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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    *Raises her hand*
    I think it probably is. Written by Rowling at least in part, yes? And she says it's canon? That's pretty straightforward.

    That doesn't mean I need to think it's any good, or that anyone has to care about it, though. If you want to disregard it, make your own headcanon, or something else entirely, that's fine.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    The question of "what is canon" is a seperate but equally facinating discussion from the whole author's intended meaning question.


    Usually when we are talking about Canon we are being critical at a discourse level and are examining elements above the textual level.

    As an example that I am sure is old enough not to need spoilers:

    In Star Wars (episode IV) Ben Kenobi clearly refers to Darth Vader as "Darth" - meaning that within the original text that was the character's first name and not a title. In subsequent stories it became clear that this was a somewhat generic Sith title and as such makes little to no sense as a first name. It essentially transforms Ben Kenobi's statement from something like "You are a real jerk George" into "You're a real jerk Mister." Critically examining the scene and text - Kenobi clearly has a personal stake in the contest as does Vader. The use of a more familiar name makes more sense within the scene and within the text of A New Hope. The revelation of Darth being a title and not a name is actually not revealed (in the "main cinematic canon") until the prequels though I am sure it was added into through the EU much earlier. But examining the movies alone - Darth Vader being an assumed First Name, Surname instead of a Title, Name is consisted throughout the original trilogy.

    The "author" of these works has a reputation and history of altering works after they were originally made as can be seen in this article by forbes. So the original text of Star Wars, prior to any sequels being made was for Darth Vader to be a proper name of an individual (and to be a separate individual from Anakin Skywalker) - this was later altered in a way which leaves this one awkward clue to the original intent.

    Now - while being able to see that when analyzed in isolation from other stories - Darth is a given name and not a title, it is not possible to make that same argument in good faith about this being a "canonical" truth.

    Canon is about analyzing a body of texts in context with each other and how they interact. The Literary Canon is a collection of texts worthy of study for their impact, artistry, relevancy over time, and more. The Holy Canon was the "O.G." canon and can't really be gone into here - same with the Vedic Texts which are also an example of a "Canon." In Literary use of the word Canon, "Its not very good" is perfectly valid grounds for removing it from the general discourse (or from the Canon).

    The common usage of "Canon" is much more about "does this happen within the meta-textual universe of the author's creation." In that sense, Jar Jar Binks is 100% "Canon" as Cursed Child probably is as well. Does this addition enhance the meta-textual narrative - this is a question for critical analysis. Does this addition conform to the existing rules, norms, and continuity of the narrative as it exists - this is another solid question.

    Currently there is little academic or critical approach to dealing with "Canon" and "Head Canon" in the sense of the common usage. A lot of academic and critical analysis doesn't deal with intertextuality within a series very well - each entry is usually measured on its own without regard to the greater continuity unless that intertextuality is a major feature of the texts.

    TL:DR - Death of the Author is about measuring individual texts and implied meaning found therein. Canon is part of a discourse level analysis which usually is focused on examining explicit information gathered over many texts - the two are totally different yet both very fun and worthwhile in their own way.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    It essentially transforms Ben Kenobi's statement from something like "You are a real jerk George" into "You're a real jerk Mister." Critically examining the scene and text - Kenobi clearly has a personal stake in the contest as does Vader. The use of a more familiar name makes more sense within the scene and within the text of A New Hope. The revelation of Darth being a title and not a name is actually not revealed (in the "main cinematic canon") until the prequels though I am sure it was added into through the EU much earlier. But examining the movies alone - Darth Vader being an assumed First Name, Surname instead of a Title, Name is consisted throughout the original trilogy.
    Certain titles would work more naturally in such a context than others. "You're a real jerk, mister" isn't something someone would likely say. "You're a real jerk, Captain" on the other hand is.

    Also, I suppose "Darth" could still be seen as a name of sorts in spite of the prequels - in various real religions, people take a name (often from a standard list, and in some cases a list of one) when they are formally inducted. Maybe the Sith do the same.

    Still, I think the main continuity conflict is that whatever "Darth" means, in ANH Kenobi clearly had know Vader by that name/title for some time (rather than, if I remember correctly, fighting him once in RotS and then not seeing him again until ANH).

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    My impression of that scene (even before I saw ESB) was always that Obi Wan was calling Vader by title as a sign of disrespect. Even as a little kid, "Darth" felt like a title.

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Certain titles would work more naturally in such a context than others. "You're a real jerk, mister" isn't something someone would likely say. "You're a real jerk, Captain" on the other hand is.
    This isn't an argument against your main point, but wasn't "You're in big trouble, mister" a catchphrase from Full House?

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    The question of "what is canon" is a seperate but equally facinating discussion from the whole author's intended meaning question.


    Usually when we are talking about Canon we are being critical at a discourse level and are examining elements above the textual level.

    As an example that I am sure is old enough not to need spoilers:

    In Star Wars (episode IV) Ben Kenobi clearly refers to Darth Vader as "Darth" - meaning that within the original text that was the character's first name and not a title. In subsequent stories it became clear that this was a somewhat generic Sith title and as such makes little to no sense as a first name. It essentially transforms Ben Kenobi's statement from something like "You are a real jerk George" into "You're a real jerk Mister."
    I think there's plenty of questions about what was originally intended, as well as the question of whether subsequent intentions are superimposed over original "texts."

    Then you give us a movie example, not a book. Maybe George Lucas intended it to be a title in the script or even have Obi Wan say something else (perhaps "Vader"), but when it came time Alec Guinness said it the way he said it.

    So whose intention matters when it comes to movie lines? The actors? The directors? the script writer? The editor that makes the last determination of which cut to use? Some marketing executives decision after the works are sold to a giant conglomerate years later and a whole new set of "official canon" book comes out...



    Quote Originally Posted by SuperPanda View Post
    Canon is about analyzing a body of texts in context with each other and how they interact. The Literary Canon is a collection of texts worthy of study for their impact, artistry, relevancy over time, and more. The Holy Canon was the "O.G." canon and can't really be gone into here - same with the Vedic Texts which are also an example of a "Canon." In Literary use of the word Canon, "Its not very good" is perfectly valid grounds for removing it from the general discourse (or from the Canon).
    The term "canon" in literature and literary theory keeps evolving and is used in many different ways though. It was initially used as a short hand to referring to the "Great Works" whatever those are. Then, despite the expression "closed canon" what is considered included keeps changing. Its a term used by critics to both describe what they are analyzing and provide a justification for modifying it.

    However, in the forums "canon" just means whatever the one in charge of the work of media says is the official work.

    But, let's get to the meat of the matter. By all of the above definitions and discussions, they all have one thing in common. None of them definitively settle the question of whether Han shot first!
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    First things first, here; The lingo of Criticism is hard enough to learn without the ambiguity of what an author "Means" through a work. When you new to the field of study, taking an easy to interpret work, assigning a meaning and how to come to that meaning, is an important step to learning to read works deeper then we do naturally.

    So, Blue Curtains could be a symbol of depression, but your Lit. Teacher isn't going to confuse the class by presenting all the differing ways that the text could be read instead and land on what he thinks is the most sound answer (Only to then punish people for disagreeing with his analysis). Its much easier to get people thinking in depth about symbolic resonance and how to set a scene, and then get students to forge their own arguments about other works they read with this tool in hand.

    Death of the Author is a necessary tool for all analysis; You can't afford the possibility of an ultimate authority over a work's interpretation because it means that your read is ultimately inferior in all respects.

    If I wrote a short story, about a little boy crying wolf, called it The Boy Who Cried Wolf* and it was in all respects identical to the classic fable, I could then state that I did NOT plagiarize the original text, and insist that this new story was all about Keynesian Economics without providing an argument to support the claim. If I DO present an argument that supports the claim, then I am just as liable to be debunked on my read of my own story about the Economic significance as if I wrote anything else. However, you as the reader, cannot make any claims about my work and what it means to you without first embracing Death Of The Author. I have assumed authority and cannot be debunked. If you question the relevancy of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and any economic model, too bad, I know what I wrote.

