The Big Picture: Mailbag

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Someone actually had to ask if you're evil?
Your dislike of the Yankees and Giants has made that fact abundantly clear.

F*ck yes oolong!

"High school is hell!"

I found High School to be hell mostly due to the fact I felt like I was surrounded by total idiots. Yeah, I know that makes me sound snobbish and pretentious. I apologize for that, but I really couldn't help it. Especially, given I had classmates that just reinforced this feeling.
For example, I had one kid who tried to cheat on a test by erasing my name off my paper and put in his own. He forgot two things:
1) That my handwriting was vastly different from his own.
2) He forgot to erase my last name and put his down... I'm not kidding.

`
Also, thanks for giving the Hulk movie the credit it was due.
It was, and still is, a very underrated movie.

anthony87:
Could someone help me out here and explain just what it is about American highschools that makes them so different and horrible compared to the equivalent level of schools in the rest of the world?

Reading The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler would probably provide some good explanation for you. Essentially, the criticism is that high school was primarily designed as a means to prepare children for factory and assembly line work. For example, get you accustomed to arriving at your desk at specific times, taking instruction from your teacher/supervisor, perform repetitive tasks, take scheduled breaks of specific duration, etc.

If you get caught up working in government bureaucracy, then you might find that "high school" dynamics continue to apply to you. So consider that a warning to think about your career, unless you're one of the ones that enjoyed high school and would like to continue that until retirement.

CrazyBlue:
French and British relations are doing pretty ok right now. Whilst Cameron may be stupidly cautious about the UK's place in the EU, he does at times seem to be BFFs with Sarkozy.

I'm pretty sure Bob is really off on his assumptions. All those immigrations he listed were hated and discriminated against by the natives especially the Chinese and often times they were assimilated anyway keeping their culture out. The thing about France is more about the hostility its people have towards America i.e. keeping Americans out of hotels to protest their government. Of all countries why France that would seem like a joke considering they don't have much of a good foreign policy track record either and probably mostly are biased since they're not the ones leading the world this time. Thus when America does they feel a sort of competition to prove their nationalism right. This could be said about Britain though.

It's not like there are no reasons to hate America, there definitely are, but if you're Britain or France I don't see why there would be any logical ones.

Triaed:
Wow, it was a real mixed bag. I enjoyed it.

France, let's not forget that with a big help from France the US obtained their independence. Yeah, France was acting in self interest to put a dent in the British Empire crown, but still... I don't get the bad rap they get in the US

Highschool was awesome for me, I partied like a monkey on speed and drank like a fish... then again I was not constrained by that silly rule in the States that says that you are mature enough at 18 to put a bullet in an enemy soldier's head, but you cannot drink a beer in a hot-summer day

Also "mumorpuger" :-)

France is viewed as a group of backstabbers and with good reason. What the generation after mine is not learning due to historical revisionism is that during World War II France mostly sided with the Nazis. There were French resistance fighters and such, but nothing like the popular fiction perpetuated after the fact. Today history is taught in a politically correct fashion where somehow a small group of Germans somehow managed to simultaneously conquer and hold most of Europe as omnipresent fascist occupiers with heroic resistance fighters everywhere, when really that isn't the case. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Germany was behind Hitler, and a lot of the nations that he conquered more or less wound up siding with him willingly, the guy was highly charismatic and an international man of the year, and not quite as crazy as people like to let on after the fact. If the way things are presented in today's media and even educational centers were true, he could never have held this together due to a simple lack of manpower, as opposed to coming two milimeters away from conquering the entire world. It's just today we want to present the Germans as our friends so we play up the resistance in germany, we overlook the role nations like Italy and Romania played, and we pretty much hold to a diplomatic agreement with France.

See, what happened with France is that after some relatively token resistance it decided to surrender to Hitler and more or less welcomed the Germans. It wound up providing both troops and logistical support for other areas he was campaigning in. When the tide of the war began to turn France realized that whether Germany won or lost it was going to get decimated, so it pretty much switched sides. This saved the allies a lot of time, trouble, and manpower and in return the war department more or less agreed to present France as a straightforward ally from that point onward to present historical backlash, and what you learn now is more or less part of that. Basically France played both sides and did whatever benefitted France at the moment. This is where the "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys" comes from, France having arguably surrendered TWICE in World War II, first to germany, and then to the allies. The stereotype kind of being of the fat Frenchman telling people whatever they want to hear
while he munches his cheese and just lets everything go to hell around him.

I learned this while in school since I'm just old enough to have had history teachers who were veterans of World War II, and really they had some interesting things to say about it. I think a lot of Franco-American relations comes from the perceptions of "The Greatest Generation", and to a lesser extent from some of the younger Baby Boomers raised by them and closer to those events. Things change as the changes to the educational system and history become the truth te younger generation learns... and really that's the point of historical reinventionism.

Franco-American relations are not helped by things like the "Oil For Food Scandal" (look it up, I've posted links before, and it's fairly complicated). In short France was one of the few nations that opposed the "War On Terror" going into Iraq, and did so on grounds of being "peace loving". Later we found after going into Iraq that France had been exploiting the "Oil For Food" program to engage in general trade with an otherwise embargoed country. The point of the program being to prevent the people from starving while otherwise trying to hammer it's economy since Iraq was dependant on food imports. The whole "we will not use food as a weapon" schtick which is something I could say a lot about on it's own. Basically for all of it's pretensions of other reasons, France was not supporting the effort because it (this does not go for everyone, but I believe Germany was involved to an extent as well) was making money in violation of treaties, and feared an invasion would out this (which it did) and put an end to that trade at the very least. France being concerned over the new Iraqi goverment acknowleging debts owed to France didn't help matters much either.

Now, before anyone argues with me, I'm just explaining why a lot of people think what they do. If you happen to disagree or have learned things differantly that's fine, I'm just saying I understand the mentality and a lot of the history behind it. The bottom line is that France is viewed as largely being fair weather friends, who tend to only act in their own immediate best interests and don't really care about what happens to anyone else. A bunch of guys who will be your buddy one second, but then slide a knife into your back if they see a better deal from somewhere else.

Is this reputation fairly deserved, with the stories being entirely accurate? That goes beyond the scope of the point I'm making. All I'll say is that while I don't consider the French enemies, I am very wary of trusting them as a nation.

Before anyone gets into US Bashing, I will say that with the US our issue in counterpoint is mostly that we're a group of meddlers who tend to work through proxies by empowering groups of people we think woll change things more to our interests or what we consider to be the greater good, oftentimes with unforseen consequences. We also are viewed as having a sort of "Cowboy" mentality where we're willing to do whatever we think is right, regardless of
the existing social order or reasons for events. We can however be trusted, and oddly as much as a lot of people dislike us for it, things like our support of Isreal (when it would be much easier to just throw it to the dogs, which a lot of people want us to do) shows that we generally honor our agreements even when it becomes incredibly inconveinent to do so. There are good points and bad points to this. However when you consider the US tendencies you can see why having a reputation for nearly complete self interest doesn't always sit well.

All of this also plays to a lot of stereotypes you see like the French temptresses and schemers and such throughout the media, and it's very rare to see a French hero, and if you do see one (in a supporting role if nothing else) it's usually still in the role of a cunning schemer. In comparison while we have our massive disagreements with the UK for example, you'll notice that British heroes are portrayed somewhat differantly and accross a wider gamut due to better relations with that nation. As odd as it might sound that we get along better with the culture we rebelled against, it's still our parent culture, and again everything was still pretty straightforward between us. The French, the guys who helped us, arguably did that entirely out of self interest and that helps mitigate a lot of the gratitude.

I don't know what you mean... it's perfectly legal to make money off MMOs nowadays. It goes against the TOS, but those aren't legally binding. And there's no law that says you can't get money in exchange for virtual goods. In fact, a few countries have ruled that stealing virtual goods is a crime, so it follows that selling virtual goods is just a sale.

I think you mean, a game that is designed in such a way that it allows people to make money from it in such a way that it doesn't disrupt gameplay. I guess it would be like a freemium game, only instead of the devs letting you give them money in exchange for high-level characters/equipment/spells/spices, you have tools in place through which players can grind for those stuff and then sell through the game to others, with the devs taking a small cut.

