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2013-05-16: Problematic
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infested



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Valerie wrote:
merest wrote:
It's unfortunate when mere theory gets in the way of enjoying an interesting work. For theory often isn't beautiful in its own right.


It's unfortunate when people watch shows without thinking about them.


Yes, but opposite can also be a flaw. Western literature was long hampered by a slavish dependence on the poetic theory of Aristotle. Literary theories frequently suffer from pettiness, sterility and moral prescriptivism, compared to the things they criticise, which need not subscribe to any particular set of regulations to be good. It obviously depends on the critic to a large extent - a pedant will view things pedantically, a moralist like a censor. Monique still enjoys her television series, without condeming it on the basis of her femininst philosophy, so I wasn't suggesting that that she errs excessively (though "it's still pretty good" does suggest she is giving it a report card based not on its artistic merits but on how closely it conforms to her philosophy's construction of an ideal work of art). Anyway, I think it inherently wrong-headed to approach any work according to the dictates of an -ism.


I would argue that people can form their own opinions about works. Feminists don't need feminism to "dictate" their approach to a work, and a work doesn't have to be completely in line with feminism in order for a feminist to enjoy it. A person recognizes problematic parts because they actually think of them as problematic, and they appreciate other parts because they actually enjoy them. Feminism may influence their opinion, but so can a multitude of other things (e.g. "artistic merit"). A person may identify their approach with a certain philosophy, but ultimately, they arrive at an opinion on their own.

I also don't believe that artistic merit is the only valid means by which to analyze a work. What 'Nique is saying is perfectly valid. Taking a work apart in terms of the messages it sends is an important part of thinking critically about it - art isn't isolated from society; it shapes our lives because of the ideas embedded within it, and so the process of identifying these ideas is pretty crucial to understanding ourselves. It's not just a feminist thing; analyzing art in this way is important to understanding why our society is the way it is.

Sure, it's important to enjoy a work and not get bogged down in whether or not you agree with it. But that doesn't mean it's wrong to analyze that work and compare it with our own values - if we want to understand society and effect social change, we -must- be able to see the influence that art has on society. I'm more geared towards the biological sciences and not very well-versed in literature or sociology, so forgive my clumsy manner of discussing either of these topics, but that's all I have to contribute today. =)
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stripeypants



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know what fucking sucks? If I want to avoid all the bullshit insults to myself and my friends, I have to avoid most media. I did that for quite some time, and it was pretty much a world without stories. And that's kind of like a world without people where nothing happens.

I don't give a fuck about literary theory, because I am pretty fast-food and boorish about the stuff I like. It is simplythat I don't find any value or anything interesting about heteronormative, fat-phobic, racist content.

I also, incidentally, think romance and crime-solving is totally overdone, because there are other things that humans do in than date/have sex and solve murders. There are other adventures people could be having. I used to think that was because I was in no relationship, but then I got in a good one - and I still find romance-laced stories unfulfilling and trite.

Not that there aren't good ones. This hardly covers everything. I guess my ranty starting point is, "Shut up about literary theory, because people are talking about what they like and what they don't and why."
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infested



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

=( Sorry, that must be really tough, stripeypants. I hope I haven't stepped on a nerve.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
How about joining the actual conversation that is happening rather than just typing out the one that's going on in your own head?


I take it that a) you do not understand my point, b) you think I do not have one (or that I address something you consider irrelevant), or c) you suggest that I contribute to an unspecified conversation. The first option would be uncharitable of me to assume, the second option would be uncharitable of you to assume, and the third option is ambiguous. A unsatisfactory trilemma.


I really don't care what you think about the fact that I think this, but it's the half-option you snuck in between B and C.

You're talking out your ass to show off the ponderousness of your education, and missing the point entirely. You came into it on some non-sequiter point about it being such a shame when theory (unspecified) gets in the way of enjoyment when: a) "theory" in general had nothing to do with the strip and, b) Monique obviously -was- enjoying her show in spite of the problem parts of it.

So, yes, you stepped in foot-first into a big old self-made puddle of irrelevance, riffing off of nothing but whatever is echoing around in your own head, saying things that are actually several steps behind where everyone else is and then acting like you're ahead of the curve and we're all just misunderstanding.

Then you try to deflect comments about what on earth you're saying about feminist perspective in general by saying your comments have nothing to do with it, but then I'm not being nice by accusing you of irrelevance.

So, which is it? Are you talking about the strip and displaying a thoughtless disdain for feminist perspective? Or are you just being 100% irrelevant?

How about you? You're saying it's wrong to interpret media according to any "ism," but aren't you, then, talking about this strip in the terms of your own "anti-ism-ism?" Or does that not count in your mind because it's not taught in your mainstream literary-theory courses, you -ism hipster, you.

You are criticizing a character in a work of art saying that she should not be criticizing works of art. You are being a pompous ass-hat, thoughtless in your erudite hypocrisy.

We all bring different perspectives to how we interpret things, dude. Some people have put more thought into theirs than others, and some are more temporally relevant than others. Try to keep up.
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lol



Joined: 16 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yinello wrote:
I currently like Persona 4. But there are ZERO people of colour in it, everyone is white. Even the guy who calls himself funky and wears a big afro is white. Despite that it's still a really good game.

I think it's always good to point out that the aspects that are wrong even in the things you love and adore.

Most of the people in that game are japanese, not white. I'm not picking on you, but did the japanese names not tip you off? Chie Satonaka, Yukiko Amagi, Kanji Tatsumi, Yosuke Hanamura?

This actually is a decent prompt for me to post this link. There's this common misconception in the West that anime, and similar works, feature mostly white people. It stems from our own cultural biases though. This article does a great job of explaining it.

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/08/30/guest-post-why-do-the-japanese-draw-themselves-as-white/

A culture that doesn't consider white people the ultimate human ideal? NO WAAAAAYYYY!!!!!

(that wasn't aimed at you Yinello. Much love.)
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Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Yes, but opposite can also be a flaw. Western literature was long hampered by a slavish dependence on the poetic theory of Aristotle. Literary theories frequently suffer from pettiness, sterility and moral prescriptivism, compared to the things they criticise, which need not subscribe to any particular set of regulations to be good. It obviously depends on the critic to a large extent - a pedant will view things pedantically, a moralist like a censor. Monique still enjoys her television series, without condeming it on the basis of her femininst philosophy, so I wasn't suggesting that that she errs excessively (though "it's still pretty good" does suggest she is giving it a report card based not on its artistic merits but on how closely it conforms to her philosophy's construction of an ideal work of art). Anyway, I think it inherently wrong-headed to approach any work according to the dictates of an -ism.

Could you explain to me what constitutes artistic merit, and how depictions of people, places and times and the feelings they evoke within the pedant, the moralist, and the feminist are not individual artistic merits in their own right? Is there some objective artistic merit that defies these theories? Because - and I'm not a literary theorist (thank God) - it would seem to me that "merit" is by definition individual, and thus the merits of anything would be in the eyes of the beholder. A feminist doesn't "err" by viewing art through the lens of their feminism, it doesn't obstruct their appreciation of an otherwise objectively good piece of art; it informs and adds dimension to their understanding of it. It defines what is and is not meritorious to that individual.

Which is why pedants are never happy.
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merest



Joined: 15 May 2011
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
You're talking out your ass to show off the ponderousness of your education, and missing the point entirely. You came into it on some non-sequiter point about it being such a shame when theory (unspecified) gets in the way of enjoyment when: a) "theory" in general had nothing to do with the strip and, b) Monique obviously -was- enjoying her show in spite of the problem parts of it.


Rather impolitely put.

I disagree with your claim that she is speaking without recourse to theory. She mentioned several "problematic elements" that she thought made the show "not perfect": "racial diversity", "ableist language", "class issues." Surely these ideas are philosophical. What do you think they are?

I agree that she enjoyed the show despite it conflicting with her theories about how the world (and works of art!) should be. But I pointed out that those concerns are not necessarily relevant to that show's aesthetic merit. Some other posters have stated that they think those concerns _are_ relevant, or that her enjoyment was not marred as much as I think it was. Those are valid opinions.


Last edited by merest on Fri May 17, 2013 1:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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merest



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry. I double-posted.

Last edited by merest on Fri May 17, 2013 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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merest



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Could you explain to me what constitutes artistic merit, and how depictions of people, places and times and the feelings they evoke within the pedant, the moralist, and the feminist are not individual artistic merits in their own right? Is there some objective artistic merit that defies these theories? Because - and I'm not a literary theorist (thank God) - it would seem to me that "merit" is by definition individual, and thus the merits of anything would be in the eyes of the beholder. Aven feminist doesn't "err" by viewing art through the lens of their feminism, it doesn't obstruct their appreciation of an otherwise objectively good piece of art; it informs and adds dimension to their understanding of it. It defines what is and is not meritorious to that individual.

Which is why pedants are never happy.


Heavens, what thorny questions. I'll give them thought, though unfortunately can't guarantee that I shall have an answer with returning with.

You are probably right that there is no inherent error in viewing a literary work through a political lens. As long as it is just one way of grappling with a text, and is not prescriptivist or dogmatic. It likely depends on the person, though. I'm reminded of how Lenin loved music, but vowed never to listen to Beethoven again because Beethoven's music (which he loved) was the product of a bourgeois society. Were Monique more radical - though Lenin would say 'politically consistent to the point of sacrificing things she enjoys' - she would not watch her show at all. Not that I am suggesting that she ought not! She seems to have a more moderate position, as others have noted.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Heavens, what thorny questions.

Welcome to the internet.

Quote:
You are probably right that there is no inherent error in viewing a literary work through a political lens. As long as it is just one way of grappling with a text, and is not prescriptivist or dogmatic. It likely depends on the person, though. I'm reminded of how Lenin loved music, but vowed never to listen to Beethoven again because Beethoven's music (which he loved) was the product of a bourgeois society. Were Monique more radical - though Lenin would say 'politically consistent to the point of sacrificing things she enjoys' - she would not watch her show at all. Not that I am suggesting that she ought not! She seems to have a more moderate position, as others have noted.

But whether she chooses to watcher her show or not is a reflection of the value of the various aesthetics, and their presence or absence. If one is deeply committed to a certain idea then its presence becomes increasingly meritorious (to continue the "artistic merit" vein), to the exclusion of other things. Whether this is wrong-headed is a matter of opinion. One can imagine a stunning work of cinematography that was horribly racist, for instance, and we probably wouldn't fault anyone for not going out of their way to appreciate the camera work.

Even if 'Nique were more radical, it wouldn't affect her ability to appreciate things, it would just change the nature of what she appreciated.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
You're talking out your ass to show off the ponderousness of your education, and missing the point entirely. You came into it on some non-sequiter point about it being such a shame when theory (unspecified) gets in the way of enjoyment when: a) "theory" in general had nothing to do with the strip and, b) Monique obviously -was- enjoying her show in spite of the problem parts of it.


Rather impolitely put.

I disagree with your claim that she is speaking without recourse to theory. She mentioned several "problematic elements" that she thought made the show "not perfect": "racial diversity", "ableist language", "class issues." Surely these ideas are philosophical. What do you think they are?

I agree that she enjoyed the show despite it conflicting with her theories about how the world (and works of art!) should be. But I pointed out that those concerns are not necessarily relevant to that show's aesthetic merit. Some other posters have stated that they think those concerns _are_ relevant, or that her enjoyment was not marred as much as I think it was. Those are valid opinions.


No, I'm not being polite. And neither are you. I'm not putting my points in nice language, but you're being rude by willfully talking right past and over the rest of the conversation. I said a lot more than that one point you chose to chide me on. How about addressing the rest?

Of course she's talking about feminist ideas, and any well-fleshed-out idea can certainly be considered a philosophy. The way you tossed out the term "theory" was utterly meaningless, though, except to express your own contempt for established ideologies.

Your pretension is preposterous.

Comparing Lenin's dismissal of Beethoven's music because of a secondary association it had to cultural ideological differences, to Monique being aware of and literate enough to recognize depictions that are -actually- contained within the media she is watching, is absurd.
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merest



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
No, I'm not being polite. And neither are you. The way you tossed out the term "theory" was utterly meaningless, though, except to express your own contempt for established ideologies.


You seem a very passionate person, and I wish you long life and happiness.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
No, I'm not being polite. And neither are you. The way you tossed out the term "theory" was utterly meaningless, though, except to express your own contempt for established ideologies.


You seem a very passionate person, and I wish you long life and happiness.


I wish you would listen.
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merest



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
But whether she chooses to watcher her show or not is a reflection of the value of the various aesthetics, and their presence or absence. If one is deeply committed to a certain idea then its presence becomes increasingly meritorious (to continue the "artistic merit" vein), to the exclusion of other things. Whether this is wrong-headed is a matter of opinion. One can imagine a stunning work of cinematography that was horribly racist, for instance, and we probably wouldn't fault anyone for not going out of their way to appreciate the camera work.

Even if 'Nique were more radical, it wouldn't affect her ability to appreciate things, it would just change the nature of what she appreciated.


The scenario you propose - of someone admiring the camerawork of a racist work ('Triumph of the Will', say; or, in the vein of violence and sexual pathology, 'Clockwork Orange') - is certainly feasible. But so is boycotting it despite its excellent technique or success as a work of art, as per the Lenin example.

When you say that "if one is deeply committed to a certain idea then its presence becomes increasingly meritorious (to continue the "artistic merit" vein), to the exclusion of other things", it occurs to me that the extreme realisation of this would be someone admiring a propaganda movie. Because it shows, I don't know, the virtue of veganism, the superiority of Communism, or whatever. I'm not saying you didn't intend this implication, or that it's a fault with your position; merely pointing it out.

So, yes, I suppose think it depends on how much more radical Monique becomes. I don't think it's implausible for politics to replace aesthetic criteria for those who are particularly devoted to their beliefs. I'm guilty of this, too; I was never able to enjoy Anne McCaffrey's books after I learned of her horrific treatment of her stepson. Kept seeing the figment of her-as-a-terrible-person projected onto the work itself.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this must be what happens when lit theory and philosophy have a baby
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