    The only recourse at this point is to wait for me to tell you how to interpret the story. Even then, you can't comment on whether or not you disagree, because I'm the ultimate authority. I'm right, your wrong. No matter how you read the story, the nuance of your analysis or the time in research, you are always inferior to my read.

    This is only true if my communication through story-telling is immaculate, there is no questioning of what I intended to say, what I was trying to express or what I am claiming. I have never met a work that could be read in such a manner that everyone is clearly in line with what the author is stating, universally.

    So, the essay calls out the claim of authorial intent for what it is - An appeal to authority, a Fallacy and unreliable.

    I can make an argument about what the work is about, I never lost that privilege, but you have all the right in the world to refute my argument, because we are peers. There is no ultimate authority for someone to appeal too, not even the author who made the work.

    When Rich added in a Lizardfolk prostitute with boobs and didn't realize that it was read differently then what he intended to the trans community of his readership, he apologized. He was trying to make a joke about 4e Dragonborn with boobs, this was his intent. If a community member read it as a joke about Trans people (And it was), even if that wasn't his goal or intent, he couldn't just hand wave their read as irrelevant. He had released the work and it said something he didn't intend for it to say, but took responsibility for it as an author and apologized for the miscommunication.

    Meanwhile, Orson Scott Card insists that Ender's Game is a book about homophobia, but it doesn't have anything to do with sex or sexuality. At all. Period. I don't think anyone even kisses in the first novel, let alone any real romantic ties, hetrosexual or homosexual. He doesn't provide any argument on behalf of this claim, but he is known as homophobic. I like Ender's Game, it's a good book. I'm not going to warn any of my LGBTx friends not to read it because it's homophobic. That's... just absurd. Orson Scott Card might be homophobic and doesn't want his readers to be gay, but I couldn't care less about what OSC does in his free time, the book by itself is excellent.

    These two examples are inverses, but they thrive on the same principle. The author is dead, read it as you wish... Then defend your position for yourself.


    *The Boy Who Cried Wolf is used as an arbitrary example, I wasn't going to write a story for sake of the argument and it's already popped up as a example in the thread earlier.

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Added to the above, there is no singular, totalizing meaning to be attributed to any literary work, and things the author never intended can be in many ways very productive ways to examine how the text makes some of those meanings. Chaucer was certainly not a proto-feminist because they didn't exist back then. And yet the Wife of Bath's tale (among others Chaucer wrote) spark quite a bit of debate over women's roles in Chaucer's day, if the ideas the Wife of Bath expresses are kind of nascent pre-figurings of later arguments early feminists would formulate, on the nature of glossing, and numerous other things. It's also about a knight who is tasked with finding out what women want most in life as punishment for raping a woman (the answer is control, and despite that being an example of medieval misogyny at work it's also in many ways anticipatory of control of one's own life and circumstances being a significant tentpole of feminism). It's also maybe about parodying Arthurian stories, since Arthur's the king in the story who passes the sentence. There's a lot going on there. There's a lot going on in any literature worth reading.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    Added to the above, there is no singular, totalizing meaning to be attributed to any literary work, and things the author never intended can be in many ways very productive ways to examine how the text makes some of those meanings. Chaucer was certainly not a proto-feminist because they didn't exist back then. And yet the Wife of Bath's tale (among others Chaucer wrote) spark quite a bit of debate over women's roles in Chaucer's day, if the ideas the Wife of Bath expresses are kind of nascent pre-figurings of later arguments early feminists would formulate, on the nature of glossing, and numerous other things. It's also about a knight who is tasked with finding out what women want most in life as punishment for raping a woman (the answer is control, and despite that being an example of medieval misogyny at work it's also in many ways anticipatory of control of one's own life and circumstances being a significant tentpole of feminism). It's also maybe about parodying Arthurian stories, since Arthur's the king in the story who passes the sentence. There's a lot going on there. There's a lot going on in any literature worth reading.
    Chaucer would be familiar with other similar tales for the wife of bath tale is similar to "other loathly lady" tales.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loathly_lady

    There was a English / French tradition with Loathly Lady tales involving King Arthur characters, and before that the various Irish / Celtic tales of Diarmuid (Fate Zero's Lancer except Fate Zero does not go into all his myths, note Diarmuid is one of the models that is later adapted to Lancelot and Guinevere with some of his other myths that Fate Zero deals with), and then there is a separate Norse Tradition. There is also the Irish Sovereignty tradition where kings were only supposed to get the divine right of kings once they realize the answer to the riddle (such as Niall of the Nine Hostages.)

    -----

    But yeah you are 100% correct that even though similar stories existed for several hundrends year prior, probably a 1000 years prior that Chaucer's Wife of Bath was a big [censored] deal in the 1300 and 1400s and helped change the culture of The Middle Ages and help usher in in the Modern Age (which depending on who you asked happened sometime in the rough range of 1450s to 1500)
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Oh god, are we reviving the original topic? I think the OP would probably rather we forget this lashing-out-at-professors-whose-opinions-with-which-they-disagree. The 'What is canon?' tangent at least had some tread left on it. Okay, here goes...


    Quote Originally Posted by Son of A Lich! View Post
    So, Blue Curtains could be a symbol of depression, but your Lit. Teacher isn't going to confuse the class by presenting all the differing ways that the text could be read instead and land on what he thinks is the most sound answer (Only to then punish people for disagreeing with his analysis). Its much easier to get people thinking in depth about symbolic resonance and how to set a scene, and then get students to forge their own arguments about other works they read with this tool in hand.
    Agreed. Not everything done in class is done because what it says is important, but what it makes the student do (think, form their own ideas and learn to present cases for them).

    Death of the Author is a necessary tool for all analysis; You can't afford the possibility of an ultimate authority over a work's interpretation because it means that your read is ultimately inferior in all respects.
    But I wouldn't go that far. Not all tools have to be universal and a dedicated screwdriver works better than the one on my Leatherman. There is a place for analysis specifically geared towards an author's perspective. One just has to recognize the limitations that such an analysis inherently bring (and of course never sell it as applicable outside the artificially constrained boundaries of said analysis).

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I think the OP would probably rather we forget this lashing-out-at-professors-whose-opinions-with-which-they-disagree.
    Not at all! "Whose interpretations willfully make no sense with the material" being more the size of it, burying is definitely not on my agenda.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by Son of A Lich! View Post
    Meanwhile, Orson Scott Card insists that Ender's Game is a book about homophobia, but it doesn't have anything to do with sex or sexuality. At all. Period. I don't think anyone even kisses in the first novel, let alone any real romantic ties, hetrosexual or homosexual. He doesn't provide any argument on behalf of this claim, but he is known as homophobic. I like Ender's Game, it's a good book. I'm not going to warn any of my LGBTx friends not to read it because it's homophobic. That's... just absurd. Orson Scott Card might be homophobic and doesn't want his readers to be gay, but I couldn't care less about what OSC does in his free time, the book by itself is excellent.
    I've never read anywhere that OSC himself insists Ender's Game is about homophobia. What I've read, in several places and including mind-numbingly close readings of Card's work to support the claim, is that despite whatever OSC may say, Ender's Game and many of Card's other literary works are laden with the same combination of fascination and revulsion and violence towards homosexuality that Card expresses outside his literature in a political context. Frankly, there's a creditable case to be made.