By the way, thank you for reminding me to go buy Neal Stephenson's REAMDE. I almost forgot.

Thank you, Bob, for another great (if brief) episode. While I may not agree with everything you say, you never fail to say your mind eloquently and reasonably. Well played, sir.

I don't find high school to be hell, and I'm certainly not the one making it a hell for other people. Maybe I just got lucky by being about in the middle of the popularity hierarchy having enough friends on both sides to make most other people just leave me alone.

As an Englishman I don't know what the deal is with the hate between us and the French. I understand with the older generations sure, the people who went through hard times but with the young? The goverment I sort of get aswell what with the Euro buisness and all that stigma with money lending but why people from 40 down have any sort of negative feelings towards them just sort of weirds me out. I get that some people are just racist tossers but you do see it alot.

Warforger:

CrazyBlue:
French and British relations are doing pretty ok right now. Whilst Cameron may be stupidly cautious about the UK's place in the EU, he does at times seem to be BFFs with Sarkozy.

I'm pretty sure Bob is really off on his assumptions. All those immigrations he listed were hated and discriminated against by the natives especially the Chinese and often times they were assimilated anyway keeping their culture out. The thing about France is more about the hostility its people have towards America i.e. keeping Americans out of hotels to protest their government. Of all countries why France that would seem like a joke considering they don't have much of a good foreign policy track record either and probably mostly are biased since they're not the ones leading the world this time. Thus when America does they feel a sort of competition to prove their nationalism right. This could be said about Britain though.

It's not like there are no reasons to hate America, there definitely are, but if you're Britain or France I don't see why there would be any logical ones.

I think its got something to do with the long history we have together. When you think about it, in terms of mordern recorded history, the UK and France have one of longest running relationships. It may be a sort of sibling rivalry but I don't really know enough on the subject, im just thinking out loud.

Yeah I don't know what high-school is like in the U.S but over here it's probably as good as university (Better in my case). No I'm not a bully Bob.

Sibling rivalry is a good way of putting it.

Besides France and the UK have one of the longest formal alliances in place today, plus our armed forces are to an extent interconnected. Also in response to the French surrender monkey's, I think it is overstated to suggest that they willing wanted German occupation. Also that they surrendered to the allies that's a new and "interesting" way of putting it. France surrendered because they saw it as the rational thing to do at the time, that doesn't make it right, but it might have saved a lot of lives.

And if you can get through High School without getting or getting someone else pregnant, your mid twenties will be much MUCH easier.

The US has always had a love / hate relationship with France. We loved them after the revolutionary war, they loved us after WW2. Ironically after the Iraq war, which sent the US on a PR nose dive that is quite literally so bad that there is no comparison in modern history, it was actually France that stayed good friends with us through it. Not Germany, not GB (though, we did kind of lie to get them into Iraq. Woops.) no, France.

The major reason France has always remained relatively distinct is because, in really simple terms, they're as arrogant about their culture as the US is of it's own. The reason why its not hard to fine German, Italian, Greek, Russian, and tens of hundreds of other ethnic sub-cultures in the US is because they integrated. French not so much. For whatever reason the French take such a great pride in their culture, right down to the language (seriously, compare the folks that regulate what's "French" in terms of language compared to those who decide what's "English.") that it never really merged with US culture beyond snorts, escargot and baguette.

The way to beat WoW is to not be WoW. The fundamental problem with the MMO market in terms of competition is that because of the time sinks almost mandated by the genre (because time spent means more months involved, which means more subscriptions) most people will only have one pet MMO they play. Beyond that? Nah-ah. What's more, the video game industry is something that thrives on similarities. Today we have generic brown n' bloom n' gray n' gunmetal first person shooter Z. 15 years ago? Everyone wanted to be Mario and Sonic. So for the seven years WoW's been out (and roughly a decade it's been in development) it's been building up it's content, and refining it's method of operation. In the old world of MMO's where success was measured in hundreds of thousands of subscribers, the model of ripping off other's work was viable because budgets were small, and teams smaller. Today? Well, WoW's settled comfortably at between 8 and 12 million active subscribers. They have the team and the budget to crush anyone trying to emulate them, which is how you can make sense of their prolonged market dominance.

