Chien Ting Chin (chinc@sten.sunnybrook.utoronto.ca)
Wed, 26 Jan 2000 21:53:07 -0500 (EST)


Alfred Stuart Urrutia wrote:
> You must hate history class, then. No one around to make sure that world

Of course who doesn't hate history CLASS? ;) But I love history now that
it's not in classrooms. Kinda like the hero of ST, no?

> events have the proper amount of sugar-coating attached. The story was, to

Hehehe, I knew that "sugar-coating" is gonna be trouble. The point is
that lots of fictions and novels use stories to communicate an idea. But
the communication of the idea is only successful if the story is
interesting. If the writer doesn't have a good story, s/he should write a
non-fiction. I read and like many non-fictional philosophy and history
books. They don't waste time on creating characters and aliens and wars
and machines. When I see a title "Elements of Moral Philosophy" I know
what I am getting into, when I see a title "Starship Troopers" I expect
actions!

> move "Dazed and Confused". There, too, was a movie about nothing - about 24
> hours in the life of a bunch of high schoolers in 1976 Texas. I loved that

Perhaps it's about nothing to YOU. But it's about a lot to ME.

> That was not the plan. The plan was, let's make a movie called "Bug Hunt"
> ...

Sure, that's obviously true. But there are lots of movies that went the
same process and came out totally bleh. ST at least managed to be
humourous.

> would have made a much better movie. If they ditched Denise Richards, too.

So you prefer blondes over brunettes? ;)

> His feelings I have no knowledge of. I've heard that he didn't care one way
> or the other, he simply put forth a possible future Earth (facist led) and
> went from there. No bias. Rare, nowadays, in this land of "movie about X" =

Hmm... so you said he wrote a very simple story to put forth a possible
future that he doesn't care one way or the other?

Forgetting what Heinlein advocates, just consider what the book advocates:
There are pages after pages of the teacher character promoting this
"Fascist" (IMHO, I think "Fascist" is a bit strong, it's basically a mix
of American and Spartan ideals) philosophy, but very little oppositions to
counter the teacher character. There are a few students (including the
hero) who are themselves too confused to make a simple argument. And
there's the hero's father. This father guy was a boring unpleasant bean
counter in the first half of the book, in the second half, after he was
freed of the burden that was his wife, he realized to be a Real Man he has
to join the Army himself and therefore become a complete convert to the
"Spartan" philosophy. So I don't know how ST can be considered neutral
towards this philosophy.

> Well, I *think* you should try to be less biased in your comparison. Right

Well that's exactly why I solicit your opinions. If my facts are wrong
and my arguments are flawed, I want to hear some counterpoints before I
embarass myself on the website.

> > Heinlein Tomino
> > - Mobile Suit - Mobile Suit
> > - aliens (bugs) - seperatists (Zeon)
> > - interstellar war - Earth sphere war

These 3 are pretty neutral and undisputed right?

> > - hero is a grunt - heroes are kids
> > who doesn't ask who ask too many
> > questions questions

This one should be pretty solid, no?

> > - pro authority - anti-establishment
> > - there's a war - there's a war
> > because aliens because the powerfuls
> > are yucky and oppress the powerless
> > they shot first

These 2 may be open to interpretations, and perhaps over-simiplifed. But
do you really think this is unfair?

> > - wars bring out - wars mess people up
> > the best in MEN
> > - clear-cut - ambiguous

Ok, these 2 are meant to be provocative. :) But they are fairly
accurate, no?

> > - bombs - Newtypes

Ok, I admit this one is fastidious. :)

> > - genetic and - enhanced-types
> > chemical are screwed up
> > manipulation of
> > soldiers is good
> > - soldiers make - soldiers make
> > the best political the worst political
> > decisions decisions

You may complain these 2 are irrelavent and you may be right, but surely
you don't dispute their truth?

Hey I know I am stacking the deck, it's not meant to be fair, it's
meant to provoke counter arguments.

> now it doesn't sound like a comparison, it screams "MSG is my favorite and
> it's so much better than ST, which I hate, and here's why." Sometimes a

Actually I am not trying to compare MSG to ST. I am trying to figure out
what elements in MSG can be attributed to ST (which, if you remember, was
why I read ST). From that table there I can only come up with "Mobile
Suit", pretty much everthing else is different between ST and MSG, and I
am frankly a little surprised about that. So many discussions in GML has
been around ST, I was expecting to find more overlaps between ST and MSG.
E.g., I was surprised that the MS in ST are strictly land-based, whereas
the MS in MSG are good in space, on land and/or in water. Another
comparison:

Heinlein Tomino
- infantry soldiers - air force pilots
  are the coolest are the coolest

> "story" is just the telling of a sequence of events. No larger "message", no
> comfortable conclusion.

Hmm I like lots of stories that didn't have obvious "message" or
comfortable conclusion. 0080 is a good example. Ghost in the Shell is
another one. Tragedies generally are uncomfortable. Phillip K Dick,
Stanislav Lem and Kafka specialize in writting "sequence of seemingly
meaningless events" type of books. I even like Naked Lunch (the film).

I am not complaining about the lack of a "message" or a conclusion. In
fact, ST repeat the same "message" loud and clear pretty much from cover
to cover. I am complaining that the "message" is packaged in such a
boring story.

Anyway, there are 2 different questions here:
1. Do you like ST?
  You do, I don't. And it looks like we will eventually come to "agree to
  disagree". Which is fine, but I don't want to dwell on this question
  too much.

2. How much did Tomino (and perhaps others) borrow from ST?
  Right I can only come up with the mechanical aspect of MS, but perhaps
  there are other aspects that I missed. To me this is the interesting
  question.

CHIN, Chien Ting
Dept of Medical Biophysics, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
... o O *
Man is a bubble

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