RTZ: This Ghostbusters Is Not You

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Ok, so: this cheezy Ghostbusters incarnation…before we get into it let’s get out of it.

If you’ve an ax to grind, don’t bother reading any further. Your agenda is louder than my thinking: comments are below…run wild! Pass Go and get to where you want to go. You also have your own social platforms to share your flat-earth-shattering insights so use that; they’re free and highly effective at building a soothing echo chamber.

Confession: I’m not on a “mission to civilize” like the Dumb and Dumber Newsroom dude. I’ve no passion policing online thought according to an arbitrary standard peddled as common sense: we’re all adults. A defining and beautiful characteristic of being an adult is independent thought. If consensus and acceptance were high among my Maslow’s hierarchy of needs I wouldn’t be writing online. Naps are way less stressful.

You ever been in a loud bar while trying to have a deep conversation? The music is way too loud, everybody is drunk and yelling and against all that you’re trying to think and articulate your truths. Often the internet flows like a loud bar…the roaring obnoxious ones seem to hog either the scene and/or the spotlight.

It’s my East Coast-West Coast beef with nerd culture: sometimes we have to wear an I’m With Stupid t-shirt. (Thankfully it’s only sometimes and not all times.) Often the loud ones make us benevolent nerds look bad by articulating statements and sentiments I don’t agree with at all. I dunno which mountain you went up and which “god” you spoke to but I ain’t following those commandments.

Just because one group of noisy people issue a standard don’t make it universal. We’ve seen repeatedly how political correctness has failed while crushing independent thought.

No one person or group of people represents me much less speaks for me. Remember when Kurt Cobain was dubbed The Voice of A Generation? Yeah no thanks…he doesn’t represent me anymore than the “Pepsi Generation.” I can speak and think for myself; perhaps unreasonably I expect others to do the same.

It’s almost like grief where you lament the possibilities. The internet we’ve built isn’t adept at providing enough spaces for alternative thinking and distinct perspectives. I miss the marketplace of ideas. Online every post or article is a lighthouse to draw certain people…and successfully keep others out. S’why I said at the top who wasn’t invited…I happily built a bouncer into my writing.

As such this Ghostbusters is not really the topic so much as a metaphor for a handful of observations.

This bizarro-version of Ghostbusters was classic social media polarization devoid of all logic….if you objected to the reboot you instantly were branded as sexist (even if that wasn’t your stance). Hence it’s less to do with this unnecessary reboot and more a sad commentary on how context and nuance have been forcibly evicted from online discourse. That…doesn’t make any sense.

Trevor Noah Is Right: You can be anti-Ghostbusters and still pro-women (actually Trevor said you could be pro-black and pro-cop…same thing). Polarization flourishes online but offline pluralism is plausible. The trick now is to allow pluralism, space for conflicting ideas to have significant space online. That requires literally listening and giving up consensus; which works for me. What the hell am I gonna do with consensus? Consensus is a fantasy.

Mercifully all of this is entirely possible because it’s pop culture…the typical right and wrong constructs that don’t apply. Sweet.

You can be mistaken if you say Bruce Wayne is Superman; that’s easy enough to fix. But you can’t be “wrong” if your stance is Superman is cooler than Batman (though you’re gonna have to come up with a detailed explanation to sell that; that’s a hard sell yo).

Being wrong doesn’t apply even though “the threat” is always there. And if you still want to cling to you’re wrong and I’m right; it’s pop culture it doesn’t matter: I’ll chuckle if you call me wrong but you’re not the right and wrong judge so your verdict can’t apply. Why would I (or anyone else?) accept that? It’s like a teacher calling a student stupid…that’s not a fact.

Oh and yeah sure some of this Ghostbusters’ rebuttal was sexist. We witnessed a number of examples of how some media lazily branded the rejection as sexist. Here’s one from Buzzfeed I think it’s trying to be witty? Granted lazy and Buzzfeed are synonymous. Although it’s telling that producer Ivan Reitman felt the Ghostbusters backlash was not railing against political culture rather it has to do with nostalgia which is a legit observation.

I get that having elected a black president gives the appearance that racism somehow concluded. However there will always be a segment of the online population that will be racist or sexist etc. but they are not universal nor do they represent anything save themselves.

The media often forget that. So do a lot of fans…that’s the lie of social media. Remember what Lester Bangs (RIP) says in Almost Famous about hanging with rock stars applies to you and to social media: “They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.” Truth.

Was it fair that a great deal of this Ghostbusters criticism came before the movie was released? It don’t matter; it’s not applicable. I don’t need to undergo a root canal to know I wouldn’t enjoy that experience.

We can safely put “you have to consume something before you judge it” to bed. It’s done; it’s no longer valid (if it ever was valid). That sentiment is marketed as a universal yet it’s really not. See enough movies and you’re free to judge what’s the what. You don’t “have to” do anything anything.

Take Movie 43 or Jack and Jill for example…I doubt anybody went into those movies with high expectations (well maybe Trump voters…). You really have to watch them to confirm they are bad? Why? You can’t reasonably tell?

Do you think you overlooked something wonderful in Gigli? Or what about the recent Money Monster…directed by Jodie Foster and starring Clooney and Julia Roberts. You want to sit through that one? Go ahead; that one is designed to help you doze on an airplane. I could be wrong, meh so be it: I’m cool with that.

In the case of this Ghostbusters perhaps that’s not fair to creators (anymore than Tokenism isn’t fair to actors but that’s a whole different Summer road trip). Fight Club and Office Space were box office flops…the market is neither wise nor accurate. Fair has little to do with creativity or success.

For me once Harold Ramis passed the Ghostbusters chapter should have been closed…it doesn’t matter who is doing it. That awful trailer coupled with Melissa McCarthy’s awful production record (Identity Thief, Boss, Tammy etc) pretty much sealed the deal for me: crap movie. It’s neither worth my time or my money to find out if I’m wrong. I’m onto the next blockbuster. NEXT!

That’s the whole point of the movie trailer…this is what you can expect for 2 hours…are you in or are you out? The trailer shapes your bias as much as the premise, the cast and genre.

And gloriously your bias is valid. Expressing your bias shouldn’t be difficult; yet sadly it is…when people aren’t listening or outrageously charging you with crimes like sexism.


We are not doing that. Polarization penalizes creators and smothers the debate’s fire.

Your voice will not always be louder than agendas or the market but it’s still…Your Voice.

Be Free…

You are in charge of your pop culture consumption. Pop culture enriches our lives and sparks our imagination; it allows us to live prosperous lives.

You’re free to skip what you want
You’re to call what you want utter crap
You’re free to change your mind, to go back and revisit certain work
You’re free to ignore consensus
You’re free to take the high road, the low road and road not taken

You’re free and freedom is wonderful.

In conclusion: this Ghostbusters is a land of contrast. Thank you.

“Everyone mix it up, it’s not game over yet, it’s just the beginning, but it’s up to you. I’m calling for every kid to seize the air. Steal it, it belongs to you. Speak out, they can’t stop you. Find your voice and use it. Keep this going . Pick a name, go on air. It’s your life, take charge of it. Do it, try it, try anything. Spill your guts out and say shit and fuck a million times if you want to, but you decide. Fill the air, steal it. Keep the air alive–!”
[His plug is literally pulled by a FCC official. He is no longer broadcasting and the police carry Mark and Nora off to a police-car. He turns around, grinning strangely at the crowd, he takes off his glasses–becoming Hard-Harry yet again–and then shouts…]

Sammy Baltic Web

Sammy Younan @ W • T • F

Ziggy Was Here January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016

Also published on Medium.

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