A Fish Called Wanda

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A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kaed » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:26 pm

I marvel as the writers ability to both reference and ancient movie and tie it into the current storyline at the same time in todays summer update. Funny AND metaphorical.

Master-class Jokamancy, there.

;D
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kreistor » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:54 am

"Ancient movie"? 21 years is not ancient.
*grumbles about seeing it in the theatre on a two dollar Tuesday*
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kaed » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:45 am

[quote="Kreistor]"Ancient movie"? 21 years is not ancient.
*grumbles about seeing it in the theatre on a two dollar Tuesday*[/quote]

Eh, the movie is as old as I am. As far as popular culture goes, 21 years is pretty damned old.

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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kreistor » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:17 pm

Popular culture old at 21? Only to the young. You're still feeling the backlash of the popular culture of the 60's, darlin'. And that's not even ancient, yet. You just don't know how to see past the facade of the now to realize it. The music you listen to. How relevant is it? How long will it last? You are probably listening to the music my generation wrote for you. Nirvana. Soundgarden. Pearl Jam. Have you not noticed that all modern music sounds exactly like it did 20 years ago, when those bands sprang up? Those bands didn't sound like the bands 20 years before that, though. That was the time of Disco. But plug in music written today and music written 20 years ago and it sounds exactly the same. Pop culture stalled in 1994. Rap? Hip-hop? Again, unchanged. Art? Novels? What's changed? The 60;s were a time of revolution... psychedelia and new ideologies. I shouldn't be listening to the same radio station as you, but I bet I would were I where you are.

No, you're wrong. Pop culture should have changed significantly over the last 20 years, but it didn't. Something went horribly wrong. Music has become cyclic... The Seattle Scene in the 90's merely revived Punk, thought long dead, but now Rock is just cycling through various stages of Punk and Hard Rock, reviving the sounds of 10 years before. That's why it sounds the same: they're stuck in a creative loop. Rap and hip-hop are even less changed, because they're driven by such simple music -- hip-hop is driven by the dance beat and so really can't break out to anything different, and Rap is based on a poetic demand that stifles evolution. There's a little mixing and matching between the various forms, but nothing identifiably new or unique. Heck, even clothing is little changed. A teen could wear what I did in high school and no one would think anything odd about him.

I suspect that the massive culture shock of the early 90's did this. Our enemy disappeared. The threat of imminent destruction went away. We stopped being afraid. No one would write "99 Luftballoons" now. How much of our cultural change was driven by the fear that tomorrow may be too late? Now, everything is so safe...
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kaed » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:04 pm

Kreistor wrote:Long but interesting analysis of popular culture.


Admittedly I am forced to agree with you there, both because you make some very convincing points, and because to be honest my attention to current popular culture is and always has been distracted at best. People have told me before that I live under a metaphorical rock. It honestly does not interest me what celebrities and music are big now, and the most I have seen are the changing styles of clothing and fads in grade and high school whilst I still attended them. Therefore I simply assumed popular culture would have followed the same trends as I observed there.

Discussing its curious lack of change from a more intellectual standpoint on the other hand, that does sound interesting. I assume the mention of 'our enemy dissapearing' in the early 90's is referencing the end of the Cold War? I suppose I can understand the strong desire to try and make a change in with the imminent threat of nuclear war. But now that there isn't one? People tend to be lazy and stubborn, sticking to what they already know and fearing new ideas and concepts.

I recall hearing, though I was barely more than a couple years old at the actual time so didn't know about it, that AIDS was introduced scientifically into the community as 'the homosexual cancer' in the 80's. That someone would even label a disease as caused by or stemming from the practice of homosexuality - if you ignore religous communities, which seem the slowest to change anyway - in current times seems almost unthinkable. The desire to be be as politically correct as possible has evolved somehow, and homosexuality has become as a whole more accepted... though not entirely yet.

This seems to show that culture CAN evolve in the span of several decades, but as you said, it has not in many areas. It is simply falling back on old ideas and clinging to what most familiar and safe. There has been a recent 'war' and I suppose it is technically not over, but it did not really seem as threatening as immiment nuclear halocaust, either because most of it seemed to be bumbling around 'spreading democracy!', and I think people were paying more attention to the apparent stupidity of the last president than what was going on on the other side of the world. So that was not really shaking things up as much as the Cold War did.

I wonder if some great disaster will have to occur for the world to start moving forward again.

In the meantime, I'm going to look up this "99 Luftballoons" you mentioned.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Maldeus » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:26 pm

The cultural stagnation is true, but I can't help but wonder whether the end of the Cold War really is the cause. It seems like a bit too much of a coincidence, too convenient. Specifically, given that the source of information is someone clearly in love with America's having a fight with an enemy who actually stands a chance of beating us (not to mention having enough nukes to vaporize the world a hundred and umpteen times over), and given that the only evidence given is a correlation, I can't help but find it unlikely. Correlation does not imply causation. If I had a few hours free time on hand I'd be able to look into some other, more freedom-threatened nations and see if said threat has mobilized any cultural change, but I don't. Someone else want to do the hard part for me?
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kreistor » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:14 pm

Oh, there is another, less pessimistic theory. I just like the Cold War one better.

It's simple. This. Right here. In front of you. The thing we're using to talk to each other. The Internet. It was around the mid-90's that the Internet spread beyond universities, business, and government to include potentially everyone. Now everyone can talk to everyone, all over the world, instantly, cheaply, and quickly. What's more, media can transfer just aas quickly. Before, music was more local. You couldn't get some things, because the records weren't pressed in oyur country. And even then, you couldn't talk to the artists. Now? I've had conversations with Rob, Pete Abrams, Scott Kurtz, and a few others. Much more accessible.

Now, when this all started, the expectation was that this unprecedented communication revolution would speed up change... culture would explode as ideas flew faster and further than ever. It happened before. In the 60's and 70's. Detroit. Motor City. The artists there all congregated in one building, developing music close to each other. One would have an idea, develop it, decide against using it, and move to the next, but a neighbor would pick it up and develop it their own way, until they dropped it. And so it spread around until someone created a new hit song. This should have happened, shouldn't it?

Or, maybe, what really happened was that people came to recognize certain things as better, and the not so good just went away undeveloped. Or worse...

The theft of music and intellectual property has done the worst thing possible... it reduced the amount of money in these industries. With no reliable income, fewer bands can be developed. Only bands that rely on theatrical performance can retain revenue. If you make your money on live performance, you don't care about theft of permanent versions. And so the studio bands disappear, the companies not willing to press music without guaranteed income. Money, ultimately, as the driver of culture? No... really? Yeah, it is. "Starving artists", well, starve. Evolutionary principle at work there?

But what is certain is that the great cultural revolution the Internet should have imparted did not occur. It is a useful tool, but it has not resulted in the great spread of cultural influence the early analysts predicted.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kaed » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:54 pm

Mmm, you make a very good point. Given the amazing ease of acquiring music and any other kind of media without cost has lead to the near collapse of the music industry as a method of introducing your new ideas to the mainstream for a profit. I could probably right now go find a torrent containing any song I might ever want by a simple Google search. The only way to get people to buy your recordings is to put out more stuff the same as they already know and like.

HOWEVER.

In theory perhaps the stagnation of culture is not so much due to the internet causing loss of profits due to theft and distribution of intellectual property so much as the global society as a whole being unwilling to move beyond the massive desire for profiting from the concept of an idea. It is nigh impossible to control the flow of information anymore. It could be said that the internet is an invention made far before a time when it would be feasible. It is here now though, and it is never going to go away, barring a massive EMP of some sort that wipes out all electronics on the planet and sends us a century back in technology or more. The internet is not the problem, it is peoples stubbornness to change their ways now that it exists, just like we could (and should) be driving cars that run on hydrogen and electricity, but we are not. Much. Because there is more profit in selling gasoline.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby SteveMB » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:05 pm

Kreistor wrote:Or, maybe, what really happened was that people came to recognize certain things as better, and the not so good just went away undeveloped. Or worse...

The theft of music and intellectual property has done the worst thing possible... it reduced the amount of money in these industries. With no reliable income, fewer bands can be developed. Only bands that rely on theatrical performance can retain revenue. If you make your money on live performance, you don't care about theft of permanent versions. And so the studio bands disappear, the companies not willing to press music without guaranteed income. Money, ultimately, as the driver of culture? No... really? Yeah, it is. "Starving artists", well, starve. Evolutionary principle at work there?

But what is certain is that the great cultural revolution the Internet should have imparted did not occur. It is a useful tool, but it has not resulted in the great spread of cultural influence the early analysts predicted.

The problem with that theory is that it doesn't explain why economic strain on the music industry affects the content of music -- the amount published would obviously be affected if the revenue stream dries up, but that's a different issue. If anything, I would expect that hard times for incumbents would tend to drive change, for the same reason the K-T mass extinction opened all sorts of ecological niches for the little fur-bearing varmints that used to scurry around and poach dinosaur eggs.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Maldeus » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:49 pm

The music industry is not necessarily keeling over. It may just be going through a major shift that results in putting record labels out of business but keeps the artists alive. MC Lars would be leading that particular revolution. You see, historically speaking, artists make little to nothing off of CD sales. You can argue the precise numbers, but unless the numbers are off by a massive margin, the artists make all of their real income from live performances. Given that the record labels being attacked for their contracts haven't posted any contrary statistics (that I'm aware of), I assume these numbers are more or less correct. Further, as MC Lars has proven, one can kick off a music career with nothing but a Mac laptop, some movie-making tools, and a good song. Since the record labels are going to give you practically nothing for the record sales anyway, why not just cut out the middle man and give your songs away? What is the incentive for the artists to risk rejection by an arbitrary record company when they could just go straight to the masses?

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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kreistor » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:50 pm

SteveMB wrote:The problem with that theory is that it doesn't explain why economic strain on the music industry affects the content of music -- the amount published would obviously be affected if the revenue stream dries up, but that's a different issue. If anything, I would expect that hard times for incumbents would tend to drive change, for the same reason the K-T mass extinction opened all sorts of ecological niches for the little fur-bearing varmints that used to scurry around and poach dinosaur eggs.


When money gets tight, less money is available for risky ventures. As the industry contracts, it produces more of what it is certain will sell, rahter than experimentation that might sell better. For every successful experiment, there are many failures.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Infidel » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:57 pm

Kaed wrote:[quote="Kreistor]"Ancient movie"? 21 years is not ancient.
*grumbles about seeing it in the theatre on a two dollar Tuesday*[/quote]

Eh, the movie is as old as I am. As far as popular culture goes, 21 years is pretty damned old.
[/quote][/quote]


Pretty damned old maybe, since I remember the days when a week seemed an eternity, I know where you are coming from. But you need to put the world in better perspective. Ancient is when you lose count of all the great-great-greats it takes to reference a relative that lived during that time.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Erk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:18 pm

Anything younger than I am isn't ancient, as I am still not a parent. Once I am a parent, all the rules change.

There. Problem solved for now. It's nice to be the unanimous arbiter of a subjective measurement.

Also I have been hoping Rob would make a Fish Called Wanda joke since the comic started. This update happy much made me.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Maldeus » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:00 pm

So how old are you?
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Pax » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:53 pm

Kreistor wrote:Popular culture old at 21? Only to the young. You're still feeling the backlash of the popular culture of the 60's, darlin'.

HEck, we're still feeling the effects of populr culture durign the '40s. :geek:

That was the time of Disco.

And Hendrix.

No, you're wrong. Pop culture should have changed significantly over the last 20 years, but it didn't. Something went horribly wrong.

That somethign is "Big Business". They found a formula that worked, and forced the artists who want to actually be PAID for their work to stick to said formula ... "or else".
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Kreistor » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:25 pm

Pax wrote:That somethign is "Big Business". They found a formula that worked, and forced the artists who want to actually be PAID for their work to stick to said formula ... "or else".


"Or else" creates competition. "Or else" never works in business.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Maldeus » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:01 am

On top of which the iGeneration has been creating free media for a few years now, and it hasn't caused any major cultural shifts (unless you count nerds taking up rap as a major shift, which I don't).
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Alcazabedabra » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:15 pm

Fish called Wanda... movie reference?

Sorry, but I actually missed the reference.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Housellama » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:13 pm

Alcazabedabra wrote:Fish called Wanda... movie reference?

Sorry, but I actually missed the reference.


*facepalm*

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kevin Klein and Jamie Lee Curtis. A heist comedy of epic proportions. It was so good they pulled together virtually the same cast to do Fierce Creatures several years later.

Great, great movie. If you haven't seen it, you probably should. If you're a Monty Python fan at all, you will love it.
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Re: A Fish Called Wanda

Postby Maldeus » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:14 pm

Alcazabedabra wrote:Fish called Wanda... movie reference?

Sorry, but I actually missed the reference.


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