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Thinking about [livejournal.com profile] anitaray's post about the ridiculous holes in the plot of DH and another comment in reaction to it saying it comes as no surprise to 'regular readers' 'cause plot isn't JKR's strong-point, I got to thinking about just how true it is that we all evaluate and form responses to books on quite different axes, generally without spelling out or even realizing what those are.


I mean, even saying 'I value complex/believable characterization over plot', it's quite likely I may value different aspects of it than someone else. In any case, it would be most correct to say that I vary what qualities I look for depending on the strengths of a given work. If a book is really strong in original or complex plotting or world-building, I'll probably enjoy that. If it's strong in magic or science fictional ideas, that's what I focus on. If it's got a central character I love, that's it for me, and of course if it's got a unique and beautiful style or flow, that gives me a lot of pleasure.

I probably have a more rigid/fixed list of pet peeves than any central focus in what I look for in fiction, based on the sorts of things my own mind is naturally drawn to and excels at noticing. Like, I always naturally note details of style, so I can empathize with a criticism of DH like 'I sat there and marked up her sentences with an imaginary red pen', because I've made a conscious decision to not do that with JKR's work. But I just breeze by most plot holes because my mind isn't naturally analytical in quite that way, I guess. Even if you tell me, I don't really care because it doesn't affect my personal reading experience. Just as I may very well leave threads hanging in my own writing, it would take something really blatant to bother me in a story, and it'd probably have to be directly related to characterization (like, 'omg why didn't Harry grieve/fixate on Sirius' death more??!' and 'how did he just overlook casting the Sectumsempra so quickly?' and so on). There are probably great numbers of people whose response to those issues would be a heartfelt, 'so what?' And, y'know, that's a valid response too, I think, as far as it goes.

I think this sort of thinking goes a long way towards explaining why critically panned works can be so popular in the mainstream and why crappy Harry/Draco fanfic gets so many raving fangirl reviews.

Usually, when people write actual essays defending this, they say stuff that gets on my tits before it gets up my nose, like 'ICness doesn't matter' and 'writing believably is for sissies and Mudbloods, so leave my wankfic alone you meanies!' (...or... not. you know, artistic license is important). It's not that it's not important, it's that we all read what are effectively different stories, such is the difference a change in focus makes.

Often enough, I find I cannot recognize the HP I love in people's critical responses, even though I don't actually think they're wrong in the particulars, for instance. It's like... we all see the same trees on some level, but the nature of human perception is such that this isn't as important as the subjective 'forest' we make by noticing some trees as 'foreground' and the rest as 'background shrubbery'.

A lot of it's that I think there are different truths; and in some ways, I value the way someone sees something with the eyes of love more than the way someone deconstructs that same things rationally, though this is a subjective preference for equally subjective response. I still think realizing the halfway objective 'true outline' prevents any writer or critic from putting their foot in their mouth and being completely stupid (mmm, yummy foot), but this, to me, is in service to the ultimately personal nature of reader's response. I think knowing why people love something can be as enlightening as knowing why that something doesn't work on a rational level, though these two things are useful for different purposes. I wish people were more aware of and specific about what their purposes were, too, futile as that may be.

There's a danger to taking either 'side' too seriously; the rationalist readers have a way of acting like the objective analysis is 'superior' and 'the only truth' by implication even at best, and the emotive readers have a way of getting defensive and proprietary about their idea of-- or more accurately, feeling about the text, as if it is 'theirs' and any cold/prickly analysis or deconstruction is an assault not only on it, but on them personally. And while I am most naturally of the second type, I've been on the former type's side often enough to know it's no fun beating your head against either part of the brick wall. :>

I think you can't really understand the whole of a text (canon or fanfic), especially in the fannish context, without bringing the readers' emotional responses and context into it. If you're a rationalist, without understanding the emotional impact of and intuitive reasoning behind the stuff you're critiquing, you're going to talk past most of the actual fans and only reach the part of fandom that's disenfranchised and not emotionally invested in the fandom/canon to begin with, so just like with [livejournal.com profile] anitaray's post, a bunch of people 'me too' with no real discussion or new meaning generated in fandom. It becomes a bit ridiculous, to the point where it's like, 'if it's this bad, why are we here? what the hell is going on? are all these fangirls just complete idiots?' And in fact I do think the fangirls think that's the implied message-- that they're idiots as much as JKR, for being drawn in, right, for caring.

