Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extended Metaphors

So the wireless card in my laptop decided to stop working its unholy magic. Not sure how exactly yet. Maybe its supply of blood sacrifices was interrupted. The end result is that I’ve had to go back to a more old fashioned way of accessing the internets. Instead of the arcane chanting of sinister monks worshipping Dagon allowing me to access it without any visible connection, I’ve had to reconnect an Ethernet cable the old fashioned way. The way Ben Franklin did.

This item is… Well, I’m not really sure “why” is an appropriate enough question. I understand rebranding a cable television channel is just something that happens. It’s a corporate decision to reflect a change in direction/theme. When the History Channel rebranded to just “History” I was visibly upset because it was a kind of giving in to genericness. “History” contains a large number of programs that are not, in fact, about recorded history. Pop science and reality television have already mutated “History” (which doesn’t seem to be really a success at rebranding. I don’t know anyone who does not add “channel” after it to separate the network from the field of study). After shedding a few manly tears, I realized that I was watching Discovery a lot more now (a network that already contained reality programming and pop science). I haven’t watched Sci Fi with any regularity since 2001, so the impact of the change to Syfy is, well, just about nil.
The reasoning behind the name change has me scratching my head though. “Syfy.” Phonetically it sounds identical, yes, but visually? Well, it looks…really geeky. You know how in (movies about) high school, where you’ve got the fat/and or skinny nerdy kid with posters of Tron and The Last Starfighter in his bedroom and a stack of shitty Star Wars novels on his bedstand. So he wants to ask out the head cheerleader and there’s a long comical montage about him trying to clean up his body image, physical fitness and social skills. That’s what this name change feels like, because often in those circumstances, if the nerdy kid succeeds in becoming socially presentable and DOES get the date with the cheerleader (I guess E! in this metaphor) the comical denouement features an awkward dinner at a fancy restaurant where our protagonist realizes he has nothing in common with the object of his desire. Insert a ham fisted moral about being true to yourself and roll credits.

Actually, that’s exactly what this feels like. No matter how much the Sci Fi channel may try and change its image, it’ll still have that stack of Sci Fi Original Movies in the closet. He might pretend to like Sex And The City to get chicks, but deep down inside he’d rather be watching Dungeons & Dragons 2: Wrath Of The Dragon God.

No comments: