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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 06:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Why I left film and media. Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #590 New March 10th, 2020 01:33 AM
I’m going to try and explain my thoughts and feelings on US media, and western media as a whole, and why I fell out of love with film, TV and just visual media as a whole. I still want to turn all the games you and I played during the late 70s, 80s and even 90s into films or visual media that can be enjoyed by all, but that seems unlikely at this point in time.

Original Star Trek, as I’ve commented on YouTube and on Amazon in my reviews, at its heart, is a police and hospital show. The gallant crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise go after cult leaders, psychopaths, mass killers, slavers, and all sorts very intelligent, clever and devious bad guys. Only it took place in space, and was allegorically codified as monsters and aliens. The Horta, the Doomsday machine, the vampire cloud, were all serial killers. Landru, the spinning whirly alien thing that created a mini-war between Kirk and Kang in “The Day of the Dove”, were cult leaders. The primordials in “The Gamesters of Triskilion” were in fact NFL team owners (again, allegorically) who thought their racial superiority gave them license to treat other beings as animals. The list goes on and on. That, and the Enterprise visits a number of mental hospitals, and have to address antagonists with abnormal psychology.

That’s what made it a great show, it’s ability to take dogged social issues, and look at sources and causes in a very allegorical way.

So, what was Star Trek “the Next Generation” about? In short it was a science fiction equivalent of a family psychology program that aimed at a broader and younger audience. Where original Star Trek was aimed at teenagers and older, The Next Generation was aimed at the grade schooler to post grad. It’s why you have themes about “invisible friends”, or G-rated sexuality on a world ruled by a parental authority. The list goes on and on, and quite frankly that’s why it did not appeal to old school Star Trek fans. In short The Next Generation was a kind of “situation comedy” in terms of themes it tackled, not in terms of genre.

So why the big difference in the two shows? Feature Films and Television shows are used as social tools for inspiration to get whoever’s willing to watch and listen some inspiration for a direction in life to be a constructive member of society. And that goes for the supermajority of all film and TV. You don’t see stuff like “The Great Train robbery” anymore in its raw form. Or, if you do, then its dressed up with socially positive messages.

When I came to this realization, it just conflagrated into a series of realizations. Suddenly I understood what old situation comedies that I grew up with were all about. They weren’t just addressing social issues like racism, or poverty and the like, but psychology, and specifically family psychology, and how it (a person’s thinking) was the source of all problems.

And that’s where I take an extremely different view from those who run the entertainment industry. You can’t really inspire someone to do harm. But that has been the thinking. People who take their cues from media on how to behave either have no guidance, or are too young to know any better. But even grade schoolers and pre-teens tend to know the consequences of their actions, therefore I think the agenda for all films and TV programs is not only outdated, but based on a false premise to begin with.

Also note that films and TV are not political, though a lot of people mistake forward thinking sociology as “liberal” thinking. In the US and UK, and Europe and Japan, the idea is to show different people from different social circles getting along, or, if they don’t, then how they can get along after overcoming obstacles.

The other thing is that most shows are either police dramas or situation comedies. Police shows are designed to educate as well as troll the viewing audience on criminality. Hospital shows educate on physical health. Situation comedies educate on family psychology, typically through example of how not to behave; i.e. you laugh because you’d never do what the characters in the show do; it makes you feel superior (to quote Frank Thornton from “Are you being Served”).

It means that any script I write, or any film project I would have shot, would have had to have gone through the sociological filter to be accepted by upper echelons of the entertainment industry.

I did not want to go into film. I wanted to go into industry, specifically space science, aerospace, as well as civil engineering and electronics for navigation. But, in spite of being part of a pioneering program to teach kids how to code on the first Apples and Apple clones, and in spite of hacking on PETs and teletypes at UC Berkley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, playing with chemistry and electronics kits as a kid, my dyslexia and inherited depression, along with some personal interference in my life, made me decide to choose what I thought was “the arts” by opting for film and TV as a career. Again, as per previous blog entries, the idea was to take games like Traveller, Ogre / GEV and Car Wars, and turn them into really rocking movies.
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