February 23rd, 2006

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I'm Rather Sleep Deprived, So This Might Only Make Sense To Me

You've seen the movie (or you haven't, but you should), now read the recap:

(courtesy of Television Without Pity, and "Jacob," who also writes the Battlestar Galactica Recaps, which I read because I miss most of the episodes because I am poor and don't have cable normally):

http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/story.cgi?show=95&story=8865&limit=&sort=

A sensitive and thought-provoking . . . and somewhat pretentious--but only in the ways that are needed--review and summary and not so much summary as description of the movie, with only a little abridgment. Often, TWP recaps are funny, because they see nothing wrong with bad-mouthing the bad, or taking it all in good fun. But occasionally they are profound, and IME, Jacob's BSG recaps get this more often than most and I don't know if it's just that he's that way or good shit causes good introspection and analysis, or what.

I mean, listen here:

"[T]here's a higher point, which is that 'sin,' in the sense that the Operative means, and means to enforce here as he did in the beginning, is in itself the most sinful concept imaginable. Imposing their lack, through Pax, through legislation, through signing subjective moral concepts into law, circumvents God's plan entirely, and means taking on God's role and making of oneself an idol. It perverts religion and politics, and all of us love one more than the other. Without pride and the choices it presents, there can be no faith: no assertion that one's relationship with God, against all reason, is imperative and real. Without envy, there is no hope, no comparison, no competition, no dissatisfaction, no reason to try, to succeed. Without gluttony, in a world where greed is eliminated, there is no way to choose charity. Without lust, we all die, and without acknowledgement[sic] of lust's universality, there is no fortitude. Without anger, without the holy anger of the proletariat, of the people against the unlawful, there can be no justice. Without greed or sloth, there is no moderation, no temperance or prudence--we are unable to look at ourselves critically and see long-term v. short-term effects. We stop growing them when the state mandates these lacks, takes away these choices: we all go to sleep. And we don't wake up. And Oceania keeps fighting, and the signal is silenced."

His subsequent reaction to this paragraph is funny, and part of the reason why I don't get upset with his pretensions: because he is aware of those pretensions, and knows how others react to them. Sure, he's vocal about the flaws of whatever he's "recapping," but he's as upfront and perceptive of his own flaws, and that's the real lesson to take from this, if anything is to be taken aside from "Serenity is awesome, and so is the recap of Serenity." That lesson? A critique is as much about you as it is about what you're critiquing. This is why documentation is often required to support a critical thesis. Simply saying "A is bad," or "A is good," means nothing, because it's all subjective anyway, but to say "I find A to be bad or good because of trill and durm and strang," that means something. You are presenting yourself to be a fallible individual, but also to have deep meaning for what you like and dislike. You're no longer saying "A is bad," you're saying "I am the kind of person who finds A to be bad."

You may disagree, and you may disagree with what a critic says, but so what. You're just the kind of person who finds such statements to be less than fully true. And that's fine. It's all fine. It all fits together.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque