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November 05 2009

Psychology Bad or How Joss Makes Neuroscience Seem Like Magic. A timely essay taken from "The Psychology of Joss Whedon".

Great article, I am fascinated by neuroscience. As the mother of an autistic child, I've always been fascinted by the parellels between River and my Alana. Because of their neuro-developmental disorders, they share some similar traits: extreme intelligence, socially inappropriate, surprisingly violent, overwhelmingly compassionate, etc.

Joss' brain never ceases to amaze me.
My only comment about this excellent article is the use of 'War Stories' as an example of River's dangerous nature in a 'lighter episode(s) focusing on Mal’s semi-comic heroism' which it was not.

Due to the whole torture thing.

Either the sentence prior to the example is out of place or the example is a bad one, I don't know which since I'm not sure if the 'War Stories' example is supposed to refer to the 'semi-comic' comment or is wholly seperate.

Still a VERY well thought out article and an enjoyable read.
Well, War Stories definitely had the lightest torture scene I'd ever witnessed, short of perhaps Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition.
I hope this author is working on a Dollhouse piece.
Yay JHU!

I'm curious about the Dollhouse piece as well. I didn't realize I had a professor who was into Joss!
I want to read that book, that ought to give me some motivation for my study again. 2nd year Pyschology has been quite the snorefest for me so far.
"Epitaph" definitely made it seem like magic.

In the Dollhouse pilot, we're shown that there is lengthy preparation to create an Active (Sierra testing), implanting requires a bank of computers and the Chair, and that implants require a character flaw to make them viable. Superscience, but at least there were some ground rules.

A dozen years from then, anyone and almost everyone can be reprogrammed by a brief broadcast.
I'm not sure we know the precise correlation, or lack thereof, between imprinting in 2009 and imprinting in 2019. The process we see Sierra going through upon initial intake might be the process for creating an active, but might not strictly or technologically speaking necessary to do a basic wipe and imprint of John or Jane Q. Public. Or, alternatively, the technology could have progressed over that decade to become quicker and more flexible.
Epitaph One certainly put the "fi" in sci-fi, but when looking at technological advances in the last ten years it's nearly impossible to predict how far which types of tech will advance. And the Dollhouse is based in a reality like our own, but for the grace of enough technological upgrades that they can imprint full personalities onto "blank" slates. So ten years from now in that universe and it's pretty plausible--albeit fictitiously--that blanket signals and remote wipes could be the next (disastrously) logical step.
Anyone else clicked on the ad above the article?

http://www.smartpopbooks.com/contest

Dollhouse essay contest, cash prizes.
Quote from link above:

"Smart Pop/Dollhouse Essay Contest
Sign Up for Dollhouse Essay Contest Updates
We love Dollhouse. And we know from Buffy and Firefly that Joss Whedon fans are across-the-board smart, insightful, and involved.
So we’ve teamed up with Jane Espenson, Dollhouse writer and Mutant Enemy veteran, to put out an essay anthology on Dollhouse composed entirely of fan-written essays. Everyone, novice to seasoned writer, is eligible to enter; the only requirement is that you are fan of Dollhouse!
Write a great essay on Dollhouse, send it to us, and your essay could be published in a Smart Pop book edited by Jane.
Eighteen essays will appear in the final book, but in addition:
One grand prize winner will get $1000
Three first prize winners will get $250
Fourteen other winners will get $100"

More info on site.
Yeah it was linked from here a few weeks back. It was US and Canada only originally but they very kindly relaxed that restriction.

Seeing this makes me feel guilty for having had this book for months (and months) and letting it languish on my TBR pile. Might read it next (not reading this because I prefer to read longer stuff from books where possible - screens just aren't as nice on the eyes).
I liked this article a lot. It opened my eyes to things I had been feeling about Serenity but couldn't put my finger on. I'm dense that way.

Come payday I am buying this book.
That was a brilliant essay. I was especially impressed by the description of the opening sequence of Serenity.
I signed up for updates on the Dollhouse essays. May even write one myself, just for fun - when I get over being intimidated by the eloquence of the one I just read. ;)

The link between the depiction of abuse of neuroscience in Firefly/Serenity and in Dollhouse, has been rattling around in my mind for a while.

Thanks Simon, that was a great read.
Gotta have the book, as broke as I am.

EF: typo

[ edited by Shey on 2009-11-06 15:43 ]

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