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There's a term for a story that is completely inoffensive, doesn't challenge anything, and doesn't acknowledge the problems and issues with the setting it takes place in.
It's called "a boring and pointless story that doesn't say anything of value."
Every work of fiction have multiple levels of reading them. There is a level of plot, meta-plot, culture reference, philosophical level, deep level on which authors non-conscious believes and views on the world are revealed. All those can be analyzed and interpreted even if they not visible on the first sight. But someone, who is interested enough can do, for even most shallow and silly work.
I remember when, during convention, I happened to come in it the room during the lecture about High School of the Dead, since I was waiting for next lecture in the same room I've decide to stay, even thought I've quite watching the series after first episode. I was shocked, the guy who was leading the lecture was analyzing the series from point of view of psychological portrayals of the characters engaging also some philosophical questions. I was shocked didn't expect all those interesting things to be present in anime about high school students killing Zombies. Still has to watch the show to verify this, but at least it's on my to do list.
Majority of people probably watch High school of the Dead for boobs and violence, that doesn't mean it's all the anime is about. Can't say much for Big Bang theory - I don't watch it, but also most of time people probably watch it for stereotypes they can recognize and laugh at, relatively cultural and science references, but if you start ask questions you may found another layer of this show. Like you can apply some Marxist paradigm and try to analyze how and why the show is used to mystified actual social structure.
All I'm seeing from this sort of shit is like some kind of holier than thou beauty pageant among cliques of people who like getting angry about shit.
OH MAN IM ABOVE BIG BANG THEORY is not the same thing as "hey lets look at how come this thing keeps coming up that effects how people might think"
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I mean what do you want, a cookie?
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I DO NOT PLAY LEGEND OF ZELDA, IT REINFORCES MONARCHY AND HELPLESS FEMALE GENDER ROLES AND MOBLINS ARE BLACK PEOPLE
and you just clown up something that shouldn't be any more complicated than "yo other m is hella sexist"
Allow me to simplify this thread then jump out before you guys swarm at me:
How to be a fan of problematic things
1) You: Find something 'problematic'
2) Mind: Like it
Thou shalt be ended in the name of the League of zachri and the Lawfare army.
The fact, that something is offensive doesn't mean it's not worth seeing or reading, though. Like Aristotle views on women and slaves are offensive (and frankly speaking stupid), the Bible is highly offensive, so is the Trilogy be H. Sienkiewicz, every single book about Jakub Wędrowycz is made of offensiveness, and I still find those things worth reading, for all kind of different qualities those work posses aside from being offensive.
I kind of think your argument is derailing itself by being really complicated despite its simple idea. Or maybe I'm just having a hard time entirely getting what you're saying because you're actually holding back a bit on what you, personally, sincerely, really feel and not just talking about levels of criticism. Or just aren't entirely being clear. So I am very, very sorry if I'm misrepresenting or misinterpreting anything you're saying. but I do get one thing, I get that you're saying there can be other parts of quality around offensive areas, which is something I acknowledged earlier by talking issues in "trends", but the other parts you're talking about like....
I do want to say that I think there's a sort of wrongness (to me) in assuming that the merit is directly derived from the product's portrayal of a negative social role. Or maybe a fallacy in comparing something like High School of the Dead to Aristotle, because there just is not a way to fairly put them on a similar level and I don't think it's a similar line of thought at all. High School of the Dead is directly a pulpy work and without turning this into some sort of artistic delivery discussion, I think anyone can be in agreement that no, it is not comparable to the Bible in any way as far as its scope and value and I sincerely would not say that there is another layer to uncover. People can watch something like Two and a Half Men and be engaged in a thought about how they don't like that the gender norms of the show all represent some institutionalized sexism, but that isn't anything to credit the show with at all.
I also have to say while you can analyze this, it does not mean what the analyst is seeing is actually there (regardless of if the idea of them seeing it makes it become existent by connection), or that what they're figuring out is important, although I think you know that full well and it's not entirely what you're talking about here. There's a few different levels of artistic criticism that cover theory that looks into areas like you're talking about, but... I also think if you're looking for author's beliefs in a show like Big Bang Theory, you're out of luck because serialized TV shows especially are created and handed in by dozens and dozens of people. One might be able to derive general social angles out of it, due to the reflected mass of people who work on it, but is the information important or necessary? I think a lot of the "deeper level" analyses you are talking about are actually really easy to look into usually and stuff like my problems with like a bunch of sitcoms (format notwithstanding because I hate it on artistic levels) are discernible on a surface level.Every work of fiction have multiple levels of reading them. There is a level of plot, meta-plot, culture reference, philosophical level, deep level on which authors non-conscious believes and views on the world are revealed. All those can be analyzed and interpreted even if they not visible on the first sight. But someone, who is interested enough can do, for even most shallow and silly work.
and I think it's redundant. Does anyone need to look into the subtext of the Big Bang Theory to reveal implications of male dominated fields of science, for example? I think in a way this thread is honestly starting to completely diverge and get into some wholly other level and I just think the right thing to do here is to simplify things. Your perspective here is kind of doing the exact same "overload" that you mentioned in your last post, but from a defensive perspective. This sort of academia just doesn't really accomplish much to me, unless i'm misunderstanding you.
I just think the simple, easy answer for a lot of this is that some viewers can really be bothered by ideas perpetrated by media and the perpetrators may sincerely not be aware of it, due to their being a majority. And sometimes it can continue to perpetrate harmful ideas But I don't think sympathizing with the author, like trying to analyze their belief system or something, is any kind of merit at all. I've run and helped run workshops/camps (the Anytown program was actually pretty fucking awesome before the YMCA nabbed it up) with both problem kids, just a general group of kids, and a general group of adults on diversity and other than those occasions, I've never really done anything else with my life to try countering the sources that end up creating ideas that can marginalize, or oppress, people
And I don't know what else I personally could do, really, other than representing them in some work that is my own, but I still like venting about it sometimes in discussions. But I do know that this whole discussion is really tiring me out and I can barely collect my thoughts
like at all
edit: anyways I sort of lost bearings on just where exactly we are anyways and I've got a headache so I'm just totally out of this thread now
Last edited by The Beast; June 15th, 2012 at 08:25 PM.
Oh, dear I know, I'm being hazy right now, and that at best. I have some problems to convey my thoughts into words.
The idea is indeed simple. Every work of fiction fas it worth and deeper meaning. No human brain is able to comprehend every meaning behind every work of fiction it gets contact with. So people only tend to do the deeper analysis of some selected works. For different reason, they may like the work or be disturbed by it, either way in each case the decision is arbitrary and individual. Every work of media has potential to be analyzed in many ways and be valuable source of information about humans/society/author. Of course this potential also varies greatly between different works, 4 volumes novel would rather carry more potential than short limerick. But if you have, lets say two books, same length, but the one is fantasy novel, the other philosophical study, you can't really tell which carries more potential just by the genre. You have to carefully analyze both of them, and than discuss with other people who did the same. It's just about any way to verify actual value of the work, and even than it's still faulty, due to highly subjective nature of the whole interpretation thing. So point 1) would be not to condemn any work solely basing on surface level.
point 2) would be, while a person can't analyze every work of fiction they made a contact with, there still is somebody who would find every work of fiction worth to be analyzed. Like the Guy who was having the lecture about high School of the dead in such entrancing way (no kidding, he found important humanitarian values and variety of psychological poses and interesting character development). So it all works out.
I presented vastly different works of fiction, precisely on purpose, to show that, despite being to different to even compare on any stylistic or essential level, they still have something in common. For one thing the are all made by humans (in question of the Bible, God may have been involved if you are believe), for the other they all have something wrong with how they present world (yes, Bible too, especially taken too literally).
The interpretation is much harder when it comes to works created by multiple people, but even those multiple people share common goals, experiences and views on the world, that can be later on seen in the actual content of the work, so it's not impossible to identify those things.
Can't present any insight into Big Bang Theory, as I haven't watched it, albeit I believe if I actually bothered to watch it (critically) I probably could.
I can't agree with you on that. I think that the only way we can change something for the better starts with understanding what we are actually changing, why it exists, where it comes from, what are it's roots, how deep they go. Without this understanding we may land changing things for the worse, or changing it only on surface. Compare this to healing disease. You have better probability to heal your patient, when you actually know why he is feeling unwell. The difference is society is way more complicated and harder to change. But I think working with people against marginalization and oppression is about just as worthwhile (and awesome) as anything can be.
Oh man, you guys have no idea how much I love this topic.
