“Star Wars Fans” and created identities

Just a little follow-up to my post yesterday: Being a “fan” is no to a large part a function of identity. However, it is fundamentally different from other forms of identity, such as race, ethnicity, or religion. For ethnicity, membership is generally obvious and immutable – either you are the descendant of an ethnic group or you are not, with the only grey area being multi-ethnic individuals in some circumstances. For religion, identity is primarily how one views himself and his alignment with tradition and creed that has been passed down, and so is in most cases not up for…

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Social Proof

“Social Proof” is something you NEED to become familiar with. It’s essential if you are going to be doing any kind of marketing. What is social proof? Basically, it’s this: Other people think this, therefore it is likely to be true. If you are thinking straight away that this is a logical fallacy, just hold your objections. I’ll explain how social proof is different than an appeal to popularity. Social proof is a very fast method of judging initial likelihood of truth – A filter, more than “proof” in the logical sense. This is in the realm of induction, obviously.…

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What the hell is a fan, anyway?

Seriously, I have to wonder at this point, what a “fan” is. It seems like every fandom is trying to be a clique that excludes anyone isn’t interested in every piece of media related to something regardless of their preferences. Not only do I have to watch the bad movie, I have to read a bad book made out of the bad movie? I have to read bad tie-in books to the bad movie? I have to also read the good books that got thrown out by the corporation that made the bad movies, and I have to bad read…

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The Material Mind – What makes a mind “alive”?

I detailed in a recent Star Wars Mandalorian analysis a rare entry into the the true science fiction space in the mighty space opera franchise. In the final episode of the first season, a droid character acts as though he is sapient, even making moral calculations, but at the same time denies that he is alive. This becomes important when the Mandalorian, who never removes his helmet in front of living beings due to an oath, allows the droid to remove his helmet and treat a life-threatening wound. This creates some dissonance with the titular character – he has come…

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Grades – Important Measure, or a Tool of Oppression?

Once again, we have a great tweet as an entry-point into a deeper, more important discussion: Grading students – is it necessary and appropriate, or a piece of convention that ought to be reconsidered? Before we even bother digging into any perspectives, let’s challenge the initial response. It turns out the story that Jesse is responding to was the result of a writer being duped, and the email was faked. Buzzfeed issued the appropriate correction at the TOP of the story. That’s actually a responsible correction, so good on them. Why did this gain such traction? I think its because…

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Blogs are Back!

To kick off 2020, we have a cascade of agreement on all sides: And I’m not the only one agreeing with Scalzi and Wendig: So why? Why are blogs a thing? Or alternatively, why do they NEED to be a thing? Scalzi spells it out – even if you are on the left, and I STRONGLY URGE any of my readers who feel “safe” on social media due to being politically aligned to the left to consider this, the goalposts can shift at any time and you can get your social media presence destroyed. They can destroy it directly by…

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Framing theft and electric shock

Here we have a man trespassing on private property, attempting to steal someone’s property, and then receiving a mild electric shock for his wickedness. It might be staged, but its the framing that is interesting, including my own. The lefties in the responses try to frame the sign owner as some kind of psycho, ignoring and completely dismissing the obvious crimes being committed, or even trying to pretend that it was the property owner committing a crime. They also continually reveal both their dishonesty and/or ignorance. It was a mild shock, the kind that you would get from a DC…

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There’s Nothing “Nerdy” About Watching Star Wars

A new Star Wars movie came out recently – another piece of weird corporate fan-fiction with the creator happily disinvited from participation – and I noticed something: People (mostly my facebook friends) were posting about seeing the movie, but with an odd sentiment attached to it – the use of the word “nerd.” “Getting my nerd on.” “Time to let loose my inner nerd.” “Time to be a bit nerdy.” Let me say, there is absolutely nothing nerdy about going to see a movie in the most popular film franchise in the history of humanity. It is decidedly a normal…

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What is Talent?

The word “talent” is not always used consistently in the English language. Often, it is used interchangeably with the word “skill” to denote a level of accomplishment, such as, “Michael is a talented translator.” However, most people will admit that it is something distinct from mere skill, which can be acquired. “Talent” communicates something deeper than the result of practice – something is at least partly inherent in the subject. At the same time, it is impossible to discern talent in the absence of outcomes which include skill development. Nobody will recognize the talent of an artist who has not…

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The Gamma Projection of Anger

No need to cite examples, I’m sure you’ve experienced this too many times to count: Why are you so Angry?! Oooh! Did I make you angry? You’re so triggered! Etc. Etc. This is one of the most obvious projections of the Gamma Male. It’s a sure signal that you are dealing with one whenever you see this pop up, but you will most often notice it when you either say something definitive or controversial online, or else respond in kind to vitriol. The anonymity of online interactions tends to really crank up this behavior, which you almost will never see…

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