Monday, April 28, 2008

Dummy in a Dumb Land

Over the weekend, I finished Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

The book is said to have been an influence on the hippie movement of the '60s; if true, it goes a long way in explaining why hippies were such big flakes.

You can also see some of the book's influence on Dune (Dune... Arrakis... Desert Planet), which I guess is a mitigating factor. Then again, it seems to track pretty closely to Scientology -- do with that what you will.

I do still like Heinlein's other works, particularly his juvenile fiction, which I grew up devouring. I still have a fondness for them, even after time and a grownup perspective brings to light some of their shortcomings (e.g. clumsy speechifying, Mary Sue-ism, etc).

In fact, if memory and Wikipedia serves, I probably still have hardcover first editions of The Rolling Stones and Have Space Suit, Will Travel at home. Although I might have told Mom it was okay to throw that pile of books out. And in any case, they were public library book sale acquisitions to start with, and got pretty beat up over the years. But I'll try to find them next time around.

One more quick hit of dumb... stuff:

* The Meat Loaf/Tiffany GoPhone commercial is one of the dumbest commercials I've seen in a while. Not just for the overall cheese and cringeworthy reworking of the lyrics -- it's because the commercial ends on the line, "I swear, I'll love you 'til the end of time," when anyone who knows the song at all instantly and instinctively starts into the whole whole, "So now I'm waiting for the end of time to hurry up and arrive" bit of the song.

This is infinitely worse than the Microsoft Windows 95 campaign using "Start Me Up" and cutting right before the "you make a grown man cry" bit.

Although Tiffany still looks pretty damn good.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I actually like Stranger in a Strange Land. I don't remember any similarities to Scientology (other than both Heinlein and Hubbard both wrote sci-fi.

But, I was a juvenile when I read it, and that was a long time ago, and it is possible I've entirely forgotten the details of the book.

Joelogon said...

There's a whole mythology about Heinlein, Hubbard, and Scientology -- the rumor was that Scientology started out as a bet, over who could start a religion as a money-making venture.

If you look at the structure of the Martian Mike's church, there are definitely some similarities (especially in the paying to move up levels). -- Joe