probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Pathway » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:11 am UTC

Er, wait. I just said that F451 "makes" a case--but that's the thing: it doesn't. It's nonsense to read a text as anything other than the product of a human mind (broadly speaking). It's Bradbury that is writing. And what he intended to communicate to us is important--not just what he actually ends up communicating to us.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Nebulae » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:19 am UTC

This subject comes up fairly frequently in musicology as well. Music majors in particular LOVE attributing passages and such to facets of a composer's life, etc...

Since (classical) music is so much more abstract that literature in general, one is often unsure how a work is supposed to be interpreted or performed.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:44 am UTC

And what he intended to communicate to us is important--not just what he actually ends up communicating to us.


Why? At best, all he can do that really *matters* is draw attention to that interpretation. If the interpretation isn't supported by the text, or if nobody else can see it, then him insisting that it's the real meaning, or that it's even there, doesn't change anything.

If what matters is what he's trying to communicate, why even write literature, why not write essays or just speak publicly? It gets your point across more clearly.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:05 am UTC

Belial wrote:
And what he intended to communicate to us is important--not just what he actually ends up communicating to us.


Why? At best, all he can do that really *matters* is draw attention to that interpretation. If the interpretation isn't supported by the text, or if nobody else can see it, then him insisting that it's the real meaning, or that it's even there, doesn't change anything.

If what matters is what he's trying to communicate, why even write literature, why not write essays or just speak publicly? It gets your point across more clearly.

interpreting literature after a certain point bothers me because I like to know definitely when I'm wrong

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:15 am UTC

interpreting literature after a certain point bothers me because I like to know definitely when I'm wrong


Art..uhh...may not be your thing, then. Still, I would encourage you to push that boundary.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:28 am UTC

Belial wrote:
interpreting literature after a certain point bothers me because I like to know definitely when I'm wrong


Art..uhh...may not be your thing, then. Still, I would encourage you to push that boundary.

that's amusing then, I've been told that I'm pretty good at making it. It just makes little sense to me when someone stretches too far.
l_l/_/l______l\_\/_/
l__./___l__l___\__/
l__.\___l__l___/__\
l_l\_\l______l/_/\_\

That (if it showed up properly) is some text that says "KIX" it is also two arrows pointing opposite ways. What is is not is an expression of loss of trust in society. (see all the pointy bits represent the senseless aggression, and the horizontal lines mean that it is others who I'm talking about....)

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:00 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Zenten wrote:But by your reasoning the same is true for things like press releases. Moreso actually for many artforms, as a play can be changed, as can a book or a tv show.


And I suppose you could decide to find alternate meanings in a press release. It would be pretty interesting, actually. But they tend to be written more clearly and concisely than most novels, so it would be somewhat difficult. And it wouldn't really tell you about what the speaker probably intended, which, while it isn't the point of literature, kindof is the point of a press release.


Meaning is only relevant in communication. Communication is about conveying messages. So unless your alternate meanings are supposedly something the writer *wanted* to convey (but is lying about what they want to convey), or it's something subconscious or something like that, looking for meanings is not going to get you anything.

Now, you can look at aspects of the work that are not about meaning. That's probably where you'll get the most value in examining an artistic work anyway, unless it's supposed to be an essay as art, or propaganda or something.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:04 am UTC

You and I appear to be using differing definitions of meaning.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Pathway » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:14 am UTC

Belial wrote:
And what he intended to communicate to us is important--not just what he actually ends up communicating to us.


Why? At best, all he can do that really *matters* is draw attention to that interpretation. If the interpretation isn't supported by the text, or if nobody else can see it, then him insisting that it's the real meaning, or that it's even there, doesn't change anything.


No one is claiming that an author's intent can create meanings that are not at all supported by the text. When there are multiple interpretations of the text, though, an author's intent helps determine which is more central.

Belial wrote:If what matters is what he's trying to communicate, why even write literature, why not write essays or just speak publicly? It gets your point across more clearly.


Maybe it gets the point across more clearly, but it doesn't sink in as well. I imagine it was not unknown, before Animal Farm, that the Russian Revolution had brought into power monstrous individuals, and that in general people tended to be corrupted by their own power.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:19 am UTC

No one is claiming that an author's intent can create meanings that are not at all supported by the text. When there are multiple interpretations of the text, though, an author's intent helps determine which is more central.


Does that matter? Is "which interpretation is more central" even a sensible question?
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby mosc » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:32 am UTC

Belial wrote:
And what he intended to communicate to us is important--not just what he actually ends up communicating to us.


Why? At best, all he can do that really *matters* is draw attention to that interpretation. If the interpretation isn't supported by the text, or if nobody else can see it, then him insisting that it's the real meaning, or that it's even there, doesn't change anything.

If what matters is what he's trying to communicate, why even write literature, why not write essays or just speak publicly? It gets your point across more clearly.

Ah! I see! It's like you're making a bad assumption. You are assuming that the intent is not directly relevant. It's certainly a good assumption when you're talking about poetry but other times, intent is front and center to the discussion of meaning. How can we so quickly brush aside the artist from the art? "The death of the author" indeed. It's like the context of the work becomes irrelevant and you just start discussing it like it was some random conglomeration of words that dropped out of thin air.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:42 am UTC

It's certainly a good assumption when you're talking about poetry but other times, intent is front and center to the discussion of meaning.


So writing in meter changes the rules?

Intriguing.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby mosc » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:52 am UTC

and all poetry is written in meter? Psh, way below your usual level of whit and clever in your last reply ;)

Like I said a page ago. I don't think we're going to agree on this. We could expand to "what is art?" in general and I think we'd have the same discussion. Art to me is intended.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Nebulae » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:39 am UTC

mosc wrote:and all poetry is written in meter? Psh, way below your usual level of whit and clever in your last reply ;)

Like I said a page ago. I don't think we're going to agree on this. We could expand to "what is art?" in general and I think we'd have the same discussion. Art to me is intended.

So music without some underlying meaning set forth by the artist (like Bach for example) isn't art?

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:51 am UTC

Nebulae wrote:
mosc wrote:and all poetry is written in meter? Psh, way below your usual level of whit and clever in your last reply ;)

Like I said a page ago. I don't think we're going to agree on this. We could expand to "what is art?" in general and I think we'd have the same discussion. Art to me is intended.

So music without some underlying meaning set forth by the artist (like Bach for example) isn't art?

that is correct (it takes no artistry)

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Nebulae » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:00 am UTC

Mmm, well you're certainly entitled to your opinion (that Bach, or the works of almost any baroque/classical composer for that matter, aren't art), but as for getting the rest of the world to agree with you there...

I'm resisting the urge to flame you to death here =X

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Malice » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:23 am UTC

Instrumental music can still have meaning; at least, they are clearly intended to convey a certain emotion or idea. Some interpretations are clearly wrong. For example, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" does not mean "life is horrible".

On the other hand, meaning is shaped by context, too, cultural as well as physical. "Flight of the Valkyries" kinda means "American militaristic bravado," when before "Apocalypse Now!" it didn't mean that. Reuse and redefinition is a form of a renewed analysis.

On the third hand, I'm currently reading the novel "Revolutionary Road", which has many different meanings--the text is simply too rich to give any single definitive analysis. The best you can get is a kind of mediated compromise between, say, "The crushing ennui of the suburbs are responsible for the failure of its inhabitants to achieve their dreams," and, "People are responsible for their own failures, and the type of people who succeed do not move to the suburbs in the first place." That's just one of many axes present in the novel.

Generally the more complex a text, the harder it is to come up with meanings in it. And there are plenty of cases where you can come up with unintended meanings--for example, doing a gender analysis of a television sitcom from the 1960s. Those ideas weren't necessarily what the creators of the show were trying to get across; they are a reflection of the creators' society's values and culture. Certainly they are valid meanings of the text.