Conversely, just as I said in the recent post about how if you're not a canon!whore to some extent, or at least if you don't care about the nitty-gritty believability issues in relation to actual canon, your fic is going to suck. This sort of statement on my part is mostly addressed at the second type of fan, the emotive reader; this is because that's the reasoning I use on myself. "Reena," I said to myself once. "Reena, if you don't actually read the books, no one is going to take anything you say seriously. You realize this, right. Just checking." And lo, a lightbulb went on in my head. :P

It's fun to coast along, doing whatever the fuck you want and 'to hell with canon', until you crash-land on an alien planet filled with purple spotted wildebeests raping Harry's mom while eating cotton candy, and you ask yourself-- you ask yourself, 'what have I done? who the fuck are these people? and where, oh where are my PANTS??!' and so on. It's just not good for one's sense of sanity & grasp on reality, you know. It's good to have a few logical boundaries act as a filter both to one's writerly desires and even one's imagination. Otherwise, no one will know what you're talking about, basically, unless they too dream of purple wildebeests on Mars raping Harry's mum.

Which. I don't know, it gets a bit lonely out there, really, spewing stuff that no one understands 'cause it's too self-referential, too divorced from its 'actual' context, too stylized, too convoluted and just too damn weird. Ahem. But maybe that's just me.

~~

ETA: I regret my misguided terminology. All I can say is that it depends on you just 'knowing what I mean'. -.- I'll try to never generalize about people thoughtlessly in the future.

Date: 2007-09-16 09:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldserpent.livejournal.com
Hey, what about passionate emotional dislike? Frankly, I think most of the people who are down on HP within the HP fandom are of those sorts. Those who dislike the books as readers rather than fans are by definition not in the fandom. As I am not. A truly rational person would say that HP sucks, so why don't we talk about something we actually care about?

Also, I don't believe in rationality v. emotion, but in different values in fiction, and degrees of explanation. They are two sides of the same coin and you can express the same objection "why it didn't work for me" in either way. The difference is, if you express it in an analytical fashion, then you can make it intelligible to those who are not like you. "Rational analysis" (whatever the heck that is... ) is not necessarily negative, IMHO.

People can write reasoned analyses why "book A is great" and "why book A sucks ass" and both can fall under the category of "analysis," just as people can write emotional rants and raves saying book A is great/sucky. So in other words, it's not only a so called "rationalist" who must understand the different standpoints of other readers. I don't think either group has a monopoly on not understanding other viewpoints. In fact, to my point of view, many of the gaps in fandoms cannot be explained as 'reason/emotion,' because in the same group, I often see some people making emotional appeals and others writing reasoned responses, and they're both on the same side.

I think many of these gaps you're talking about can really be expressed as fanon v. canon, and the pro-fanon, extreme-reader-response one can be a rationalist one.

Date: 2007-09-16 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
I forgot about that, haha, though that's what causes the wank rather than the 'me toos' that post got (then again, it was too cute to wank, I guess). There's both the people who're just into the fanfic/fandom/subversion in a 'fuck canon! long live the queens!' and people who just like hatin'... though I think that post-book-6 and to some extent book 7, people became disillusioned, so you get fans who're just emotionally distant and disappointed yet still rational rather than passionately invested anymore. However, most people who don't get being in a fandom just for the fanon say that too ('why the hell would they bother if they were rational about it?' though they don't put it like that). Honestly, I myself wouldn't bother with fandoms where I really didn't like the canon, though I think fanon can help the 'meh' type canon grow on me, whereas if I love a canon source too much, personally I'm probably going to be too touchy & protective of it to get into the Wild West anything-goes vibe of fandom in general.

Anyway, I didn't mean to say that 'rational analysis' is necessarily negative at all (because it'd make no sense if I did say that)... though, umm, what I meant was that a lot of times even though it's not meant like that, it -feels- negative to emotionally invested fans. Also, I didn't mean to set up rationality & emotion as complete opposites which have nothing in common in each other-- I was saying I noticed a trend in type of reader response, and I was sort of carelessly naming/labelling it as 'rational' vs 'emotive' in a quick 'n dirty way, but I wasn't using those terms as directly & fully tied to their normal meanings, if that makes sense. The duality is just artificial for examination purposes.

