Author Topic: Pseudopod 197: Set Down This  (Read 39122 times)

Nerraux

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 25
  • aka Mat Weller, Escape Pod Producer
    • MatWeller.com
Reply #25 on: June 16, 2010, 04:02:54 PM
You're right that the anti-war theme is a bit heavy-handed, but I think if you let the theme consume you, you miss the actual horror of the message. The fact that the guy's brother is catalogging horrifying footage in the same way he does music videos makes this scary. That's what Alisdare is saying at the end--the overwhelming amount of information and footage trivializing the most horrifying events is in itself more horriffic. It's not blood and guts horror, but it's significanly deeper than just liberal propaganda.



Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #26 on: June 16, 2010, 05:56:48 PM
So, great fiction should not also be socially relevant? I think that qualification would knock out 2/3 of everything people consider classics. Why should anybody else's feelings about a piece ever influence yours anyway?

No, no - that's never been my point (although, apologies, I realize it seems that way sometimes).  My point is that I despise what I call "message stories" - ie. stories which are all message and no plot.  Take away the social commentary of this one, and what are you left with?  Nothing.

Now, for example, take away the social commentary of a story like "The Disconnected" or the Star Trek episode "Let that be your Last Battlefield" or the Twilight Zone's "The Obsolete Man" and what are you left with?  A still gripping tale about a dystopian future with a lot of tense action to keep you interested.

So even if I 100% agreed with the message, I would still dislike the story because it's ONLY a message.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #27 on: June 16, 2010, 06:15:21 PM
You're right that the anti-war theme is a bit heavy-handed, but I think if you let the theme consume you, you miss the actual horror of the message. The fact that the guy's brother is catalogging horrifying footage in the same way he does music videos makes this scary. That's what Alisdare is saying at the end--the overwhelming amount of information and footage trivializing the most horrifying events is in itself more horriffic. It's not blood and guts horror, but it's significanly deeper than just liberal propaganda.

In the 1st Century AD there was a viking king whose nickname was "Child Lover" because, unlike his fellows, he refused to kill children on raids.  The other vikings thought this was pretty funny and rather odd.

My point is that violence on a horrific scale has existed throughout all of history and, in the past, this kid would not have been just looking at images - he would have been doing the real thing.  And he would have been doing it without the modern "rules of engagement" - he would have actually been ostracized if he DID NOT rape, loot, pillage and butcher children.  The fact that he watches videos and it is looked upon as deviant is actually reassuring to me, not horrific: look at how much progress we have made.

Supposed "desensitization" from watching videos of violence is not horrific to me.  It's no more scary than depictions of the Victorian women who would get all "a'flutter" over the murders and rapes reported in the police blotter.

Finally, my point is that if the "message" of this story IS the horror.  If the message does not scare you - the story fails.  This is unlike something like "The Forgotten" or "Jurassic Park" or heck, even "Friday the 13th" where even if the horror itself is silly when viewed in the abstract (Dinosaurs?  Janitors?  Who is really afraid of that?) the story still works because of the tense action, pacing and tight plot.  "Set Down This" lacked all three of these things.

Again, this is just my opinion and I understand why others liked this story, but it failed for me.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #28 on: June 16, 2010, 07:25:42 PM
The action in this story is very internal; this is not a story about the war or the effects of YouTube on attitudes of youth, but rather the story of a young person trying to understand and assimilate the world around them, which in this case includes a collection of horrifying videos on his brother's computer.  That is, the message is certainly present, but the story is about how this character came to understand that message, his ideological arguments with his brother, and coming to terms with his brother's choices.  (I got the strong impression that the brother had gone to join up with the military and possibly died as a result of his fascination with these videos, hence the protag reviewing them all on "[his/her] brother's computer.")  That sort of thought and contemplation is very hard to convey without just writing a blog entry, and one of the reasons I liked this story so much is because almost the entirety of the plot and character is left out, outlined by the order of the videos, the way they're described, the images they summon up.

It reminds me of the abstract paintings that are all one color, or that appear to be random splatters of paint.  I don't like those kinds of paintings, but I understand that it takes a careful artistic hand to know what to put on the canvas to achieve the desired effect, and I do like stories that are equivalently pared down or that approach their plots sideways in that way.

