Today, I figured I’d quickly explain Sturgeon’s Law.
This is a feature called Pop Culture References Dictionary, where I define various terms that I often use in discussions about pop culture that I think are interesting enough to give them their own post.
The funny thing about Sturgeon’s Law is that “Sturgeon’s Law” sort of is not even actually “Sturgeon’s Law,” really, but rather a FOLLOW-UP to Sturgeon’s Law that has now become so famous that it has now superseded the original Sturgeon’s Law and has now become Sturgeon’s Law.
Theodore Sturgeon was a well-respected science fiction writer and critic (he wrote “Amok Time,” the legendary Star Trek episode). His initial Sturgeon’s Law was “Nothing is always absolutely so.” That’s a great rule of thumb, but then later on, when defending the world of science fiction from claims that it was of particularly low quality, Sturgeon argued that while that was true of science fiction, it was true of EVERYthing. In the pages of his review column in Venture Magazine, he declared “90% of everything is crud.” So he felt it was unfair that people picked on science fiction, when, again, 90% of EVERYthing was crud.
“Crud” has evolved into “crap” in most retellings of the statement, which has now evolved into being a “law,” and replacing his initial law as the now “official” Sturgeon’s Law.
Sturgeon was obviously not the only person who ever made this observation, but his take has been the most popular phrasing.
I used Jay Sherman (played by Jon Lovitz) from the TV series, The Critic, because of his catchphrase, “It stinks!” and because he would certainly agree with Sturgeon’s Law when it comes to movies.
If you have any suggestions for future entries into the Pop Culture References Dictionary, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org