Category Archives: Why Spin It?

Wrestling With Politics: Language & Literature

Recently I tubed into a couple of hysterical  moments in American Politics:

The Democratic Race Comes To RAW

Mr.President: Deal or No Deal?

OK!…Lets talk about Kamal’s missed opportunity – this could have been his  stepping stone into Hollywood… All he had to do was show up to WWE RAW in his George Bush costume to promote DASAVATHARAM.

But we should not have Kamal saying ” Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? ” … Instead, Kamal’s promo as Bush will be followed by this song from UNNAL MUDIYUM THAMBI:

ENA SAMYALO

Poor Aristotle thought:

All who have meditated on the art of governing have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth

Empire rhymes nicely with vampire… And thankfully, I don’t know if this Fate was meant to be Good or Bad…

Oops! I did it again (Thank You Miss Spears)… Once again, I sucked you into my moronic world.

As I was watching these clips, passages from Philosopher William Irwin’s essay ( published in 2004)  kept flashing in my mind.  And I must thank Amardeep Singh for including this particular passage in his article (Link: “Intertextuality” is under attack” ) :

Perhaps the notion that social and historical phenomena are texts is not such a difficult pill to swallow. Historians and lay people alike speak of such things as their interpretations of the French Revolution or the Clinton presidency. If a text is just an object of interpretation, such things can and should be recognized as texts. It is not just eminent and lofty socio-historical matters that Kristeva would have us take as part of the textual system, however. Rather, as Manfred Pfister says, for Kristeva, “everything—or, at least, every cultural formation—counts as a text within this general semiotics of culture.”8 Everything is a text; not just revolutions and administrations, but professional wrestling and detergent are texts to be interpreted—as, in fact, they are by Barthes. Still, even this is not too disconcerting when taken in the proper spirit. Certainly an adept interpreter can garner interesting insights about the drama and symbolism of professional wrestling and the marketing ploys that determine the color of our detergent. This is not all that Kristeva has in mind, however. There is no separation of the social text and the literary text, but rather the two must be woven together to produce the tapestry. As Graham Allen captures Kristeva’s point, “we must give up the notion that texts present a unified meaning and begin to view them as the combination and compilation of sections of the social text. As such, texts have no unity or unified meaning on their own, they are thoroughly connected to on-going cultural and social processes” (p. 37).

I could write a whole book to defend the so-called illogical position, but I will give you a few simple reasons. 

First, bits & bites on textual lores

Starts with the three basic positions on the meaning of text:

(1) Every literary text is determined, has a predetermined meaning which the reader or critic seeks to discover.

(2) Every literary text is indeterminate, having no predetermined meaning, so the reader or critic can impose or discover whatever meaning he/she wishes;

(3) Over a period of historical time and/or place, any specific literary text may lend itself to a variety of readings, but the text itself has boundaries set by its structures and codes, and these latter limit the range of possible meanings.

Codes

Major Codes = Social, psychological, economic, political, moral, intertextual and religious codes which may dominate a text.

Minor Codes = food, dress, etc…

Local Codes = SOCIOLECT +/- IDIOLECT ( SOCIOLECT refers to a widely available social store of lore and knowledge. IDIOLECT refers to the store of subjective experience of the writer. )

Structures

Realist Text: equilibrium-disequilibrium-equilibrium

Dialectic: thesis-antithesis-synthesis

Metanarrative: sequences of the above in an ascending order

Then it all gets too fuzzy : Age of Reason, Romanticism, Surrealism, Expressionism, DADA, Cubism, Realism,  Modernism, Post-Modernism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Genres, Simple, Complex & Multiple Plots, Plotless, etc

 OK! Back to Mr.Irwin’s bitter pills

(1) As a reader (I’m not qualified to be a critic,  so I read and deliver), I have no intention of changing the following definitions:

Signifier – the sound or image that forms the  word we use; the squiggly lines on a page or the waves in the air that reach our eardrums.

Signified – the object that the word refers to;

Sign – the sound/image itself that combines the two concepts above; the piece of language that is the thing we call a “word” 

Significatum – The object to which a sign refers. An “object” may be a thing or a concept, it may be in the empirical world or inside language.

Transitive Sign – A mental concept with its referent significatum will refer to a concrete object in the empirical world.

Intransitive Sign – refers inwards to the processes of thought and language.

(2) English Grammarians can have their fun  with the Subject-Verb-Object syntax…

But as a multilingual simpleton, I shall enjoy FOCAT and ARREST to say:

Mind Your Language – The First Lesson Clip 1

Mind Your Language – The First Lesson Clip 2

Mind Your Language – The First Lesson Clip 3

Mind Your Language – The First Lesson Clip 4

Sure… You can argue that the characterization in this sitcom involves stereotyping with politically incorrect dialogues, but try focusing on the problems with English Grammar…

(3)  The word “theory” when applied to Literary, Historical and Cultural studies is mostly speculative ( hard to compare it with the “theory of relativity” used in science). 

