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[Missing the Point] - How Much of a Concern is Message Misinterpretation?

Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
I saw "The Wolf of Wall Street" earlier this week. I came away from it fairly confident that Martin Scorsese's intended message was "Jordan Belfort and everyone like him are terrible human beings; don't sacrifice the well-being of others for personal gain, even if the system will let you get away with it." However, some critics are concerned that the movie will come across to many as glorifying the lifestyle it depicts. Chief among them is Christina McDowell, the daughter of one of the men involved in the real life events that "The Wolf of Wall Street" is based upon.
So here's the deal. You people are dangerous. Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals. We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers' fun sexcapades and coke binges? Come on, we know the truth. This kind of behavior brought America to its knees.

And yet you're glorifying it -- you who call yourselves liberals. You were honored for career excellence and for your cultural influence by the Kennedy Center, Marty. You drive a Honda hybrid, Leo. Did you think about the cultural message you'd be sending when you decided to make this film? You have successfully aligned yourself with an accomplished criminal, a guy who still hasn't made full restitution to his victims, exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behavior. And don't even get me started on the incomprehensible way in which your film degrades women, the misogynistic, ass-backwards message you endorse to younger generations of men.

Original Article: An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself

This is the latest example of an ever-present critical concern, which McDowell herself states quite clearly: "Did you think about the cultural message you'd be sending when you decided to make this film?"

For me personally, and I assume for most of you here on this forum, the cultural message "The Wolf of Wall Street" sends is a clear indictment of the type of behavior it depicts. How many viewers miss the point, though? Are there large numbers of people that see this film and leave the theater with Jordan Belfort as their newest hero? Should Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio be blamed for not making the film's message even more blatant? Should David Fincher and Brad Pitt be held accountable for giving Tyler Durden an audience? Should Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone and Al Pacino be condemned for the continuing tributes to Tony Montana in hip hop?

This type of criticism extends to other forms of media. The video game Spelunky, for example, features a damsel in distress that the player is supposed to save, but can also put in harm's way. I personally would feel a little guilty whenever I caused the damsel to come to harm, but some critics are concerned that this feature of Spelunky can lead players to attitudes that condone the infantilization and abuse of women (and in the XBLA version, dogs).
She will never be angry with you. You can slap her or throw her around, in the end she will want to kiss you. But if you overdo the hitting or the using-as-projectile or if you plant a bomb too close to her...she dies. The only negative consequence here is, that she is now too dead to give you a kiss. But you still can pick up her corpse and use her as an object.

(Regarding the optional pug skin for the damsel) Animal abuse is quite real, so smacking a dog around and using the dog as a shuriken, maybe accidentally killing him, really does not feel any better than doing it with another human being. Remember the outrage over that video where a US soldier threw a puppy over a cliff? That's the pug's role in Spelunky in a nutshell.

Original Article: It's Not Okay, Spelunky!

I'm sure the rest of you can come up with many, many other examples. So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process? Are they to be held accountable for not anticipating audience interpretation if viewers come away with unintentional, culturally problematic messages? How commonplace is such misinterpretation? Are these misinterpretations not primarily produced by the mindset of the person making them?

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  • Squidget0Squidget0 Registered User regular
    If large numbers of viewers of any stripe are basing their opinions on important issues like misogyny and economics on movies and video games, that strikes me as a sign that we need better education on these important real-world issues.

    If you already have a strong opinion on Wall Street or misogyny, seeing a movie or playing a game is not going to change that. If you don't already have a strong opinion based on facts, then the question to ask is, why not?

    Arch wrote: »
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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I personally doubt that "The Wolf of Wall Street" could cause a significant amount of adults to form a more positive opinion of the lifestyle it depicts and think that anyone who comes out of the movie with a positive impression of Jordan Belfort is too far gone. It might cause a negative impact on a child's social development, though.

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  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    All in the Family was supposed to be a parody. Archie Bunker was supposed to be a ridiculous figure.

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  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    I will be honest in that I have not seen The Wolf of Wall Street, but I have read Christina McDowell's letter.

    If The Wolf of Wall Street does portray its protagonist in a positive light, then I will rescind my skepticism. But McDowell's letter rings hollow to me.
    What makes you think this man deserves to be the protagonist in this story? Do you think his victims are going to want to watch it? Did we forget about the damage that accompanied all those rollicking good times?

