The words, see them run!

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The masters of information have forgotten about poetry, where words may have a meaning quite different from what the lexicon says, where the metaphoric spark is always one jump ahead of the decoding function, where another, unforeseen reading is always possible.

(From Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year)

And veering off on a tangent from the above: romcoms, sitcoms, boilerplate films or books in general; boilerplate entertainment in general. Those are done by technicians, not artists. Jing told me she took a screenwriting class and now she can’t watch movies because she can see exactly the ways in which they are constructed from prefab components. This is “masters of information” trying to capture poetry’s success by means of breaking it down through analysis into its building blocks. (“Poetry” is used in the widest possible sense here, as the output of any creative process.) The underlying assumption is that a work of poetry can be decomposed into building blocks; that it is not continuous, or if it is, then that this continuity can be violated without killing the pleasure from the work’s consumption.

If successful, the analysis will yield the entire gamut of the building blocks of poetry. Then an industrial enterprise could repeatedly rearrange those blocks (presumably one could analyse the most pleasing patterns in which they can be arranged; and the patterns of patterns) and manufacture reliably profitable entertainment. Just so a policeman can reliably combine standard face elements into recognizable composite portraits of criminals.

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