I agree that they're both the same sides of the same coin... though at the same time, I unmistakably tend to get -predominantly- either one or the other approach in discussion with a given fan, just... informally speaking, my own impressions. I also think that while you're right and it's just a style of expressing 'why it worked/didn't work', I think there's a difference in the reader's preferred focus/subject-matter as well. I also agree that an analytical approach is generally more widely intelligible (which is where I was going with the 'purple wildebeests' analogy), but I also have noticed through experience that certain widely-held subjective opinions have certain short-hands in expression within fandom (squeeing about certain topics), and you don't need to be too clear if you fit into those categories of squee. A more complex point needs more rational elaboration to be understood by a wider audience (as I tried to say), but then most people don't actually have complex points to make in their responses, anyway. Though yeah... the reason I was talking about balance and critiquing both approaches to start with is because to understand one another, we need a common language of some sort.

Re: 'different values', maybe I don't know what you mean, but I was actually talking about that, wasn't I, when I was referring to different qualities one focuses on based on preference, like how I ignore plot holes but fixate on style elements, etc. Anyway, 'rational analysis' is probably something that's just natural and obvious to someone who uses it a lot and mostly visible through contrast? I see (...and do) a lot of intuitive/subjective-response driven writing about stories, all about 'this is how X made me feel' and 'this is what X inspired' and 'I feel like X is going on with these characters and Y should be going on but....'. It's when you project yourself onto the text (which leads to some cracked out and/or Mary Suish behavior) or coversely incorporate the text into your own mental landscape. It's true that reasoned analyses are the way they are regardless of whether they're about a thing's positives or negatives... I don't think I ever said otherwise, because... that would be silly :D

Date: 2007-09-16 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldserpent.livejournal.com
I actually don't characterize most of those people as "rational." Why does disappointed=rational? Most of the reasons people get disappointed with HP strike me as emotional ones, IMHO. If they were really "rational" why would they get disappointed in it?

So what are you actually talking about, if not the actual things that these words usually refer to? IMHO I don't find either to be an "approach to a text," I find the so called rationality to be simply how someone explains themselves. Ultimately, you have an emotional response. You can explain it any way you want to. You can rationally explain the squee categories, but they are just not going to make sense unless you inherently get it, therefore you can't communicate.

But I think you can rationally say that you do not value plot holes, and prefer style, and this is not necessarily "emotional." I value plot when I read, but I don't think it is because I am irrational/rational/whatever. I just value plot because I love plot. There, I have an emotional reason, and I think all people in fandom feel X about some things or at times think that X is going on when Y should be going on. To think that strikes me as actually a rational analysis, that the author is screwing up and not effectively portraying Y. I think what it is is that, in post-modernism ultimately everything is (vast oversimplification) subjective in a way, especially in art and language. In other words, see the post on robots not being AU.

Date: 2007-09-16 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
I think the reason I associate some 'disappointed' with rational (not the Harmonian kind) is because, depending on what they're disappointed about, JKR really did mess up the plot/books/stuff she herself set up, so it's almost like what happened in the books was actually illogical on some level, or perhaps 'too simplistic'. Some casual fans say stuff like 'I didn't think Snape's motivations would be this simplistic' even though they thought the possibility was there from the start. I think one pitfall of 'rational' type response is, I guess, overthinking things or expecting the author to think in the same way or to the same degree you do. Of course, this is not to be confused with people who're just emotionally invested in a particular outcome & then it didn't happen so they're disappointed and upset. Those former people tend to get quite tetchy if you confuse the two types, in my experience.