    What makes you think a protagonist is necessarily a hero? Did you miss that section of eighth grade English class? Didn't we just get done watching Breaking Bad? Haven't you at least seen Taxi Driver and Goodfellas?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    All in the Family was supposed to be a parody. Archie Bunker was supposed to be a ridiculous figure.

    Not quite ridiculous, but more representative of how conservatives failed the middle class. You were supposed to see him as a victim.

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  • FeralFeral That's what I do. I drink, and I know things. Location: ByakkoyaRegistered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    I personally doubt that "The Wolf of Wall Street" could cause a significant amount of adults to form a more positive opinion of the lifestyle it depicts and think that anyone who comes out of the movie with a positive impression of Jordan Belfort is too far gone. It might cause a negative impact on a child's social development, though.

    There are people who like to emulate Alex from A Clockwork Orange or agree with the "greed is good" speech from Wall Street. I'm sure that no matter how negatively Wolf portrays its protagonist, somebody out there will love him.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that Scorsese did a bad thing by making a movie with a bad guy as a protagonist. If McDowell had criticized the portrayal and not merely the subject matter; if she had argued that the movie gave us no reason to see Belfort as a reprehensible figure; or used textual examples to show how the camera lens seems to glorify Belfort, then I might be more sympathetic. But she doesn't, she just seems to think that making a movie with Belfort at the center at all is somehow morally wrong. That's just plain silly.

    Or maybe McDowell is assuming that, having seen the movie, it is obvious how Belfort is glorified, and that there is no need to defend her position on that. Perhaps - but this being Martin Scorsese, I remain skeptical of that angle.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    AngelHedgieArdolFrankiedarlingshryke
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Or maybe McDowell is assuming that, having seen the movie, it is obvious how Belfort is glorified, and that there is no need to defend her position on that. Perhaps - but this being Martin Scorsese, I remain skeptical of that angle.

    Here's a list of bad things Belfort does in the movie (I'll try to order them as they occur):
    * Aggressively sells stocks he knows are worthless.
    * Does tons of drugs, especially cocaine and quaaludes.
    * Hires enough prostitutes for nearly all his staff.
    * Cheats on his wife with prostitutes.
    * Cheats on his wife with another woman (whom he eventually marries).
    * Puts all his money into a Swiss bank account.
    * Cheats on his second wife with her aunt.
    * Rapes his second wife, punches her in the stomach after she says she wants a divorce, relapses and does a ton of cocaine, and tries to kidnap his daughter under the influence before smashing his car into a wall.

    If anyone comes out of this movie thinking "I should pattern my life after Jordan Belfort" then they are a terrible person and I don't think "The Wolf of Wall Street" is going to make them much shittier.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Lucid wrote: »
    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    The argument I've seen is that there are several cultural narratives that color the opinions of the average person in said culture and that certain elements in a creative work can reinforce these cultural narratives.

    In the case of movies, Tony Montana is apparently idolized in hip hop culture and the movie in which he appears is considered a glorification of drug-use and criminal acts. This is because there is a cultural narrative in some inner city communities that authorities are untrustworthy at best and actively hostile at worst, not to mention that lack of options for succeeding financially in a legal manner. "Scarface" isn't the ultimate cause of this behavior, but the perceived glorification of the lifestyle could serve as a tipping point for some people.

    In the case of video games, the fact that Zelda primarily has agency when she is in her male disguise, Shiek, in "Ocarina of Time" is seen as sexist by some. I personally don't see it myself (as Zelda and Shiek are the same person), but enough people do that I can't ignore there is a significant group of people who perceive the Zelda/Shiek agency disparity as reinforcing the cultural narrative that women are weak and helpless while men are strong and capable.

    The question I find myself asking is whether or not misinterpreting a work causes enough of a negative effect that creatives should try their best to anticipate the sorts of unintended messages they could be sending and prevent them. Do enough impressionable individuals idolize Tony Montana that the film "Scarface" can be reasonably considered to cause a significant negative impact on communities where gang activity is a problem? Do enough impressionable individuals see the Zelda/Shiek agency disparity as proof of the helplessness of women and the strength of men for it to have a significant negative impact?

