Main Moffs Law Discussion

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11:15:00 AM Sep 3rd 2013
edited by
Hi. I'm a little confused about exactly what the law states. Is it:

1. It's probable that someone in discussion will say "Why can't you just etc." to deflect criticism.

2. It is wrong [or annoying? or confused?] to say "Why can't you just etc." to derail discussion.

3. It is wrong [or annoying? or confused?] to say "Why can't you just etc." at any time, even when your intent is not to derail discussion.

4. It is wrong [or annoying? or confused?] to call someone stupid for analyzing a work rather than enjoying it mindlessly.

Something else?

(1) is the italicized version at the beginning of the article. To me, this version doesn't imply judgment: it's pointing out that the question "Why can't you just etc." frequently occurs. (4) is a version further down in the article. Note that asking "Why can't you just etc." is not at all the same as calling someone stupid for not enjoying it for what it is.
08:06:23 PM Nov 27th 2015
edited by ruakh
I had the same confusion.

It suddenly made more sense when I followed the link to the blog post that introduced the name "Moff's Law", to see the full version. The TV Tropes page does acknowledge that it provides only an "abridged, vitriol-less version", but the problem is that the real Moff's Law is part of what was excised.

Here's the real Moff's Law:

> Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”

> If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. [...] SHUT. UP.

(It's a "law" as much in the sense of "rules and regulations" as in the sense of "observation about the world"; the last sentence of the above-linked blog post states that:

> From now on, we will refer to this as “Moff’s law” and apply it alongside our comments policy here at Racialicious.

meaning, apparently, that such comments are now outlawed there.)

I'll see if I can rectify this issue . . .
04:55:33 AM Jan 9th 2011
The thing about this page is it makes it sound like "just shut up and enjoy it" is NEVER a valid response to criticism. Sometimes the criticism really is so anal and superfluous as to warrant a response of "just leave it alone".
01:44:36 PM Feb 7th 2011
True, but take into account that the folks who are having the argument are (presumably) enjoying having the argument. On the other hand, an appeal to judging a a work in the context of what it is and what it is intended to be is not necessarily intended to derail analysis totally, but to perhaps point out that a certain mode of analysis may have gone from the manifestly true to YMMV. e.g. Discussing the standing of whites to comment on colonialism as applies to Avatar, where it's fairly evident that the story is a fairly lame excuse to hang some wizard level special effects and cinematography out there for enjoyment is going to be a sign of either taking it way too seriously or having an axe to grind. Or both. On the gripping hand, no one is saying that one can't continue the argument, just that at least the one who said "shut up and enjoy it" is probably done listening to it.
03:47:02 PM Apr 23rd 2011
"This is NOT a "Stop Having Fun" Guys trope. There is nothing wrong just liking a work for what it is without thinking about it too much. It's just rude (not to mention very annoying) to tell someone they're being stupid by analyzing the work and should just sit back and enjoy it mindlessly."

from the page itself.

If "just shut up and enjoy it" or "just leave it alone" is the only response you can come up with against someone's criticism of a specific work, then you either can not come up with an actually legit response to the criticism or don't care enough too, in which why are you even participating in the conversion to begin with? No criticism is so anal and superfluous enough to not be criticized on it's own merits. So do so or don't bother entering the conversation.
09:45:50 AM May 16th 2011
edited by gfrequency
The thing is, there is no legitimate response to the criticism, regardless of how much the arguer cares to answer it with such. If a movie is made for the sake of light entertainment rather than presenting a thoughtful story, or if it can at least be enjoyed as light entertainment regardless of whether the filmmakers wanted to present a thoughtful story or not, the fact that a car does not explode like that is irrelevant, and criticizing this fact seems overly nitpicky. Not to mention an incredibly trivial thing to get upset about. There's also a difference between critical analysis of a movie and pointing out every bit that isn't strictly realistic.
08:50:24 AM May 18th 2011
edited by JosephFM
"There's also a difference between critical analysis of a movie and pointing out every bit that isn't strictly realistic."....

Pointing out that else someone is pointlessly nitpicking like that IS a legitimate response to bad criticism, even if the critic themselves can't take what they give.

It's only illegitimate (according to Moff's Law) if your response isn't something fair like "well sure, but isn't that kind of pendantic?", but is instead "SHUT UP JUST STOP THINKING SO MUCH YOU BITCH!" or anything else amounting to "everyone should like the exact same things I do for the exact same reasons".
08:42:06 AM May 19th 2011
edited by

As long as you're not responding to the criticism in a non-dismissive or "My view is the only right one" manner than that is in fact a legitimate response to someone's criticism. It's pretty simple.

Also, you nor anyone is a mind reader, so unless you have it on record that a creator of a Summer Blockbuster or a work that you, yourself consider So Bad, It's Good wants their audience to do little to no thinking in regards to their work, then you're just using your own opinions of a work to make assumptions about the author's intent, which doesn't work.

However, regardless of the author's intent, once the work out there, they have no say so in how other people view, interpret, or criticize their work. If someone wants to look at a work like the Transformers Film Series in a casual light, then that's their prerogative. If someone wants view that same work in a academic manner then that is also their prerogative. There's no right way to look at any piece of art.
09:28:53 AM Dec 7th 2010
There's a certain vibe going through this entire page, particularly the laconic, that anyone who employs the MST3K Mantra is an idiot for doing so. I'd at least change the laconic, but the entire entry defies a convenient one-sentence summary. Any suggestions?
08:31:14 PM Dec 18th 2010
The strange thing is that this Moff's Law is really used to justify "ethnic" literary criticism theories, which are in fact ACTUAL buzzkills, not three nerds arguing over whether Han shot first.
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