Well, like I said, currently I feel muddled about what I meant; I don't think it's like I reinvented the words randomly to suit myself or anything, it's just that I didn't define exactly what I did mean enough. Perhaps subjectively-driven and objectively-driven would be better ways to talk about it, because I'm talking about preference rather than either side being the exclusive incarnation of either feeling or reason; hopefully, any halfway intelligent person has both aspects in their personalities. :> It's just that people definitely seem to have differences I can track in how they relate to stories, and it's not just a canon-preference vs fanon-preference (because you can be a rationalist and still have a fanon/subversive preference, to borrow an example you'd mentioned). Some people tend to fixate more on or just-- prefer the objective 'truth' and 'this is how it is' type statements, and others are more commonly found defending their emotive stance (I love X! I hate Y! Stop trying to oppress me and my right to enjoy porn/love Sirius/hate Sirius/write Sirius in/out of existence! *cue rationalization and really bad pretend-logic*) These emotive types seem to be equally likely to be wanking or squeeing about either questionable canon or questionable fanon. It's not as if you can really break fans into two distinct types and that's it. It's just there are at least two different/opposing approaches to text in fandom that I was naming a bit carelessly. Everyone has an emotional response, 'tis true; some people seem more attached and driven by theirs than others, though. So yeah, it is just how you explain yourself/a style of engagement... but at the same time the type of post [livejournal.com profile] anitaray had was representative of a 'rationalist' approach... I mean, whether or not you find any given label useful for understanding is inherently somewhat subjective, though. It's not just modes of self-expression, it's that taken together with a given fan's values/focus areas.

Anyway, I definitely wasn't conflating valuing plot (or not, or preferring style) with rationality or the lack thereof; to the contrary, I mentioned that to promote an actual -lack- of hierarchy, as a commentary on how subjective are the building blocks of what we eventually use to explain why a story sucks or is awesome, and to show why some really horrid fics may be popular.

Date: 2007-09-16 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldserpent.livejournal.com
Mmm, but to say "too simplistic" is rational? I don't think is is necessarily. Anyone can misinterpret the text or misjudge where the direction of the text is. I don't see that as subjective/objective, because frequently both "rational" and "emotional" fans engage in "expecting the author to think in the same way or to the same degree you do." In fact, I associate the latter with the so called "emotional" fans.

Eh, but aren't you saying that the so called subjective fans are not truly subjective, in that they don't acknowledge that there are other valid viewpoints? I think even the so called "objective" people acknowledge that they are other viewpoints. Isn't defending your emotive stance (or whatever) saying "this is how it is!"? And in some ways, can't "this is how it is" be an emotive stance? Or do you mean that some people don't separate their emotive response from what they think the text is saying?

Yeah, but if you say that it's arbitrary what kind of values they're associated with, then it does devolve to a mode of self-expression. In other words, maybe what you want to say is "critical" approach, or "approaching as a text"? However, in many ways, it should be possible to both love something and acknowledge its flaws. A work can have both good points and bad points. There are precious few works that don't have large flaws, so why be shokku when people point them out?

Date: 2007-09-16 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
Oh you're right-- it's unlikely you'd project expectations or beliefs onto the text if you're not emotionally invested; I guess it's just that I keep getting muddled between 'typical mode of engagement' and 'personality type', whereas I really meant the former. It's not that 'emotive/subjective' fan response is 'irrational', really... or that saying a plot twist is 'too simplistic' is all that logical from an objective pov.... perhaps it really is just a phrasing thing, but my point is that there are a lot of predictable sorts of misunderstandings anyway, even if people in fandom aren't that different. Saying 'we're so different' was kind of the opposite of what I meant, so inevitably there's bleed-through on both sides, not to mention hypocritical behavior, which makes a rigid duality totally impossible to defend. I never meant to defend it, and I think trying to just sort of confuses me about what I meant to say (if anything).

Even though disappointment is most misused by 'emotional' and obvious invested fans, and the rational types are more likely to 'just accept the facts', generally there are rationalizations involved if for some reason they don't attain quite the high standard of fact acceptance to be expected. Sometimes it's because canon really is irregular; sometimes it's because, like with HP in book 7, threads get dropped and 'revelations' don't make sense on some level that takes all former data into account. I guess I'd say that sometimes a story can be said to fail itself in some way, rationally enough. Usually it's a function of being too subjectively invested, though, yeah.

Hahah well, my first instinct is to surrender unconditionally if you confront me with logical loopholes, mostly 'cause I write in terms of intuitive leaps, hypotheses and hunches/feelings/etc so I wasn't trying to make a real argument to start with, but okay... already tried that. :> Um... however, I do believe you're right-- it doesn't make sense on the logical level that the subjective/emotive types are actually more fixed and 'faux-objective' in their opinions, 'cause at least the objectivity-driven tend to respond to new data. And it's true that 'this is how it is' may be an emotive stance (or at least, one's personality, which is.... if not illogical per se, then at least axiomatic). Perhaps I should say both kinds of approaches may be stubborn/closed-off or open to new data, though generally they'd go about parsing/filtering for that new data differently (ie, rationally you'd need actual events that change things or arguments that build up logically, emotionally you'd just need something that 'reaches' you). There are more 'evolved' subjective-oriented people who fully acknowledge the limitations of their own beliefs, but most people aren't so self-aware or reasonable, even if it's most logical to be so given their personality basis, I guess. I do mean some people can't separate their emotive response from what they think the text is saying, or conversely from what they want the fanfic to be saying from its actual quality. The emotiveness as I meant it lies in this basic type of value assessment, I guess, rather than... um, the subjectivity level of one's immediate preferences. It's what you do with the immediate response, rather. Maybe. I'm still muddled, really. ^^;

Date: 2007-09-16 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldserpent.livejournal.com
Yeah, that's what I'm saying, it's not necessarily "irrational" in that you can say that all emotional responses are irrational, and generally fiction is supposed to primarily engender an emotional response anyhow, and logistically, I agree that it's really a subjective thing whether a plot twist is too simplistic. Although, is a story failing for a reader an emotional or rational thing? Subjective or objective? I would say that it simply depends on the situation, but ultimately storytelling rests on subjective and emotional grounds, but that there is enough commonality between people culturally for this to take on the appearance of objectivity if certain standards are accepted, yet the acceptance of these standards may in itself be seen as subjective.

I agree that all kinds of people may be close-minded. Actually, I think the opposite of love love squee is actually hate hate denunciation.

Hmm, what do you mean people can't be logical/reasonable and true to life? Just because someone's actions aren't reasonable doesn't mean that they can't be explained, I think. The explanation might be wrong or right, but it's actually, IMHO, not that difficult to explain why people are defensive squeers. We've seen it a dozen times on fandom wank. /shrug

Date: 2007-09-16 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
Well... taking the objectivity level of lit-crit and the standards employed within it... I think that's really the central issue, actually. There are people who think you can talk about books and take these (subjective) standards as rules and then view eventual canon deviations from the quality standards as disappointing or 'wrong', or you can defer to the author and primarily 'enjoy what's there' happily, etc, even if you can write subjective/rational essays on those feelings. That person would still be coming from a different place to start with. A bunch of people are insistent about the 'rules of engagement' inherent in storytelling. And a bunch of other people are more lax and focused on their (subjective) preferences/beliefs rather than external (objective) truths/untruths as they see them, at least. Difference in focus moreso than a totality of nature, basically.

What I meant isn't that people's specific actions are difficult to explain (especially not in general)-- perhaps I should be more clear, in that I'm normally talking about myself unless I clearly state I'm making a global (rational?) statement :> I meant I was having a hard time because of various muddling factors present, mostly to do with working with objections that were true yet incomplete. The difficulty is more to do with untangling either misunderstandings or instances where I couldn't express my thoughts well enough. It's not just about wrong vs right when the person can't necessarily state their opinion fully and completely, nor even decide exactly where their opinion finally rests (since they're in the process of forming it). In my defense, though, I was referring to a more complex and wide-ranging subject than the detail about 'why people are defensive squeers', which I already mentioned in my post briefly :>

Ah well. Perhaps I'll be more lucid in the morning.

Date: 2007-09-16 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] worldserpent.livejournal.com
Well, I think in some ways, the authors also buy into these standards, and appear to be taking them as part of the rules. But then they become inconsistent to themselves, and that especially is when readers get annoyed. I think it also is that there is not necessarily one set of rules, there are several, and they differ on their preferences.

