I mean to confound these bungers

From your first cigarette to your last dyin’ day

“Rue, played by the adorable Amandla Sternberg, was described as having ‘dark brown skin and eyes’ – thus the ruination of the film at the hands of a dark-skinned, dark-eyed actress.”

“Health care reform made lifetime limits illegal — which is why Violet’s family breathed easier when it passed — but now her parents are worried the Supreme Court could restore the limits and Violet would lose her insurance.”

They do not want a system of mutual moral obligation; ‘we take care of each other’ must give way to ‘every man for himself.’”

There’s no need for my ID, dude.”

“The world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.”

“The only way to address denialism is to call it what it is and ridicule it.”

Being able to talk freely about the fact that vaginas exist and use the actual word is the first step in removing the taboo that is placed on women’s sexuality.”

“You’ll find that sexuality is not such a scary and powerful monster when you stop treating it like one.”

“Of course I hated Planned Parenthood. The thing is, I didn’t know anything about Planned Parenthood.”

“This may be a reason as to why the divorce rates of evangelical Christians are the same as those who do not identify as evangelical.”

“To believe that [Mitt] Romney will somehow depart from his party’s misogyny in the White House, you have to believe that everything he has said about these issues during the primary campaign is a lie.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep: Calvinist Version.”

(Post title in honor of Mr. Nathan Fillion, who turns 41 today.)

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    It’s sad to see that the fans of the Hunger Games books can be just as shallow-minded and shrill as those of the Twilight franchise.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    The response to black people being in The Hunger Games is truly mind-boggling. Apparently some white people can only sympathize with black people if it’s a movie about capital-R Racism and it’s all about nice white people telling mean white people to stop treating the black people so badly, and the white audience gets to sit there and pretend they’d totally have been on the side of the nice white people.

    I mean, this tweet just kills me:

    Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad

    I mean… are you implying that you’re giving me any other option but to call you racist? That’s like saying, “Call me a murderer, but I just took a human life.” Okay… I would’ve called you a murderer without your prompting, I assure you.

    In regards to this sentence from the post:

    While over the course of a few hundred years and a few disasters the ethnic makeup of the various districts may have shifted such that of the 24 tributes selected at random, only two were black, but it takes some logic-wanking to get there.

    I’ve often made this point about Star Trek. Trek tried to be diverse without resorting to tokenism, but that’s difficult when you’re working in an industry run by white people. So while there are plenty of non-white admirals and other background characters in Trek, the main casts have always been far more whitewashed than a genuinely even sampling of the human race (which the backstory of Star Trek would necessitate, unless it’s not as utopian as it appears and still holds onto old privileges) would allow.

    (EDIT: Notably, Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, released in 2009, was no better in this regard, and in fact arguably worse. Progress! ^_^)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Some very few fans. The vast majority of Hunger Games fans are not like this, and the books do not support it. 

    It’s sad to me to see that Hunger Games and Twilight fans are condemned so much more harshly and commonly than fans of media that’s traditionally for boys, though plenty of that media is at least as terrible as Twilight. And there was a kerfuffle by some Harry Potter fans when Blaise Zabini was revealed to be black, but it wasn’t picked up and tutted over by media.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     There was as much Kerfuffle about him turning out to be a boy as I recall. For some reason a good chunk of Potter fandom pictured him as a redheaded girl.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    A lot of TV cop shows, especially the Law and Order franchise do something similar by casting lots of non-white folks in cameo/support roles. You can’t exactly call it racist because, look! They have a black guy as a judge! and a lawyer! and a forensics lady! Which is all well and good but doesn’t make up for not having all that many in lead roles. 

    (There are more non-white judges on Law and Order than ever served in the RL New York Justice system, apparently)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    What? Law and Order has had at least one black person as one of the main characters for nearly its entire existence. So has SVU. Can’t speak to Criminal Intent b/c I never watch it.

    Oh, and there are exactly 6 main characters in L+O at any given time (2 detectives, Lt/Capt, 2 ADAs, DA)

  • Lori

    How are we defining “lead roles” on L&O? Quite a few of the cops have been POC. The character in the greatest number of episodes was a AA woman.

  • Lori

     

    Can’t speak to Criminal Intent b/c I never watch it.

    CI was structured differently than Original Recipe or SVU. In any given episode there were only 4 main characters—2 cops, their boss and the ADA. Courtney B. Vance played the ADA for most of the show’s run.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net/ Dianna

    Funny thing is, Blaise is also described as black in the book. As is Angela Johnson (who was made white in the movies).

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    (Post title in honor of Mr. Nathan Fillion, who turns 41 today.)

    I guess it was too much to hope for “…the hammer is my penis”?

  • Anonymous

    “There’s no need for my ID, dude.”

    Keanu Reeves underwhelms as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

  • Anonymous

    In the books, Rue is a black girl from a farming district with hot weather.  If she were made white in the movie, this plantation slavery metaphor would have been completely lost.  I’m disappointed at the racism, but also disappointed that many readers seem to have completely missed this brilliant metaphor.

  • Lori

    I’m disappointed at the racism, but also disappointed that many readers seem to have completely missed this brilliant metaphor.

    Many Hunger Games readers (and not just the kids) completely missed virtually all the metaphor, symbolism and allusions in the books. For example, I’ve read some really great discussions about the names in the book, but I’ve also read some that just make you weep for the US education system.

    On the whole, people seem to miss a lot in books (and other forms of entertainment too). I hear people complain all the time that their high school English classes sucked all the life out of books by forcing them to nitpick symbolism and such, but my experience with book discussions has lead me to the conclusion that most people still didn’t learn much in the way of critical reading skills. It isn’t about intelligence or education level, many people just don’t read that way. Some people don’t notice that there’s anything below the surface. Others know, but feel that thinking about it ruins their enjoyment of the book, so they purposefully ignore it.

  • Anonymous

    The readers we’re talking about were apparently not paying enough attention to pick up a blatant description. I think understanding a metaphor might be too much to expect from them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’ve read quite a bit on Collins’s use of names in the book series, but a lot of it kind of escaped my head too.

    I winced and facepalmed upon seeing the wankery over Rue in the Hunger Games, especially because she’s described in-book as black, and I agree that Collins had the right of it in invoking that metaphor.

  • 2-D Man

    [Y]ou have to believe that everything [Romney] has said about these issues during the primary campaign is a lie….

    Easy!

    …[t]o believe that Romney will somehow depart from his party’s misogyny in the White House.

    …oh…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

    The comments on the article about little Violet were just as sickening. Apparently, the same people who are opposed to abortion in all circumstances also believe that the loving parents of a five-year-old child should be perfectly sanguine about letting her die if they can’t afford proper medical treatment. Even if the Right can’t give us any semblance of moral decency or humanity, is simple ethical consistency too much to ask for?

  • Anonymous

    The world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

    *Breathes into paper bag, takes Zanax.*

    Yes, let’s talk about the Hunger Games instead, my heart will last longer.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Well sure, she’s described as black, but only a few times; she’s mostly portayed as a human being, and not just a collection of comfortable stereotypes.  So you can easily see how someone could miss it.  Only, by “someone” I mean “a racist who views white as default-human and can;t imagine a black character who isn;t just a 2-dimensional cardboard cutout for them to hang racial stereotypes on”.

    It’s a bit like works of fiction where whenever a woman time-travels to the past and the locals are all like “Hm. Curvy hips, high voice, soft skin, no stubble or adam’s apple, breasts. Oh wait, wearing pants. Must be a bloke then.”

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

     

    Even if the Right can’t give us any semblance of moral decency or humanity, is simple ethical consistency too much to ask for?

    They do have a simple, consistent ethos: the sinners must be punished. Let all who claim to be more pious than us suffer the wrath of a vengeful God. Let all who allow themselves to be seen as different than us have divine judgement inflicted on them for their pride and vanity! The sluts, the sodomites, the careless and the prideful all should suffer. (unless it’s one of us, because we’re never those things; our suffering is cause for compassion)

  • ako

      I hear people complain all the time that their high school English
    classes sucked all the life out of books by forcing them to nitpick
    symbolism and such, but my experience with book discussions has lead me
    to the conclusion that most people still didn’t learn much in the way of
    critical reading skills.

    I think quite often, it’s badly taught.  Most of my high school English classes treated symbolism like a secret code or something where the teacher would whip out a handful of esoteric details and declare that they proved the real meaning of the story, without any sort of indication of how to tell what details were significant, consideration of whether the average fifteen-year-old would be able to recognize the work being referenced, or recognition of the importance of interpretation.  It was just “The teacher said circles are Symbolic In Some Way, so play spot the circle and he’ll act like you’re being insightful!”  Being taught like that equips one with the memory of being forced to nitpick symbolism, but not the knowledge to do so effectively.

    For some people, putting an explicit name on it definitely can suck a lot of the pleasure out of a thing.  It seems to be a temperament thing as much as anything (some people like pick over it analytically and don’t get how anyone could find their pleasure decreased by being obligated to read a work that way).  For me, hearing an explicit explanation of the symbolism of the work often feels like having someone follow up a joke with “See, it’s funny because ‘ate’ sounds like ‘eight’, so the phrase suggesting the anthropomorphized number seven devoured one of its fellows sounds identical to a sequential listing of cardinal numbers.  There, I have increased your ability to feel amusement.  Be grateful.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

     I think quite often, it’s badly taught.  Most of my high school English
    classes treated symbolism like a secret code or something where the
    teacher would whip out a handful of esoteric details and declare that
    they proved the real meaning of the story, without any sort of indication of how to tell what details were significant

    This.

    So much this.

    A succinct summary of the problem.

  • Anonymous

    I used to think that the reason why the USA screen industry often has a rather (let us say) pale shade to it was simply because of racial bias of the institution combined with perhaps a bit of timidity.  

    Naturally, I’m not necessarily suggesting that the executives are gleefully burying non-white actors and productions while grinding their teeth at the necessity to include the odd token minority person – although of course some might be.  Some are certainly fairly openly dismissive of women…

    “The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”

    Certainly, that was my take on the irksome whitewashing of A Wizard of Earthsea: the executives didn’t realise what a gift they had been given – a chance to have an almost entirely non-white cast.  The free advertising alone would be incalculable!  But no, they stayed with the tried-and-true.

    But recently I saw this – maybe someone posted it here? – a study suggesting white audiences in the USA aren’t really into ‘black’ movies

    http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/18567.html

    It’s hardly watertight – small sample sizes, methodology could be questioned.  But for other reasons we’d have to admit that the proposition would have to be given a reasonably high prior probability.

    If this is true, then we can’t expect much else from the decision-making in the industry, not when it’s driven so greatly by profit. 

    It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, of course – if the fare was consistently multi-ethnic (and dropped its reliance on stereotypes) then viewers would get used to the idea and it wouldn’t be an issue, but in the face of an audience that’s turned off by black faces, breaking ranks is, from the perspective of a firm, an unnecessary economic risk in an already risky business.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad

    If Rue were a boy, she’d look like Treyvon Martin.

    (Also, seems like that tweet is short a K, right up there at the beginning.)

  • Beleester

     

    Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad

    I mean… are you implying that you’re giving me any other option but to call you racist?

    Well, you can’t really control your emotions.  You can recognize that your emotions are wrong, though.  So I’d give this tweeter credit for at least recognizing their feelings.  Think about dead baby jokes or other “I’m going to hell for laughing at this” comedy – it’s wrong, you know it’s wrong, but nonetheless your emotions say otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    A genuinely even sampling of the human race? That’s an interesting idea.

    (Your reasoning concerning the utopia is also interesting and good, but this would be easy enough to get around – the Federation became utopic only after interplanetary migration, which was mostly white people (having the access to resources for space travel) – so maybe the crews do fairly represent the ethnic makeup of the Federation :-] )

    But could such a thing ever get made for USA domestic consumption?

    There’s about 10 main characters in your average Star Trek series, isn’t there?

    If we’re assuming based on current terrestrial proportions, I’m thinking:

    2 Subcontinentals
    2 Chinese
    1 South-east asian
    1 European (probably from Europe, not north America!)
    1 African (again, very probably from Africa, not an African-American)
    1 ‘other’ (middle eastern, south or central American probably, but maybe we want a token rarer global minority? )
    1 token robot
    1 token extraterrestrial

    Of course, it would send the wrong message to have the European in charge of all the others, or in any sense the main character.

    So you’re going to have a big-budget sci-fi show with 1 white person in the main cast, who could be North American but probably isn’t, and isn’t the main character.  Other minorities in the USA are realistically not going to get much of a look in – a 0.5% chance for an African American (a Korean is more likely), and you can basically forget about ever seeing a native American – not that you do now, of course.

    Perhaps there could be a couple of token white Americans as recurring characters?

    I’d watch it, and I can see it doing well in Taiwan, but I can see it being a difficult sell in the US of A.

    (Of course, we should insist on this happening in
    all scifi, so enough of this preponderance of
    British people in Doctor Who, and Japanese in scifi anime should be a
    rarity. )

  • Anonymous

    Most of my high school English classes treated symbolism like a secret code or something where the teacher would whip out a handful of esoteric details and declare that they proved the real meaning of the story

    THANK YOU.

    It always pissed me off when teachers acted like there was a secret list somewhere that got agreed on long ago, where all of the symbolism in all stories were spelled out, forever.

    I much prefer reading a story on my own, and coming to the slow realization of, “Hey, the author may just be trying to get at something here.” I usually don’t know what, but it’s something for me to work out on my own, and it’s organic rather than imposed from above.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Angelina Johnson was whitewashed in the movies? News to me – http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Angelina_Johnson

    As to Blaise he was just a name until book 6 – then he got a description.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh, that graphic is so insultingly reductive. If an author is so oblivious to the concept of mise en scène as to just choose curtains because “they’re fucking blue,” then she or he isn’t worth reading.

    Sure, there’s a gap between an author choosing blue curtains to help stage a depressing scene, and an overarching semiotic theme like Shyamalan making the decision to have red whenever a ghost is present in The Sixth Sense. It’s still a conscious creative decision and only a hack like Jenkins would skimp out on such details.

  • Anonymous

    I remember studying the symbolism in “The Old Man and the Sea” in high school. Imagine my delight to discover the following quote by the author:
    “There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit.”

  • vsm

    All the symbolism that people say is shit.

    Some authors seem to like making pronouncements like that, but I’m not entirely sure you should believe them. On a practical level, there’s no way of telling if the artist is telling the truth (Ingmar Bergman once admitted to to lying about his intentions to screw with the critics) or hasn’t changed their mind afterwards (Ray Bradbury’s answer to what Fahrenheit 451 is about has changed at least once). On a more philosophical level, there’s the Death of the Author theory, which suggests the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I’m a subscriber to Death of the Author. It was still a delightful surprise to come across that quote in my researches, just as I was getting quite fed up with dredging the text for hidden meanings. It was one of my earliest experiences of the magic of internet searches.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Well no, that’s not actually the problem. That picture seems to be pushing the “there is no sub-surface meaning at all” notion. It also gives (good) authors far too little credit.

    I think movies have helped further this notion in the minds of many people these days. When many people read a book they want to imagine it as a little movie playing in their heads. And in a movie, the curtains might be blue because, well, they have to be something. That’s not the case in a book, though. If the color of the curtains means absolutely nothing, you’re better off just not mentioning the color of the curtains. (Tip for authors: you really don’t need to describe every visual detail of a scene. I promise.)

  • Anonymous

    Fuck… Nathan Filion is 2 years younger than me?

  • Anonymous

    Now I wanna watch some L&A… i devoured that stuff when the first Hellion was a baby and we had longs afternoons to share with our friends at TNT.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The fact remains, though, that sometimes what the author intended is as plain as the words on the page. For English lit-crit teachers to assume that every sentence in every book is fraught with some kind of hidden deeper meaning or symbolism and to perforce, as people have pointed out, treat literature like a big scavenger hunt in which you don’t even have the master list –

    Well, I’m not surprised English classes get looked down on a lot.

    And, frankly, your dismissal of authors like that? Smacks of a little elitism. There are very few authors who are as bad as Jenkins, and Dan Brown is bad not because of ~mise en scène~ but because he gets his facts fucking wrong.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Death of the Author has, however, been abused heavily in the Harry Potter fandom in discussions regarding the text. When an author tends to be heavily involved and quoted regarding the books they’ve written, I find it worthwhile to take on board what he or she intended.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Ugh, I feel the opposite. I’ve been wishing for years that Rowling would just shut up about the Harry Potter universe. Oh, Dumbledore is gay, you say?! How amazing!

    Except no, it’s not. What would have been amazing is if you hadn’t been too much of a coward to actually put it in the books. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think that Dumbledore’s sexuality was sufficiently relevant in the books that it needed to be brought up. But here’s the thing – if that’s true in the books, it’s still true, here in the real world, outside the books.

    No, I feel pretty strongly that once the text is written and put out there in the world, it exists in itself, separate from the author. It’s like a child – yes, the parent created it, but that doesn’t mean the parent gets to define it for the rest of its existence. Obviously there are complications – books might be revised post-release, new editions, added material (King’s “The Stand,” for example). But this is hardly a new phenomenon; witness the several editions of Frankenstein. Critics take various approaches to dealing with it, but if Shelley appeared from a time portal and said, “The final edition is the only one that counts,” I’d reply, “Screw you, I prefer your first edition.”

  • Tricksterson

    I wonder if the people who were outraged by Rue and Thresh being black even read the books where they are both referred to when Catniss first sees them as dark skinned and brown eyed.  Also they don’t seem to notice that Katniss and her male BFL are olive skinned with straight black hair which could be interpreted as First Nations, Hispanic or mixed race or if they do than they don’t seem to mind them being played with by light skinned actors.

  • Anonymous

    What you call elitism, I call standards. You bet I’ll dismiss authors who can’t be bothered to stage a scene or to think why they’re describing what it is they’re describing. I’ll also dismiss directors and cinematographers who don’t care about what’s going on in the frame. That’s part of the job, and if they can’t be bothered to care, I won’t either.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about anyone else, but my problem with the Twilight books is not the fans (I don’t recall having a show or a book that I loved enough at that age to count as a true fan, but if I did, I’m sure I was/would have been annoying, too – and I’m a boy), but the fact that their message is poisonous for those very fans.  The last thing teenage girls need is something else telling them that stalking is romantic and ownership by a cool boy is everything they should hope for.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    “On a more philosophical level, there’s the Death of the Author theory, which suggests the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s.” 

    I don’t really know what it means for an interpretation of a work to be valid or invalid.

    But I would say that the expected usefulness of a work’s interpretation has a lot to do with the interpreter’s familiarity with that work; my interpretations of a text I’ve never read are less likely to be useful than those of someone who has read it many times.

    If validity has the same kind of relationship to knowledge that expected usefulness does, then I would say “the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s” is simply and uninterestingly false, although “the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else who is equally familiar with the work” is more interesting.

  • Anonymous

    “To believe that [Mitt] Romney will somehow depart from his party’s misogyny in the White House, you have to believe that everything he has said about these issues during the primary campaign is a lie.”

    It’s Mitt Romney. Of course it’s a lie.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    All you’ve done is kicked the can a few feet down the road. How is the “usefulness” of an interpretation any easier to define than the “validity” of an interpretation?

    I think it’s reasonable to argue that there are valid and invalid interpretations of a text, and the validity of an interpretation has a complicated relationship with how well it matches up with the intent of the author. Intent of the author isn’t nothing, but it’s also not everything.

    If I say, “This pizza tastes good,” and you interpret that to mean I hate it, your interpretation isn’t your equally valid opinion, it’s just wrong. But if I say, “No, my anger at this pizza isn’t rooted in the bitterness I still carry surrounding the traumatic years I spent in my mother’s pizza parlor,” and I genuinely believe that, then there are certainly valid interpretations of my statement that differ from what I actually intended it to convey.

    In the same sense, somebody who decides that the whale in Moby Dick represents William the Conqueror is pretty much flat-out wrong (unless they can provide some really compelling textual evidence). But on the other hand, Nabokov once said that Humbert Humbert kills himself after the end of Lolita, an interpretation which is much too far removed from the text to be valid just because it comes from the mouth of the author.

    “the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s” is definitely wrong on its face, but no, I don’t think you have to be as close to the text as the author to produce valid interpretations, because that’s impossible.

  • Anonymous

     “the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s”

    Speaking as an artist, sometimes a work of art can tell more about the artist than the artist intended. I know that it has happened to me, so, no, that statement isn’t completely wrong.

