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Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:03 am

Goldberg 1
Jay Goldberg
September 9, 2005
Ferschke ENC-1101


Berger, in his essay Ways of Seeing, is an elitist. He has no modesty in the way he expresses his opinions and a supreme confidence in his expertise regarding art. His self-assurance often causes a conflict with the reader because he regards himself as being so completely infallible that he feels he doesn't have to explain why he arrives at the conclusions. His subtle argument is that since he is superior in understanding art, the audience should wholly accept that his assumptions are correct which makes persuading the readers to agree with him unnecessary. This forceful communication Berger uses is highly significant in the section of his essay regarding what he calls "mystification" and is immediately prominent and influential in the opening sentences. Berger, describing the book that he will soon analyze, writes, "As a book of specialized art history, it is no better and no worse than the average." (p. 138) While Berger's critique of the book (and by relation, the author) is undoubtedly honest, it's of understated significance that he chooses to tell the reader that the book is average. This is Berger's way of telling the reader that the author of the book is inferior to him and thus puts Berger in the position to critcize the author's opinions in the condescending way that he uses throughout the section. Before we know anything about the author besides that he wrote a significant book about Frank Hals, we are already led to believe that his expertise on art is less than Berger's which means that if the two disagree on the subject then Berger is in the right. Furthering this degradation of the author is the fact that Berger doesn't even mention his name, acting as if he is trivial and his book merely serves as an example of mystification for Berger to debunk. By mentioning the author's name, Berger could have shown respect and acknowledgement. Instead, Berger attempts to lower the reader's opinion of the claims he argues against as opposed to explain his own claims and improve the clarity of his position. In doing so, Berger comes across as arrogant.and offensive.
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Postby LibertyCabbage on Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:29 am

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Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:15 am

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Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:53 pm

Goldberg 1
Goldberg, Jay
Sept. 14, 2005
Ferschke ENC-1101

Salvador Dali's painting, Autumn Cannibalism, is immediately striking as a bizarre and unpleasant work of art. The central focus of the painting is two distorted yet humanoid figures equipped with various dining utensils. As suggested in the title of the painting, one of the figures seems to be intent on devouring the other, although neither of them appear to have a mouth. The constrast between the two characters is remarkable. On one side is a masculine figure with long, bony arms and a ragged, open shirt. Across from him is a plump feminine figure with a creamy skin colour who is naked aside from a jacket slouched over her shoulder. Her healthiness is emphasized by the male's right arm which grabs a section of her abundant fat. Interestingly, the woman is using her utensils to cut herself and assist her companion in consuming her. This relevation places the male into a dominant role and the female into a subservient role.
The setting is important in understanding the motives of the characters. The overall colour is dull and bleak. We can the horizon in the background with no sign of any plants, animals, or people. In the distance are large rocks and mountains, but there is an ambiguous white object surrounded by clumps in a pool of red liquid. It seems that the pool would realistically be rocks in lava, but it could also be bodies in blood in a metaphorical sense. Based on these two possibilities, the white object, which appears to be an empty throne or an altar, represents an authority that has destroyed its territory aside from the central protagonists who have managed to escape. This theory is supported by a boat-like structure they appear to be in which houses various items that they were able to take with them.
The painting brings up issues of gender conflict. In the social order, it's expected of men to cede priority to women in times of disaster. It's surprising in that sense to see the female readily sacrificing herself to save the male. By this, Dali seems to suggest that in isolation, the social order is disregarded and is replaced by a personal order in which the male is the primary figure of the household. It's worth noting that the painting was created in 1936 in which society was much more male-dominated than today. The overall message derived from this aspect of the painting is that while in groups the men will sacrifice for the women to be perceived as heroic and unselfish, but if alone the traditional male dominance of the female will apply.
The cannibalism must also be considered in a symbolic sense. The concept of a woman giving her body and mind to her husband in a non-mutual way is certainly represented here. The torso of the female rests in a bowl as if she were serving herself to her husband. The male's grabbing of her fat can also been seen as an establishment of possession, in which the male is clarifying that her body belongs to him. These ideas could be perceived in a sexual way or a domestic way, or both. In this case, the red pool could represent the negative values of society and the boat would be their relationship which has been created based on those values.
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Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:13 am

Goldberg 1
Goldberg, Jay
Sept. 15, 2005
Ferschke ENC-1101

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Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:10 pm

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Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:54 am

There are many ways to introduce an essay about suppressed black women and Alice Walker's approach to it is an interesting one. Her style embraces two black men – Jean Toomer and Okot p'Bitek – and their literary works as a path of opening up her messages to exploration. By basing the early stages of her essay on the viewpoints of prominent males, Walker was able to form a gateway to draw the reader into the heart of her narrative. This transitional technique aids in the essay's overall presentation.
Jean Toomer was an excellent reference used to establish the reverence of Walker’s specific group, as not only does he provide the exclusive gaze from the perspective of the opposite gender, but his mixed racial background exhibits him as someone who appears to transcend being labeled. Being a member of both black and white society, Toomer was partially integrated into black culture without ever being fully immersed in it. This sets him up as someone who’s able to understand the plight of the black woman while having the objectivity of an outsider. Walker uses Toomer to her advantage as a vanguard of an odyssey from despondency to salvation. The result is a lone voice that echoes throughout the symphony of voices that make up the essay.
The “borrowing” of Toomer is so relied upon in the beginning of the essay that his words are freely mixed with Walker’s without juxtaposition. Without the quotation marks, his material would be indistinguishable from the body of the work. In addition to this, the opening statement is Toomer’s as well, as if Walker believed his poem so eloquently and accurately expressed her ideals that she would rather elaborate on it than try to replicate what he was saying. It was a gutsy move, as it compromises the legitimacy of the piece, but it's used to an effect that magnifies that cultural significance of her messages. These are subtle and graceful methods of establishing the emphasis on heritage that’s pervasive as the defining characteristic of the essay.
Walker’s “elaboration” style is a peculiar rendition of transformational work. The best way to describe it would be as a focus point of the heritage she builds upon, filtering her collective influences into a short response of nine pages. Her integration of the external material with her own as well as her exertion on references (like when she adds bracketed comments inside Virginia Woolf’s passage) creates an atmosphere different from Benjamin’s and Gladwell’s essays, in which the borrowed work fully reacts with the core substance to create a singular construct. Because of this immersion in the tradition of her ideas, Walker is able to present a large amount of extraneous elements without suggesting plagiarism in a negative sense. The essay is, from a creative perspective, an original take on a fresh and interesting subject.
Walker's work is further strengthened by the inclusion of Ugandan poet Okot p'Bitek. His mix of African and Western cultural roots gives him a mixed background in a way similar to Toomer. This affords him the position of understanding the spirit of the African woman while being exposed to contemporary views and values enough to be objective. That the poem is by a man adds further credence to its resonance with the overarching concepts of the essay. While p'Bitek's role is less significant, his poem is still instrumental to displaying Walker's reverence for artistic women of the past.
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Postby Ryuuji Mayuika on Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:30 am

um. what is this? :/
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Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:38 am

I like to be safe so I post my writing stuffs here as a back-up sometimes. I e-mailed it to myself but it's here as well just in case. (this isn't finished, btw)

Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life? The issue seems to arise whenever someone uses (or more accurately, is caught using) a significant amount of material in their creative work that is the intellectual property of someone else. This persecuting mindset is limiting to our acceptance of a wide spectrum of literary techniques, and undermines the free domain of artistic ingenuity.

Malcolm Gladwell presents a unique angle in regards to plagiarism, as his case involves him being the “victim” of intellectual theft. His ideal, which supports my argument, is that his meager article played a part in an award-winning Broadway play, which is much more artistically and culturally significant. Regarding his words that had been used by another writer, Gladwell remarked, “I felt that they had become part of some grander cause.” (Gladwell, 3) He would never be capable of reaching a broad audience in the way that this situation allowed him to, and he understood that. Because of an alleged “crime”, his efforts were transformed into a new medium that was entertaining and educating.
Walter Benjamin brings forth an array of writers and other critical thinkers whose statements form the basis of his argumentative approach. His usage of quoted material to support and elaborate on his messages is a more thorough manifestation of the same literary technique I'm using throughout this essay. The writing style he utilizes serves to connect established concepts while diminishing the impact that the referenced author has on the essay's character, as displayed when Benjamin uses a block quote with no exposition or crediting other than to the name “Paul Valery”. (Benjamin 2) By basing his work on supplementing and being supplemented by his host of supporting (and clashing) sources, he was able to cover his topics in an authoritative and encompassing manner which communicated his positions clearly and intelligently. In the regard of bolstering his critical vantage as much as possible, Benjamin's methods were successful as a response to the effects of technological advances on art.
Alice Walker demonstrated her appreciation for her heritage by embracing their artistic visions directly. By quoting these suppressed voices, she's celebrating their ability to speak and release their creative frustration using Walker's essay as a gateway. The most intimate and emotional part of the essay is what involves Walker's mother, and she reveals that, “Through years of listening to my mother's stories of her life, I have absorbed... the urgency... that her stories—like her life—must be recorded.” (Walker 682) The attitude present throughout the piece is that this isn't just Walker's writing, but the collective accomplishment of her mother and every silenced black artist that Walker connects with. The essay is much more than simply rehashing older material; instead, it attempts to channel the essences of its constituents and portray their words as shining emblems of spiritual liberation.
Michael Kimmelman isn't directly subject to the critical realm of plagiarism, but the central topic he addresses in his essay regards the legitimacy of considering the usage of external material as an art form. While he doesn't offer an outright judgment, he seems to affirm the notion that collection, assembling, and displaying works created by other individuals is an act of self-expression and should be perceived as a worthy and prominent form of creativity. Kimmelman justifies this by suggesting that, “Collectors impose their own private rationale on what they own. They make order out of chaos.” (Kimmelman 97-98) These writers on the stand – Bryony Lavery, Benjamin, Walker – have managed to use their sources and influences to project their messages in a more accessible way than if they had rejected the idea of using borrowed material. The effect is a transformation of the fragmented thoughts into a cohesive compound working within the framework of the writer's original context.
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Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:45 am

