feeling, which probably also contributes to the sum of the actions. Therefore:

Dude1 = Tex write off intention + act of giving = ok dude.

Dude2 = Altruistic intention + giving = better dude

Dude3 = Didn't know she was parking on the line + parking on the line = maybe dumb

Dude4 = Totally knew he was parking on the line + parking on the line = douchepocket.

What's the difference between an intention and a feeling? Maybe.

Galspanic said...

Heeero brings up a very interesting point. But therein lies an inherent problem. The actions/feelings/intent all has to do with perception.

Take the example LC provides;

"Dude2 = Altruistic intention + giving = better dude"
In who's eyes? What if someone doesn't approve of said dude's lifestyle choices, or political views?

Does that become;

"Dude2 = Altruistic intention + giving - lifestyle choice/political view = OK dude"?

Just curious.

I see this perception issue come up a LOT in particular in the particular scene I inhabit.

Fugu said...

I think that's where a universal moral truth comes in. Almost every action can be argued to be good/bad dependent on a person's culture and perception. So how can you whittle down an action to always be moral, and not only just for a particular instance?

Sartre says you can't: Your choices make you who you are. There's no right or wrong here, it's just that you can either live with your decisions or you can't.

Kant says you can: an immoral act is anything against the categorical imperative: don't treat a person as a means to an end, but only as an end to themselves.

Bring the two together and you get what was said above: we are the sum of our actions and choices, so to not use people as a means to an end but instead as an ends to themselves (i.e. to be moral), is to provide people the means to make their own choices.

So you can use this as a benchmark to help you weigh the relative moralness of an act in any given situation:

Dude 2 = Altruistic intention + giving =

—Best Dude Of All: if his intention + action provides the most choices/opportunities to the most people.

—Relative good or bad dude: depends on how close or how far you are from this ideal.

Lungclops said...

Wait, really? Friends over Seinfeld?

Mr. Pony said...

The debate over whether one can judge feelings is not new to me. Mrs. Pony has often gotten after me for being judgmental about the feelings of others. I think Galspanic just called me out similarly. I love them both dearly, but they are both wrong and here's why:

I think it's fair to say that an unvoiced feeling (1) is less of an action than a voiced action (2). Both are feathery things that are often interesting, and hurt no one. An acted-upon feeling is certainly an action (3). We don't even call these feelings; we call them actions. Somewhere in between those last two is a a feeling that is voiced, and, while not directly acted upon, is used as a justification; a reason for something (2.5).

Reasons are, of course, subject to judgment. Reasons are often facts, or groupings of facts. Judging facts is something we all do; either a fact is true or it is not. In this way, we judge the reasons they justify.

When a feeling is made to operate as a reason, or as a justification for a reason, that feeling is suddenly open to the same judgment as a fact. It has, in effect, been put out on a logical limb by its feeler; and is vulnerable to the same scrutiny as a fact supporting a reason.

It is a delicious, perfectly toasted marshmallow being used as a jack to change a flat tire.

Most feelings, in other words, are ill-equipped to support reasons, and they cannot withstand the punishment of the kind of critical observation usually used to judge reason. And yet, we put them out there, expecting them to weather any storm, support any conclusion. AND STILL YETTER, we righteously protect and defend them, like tiny newborn kittens, and heap scorn on those who would harm a hair on the backs of these kittens that we ourselves have thrust into harm's way.

WE CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, brothers and sisters.

Either a feeling is inviolable, but ethereal with regards to reason--a personal ghost, unable to help us; or a feeling is something real and substantial, able to support the weight of our viewpoints, but also subject to the same rigor as the facts the industrious among us slave to arrive at.

So yes, a feeling is a feeling, but if you call it a match and it won't light, then it's a very bad match. If you call it a reason, and it's unreasonable, then isn't it unreasonable?

Galspanic said...

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! How can you say that I'm wrong, when your method of judging my reasoning is based on your feelings about the subject, therefore just as fallible as mine? Are you saying your reasoning is somehow more valid than mine? Or are there some "facts" on the matter you can show me? How do you judge? Who is the arbitrator?

Let me see if I can do a couple scenarios...

1. I get stung by a Venezuelan wasp. It feels like being stung by twelve thousand bees. I avoid Venezuelan Wasps. Pretty linear.

2. The idea of going to Venezuela makes me unhappy because by some freak chance happening, my parents were eaten by a walrus there. Because of this feeling, I don't go to Venezuela. My reasoning might have something to do with the local walrus population of Venezuela, but it's also possible that it is based on an emotional response to an event in my life. That emotional event could be just as valid as any tangible reason I might have to not want to go to Venezuela. The act of going to Venezuela might make bad memories resurface, and cause me to have a panic attack. Or the act of going to Venezuela could also leave me sleepless and paranoid the entire trip, worrying about stray walruses. Or having a Venezuelan inspired panic attack.
On the flip side, I could go to Venezuela and overcome my despair, become a strong outgoing person, and meet my beautiful wife there too. That's just as likely in this scenario.
But that's not the point. The point is, I have a reason I don't go to Venezuela. This reason is it reminds me of my parents dying. Not quite so linear.

3. I meet this poet, and his manner of speaking reminded me of the waiter from this really great dinner I had when I visited my parents grave in Venezuela. It was a horrible trip, but I went through with it, and I ate at this little Chinese restaurant. The waiter there was super cool and styled me out with complimentary walrus stir fried with broccoli and this amazing cappuccino. It was maybe my only happy moment there. Because of this, I recorded the poet reading a chinese restaurant menu, and I listen to it and drink cappuccino, because walrus steak is illegal in America.

So in this case, I purposefully listen to this poet, not because I particularly care for his poetry, but because his voice is reminiscent of a happy time in my life.
Pretty abstract.

Which one of these reasons is more valid than the other? Example 1, because it is linear thinking? Guess what? It's really none of your fucking business. The reasons are independent of criticism, because they are personal. Rule over more than one person and you might want to start backing up your words with facts and logic, but until I see a signed contract saying Galspanic is owned by Mr. Pony, I'll keep on being scared of Venezuela and liking that poet's voice, fuck you very much.
I said "I like Mark Twain because he hung out where my grandparents died." I did not say "You like Mark Twain because he hung out where my grandparents died."

I really hate that this is all due to a poorly written post I made due to lack of sleep. It really pisses me off.

Lungclops said...

I don't like Mark Twain, because his jokes are generally corny. Huck Finn is undeniably well-written. Ergo, I think well-written jokes are corny.

Litcube said...

Clops, are you implying non sequitur in this thread?

Lungclops said...

I think the problem with putting personal sentiments forth as justifications (reasons, if you will) is that it stymies conversation. Someone can argue with my view on the merits of Twain's humor. We can dissect it. We can move forward, or at least learn a bit about ourselves. But when you give a reason that cannot be contradicted, and ~"righteously defend it like newborn kitten," you have done violence to communication. We can all say, "That's just how I was raised," and "How dare you," but where does that get us?

I'm sure you wouldn't be annoyed if Mr. Pony had written that yours was the smartest reason anyone's ever given for liking Mark Twain, unless you thought he was being sarcastic. I guess my view is, why give a reason if it can't be attacked? Surely, sir, you don't want your peers to patronize you by simply saying, "That's nice," when you publicize a personal viewpoint? Maybe you do. I don't, after all, know a damned thing about you. You can't wish people away to the cornfield, can you?

Lungclops said...

I was not, Litcube. But I was reassessing my initial opinion of Galspanic's reasons, and found them to be less mushy than I had originally felt. My dislike for Twain's jokes is ultimately a feeling (though one I can back up with logic and examples and such), while his sentiment is based on the unassailable fact that his grandparents lived in the same part of northern California.