    Also, it was talking about Revelations, which is a deeply metaphorical book, and deeply metaphorical works can have multiple valid interpretations.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    sometimes a work of art can tell more about the artist than the artist intended

    Quite, but I’m really only talking about interpretations of the text itself, not of the author’s psychology. Such discussions can be interesting, but I lean towards formalism personally.

  • vsm

    The Death of the Author has, however, been abused heavily in the Harry Potter fandom in discussions regarding the text.

    What exactly do you mean? Shipping?

  • Base Delta Zero

    (Your reasoning concerning the utopia is also interesting and good, but this would be easy enough to get around – the Federation became utopic only after interplanetary migration, which was mostly white people (having the access to resources for space travel) – so maybe the crews do fairly represent the ethnic makeup of the Federation :-] )

    Alternatively/in supplement, we could simply note that a portion of ship’s crew is not necessarily a representative sample of the Federation… they may draw their crews from particular regions, for one reason or another.It is also a little silly to assume that current demographic trends will continue indefinently into the future.

    …1 token extraterrestrial

    Actually, considering the Federation is supposed to be a huge interplanetary society, there should be a lot more aliens… (though see ‘particular regions’)…

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily think that Dumbledore’s sexuality was sufficiently relevant in the books that it needed to be brought up. But here’s the thing – if that’s true in the books, it’s still true, here in the real world, outside the books.

    I believe she was asked.  I don’t know if I would have guessed on my own, but it was obvious in retrospect for me…

    What you call elitism, I call standards. You bet I’ll dismiss authors who can’t be bothered to stage a scene or to think why they’re describing what it is they’re describing. I’ll also dismiss directors and cinematographers who don’t care about what’s going on in the frame. That’s part of the job, and if they can’t be bothered to care, I won’t either.

    Deep significance is not neccessary at all times, and it can get kind of absurd when every little detail is ‘significant’.  Sometimes a blue curtain is just a blue curtain… true, you don’t need to describe everything, but it can help to establish a sense of scene…

    Also they don’t seem to notice that Katniss and her male BFL are olive skinned with straight black hair which could be interpreted as First Nations, Hispanic or mixed race or if they do than they don’t seem to mind them being played with by light skinned actors.

    I’d vote ‘mixed race’, in our terms… I’m not sure our racial distinctions would even be relevant however far in the future.  Although, it may just be my messed-up terminology, but when I hear ‘olive skinned, black hair’, I think ‘Mediterranean’.  But then, I have zero ability to distinguish races.

  • Kirala

    My inner high schooler is shouting, cheering, enthusiastically seconding all remarks regarding Quit Forcing Symbolism Down Our Throats, Evil English Classes!

    My inner high schooler is still moderately resentful and bewildered that I turned out to be a high school English teacher.

    So, with full agreement that Standard Symbolism Forcing is a generally useless and frustrating approach, does anyone have any suggestions for how one might convince high schoolers to actually Read and Think Outside The Comfort Zone? (Self-educating students excluded.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    How is the “usefulness” of an interpretation any easier to define than the “validity” of an interpretation?

    A useful interpretation is one that increases my ability to do something I want to do, relative to my ability to do that thing without that interpretation.

    I think it’s reasonable to argue that there are valid and invalid interpretations of a text,

    I’m not denying it. I just don’t know what people mean when they say that.

    your interpretation isn’t your equally valid opinion, it’s just wrong.

    Which suggests that validity is related to accuracy. I like that suggestion, as I’m rather fond of accuracy myself, but I suspect that not everyone using the word “valid” as applied to texts would agree with that suggestion. In particular, committed deconstructionists, I think, would argue that an interpretation of the text as an expression of your dislike for pizza is just as valid as any other, and the fact that you neither dislike pizza nor intended to express a dislike for pizza is simply beside the point.

    “the artist’s interpretation of their own work is no more valid than that of anyone else’s” is definitely wrong on its face,

    There are many who would disagree with this statement, but it is not clear to me that you and they are using the word “valid” to refer to the same properties of the world.

    no, I don’t think you have to be as close to the text as the author to produce valid interpretations, because that’s impossible.

    I don’t think anyone else believes that either. 


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