High school really *is* hell. Props for answering "off-thread" questions, Bob.

As per topic of high-school. You should probably underline that it is the model of a high-school created by the US education system and not "high-school" in general. I know it sounds simple but... countries differ from one another. The experience is much more bearable in European schools (at least central Europe - my experience), and usually simply fantastic in International Schools far removed from western countries (again, my experience).

I have to admit, I'm really fortunate I go to the high school I go to. Armenians tend to leave each other alone and are generally friendly even to those outside their clique. The jocks leave the nerds alone, and vice versa. Thankfully, there is a pretty healthy amount of nerds in my tiny school so there is never any shortage of conversation. Thankfully, the "High School of Hell" trope is forum to me.

Personally, I'm an Earl Grey man myself.

Triaed:

Highschool was awesome for me, I partied like a monkey on speed and drank like a fish... then again I was not constrained by that silly rule in the States that says that you are mature enough at 18 to put a bullet in an enemy soldier's head, but you cannot drink a beer in a hot-summer day

Hey, let's start a flame war everybody!

The most recent backlash about France comes in big part from the fact Rupert Murdoch tried to purchase (I believe) Canal+ (a French channel) and was rejected. Right afterward, since it coincided with France not joining the war in Iraq, a lot of anti-French sentiment appeared on Fox News, and was later spread out, which is why there seems to have been so much more ager against the French than any other nation that decided not to go to Iraq.

There are older issues though, and a lot of them have to do with big difference in culture, which cause American people to seem rude to French people and French people to seem rude to Americans.

Anecdotal evidence, when in a pizzeria in France my boyfriend noted that they brought his pizza uncut, and that it would never be done in the US. Me and my friend, both French, commented at the same time that pre-cutting it would be extremely insulting: it would insinuate we can't cut our own food.
Delivery is different because it doesn't assume you have access to cutlery, though.

Other example, it took me years of living in the US before I stopped finding it extremely rude that waiters in restaurants keep showing up uncalled, asking if everything is going well and refilling your drink. For years my only thought was "how rude, why won't they leave me alone, I'm trying to enjoy a meal here", but now I've realised that's just how things work in the US. I still don't like it, but it doesn't grate my nerves as much.

And a lot of the anti-French jokes and stereotypes come from WWII or post WWII, and you can see they haven't changed much since the handbook 112 gripes about the French

Triaed:

Also "mumorpuger" :-)

YAY ME!

Is public high school really that terrible, people? Because I was slightly disappointed by how ordinary my high school years were. There was no bullying, no malicious pranks, no stereotyped cliques that were exclusive to their own groups with no interaction, the nerds were praised for their intellect just as often as the jocks were for their physical ability, and nobody acted like a jerk any more than you would find in the real world.

Frankly, high school was a boring melting pot of harmony and fellowship. Damn it, our 'jocks' were even among the nicest guys in the entire school. I've gotta say that I'm just happy it's an experience I seem to have missed out on.

Oh, and nice video. I'm especially looking forward to your Intermission.

High School sucked for me, but I'm in college now and its much better. Middle school also sucked.

I didn't think high school was that bad. I didn't really talk to anyone for four years and I considered that a minor win. Compared to junior high school and a lot of college, high school was a cakewalk. By virtue of just showing up, I was in a much better position than most of my classmates and I never had to bring home "homework" because of all the free time before classes, free time in classes, and numerous study halls. Junior high school was a nightmare of being bogged down in pointless busy work I could never catch up on, very bitter and angry teachers who threatened us daily, bullies, puberty, and the utter impossibility of romantic relationships or sex (being an "early bloomer" sucks). I still didn't get any in high school or college, but at least the potential was there without feeling like a pedophile. And college sucks because the classes are often a lot longer, there are irritating online classes with their "discussion questions," night classes, finals, smug professors with their heads up their asses, monopolizing of your time, and the simple fact that you have to pay for all that bullshit.

So yay, for high school. I almost got through a whole post without mentioning my godawful post college minimum wage job from which I haven't a raise for four years. It doesn't get better kids. It really doesn't. I regret not killing myself in fourth grade back when I had the nerve.

