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Moff’s Law July 2, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Movies, Popular Culture, Rants.
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Last year, when “Avatar” came out, many people got into debates regarding the racial undertones in the movie. Of course, the Internet, that vast bastion of idiocy and my main reason for getting up in the morning, went aflame with morons saying dumb shit like, “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”

In response to such idiotic questions that popped up after Annalee Newitz wrote a piece called “When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like ‘Avatar’?”, an io9.com commenter named “Moff” came up with what he called “Moff’s Law.” It is an epic rant, and a thing of beauty:

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”

If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is. Because that is one of the things about art, be it highbrow, lowbrow, mainstream, or avant-garde: Some sort of thought went into its making — even if the thought was, “I’m going to do this as thoughtlessly as possible”! — and as a result, some sort of thought can be gotten from its reception. That is why, among other things, artists (including, for instance, James Cameron) really like to talk about their work.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to think about a work of art. I don’t know anyone who thinks every work they encounter ought to only be enjoyed through conscious, active analysis — or if I do, they’re pretty annoying themselves. And I know many people who prefer not to think about much of what they consume, and with them I have no argument. I also have no argument with people who disagree with another person’s thoughts about a work of art. That should go without saying. Finally, this should also go without saying, but since it apparently doesn’t: Believe me, the person who is annoying you so much by thinking about the art? They have already considered your revolutionary “just enjoy it” strategy, because it is not actually revolutionary at all. It is the default state for most of humanity.

So when you go out of your way to suggest that people should be thinking less — that not using one’s capacity for reason is an admirable position to take, and one that should be actively advocated — you are not saying anything particularly intelligent. And unless you live on a parallel version of Earth where too many people are thinking too deeply and critically about the world around them and what’s going on in their own heads, you’re not helping anything; on the contrary, you’re acting as an advocate for entropy.

And most annoyingly of all, you’re contributing to the fucking conversation yourselves when you make your stupid, stupid comments. You are basically saying, “I think people shouldn’t think so much and share their thoughts, that’s my thought that I have to share.” If you really think people should just enjoy the movie without thinking about it, then why the fuck did you (1) click on the post in the first place, and (2) bother to leave a comment? If it bugs you so much, GO WATCH A GODDAMN FUNNY CAT VIDEO.

The reason I’m posting this is because I’m seeing the same stupid questions coming up in response to the “Twilight” movies/books. Newitz has written an interesting piece entitled “Why Team Jacob Always Has To Lose In Twilight.” One of those reasons is that the movies, like the books, are laden with Stephenie Meyer’s racist, sexist baggage. Frankly, I don’t understand how an allegedly fully-functional adult could miss it, but whatevs. Anyway, cue the inevitable comments like,

Wow…I think you’re really over-intellectualizing what is basically a summertime juicebomb…. Don’t make mountains out of molehills….

Or

You know…Stephanie Meyer didn’t intend any of this meaning when she wrote it.

Just like J.D. Salinger was only writing a story about a fucked up youth.

Its just people trying to extrapulate a deeper meaning to nourish their intelligence/egos. Come on people, sometimes we just write crappy fiction cause it turns us on or keeps us happy in some way.

These books, as prosaic as they are, fall into the “written for fun” category.

I hate people like this. Fortunately, there is some guy with a screenname “Moff” who has summed up my irritation and frustration and outright anger at the faceless morons who post crap like this. So the next time you have to deal with some troglodyte who, after you critique a piece of popular culture and identify the racist, sexist, classist, or homophobic under- or overtones, chides you for “thinking too much about” or “reading too much into” the book/movie/television show, just forward them this.

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