HomeBabblingThe John Price Commemorative Friday Top Five™ By Larry Young on a...

The John Price Commemorative Friday Top Five™ By Larry Young on a Monday

Well, you guys want listicles, here’s a listicle. Sorry if your eyes bleed and you question your sexuality. Somebody has to tell you what your parents didn’t back when they should have, because you people are ruining polite discourse with your us vs. them worldview and your poor ENGLISH IS AN EVOLVING LANGUAGE sop. Of course English is evolving, society is evolving, your homophobic Trump voting relations are evolving. Evolution is a thing; congrats. What I’m saying is that you can’t take a term that already means something and start using it in error and expect that people are reading your points with clarity and understanding. Oh, sure, I expect “Mary Sue” to mean “over-powered character” at some point to the world at large but what do you call “Author’s thinly-veiled stand in/wish fulfillment character,” now? Make up your own term; don’t steal someone else’s by accident because you misunderstand the usage.

  1. That’s “lazy writing.”

Just stop that right now. Chances approach 100% you don’t know what “lazy writing” is in the first place, Elroy. You know how I know? Because using “lazy writing” as a criticism all by itself is lazy writing and you just did what you are complaining about. Just stop that right now. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

I have long railed against starting an opinion piece on social media by announcing your qualifications (“As a certified dive instructor…”) because it’s shitty, lazy writing and shorthands one’s expertise. Your argument should speak for itself, no matter where you are personally coming from. It’s seventh grade writing. Smarten up. Similarly, I rail against the other side of the coin; where someone dismisses a point of view because of a personal existence no fault of the writer (“lazy reading,” we’ll call it): a cishet male, a drag king, a registered Republican, a single mom, a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, and a princess, and a criminal.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club

  1. That character is a “Mary Sue.”

When you use that to mean “an over-powered character,” you’re using that idiom incorrectly. I know language is constantly in flux and whatnot but don’t use words to mean what you WANT them to mean, because nobody will know what you’re trying to say. Also, use the Oxford comma. For God’s sake. I honestly am not giving much credence to your point of view if you think Rey is a crazy abomination because she lived an isolated life on a desert planet with no connection to The Force until she understands she’s Force-sensitive and starts kicking ass when you have no problem with Luke who lived an isolated life on a desert planet with no connection to The Force until he understands he’s Force-sensitive and starts kicking ass. I mean, you see? You sound like idiots.

  1. That’s a “plot hole.”

No, it’s something that happens in the narrative that’s ambiguous, requiring from you a little effort as an audience member to fill-in-the-blanks. Just because the talent isn’t holding your hand and walking you happily towards the end doesn’t mean it’s an inconsistency in the plot logic. It just means you aren’t paying attention. Frankly, you’re embarrassing yourselves. Maybe worse than when you claim something is “lazy writing.” Is the North Korean in FOR ALL MANKIND a “plot hole” because they haven’t explained anything about his mission other than they wanted to beat everyone to Mars? Was there a plan to return the crew? Where are all his months or years of air and water and food and other consumables keeping him alive until the other characters discover him like a space wrecked Robinson Crusoe? That’s not a plot hole. It either doesn’t matter, or it’ll be addressed later. I swear, it’s like everyone forgot how to watch TV.

  1. You’re not a “true fan.”

No, YOU aren’t. “Real” fans of pop culture are so goddamn happy to find somebody else who knows what they’re talking about, they welcome everybody. I dunno. I don’t even know if this deserves a spot, because it’s just obnoxious drivel from peabrains, but, hey! It’s a top five list and #4 is usually a weak one because the writer is padding out the list that really only has three good items in it.

  1. Who do you think you are? How do I even know “Larry” is your real name?

Come on; I’m Larry Young. You can google me, and everything.

Also: #6, because #4 was thin. Maybe #4a?: All right, you people have brought this on yourselves: I’m adding “hot take” to “Mary Sue” and “plot hole” on the list of insider media terms that have been abused so hard so quickly that the kids using them now do not understand the meaning.

Man alive, Western society needs to shut off social media for a month or two right now. You can pay your bills and you can buy stuff from Amazon, but you aren’t allowed to talk about anything that involves your ill-informed opinion until you start learning what words mean. You just took the phrase “garbage can” too literally. In your case, it’s “garbage can’t.”

That hot take thing started in sports as “smart take” but known to be sarcastic and biting and the opposite of smart writing. An insult between sports writers.

And, like everything, once the kids got ahold of it it lost its original meaning and now here we are on THE PLANET OF LCD KARENS where everything is a function of attention dynamics and quality vs. immediacy and the difference between reportage and opinion and information and conversation and whatever.

Once you distill everything into catchphrases, religions become slogans and the Mona Lisa, an emoji.

Larry Young
Larry Young
Larry Young is a writer: non-fiction, graphic novels, and pop culture criticism. His work has appeared in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, VARIETY, and THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION. A frequent guest on the video podcasts MILLION DOLLAR MAILBOX and WORD BALLOONS, he’s also co-host of SERIOUS STAR TREK and the sister YouTube channel of this website.


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