It's not always the story, but the manner of telling.
They care about "stories" because the burden of fact is becoming too much. The environment is fucked, the political corruption making rivers of blood all over the place, terrorists want to kill us... lets go see a movie (about natural disasters, violence, and terrorist bad guys, oddly enough). Fiction is the new opiate of the masses.
You're absolutely right Charles- narrative is dead. Narratives like, say, STAR WARS, are of little worth. No one has ever been heavily influenced by such a story.
Oh wait... Except for YOU.
Face it Charles, the only reason you make such broad, ignorant statements can only be attributed to the fact that you don't care about Harry Potter. If someone had ruined the Darth Vader/Father plot twist in Star Wars, you'd have been PISSED.
Maybe next time try empathizing with those who have passion for the subject, instead of writing it of with pseudo-intellect.
Maybe next time try empathizing with those who have passion for the subject, instead of writing it off with pseudo-intellect.
Stories are entertainment. We enjoy being entertained. "Spoilers" distract us from the immediate scenes. Not knowing what is going to happen helps to engage us. It's pretty simple.
As to narrative being dead: This is like saying "Why make music? Every combination of musical notes must have been played by now!" Who cares? We like to be entertained. Music is nice. Stories are nice. Art is nice.
*wipes her forehead* shit Charles, you scared the crap out of me. Only a little over 24 hours left till I get my copy and every time I see the words HARRY or POTTER in print anywhere I'm always braced for being accidentally spoiled.
I used to be skeptical, I didn't start reading them until after the fourth book. I don't watch television so reading is my primary form of entertainment and when I started reading them I was FLOORED. I don't understand how people who've never read any of the books can so easily pass judgement on Rowling's literary skills and the quality of her work. Because they obviously don't know what the hell they're talking about.
Seriously Charles, every post I have EVER seen you make has just annoyed the ever lovin crap out of me. I'm wondering if you are that guy at the stranger that everyone can't stand but no one will mention it to your face because they are your co-workers.
Narrative is still useful, obviously, and that makes it not dead. Maybe not impressive or powerful or thrilling, but not dead. What were people following this story for? They wanted to see what this one lady would do with her characters. Anyone can do anything with those characters (homoerotic potter fanfic etc), but because she invented them (not all that impressive a feat), people want to see what she decides. Y'know, she could have done anything she wanted, and what would it matter? Would it truly be more gratifying than your fanfic? I doubt it.
If the narrative is dead, why did you write the screenplay for Police Beat?
This is the absolute craziest thing I have ever read from Charles. Narrative is pleasure. Humans are hardwired for stories. The only thing dead here is Mr.Mudede's fond affection for pomo lit theory. Yawn.
So you're saying that modern narrative is the literary equivalent of Mom cutting up your meat for you, and then dousing it in Ranch dressing?
Here's the thing though, just because all of your stories have been told in the Old Testament, which I'll accept for now, doesn't mean all of everybody's stories have. The Torah's largely about kings, priests, prophets and fathers, i.e. men in leadership positions.
Also, surprisingly few people read the Bible anymore, and even fewer read it for its narrative.
As a sidenote, I use *not caring* whether I know what happens "at the end" as a rule of thumb for determining which stories are particularly well told. A story that pins everything on intellectual surprise -- when the factitious jumps out at you -- is a one-trick pony. So far as I know, Rowling's storytelling is engrossing enough to draw you into the moment and erase that knowledge of what comes next. Which is, really, what the narrative form wants to do.
Narrative liturature is great escapsm. Nothing wrong me that.
Reading this post, I knew that there would be many comments maligning charles' self-importance and condesending attitude... but I still clicked on to read them -because I derive enjoyment from the specific new ways people rightly mock the same old pretension in his posts.
Charles is a robot. He gains pleasure from nothing.
Bringing Hegel into your argument doesn't make you right. Bringing Hegel into your argument about spoilers just makes you pretentious.
Charles isn't doing anything interesting with his grand, sweeping "narrative is dead" claim, but I do think we can puzzle a bit over the obsession with "spoiling" stories.
There are, after all, certain narrative requirements that must be fulfilled, and which "spoil" some aspects of a plot long before anything "leaks" onto the interweb.
In this particular case, for instance, good must triumph over evil, and thus Voldemort must die. Similarly, Harry must get his girl in the end, and as Hermione is the only girl in the story (with a sufficiently developed character) to be gotten, and Hermione is currently in love with Harry's boon companion Ron, the narrative simply requires Ron's death.
These things are plain as day, but people are up in arms about a leaked copy of the book "spoiling" the story. Didn't we already know how the story ends?
Narrative structure is encoded in our DNA. Accept it.
I have visions of Mudede sitting alone in a dark basement, sipping his imported absinthe and railing against the downfall of modern civilisation.
You're right. We should never read anything but obscure French historical non-fiction or *insert similarly dour example here*.
Any chance of you getting over yourself any time soon Charles? It must be awfully lonely atop that high horse.
I was going to try to stop posting anything on Charles' posts but this one just pissed me off. Again I ask him why everything he writes about is an issue of bitch bitch bitch! FUCK Charles, see a shrink and get on some meds already!!
Nearly all of his posts are about how bad things are and frankly it is really getting old. You don't like narrative Charles, here is a thought: DON'T READ IT!! And yeah Star Wars SUCKS!!! Why? It is THE SAME OLD STORY OF GOOD VS EVIL TOLD THE MILLIONTH TIME!!!!
And the spoilers? The Bush Administration should really go after them instead of the terrorists.
I like this. A murder mystery. Who killed narrative? I like better, The Void. Who took "e"? Working on a document recently in which features the idea: "modeless overlapping windows." This is a software requirment specification. The specificion is for code, not humans. A machine can understand modeless overlapping windows, but a human still unravels modeless overlapping windows in sequence, a beginning a middle and an end, an agreeable sequence. The death of plot and narrative was a dream of avant garde writers fifty years ago, and I don't believe they were ever able to kill it. EM Forester, earlier, talks about the persistence of plot: a tapeworm or something. I admire the quixotic goal of killing the story. On the surface of it blogs, YouTube, and even formal machine stories like Hyperfiction seem to promise a technological way of killing plot -- but we finally return to the fact that these things are processed by a human. A video or blog is meaningless to a machine. Without story or plot it is just data or information. When a human parses this information, it becomes a story, something happened, someone made a failed attempt on the life of plot.
by far the best comment i have ever read:
And the spoilers? The Bush Administration should really go after them instead of the terrorists.
Your entire post makes no sense. I have a feeling your dialectic has gone astray. But on your last point, I prefer not to know how a wizard performs his tricks, it's a bit more fun that way. Of course our life is planned, we are born and then we die. But why not have fun in between? Ignorance is indeed bliss, for some.
"Novels were designed to entertain, and those of us who wish to keep the art form alive need to keep this in mind. To aim for lofty literature instead of aiming for a good story with real characters who grow and develop and a setting that's brought to life is to go at the art form, like putting the varnish on the canvas first." -Elizabeth George
I can't believe you're a teacher. Or were. God I hope it's were.
@9: The Police Beat screenplay had no narrative structure.
That's why the audience was forced to watch a cop while he's check his voice mail for twenty percent of the movie.
Fuck that, Charles! Books are my most loyal friends. I recommend you start reading some cheap paperback thrillers or purchase some vacuous romance novels from Half Price Books for a buck apiece. Come into the gutter and play around in the runoff with the rest of us... It's summer for Christ's sake.
the fact that people take these kinds of posts on face value is the real story. he pulls the string and you all daaaaaaaaaaance daaaaaaaaaaaaaance daaaaaaaaaaaance.
he writes the same posts over and over because the reaction never gets old.
Charles doesn't get paid by the post. He gets paid by the comment.
The comments above were as I expected and I'm glad for that. If your argument on the usefulness of narrative is that it has all been done, then on a broader scale - why do anything? All movies have been done before along with music and art... if people actually took your statement to heart we would be bored out of our minds. Thankfully most people don't listen to you and we can still gain new enjoyment out of reproductions of what have been done before. Some people can even *shock* again pleasure out of re-reading, re-watching or re-listening to the same exact thing. Try stepping down from your intellectual pedestal to understand human nature. Much more telling than pseudo-philosophic blather.
So why does my 4-year-old ask me 75 times a day to tell him a story?
why do they bother to write songs anymore? all the songs have been sung. Right, Charles? Jeeze......
The art of narration is so primitive, so old, so dead.
Remind me never to pay any attention to anything you say about any book or film.
(adds it to the list along with art, architecture, major world religions, pretty much anything)
What a load of shit, Charles. Narrative will always exist and thrive, in varying forms -- it's one of the primary ways humans have communicated, oh, for the past 10,000 years or so.
Surely the post is fictional to encourage discussion. I can't wait to get my hands on my reserved copy at precisely midnight tomorrow. And I'm 41 years old with only two neices to read to besides myself (who I probably will not see for at least another week). Thank you JK Rowling for so many years of enjoyment.
Nowadays I skip almost all Charles posts because they all seem to be the same sort of self-important pointless horseshit. But this one really takes the cake. I would fisk it but it doesn't sem worth my effort.
No new flavor has been tasted by human beings in decades, if not centuries. Food has nothing new to tell us. And yet people continue to eat.
It's almost as if this kind of theorizing is spectacularly and hilariously beside the point.
It seems I recall a post a while back where Charles mentioned reading Lolita on an annual basis. I think...maybe...that Lolita is a (gasp) story!?
funny you should mention... one man stands up for the end of eating!
I hear that Harry Potter bites the ring off of Frodo's finger and plunges into the Crack of Doom. And then, in a bizarre and overlong denoumet, the Gryffindor quidditch team gets caught up in some kind of Minnesota Vikings-like "Love Boat" scandal. Weird.
Could just be internets rumors, though
Maybe Muede thinks every story has already been told because every article he writes is the same pseudo-intellectual claptrap he's been writing for years...
Once upon a time, Charles Mudede made a post to the Slog that was either self-important horseshit or totally meant to generate comments. People pondered this question for hours on end.
They concluded quite rightly that even if it was meant as a comment generator, Charles Mudede almost always sounds like an ass.
Life went on much as before. Charles continued to get paid by The Stranger for some reason, and drew giant smiley faces on his paychecks.
seems like the only difference between Charles Mudede and he-who-shall-not-be-named (and no, I'm NOT talking about Voldemort), is that Charles gets PAID to be a troll.
Eli? Josh? David? DAN? Seriously, you guys, why do you let him post?
If people weren't so rabidly retardedly obsessed about the Potter series, there wouldn't be legions of spiteful netgeeks trying to find and spread spoilers.
The general public and the media fuels this by being so obsessed. Notice no one ever leaks spoilers for Stephen King and John Grisham novels.
The Stranger, Slog, and the loyal readership/commentership are ALL a lot of self-satisfied, pretentious snobs, not just CM. I like to believe I am one as well, although my snob quotient may not be on par with some of the brighter, better-educated Slogerinos.
The snobs calling the snobs snobs in defense of their guilty juvenile book-reading habits is just as wonky as the snobs intellectualizing over the status of questionably dead narratives when it would be far less snobby to just say that Rowlings' Harry Potter doesn't do it for them, or is just another case of the emperor's new clothes, just like Jackson's LOTR trilogy.
Sure it's entertaining, but it's just a book about wizards, and don't you make fun of people who are all into wizards and shit, too? "Now I'll cast a level 4 reverse-charm spell on you and decrease your charisma by 40 HP!" See, it's funny!
Isn't it wonderful to not be a plebe?
Celebrate and love, people. Not hate. Love.
Why do people keep bring Hegel into this ... I mean, she's a fine actress on Grey's Anatomy and all ... but really, I don't think she'll be in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, especially since the character she'd play gets axe murdered in that book by Snape.
Charles is the Ann Coulter of The Stranger. He's looking for responses of any kind, good, bad or otherwise. It's fun to say silly shit and watch the fur fly. Try it sometime.
Chaz, I cannot understand why you don't just walk out in front of a bus.
Prob because he, unlike your outraged Seattleite, looks both ways.
allow me to point out that Charles wrote:
"As a mode of transferring information"
the narrative is useless.
So narrative, according to Charles, could still be used in other ways, but not in the way of this transference, this communication.
Writing is not useful as communication. The old testament was communication. Its purpose was to teach.
The new narrative does not teach. It's not instructive. This is what the Potter fans want, not to find out what happens, but to hear the moral of the story.
Morals are abstract. Presence is not abstract. The new narrative is existential.
What is passed on, then, is not mere information, but actual presence, or trace.
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