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...

Friday, November 27, 2015


In Part 1,  I observed that as far as the "dynamic-sublime" was concerned, the domains they generate were strictly separated from one another:.

The dynamicities of the marvelous and the uncanny cannot manifest within the sphere of the naturalistic at all, because they depend on the alteration of one or both of the rules of causation, and anything that even resembles the tropes of the uncanny or marvelous is subsumed into the naturalistic.

By this general rule, both of the examples cited in the earlier essay-- the totality of serial adventures of both Atlas' RINGO KID and Marvel's RAWHIDE KID-- would be metaphenomenal. Even if the Ringo Kid only has one measly adventure with metaphenomenal content, it means that his universe obeys some if not all of the fictional rules common to other fantasy-worlds-- for instance, the greater "Marvel Universe" into which Ringo was officially inducted in the course of a 1970s AVENGERS story.

And yet, it seems counter-intuitive to place Ringo in the exact same type of marvelous domain as a literal superhuman like Captain America, or a domain that seems dominantly uncanny when considered apart from the Marvel Universe, like the domain of Marvel's masked western hero the Two-Gun Kid. Even if Two-Gun Kid had never encountered anything but naturalistic opponents, his attire would still conform to the uncanny trope of "outre outfits," thus placing him within the phenomenal domain of the uncanny.

In the case of the combinatory-sublime, however, tropes that relate to the metaphenomenal domains do not automatically overrule those of the isopheomenal, at least not within the realm of a serial concept. In a serial, if the focal presence does not itself reproduce significant tropes of the metaphenomenal, then one must examine the phenomenality of all ancillary presences in the totality of the stories.

Both RINGO KID and RAWHIDE KID concern isophenomenal cowpokes who dominantly battle against isophenomenal opponents. Both, using the "shareholder" metaphor I introduced, "majority shareholders" in the isophenomenal and "minority shareholders" in the metaphenomenal.  Being a "minority shareholder" means a dimunition of the serial's overall potential for symbolic combinations. Rawhide has a more extensive history of metaphenomenal encounters, so while he's still not in the same kind of fictional world as Captain America and the Two-Gun Kid, he is closer to their combinatory potential than Ringo is.

Heroes whose adventures almost always have elements of the metaphenomenal-- whether marvelous like Captain America, or uncanny like Two-Gun-- would subsume the other two phenomenalities within the dominant one. So the geometrical model would look much like the one used for the DSD, except with the stipulation that the whole is solid, rather than having each circle isolated from the other:

Rawhide's serial adventures don't comprise a unitary sphere of activity, so the phenomenal domains are connected but distinct. One may regard the whole left circle as Rawhide's adventures, with the isophenomenal taking up the majority of the sphere, while the minority "share" within the circle is all of his metaphenomenal activity-- the other circle being simply a set of metaphenomenal tropes possible for a Western comic-book character.

The next figure, however, better describes that of the Ringo Kid, if only because the metaphenomenal portion of the left circle is much smaller than it is in the first example.

More on these convolutions later.

No comments: