RESTARTING O-NEW IN THE MIDDLE OF THREE SCHOOL PROJECTS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA
But I shall persevere! Caught up to Maou (just need to pull up the posts) and hopefully I’m back in the Musical Monday mood. But for now, posts will be approximately this long, lest I spend more effort on O-New than on school!!
Life of Pi was a pretty recent film. It’s about the life of a boy, Pi. You may have heard about it; it won the most (four) Academy Awards in 2012. You may have watched it. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers in this post. Or perhaps there is, if you’re planning to see the film; but if you haven’t yet, there’s a good chance you won’t. The spoilers don’t really spoil anything, since this essay isn’t about Life of Pi, and Life of Pi isn’t about its plot
It’s about its meaning.
I always thought that Life of Pi’s ending was a religious statement—just like believers, the novelist had to have faith in Pi, that his story was true. Although reason and psychology may steer one to believe otherwise, faith transcends both. People who value ‘order’ will automatically believe in the metaphoric story with ‘real’ humans—this denies a whole range of fantastic (in a bad way) possibilities, showing logic’s corrupting influence over the flexibility of faith. Furthermore, faith is unique to each person, as are meanings (interpretations!).
Yet, few seemed to agree. Most posts online simply followed the novelist’s connect-the-dots from ‘actual humans’ to their ‘animal representations’. So too did I think, but something was off, it was too obvious. I mean, in the film itself, the novelist explicitly STATES all of these connections! What kind of serious literary work TELLS you its meaning?
That exposes a preconception in our minds: that serious literary works’ meanings are to be found and not given. This is the notion that leads to ‘overanalysis’, when we ‘think too hard’ about something which has an ‘obvious meaning’.
But how do we find this meaning when nobody agrees? Does one meaning to any literary work actually exist? Do any meanings exist at all?
It’s late, but it’s still Tuesday. Any thoughts?
Here’s a transcription of a Kirby song (I’ve been transcribing lots of Kirby songs!). It’s what happens when you eat spicy curry. I’d accelerate it 800% but after several months of inactivity my fingers would probably fall off. EXCEPT THEY CAN’T CAUSE IT’S SPRING so they’d probably spring off, which is just as bad.
But I’m coming back to posting now, and this post proves it.
JUST KIDDING HAPPY APRIL FOOLS. Oh, it’s not April Fools anymore? Now what…
[Overanalysis Over Analysis was my original title, but it makes no sense. Neither does the current one, but dagnabbit I’m putting that over in somehow.]
What is overanalysis? Why do people hate it so?
To answer that, we’ll first need to figure out what we’re really talking about: literary analysis, which isn’t really quite ‘analysis’. Then, we’ll try to bridge the gap between analyses and opinions, which really aren’t too far apart. Finally, we’ll see if said hate actually exists, and then if it’s warranted, which really something really. Finally (part two), we’ll move into the realm of the ~IMAGINARY~ so I can stop saying really imaginary really imaginary really. Seriously.
I recently wrote several scathing posts on overanalysis being a BAD thing because it was over analysis, I was analysis, and I didn’t like having things be over me. Those posts are devoid of content because they’re me blowing off steam after reading some dumb analyses (being too cowardly to directly reply).
Then, syncoroll made me realize just what ‘analysis’ is: that is to say, I didn’t actually KNOW what analysis was.
To the Dictionary.com!
1. the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements
2. this process as a method of studying the nature of something or of determining its essential features and their relations
In other words, completely unlike my (by extension, ‘our’, assuming you’re also an uneducated boor) conception of literary analysis. When we talk about ‘overanalysis’, we’re talking about splitting a holistic piece into too many pieces, which are like whole pieces except 1. they’re different definitions of ‘piece’ and 2. it’s unholistic, which means it’s ETERNALLY DAMNED
Maybe we’ll talk about actual analysis later. My wrongful understanding of literary analysis seems to have a different word for it:
1. to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate
2. to construe or understand in a particular way
That’s it! When we talk about analyses, we’re generally talking about INTERPRETATIONS! Maybe I’ll analyse analyses later but interpretations is what we want to focus on. (Or maybe my lack of recent literary participation has backwatered me.)
Meaning is different to each of us. We were all born and raised (or born and lowered, if for example you were born on the peak of a howling mountain and your maturation occurred alongside a eighteen-year trek to the bottom) in different environments, and our perspectives are all incomparable.
How can we tell?
We look at our opinions—the thoughts we think when we experience something (LOVE IS JUST AN OPINI-), such as watching a movie. People have different opinions on its quality (or its QUALITY), for different reasons—many which only make sense to one person’s unique mindset. Case in point: I really liked watching The Sacred Star of Milos (even though I’ve never watched Brotherhood) because the background faces were too QUALITY and all dialogue scenes were still frames with hilariously wide-open mouths. OK, THEY WERE HILARIOUS TO ME I’M ENTITLED TO MY OWN OPINION SECOND AMENDMENT BLAH BLAH BLAH. also i have a gun
What happens when you try to explain your opinion to someone else? Well, you show them your reasons and hope they understand. Usually, they won’t accept your entire argument—because certain reasons are only valid to some people!—but they might understand some of it.
What happens when you write down your explanation to show someone else?
Well, don’t we now have an interpretation? In fact, everything from the beginning was an interpretation—ALL YOUR OPINIONS are simply your UNIQUE WAY of INTERPRETING external data, and tautologically, ALL INTERPRETATIONS are simply the author’s OPINION.
Many people hate ‘overanalysis’ because it’s TOO analysis for them (that’s what over- means). How can something be too analysis for someone? Why has my grammar degraded faster than a slope being flattened by a steamroller? The joke is that before flattening, said slope had a grade, but post-flattening, it doesn’t; thus the grade was removed and the slope DEGRADED and now you just made me RUIN my OWN JOKE!!! Now it’s SUPERFLAT!!!!11!1 sorry
Analyses are just interpretations, which are just opinions, right? (Right.) Can an opinion be ‘too much’?
Yes, they can. Consider a staunch individualist Republican presented with three alternative economies: laissez-faire capitalism, the welfare state, and flat-out communism. Laissez-faire capitalism is acceptable, because he agrees with the OPINION; a welfare state is pretty bad, because he disagrees; flat-out communism is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees. No imaginary disagreeing here.
Now (we’re gradually sliding closer to disagreeing about analyses), consider a not-deaf/not-dead Beethoven presented with three different interpretations of his 9th symphony: one by the Cityville Philharmonic Orchestra (no, don’t search that up), one arranged by Liszt for solo piano, and one sung by Justin Bieber over loud dubstep. The Cityville Philharmonic Orchestra is acceptable, because Beethoven agrees with their INTERPRETATION (which is his own); Liszt’s is probably alright, because he doesn’t disagree; Justin Bieber’s dubstepmix is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees. Hopefully.
So opinions can be too much and interpretations can be too much.
Now consider a Guilty Crown fanatic surfing cross the ‘sphere presented with three different analyses: one praising Guilty Crown’s awesomeness, one praising Guilty Crown’s QUALITY, and one denouncing Guilty Crown’s lack of quality. The first is acceptable because he agrees with their analysis, which is just an interpretation, which is just their OPINION. The second is pretty bad, because he disagrees that Guilty Crown had QUALITY, and the last is TOO bad because he REAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLY disagrees.
Gosh that was long and unnecessary.
tl;dr: the reason anyone thinks something is ‘overanalysing’ is because they DISAGREE with the author’s OPINION. In fact, all analyses are interpretations, which are just opinion; we don’t like analyses that don’t fit our own opinions.
I hope that clears things up, especially with the whole debate about ‘objective’ reviewing. At heart, all artistic commentary is pure opinion. Perhaps ALL communication is opinion, save truths by definition. Next up, we’ll publish up something about finding meaning in art through—that’s right—differing interpretations. That’s right, welcome to ~epistemology month~!
[Remember this poetry post from thirty years ago? No? Well, neither do I, nor do I remember writing this post, but apparently it was half-finished and I guess I never hit publish? I’ll write a more eloquent post with an actual argument later.]
Here’s the second poem I chose to recite, ‘Sweet Like a Crow’.
What do you think of after reading this poem? If you’re tempted to give some lofty appeal about the pointlessness of reality and the audio escapism that postmodern music offers, stop right there.
It’s about the poet’s niece’s HORRIBLE singing.
[We read the Odyssey in English class, and had to write a variety of assignments (ok, fine, just two) on it. One of these assignments was a comparative essay, in which students could choose their thesis, yet on the criteria sheet, ‘all students must use the same thesis’. The thesis in question was that an old Coen Brothers’ comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), loosely based on the Odyssey, represents Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
I thought the Hero’s Journey was just some old man saying that all cultures’ hero stories had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He also claimed that these stories reflected humanity’s ‘collective unconscious’, and that people like to hear stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. Although it seems obvious to us, it is pretty coincidental and influential in studying comparative mythology and evolutionary psychology. Yet, I thought that the Hero’s Journey structure offered no insights into modern ‘heroes’ journeys’.
This jaded me immensely, and like the contrarian hipster I am, I decided to advocate for the Devil. The result is below; formatted, but unedited. If it seems to jump around in places, it’s because I condensed it to one page of 1000 words, ‘for the lulz’. I like it, but I still haven’t gotten my grade back, and I have the feeling that my English teacher won’t like people casting the Hero’s Journey aside…]
In the 1988 PBS documentary The Power of Myth, mythologist Joseph Campbell talks of his theory: a universally archetypal Hero’s Journey originating from the fundamental human psyche. The Hero’s Journey’s plot points, although useful for comparative mythology, are too generic. To differentiate Heroes’ Journeys from regular Journeys, Heroes’ Journeys must star a hero with heroic traits, deeds, and growth.
Ancient poet Homer’s Odyssey is about protagonist Odysseus’s voyage home from the Trojan War. Although contemporary Greeks heroized Odysseus, in a modern/Roman context, he possesses few heroic requirements. The Coen Brothers’ modern film O Brother, Where Art Thou?’s protagonist Ulysses represents Odysseus, and also lacks these requirements.
Neither O Brother, Where Art Thou?, nor its hypotext, the Odyssey, represent the Hero’s Journey.
[Forward: Bonus points to whoever finds the differences (aside from number of ‘had’s; bonus points if you figure that out algebraically) between each pasta. You do not know how much time I spent calculating the exact number of ‘had’s I had to use. Get it? That was a pun. Uh… brb killing self]
[Editor’s Note: For illustration purposes, I have coloured blue words that were supposed to be in the blank (i.e. that John wrote) and coloured red words that James wrote. This also makes it really colourful when you scroll down.]
As the sequel to Bob Was Hungry And He Was Also Sad Because He Was Bored, I present, exactly one year later, my official NaNoWriMo submission: James While John Had Had Had Had Had Had Had Had Had Had Had a Better Effect on the Teacher!
“Wait just a minute!” you won’t exclaim, because you don’t know who’s writing this post. “Mushyrulez is on vacation! And Mushyrulez is writing this post!”
That’s patently untrue, as Mushyrulez is not writing this post; Mushyrulez has written this post. Before he went on his cruise to control. I mean, his caps to lock. My caps to lock. I don’t know.
It’s time for another You Say Tuesday. “What are those!?” you won’t exclaim, because you’re gone. My answer: I don’t even know…
This week, it’s time for a challenge. What’s the challenge?
Write one poem. Every day. For a week.
Who’s doing the challenge?
Probably nobody besides me. I call it ‘Rainbow Poetry’ because these seven poems will each be based around an emotion and a colour, but if anybody else wants to participate, feel free to write any number of poems about any number of things. Feel free to not write any poems at all! You won’t really be participating, but… y’know, it’s the thought that counts (not really).
I’m doing this because there’s been a horrid dearth of posts for the past seventy years, and these seven poems will be just enough to fill up a week at O-New. Furthermore, colours are beautiful and I’ve never explored literary colour before (compared to visual colour and musical colour), so this will be a cool experience. Finally, on my cruise, I’ve nothing to do but to think, and… why not think poetry?
So it’s decided. Furthermore, ’cause restraints promote creativity, I’m restraining myself to 140 words a poem. It’s not too short, not too long, and I can make some unrelated reference to twitter now.
I’ll summarize this post up with my seven poems next week. Will I actually post poems while on my cruise? No. Will I come up with one poem every day? …I’ll probably write them all next Tuesday. WHATEVER, ENJOY YOUR NON-MUSHY O-NEW
I recently completed my examination for the distinguished title of Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (which does absolutely nothing at all but hey, titles). Results will arrive in approximately five to fifty-five days.
Thus, the only thing I can do is expect the worst, pray for the best, and… record some music!
That’s right, the entirety of my recital, clocking in at exactly fifty minutes and fifty (one) seconds. Are you ready? You sure are.
Baroque Era, J.S. Bach (1735): Italienisches Konzert
Last night (rather, this morning), AdjectiveRecoil divulged a surprisingly profound story concept:
[00:17:59] AdjectiveRecoil: It also involves AIs.
[00:17:59] AdjectiveRecoil: But they don’t know they’re AIs.
[00:18:03] AdjectiveRecoil: They think they’re real people.
[00:18:23] AdjectiveRecoil: And then suddenly, it is revealed to them that their entire world, their entire existence, has been a computer simulation.
[00:18:32] AdjectiveRecoil: And it’s about to be turned off.
[00:18:48] AdjectiveRecoil: Kind of like the Matrix.
[00:18:57] AdjectiveRecoil: Except that it’s not people, but machines we’re talking about.
[00:19:09] AdjectiveRecoil: And they want to exist.
[00:19:28] AdjectiveRecoil: So the dilemma comes up: are they real people, or just machines?
[00:19:34] AdjectiveRecoil: And do they deserve to live?
[00:19:41] AdjectiveRecoil: Or can they just be switched off?
[00:20:01] AdjectiveRecoil: Also, they can be very human, because they’re programmed to think and act human.
And so, today, I’d like to ask you all: would you be interested in this story? Has anybody written something similar to this before? What was the short story called? The whole ‘machines so complex they’re humans’ must have been written about somewhere, right?
a.k.a.: having no posts to write is sufferin’
Edit: OK, I remember the film giving me intense déjà vu around this concept: Moon, about a clone who thinks he’s a real human because he was implanted with human memories. They’re not machines, but it’s close…
Edit 2: Another has suggested the Thirteenth Floor, about [SPOILERS] a person and his conflicts with a virtual reality world, only to find out that his own ‘real’ world is also virtual, and that he himself is just an artificial creation, or something.
Edit 3: The Island is also about clones who think they’re actually human; however, their perception of life is woefully lacking, as they have no memories of their past, unlike in Moon.
Edit 4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Androids_Dream_of_Electric_Sheep%3F, and its film adaptation, Blade Runner, deal with sentient robots, including one who believes she’s human due to implanted memories. However, the robots only have a four-year lifespan, most are aware that they’re robots, and they generally lack empathy (allowing them to be distinguished from humans by some sort of futuristic polygraph test). Nevertheless, the main character has many problems distinguishing between real people and androids, so…
[note: no I will not edit this mess but comments about where I went wrong would be cool. actually if you’re really good at linguistics please stop laughing at my stupidity immediately I demand you speak to my lawyer. immediately. immediately demand a lawyer you can immediately speak to immediately]
today we will drunkenly muse about English grammar. there are four sections in this post: the introduction in which I explain my plight, the section about dictionary definition in which I scour dictionaries, the paragraph on zero articles and grammar, and finally the conclusion in which I barf out puke
many things are lower case because I don’t feel like pressing the shift key to capitali-whoops I just did
also this makes things seem more informal and thus less pretentious
one day I was reading about sword art online subtitle reviews and somebody translated ‘hill of crosses’ to ‘Golgotha’. I thought this was quite weird and through shallow research, discovered that Golgotha was where they crucified Jesus.
it is also known as Calvary
at first glance, Calvary looks like cavalry, and many mispronounce mounted soldiers as Jesus’s crucifixion’s location (due to Metathesis, which is like a thesis but it’s a thesis about a thesis and nope.avi). I thought so too at first glance but a simple definition check turned up differing results:
1. cavalry are mounted soldiers
2a. Calvary is the place of Jesus’s crucifixion
2b. Calvary/calvary is a sculpture of his crucifixion
2c. calvary is an experience of extreme (especially mental) suffering
[Diction guideline: read stanzas three and four like you’re shouting. Whisper final stanza. At your own discretion, preface words in ALL CAPS with choice expletives. Bonus points if the rhythm stays somewhat intact.]
The sun sets low; the end draws near,
With hurried steps and panicked air.
The race’s long, the prize: my queen,
With fiery heart, yet eyes on dream.
A stumble ‘cross a scarlet rock,
Tripping down, a BLOODY SHOCK.
The trees now dyed cerise, not green.
Rose-coloured shades, a CRIMSON scene.
The floods of souls don’t STOP, don’t wait;
Searching for love; DRIVEN by hate.
Can the ocean beat this PASSAGE clean?
Or would rather the SEAS incarnadine?
The lustful pack flies far ahead,
Abandoning us to ROT undead.
These FERAL beings, ANIMALS demean’d;
MOTHERFUCKERS hunt like BEASTS obscene.
Soon seeing red, when to the side,
I saw a trail less travelled by,
Branch’d from the road called humanity,
The road which few desire to leave.
The sun falls down; the end’s here.
I’ve found my way.
Goodbye, my dear.
THIS MINUET WAS COMPOSED BY MOZART WHEN HE WAS SIX in 1762
DO YOU HEAR GUYS
WHEN HE WAS SIX
when you were six you were probably still learning how to not puke on the floor whenever your dad beat you in the stomach with a feather
WHEN HE WAS SIX HE COMPOSED THIS and probably didn’t have sex
now be jealous
– k2 is not a mountain
HEY THIS IS THE LAST POST GUYS