(4) Forcing a reader to take a logical position will cause more people to accept  the fallacy of the ideal reader. There is no ideal reader – only individuals with different ranges of reading competence and general experience. A simple example would be a person following a plot linearly and ignoring all literary devices or even trying to identify themselves with a fictional character.

5) To a certain extent, cultural and historical studies (esp. the ones involved with studying pop and mass culture) swallows literary studies, but I have yet to see it destroy Literature. 

6) Irwin is trying to sell a direct comparision between a book and a film (aka auetur theory from 1960s). When I’m viewing a film in a theater, I become a watcher not a reader… I have no control over the speed at which images are moving ( unless you’re watching a film on DVD, video or Internet, but that’s a luxury only some enjoy), but when it comes to a book, I have total control of turning page to page, focusing on particular words or even the syntax (i.e. the normal English version involving Subject – Verb – Object syntax or the prose norm involving FOCAT and ARREST). 

 

 

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Is SPIN It Dangerous?

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The pundits of political correctness (another branch of Intellectuals) are probally worried about SPIN IT being a threat to the Global Peace Process… So here is the editor’s take on this issue:

 

Lets say, you happen to be peeking down from the balcony on the 33rd floor of some high rise building…

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Ignoring normal human reactions like wanting to spit, piss, throw water balloons or even jump (bound to happen especially if you’re that high and also high on something), lets focus on something far more important… Yes! I’m talking about your friend who sneaks behind you and pretends as if he is going to push you down, but really has a tight hold on you… And I mean, it has to be a friend because an enemy might actually push you and a stranger would become your new enemy with a stunt like that…

Folks! The Simpleton is actually your friend, so pundits please stop worrying…Oh! Sure… He starts things off like he is going to disrupt the Global Peace Process, but that’s simply how dry humor works… And with Political Correctness in place, humor really has become dry…

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Why SPIN It?

SPIN IT

As the Intellectual population among human species keeps growing exponentially, the simpletons are more likely to press the panic button… So the time has come to execute the phrase: “Its Cool To Be A Fool”…

When there are humans willing to use Religion, History, Science and anything else that would help create an illusion to win the race to preserve their own race, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to preserve the race known as “The Simpletons”…

One of the greatest contribution from Intelectuals to society was the creation of two classes: Educated and Uneducated Humans… With these two classes in place, for centuries the intellectual has managed to sell “defective” ideas to humans…

The major difference between Intellectuals and simpletons lies on “Having Solutions” to socio-economic problems… The Simpletons have no solutions… The Intellectuals pretend to have solutions… They go around issuing manifestos, doctrines, etc (filled with jargons, preventing the simpleton from understanding it)…

The Simpleton’s problem with the Intellectuals has very little to do with issuing of manifestos and doctrines… It has more to do with failing to admit when a manifesto or doctrine has gone wrong…

And in most societies, “Who is saying it?” becomes far more important than “What is being said”… An intellectual with a few degrees has the power to make humans into believers…

The modern Intellectual specializes in one specific field and tries to solve socio-economic problems using the tricks he learnt within that field… But the problem is there so many different fields in contemproary society and with each field producing tons of Intellectuals, there seems to be far too many ego-trips…

The days when Simpletons relied on main-stream media to help them survive are gone… The media seems far more interested in creating NEWS than delivering it… And they also happen to be far more interested in opinions of Intellectuals than that of Simpletons… So the time has come to open our own press…

Say Hello to “THE SIMPLETON”

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He happens to be the Editor, Columist, Reporter and most of the time the only reader of SPIN (Unless you clicked on “Random blog”)… The SPIN has been launched after leaping over several hurrdles in the form bureaucracy…Even wordpress.com’s sign-up process tried to put stop sign on the lauch, when they said “you need minimum 6 letters for the URL”… So we decided to put a SPIN on it. so now you have SPIN IT…

SPIN has no intention of following the rules of main-stream press, which is to make sense out of NEWS and NEWS MAKERS… Instead, we are planning on making nonsense and nuisance out of those same items… Or to make it simple, we are going to SPIN IT…

Even though, SPIN has no intentions of following rules, we are still expecting our readers to follow tradition when it comes to NEWSPAPERS…

A tradition like rushing to the toilet after reading SPIN… Most people who read their morning paper in the toilet do it for a reason… They do it because they know half the shit you read in the paper has to be dumped and flushed along with the human shit…

So please enjoy as the Simpleton tries to deliver poorly constructed puns, badly written poems and meaningless prose…

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