Featured Post


In essays on the subject of centricity, I've most often used the image of a geometrical circle, which, as I explained here,  owes someth...

Monday, August 3, 2009


(as well as a few from posters on his site, here)

PREDICTION: After reading this wrangle about comic-book aesthetics and elitists and such, Curt Purcell will undoubtedly flee back to the sanity of horror-blog discussions and never again want to be exposed to any more comic-book crapola.

So Noah B tells me that I "talk like a poncing grad school cult stud liberal elitist." I do not neither; I talk like a poncing grad school cult stud liberal pluralist. Shows what he knows.

In my opinion, sometimes academe-se is really the only language one can use to accurately phrase certain concepts. And Noah must agree in principle, since he sounds not much less poncey than I do, here:

"Through a mockery of a contract, in other words, Harry rapes the main lawgiver of the film, who has been transformed from a mysterious, distant man into a hysterical, violated woman. In humiliating himself, Harry humiliates masculinity in general — and, by doing so, he contradictorily asserts his masculinity in particular."

So now we've both quoted Deleuze and established ourselves as way heavy readers, man. BFD. Can we talk about our differences analytically?

Probably not.

"I may have more about this later...but it really frosts me when people pretend that cultural studies is somehow a movement for the people. Putting yourself above the fray on some lofty academic perch and presuming to speak for the people: that's the very definition of elitist, my friend. Because you know what? Most everyday, regular people who haven't undergone academic lobotomies — they think the stuff they like is good, and that the stuff other people like isn't. And the only people who think that the people can do no wrong are ivory tower intellectuals cavorting about in proleface."

Right; like ivory tower intellectuals who analyze women-in-prison films like THE BIG DOLL HOUSE and THE BIG BIRD CAGE. (And who come to some mistaken conclusions in that analysis, which I once thought I'd blog about but then didn't bother).

I believe I've mentioned the specific topic of "cultural studies" on this blog maybe once, in a review of an academic Cassirer collection. Yet Berlatsky's decided that I'm a "CS" guy based on Thoth-knows-what. Oh, and I did mention cultstudies in a COMIC INFORMER piece that I should probably blog here, so that NB can use it to help him sort out the differences between elitism and pluralism. I did say that think cultstudies had helped break down overly-ideological readings of fiction, pop and otherwise, but I don't think Berlatsky read that piece, since he seems not to be able to finish even the "decadence" series:

"Just trying to read through the whole series of posts...and, yeah, I have to agree with most commenters here that the game isn't really worth the candle."

Second verse, same as the first: I haven't said I was speaking for any people. I think that though I'm not a superheroes-only guy, I may have more insight into what makes them tick than the guys who are telling the superhero fans to "move on." (Will Berlatsky or any of his posters address this point? Bet not.)

I haven't said "the people can do no wrong:" I've argued that one needs to figure out what people want out of a given genre, or manifestation of a genre, that makes them plunk down money for it. Just in the "decadence" posts alone I've hinted that I was somewhat less than taken with BLACKEST NIGHT, which might suggest to some that a pluralist can manage the feat of disliking a bad work without venturing half-baked opinions on the pedagogical progress of the work's readers.

Tom Crippen then asks:

"It seems like the quote is saying that maybe superhero fans aren't the only media consumers who fixate on material they've loved since they were kids. Is that what the post's whole argument comes down to?"

I'll make it easy on you, Tom:

No. If you can find a place where I used the word 'fixate' in the series, you deserve to get a pony. I won't buy you one, but you'll deserve it, and that makes you special.

Then Noah sez:

"And yes, I'm charging him with elitism -- because I think it would annoy him, not because I actually think elites are evil or that anti-elitists are virtuous. (Anti-elitism has at least as unpleasant a pedigree as elitism. One of the few things Nazis and Stalinists can agree on, after all, is anti-elitism.)"

The proper opposite of elitism is populism, which is the actual belief that the people can do no wrong. Usually detractors label me a populist, so you get points for originality, if not close reading.

"nrh" said:

"Arguing Deppey's logic without bringing centering your argument around the very specific artwork Deppey's discussing seems incredibly odd as well..."

I did say that I would not comment on the piece w/o knowing the context, aside from saying that as a single panel piece of art it looked pretty confusing, and was probably bad on that score. But the Supergirl drawing isn't the center of the argument; it's just an example of a syndrome Deppey's cited in other superhero comics, in at least one other post to which Curt linked.

Hmm, this is getting kind of long. Better do a "part 2."

No comments: