Assumptions and the People Who Assume (A rant in 9/8)

You can assume this is a pipe… and you'd be wrong.  You may also assume that you are seeing letters and pictures and, again, you'd be wrong to characterize this little collection of pixels as anything more than 1's and 0's.

You can assume this is a pipe… and you’d be wrong. You’d also be wrong to characterize this little webpage as anything more than 1’s and 0’s.
© René Magritte Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

We’ve all heard it before:  “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.”  Gosh, how darn clever.  I had to get that out of the way and I will let you assess the validity of that statement for yourself.  As far as I’m concerned, when you assume, you make an ass out of you if you assume incorrectly and you may involve me.

So why am I playing with Trite Aphorisms People Are Sick of Hearing?  Because I’ve had the extreme displeasure to see some tired old rationalizations pop up recently and I’m amazed people still spew these things:  “We had George W. Bush for president thanks to Ralph Nader” and “3-D movies are not a gimmick because of Technicolor.”  Yeah, one is somewhat more serious than the other, but my Illogic and False Equivalency (IFE) meter doesn’t care about that.

So, some people still choose to believe that Ralph Nader’s candidacy is responsible for Bush Beating Gore in 2000.  There are some studies floating around that refute that thinking, not only that a Nader-less election did not mean those votes cast for him would automatically go to Gore, but some may have gone to Bush! ( — don’t get used to this, I don’t like statistical reading and this isn’t a thesis!)  Above all, Nader is the convenient whipping-boy for these folks because he was the best known and garnered the largest amount of votes.  Yet there were other third-party candidates who pulled enough votes in Florida to turn the election to Gore.  Why aren’t they being accused?  And do the people who didn’t even bother to vote at all get a free pass?

To assume a left-leaner or a right-leaner is an automatic vote for a Democrat or a Republican is exactly what the supporters of the two-party monopoly of power want the public to think – and it’s wrong.  To think that a third party is not viable is true only to the extent to which that party garners support.  Third parties, as they exist now, tend to represent more extreme views of either side of the partisan spectrum, but if you want different goals pursued in Washington, you want a third party candidate because, as we can see, Washington excels in little else but the status quo.  I get a sense that today’s Washington politicians are lousy poker players: it’s not all or nothing with every issue; you can’t go “all-in” with every hand because eventually you will lose and lose everything.  There has to be nuance to governance and what we are getting is agendas – even agendas that are unpopular (30-round magazines, anyone?).  Aside from all of that, though, remember, an anti-slavery party got its start in 1854 to battle the Democrats and Whigs.  Any guess as to what that party was called?

The more trivial of my irritants is this continued bleating about how great 3-D movies are.  I believe the forum I was in had shifted its focus to trashing Avatar and 3-D.  Naturally, some twit pipes up and says, paraphrasing, “3-D is no different than using Technicolor in a movie.”  Well, the IFE went to 11 when I read that.  Since I refuse to register myself with Disqus, I didn’t reply, but the absolute falseness of that statement is staggering.  The implication – insofar as it pertains to my topic – is that this person assumes their little brain fart is correct!

I have seen Toy Story 3 and the last installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in 3-D.  To say that I was underwhelmed doesn’t even begin to touch the dissatisfaction I have for spending $60 so my wife and I could see both those movies.  It wasn’t worth it.  So let me take this time to clue in the clueless:  3-D is an expensive gimmick in an industry that is only seeking to extract more money out of your wallet.  Period.  I will explain:

I create media, whether it is illustrations, cartoons, comics, video, etc. – and 3-D.  I know a lot about the movie industry and how these things get made.  I also get to work with people who work on some interesting things.  My old buddy Dave, works at a place where they do 3-D printing.  They also have a 3-D visual system that creates images used for training.  Some of these images are in a space called a “Cave” and 3-D images are projected to enable a viewer to walk around the object!  But it takes multiple projectors to achieve this; you know why?  Because it’s not really 3-D and neither is that movie you’re watching at the theater!  The best – and I mean the absolute best – that can ever be achieved with our current technology is what I call the “Viewmaster Effect”.  Sure, it looks like there’s some depth to it, but it is a manufactured illusion.  Even in the Cave, all you will ever see are 2-D projections on flat surfaces – there is no depth, there is no volume, there is no 3-D.

Apparently even Ridley Scott is the newest disciple of the 3-D craze in Hollywood, but ask him if his newest technological gimmick kept Prometheus from being a movie that many people despised?  Did 3-D make Avatar anything beyond a pretty visual over an unoriginal script that borrowed heavily from Pocahontas?  (Notice how I didn’t use the idiotic word “reimagining” there?)  I saw Prometheus.  I thought it was a good opening for a longer story, but I’m also glad that I didn’t spend the extra money for the 3-D version that the ticket girl was trying to push.  I have the regular version of Avatar on DVD (a format that is on borrowed time and worth another rant by itself) and I have watched it repeatedly.  I like the movie, despite the whole “Pocahontas” thing and I have never missed not seeing the 3-D version.  It’s about the story and the storytelling – not the visual gimmicks.  That’s the way it will always be; otherwise, there would never be any 3-D movies that failed at the box office and we all know that’s not true!

So, back to our twit and his “Technicolor”.  The plain truth should be rather obvious to him: we see in color, not in black and white.  Technicolor is the result of chemicals in the film-making process.  Through exposure to light and development of the film with the proper chemicals, the color is achieved.  This isn’t “you think you are seeing red, but it isn’t really red.”  To compare a color development process to a fabrication such as 3-D is absurdist to the point of willful ignorance.  This unoriginal argument smacks of deliberately not  wanting to see the forest for the trees.

But, then again, I may be making an assumption.


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