the writer of the biggest tv show ever made saying "themes are for eighth grade book reports" is the natural end result of the literalist approach to fiction which has grown in influence over the last two decades and is a direct result of the ever-increasing size of media conglomerates and the abandonment of humanities education
i usually blame this on a certain strand of online culture but the truth is that the reddit approach to fiction is a symptom, not a cause
the neoliberal transformation of the education system into a worker-producing machine has turned the humanities into a societal embarrassment, a jumble of bizarre cultural detritus, and the last few generations of schoolchildren have internalised this distaste. the cultural forces which work to undervalue less-profitable pursuits such as art are then internalised by creators and consumers of art
so that the kind of response to art which accommodates its non-productive specificity, responses that acknowledge art's possibility for meaning, responses that are conscious of themselves as participating in the work's creation, are subject to a concentrated form of the stigma that strikes art in general.
while we fall short of the neoliberal ideal of the absence of art as anything other than an object of financial speculation, what encounters we do have with art still bear this system's mark
@garfiald I’m reminded of hbomberguy’s defense of Dark Souls II’s story, where he defended the game against critiques of it not being “efficient storytelling” by reminding the viewer that “efficient” doesn’t always have to be synonymous with “good.” It can just be what it is, and the viewer can be free to react as necessary
Everyone’s entitled to their taste, but limiting that taste to the coherent and quantifiable based on a standard masking itself as “objective?” Seems unfair, even to oneself
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