    I can't help but think that these claims, while not without merit, exaggerate the impact of media in at least some cases. For example, I take the criticism of "Scarface" more seriously than the criticism of "Ocarina of Time" because 1) tributes and references to the movie are much more commonplace and 2) the aforementioned interpretation of Zelda/Shiek personally strikes me as only becoming noticeable if a critic is already primed to look for such messages, as it is very subtle (and I personally doubt the average person is critical enough of the media they consume to think much about that plot point beyond "Wow, I had no idea Shiek was Zelda all along!").

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  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Funny enough, I remember back when I was in high school and ran with certain sorts that a lot of the guys making references to Tony Montana and Scarface had never actually seen the film, they were repeating memetic ideas passed down by others.

    DiannaoChongFeralshryke
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Hexmage-PA wrote:
    The question I find myself asking is whether or not misinterpreting a work causes enough of a negative effect that creatives should try their best to anticipate the sorts of unintended messages they could be sending and prevent them. Do enough impressionable individuals idolize Tony Montana that the film "Scarface" can be reasonably considered to cause a significant negative impact on communities where gang activity is a problem?

    Jesus is 'idolized' by many more people than those who take interest in Tony Montana. Can it reasonably be considered that centuries of values antithetical to Jesus are the responsibility of the various people who wrote for the Bible?

    Since we're not living in a world of people who are nice to each other, I'm assuming that a character in a work of media cannot vastly influence the behaviour of the masses in any direct manner.

    I mean, let's say there was some truth to these assertions that are made that seem to involve removing agency from individuals; would we really want a world of 'safe' culture? Who decides what kind of characterizations are perfectly moral, and incorruptible, immune to 'misinterpretation'? I'm not even sure what the moral vanguard wants, like a central authority to determine what is or isn't appropriate? We already have some of those, and they suck.

    Lucid on
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    Dedwrekka on
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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    What do you think, then, of people who watched Fight Club and took everything Tyler Durden said seriously?

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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process? Are they to be held accountable for not anticipating audience interpretation if viewers come away with unintentional, culturally problematic messages? How commonplace is such misinterpretation? Are these misinterpretations not primarily produced by the mindset of the person making them?

    I don't think this is the right question, or at least you are leaping to a second question while making a wild assumption.

    The first question should be: Does an artist have any responsibility to promote "good" cultural messages? My answer to that question is no, so I think the premise behind your question is faulty.

    But for argument's sake, let us say that my answer to that first question is yes. Well, my answer to the second would still be no. An artist doesn't really have any responsibility to either produce quality work or produce work that isn't vague. I mean, how do you mitigate misinterpretation? The only way is to be less interpretable. The more direct and explicit and pandering you are, the less risk there is that you will be misinterpreted.

    That's not an artist's responsibility.

    Beyond that, I will say that some authors absolutely fear and abhor the idea that they will be misinterpreted so a lot of artists take that on as a responsibility for the sake of getting their message across - but that's as far as the responsibility goes, and not every author is concerned with that.

  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    'Part of', not necessary to. It's difficult for me to believe that creative process is limited to optimization, which seems to be what you're suggesting when you say that failure is the result otherwise. This seems like rigid doctrine.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    What do you think, then, of people who watched Fight Club and took everything Tyler Durden said seriously?

    What does that mean? Tyler Durden was serious.

    Whether or not you think Tyler Durden was right or not is a different question.

    FeralDedwrekka
  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Pony wrote: »
    Funny enough, I remember back when I was in high school and ran with certain sorts that a lot of the guys making references to Tony Montana and Scarface had never actually seen the film, they were repeating memetic ideas passed down by others.

    Scarface/fightclub still gets glorified in this sense. People distort things to their own beliefs and do what they want to do, and use what's available as evidence that its the correct thing to do. I am not sure where I am on if this type of film(or game in this instance from totp) is irresponsible. I am leaning towards not.

    When it comes to say, spelunky:(spoilered for off topic)
    you could write pages about the morality of sending the main character to his death over and over in a dangerous situation with no reason but our challenge and entertainment, but lets focus on the macguffin item that gives you back health and is hugely abstract. That whole thing reaked of "lets go find every instance of women in video games and find something wrong about it to complain about".
    I do think there is an issue of 'jump to criticism' that has occurred over the last couple of years.

    DiannaoChong on
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  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    'Part of', not necessary to. It's difficult for me to believe that creative process is limited to optimization, which seems to be what you're suggesting when you say that failure is the result otherwise. This seems like rigid doctrine.


    You're assuming something about my stance. Might not want to take dissenting opinions and try to turn them into absurdities.

    "Best" is not only open to opinion and interpretation, but it also includes a wide variety of mediums. It is non-rigid in nature.
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    What do you think, then, of people who watched Fight Club and took everything Tyler Durden said seriously?

    That the character was played straight and was given better characterization than a large amount of other characters in media. Also that the message in the movie is different from the book, and the movie doesn't lambaste Durden for the message but for the extremes he goes to to convey it. In fact it doesn't refute his view at all in the movie, or show a counter to his opinions. Additionally they put the emphasis of spectacle on his actions so that they seemed larger than life. So yeah, the movie failed in that aspect if the intention was to show Durden was wrong in his opinions. But I don't think that was the intention of the movie.

    Umm...was I supposed to think that Fight Club was a great movie for some reason?

    Dedwrekka on
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    'Part of', not necessary to. It's difficult for me to believe that creative process is limited to optimization, which seems to be what you're suggesting when you say that failure is the result otherwise. This seems like rigid doctrine.


    You're assuming something about my stance. Might not want to take dissenting opinions and try to turn them into absurdities.

    "Best" is not only open to opinion and interpretation, but it also includes a wide variety of mediums. It is non-rigid in nature.

    Can you explain what assumptions I've made? I did note that you 'seemed' to be suggesting, or that it seemed doctrinaire. I did so to avoid making assumptions until you further clarified your thoughts, which I'm afraid I'm still not quite sure I follow. If 'best' is open, then what exactly are you saying it is? How does this coincide with an absolute such as failure? I'm not sure how to parse the notion that 'best, which is open, includes a wide variety of mediums'. What does that mean?

    I would contend that you don't even have to convey a message (or at least not in the singular) to engage in creative process.

    Lucid on
  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    'Part of', not necessary to. It's difficult for me to believe that creative process is limited to optimization, which seems to be what you're suggesting when you say that failure is the result otherwise. This seems like rigid doctrine.


    You're assuming something about my stance. Might not want to take dissenting opinions and try to turn them into absurdities.

    "Best" is not only open to opinion and interpretation, but it also includes a wide variety of mediums. It is non-rigid in nature.

    Can you explain what assumptions I've made? I did note that you 'seemed' to be suggesting, or that it seemed doctrinaire. I did so to avoid making assumptions until you further clarified your thoughts, which I'm afraid I'm still not quite sure I follow. If 'best' is open, then what exactly are you saying it is? How does this coincide with an absolute such as failure? I'm not sure how to parse the notion that 'best, which is open, includes a wide variety of mediums'. What does that mean?

    I would contend that you don't even have to convey a message (or at least not in the singular) to engage in creative process.

    "Seems" is an assumption. If you had phrased it as a question instead of a statement it would be an assumption but not a statement of that assumption merely an attempt to clarify the assumption.

    "Best" is subjective as opposed to the definite optimization. Optimization is the search for the "best" option of any alternatives at any given point in time. "Best" itself could be the best available option, the best available at your skill level, the best available at your economic level, the best available for your style, ect ect.

    Dedwrekka on
  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    This is common for movies and tv shows with villainous protagonists. Breaking Bad being the most recent example. That said, someone is always going to idolize the villain, especially when they're fascinating characters like the Joker or the bad guys in Elysium, because they identify with them on some level than the heroes they oppose.
    Pony wrote: »
    Funny enough, I remember back when I was in high school and ran with certain sorts that a lot of the guys making references to Tony Montana and Scarface had never actually seen the film, they were repeating memetic ideas passed down by others.

    Scarface/fightclub still gets glorified in this sense. People distort things to their own beliefs and do what they want to do, and use what's available as evidence that its the correct thing to do. I am not sure where I am on if this type of film(or game in this instance from totp) is irresponsible. I am leaning towards not.

    When it comes to say, spelunky:(spoilered for off topic)
    you could write pages about the morality of sending the main character to his death over and over in a dangerous situation with no reason but our challenge and entertainment, but lets focus on the macguffin item that gives you back health and is hugely abstract. That whole thing reaked of "lets go find every instance of women in video games and find something wrong about it to complain about".
    I do think there is an issue of 'jump to criticism' that has occurred over the last couple of years.
    I don't see that as a bad thing. Just because you don't find that subject something that needs to be changed doesn't mean people are making shit up because they're bored. Video-games aren't the only media where women have been treated poorly within the media itself, marketing and the culture in the audience and business atmosphere.
    This criticizing can be a good thing, I'm glad media like video-games and Hollywood are getting more openly scorned for their bullshit behavioral practices.

    Dedwrekka
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Dedwrekka wrote: »
    Lucid wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    That's the main thing I always wonder about. I know the media we consume can affect our beliefs and actions, but to what degree? When does it cause people to acquire new beliefs and when does it reinforce already held beliefs?

    I think this is largely unknowable. We can look at statistics to gain some quantitative insight, but nuance is largely absent from this perspective(though it's still valuable of course). Cultivating critical reasoning in consumers/audience/whatever is perhaps an aspect of our society that needs more attention.

    I don't think the McDowell article is worth much attention, it seems like it's just heavy moralizing(I'm in the same position as Feral though, haven't seen the film). That song and dance has been done forever, and I don't think we're going to get significant critical evaluation from that perspective. So what if a nefarious character is glorified? You can do glorification and subversion at the same time, it's not like this is impossible when making a film or novel or whatever. Dialectics and art have a long history, maybe McDowell hasn't paid much attention to that way of seeing things.
    So, when a creative person is working on a movie, or a video game, or whatever, should they be as concerned with the possibility of people wildly misinterpreting their message as they are with any other aspect of the creative process?

    I don't think a creative should be concerned with misinterpretation. All we can do when evaluating a work is to form our own coherent interpretation, which is no more or less valuable than the original intent. Trying to absolutely pin down the intentions of the creator is like asking 'Why did god make me' or something equally pointless. Audience critical skills aren't really honed all that much by totalizing the intentionality of a work. It's certainly worth some investigation, and can reveal some interesting facets regarding technical details, but meaning isn't really concomitant with intent.

    Part of the creative process is understanding how to best convey the message you are trying to convey. If you cannot do that effectively then you have failed at your creative process.

    'Part of', not necessary to. It's difficult for me to believe that creative process is limited to optimization, which seems to be what you're suggesting when you say that failure is the result otherwise. This seems like rigid doctrine.


    You're assuming something about my stance. Might not want to take dissenting opinions and try to turn them into absurdities.

    "Best" is not only open to opinion and interpretation, but it also includes a wide variety of mediums. It is non-rigid in nature.

    Can you explain what assumptions I've made? I did note that you 'seemed' to be suggesting, or that it seemed doctrinaire. I did so to avoid making assumptions until you further clarified your thoughts, which I'm afraid I'm still not quite sure I follow. If 'best' is open, then what exactly are you saying it is? How does this coincide with an absolute such as failure? I'm not sure how to parse the notion that 'best, which is open, includes a wide variety of mediums'. What does that mean?

    I would contend that you don't even have to convey a message (or at least not in the singular) to engage in creative process.

    "Seems" is an assumption. If you had phrased it as a question instead of a statement it would be an assumption but not a statement of that assumption merely an attempt to clarify the assumption.

    "Best" is subjective as opposed to the definite optimization. Optimization is the search for the "best" option of any alternatives at any given point in time. "Best" itself could be the best available option, the best available at your skill level, the best available at your economic level, the best available for your style, ect ect.

    I'm sorry but I don't quite understand what you're getting at here in relation to what was said earlier, nor how the language I used earlier involves an assumption. To say something 'seems' like something else is to declare that you're not entirely sure, bypassing an assumption. If I look through a window and say to someone on a cloudy day 'it seems like it's raining outside', I'm saying it looks like it could be, but there's the possibility I'm incorrect. Regardless, you initially said I'm assuming 'something' about what you said. What does that even mean, what is something?

    I still don't quite understand what you mean with best here in relation to the creative process or how it relates to failure of engaging with the process. What if someone is unconcerned with best or worst 'options' when engaging in a creative activity? If they're looking for an audience, how would they know what the best or worst options would be, unless they just made derivatives targeted at specific audiences?

    How do you determine what the 'best'(as defined by you) option is, out of the alternatives? What are the alternatives? The language you're using seems imprecise, not really pointing at anything in particular, so I'm not sure what to make of it. You say best is subjective as opposed to definite Optimization, then proceed to define optimization as the search for the 'best' option.

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