I'm having a good time in high school... I'm not sure if it's being from a different generation than you moviebob or if its because you put yourself in the position of the victim but I'm pretty sure that me having a good time in high school hasn't made anybody's lives miserable. Actually I see hardly any bullying general at my school, If you don't like someone there you just don't talk to them and they'll leave you alone as opposed to dunking their head in a toilet.
Your little comments about high school have given me an image of you being like a nerd in a 90's sitcom and It's kind of interesting so, could you perhaps do an episode of your high school experience sometime?

CrazyBlue:
Sibling rivalry is a good way of putting it.

Heck of a rivalry, though. I remember when I visited England a few years ago, it seemed like the more French ass you kicked in life, the better the monument you got in death.

CrazyBlue:
Besides France and the UK have one of the longest formal alliances in place today, plus our armed forces are to an extent interconnected. Also in response to the French surrender monkey's, I think it is overstated to suggest that they willing wanted German occupation. Also that they surrendered to the allies that's a new and "interesting" way of putting it. France surrendered because they saw it as the rational thing to do at the time, that doesn't make it right, but it might have saved a lot of lives.

That's just it. British pop culture has always taken jabs at the French. In American pop culture between WWII and 9/11, there is no major anti-French sentiment. There are plenty of comedic French stereotypes, but no wholesale vilification. I think people understood that France shared a land border with Germany, and had the UK or US not had deep water and strong navies standing between them and the Wehrmact, they probably wouldn't have fared very well either in 1940. You don't see widespread vilification of the French in American media until the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

MovieBob:
Snip

If you're still wanting people to ask you questions then please hear me out:

Why did you tweet this on Twitter?

Bob Chipman:
Congratulations, "Mass Effect" crybabies. You've officially set the entire medium back a DECADE as an art form

Also, Bioware? SHAME on you for caving. You've chosen to make coloring books instead of The Mona Lisa.

This is the WORST thing that has happened to gaming since Sega abandoned consoles.

How many more times do I need to explain that this has NOTHING to do with whether or not you "liked" the ending?

if your going to accept a game as ONLY a "product" then yes. But that means we CANNOT ask anyone to take gaming "seriously."

Look, a medium can produce ART or it can produce PRODUCT. If games can be changed at the whims of fanboys, then they are just product and we have no right to demand that Ebert etc take them (or US) "seriously."

Honestly I have nothing against you Bob if you disagree with people who are fighting for change in the ME3 ending or complaining about it, but I was surprised to see you react in such a negative manner Bob. Calling people such names and bashing the community isn't the way to express your opinion but then again who am I to judge? Still... but anyhow before I reply about the video I think you should take a look as to why this fight against Bioware is actually pretty important then most may think otherwise. Click Here

OT: I learned quite a bit from this video so I thank you for answering a bit of people's questions. For me, High School was the best school I ever attended but also lead to some pretty depressing, dramatic moments where I want to go back in time and convince myself to avoid certain people but.. oh well I gained experience and matured from it.

Besides that, our world is still racial to other countries despite that we may be joking about it. Some Americans I know really do think Canada would be better off not existing since they say "It hasn't done jack crap for anyone." But I believe that to be false.

Casual Shinji:
No shit!

I actually preffered Ang Lee's Hulk to the new one.

Sure it was still bad, but it had more artistic merit in one single scene than The Incredible Hulk had in its entire running time.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the mention of Hulk. Honestly I never watched ALL of it but it seemed alright. It seemed most of the complaints were that it wasn't a mindless action movie (which seems completely at odds with the whole great superhero movies getting recognition as great movies in general thing).

There's a paint called "Santa's Flesh" in craft stores right this very minute.

Now that's creepy.

As a Canadian, I do have to say that some of us (myself included in some case), tend to view French Canadians in a poor light.

Take the recent protests in Quebec for example. They're up in arms over tuition increases. Why I don't like this: before the increases, Quebecois university students paid less then the national average, way less, with the increases, they're paying what the rest of the nation pays on average. They just want a free ride off the government coffers.