I am basically of the same mind as Pony on this, but I keep running into one small problem with his argument: he is rejecting Galspanic's feelings as reasons for... what, exactly? That's right, a feeling: Galspanic's liking of Mark Twain. Is Mr. Pony therefore the true champion of feelings here? He loves them so much, he can't stomach the sight of one twisting in the wind without the support of logical reasons. What a guy.

Fugu said...

I think it's possible to be objective when discussing personal sentiments if one doesn't take offense from the rebuttals.

I think what happened here was that Pony started with an inflammatory comment intended to be funny, but which Panic misread as a personal attack. Had Pony started this off with less colorful banter or if Panic had played along, they'd be making out right now like they're supposed to be doing.

Galspanic said...

I've been giving this issue some thought. I keep waiting for it to feel right in my head. I see what 'Clops and Pony are driving at, and to a point I can agree with their sentiments. I feel that reasons based on feeling should be held to account, if they have an affect on people around you. The enormous problem with that is determining what affects, and what is merely statement of one's current mindset? What's the point of telling someone you like the color red because it reminds you of Venezuela if it has no bearing on anything whatsoever? To make conversation? To make a response, because you feel like you are obliged to?
No one likes to think that their words are meaningless. So by that line of thinking, everyone wants their thoughts to have meaning at least to some extent. Except that sometimes people talk just to talk. Because sometimes something funny is said and sometimes it's just nice to see a response on a thread you post, no matter how inane, because it means someone is listening to you. There have been times when I posted images on Flickr and was just happy to have a response, and the response didn't even really matter. I prefer if it did, of course.

Lungclops makes a good point by bringing up the "smartest reason for liking mark Twain". Would I have reacted negatively if Pone had written that? Most likely not. But what is the purpose of the remark? To illicit reaction? I keep thinking if Pony had simply said, "That thing you typed didn't make sense", or "what a strange reason for liking mark Twain." none of this would even be an issue. it was the "dumbness" that made me feel like what I wrote had no validity, thus sparking my ire. And I remember not feeling exactly mad so much as confused. And I have an itchy swearfinger. my bad. i should have just corrected the mistake and let it slide without reacting.

Fugu said...

Panic says: because it means someone is listening to you
YEAH, I'd like to feel that sometimes. Say, if you had read my comment above which pretty much says what you just said. Thanks for completely ignoring me, Panic.

Litcube said...

By the by, I assumed that "I liked Mark Twain because he hung out where my grandparents died" would have been valid. I could have read between the lines and figured it helped you connect to the stories, and just assumed you visited these places. Perhaps you'd chuckle at something you see in real life, noticing a reference from the story, or perhaps you'd have an "aha" moment in regards to his description of some background scene or monument. This is what I would have assumed, knowing you're an adult, and not 4. The fact that you didn't spell it out like that for me would have sorta been my problem. Guess I never saw the original message before you deleted it.

I think this whole entire debate on whether feelings are a valid to like something is totally not relevant to what started this. There's an argument to be made though, that all reason is based on emotion (feelings). I think the line between the two is totally blurry, and unless any of us has a masters in psychology, we might not be qualified to debate it. Not that it's not worth it, but I'm not sure we'd get anywhere.

Fugu said...

Panic says: The reasons are independent of criticism, because they are personal.

At the risk of yet again writing to myself... yes and no, which is the point of empathy, I think.

I can look at Panic's reasoning for liking Twain, and say to myself that I might have the same feelings in a similar circumstance. We'd have a shared emotional response, here. If instead Panic said he liked Mark Twain because he used to masturbate to Huck Finn whilst wearing a clown suit, the shared experience is lost, and I can no longer empathize in any way with his emotional reasoning.

So ultimately I agree with Panic: his reasons for liking Mark Twain make perfect sense to me. How is this any different than going to to the home country to visit some ruins for their historical value? That's an appeal to emotion, not reason, but that doesn't make the trip any less valid. As he said, his sentiment does not rule over anyone but himself, so while it may not be free from criticism, it should be free from judgment. Calling it dumb may seem more like a judgment than criticism.