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Ender's Game doesn't really go there. The Shadow series touches on it with its weird glimpses at the regretful mad scientist's sex life as a gay man married to a woman, but that's mostly there in order to spark key lines in the main plot. Now, Songmaster, on the other hand... good grief. "For Gay Mormons Who Have Contemplated Suicide When The Rainbow Kitchen Is Enuff."
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    The meaning of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is very clearly that you should never tell the same lie twice.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    Ender's Game doesn't really go there. The Shadow series touches on it with its weird glimpses at the regretful mad scientist's sex life as a gay man married to a woman, but that's mostly there in order to spark key lines in the main plot. Now, Songmaster, on the other hand... good grief. "For Gay Mormons Who Have Contemplated Suicide When The Rainbow Kitchen Is Enuff."
    It doesn't explicitly do so, but there's a notable scene involving nude boys and a shower murder, there's an overarching theme in his works to the effect of "the old must make the young suffer by suppressing their desires for their own good" that shows up in Ender's Game (albeit not to the same extent as in some later books), and there's a few other things. Individually each isn't particularly telling, but in total? It's pretty visible.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    "the old must make the young suffer by suppressing their desires for their own good"
    I can see that in Ender's Game, seeing as Graff's strategy, however overtly dubious, did, you know, work. I can also see it in Empire, because the infuriatingly overthinking rational protagonist - this is the one who's always right in Card's books - happens to be the middle-aged one. Not at all in the Shadow Series, unless you count the Wiggins' suppression of Peter's desire to collapse into a depressive jelly. And nothing to do with sex at any time.

    As to nude boys killing other boys in showers, tee hee? This is what I call the "Beavis and Butthead school of literary analysis", and trust me, as someone who's still got a Death Note avatar, it's far from the worst I've seen.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Itís quite obvious whatís in Enderís Game. If you have doubts, google and read an analysis of Enderís Game and look for the quotes of the insults the boys use.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    I have read Ender's Game twice. The first time, I was too young to really get the Earth historical context of the insult "bugger". The second time, a year or so ago, it was a very awkward read.

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    Default Re: The Death of the Author debate is way too blinkered in scope

    Orson Scott Card is a messed up person in real life. (Skips this stuff for it political but also way too personal of an inspection of a human individual that is only know for his fiction. The irony of skipping this in a Death of an Author thread.)

    But his books such as Enders Game are they homophobic or are they more hierarchical bully stuff for OSC likes writting about bullying and abuse and how people can rise above this stuff (kids with crappy childhood can still thrive) but at the same time they are "tarnished" by the bullying and the abuse and they are never the same again (loss of innocence, loss of childhood themes.)

    Now I really do not like OSC, and I really do not like his books, and I have barely read him and I am more familiar with his works via summaries and friends. I am pointing this out even though I do not like OSC for their is subjective opinions here, and people with different subjective opinions than me can make "a noble case" for some of the bullying and homophobia in stuff like Ender's Game. Are the characters themselves homophobic, or are they instead stuck in a bad situation the world thrusts onto them, and they are acting out not actual desires of homophobia but instead trying to maintain some form of control in a world that denies them power to exercise control for the world (as in society) is messed up at its core. Aka it is a book about rebelling yet also accepting that hiearchy is a natural thing with the interaction of others through time and space, relationships have some hiearchy in them just like they have swapping of desires, swapping of goods and services, and so on.

    ----

    ... (pivots to a different conversation about OSC and Ender's Game.)

    It does not matter. I do not like OSC in Ender's Game and other works for it is purely wish fulfillment. Ender gets to be the bully, he gets to be the person who performs violence, and he also simultaneously gets to feel "justified" in that violence. For after the violence we find out it was a contrived circumstance by the "system" or other people who are more morally culpable than Ender in creating the system.

    Thus Ender gets to be both violent and morally clean / morally superior simultaneously. He never makes mistakes, and when mistakes are made it is never his fault.

    This is a form of pornography in a way. A revenge fantasy. A story of creating the innocent hero, a victim hero. Combining the most violent and sensory intense things you can think of, while also allowing a person to feel they are justified, but also free of consequences while they read it. It is icky for people then transference and transfer this type of black and white thinking into the real world. Why would someone want to write this, why would someone want to read this and super love it and re-read it again and again? Why would someone want to hyper-identify with this? It is literally the author manipulating the emotions of the reader by creating an absurd scenario (now all fiction does this, but I have to question what is the author's motives when such emotional manipulation, such sympathy and empathy is being triggered so intensely.)

    But whatever this is my subjective opinion, if you like Ender's Game go ahead and like it.
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