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  1. #11
    Senior Member yeghor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Could it be that late Sagan and Feynman were NFs? Sagan sounds very idealistic in his speeches... Feynman OTOH is very childish and lively... They do not have that "stiffness"?

    Oh and I've got some stuff posted here... I'd love if (plural) you contributed...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    I'm not certain as to how I should feel. On one hand, I like that a competent successor has carried on Sagan's legacy in an attempt to popularize science. On the other hand, the way Tyson and Seth McFarlane teach seems more jarring and smug compared to Sagan's more charming approach; maybe it seems this way because we've entered an era that exceeds the style of documentary Cosmos, in general, has to offer. Or maybe the content of the original series just got the synapses firing far more back when we weren't already flooded in an age of information.

    In a modern context, I almost feel as though A Spacetime Odyssey is meant as a counter-point and a final blow to New Earth Creationists and apologists of this decade and the decade prior. If that's their agenda, then OK - but I still feel like there's something to be desired in this series.

    Has anyone else seen it?
    I've been watching since it debuted. I can't quite put my finger on what's 'off' about it but I have felt it just as you have. It comes across as a bit reactionary against religious dingbattery rather than being simply informational.

  3. #13
    Parody Parrot meowington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeghor View Post
    Could it be that late Sagan and Feynman were NFs? Sagan sounds very idealistic in his speeches... Feynman OTOH is very childish and lively... They do not have that "stiffness"?
    Sagan was an INFJ : idealistic, always spoke in context of the big picture (about us as a species etc.), very future oriented ("look at venus to see what's gonna happen with earth" etc.) and most of all : his speech. He had an almost caricatural way of emphasizing words in every sentence. Very vivid imagination (he wrote "contact", he described how aliens might look like -something along the lines of huge zeppelin like creatures floating through gas fields and absorbing it, etc.). Starry-eyed. Stiffness in movement. His haircut :p

  4. #14
    Sheep pill, broster asynartetic's Avatar
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    i think sagan was ntj.

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  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    the way Tyson and Seth McFarlane teach seems more jarring and smug compared to Sagan's more charming approach; maybe it seems this way because we've entered an era that exceeds the style of documentary Cosmos, in general, has to offer. Or maybe the content of the original series just got the synapses firing far more back when we weren't already flooded in an age of information.

    In a modern context, I almost feel as though A Spacetime Odyssey is meant as a counter-point and a final blow to New Earth Creationists and apologists of this decade and the decade prior. If that's their agenda, then OK - but I still feel like there's something to be desired in this series.

    Has anyone else seen it?
    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    I've been watching since it debuted. I can't quite put my finger on what's 'off' about it but I have felt it just as you have. It comes across as a bit reactionary against religious dingbattery rather than being simply informational.
    I would put it like 93JC did; there's something "off" about Tyson's presentation style. But I don't think it's smugness, and don't see it as reactionary against New Earth Creationism or more general faith based anti-science. In fact, my sense is that there has been a deliberate effort to NOT be like that and to stick to the facts without getting involved in that debate. What we may be reading as smug might be the natural consequence of presenting facts in a clear and informational style in a culture where there is significant opposition to the truth of those facts; the gaping chasm between the facts and the opposition causes even the recitation of the facts in this particular debate to sound like a shot in a culture war. It's like we're feeling a phantom limb that isn't actually part of the show.

    I think what might be off about Tyson's presentation is simply the fact that he's not an actor. I know he's appeared on television before, but never to such an extent and never in such a formal style. I think he's genuinely earnest and enthusiastic, but he comes across to me as insincere sometimes because he's not modulating his presentation style as precisely as an actor might.

    All that said, I'm really enjoying the series. It's not as good as the original (or maybe how I've deified the original in my mind); it feels less intimate and seems unnecessarily showy. But it's very good. I really enjoy the animated bits, I think it's a great way to tell the stories.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

  7. #17
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I would put it like 93JC did; there's something "off" about Tyson's presentation style. But I don't think it's smugness, and don't see it as reactionary against New Earth Creationism or more general faith based anti-science. In fact, my sense is that there has been a deliberate effort to NOT be like that and to stick to the facts without getting involved in that debate. What we may be reading as smug might be the natural consequence of presenting facts in a clear and informational style in a culture where there is significant opposition to the truth of those facts; the gaping chasm between the facts and the opposition causes even the recitation of the facts in this particular debate to sound like a shot in a culture war. It's like we're feeling a phantom limb that isn't actually part of the show.

    I think what might be off about Tyson's presentation is simply the fact that he's not an actor. I know he's appeared on television before, but never to such an extent and never in such a formal style. I think he's genuinely earnest and enthusiastic, but he comes across to me as insincere sometimes because he's not modulating his presentation style as precisely as an actor might.