Maybe the actual story here is in finding out why Pony thinks this is dumb. Possibly because he is a fucking robot and lacks any sense of empathy.

Lungclops said...

One time, Pony asked me how I felt about some situation or other, and I was all, "I don't know yet. I have to figure that out." And he was all, "That's weird, not knowing how you feel about something instantly." And I was all, "You fucking robot."

Galspanic said...


Galspanic said...

I love having an itchy swearfinger.
Let us set this matter to rest by agreeing that Pony is a robot. Maybe he lis learning what it truly means to be human, like in James Cameron's Avatar. He could also be a battle hardened war machine masquerading around in the flesh of the indigenous population, like James Cameron's Avatar. Perhaps he is making phat cash with movies made with computer programs, like in James Cameron's Avatar.

Fugu said...

Panic, you are the most ridiculous person I have ever met.

Richard Vomit said...

BUT!! Isn't it great how this man hates "Episode I: The Phantom Menace"? I mean!

Anyway/also: would someone please deposit a second, larger turd upon Lucas for the revisionist Greedo-shot-first outrage of "A New Hope (Ver. 2.0, Now with Saturn Ring Explosion Effect!!)"? Surely, this colossal writing fuckup was sufficient to warn everyone the man was not fit to lead, etc.

Galspanic said...

Thanks for returning to the original thread, Richard.

Richard Vomit said...

My pleasure. S'what I'm here for (right now).

Also, your name... I've always read it as Galspanic, not unlike Hispanic, e.g., but now I see it may be read as Gals panic, as in females freak the fuck out.

The End.

Galspanic said...

Gals Panic

Fugu said...

There is no turd big enough. HERE'S WHY.

Fugu said...

I realize that's hard to read. This one is easier

Mr. Pony said...

I completely agree with what Lungclops is saying (except for the part where he disagrees with me). Why say something if you think it should be immune to criticism? Or if you're going to take it personally if someone criticizes it, even in an "intentionally inflammatory comment, intended to be funny?" (a pretty good assessment of what I said, by Fugu)

Anyway, Galspanic, re: your "I've been giving this issue some thought" comment, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I was being a dick, on purpose. I know your post was kind of an offhand comment, and I'm sorry if I've extended this needlessly.

I really don't think this is about that anymore--I still disagree with your initial defense of your comment. The idea that feelings are somehow immune to criticism (what, because they come from deep within your heart and not your brain?) strikes me as as a little like trying to have it both ways, and also willfully ignorant of modern neuroscience/cardiology.

Also, your assumption that I represent some kind of moral authority is weird. At least, that's how I read your revulsion of my judging your feelings. There are no "Thought Police" here; just me. And aren't my feelings as inconsequential/immune to criticism as yours?

Because here's a funny thing: Criticism is to thought as judgment is to feeling. Criticism opens the dialogue; it's an objective thought that can spark discussion. A judgment closes off dialogue, and is, in fact, wrong. Why? Because implied in a judgment is a certain finality; a statement immune to criticism? Because it's a feeling?

Rather than judgments being somehow morally wrong, as stated implicitly by Galspanic, and explicitly by Fugu, I tend to think they are exactly as consequential or inconsequential as stated feelings. I don't think I should apologize for assuming that someone is speaking seriously, with intent to communicate, and not just wanting to be listened to, or talking to talk.

I mean, unless we're talking about being super-careful of each other's feelings, which I think maybe we are.

Sorry for the off-topic comment.

Mr. Pony said...

hi guys

Richard Vomit said...

Galspanic: thank you for the clarification.


Litcube said...

Hello, Dick Vomit.

Richard Vomit said...

I feel like Acme is alive.

Lungclops said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Litcube said...

Clops deleted his post. Therefore Acme remains dead.

Lungclops said...

It was a Star Trek-related post that I put here by accident. Reposted in the appropriate forum. Acme lives!