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Passions in Poetry

Video Games--Misunderstood?

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brian madden
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25 posted 01-07-2003 02:39 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

wow my thesis has some relevance.. I wrote about the effects of animation violence on children. I believe that computer games have similar if not even more direct effect on children. After all with computer games the children are interacting, they are the cause of the violence.
Watching a violent film or playing a computer game can not turn a child into a cold-blooded killer but what according to

The American Psychological Association it has the following effects:

Children become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.

They are more fearful of the world around them.

They behave in an aggressive manner towards others.

A number of factors contribute to people's attitudes towards violence, television and video games are one contributing factor as well as social and economic circumstances.  

I don't have the source of this following quote at the moment:  

"For most children, fantasy may help drain off excess aggression, but for some it may actually build aggression and contribute to violent act. This, we repeat, is not wholly predictable from the content; it is necessary also to know the children".

watched from the wings as the scenes were replayed we saw ourselves now as we never have seen" ian curtis

Local Parasite
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26 posted 01-07-2003 05:03 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
Depends on who you're reading, LR.


LP.  And LP wholly agrees with you.  A lot of fiction is excellent for expanding your horizons.  Right now I'm reading Huxley's "Island" and it's absolutely blowing my mind... pushing me places I've never thought of exploring.  There is a lot of fiction out there that can expand your horizons, make you question your beliefs, I don't deny that.  

I wasn't referring to literature, what I had in mind is Stephen King novels and things you see people reading on the bus... entertainment fiction.  I could agree with Kosetsu to less of an extreme that many video games (like some of the Final Fantasy series) have an incredible amount of depth and are often so beautifully done in story, concept and yes, even (often especially) music.  I do consider video games, like most things, capable of being an art form.  

Final Fantasy 7 is a good example.  Buganhagen's speech about the planet deserves an oscar, in my opinion.  So many times Sephiroth's very atmosphere was definitive of the romantic sublime... And Hush, did you cry when Aeris died?  I almost did.  
hush
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27 posted 01-08-2003 11:10 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Aeris got on my nerves. So no, I didn't cry, but I kind of sat there thinking 'huh.'

But hey, you know what else the Final Fantasies are besides having a good storyline, artistic graphics, and good music? They're violent. "Hey look, someone's evil, now let's kill them!"

Oh, and did I mention, a pretty big chunk of dissappearing time.

And, hey, what's wrong with Stephen King. I will definitely argue that if there is some meaning and depth in certain video games, there is definitely some meaning and depth in Stephen King novels. I haven't read that many, but The Shining is one of my favorite books- I think the psychological process he shows is realy detailed and really effective. And what about the Bachman books? I'm kind of wishy-washy on Rage, but I definitely think The Long Walk and The Running Man are good exampled of social satire, albeit terribly dark and violent. I'll even concede that there's some titillation involved in them, but I think that's part of the point. He's showing us that we're not immune- that we get off on the violence, even if we don't approve.
Ron
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28 posted 01-08-2003 12:03 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

LP, I think hush is essentially right. The only quantifiable difference between literature (Huxley) and entertainment (King) is one of timing. During his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote entertainment. It was only later we started calling it literature.

p.s. Who, in 1974, could have foreseen the Columbine tragedy? Anyone read Carrie?
Opeth
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29 posted 01-08-2003 12:23 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

It all comes down to parenting and raising your children with love and caring, not video games, tv, or any other source of media.

"The devil made me do it." ~ Flip Wilson
Local Parasite
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30 posted 01-08-2003 04:37 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

That is a good point to bring up, Ron... a lot of people would say that the only difference between what we consider literature and what we just see as fiction is the age of the writing.  You know, we had that exact same discussion last year in my English Literature class.  Sure it was a high school class, but hey, we still had some good discussions.

I talked to my teacher a bit about his feelings on what constitutes literature and he and I came to the agreement that literature isn't necessarily what is old, nor is non-literary fiction something that's just a new trend... I agree completely that Shakespeare wrote a lot for the sake of entertainment, but he still packed his work with a lot of social criticism, philosophical sentiments and the like... so that by actually reading (or seeing) one of his plays, there would be room for entertainment as well as insight.  