Then there's the whole Quebec Sovereignty movement. While the issue has pretty much all but died out (The Bloc party was all but decimated in the last federal election, and a recent poll shows that over 70% of Quebecois are against separating) As a patriot who's had family defend this country in two world wars (My great great uncle is buried in Flanders), Korea, and several peacekeeping missions, just sours my opinion on the whole issue.

Although, should they separate anyways, the First Nations who hold treaty rights to 90% of the Province (and most of its natural resources) wouldn't, and my Father, who's retired military, says we'd just invade and take the land back anyways.

While, yes, Canada is a Bi-Lingual country, and I've lived in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and I've been pretty much every where else, I can say this, there are only three places where French influence is prevalent: Quebec, New Brunswick (Canada's only Bi-Lingual province), and any government building. Outside of there, you'd be hard pressed to find anything where the french has any influence.

Another great video, love these bite-sized nuggets!

I hope there is never a faithful portrayal of Batman in movies, Robin sucks! And Batman is actually kind of a dick, the more I hear about him the closer he seems to Rorschach. Maybe I just don't get super heroes.

Therumancer:

Triaed:
Wow, it was a real mixed bag. I enjoyed it.

France, let's not forget that with a big help from France the US obtained their independence. Yeah, France was acting in self interest to put a dent in the British Empire crown, but still... I don't get the bad rap they get in the US

Highschool was awesome for me, I partied like a monkey on speed and drank like a fish... then again I was not constrained by that silly rule in the States that says that you are mature enough at 18 to put a bullet in an enemy soldier's head, but you cannot drink a beer in a hot-summer day

Also "mumorpuger" :-)

France is viewed as a group of backstabbers and with good reason.
---snip--- sorry for the scissors.
The French, the guys who helped us, arguably did that entirely out of self interest and that helps mitigate a lot of the gratitude.

That is the way you were taught history wherever you are from. You are very entitled to your opinion.

I always thought the rivalry between England and France was the reason to the animosity in America. After all, they shared the center of the civilized western world during centuries and there are even books dedicated to their rivalry (A Tale of Two Cities). When British emigrated to America and founded the US, they carry their prejudice with them.

Gatx:

Casual Shinji:
No shit!

I actually preffered Ang Lee's Hulk to the new one.

Sure it was still bad, but it had more artistic merit in one single scene than The Incredible Hulk had in its entire running time.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the mention of Hulk. Honestly I never watched ALL of it but it seemed alright. It seemed most of the complaints were that it wasn't a mindless action movie (which seems completely at odds with the whole great superhero movies getting recognition as great movies in general thing).

I am of the opinion that the problem was not that it wasn't a mindless action movie, but that the parts that weren't were original of the movie (not adapted from the comic book) and were not very good.

While I don't think the origins story of the comic is very good, the changes were obviously introduced to add extra drama to the character, to make him closer to the movies Ang Lee usually directs and, above all, made very little sense. Think of it like a previous version of the whole debacle of Michael Bay making Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles.

Needless to say, I don't agree with Bob in that one.

Vzzdak:

anthony87:
Could someone help me out here and explain just what it is about American highschools that makes them so different and horrible compared to the equivalent level of schools in the rest of the world?

Reading The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler would probably provide some good explanation for you. Essentially, the criticism is that high school was primarily designed as a means to prepare children for factory and assembly line work. For example, get you accustomed to arriving at your desk at specific times, taking instruction from your teacher/supervisor, perform repetitive tasks, take scheduled breaks of specific duration, etc.

If you get caught up working in government bureaucracy, then you might find that "high school" dynamics continue to apply to you. So consider that a warning to think about your career, unless you're one of the ones that enjoyed high school and would like to continue that until retirement.

That sounds awfully close to any other high school, not restricted to Americans...

I think its mostly because they function as miniature social ecosystem, with some of the people that use these forums being placed at the bottom of the social pyramid (bellow the bullies, the shallow girls, etc). I know it sounds cliche, but its accurate at points and retroactively feeds the stereotypes. Also, I don't think its so different in other parts of the world.

Soooo BOB, DO YOU LIKE LOST IN TRANSLATION OR NOT?

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