MONSTER MASHUPS #63
44 minutes ago
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...
Might is an ability that is superior to great obstacles. It is called dominance [Gewalt] if it is superior even to the resistance of something that itself possesses might.-- Kant, CRITIQUE OF JUDGMENT.
...the notion of "fair play" becomes important within the sphere of fiction and fantasy, possibly more important than it can ever be in the real world of political negotiation and compulsion. In my own lit-critic cosmos, the ideal of "fair play" assumes the role of "self-limitation" that is, in Nietzsche's philosophy, occupied by "self-overcoming."
There is no one-on-one combat as such between the principal heroes and the principal villain in THIEF, as usually takes place in related adventure-films. Earlier sequences show Jaffar triumphing over the heroes with his magic with no real contest, but when Ahmad and Abu join in flouting his forces with the help of a flying carpet, Jaffar seems to run out of magic and flees, only to receive the same fate most villains get even when they do engage in combat.
The model that dominates comics discourse is self-inventory.
The so called unconscious inferences can be traced back to the all-preserving memory, which presents us with parallel experiences and hence already knows the consequences of an action. It is not anticipation of the effects; rather, it is the feeling: identical causes, identical effects . . .
it is possible to live almost without remembering and live happy, as evidenced by the animal, but it is still impossible to live without forgetting. Or more simply, there is a degree of sleeplessness, rumination, the historic sensibility that is harmful and ultimately fatal to living things, be it a man, a people or a civilization “
I never met him in the flesh, though I argued with him often on a messboard in the early 2000s. The messboard was later deleted, so all of our arguments were consigned to the ether.
I would say that this essay captures his frequent if not constant ambivalence toward the comics medium, which I think I suggested was more of an ambivalence toward pop culture in general.
Still, I would certainly say he endeavored, on THE COMICS REPORTER, to be as inclusive as a news-blog could be, covering both the perceived "highs" and the "lows" of the medium to some extent. This made the blog a good follow-up to what the magazine COMICS JOURNAL (which Spurgeon edited for a time) used to be in the seventies and eighties, IMO. Believe it or not, coming from me, that's high praise.
Every person passionately interested in an art form thinks that passion fascinating. In other art forms, however, there's an ease and commercial context to that initial relationship that makes coming to terms with it an answer to a throwaway question on a panel, or the first response in a 10-part interview, the part most likely to be cut and something almost always laughed over. Comics is odd, a medium of heartbreak and musty smells and approximations, and it doesn't have an easy commercial element except for a lucky elite. A very small number of people take to them in that wholehearted way that seems more common to other media. Art comics has a tradition where not long ago its champions fell in love with the form when they had so little access to its history and lived in such artistically fallow times they had no choice but to believe in comics that hadn't been made yet. Like the physical items in many collections, we carry all of it with us, the comics we loved as a kid and all the barely-formed reasons why, the comics that opened our eyes, the comics that we attach to a time and place, the comics that devastated us as adult readers for their skill and insight, the comics that we helped other people enjoy. The model that dominates comics discourse is self-inventory.
We don't know if Child-Janet, on the day of her eleventh birthday, nurtured any jealousy of her mother's relationship with her father. Still, the mother's murder of the father has the effect of taking away the most important man in Janet's young life. There are no suggestion that teenaged Janet has ever considered boys her own age, and, had Sangster been forced to address the issue, he could have argued that her fear about inheriting her mother's insanity would have kept her isolated from the opposite sex. The one man for whom she shows regard is Baxter, who like her late father is another older married man, though this doesn't keep her from being interested in him. Baxter and Grace apparently believe that Janet's fear of her negative maternal image is so strong that it can be transferred to another target, simply by having Grace waltz around the family abode in a mask of Mrs. Baxter.
Indeed, even though Janet is entirely absent from the latter half of the film, one could view the entire denouement of NIGHTMARE as a transference of Janet's psychic fear to her victimizer Grace. Janet's helpers stage-manage things so that Grace believes Janet has escaped the asylum, and that Baxter is meeting some other woman even after having married Grace. But Grace jumps to the conclusion that Janet is the other woman, and though the conclusion makes no logical sense, it makes symbolic sense. Grace, by exploiting Janet's fear of insanity, has in essence engendered her own madness, even to the point where she, unlike Janet, duplicates the husband-killing deed of the institutionalized Mrs. Freeman.
Action-heroines, however, work their own will. They align themselves with a reverse-archetype that describes not real experience but a gesture toward desired experience. That implies a greater level of conflict in this reverse-archetype in that it contravenes (albeit in fiction, where nothing is impossible) both physical law and cultural experience.-- WHAT WOMEN WILL PT. 3.
In the end, Captain Marvel was on the same level as the first Thor for me: a solid re-watchable-when-it-comes-on-cable movie for me. It didn’t solve the problems of female representation in the MCU, because the problem is larger than just finally giving one female character a leading role in a movie. It’s about them creating dynamic and complex heroines across their films. I am glad she got this movie on her own to shine, and while it didn’t make me wish she had a bigger role in Endgame, it did make me long for a time when we don’t have to keep having these conversations about female-led movies.