Take the clowns, for instance... Shakespeare had a clown in a lot of his plays, for the sake of entertainment, but not really making that entertainment value crucial to the story.  I also remember doing Hamlet as a class, and all of us analyzing the purpose of a lot of Shakespeare's humour... seems he mixed a lot in there just to keep the attention and intrigue of his audience, but behind that intrigue, gave a lot of underlying insight.

I've read one Stephen King novel and it wasn't a very well-known one, it was a ten-dollar paperback that I bought at a convenience store (I don't like first reading popular works by authors because of all the outer interference you get with your own comprehension of the text)... from what I could see, it was filled with the supernatural, with some psychological exploration in the characters, but mostly just a very detailed description of events.  I don't recall coming back from the book with any questions, really, or it making any serious points to me that I stirred around for weeks afterwards.  Honestly I didn't enjoy the book... King is a good writer, but the book seemed to be written with entertainment in mind.

This doesn't mean literature can't do the same thing.  I'm going to refer to one of my favourite works - Wordsworth and Coleridge's late 1700/early 1800 publication of the Lyrical Ballads... right at the start of the text, Wordsworth makes an argument that it is a collection of poetry that deals both with the ordinary and the supernatural, in such a way that can be appreciated by common people, in common language.  This is pretty plainly stating that the content is written for entertainment, but using entertainment as a vehicle for a more important message.

I would say that literature does use entertainment, but it doesn't focus on entertainment.  Stephen King, from what I could see, focused on entertainment as the primary motive to his work.  Of course, only he knows what he really focuses on with his work... in any case, the motive of the reader is all that matters.  Ever been to a book club meeting?  Any one that I've seen is full of "what-did-you-likes" in the story.  Most people who read Stephen King read it for entertainment, and not because they're interested in what the author himself has to say.
Ron
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31 posted 01-08-2003 05:37 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Try this on for size, LP.

The primary purpose of ALL fiction is to entertain. If it doesn't, the author might as well have written non-fiction (and would likely find more readers that way).

The best authors, however, realize that entertainment happens on many different levels. For every reader entertained solely by "what happens next," there is another reader who will find their enjoyment only when they understand WHY what happens next should be important to them. Good writers weave a tapestry that only a very few readers will ever see in its entirety.

Corollary: If a popular writer seems shallow, maybe he is. OR maybe the reader is seeing only the surface of the tapestry in front of him?
Local Parasite
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32 posted 01-08-2003 08:31 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
The primary purpose of ALL fiction is to entertain. If it doesn't, the author might as well have written non-fiction (and would likely find more readers that way).


There's a perfect example of how wrong you are sitting on my desk right now.  I just finished reading it a while ago.  Plato's "Republic."

It's written in the form of dialogue that never actually occurred as it is written, but was invented by the author.  Yeah, I'd call that fiction.  The primary purpose of the text is clearly not entertainment.

That doesn't mean that entertainment wasn't on Plato's mind - the original greek text (from what I hear) was beautifully written in a very flowing and almost poetic style.  Writing can be extremely entertaining without entertainment being the primary intent of the author.

[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (01-08-2003 08:31 PM).]

Ron
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33 posted 01-08-2003 10:20 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'm not sure I would consider Plato a novelist, any more than I would call "In Cold Blood" a novel. Still, I won't quibble over details, but instead will ask a simple question.

If the primary purpose of the text is clearly not entertainment, LP, why did he bother writing it as a dialogue?

Plato knew that entertainment is the horse that pulls the cart filled with enlightenment and enrichment. Put the cart in the front of the horse and nothing is going to happen.
Local Parasite
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34 posted 01-09-2003 02:51 AM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
Plato knew that entertainment is the horse that pulls the cart filled with enlightenment and enrichment. Put the cart in the front of the horse and nothing is going to happen.