Is the anti-war message present?  Oh, indubitably, and quite strong.  Is it the only thing going on?  I would say no, not at all.  The story didn't create a pro-war and an anti-war monster and have them fight it out, but neither did it just present us with a paragraph that said, "War is bad because people get hurt.  Please stop fighting wars."  The former might still have a "gripping tale" in it of two monsters fighting, but without its thematic underpinnings, it would fall rather flat; the latter wouldn't be a story, but if well-written enough could still be quite moving and powerful.  (I think of political speeches or thoughtful essays I have read.)



Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #29 on: June 16, 2010, 11:48:52 PM
The action in this story is very internal; this is not a story about the war or the effects of YouTube on attitudes of youth, but rather the story of a young person trying to understand and assimilate the world around them, which in this case includes a collection of horrifying videos on his brother's computer.  That is, the message is certainly present, but the story is about how this character came to understand that message, his ideological arguments with his brother, and coming to terms with his brother's choices.  (I got the strong impression that the brother had gone to join up with the military and possibly died as a result of his fascination with these videos, hence the protag reviewing them all on "[his/her] brother's computer.")  That sort of thought and contemplation is very hard to convey without just writing a blog entry, and one of the reasons I liked this story so much is because almost the entirety of the plot and character is left out, outlined by the order of the videos, the way they're described, the images they summon up.

It reminds me of the abstract paintings that are all one color, or that appear to be random splatters of paint.  I don't like those kinds of paintings, but I understand that it takes a careful artistic hand to know what to put on the canvas to achieve the desired effect, and I do like stories that are equivalently pared down or that approach their plots sideways in that way.

Is the anti-war message present?  Oh, indubitably, and quite strong.  Is it the only thing going on?  I would say no, not at all.  The story didn't create a pro-war and an anti-war monster and have them fight it out, but neither did it just present us with a paragraph that said, "War is bad because people get hurt.  Please stop fighting wars."  The former might still have a "gripping tale" in it of two monsters fighting, but without its thematic underpinnings, it would fall rather flat; the latter wouldn't be a story, but if well-written enough could still be quite moving and powerful.  (I think of political speeches or thoughtful essays I have read.)

Read "The Things they Carried" or "All Quiet on the Western Front" or watch "Platoon" or "Full Metal Jacket" or even "Rambo: First Blood" to see how it's possible to do both.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #30 on: June 17, 2010, 02:38:32 AM
I loved "The Things They Carried" quite a lot when it came down the pike in college; I think this story did a similarly good job of conveying the emotions of wartime.  It just conveyed the emotions of someone at home and far from the war rather than the emotions of someone at the war.  I think there are stories to be found in both places. 



rotheche

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 31
Reply #31 on: June 17, 2010, 09:27:09 AM
I liked Alasdair's closing statements more than the story.
This was my reaction also.

I don't object to stories with a message per se: even if it's a message I disagree with, if it's engagingly presented, I'll read it.  If it's well-presented, it'll make me think, perhaps reassess my own position.

This one started, and I waited for the story to kick in and, while I was still waiting, it ended.

It was a well-written meditation on war, dehumanisation, desensitisation, and those things can be horrifying: but that's not the same as horror fiction.  In another context, this might have worked better for me - as I say, it's a well-written meditation - but when I was expecting horror fiction, it didn't.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #32 on: June 17, 2010, 01:37:56 PM
one of the reasons I liked this story so much is because almost the entirety of the plot and character is left out,

Coincidentally, that's the main reason I didn't like the story.   ;D



goatkeeper

  • Guest
Reply #33 on: June 22, 2010, 04:23:47 AM
I'll try this one again after these comments.  I love Tidhar's writing but this one just couldn't keep me engaged. 



Kanasta

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
Reply #34 on: June 22, 2010, 01:36:26 PM
I nearly stopped listening to this nine minutes in; noticed it was half way through and decided to continue listening, but gave up after eleven minutes. I kept waiting for the set-up to turn into plot, but eventually decided that apparently the story was all set-up, with no actual plot to follow. I found it rather hamfisted in its anti-war worthiness, and I got very bored.



disk2

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #35 on: June 30, 2010, 04:25:06 AM
Ummm, where's the horror?

I was going to write a very harsh criticism of this story, but it's just not worth the time or effort.



Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #36 on: June 30, 2010, 05:11:28 AM
Ummm, where's the horror?

I was going to write a very harsh criticism of this story, but it's just not worth the time or effort.

Apparently it was worth the bother of signing up.



Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #37 on: June 30, 2010, 01:18:50 PM
Ummm, where's the horror?

I was going to write a very harsh criticism of this story, but it's just not worth the time or effort.

In the time and word count of the second sentence you could've written something specific about why you didn't like it.  Just sayin...



disk2

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #38 on: July 01, 2010, 06:09:38 AM
I've had an account on here for a while, just never felt the need to comment before.

There have been other stories on here that I didn't care for, but this one was so bad I
was compelled to say something. After re-reading the vitriolic paragraph I had typed
I thought it would be better to just delete it and move on. Here's the short version.
 
19 minutes of dead air would have been preferable.
I kept waiting for something to happen, then it was over. 
No story, no characters, no plot, just some "author" stroking their ego from atop a soap box.
Left-wing anti-war drivel with an existential cherry on top, oh the horror, THE HORROR.
If I wanted to hear that I could just tune in to MSNBC, CNN, or FOX.
I guess my real point is I come here for entertainment, not politics or second rate philosophy.

I've loved horror since I was a small child, hell you could say I'm a fear junkie, but this just felt insulting to me.



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #39 on: July 01, 2010, 06:35:50 AM
Ummm, where's the horror?

I'll grant you that the story was a little slow - definitely not my favorite, though it managed to overcome my usual dislike for nonstories by being striking and well written in other ways - but I don't agree with your totally negative characterization. Let me see if I can answer your question with a few examples, all in my opinion and from my point of view, of course:
  • The narrator's experience of having this moment stuck in his memory, of feeling trapped by the small trauma of witnessing a stranger's death.
  • The narrator's identification with someone who is caught in circumstances beyond his immediate control who has become a killer.
  • The narrator's growing discomfort with his own obsession.
  • The horrifying ease with which a human life can be snuffed out by impersonal, mechanized death machines.
  • The narrator's brother's behavior - collecting movies of people in danger and dying, for fun - and the fact that people do this in the real world. I mean, wtf?
  • War.

The story had flaws, certainly, but I think "where's the horror" is a bit of a simplistic objection. There was plenty of horror all over the place.

I'd also challenge your assertion that the story is "left-wing anti-war drivel." The narrator - and by extension, the author (yes, this is a flaw in my book, too, but that's not what I'm talking about right now) - didn't talk about whether or not the war is good, justified, or otherwise worth it. The author was just drawing out the horror of war. War is horrible. War is horror. Since when is pointing out that war is horror political? Because I've got to say, if pointing out that war is bad and people get hurt and people die is a "left-wing" thing to do then our government would be full of Democrats and Sociopaths.

But it's not. Right-wingers will also admit that war is bad, painful, and deadly. Republicans don't think war is just dandy. The question is not "is war bad?" but "is the badness of war worth it in this case?"

Anyway, to respond to your last point: entertainment, politics, and philosophy have always been closely tied together. Good art does a lot of things: I don't go anywhere expecting to be "just" entertained. Now, if you weren't in the mood to be enlightened, educated, or challenged, that's all well and good, but it's hardly the story's fault that it caught you at a bad time. Perhaps you should have just turned it off and listened to it when you were in a different mood?

If you never want to hear stories that do anything but entertain, well... probably the Escape Artists podcasts aren't for you. Their mission is to run a wide variety of stories, from the purely entertaining to the complex and artistic to the challenging and topical.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #40 on: July 01, 2010, 03:50:49 PM
Anyway, to respond to your last point: entertainment, politics, and philosophy have always been closely tied together. Good art does a lot of things: I don't go anywhere expecting to be "just" entertained. Now, if you weren't in the mood to be enlightened, educated, or challenged, that's all well and good, but it's hardly the story's fault that it caught you at a bad time.

I think that's a really unfair remark to make.  First of all, the OP did not find that this story "enlightened, educated, or challenged" - he found it "second rate philosophy."  It seems to me that he felt it was something of a polemic (and I agree) where the author's opinion and the narrator were indistinguishable (you seem to agree with that too).

Saying that you hated it because it was "too political" is a legitimate criticism.  It's like being told you're going to be shown a movie about the Iraq war, but instead of putting on Jarhead, they show you Farenheit 9/11.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying (in your opinion, of course) that it was a load of drek more concerned with making a political point than telling a story.  It's not so much that people are just ignorant and don't "want to be challenged" it's that they don't want to be lectured.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Scattercat

  • Caution:
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4904
  • Amateur wordsmith
    • Mirrorshards
Reply #41 on: July 01, 2010, 04:00:49 PM
A point: the OP called it "politics and second-rate philosophy."  As ElectricPaladin pointed out, this story made no political points.  The closest thing to a political point in here is "War is bad," which is hardly political unless one is so involved in one side of a political debate that everything is political. 

As for philosophy, well, given that the story was mostly just a series of images and a description of the narrative constructed by the protagonist about those images, it's hard to claim a philosophy for it beyond "anti-war."  Again, as EP pointed out, nobody sane is in favor of war qua war. 

Anger about "left-wing" political points seems misguided to me.  The narrator constructs the images in a certain way; this tells us something about the narrator.  Does it tell us anything about the author?  Not necessarily.  It rarely pays to assume that sort of thing.



Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #42 on: July 01, 2010, 04:12:12 PM
A point: the OP called it "politics and second-rate philosophy."  As ElectricPaladin pointed out, this story made no political points.

That is, politely, just your opinion.  In my opinion, and that of the OP, there is a political statement being made here - and it is a decidedly Left-wing and/or pacifist one.  For example, the author/narrator never once considers that the war is justifiable.  This lack of a rounded viewpoint, coupled with the lovely "can't we all just get along?" dung-beetle metaphor, points to a very strong political message about the Iraq war specifically.  Even the most ham-fisted war movie will present characters who look at the war from a different perspective from the protagonist (Full Metal Jacket leaps to mind).

Again, you may not see a political point being made, but a lot of people clearly did.  Making that sort of criticism is legitimate.

Anger about "left-wing" political points seems misguided to me.  The narrator constructs the images in a certain way; this tells us something about the narrator.  Does it tell us anything about the author?  Not necessarily.  It rarely pays to assume that sort of thing.

A lot of people, including myself, found the author and the narrator virtually indistinguishable.  In a lot of ways, the narrator felt like an author-insert.  Again, that is a legitimate criticism to make.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #43 on: July 01, 2010, 04:19:31 PM
Anyway, to respond to your last point: entertainment, politics, and philosophy have always been closely tied together. Good art does a lot of things: I don't go anywhere expecting to be "just" entertained. Now, if you weren't in the mood to be enlightened, educated, or challenged, that's all well and good, but it's hardly the story's fault that it caught you at a bad time.

I think that's a really unfair remark to make.  First of all, the OP did not find that this story "enlightened, educated, or challenged" - he found it "second rate philosophy."  It seems to me that he felt it was something of a polemic (and I agree) where the author's opinion and the narrator were indistinguishable (you seem to agree with that too).

Saying that you hated it because it was "too political" is a legitimate criticism.  It's like being told you're going to be shown a movie about the Iraq war, but instead of putting on Jarhead, they show you Farenheit 9/11.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying (in your opinion, of course) that it was a load of drek more concerned with making a political point than telling a story.  It's not so much that people are just ignorant and don't "want to be challenged" it's that they don't want to be lectured.

Here's where I disagree with you - I didn't find the story to be polemic. The story didn't have a political orientation. The story didn't say "war is bad and therefore the Republicans are wrong." The story just said "war is bad." I don't understand how talking about the horrors of war and empathizing with the soldiers, civilians, killers, and victims of war is partisan.

And, no, I don't think "too political" is legitimate criticism. "Too political" is content-free criticism. By itself, it's meaningless.

Does "too political" mean it was more concerned with making a political point than telling a story? That's a weird statement about the author's intent. You don't know and can't judge the author's intent.

Does "too political" mean you felt preached at and lectured to the detriment of the story? Well, yes, that's valid. And I admitted as much in my response. Of course, this is subjective - one person's lecture is another's spirited discussion. That's why absolute statements like "I came here to be entertained" are invalid, because they imply that, as an objective fact, stories should only entertain, and that's just not true. Stories do a lot of things.

Here's the thing: in my experience people almost never complain that a story was "too political" unless they disagree with the story's politics (or what they imagine the story's politics to be). "Too political" is usually a shorthand for "the story challenged my beliefs and that makes me angry." If you want to criticize a story, talk about what the story actually did or didn't do.

For example, in my listening, this story was generally bland, nothing happened, and there was almost no character development. These are comments that reflect the story's qualities.

"Too political" doesn't.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #44 on: July 01, 2010, 04:52:50 PM
Here's where I disagree with you - I didn't find the story to be polemic. The story didn't have a political orientation.  The story didn't say "war is bad and therefore the Republicans are wrong." The story just said "war is bad." I don't understand how talking about the horrors of war and empathizing with the soldiers, civilians, killers, and victims of war is partisan.

That's fine, you are free to disagree.  But a lot of people did see a political message (and the same political message at that).  Their interpretation is different from yours - but it is still valid.  I think I clearly articulated in my earlier posts why I think it has a message, but that's just my opinion.  If you didn't see what I saw, that's fine.

Tying in with what you said later "...in my experience people almost never complain that a story was "too political" unless they disagree with the story's politics..." I might not be remiss in saying that in my experience, people will say "there was no partisan message here" if they agree with the message.  The street goes both ways.

Does "too political" mean it was more concerned with making a political point than telling a story? That's a weird statement about the author's intent. You don't know and can't judge the author's intent.

What???  Are you saying that anyone who said Platoon or W or Wallstreet or Rendition or In the Valley of Elah or An American Carol were lousy because they were "more concerned with making a political point than telling a story" are offering unfair criticism?

That's why absolute statements like "I came here to be entertained" are invalid, because they imply that, as an objective fact, stories should only entertain...

If I said "I came here to be entertained" - that's just my opinion.  It's not an objective fact about the universe.  Some people prefer stories to entertain first and harass us with messages second.  You don't have to agree, but there's nothing wrong with saying "I want to hear an entertaining story - and this one wasn't it because the message gets in the way."

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #45 on: July 01, 2010, 05:10:30 PM
That's fine, you are free to disagree.  But a lot of people did see a political message (and the same political message at that).  Their interpretation is different from yours - but it is still valid.  I think I clearly articulated in my earlier posts why I think it has a message, but that's just my opinion.  If you didn't see what I saw, that's fine.

Tying in with what you said later "...in my experience people almost never complain that a story was "too political" unless they disagree with the story's politics..." I might not be remiss in saying that in my experience, people will say "there was no partisan message here" if they agree with the message.  The street goes both ways.

Fair enough.

What???  Are you saying that anyone who said Platoon or W or Wallstreet or Rendition or In the Valley of Elah or An American Carol were lousy because they were "more concerned with making a political point than telling a story" are offering unfair criticism?

I'm not familiar with most of those, and I've only heard of - not seen - W and Rendition.

And no, I'm not saying the people are lousy. I'm saying their criticism is invalid. There's an important distinction there.

If I said "I came here to be entertained" - that's just my opinion.  It's not an objective fact about the universe.  Some people prefer stories to entertain first and harass us with messages second.  You don't have to agree, but there's nothing wrong with saying "I want to hear an entertaining story - and this one wasn't it because the message gets in the way."

There's nothing wrong with saying "I want to experience an entertaining story." I've said that to myself while shopping for books, picking which movie to see, or deciding which podcast to listen to.

There's nothing wrong with saying "For me, in this story, the message got in the way of the story." It's happened to me. A story with a strong message and a weak setting, weak characters, or weak craft might produce this reaction.

However, these are not what the OP said. The OP said "I guess my real point is I come here for entertainment, not politics or second rate philosophy."

And I responded "If you come here for entertainment that is only entertainment, you're coming to the wrong place." Because Escape Artists don't aim to only entertain. Have you ever heard the founder, Stephen Eley, talk about why he founded the podcasts in the first place? His mission to preserve fantastic literature and help establish it as a mode of literary expression that's just as meaningful and important as any other genre? That's what these podcasts are about, so if stories that do more than terrify, titillate, or amuse are not your thing, you're in the wrong place.

The day that the Escape Artists start being a place for only entertainment is the last day I listen. Thankfully, I don't think that day will ever come.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #46 on: July 01, 2010, 06:25:38 PM
What???  Are you saying that anyone who said Platoon or W or Wallstreet or Rendition or In the Valley of Elah or An American Carol were lousy because they were "more concerned with making a political point than telling a story" are offering unfair criticism?

I'm not familiar with most of those, and I've only heard of - not seen - W and Rendition.

And no, I'm not saying the people are lousy. I'm saying their criticism is invalid. There's an important distinction there.

Haha - apologies if I phrased that poorly: I mean to say a LOT of people (including prominent critics) disliked some of the movies I listed because they quote "came across as thinly veiled agitprop."  I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I can't see how saying "This was lousy because it was more concerned with making a political point than telling a story" is invalid criticism.

And I responded "If you come here for entertainment that is only entertainment, you're coming to the wrong place." Because Escape Artists don't aim to only entertain. Have you ever heard the founder, Stephen Eley, talk about why he founded the podcasts in the first place? His mission to preserve fantastic literature and help establish it as a mode of literary expression that's just as meaningful and important as any other genre? That's what these podcasts are about, so if stories that do more than terrify, titillate, or amuse are not your thing, you're in the wrong place.

Okay, that's fine.  I'm glad that's why PP was founded.  But it does not invalidate his criticism.

One thing that drives me completely crazy about the message boards here is this:

Someone will post their reaction to a story, be it "I hated this" or "This was too political" or "The message was dumb" or just "meh."

Then people will jump all over that person, not disagreeing with him or her, but saying "You're not allowed to make that sort of criticism.  That sort of criticism is invalid."

Of COURSE it's valid.  ANY criticism is valid.  It's that person's subjective reaction to the story.  If PP didn't want to hear people's reactions, they wouldn't have message boards.  You're free to disagree with people's opinions, but saying someone shouldn't be allowed to subjectively criticize a story (and all criticism is subjective) is absurd.

I'm not trying to call you out or anything, but we should all be free to give our opinions.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #47 on: July 01, 2010, 06:41:28 PM
I think the issue is sticky because "valid criticism" is a term its extremely difficult to define. We talk about things being "too political" or "not rabidly warmongery enough" or whatever, but these are things that are only true for a certain subsection of people, and for others its completely and utterly untrue, so it comes across as "invalid criticism."  Especially if a person is vaguely hostile in tone when making one's initial criticisms.




Millenium_King

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 385
    • Ankor Sabat
Reply #48 on: July 01, 2010, 07:40:04 PM
I suppose so.  I just feel like I see a lot of "you're not allowed to hold that opinion" around here, as opposed to "our opinions differ."  I think someone can have a stupid opinion about a story, but not an invalid one.

Visit my blog atop the black ziggurat of Ankor Sabat, including my list of Top 10 Pseudopod episodes.


Talia

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2682
  • Muahahahaha
Reply #49 on: July 01, 2010, 07:53:41 PM
I suppose so.  I just feel like I see a lot of "you're not allowed to hold that opinion" around here, as opposed to "our opinions differ."  I think someone can have a stupid opinion about a story, but not an invalid one.

I'm pretty sure more of it is the percieved tone of how its said rather than what's actually said. Unfortunately with criticisms like the ones we've been discussing, its VERY easy to come off as hostile or derogatory. And those are the tones that are gonna bug people.