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#191764 - 10/20/07 05:41 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:
Your tastes aren't broad enough to be a pluralist, Gene. Besides, that definition doesn't mention anything about genres, so it is, by your own standard, irrelevant to a discussion about genre.
And there's a dictionary definition that references elitism in terms of genre politics? You haven't even shown one that uses the word the way you've been using it, as a synonym for some sort of absolutely-no-pop-art-allowed consciousness, so you might want to work on that one first.

What you know about my tastes is even less than what you comprehend about my aesthetic system.

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#191765 - 10/20/07 05:47 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
As the discussion on the McDonald blog seems to have died down I may as well reprint this response of mine here. I don't remember if Berlatsky's earlier essay referenced the idea of a artful "middle ground" as McDonald's blog does, but Myers certainly seems to have thought so.

'So is there a “middle ground” that’s getting squeezed out by two extremes of narrative, or not?

BONE might represent one success story of this hypothetical “middle.” However, BONE’s song has been sung.

Several manga-series can fairly be deemed a success. But how much of that validation spills over to positively affect the works of “first-run” creators in the American marketplace? '

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#191766 - 10/20/07 10:30 PM 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
"And there's a dictionary definition that references elitism in terms of genre politics? You haven't even shown one that uses the word the way you've been using it, as a synonym for some sort of absolutely-no-pop-art-allowed consciousness, so you might want to work on that one first."

Do you really think you're making a point here, or are you trying to irritate me by being so disingenuous? I don't believe you're so clueless as to not understand how the way you were using elitism ties into genre politics without the dictionary mentioning genre politics in its definition (to expect such a thing would necessitate an infinitely long dictionary, where each entry lists every possible application of the term -- plus your using the term as A and now claiming it's not-A is just bad logic). So, I assume it's the latter, in which case, I don't see much of a point in arguing about something you ought to know is patently ridiculous. What's an elitist with pluralist tastes? A pluralist (cf. William James, Nelson Goodman, Umberto Eco, etc.).
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#191767 - 10/21/07 04:44 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
" I don't believe you're so clueless as to not understand how the way you were using elitism ties into genre politics without the dictionary mentioning genre politics in its definition (to expect such a thing would necessitate an infinitely long dictionary, where each entry lists every possible application of the term -- plus your using the term as A and now claiming it's not-A is just bad logic)."

I certainly don't have a problem with the way *I* used elitism to apply to questions about the position of genre within the greater context of literature (what you're pleased to reduce down to "genre politics"). By doing so I'm following the notion that elitism and pluralism can be adapted into specialist disciplines like litcrit, since those are "possible applications of the term(s)." So I'm on secure ground with my extrapolations.

You, however, want me to follow an exact dictionary definition:

"Besides, that definition doesn't mention anything about genres, so it is, by your own standard, irrelevant to a discussion about genre."

So I'm asking: where's the exact dictionary definition that defines elitism the way you generally use it?

And where's your supposed proof that I was an elitist? Because I have my own vision of "the good" that doesn't fit yours, have tastes different from your own? Sorry, Charlie. The elitist in my book is the one who recognizes only a single standard of excellence; the pluralist is one who recognizes a number of different interpenetrating standards, depending in large point on viewpoint. Dunno who you consider a pluralist, but it aint' you.

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#191768 - 10/21/07 06:09 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
IvanJim Offline
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Registered: 06/16/01
Posts: 2865
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:
Originally posted by gene phillips:

You, however, want me to follow an exact dictionary definition:

Earlier on another thread you were angrily mewling about the fact that I wasn't playing point/counterpoint with you.

That you would find the need to follow a dictionary definition somehow objectionable is the reason that it's pointless to point anything out to you; you seem to insist on arbitrary usages of terms.

I really don't understand why Charles puts up with your silliness.

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#191769 - 10/22/07 02:58 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
I wonder that myself, sometimes.

Quote:
You, however, want me to follow an exact dictionary definition:

"Besides, that definition doesn't mention anything about genres, so it is, by your own standard, irrelevant to a discussion about genre."

So I'm asking: where's the exact dictionary definition that defines elitism the way you generally use it?
You have the order reversed. My demanding of an exact mentioning of genre in a definition you were using was to point out the fact that you weren't applying the standard you earlier required of me. This is silly and you're not fooling anyone but yourself (if you're even truly doing that). All anyone has to do is go back and read the comments.
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#191770 - 10/22/07 03:52 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
stevv Offline
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Registered: 07/23/05
Posts: 1579
Loc: The Bristol, Cuba St
Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Reece:
Regarding that Berlatsky blog, I propose that Shakespeare not be brought up in discussions of superhero comics until the masses are going to see his plays instead of Michael Bay's movies.
I was thinking about this issue in regard to Shakespeare while taking those dvds back to the rental shop yesterday. I was thinking: Most of us (well Ken, Charles, & me, anyway) don't think of comics (Clowes, Lee or otherwise) as "literary". Comics are more like movies than literature; or at least calling a comic "literary" makes about as much sense as calling a movie "literary" (however good or bad, genre-based or mainstream it is).

Then I was thinking about the writing part of comics (plot, dialogue) as like a movie script - not a complete artwork until it's 'filmed'.

Then, I remembered my highschool English teacher's point about Shakespeare (and plays in general): They are intended to be seen, as performances, not, primarily, just to be read. Yet, we all refer to Shakespeare as "Literature", right? If the script of a Shakespeare (or, say, Arthur Miller) play is literary, why isn't a film script literary? Both plays and film are intended to be seen, as performances or cinematic projections respectively, not read. And if they are literary, why can't song lyrics be literary? Or comics?

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#191771 - 10/22/07 08:32 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
Charles,
You said I was using "elitist" in a "goofy" way by considering LeGuin to be an "SF elitist."

I quoted this definition as pertinent:

"2. consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group."

This obviously is the way the word is used colloquially, as in the way fans talk about JOURNAL writers as "comic-book elitists."

Get it? You may not agree with that use of the term "elitist," but there's no questioning that this use has become colloquial throughout comics-fandom. So your attempt to make it seem silly is meaningless:

"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."

And when I point it that the word makes perfect sense as I've used it:

'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.'

And I also ask you for a definition of "elitist" that accords with your extrapolated use of it, you just say "You're an elitist too," which provokes me to answer that I define myself as a pluralist.

So you, Charles, are the first one to start asking for dictionary definitions of these terms, and then cavilling when they're not perfect fits. News flash: litcrit terms, colloquial or otherwise, don't usually appear in common-use dicitonaries. You're almost ALWAYS extrapolating such terms from earlier, common-use terms.

Once again, you want literal definitions when it suits your argumentative purposes, but you're hardly consistent.

Yeah, I don't know why you bother either. We could've have a good discussion on the role of the popular in the arts and instead you're bogging us down in dictionary-definitions.

I know why your little cheering-section bothers, but who cares?

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#191772 - 10/22/07 08:43 AM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
gene phillips Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by stevv:
Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Reece:
Regarding that Berlatsky blog, I propose that Shakespeare not be brought up in discussions of superhero comics until the masses are going to see his plays instead of Michael Bay's movies.
I was thinking about this issue in regard to Shakespeare while taking those dvds back to the rental shop yesterday. I was thinking: Most of us (well Ken, Charles, & me, anyway) don't think of comics (Clowes, Lee or otherwise) as "literary". Comics are more like movies than literature; or at least calling a comic "literary" makes about as much sense as calling a movie "literary" (however good or bad, genre-based or mainstream it is).

Then I was thinking about the writing part of comics (plot, dialogue) as like a movie script - not a complete artwork until it's 'filmed'.

Then, I remembered my highschool English teacher's point about Shakespeare (and plays in general): They are intended to be seen, as performances, not, primarily, just to be read. Yet, we all refer to Shakespeare as "Literature", right? If the script of a Shakespeare (or, say, Arthur Miller) play is literary, why isn't a film script literary? Both plays and film are intended to be seen, as performances or cinematic projections respectively, not read. And if they are literary, why can't song lyrics be literary? Or comics?
"Literature," meaning colloquially something to be read, has as many problems as a portmanteau term as "art," which colloquially means something with a visual aspect. Yet people use the word "art" to apply to things with no visual aspect, like fine music. And "art" can also mean only the good stuff, or the good & bad stuff combined.

It's a tough problem to which I see no solution.

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#191773 - 10/22/07 12:32 PM Re: Debate About State of "Art-Comics" (Particularly Clowes), But w/o Superhero Nuts
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
stevv,

I recently had a discussion with a film nerd friend about that very thing. My friend's position was he prefers a poorly shot film with great writing to a well shot film with poor writing. We both agree that it's on a continuum of weighing different aspects such as how good is the writing, how poor is the camera style, etc., but I tend to, when it gets down to it, weight the visual nature of film and comics more heavily than the writing. What brought this discussion on was my having seen the newest Johnny To film, EXILED, which really has the most minimal characterization or story, despite the film's being an action film based on story and characterization. My friend has no desire to see such a thing, but I admired the beauty of the action scenes and Western-styled mise-en-scene. It's not a good film, but worth seeing, at least. But, a better example is the work of Seijun Suzuki, who took the most lame generic scripts, butchered their narrative voice, and managed to create some amazing works of art by the way he chose to shoot and edit the story he was given. But none of this is clear cut, since Suzuki is literally rewriting or writing over the script with his images and editing. However, I've never heard anyone call Suzuki's film "literary." That has to do more with the politics of content, than any serious consideration of his style. One could profitably compare his style to literary modenism's, but it still wouldn't make his work "literary" (nor would anyone likely refer to it as such) even if shares more with certain literarture than those big, literary films of 50s Hollywood.
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