Date: 2007-09-16 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
So yeah, the values themselves are arbitrary, and it does devolve into a mode of self-expression (bear with me, I've just gotten more confused. oh man.) I think that it's definitely possible both to love & to acknowledge flaws, though it's more likely to actually exist in actuality in 'rationalist' or critical types. Though as you said, rationalist isn't the same as critical in the negative sense and so on. It's difficult explaining the logic of why people are illogical, y'know :)

The reason people get defensive about flaws being pointed out even when they know they're there-- tends to be because they're defensive and miscommunication in opposing styles has occurred. A 'rationalist' approach isn't necessarily negative, but it's more open to the negative aspects; perhaps I can separate it into 'love-love squeers' vs... their opposite, but that's just another thorny tangle. The biggest issue is that you can't really make people sound both logical/reasonable and be true to life, so any explanation I come up with sounds cracked-out while your objections/suggestions sound like the obvious thing. :> It's not that 'critics' don't love, anyway... it's definitely about expression as a filter at least partly.

Date: 2007-09-16 03:31 pm (UTC)
ext_6866: (Hmmmm..)
From: [identity profile] sistermagpie.livejournal.com
I think the reason I associate some 'disappointed' with rational (not the Harmonian kind) is because, depending on what they're disappointed about, JKR really did mess up the plot/books/stuff she herself set up, so it's almost like what happened in the books was actually illogical on some level, or perhaps 'too simplistic'. Some casual fans say stuff like 'I didn't think Snape's motivations would be this simplistic' even though they thought the possibility was there from the start. I think one pitfall of 'rational' type response is, I guess, overthinking things or expecting the author to think in the same way or to the same degree you do. Of course, this is not to be confused with people who're just emotionally invested in a particular outcome & then it didn't happen so they're disappointed and upset. Those former people tend to get quite tetchy if you confuse the two types, in my experience.

I think reactions to fictions are always a combination of both, and one side can just outweigh the other. For instance, the fact that Dumbledore's plan was really stupid didn't have to destroy the book--Voldemort's plan in GoF is supremely stupid and I both love saying that and love Barty's revelation of himself. (And I do disagree with anybody who says plot isn't a strong point of JKR just because she has these kinds of holes--a plot can be engaging without being completely logical.) If the story didn't grab me, then the plot holes are just one more thing that's stupid. DH for me fell flat on so many levels, I'm not angry that Dumbledore's plan wasn't brilliant or Snape wasn't a genius superspy with a complex story--I never expected either of those things. I just don't have anything else carrying me away past those things.

Date: 2007-09-17 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
Hahaha man, my nice duality is so completely destroyed by now I feel it's been heartily stomped on, but yeah, it's not like I really seriously believe in those to start with-- my intuitive feeling is that clearly everything bleeds into each other :D I agree that plot doesn't have to be logical to be engaging, though... um, I think if you're a rationalist type person who thinks in straight lines, maybe it does :D Like I was saying in the post, though, I go with whatever grabbed me in that particular story (plot, style, characters, whatever), and then get carried past that-- or if I don't like it, I think I'd focus on my pet-peeves first and plot-holes last 'cause I probably wouldn't notice those. Woe for me and my swiss-cheese brain. :(

Date: 2007-09-16 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
I mean, I 'rationally explain the squee' all the time, and so do many others, so I know it's possible; if anything, that's what I do 95% of the time on this lj. :> Basically, my only real point was really that-- what you focus on in critique is driven by what you personally like/dislike/habitually notice, so one person's scathing criticism is another person's 'eh? so?' Then I just went on a tangent about how people misunderstand each other and should try to see where others are coming from more because of this natural subjectivity of focus :> Or something. Who the hell knows what I mean; certainly not me. ^^;

This is the trouble with setting up dualities; it's so easy to poke holes and show they don't exist for one, and yet will always get offended somehow as well (like [livejournal.com profile] theredwepainted above). Well, I would just delete the whole post but that seems lame, so instead I'll say I wasn't meaning to associate either rationality or emotionality with value judgments; the whole thing was a bit too much of a piss-take on fandom stereotypes mixed muddled ramblings of the less sarcastic sort, so no wonder I ended up being confusing and inadvertently offensive, I guess. ^^; Sorry, I keep getting long-winded. ><;;

Date: 2007-09-16 04:59 pm (UTC)
theredwepainted: (Default)
From: [personal profile] theredwepainted
Not to barge in or anything, but here's my impression of the axes you were talking about:

1. Rational vs. Emotional responses to text:

a. The reader who maintains a certain distance from the source while consuming it and is, on some level, taking it apart (for good or ill) in their head as they go (noting plot holes, or the lack thereof; forming predictions based on narrative theory, etc.)

vs.

b. The reader who gets absorbed into the world of the source and goes on a ride with it, being concerned more about whether they like it or not than whether it's making sense (often missing plotholes, but having a transcendent emotional experience, or a really bad one. Forgiving plotholes if they enjoy the work. Forming predictions based on what feels right to them.)

and then,

1. Fan expression

a. The fan who presents their case in non-emotive terms (bulleted lists of plot holes, comparisons of work to various archetypal plots, essay to the effect of A + B = C, as seen on page 452.)

vs.

b. The fan who expresses their opinion in emotive terms (this sucked, this was amazing, it's not fair that WriterX did BadThingY to CharacterZ, etc.)

And I think that you can be a type 1B in reading and a type 2A in expression, which I think is why people are getting confused maybe? Because they're thinking about Axes 2 instead off Axes 1+2 (I was actually the opposite - I was thinking entirely of Axes 1) whereas I think you're sort of equating the two, like if you're 1A then you're also 2A (which is... often but not always the case) and if you're 1B then you're 2B (which is, I think, not as reliable.)

I ALSO think that a lot of people who are 1Bs express themselves as 2Bs when they're loving it and 2As when they're not, because their positive emotional reaction helps them ignore problematic things as long as they are generally enjoying the work, but when they no longer like it, the hammer comes down on the bad stuff.

OR MAYBE I'M CONFUSED, TOO. Happens all the time.

Date: 2007-09-17 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com
NOOooo YOU ARE NOT CONFUSED, U R SMRT! UNLIKE ME! Lfjkaslkfjasljkfasf I particularly like Axis 1, 'cause that's mostly what I started off talking about specifically (I... think) & I really like how you put it :D :D I wasn't really meaning to get into 'fan expression' (I think you meant Axis 2?) directly, it just sort of... drizzled in because it is sometimes associated in my mind & in my experience, though I wasn't meaning to get all 'this is my theory' about it. The problem is that by saying something like 'rationalist', I guess it sounds more like I'm talking about personality & therefore expression(?). I was sloppy in the sense that I figure it's obvious there isn't a direct & constant correlation there, but more seriously in that I didn't realize leaving it hanging messed up and/or muddled anything I said about Axis 1. Maybe.

I wasn't really equating them, anyway; it's only when [livejournal.com profile] worldserpent brought up those points that I got muddled because I wasn't sure what I was talking about myself (this happens to me a lot, especially when faced with logical consequences I didn't already count on... unsurprising, as I rarely do count on most). I think you're totally right about the 1Bs expressing themselves as 2Bs 'while they're loving it'-- that's an awesome observation, it totally fits with my experience and partly with my actual personality too, hahaha. I'm still not sure if the second axis is useful/necessary (to make a real grid and be more reflective of fandom/readers' response in practice) or if it's just too confusing. It helps to label thinks 2b and 1a and such, though :D :D Mmm, numbers....

Date: 2007-09-16 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourpoison.livejournal.com

Somehow things got convoluted? I also didn't mean to somehow fixate on how rationalists 'must understand' whereas the emotives are great and don't need changing...? I was talking about the possible pitfalls and shortcomings of these general approaches as observes in fandom kerfuffles, and of course these are only the extremes, and most people in fandom aren't so unreasonable. In other words, I never implied/meant to imply either group has a monopoly; quite the opposite. ^^; Anyway, it's true you can be pro-fanon or pro-canon whether or not you're writing a reasoned response... ahh, now I'm just confusing myself; I didn't mean to say most of those things, anyway. I was conflating emotion with subjectivity for my purposes... even though I use 'reason' for subjective purposes all the time :> You're definitely right that you can be rationalist pro-reader-response (ie, post-modern), and I know a number of people like that; my point was more... muddled, I think, by the way I labeled more than anything ^^;

*stamps 'muddled' on forehead & gives up* :>

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