Featured Post


This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, July 2, 2012


In previous essays I've applied the concept of "socialization" to some of the critics with whom I disagree, using the following definition:

a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

Now, because I've applied that concept to those I consider bad critics, does that mean that it's inapplicable to good critics? Or even to my favorite critic, who is (inevitably) myself?

Of course, it's entirely applicable. Socialization values stem from ideology, and as Northrop Frye (among others) has noted, ideology arises from any nexus of needs and priorities. In my recent arguments with Charles Reece I called his position "ideological" and he returned the designation.  Naturally each of us will consider that our personal ideologies are as a mote in our respective eyes, while the opponent's walking around with the proverbial beam sticking out.

The distinction I have made between us (with which I also don't expect Reece to agree) is that it makes a difference as to whether one considers ideology a primary orientation in itself, or whether it is secondary to the aforesaid nexus, which may be regarded as coterminous with "myth," or at least "mythicity." I've addressed this distinction at length elsewhere and won't explore it further here.

So, yes, when I advocate Camille Paglia's ethical cleavage between art and reality, it's a given that I would like to "socialize" others into accepting as significant some of the conclusions I've made, or have extrapolated from those of other writers.  It's probable that even if this took place, I would not be aware of the extent of any effect I had.  In any case, nothing separates me from bad critics Kelly Thompson and Chicken Colin in terms of the *desire* to have such an effect.  They do have, however, somewhat more of a "network" than I do, though in fairness quite a few respondents to Thompson's "No, It's Not Equal" essay disagreed with her assertions.

One of the cardinal aspects of my critical work is the assertion, based roughly on Jungian hermeneutics, that the experience of life begins with the infant's first sensations in the womb, and that everything else is built upon that bedrock-- though not after the fashion that the empiricists would argue.  Similarly, art is built upon a sensational foundation, though with the caveat that everything in art is a "gesture" in the Langerian sense-- an attempt to capture experience which is necessarily less immediate than experience.

To that end, I devoted a good many essays on Sequart to the topic of "adult pulp." I did so because I considered that much of the online comics-criticism still tended to regard the sensational elements of the medium as the opposite of what was considered "good art." Thanks to this demonstrably false belief, most "artcomics" rhetoric has been devoted to assailing the DM-dominant genre of the superhero, though it's axiomatic that if horror or westerns were dominant, those genres would be assailed in the same manner.

To say the least, the "network" of Sequart readers didn't get the significance of the "adult pulp" conception.This could be put down to my expression of the concept, though I saw no indications of any willingness to deal with these matters in anything but the ideological terms of the ultraliberal mindset. Chicken Colin remains the reductio ad absurdum of this lack of understanding, as in the section of his essay where he complains that I have not used the socially-approved terms like "gender" and "obectification" in my discussion of the Thompson essay:

instead of “sexism”, we appear to have “sensationalism”, and so on.
Whatever my failings as a writer, its clear to me that no one-- not Leslie Feidler, not Georges Bataille-- could have penetrated this sort of thick fog of know-nothingness  "Duh, a'course 'sexism' don't got nuthin' to do with sensations, George.  Now tell me about dah bourgeoise rabbits, George."

I confess that it's indulgent of me to keep attacking the Chicken. Gary Groth once complained that he hated to think that Harlan Ellison had become his "arch-enemy" (I paraphrase), since Groth did not consider Ellison worthy of that honor.  To each his own, but I'd love to have Ellison for an enemy.  Whatever his faults as an arch-enemy, at least he wouldn't be chickenshit.

More to come in part 2.

No comments: