How we talk about movies

Speaking of Inside Out, my friend Athomas pointed out to me the other day that when he discusses that movie with his 14 year old daughter, the entire conversation sounds like psychological introspection, right out of the Freudian playbook. But of course they are not actually engaged in psychological introspection. They are just talking about a work of entertainment.

And that got me thinking, would it be possible to design a popular film from the ground up using the jargon of a particular technical field, with the goal of introducing that field’s language into the popular culture? The measure of “success” would be that anybody overheard talking about the film afterward would sound like they were discussing that technical topic. But of course they wouldn’t be — they would actually just be talking about a fun movie they had seen.

What fields could this sort of thing work well for? Government? Carpentry? Computer graphics? Particle physics? Are there certain fields that lend themselves to this sort of game, and others for which it would be impossible?

And then the follow-up question: If you have seen a film that gets you talking in the language of some technical field, and therefore has placed certain ideas in your head, would you find it easier to learn the real thing? Would somebody who watches Inside Out find it easier to learn advanced concepts from the field of psychology?

I’m guessing the answer is yes. After all, anybody who has seen the Cohn brothers’ film A Serious Man, and was really paying attention, is much more likely to truly appreciate the paradox of Schrodinger’s cat, and therefore the concept of quantum superposition.

4 Responses to “How we talk about movies”

  1. Jason Smith says:

    Can’t find a movie by any Cohn brothers’ called A Simple Man. Got a link? Is it meant to be A Serious Man by Coen Brothers?

  2. admin says:

    Alas, it was a case of me versus Google autocorrect, and I lost that round. Thanks so much for catching it. Fixed now.

  3. sally says:

    Many people who never worked in advertising certainly used ad jargon as a result of watching Mad Men, so to answer your question, yes.

  4. admin says:

    Hell’s Bells Sally (he said, quoting Mad Men), what people are actually learning is ad jargon from half a century ago.

    Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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