Goldberg, Jay
Nov. 22, 2006
FIL-3503
Essay 2/Question 1
Presenting the Mechanical Process of Film as a Subversive Act
Baudry's main problem with narrative cinema is that it deceives the audience, through indoctrination, into maintaining the illusion that what's being shown on screen is a product of egocentrism (as experienced through eyes) as opposed to the mechanical process that it really is. The absolute manifestation of the film experience is that of machine-produced images being transmitted through flashes of light, and any visual interpretation less genuine than the true reality of the situation could only be achieved through an ideological challenge, and that this perverted ideology is the dominant one expresses the need for counter-culture cinema. Another falsehood derived from narrative cinema is the concept of the "transcendental" subject (Baudry 360), in that despite the idle position of the viewer's body, he/she nevertheless relates visually to camera movement, perspectives, lenses, framings, etc., despite being in a static position with unchanging function of the eyes. While the accurate response would be to recognize the visual experience as a product of the camera as an intermediary source (and thus be subconsciously aware of the work involved), any notion of indirect exposure, both in dismissal of the filming process and the presenting through a projector, is mostly eliminated and replaced with narrative in which the mechanical aspects are an obstacle despite being omnipresent regardless of circumstance. Thus, for a film to be wholly subversive it must not only challenge dominant political ideologies but also the dominant ideology governing the perception of narrative, as a film can’t completely threaten a false interpretation if the film is manifesting itself through the ideals of another falseness.
Two or Three Things I Know About Her exhibits counter-culture values in the way it rejects and even destroys any perceived concept of narrative. The opening sequence with the two women declaring their roles as actresses clarifies the production gap between scripting and performing, an act that dissolves the illusion of the contrived fiction which narrative cinema relies on. The reality of an actor's or actress's performance is to behave in a specific manner and recite written words, so therefore the perceived identification of character is an ideological construct that isn't portrayed in any sensory function (Althusser describes this effect as “pure illusion; as nothingness” [159].) Further aiding in this detachment from character is the displaced verbal commentary which has no internal figure to identify with, forcing the audience to recognize two simultaneous realities represented by diegetic and non-diegetic sound, breaking the sense of immersion in that this parallel is only recognizable through mechanical means. This commentary coupled with the presentation of the film in ordered but nonlinear chapters (laced with scenes of construction work which are unconnected to what limited narrative exists) serves to strongly reinforce the presence of the film as a symptom of its own being.
Born In Flames challenges the narrative structure primarily by constantly reminding the viewer of their active subjective role through juxtaposition with mechanical surveillance. As shown in the scene with Adele’s munitions negotiations and romantics that transforms into a frame from a camera, the mechanization of the visual is a reminder of the same mechanization taking place for the viewer (even in regards to the perceived still-frame which is actually being displayed through a sequence of multiple frames.) Due to the lack of focus on plot (especially in terms of specific character development), the film relies more on montage and ideological (as opposed to character) development, establishing the film itself as a political act rather than presenting ideas in a centralized way (as with Lorelei and Dorothy’s conflict in Gentlemen or the interaction between the Charlies in Shadows.) As a result, the audience is made more conscious of the directorial intentions, and, recognizing the external effects of the director on the film, also recognize the concepts of work and production that separate narrative from unadulterated cinema. This function is essential to the disruptive nature of the political film, as explained by Comolli and Narboni in that the “act only becomes politically effective if it is linked with a breaking down of the traditional way of depicting reality” (816), a statement that Born In Flames relates to in that not only are its ideas counter-culture but the way the ideas are presented is counter-culture as well, which magnifies the effects of both aspects of the film.
It’s important to consider that narrative films aren’t necessarily a problem in themselves, but rather the issue is that as a result of psychological indoctrination from narrative films the true mechanical nature of cinema has been suppressed. All films are mechanical ones, but the deliberate acts of Godard and Borden are required to attempt to re-establish this fact as the prevailing ideology. The “nothingness” that Althusser mentions, while abstract, can be somewhat quantified in terms of ideological strength and in the same matter can be weakened through disruptive processes. Additional counter-values that are relevant would be a more socialistic (and less egocentric) mindset which would assist the viewer in recognizing their subsidiary position in regards to production and presentation of film. Only through these forms can the overarching concept of narrative be suppressed to its initial state which would allow cinema to operate in a purer fashion in which it would be less corrupted by illusionary constructs.

Works Cited
Baudry, Jean-Louis. “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus.”
Film Theory and Criticism. 6th ed. New York: Oxford, 2004: 355-365
Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and the State.” Blackboard.
Accessed Nov. 22, 2006. 140-177.
Comolli, Jean-Luc & Narboni, Jean. “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism.”
Film Theory and Criticism. 6th ed. New York: Oxford, 2004: 812-819
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Postby Xcryinginrainxx on Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:58 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:I like to be safe so I post my writing stuffs here


Hehe.

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