Well, he didn't write it for the sake of entertainment... in fact that was a question on our mid-term exam - Plato wrote in dialogue in order to show the process of philosophic discussion and socratic method.  That can't be demonstrated quite as well in essay form.  It's also a more convenient way of introducing challenges to Plato's points, as well as showing his refutations to popular established opinions... a character in the Republic could represent a common belief or set of beliefs, that Plato could analyze in conversation.

It's not just Plato.  Have you read 1984?  I doubt that was written primarily for entertainment, because of all the important questions it raises, the points it makes about the relationship between thought and language (which have been made before, of course), et cetera.  Even very young children have fiction that is written to educate them, not to entertain.  

I'm young and basic teenager, so naturally I haven't read a lot of literature, I admit... but I've read enough to know that it's not always about entertainment.  Of course there's a lot of "literature" out there that are basically just old entertainment novels... Joyce is a brilliant author whose writing style I admire, but I never saw much past the entertainment in his writing.  Stuff like Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby is plain fiction, written a long time ago with some social criticism, but nothing I'd really call important... I know that in its time, Catcher in the Rye was really popular with the youth.  All entertainment.

The bottom line is that fiction is often a more effective approach to communicating your message than non-fiction would be... and it shouldn't always be lumped under written-for-entertainment-value.  

All this aside, I must seem really annoying, always bringing up Plato... hehe... I just really liked that book, that's all...
hush
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35 posted 01-09-2003 12:13 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

You don't think the Catcher in the Rye held cultural pertinence? Talk about yourn social criticism- in the fifties, there wasnt a whole lot of room to criticize "phonies." That book broke the mold.

I didn't like it very much. I didn't find it very entertaining, because i thought Holden Caulfield was a whiny pain in the butt.

You know what else? I didn't like 1984 that much either. It wasn't all that entertaining. I read it dutifully, because it's a classic book of social criticism and I sure like to criticize society, and there's no easier way to do that than to liberally sprinkle essays and articles (I was an editor on my high school newspaper) with thought police and Big Brother reference.

But I thought the book was boring. I liked Animal Farm much better.

In any case, I'd rather read a juicy Stephen King novel than 1984 or the Catcher in the Rye again.

Did you ever consider that the book you read by him wasn't very popular because it wasn't his best work? I don't claim to know that much about King, but my boyfriend's read a great deal of his books, and according to him, everything after the Green Mile pretty much sucks. But I think there's a good reason that the Shining is as famous as it is- it's a complex book with interesting characters... and you know what the Shining does that 1984 failed to do? It honestly sent chills up my spine. I found the idea of a hotel that can manipulate peoples' minds more terrifying than a government that does the same. Why? King wrote in a much more emotive, accessible way. He made it matter to me- Orwell bored me.

A poet I like, Daphne Gottlieb, wrote a poem called "The Personal is Political." I think that's true, and I think that entertainment is probably one of the best ways to get someone politically involved in something. I mean, I'd much rather sit down and have a conversation with Micheal Moore than with, say, Bill Bennet, because Micheal Moore is so funny, and furthermore, he uses his incredible sense of ironic humor to make extremely pertinent points. When's the last time Bill Bennet made me laugh on Fox News?
Ron
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36 posted 01-09-2003 02:01 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

You're certainly right that fiction is a more effective approach for communicating a message. Not just often, in my opinion, but always. But why is it more effective? Because it is more entertaining than essay! As an essay, 1984 would have been probably ten or twenty pages long. Everything Huxley had to say could have been distilled down to a fairly short essay. It would have been just as understandable, too, just as informative and interesting. But it would NOT have had the impact the novel did. Knowing a thing is never the same as feeling a thing.

It's all relative, of course, which I think is all you're really proving. If you grasp something of the underlying meaning, then it's literature. If you don't, then it's entertainment. What you haven't seen yet is that those are your limitations, not the limitations of the genre. Catcher in the Rye and Gatsby are both incredibly deep stories, LP. Far more so than 1984, where the intended meaning was usually a big stick Huxley used to beat you over the head. (Amy is right, Animal Farm was a far superior and deeper story than 1984.) That you apparently missed much of the meaning in those stories by Fitzgerald and Salinger is okay, though. You've got plenty of time and, if you continue to read critically, you WILL return to them someday. Probably more than once, as I know I did.

Here's something else to consider, too. I think it's important to realize is that social commentary is not the only important thing that can be learned from quality fiction. It's not even the most important, because you can always learn it elsewhere (if with less entertainment). But you will never live long enough or widely enough to meet and understand all the people you can encounter in fiction. Nick Carraway is more than just a character in a book, he's an archetype for much of humanity. You think social structure is important? Or engineering or medicine or art? Or computer programming? No matter what you do in life, no matter how much skill or knowledge or expertise you might accumulate, you will fail miserably if you don't understand people. Conversely, with a deep understanding of what makes people tick, even mediocrity will rise to stellar levels. Writers like Fitzgerald, Salinger, Hemingway, Shakespeare, and Dickinson use fiction as a vehicle to share their uncanny understanding of humanity. And, yea, even King should probably be included, because to grasp the nature of a man's fear is to better understand the man.

Here's the rub, LP.

If Plato or Huxley weren't entertaining, YOU WOULDN'T READ THEM. How many good phone books have you read lately? As with the poetry we write in these forums, what you have to say is never more important than how you say it. Because the writer who thinks it is will never be heard.


Local Parasite
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37 posted 01-09-2003 03:12 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

You know what, Ron?  The more I read what you're saying, the more I think that you and I actually agree... I only ever challenged that entertainment is the primary purpose of all fiction.  Almost everything you're saying I agree with.

Entertainment value is important, it's very important, but it's still not the primary purpose of the text.  Also, I do think it is possible to have entertainment in a non-fictional text.  Haven't read any interesting phone books lately.  I have, however, read some interesting text books, some interesting essays, the like.  

You still can't deny that there are writers who write entirely for the purpose of being entertaining.  Ever read something in the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine?  Spent a lot of my elementary school time reading those books.  "Stay Out Of The Basement" didn't exactly have any deeper, more global meaning behind it - and if it did, I'm sure Stine didn't intend it to.  These are books written for the sake of entertainment.  That's what I was arguing when I said the primary purpose of all fiction isn't entertainment.  

Read something like "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield (a light read - give it a weekend or so) and you'll see that there are still people who write what are considered fictional novels, with the primary purpose of educating or spreading their message, as opposed to simple entertainment with the inadvertent (sp?) possibility of conveying a deeper message.

And who knows?  Maybe I will come back and read Catcher and Gatsby sometime.  I might even enjoy them a bit more.

Or maybe our tastes in literature just differ.  Who knows?    

Thanks for the insight, as usual.  


[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (01-09-2003 03:18 PM).]

Local Parasite
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38 posted 01-09-2003 03:16 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

For the record - 1984 and Animal Farm were written by George Orwell, NOT Huxley, if I remember right.  I had the opportunity to read "Animal Farm" in my english lit class, but opted for 1984... more people chose Animal Farm because it was so much shorter a novel.  Go figure.  

I like Huxley a whole lot better, personally.  And it's not just because he's more entertaining - from what I've read, his points are more clearly justified in his writing than Orwell's are.

[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (01-09-2003 03:19 PM).]

Ron
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39 posted 01-09-2003 04:28 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I guess our clash, then, is just over a definition of the word primary.

If I say the primary purpose of food is to be palatable, that doesn't necessarily mean it can't or shouldn't be nutritious. It just means that nutrition MUST be secondary to taste because there will be NO nutrition if you aren't willing to eat it.

And, yes, I purposely chose phone book to make my point because it's one of very few written documents not meant to entertain. I even discarded "dictionary" because a decent dictionary is well written and marginally entertaining (at least for nerds like me). Non-fiction falls under the same identical entertainment constraints as fiction. Otherwise, people wouldn't read it. But there's a very good reason why so many more people crawl up in front of a fire with a novel than with a text book. It's much more difficult to write non-fiction that entertains on the same level as fiction.

I read The Celestine Prophecy a long time ago. Must be over ten years? Didn't care for it much. The king of this genre was Ogden Nash, who wrote a lot of self-help books in a similar fictional style. Haven't heard anything from Nash in a while, though? The best fictionalized non-fiction book I could recommend would be "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." A remarkably good read.

Oh, and sorry about the Huxley /  Orwell slip. Unforgivable.
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40 posted 01-09-2003 05:45 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

  

At least now I have something to throw back at you, eh?  

Oh... and as I just remembered I have a copy of it on hand, and I'm going to read Gatsby again sometime this weekend.  I first read it such a long time ago that I'm not surprised if I missed something.  
Brad
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41 posted 01-11-2003 06:48 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, you guys have defined 'entertainment' to the point where it doesn't mean anything except that it is readable. Great, if something isn't readable, it isn't going to get read. I think this is a mistake in that entertainment is too often equated with accessibility. I offered my father once a copy of "Slaughterhouse 5", he turned it down saying it was too difficult. Vonnegut may be many things but he's not difficult, he may write about 'serious' things, but it is not a difficult pill to swallow.

It's a clever slide if you think about it. While I have no interest in trying to demean fiction or narrative, I do think the genre, any genre, is better for some things rather than others. Would "A Modest Proposal" be better if it had been a narrative? I doubt it. Is it entertaining? I read it, didn't I?
Oscar Wilde's "Man under Socialism", the travel writings of Salmon Rushdie, or even "The Diary of Anne Frank"?

Plato's dialogues created a genre (even if it wasn't the first dialogue), the genre of philosophy and I think that even today the best philosophy written is written in that spirit. It wouldn't work as well if it were a novel. For a good counter-example, take a look at John Galt's speech in "Atlas Shrugged". You may have liked the novel, but I haven't met anyone who 'likes' that speech.

Which was more entertaining King's "I have a Dream" speech or Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man"? Where indeed does one place Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" in all this?

The "Gettysburg Address" or "I have a Dream" may not be entertainment but they are captivating, enthralling, mesmerising. But there's probably more meat, less appetizing meat certainly, in "Invisible Man" than in both speeches put together.  

But the point in question is entertainment and the schism between entertainment and serious writing is quite pronounced today. Why is that? To some extent, I agree that it is time, but not the time that Ron and Hush speak of, I mean the time it takes to understand a piece. If it takes more time, if more time is spent thinking, "What is he/she trying to say?" than it is, by definition, less entertaining. It is art and we all know what that means.

The importance of difficulty (here defined, not as ambiguity or opaqueness, but as the consumption of time) as entertainment should not be overlooked in the rush to embrace entertainment as accessibility. I won't expand on this idea here, save it for another time, but a narrative is not always better if it is easier to swallow/follow (Try out Thomas Pynchon), and neither is any other form of writing or speaking that is initially entertaining.

---------------------------

"1984" is a better novel than "Animal Farm" and "Brave New World". Though I suppose it's difficult to look at ourselves in the mirror, far easier to place it in the far future or as an allegory than as an extrapolation. After all, nobody really believes that a good book tells you what you want to hear or that one needn't be an animal or a genetically manipulated slave to realize that you, you and I, are being manipulated by words to the point of incredulity.

Orwell's thesis on language, ever present in that book, is something we can talk about or even countered as in Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" and as a result I find that that book is far more prescient, far more thought provoking, than either of the other two.

That is, "1984" resonates whereas I don't see the other two doing that.

And all three contain elements of futility.


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42 posted 01-11-2003 08:12 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Though I suppose it's difficult to look at ourselves in the mirror, far easier to place it in the far future or as an allegory than as an extrapolation.

Geesh, Brad, you sure know how to make a guy feel old. When I read 1984, it WAS considered the far future.

Yes, 1984 resonates. Ironically, I don't think it was as good as Animal Farm for the very reason you mentioned. It provokes thought, but doesn't require much thought. Sit back, read, and Orwell will tell you everything he wants you to know. Of course, I have to also admit that when I read Animal Farm it perhaps had greater significance than it does today. Strange how that works. One was science fiction, the other current events, and now both are relics of history. Yep, feeling pretty old tonight.

p.s. You may not have liked Galt's speech, but it's hard to deny the impact that Rand had on the average man. Not the academic elite, but the average man. Objectivism, for many, almost reaches cult status even fifty years later. Were her ideas really that powerful? Or did the emotional presentation of those ideas give them much of their appeal?


Brad
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43 posted 01-11-2003 10:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Rand's ideas are a simple reversal of Marx. And, no, I do not think that never-ending train ride in "Atlas Shrugged" contributed to her cult status. She appeals to the same sort of 'us and them' relationship that Marx does.

Galt's Gulch was a great description of communism in action, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" and all other people are described as if they were blood suckers -- just like Marx described the Capitalists. It's a good strategy, it works (I know, I've succumbed to both types at various times in my life, I probably will again as well.)

Hey, are there still any Objectivists sneaking about these days?

I think, maybe, the problem with "1984" as opposed to "Animal Farm" is that one always get the feeling that Napoleon knew he was cheating the people, er, animals and this climaxes in his standing up (becoming like the reader -- we always knew this is what he wanted), his becoming the very thing he's fighting. The same thing happens to Winston of course, but the difference, I think, is that he turns away from the reader's view to O'Brian's and O'Brian believes in the system.

Still, you can certainly make the point that Orwell failed to convey this point adequately to the reader, that he didn't make us feel this. "1984" is by far the more ambitious work and it fails, perhaps, because of that ambition.

hush
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44 posted 01-12-2003 12:12 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Brad-

Interesting that you brought up Galt's speech. I feel the same way about the chapter of Goldstein's book in 1984. Both were long, tedius summaries of what the fictional parts of the book had already stated.

I agree that Ayn Rand appeals to an 'us and them' mentality- my biggest problem with her was always the stark black-and-white quality of her ideas. But I do think that one of the reasons Atlas Shrugged works is because of her dynamic characters- Galt was my least favorite character... perfection incarnate? A perfect man can never change. Dagny changed. Francisco, Hank Rearden, Cheryl Taggart (one of my favorite characters)- all of these characters struggle with identity, and the assertion of their identities in a world that doesn't allow it. I thought Francisco's struggle with following his heart and staying with Dagny and doing what was right or doing what he considered to be the most morally right thing was really well played out. I don't necessarily agree with what he did... but that's beside the point. The point is that for me, and probably for a lot for other people, it's a lot easier to think about things effectively if I have tangible characters and actions to attach them to. I couldn't put Atlas Shrugged down, and I'm kind of wrestling with the Virtue of Selfishness. It's not that I don't find it interesting- I do- but I think that compelling characters and plot lines are an important aid in getting people to think.

I'm more likely to think a lot harder about something if I can actually make personal associations (oh, well, I can relate to why Dagny did this) than if I have to struggle with abstracts in my mind. It's a lot easier to visualize a character than an idea, and maybe that's just a flaw in the way I (and presumably, a lot of other people) think. For example, I saw the movie In the Bedroom, after hearing everyone rave about it- and I thought it just sucked. It was boring, heavy-handed drama, and while it had compelling aspects, I couldn't stay interested. Contrast that with, say, Unfaithful. Another drama where sexual passion leads to the new partner being murdered. I thought it was an excellent movie, because the presentation of it just caught my eye and my interest more. I know these are completely subjective calls, but the point is, I think much more about the movie that entertained me. The one that bored me? I remeber some vague plot synopsis, a couple scenes and details... it's the same with anything, really. The more you like it, the more you think about it.

[This message has been edited by hush (01-12-2003 12:15 PM).]

brian madden
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ireland


45 posted 01-12-2003 04:15 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

It’s amazing the way these conversations twist and turn. The thread on what constitutes entertainment is interesting but the one I want to focus on is 1984.  

To go through some of the points made.

“I read it dutifully, because it's a classic book of social criticism and I sure like to criticize society, and there's no easier way to do that than to liberally sprinkle essays and articles (I was an editor on my high school newspaper) with thought police and Big Brother reference.”

Hush, I disagree with you that Orwell used Big Brother and Thought police merely to give the book clout or to criticise society. These concepts may be part of every sci fi cliché by now but Orwell’s vision, owing much to both his views on communism and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, is a chilling account of totalitarianism.

Personally I found 1984 more powerful than Animal Farm. With Animal Farm we see the world through the eyes to animals, it reads like an extended metaphor for how power can corrupt, its an analogy for the failings of communism. With 1984 we are dealing with a world of constant surveillance, where people live in fear of the law. It shows the workings of a political system with complete control and their impact on the individual.
In some sense 1984's impact is not in its politic satire, its in the human aspect of the book and how
The human spirit can be broken. So for me, 1984 is a far deeper book than Animal Farm. Hate to disagree Ron, but I will. In Animal Farm the characters were too symbolic, not as fleshed out in 1984.
1984 connects on a human level. 1984 was the first book I read that really dug beneath my skin, the ending was no big surprise. It was inevitable but that’s what made it more chilling.

Agreeing with most of what Brad said. With Animal Farm Napoleon was the villain (symbolising Stalin. Snowball symbolised Lenin). He was completely obsessed with power and crushed everyone in his path. Where as with 1984 O’Brien is not the villain, “Big Brother” is. O’Brien is merely a pawn of Big Brother, brainwashed to be faithfully. He believes he is justified, he believes that his actions are honourable, where as Napoleon is aware that he is causing the suffering of others.

“his becoming the very thing he's fighting. The same thing happens to Winston of course” Not to the same extent. Winston is disenchanted with the part system and is crushed for this, before he can even incite a rebellion  

Napoleon’s an opportunist who uses a rebellion, lead by others, to seize power. Power did not change him, it merely gives him to chance to reveal his darker side. He becomes the animal’s new oppressor.  

watched from the wings as the scenes were replayed we saw ourselves now as we never have seen" ian curtis

hush
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Ohio, USA


46 posted 01-12-2003 09:25 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Brian- that comment was tongue-in-cheek, and I think you misunderstood what I mean. I never meant to insinuate that Orwell's use of thought police or Big Brother was contrived or cheap- just the fact that, having been born in 1984, I heard quite the multitude of allusions and references before I got around to reading the book.

The sarcasm you noted had more to do with a cynical attitude toward my highschool newspaper instructor, who basically said that you can stump the student population by presenting articles in a snobbish "I bet you don't know where this comment originated" way- that writing in a voice that vaunted myself as a writer would inevitably lead to more convincing and compelling editorials, because a student body who thinks they are reading somebody who is smarter than they are will inevitably listen to that superior voice.

It inevitably appealed to my easily inflated estimation of my own writing and (heh heh, imagine this) it inevitably didn't acheive the desired affect. Go figure. Rant over.
Brad
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Jejudo, South Korea


47 posted 01-13-2003 01:52 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Snowball is Trotsky, isn't he?
brian madden
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ireland


48 posted 01-13-2003 01:11 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

hmm... thought it was Lenin, though I could be wrong. not 100% sure.

watched from the wings as the scenes were replayed we saw ourselves now as we never have seen" ian curtis

quietlydying
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the wonderful land of oz


49 posted 01-13-2003 07:39 PM       View Profile for quietlydying   Email quietlydying   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for quietlydying

::shudders at ron's revival of a story i'd rather forget::

i'm not arguing my case because i personally just don't care enough.  i think video games are stupid.  [not to mention detrimental to today's youth.]

what's left to say?

/jen/

'Christianity is the complete negation of common sense and sound reason.'
-- Mikhail Bakunin

 
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