META: Surface Deconstruction vs. Actual Deconstruction

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sun Apr 3 01:53:42 PDT 2011

On Apr 2, 6:03 pm, Andrew Perron <pwer... at> wrote:
> So I realized a very simple, very basic example of what I think of as
> surface deconstruction: The black box joke.
> It's a cliche of stand-up, right next to airline food. "If this black box
> that records flight data when a plane crashes is so indestructible, why
> don't they just make the whole *plane* out of the black box?" It's funny
> until you realize there's a very good reason they don't do that; a plane
> made of the same material would never take off!  So it's a joke based on
> ignorance of what you're joking about.
> Thus, surface deconstruction lacks an understanding of what it's
> deconstructing; it says that things are a bad idea without realizing there
> is a purpose behind them, and mocks the writer's reasons without knowing
> what they are.

Except it's a joke.  If somebody were seriously saying "Let's make a
plane out of indestructible material" then the next question would be
whether or not the material would be light weight enough to take

What's your take on armchair movie critics who say things like "Give
me a camera and a couple of hours and I could make a better movie"?
Chances are, no, they can't and it gets tiresome after a while.


More information about the racc mailing list