    All that said, I'm really enjoying the series. It's not as good as the original (or maybe how I've deified the original in my mind); it feels less intimate and seems unnecessarily showy. But it's very good. I really enjoy the animated bits, I think it's a great way to tell the stories.
    The deliberate effort shows, and therein, there's a point of contention to be spotted by anyone who's been on either side of the debate. It was hard for me not to notice, due to the phantom limb you referred to. Not to mention the fact that Tyson has claimed to be agnostic, though he wishes not to be lumped into any label that would indicate that he's a 'reactionary'. They took note of the fact that, historically, many of the most significant scientific breakthroughs were born out of oppressive conditions, sometimes in a backlash, and other times more ambiguously. Newton's adherence to theism, in spite of his idiosyncratic way of fusing it with naturalism, would be a good example of how scientific thought and religious thought aren't mutually exclusive. So they don't really present science and religion as part of a dichotomy. But people who do see it as a dichotomy will disagree, so despite their attempts to sidestep the conflict, they've opened up a new opportunity to engage in it. Basically I'm left with the conclusion that the most relevant audience for this show would be too young to be concerned with that riffraff, or people like you and I who've taken unusual stances. That considered, while watching the cartoons, I suppose I do feel a bit patronized. Maybe if they aired an episode of Tyson teaching in a classroom as Sagan did, then I'd feel that the presentation style would be more direct in how it addresses the audience.

    In any case, I'll probably be watching the next episode, as I am intrigued and entertained enough.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I would put it like 93JC did; there's something "off" about Tyson's presentation style. But I don't think it's smugness, and don't see it as reactionary against New Earth Creationism or more general faith based anti-science. In fact, my sense is that there has been a deliberate effort to NOT be like that and to stick to the facts without getting involved in that debate. What we may be reading as smug might be the natural consequence of presenting facts in a clear and informational style in a culture where there is significant opposition to the truth of those facts; the gaping chasm between the facts and the opposition causes even the recitation of the facts in this particular debate to sound like a shot in a culture war. It's like we're feeling a phantom limb that isn't actually part of the show.
    I'm not a part of the "culture where there is significant opposition to the truth" (a.k.a. what I called "religious dingbattery"). I think that's the problem. What you see as "a clear and informational style" I see as very deliberately crafted to counteract a certain point of view. It's not just "clear and informational", it's designed with a message behind it.

    I feel like it's designed to be ammunition in a debate that I'm not a part of. I feel like it's dumbed down and presented in a way that makes it a counterpoint to what I think of as a sort of "anti-intellectualism" that pervades the United States. This is "the phantom limb" you referred to. At the same time I feel like it panders to the "other side of the debate", and is dumbed down just enough for them to be able to use it to teach their "conservative" friends and colleagues what the rest of us already know.

    E.g. in the last episode I watched (I can't remember if it was the most recent or the one before that) they spent a great deal of it on the Islamic Golden Age. Obviously this was an important part of human history ("Arabic numerals", algebra, star names, etc.) but there was just a little twinge of... preaching to it. Preaching to the "anti-intellectual" side that there was a time when islamic scholars were the some of the most important and progressive on the planet. Preaching that Islam does not necessarily entail fundamentalism and terrorism and all the other negative things we've come to associate with Islam in the last forty years or so.

    Maybe that's what it takes to get through to those sorts of people: they need or only respond to preaching, not teaching. I don't like preaching, even when it's stuff I already know. Being that I'm not American and this sort of BS is not a part of my culture it comes across as very weird and foreign to me.

  9. #19
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post

    Maybe that's what it takes to get through to those sorts of people: they need or only respond to preaching, not teaching. I don't like preaching, even when it's stuff I already know. Being that I'm not American and this sort of BS is not a part of my culture it comes across as very weird and foreign to me.
    This brings to mind a thought I had as I read FMW's post: It's not Tyson's job to act in Cosmos so much as it is to teach.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    I feel like it's dumbed down and presented in a way that makes it a counterpoint to what I think of as a sort of "anti-intellectualism" that pervades the United States. This is "the phantom limb" you referred to. At the same time I feel like it panders to the "other side of the debate", and is dumbed down just enough for them to be able to use it to teach their "conservative" friends and colleagues what the rest of us already know.
    You make some good points, especially as someone who is outside this particular debate. That said, I'm not sure "dumbed down" is a fair criticism of a TV show on a major broadcast network devoted to entertainment. It's all in the context. I think that particular criticism would be at least a bit more (if not entirely) fair if directed at an episode of "Nova" or a feature documentary. The audience for this show is the mainstream TV viewer, and it necessarily deals in broad concepts. I think the show serves this audience well, and there are certainly places for interested parties to explore these ideas in more depth and complexity if the show inspires them to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    This brings to mind a thought I had as I read FMW's post: It's not Tyson's job to act in Cosmos so much as it is to teach.
    I think his first job is absolutely to teach. I was just trying to point out that the "something off" we all noticed might have as much or more to do with Tyson's comfort/skill/experience in front of the camera as with any editorial slant of the show.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

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