As an artist, there's nothing that pains me more than when somebody says, "your analysis is wrong and you are wrong for bringing it up." the only contradicitons I can think of is if the analysis clearly defies or goes against the author's stated intent, or if the analysis is harmful to any person, or even the work itself. Every time I see the word "pulp" brought into an otherwise fascinating discussion on a story, I cringe a little inside. Not to say that every person should give every story equal consideration, but I see no reason for a person to try and shut down the value someone else finds in a work. It's completely pointless. Now, disagreement with someone is one thing. I've questioned people who found meaning in a place where I saw nothing, or failed to grasp what I thought was worth a much deeper look, and from both perspectives I've learned something, even if I didn't agree with them. I've been passionate, even infuriated, by various thoughts on stories I feel strongly about, but I still listened to them and gave them as much consideration as I was willing to hear. If you don't care to discuss, that's your business, but it is the height of condescending snobbery to not contribute and nonetheless try to end a topic they have no reason to speak on in the first place. Disagreement is good, debate even better, but it's an entirely different thing to say, "This work is not worth the thought you have put into it." If someone were to try and say that High School of the Dead is a deep, riveting tale, filled with deep humanitarian statements, I will probably not agree, but as long as they have reasons for it I'm not gonna say they're wrong. I probably just won't talk to them.
The worth given to a work of art isn't judged by the format or genre used to express it, or the interpretations of renowned critics, or the quality of the paper it's printed on. The worth of a story can only be judged by the effect it has on the one who receives it. A story can be the blandest mess imaginable, but as long as it touches one person in a positive way, there's no reason for that person to be discouraged by what other people say. Another person who had a differing opinion may or may not change his mind, but then again, that's just their business. No reason to condemn the work out of majority opinion, unless, I say again, the art was made with the clear intent to harm someone, but that's an entirely different (yet still interesting) topic altogether. Art, after all, is meant to stir thoughts and emotions in people, and to let a willing audience see the world through the thoughts of the artists. I have no idea what sort of person has the right to say that the specific thoughts and emotions inspired by art are right or wrong, but I don't really think I would ever like to meet that person. Anyone is free to interpret art how they will, as long as those interpretations are genuine. Now, people who try too hard to come to conclusions that wouldn't come naturally, speak out and fasely defend a certain work because they happen to like a certain aspect of it, or dismiss a work because of a negative interpretation they worked to glean out of it, such as the person who wrote the blog post that started this thread, those are the people that muddy the issue a little, but I'm not really talking about them.
Sorry, I'm rather bad with words.
My mind was being a lazy derp and all I caught was something about 'The Big Bang Theory' and it being problematic.
Dare I state my opinion in saying I enjoy it as a comedy?
Heck this is coming from the one who likes Hetalia and draws 'experimentally'...
Thou shalt be ended in the name of the League of zachri and the Lawfare army.
This really, Kylor, is why I said "seriously" end this. It has nothing to do with my going OLLIE OUTIE and jumping out a window
"As an artist" I think there's seriously no point in continuing to talk about it, especially if people are gonna come in and try prolonging it by focusing on some new angle. We already took the idea of marginalizing people and wound up on philosophical merit of High School of the Dead and if you seriously don't think that's a hell of a derail, you cray.
So please. Don't jump on this derail and further try to twist whatever out of this to further pervert the original argument.
DarkFalcon and I already came to as much of an understanding as two people can while still sort of doing this all-encompassing three different angles approach and since that was the only real discussion that came out of it, I'm seriously too tired about this to care more.
Edit: If I think about it even this is the first forum discussion on AP ever where I actually ended up just losing any footing. Nobody "lost" but I sure feel like a loser for prolonging it, this is seriously me at my F- Game. Jesus.
Last edited by The Beast; June 16th, 2012 at 09:56 AM.
Otherwise I agree wit majority of what you have said.
@The Beast: Sorry for jumping on the subject change and throwing out my opinion like that. I honestly wasn't trying to say anything about you personally, I was just trying to comment on what I thought was the direction the conversation was going in. This'll be the last time I ever try and talk about a subject based on what I gleaned from the last couple of posts.
@DarkFalcon: I'm pretty sure I heavily implied that works/interpretations that are harmful or have potential to be harmful are completely exempt from everything else I said, sorry if I didn't make that more clear.
I'm sorry if I made it seem like the show had NO merit as a comedy or a piece of fiction, because of its biased elements.
As for some of the other comments in this thread...
Look, I have no problem with art as long as it is not a racist, sexist, heterosexist, cissexist, classist, and/or ableist crapfest that only serves to make the artist feel warm and fuzzy while the struggles of an entire group are invalidated. I admit, I do walk away from the television or the Internet, infuriated and upset at the rampant objectification, appropriation, and misrepresentation that goes on in those spaces. In real life, I spend my time making safe spaces for other people and finding safe spaces of my own, because honestly, I get hurt by this shit, and I have to get away from the people who condone it. Now, I generally do pretty well, but I know where not to walk in my town. >.>
Sorry if this became too personal. I've just been thinking about what Monkey King said for a long time now.
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