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Relation-ship

 
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Rexfelum



Joined: 26 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject: Relation-ship Reply with quote

There is a subset of humans who take every new storytelling endeavour, whether it be a TV show, book series, movie universe, or webcomic whatsit, and methodically divide it into a scheme of romantic relationships. They, like other people with other hobbies, have their own terminology and methodology and standards. They talk amongst themselves about "their" pairings, bringing along both the assumption of possession, and the assumption that anyone listening understands this "approach" and can compare to "their own" pairings.

I do not have any objections to getting caught up in the romance of a story. I have objections to this "approach." It strikes me as reaching a level of rudeness inappropriate to be taken as a standard. It's beyond what those poor, poor stories and poor, poor story people deserve to have done to them. The key thing is that, in the extreme, this "approach" satisfies nothing about the (fictional) personal needs of the (fictional) people in question. Instead it stokes the ego of the viewers/readers/fans who now "possess" them. After all the effort that the authors put in to making the characters seem real, the audience dehumanizes and commodifies them.

This isn't someone saying "Ohhh, I hope you people get together by the end of the story." This is someone saying "No one cares about the 'story.' YOU PEOPLE ARE MEAT. AND I'M MAKING A SANDWICH."

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do realize that this is what happens to all forms of art after it's been created, right?
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Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Rexfelum



Joined: 26 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on your definitions of "this," "art," and "after." And, depending on definition, the attitude I expressed still conveys my response a good chunk of the time.

But I don't have much more to say on that unless you have an interest in drawing a line and/or point anywhere.

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really. It's the same set of observations you've noted that makes me question if I should bother writing fantasy and sci-fi if people are going to construe them in the wrong manner because they can't get beyond the details painted onto the symbol tor identity's sake.
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Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Rexfelum



Joined: 26 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I can say more to that, because all I just wrote came down to "Can you make it more concrete?"

"This is what happens to all forms of art after it's been created." Yes. In the sense that your fantasy or sci-fi or spy or historical or whatever fiction will be consumed by the audience at their own level. You can try to raise them to a higher level; in fact, you may even succeed, and I encourage anyone who makes the attempt (through incorporation of symbolism, social commentary, and so on).

But when you yourself are the reader, there are many possible approaches you can take. You may "get it," or you may at least be willing to try. You may also take someone else's material and make it your own. This is called fan work, or inspiration, or creative stealing, and it's just nothing surprising.

My complaint isn't with those people. It is with those who don't even care about the story, but just reduce it all to their own preconceived system. Kinda like . . . when people look at more practical concerns like social systems and/or injustice and then reduce it to nonsense thanks to their biases. Reductio ad absurdum. Not even trying to understand the other person's viewpoint; not even trying to understand the author's viewpoint; adding nothing to the world but a few rough feelings from the people who think you did it wrong.

Looking at it this way, the challenge in writing is the same as the challenge everywhere else: you hope to find the like-minded people, or, better yet, the open-minded people. You will not get to associate solely with those groups, so you deal with people who annoy you.

This variation in the audience should make you act with caution; it should not stop you from acting.

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, it comes down to probably the most poignant line in all of Broken Saints: "Your symbols are sick because you are sick."
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Rexfelum



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just thought of some better ways to re-write the above, but I guess we're moving on.

Emperor Xan wrote:
"Your symbols are sick because you are sick."

It was the other way around: "The key is communication.
"Our very words, and deeds, and landscapes transmit our truth.
"It lives in our myths, our beliefs, and our forms of artistic expression.
"But they have been taken from us. Chopped into screaming black staccatos.
"The world is sick because our symbols are sick..."

I didn't really get into what Lear said here during the series, though I could see the relevance to our current conversation of a self-perpetuating "meaning" disease, a harmful way of thinking that drags people into it. However, your reversal works fine: it is both standard and profound to take such statements and reorder them. In this case, like you said, people who want to see ugliness will make it so.

But how important is this? Mainly, I want to appeal to people to allow more than one system; more than just their own. That would be helpful whether we're talking about "sick" people or completely ambivalent ones.

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I meant by that is people look at the dressing on the symbol and take that to be the sum of the symbol and the entire context of it isn't what lies behind, but what the surface displays. It's like the problem of physiognomy being applied to everything outside the story in which the symbol resides: beauty is good, ugly is evil. I know this was taken as truth in the culture at large in the 18th-19th century and still persists today. What it basically comes down to is that people have confused the container with its contents.
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Rexfelum



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emperor Xan wrote:
What it basically comes down to is that people have confused the container with its contents.

I agree with the concern.

This reminds me of something. Depending on your point, the following may just be more rambling about people failing to understand symbolism, and may go off-target. Feel free to ramble in reply. But here goes . . .

In high school English classes, the teacher would have us read this and that "great work of literature," not all of which were that "great" to us. One particular complaint was when the teacher would interrupt our reading (or re-enactment, or whatever we were doing in class) to tell us what a section "meant." As in, we just read the literal words a moment ago, and then we went into the symbolic. Lots of people got annoyed; the attitude was "Look, we're trying to get through this whole thing, and here you're stopping us every five minutes to tell us we didn't understand anything from the last five minutes?"

I could feel the frustration at times. But then, I was reminded of that "Calvin & Hobbes" strip where Calvin told his father "Okay, I don't want a bedtime story with any stupid [this], or [that], or moral at the end telling me how to live my life." Calvin was being silly. Suppose you read a story where a greedy person betrayed friends over money and was punished in the end. What's the moral? Don't be greedy and betray your friends over money or you will be punished in the end. You can't read the book without knowing the moral; the "moral at the end" is written into every word from the beginning. And you know, the "moral at the end" is awfully similar to the "symbolism every five minutes" thing. Huh.

If you honestly never knew that a "sunrise" meant "the beginning of something," then you could use a teacher's input on that. But once you know it, symbolism is always along for the ride. Reading something and dissecting it's symbolic meaning are . . . or should be . . . synonymous for anyone who's been to high school.

And, you know, paid attention. That part, sadly, is optional.

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find fault with that sort of action. If you constantly tell people what a piece means, they stop laboring to understand the meaning and wait for you to tell them what they're supposed to think. Plus, not all sunrises are beginnings. I'm sure most vampires would agree with me on this one.
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Make...something?

Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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Rexfelum



Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 3897

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emperor Xan wrote:
Plus, not all sunrises are beginnings. I'm sure most vampires would agree with me on this one.

Ha ha! Awesome!

Anyway, I hope you're finding fault with the "interrupting every five minutes" deal, and not with the subsequent observation that "hey, there actually was symbolism every five minutes; it just didn't need to be hammered on the head."

--Rexfelum
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Emperor Xan



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's the interruption that I find annoying. People don't learn to think for themselves if they're not given a chance to get the context of a scene and perhaps the connections to the whole of the work.
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Shit man, I can barely make a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich. I can't make a watch.
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