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#191744 - 10/17/07 04:42 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Ken Offline
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Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 431
Quote:
Originally posted by gene phillips:

Their objections would not be wrong, because in many respects DAVID BORING is not a mystery story, according to the way the buyers of mystery stories perceive them. You are perceiving certain tropes that DB has in common with other mystery stories, but that doesn't mean hardcore mystery fans would validate those tropes above others that they think essential, like the Charlie Chan "you are murderer" scene.

OK, looking back, you said "detective story," so mentally plug that in wherever I wrote "mystery."

Assuming you agree that such readers exist-- and I don't see how you could disagree-- then your definition of a given genre's looseness hinges on your opinion that the boundaries should be loose, and not as well-defined as the hardcore detective-fiction fan might insist. Your opinion is not necessarily wrong, and neither is his. Considered in essentia, genres mutate and hybridize all the time. Historically, though, an apparent consistency of common elements is what makes it possible to consider genre apart from the wider span of fiction."

Over time one can get a sense that genre-boundaries are loose because then one can see how much one set of generic expectations changes into another.

The idea of "hard genre," of giving a set of readers a dependable set of generic expectations, is not functional according to what era one happens to read the genre. It comes out of a producer's perception that a set of readers will buy a set of books based on the fulfillment of expectations, and that attempt to direct tastes in this way is one reason why genre fiction is often separated from so-called literary fiction-- which is what you originally asked about, I believe.

Even now, I have no idea whether or not you admit that this marketing procedure even takes place, since you've said so little about it. [/qb]
Do I believe that some producers create texts to fit an audience's expectations? Sure.

PS: I edited the post a few above to make it clear which text was my response.

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#191745 - 10/17/07 06:10 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Ken Offline
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Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 431
JK Rowling in today's NYTimes:

“I want to fall in love with someone the way I fell in love with Harry. I never think about a particular genre. It is all about the story and the characters, but it has to be something I adore.”

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#191746 - 10/18/07 01:59 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Dumas Offline
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Heidi MacDonald weighs in on "art" comics.

And just to see if anyone is actually reading my posts, here's more Noah.
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#191747 - 10/18/07 10:22 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
gene phillips Offline
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Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Reece:
Gene, fact is, I provided you with a fact against your claim. All you've provided me is your word that you've detected elitism somewhere. Given the way you throw the term at anything that doesn't agree with your purist notion of what genre should be, I don't see much of a point in even trusting your interpretation enough to go and test it once again, just to make sure it is indeed incorrect. That's your responsibility to prove otherwise once a clear contradiction to your case has been shown. Not mine.
That LeGuin wrote an essay poking mild fun at someone else's elitism-- or what LeGuin *may* have perceived as elitism (note her qualifications at the bottom of the essay)-- is a fact. However, it is also a fact that LeGuin wrote other essays, at least a couple of which were in LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT, that are not so sympathetic to pop fiction.

It's also a fact that she wrote the essays in LOTN in "serious" mode, as in "Here's what's wrong with our subculture's chosen form of literature." You are free to disregard my interpretations of her essays, but not the existence of the essays, just because ignoring them supports your attempt to knock down my statements about her beliefs.

Are they old beliefs, that have been superseded by some new pluralistic temperament? Possibly: I haven't read anything new by LeGuin in a long time. But one facetious essay doesn't provide
proof of such an alteration. And even if she's undergone some sort of sea-change, so what? She has been an elitist at one time in her life, and so at that period of her life, she amply illustrated the point I made earlier. What, Strom Thurmond can't be an example of racist conservatism once he cuts any overt ties with the anti-Civil Rights activists? Do our present actions cancel out all we've done in the past?

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#191748 - 10/18/07 10:44 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Ken Offline
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#191749 - 10/18/07 10:47 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
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Look at how you're describing what she wrote: "Here's what's wrong with our subculture's chosen form of literature." She has a viewpoint on what makes for better sf, not "sf is just shit." You're disagreeing with her, because you have a viewpoint. Either you're an elitist, too, or neither of you is. I suppose if you want to call her an sf genre elitist, because she prefers the more intelligent, better written examples of the genre, and you want to call me a superhero/sf/Western/mystery/drama/et al. genre elitist, okay. That's kind of a goofy use of the term elitism, but it's more accurate. I'd say it's just having standards for what one reads, but without an a prioi bias for subject matter. I also prefer it to selling a genre short by pretending it has to be something else to be worthwhile by excusing the bad examples. The good examples justify the genre.
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#191750 - 10/18/07 11:48 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
gene phillips Offline
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Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Dictionary.com doesn't show that the use is goofy:

"Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
e·lit·ism /ɪˈlitɪzəm, eɪˈli-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[i-lee-tiz-uhm, ey-lee-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. practice of or belief in rule by an elite.
2. consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group."

There's nothing in this to suggest that total rejection of SF is necessary to validate one as an elitist, though that's always been the peculiar spin you've put on the word. So it's entirely possible for one to have "consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group" within a given subgroup. The question one has to ask to evaluate the position of said genre-elitists is then the same one that this thread began with re: Berlatsky-- do the elitists have anything on the ball or not?

I wasn't venturing a total evaluation of LeGuin, of course, and don't propose to advance one now. But to simplify things, I will say that she too seems to believe that the good examples justify the genre, and I disagree with that proposition in the terms she uses for "good" just as I do with you and your terms.

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#191751 - 10/18/07 11:52 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Okay, so she's definitely not an elitist by the definition you quote.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#191752 - 10/18/07 12:34 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
gene phillips Offline
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Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Reece:
Okay, so she's definitely not an elitist by the definition you quote.
The "select or favored group" in this case would be the group of those writers who satisfy her criteria for being "the best." As she is a writer seeking a high-toned approach to her art, I imagine that, all false modesty aside, she includes herself in that group.

Are you ever going to give us a dictionary definition that proves that "elitist" means what you've used it to mean? That is, as applying only to the people who would'nt touch a piece of accursed genre even with the suggested 10-foot pole? If so, I guess you'll have to look elsewhere than Dictionary.com.

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#191753 - 10/18/07 01:02 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
gene phillips Offline
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Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by Dumas:
Heidi MacDonald weighs in on "art" comics.

And just to see if anyone is actually reading my posts, here's more Noah.
Dumas,
I enjoyed parts of both essays by McDonald and Berlatsky. It bears somewhat on the point I've been making about defining the "good," which I take to be about more than technical excellence.

For instance, McDonald touches on the power of icons. I would argue that this is part of the creative gift that "lists where it will," irrespective of how well one hones one's talents. This doesn't mean you put aside all attempts to gauge what might make Dan Clowes' art superior to [okay, why not a fresh comparison] Chic Young's. You may even come to the conclusion that David Boring is a greater character than Dagwood Bumstead by any criterion save the fact that the latter pleases a larger quantity of people than the former.

But trying to plead away the power of iconicism implicit in that popularity is just, well, elitism.

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