You're in the wrong place if you come to art looking for definitive statements; like Belial said, you'd be better off reading a press release. The joy of art is in its indirectness, the way it wraps emotional truth in a narrative lie; like an uneven prism, it may shine differently if you angle it this way or that. The trick is to realize the relativity involved; to different observers, the same beam of light passed through the same prism may move at different speeds and cast different shadows. Plenty of people can see it incorrectly, but nobody can ever get it exactly right.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:28 am UTC

Nebulae wrote:Mmm, well you're certainly entitled to your opinion (that Bach, or the works of almost any baroque/classical composer for that matter, aren't art), but as for getting the rest of the world to agree with you there...

I'm resisting the urge to flame you to death here =X

go ahead I won't take offense
(and bach did put meaning into his music so I misread your statement to apply to people who didn't)

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Nebulae » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:20 am UTC

4=5 wrote:go ahead I won't take offense
(and bach did put meaning into his music so I misread your statement to apply to people who didn't)

I'll have to disagree with you here. His music was absolute music, composed without programme or extra-musical meaning. He put no meaning in the music, unless you're to go as far as to say that by simply composing in a certain style, or naming a movement allegro, he is doing so. Music composed within the period was not supposed to be representative of anything. It was simply created for musical enjoyment. In other words, it lacks any intrinsic meaning. Of course, I'm not saying it's not open to interpretation; when you perform his music, you obviously have to come up with your own representation of the music. And you often do when you listen to it. However, the fact that the composer puts no meaning into the work, means nothing. It is an abstract ideal, a musical construct of sheer beauty, and thus art of the highest order.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:39 am UTC

yes exactly :) it has meaning.
Nonverbal meaning but meaning none the less. It consistently causes the same effect in many different people.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Nebulae » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:45 am UTC

4=5 wrote:yes exactly :) it has meaning.
Nonverbal meaning but meaning none the less. It consistently causes the same effect in many different people.

No. Not the same effect. Also, there was no original intended meaning by the composer, which was the original point of contention.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:39 am UTC

Belial wrote:You and I appear to be using differing definitions of meaning.


Yes, we do. I have trouble seeing how yours can mean anything outside of mine though.

I mean, I guess you could look at something akin to the platonic ideal to what is written (in the case of a novel or straight communication). The platonic ideal of this forum post is my meaning. The platonic ideal of a novel is what you would call it's meaning.

Mind you, that doesn't quite work, as you are willing to give a novel more than one meaning.

So yeah, could you explain what you mean by meaning?

Oh, and don't look at this as "science guy versus art guy". Your form of literary criticism (neither of us are doing standard fine art criticism btw, that's cultural theory) and my form fluctuate over time in popularity, yours is coming out of popularity, and mine is coming in (I believe yours started coming in most recently around the 60s).

Nebulae wrote:
4=5 wrote:go ahead I won't take offense
(and bach did put meaning into his music so I misread your statement to apply to people who didn't)

I'll have to disagree with you here. His music was absolute music, composed without programme or extra-musical meaning. He put no meaning in the music, unless you're to go as far as to say that by simply composing in a certain style, or naming a movement allegro, he is doing so. Music composed within the period was not supposed to be representative of anything. It was simply created for musical enjoyment. In other words, it lacks any intrinsic meaning. Of course, I'm not saying it's not open to interpretation; when you perform his music, you obviously have to come up with your own representation of the music. And you often do when you listen to it. However, the fact that the composer puts no meaning into the work, means nothing. It is an abstract ideal, a musical construct of sheer beauty, and thus art of the highest order.


Right.

Art isn't about meaning, as I've been saying. Communication is about meaning. Art can be a form of communication, just as me yelling can be a form of communication (me yelling isn't art though), but it can be.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:29 pm UTC

Zenten wrote:So yeah, could you explain what you mean by meaning?


We had this conversation a bit ago. You're defining meaning as the message that the artist intends. I'm defining it as the message the reader extracts, which may or may not be similar.

Oh, and don't look at this as "science guy versus art guy".


Oh, I haven't been for a bit. That was mostly a concern back with the whole "literary interpretation should correspond to scientific reality" turn.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:52 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Zenten wrote:So yeah, could you explain what you mean by meaning?


We had this conversation a bit ago. You're defining meaning as the message that the artist intends. I'm defining it as the message the reader extracts, which may or may not be similar.


So, if I don't know anything about you, I can't know anything about the meaning a given message will convey?

And I did forget about another meaning of meaning, which in the case of a novel would be (as a basic description) "Some paper, bound together with a cover, and there is ink on the paper".

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby aseroto » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:52 pm UTC

Occam's Razor - It's a VARIABLE lol.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:55 pm UTC

So, if I don't know anything about you, I can't know anything about the meaning a given message will convey?


You can confine yourself to concise communication which is unlikely to evoke different meanings to different people. But a work of fiction is probably the wrong way to go about that.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:36 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
So, if I don't know anything about you, I can't know anything about the meaning a given message will convey?


You can confine yourself to concise communication which is unlikely to evoke different meanings to different people. But a work of fiction is probably the wrong way to go about that.


It can be used for communication, but I agree, if communication is your only goal a novel is a poor way to go about it.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

Nebulae wrote:
4=5 wrote:yes exactly :) it has meaning.
Nonverbal meaning but meaning none the less. It consistently causes the same effect in many different people.

No. Not the same effect. Also, there was no original intended meaning by the composer, which was the original point of contention.

it causes the same effect at a higher rate of accuracy than many words do. The proof that he intended it to have meaning is that is good music, music inherently effects your mood he constructed his music to do that, therefore he intended that meaning.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby mosc » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:30 pm UTC

Nebulae wrote:Mmm, well you're certainly entitled to your opinion (that Bach, or the works of almost any baroque/classical composer for that matter, aren't art), but as for getting the rest of the world to agree with you there...

I'm resisting the urge to flame you to death here =X

Where do you get off saying baroque/classical music has no intent? Man, that couldn't be further from the truth. You know nothing about it if you think that. Just because the style is hundreds of years out of fashion does not mean it was completely programatically driven and impersonal. It's like looking at why "sexy" is today which is so friggin overt and and obvious without realizing that in years past, a simple showing of the ankle was incredibly overt. Baroque music is far from unintentional, it's just more subtle with a much stronger and much more consistent structure than modern music.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby JoseB » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:15 pm UTC

Nebulae:

You say that Bach put no meaning in his music.....?

I defy you to listen to the last two sections of his Saint Matthew's Passion and tell me that.

And that's just a little example, one of the most obvious ones. There are plenty more, with subtler things in them.

Old Bach tended to load his music with non-negligible amounts of information, usually related to religious matters.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby PhantomReality » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:40 pm UTC

whaaaaat this is too much
DROP ACID NOT BOMBS.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Antimatter Spork » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:12 pm UTC

4=5 wrote:The proof that he intended it to have meaning is that is good music, music inherently effects your mood he constructed his music to do that, therefore he intended that meaning.

This is so much bullshit that I don't know where to begin. Perhaps I'll just wait for the ghost of John Cage to come and set you straight.

Any emotional effect or "meaning" from certain sounds comes entirely from cultural association. (For example, consider the "Jaws" theme. For most of us, it's linked with the idea of a predatory shark, but if you play it for someone who has never seen or heard of "Jaws" in their life, they will have entirely different associations. Also consider the fundamental differences between Western systems of music (which value pure tones, without the "beats" caused by vibrations of different frequencies) and, for example, Javanese Gamelan (which considers the aforementioned "beats" to be desirable)). The music you think sounds "good" or "sad" or "happy" doesn't sound that way because of any innate quality in the sounds, it sounds "happy" or "sad" because, living in modern culture, you have come to associate sounds with certain emotions.

Even in the Western tradition, parallel fourths and fifths went from being considered the only permissible intervals (during the middle ages) to being considered horrible and forbidden during the Baroque period.

To contribute to the actual discussion:
I don't believe that authorial intent has anything to do with what a work means. An author can certainly have an intent, but that doesn't mean that their way of looking at the work is the only way. I realize that a lot of people here are very science-oriented and like to think that everything has one specific answer, but when we're dealing with products of human culture, the concept of absolute truth is invalid. Humans are more complex than the acceleration of gravity near the surface of the Earth.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:26 pm UTC

john cage's stuff doesn't inherently have meaning, it has significant meaning because of culture previous knowledge. I disagree with you here
The music you think sounds "good" or "sad" or "happy" doesn't sound that way because of any innate quality in the sounds, it sounds "happy" or "sad" because, living in modern culture, you have come to associate sounds with certain emotions.
and can't think of any incidents to prove it one way or another

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby mosc » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:49 pm UTC

John Cage is a GREAT example of showing how art is about intent more than anything else. He sits in front of a piano doing absolutely nothing but maintaining dead silence for whatever number of minutes and that's art. Why? Because he damn well intended it to be like that.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

Yes, there's intent there obviously.

But what does it mean, do you suppose? And does the meaning you extract from a man sitting in front of a piano for 10 minutes necessarily correlate to the meaning he puts into the same act?

Hell, for all you know, he doesn't want you to even come away with any one specific meaning, he's just doing something deliberate and different in the hopes that you'll extract something from it.
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

I don't get what the big deal is. He's explored a potential deeper meaning to an anime, storylines that are often and intentionally full of gaping holes and lacking in essential plot details. So what. While he gets an A for effort, he hasn't made any extrapolations that really shock the mind.

Would anyone be impressed if I broke down Legend of Zelda as a Sisyphean triumph of human will and spirit in the face of changing political and religious paradigms?
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:24 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:
To contribute to the actual discussion:
I don't believe that authorial intent has anything to do with what a work means. An author can certainly have an intent, but that doesn't mean that their way of looking at the work is the only way. I realize that a lot of people here are very science-oriented and like to think that everything has one specific answer, but when we're dealing with products of human culture, the concept of absolute truth is invalid. Humans are more complex than the acceleration of gravity near the surface of the Earth.


Again, this has nothing to do with being "science-oriented", as this was the default approach to literary criticism in English departments for some time, and is making a revival.

Can we agree that there are several ways to examine a given piece? You can look at how the creator consciously used the art to transmit an idea. You can take a New Criticism approach. You can also do an examination through cultural theory. You can do a bunch of other ways I haven't thought of either.

Now, if we want to argue about which one is better, that's cool, as long as we can agree on a common definition of "better" :)

Izawwlgood wrote:Would anyone be impressed if I broke down Legend of Zelda as a Sisyphean triumph of human will and spirit in the face of changing political and religious paradigms?


Not impressed, but probably entertained :)
Last edited by zenten on Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Pathway
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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Pathway » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:30 pm UTC

Or maybe the joke is on you, and his intent is for you to get nothing worthwhile out of it?

Just saying.

Belial wrote:
So, if I don't know anything about you, I can't know anything about the meaning a given message will convey?


You can confine yourself to concise communication which is unlikely to evoke different meanings to different people. But a work of fiction is probably the wrong way to go about that.


I take issue with your statement that there are wrong ways to go about communicating with people.
SargeZT wrote:Oh dear no, I love penguins. They're my favorite animal ever besides cows.

The reason I would kill penguins would be, no one ever, ever fucking kills penguins.

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby zenten » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:35 pm UTC

Pathway wrote:I take issue with your statement that there are wrong ways to go about communicating with people.


Why? I mean, there are morally wrong ways "Such as shooting them to let them know dinner is ready", as well as ineffective ways (actually, that last one would normally count as that too).

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Re: probably the most depressing look at pokemon I've ever seen

Postby Belial » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

I take issue with your statement that there are wrong ways to go about communicating with people


I was imprecise. Allow me to rephrase. "A novel is probably not even remotely the most effective, efficient, or reliable way to go about this"
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them


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