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View Diary: Is Tyreese "Made to Suffer"? In The Walking Dead TV Show There Can Be Only One Black Male Character (342 comments)

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  •  You do run the risk (6+ / 0-)

    of reading more than the author has written.

    Of course race and gender are present in popular culture. That is not to say that they decide, or even inform, every action. Tyreese and his group would have been treated exactly the same had they been white.

    into the blue again, after the money's gone

    by Prof Haley on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:43:57 PM PST

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    •  i am not a modernist, texts take on a life of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FindingMyVoice, bumbi, SuWho, Prof Haley

      their own. I wonder if the author of the Clansmen thought it was racist...to choose an example that is extreme to prove a point. We especially cannot trust the dominant or preferred narrative when said writers are part of the same society--and subject to its socialization, values, priors, etc.--as the audience.

      Re: Tyrese. But the social meaning and context would different. That is the art of interpretation and textual analysis by realizing that the object itself has context (as well as meaning) and is dependent on it for its contextual cues, signals, codes, etc.

      •  You're kidding, right? (5+ / 0-)

        Thomas Dixon Jr., the author of The Clansman, knew exactly what he was doing.

        The real problem with elevating subjective perceptions of a text or work to equal significance with the intent of the author is that there are as many different "readings" as there are "readers". Since the logical conclusion of this approach is that there are no fixed meanings, only various competing narratives, you end up with no criteria for assessing a text or work other than whatever suits a particular fancy or bias.

        Yes, I know, you believe in a collective unconscious, or perhaps you prefer a different term. For myself I've yet to see a compelling proof of this concept, In fact, my reading of history leads me to entirely different conclusions.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:59:00 AM PST

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        •  I am a post structuralist and student of Hall (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Guyer, SuWho

          Butler, Hooks, Foucault and others. I here you on questions about tests of empirical truth regarding qualitative analysis. there it comes down to the voice, skill set, training, theoretic frameworks, writing, and broader knowledge at play. This separates the good and solid from the day players. Not all interpretations are created equal.

          As a historian, I would hope you are sympathetic to these questions of interpretation, especially regarding different approaches to historicism and historiography...I would hope.

          I am sure you know that there is not one reading of historical events...or the field would be dead. We likely have much in common.

          •  Sorry to respond tardily (0+ / 0-)

            Illness and work have taken my time and energy. Your point about historical interpretations is well taken.

            However, all valid historical interpretations are just that: interpretations of objectively verifiable events. One may dispute the significance and weight of the American Revolution, the Slave trade, the Civil War,  etc. but one cannot deny that they are historical fact. They are objective events that any interpretation must account for.

            Cultural artifacts are something all together different, particularly in the realm of popular culture. Here, you are in the realm of image and symbol rather than objective events.

            I've no doubt that we have much in common but the devil is in the details.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:42:44 PM PST

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            •  and again (0+ / 0-)

              "the realm of image and symbol rather than objective events."

              that is what interpretivism is about, and the many approaches to it. as i said there is a whole literature on their on the subject. even if you may disagree with it, you will likely learn a great deal of value. as i said, history is full of such debates too around the various schools of "new" historicism etc.  and how theory and different frameworks influence the interpretation of events.

              •  But in history, interpretations are (0+ / 0-)

                secondary to the events themselves. Can the same be said for cultural interpretation? Are cultural interpretations secondary to the images and symbols themselves or the intent behind them? Can images and symbols be said to possess objective content?

                Just asking.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:14:40 PM PST

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                •  interesting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WB Reeves

                  maybe it depends on who trained you and what school of thought you subscribe to. for the historians i know interpretation of events is the whole point. unless you come upon new documents, evidence, archives, etc. much of the to and fro, in my experience is on the former. the texts are part of the interpretive process and the foundation.

                  for your second question, it depends. i am a post structuralist and a post modern. i am familiar with modern/"old school" approaches. i appreciate them.

                  Intent can be very helpful.

                  But it does not override context, history, etc. as we said before, there are many folks whose "intent" may be contrary to how a text is received. moreover, once you start talking about questions of collective subconscious and the like, a person's "intent" often falls away.

                  think about the power of the subconscious mind on a mass scale.

                  have you read Barthes' mythologies or works on post structuralism or sociolinguistics? Zizek, Lacan, Foucault, Lakoff, Butler, etc? That is where I am coming from. As I said, you may enjoy some of it. Part of our differences may just be those of training and generations.

                  We can learn to complement and help each other.

      •  Yet by calling interpretation an art (0+ / 0-)

        you make it easy to infer that the meaning you assert is your own creation.

        into the blue again, after the money's gone

        by Prof Haley on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:42:15 AM PST

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        •  can you clarify? there are multiple meanings (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prof Haley

          to a cultural text. the fun comes in arbitrating those claims.

          •  I thought that was clear enough (0+ / 0-)

            The meaning installed by the writer is primary. The meaning asserted by anyone else is secondary, because the reader is not the author and because readers disagree, as this comment trail makes clear.

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:06:32 AM PST

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            •  authors may not be mindful of their own intent (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grollen

              or its reception or the meaning that a given piece of work will take when it is circulated among a public. there are many many examples of such happenings where a song, movie, film, poetry, etc. was meant as X by the author and became understood to mean Y by the public.

              authors and creators are part of the collective consciousness of a society. as such, they reproduce its norms intentionally and unintentionally. as i said i am not a modernist--although i appreciate its foundations. i am more a populist who tends to read against Power by using a critical framework.

              If you are curious about this approach check out some of Henry Giroux's early stuff, or even more foundation work by Fiske and others. I think I mentioned it earlier, stuart hall has some good stuff on Youtube from his Manchester lectures (I believe).

              There is also a BBC series that should still be online called Ways of Seeing that does a great job of getting into matters of representation, perspective, and power by considering art history in Modern Europe.

            •  That presumes a single author work with a very (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Prof Haley

              self-conscious author. In works that have multiple people with claims to authorship that doesn't work very well. In a tv show, multiple script writers, the director, and the actors all collaborate (or at times even compete) to create a work. Whose intent gets to trump?

              But more than that, authors are not always (I'd go so far as to say rarely) self-conscious enough to be aware of how their writing and plotting is impacted by racist images and themes in society. That doesn't mean that it's not. What appears on screen is what matters; not what an author thinks or hopes appears on screen.

              Ultimately, we all come to our own interpretations of a work, but we should be able to support it with clear examples. The strength of an interpretation comes from its textual support.

              •  and (0+ / 0-)

                in terms of evidence there is much here. but again, don't separate a text from the social and cultural context that produced. it. once more, given our society it would be like arguing against gravity to somehow assume a text would not embody the racism, sexism, and classism of this society.

    •  The author may not even realize (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, SuWho

      The full depth of what they are saying.

    •  Agreed. (8+ / 0-)

      So Carl locks them in a cell.  So what?  Unlike the suggestion made by the diarist, the group was not just one black man.  There were several white adults in that cell as well.  It had nothing to do with race.  

      Carl was simply protecting the group the same way Rick did when he locked the inmates (also made of of several different races in another part of the prison to keep them away form his group.

      Carl's actions had nothing to do with race.  It had everything to do with the group he was protecting being made up of the weakest members of the group and being faced with a group of armed outsiders who may or may not pose a threat.

      In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

      by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:46:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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