Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Workers, Potters (Interlude)

A problem with rah-rah popular culture criticism is the exaggeration of all discussion into "likes" and "dislikes," thumbs up and thumbs down.  This diminishes and perhaps neuters real critique - as Andrew O'Hehir points out right away in his review of The Avengers.  In this paradigm people are encouraged not to have dialogues or to hold complex and nuanced opinions, but instead to sublimate their sense of selves to the enumeration of "likes" and "dislikes." 

O'Hehir, in the comments: "But rest assured that most of the reviews of "Avengers" will be way more positive than mine. And in fairness I'm really not bashing the film."

Douglas Moran: "[laughter] No, you're bashing the genre."

What is this "[laughter]"?  And what has led the expression of so many opinions through the conjectural filter of a public posture?  Another curious speech behavior one might note, especially in the likes of Twitterworld, is the construction of sentences about TV shows or whatever as if one is buffeted about by the dictates of a profoundly impersonal, disassociated rational choice.  For instance: "I can't get behind X" or "I can't support Y."  Or, echoing a lot of sports talk, prefacing one's opinion about an outcome or an elective choice with "I gotta go with..." even when no logical argumentation appears before or after the choice.  It's how this active, speaking subject erases itself in speech that intrigues me.  Such speakers rhetorically dissolve their own agency the endorsement of one "stance" (often product) or another.

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