About Themenastics

 

Ah, yes.  Finally a blog that answers the question: what does a faceless stranger on the internet think about stuff?

 

…And sadly, as Mission Statements go, that’s pretty much the best I’ve got.  As near as I can wrangle it into a plan, this blog will be an assortment of disparate opinions and interpretations of works of Art, from any number of medium and times, that move, amuse or intrigue.  It will be a catchall for modern and traditional literary culture, a space in which to explore all manner of texts, from Firefly, to The Iliad, to Bowie,Batman, Rilke, Red Dead Redemption, Austen, and Fight Club.  All will be artfully explored, and perhaps over-tediously explained.

My apologies right out of the gate for the title.  I’m not great with titles; I’m sure most people aren’t.  It’s so hard to capture the essence of a thing, to mix the right amount of exposition and allusion to summarise the experience that’s about to unfold.  It needs to be both declarative and inviting; to satisfy the reader’s curiosity, but invite them further on in to the experience.

Moby Dick – that’s a good one.  Bold, audacious.  You know what you’re getting, but the sprawling leviathan that awaits, both in the water and between those pages lurks, tempting you to likewise get lost in Ahab’s pursuit.

Born To Run – a description that masterfully encapsulates an album filled with a chaffing frisson, the kinetic impulse to flee one’s circumstance and shoot for the distant wonder of the unknown, untrammelled horizon.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium – …well, you might need a sit down after that one.  Just take a breath.  Maybe have a glass of water.  It’s – aw, hell.  I don’t know.  It’s weird.

In any case, naming is hard, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been fantastic at it.  (I once, when writing a script, even called the main character Carrick Main.*)  Please keep that in mind as I explain the title of this blog.

See, I do like adjectives.  Adjectives are the spice, the colour of language.  Use too much and the whole thing becomes a gaudy, inedible mess; but pepper in just enough and you get elegantly focalised description, a window into a wholly unique world where the chosen description, utterly singular, reveals a perspective distinctly its own.  In the same way, I like verbs because they are – obviously – active.  They do the doing.  And engagement with any kind of text is an action – a form of play that artist and text invite their audience to participate in, one that invites experiences so transformative that they change our very ways of conceiving both art and ourselves.

Adjectively Verbed: singularly engaging.  Forgive the pretention and it all washes down okay.

To be entirely honest, I am not sure whether anyone will want to bother hearing my scattershot, linguistically impractical thoughts.  The one thing I do offer is passion – these are responses to texts that I am enthusiastic about – one way or another – whether I think them exceptional, fundamentally flawed, profound or inept.  I will describe (potentially over-describe) my reading, and ask, respectfully, for you to add yours.

Because at all times this grab-bag of analysis and commentary will hopefully invite further debate and discussion from you – whoever you might be, gentle reader – because ultimately, in all things, I am just one voice, and my reading of these texts is just that: one reading.  The most tedious things that a critic can do (something we have sadly seen all too frequently of late) is to shut down interpretation, to arbitrarily dismiss all points of view that conflict with their own to be moot.

Basically, I like to write expansive, playful responses to emergent media that strives to put it in a literary framework – even when I have to concede (such as in discussions of videogame theory) that the traditional borders are no longer satisfactory; a prospect that excites rather than terrifies me…  Mostly, I’m just keen to explore the more innovative forms of Art that frequently (wrongly) get dismissed as merely nerd-subculture, alongside more classically familiar tropes of literary and artistic expression.  Is Batman Hamlet?  Is Sherlock Holmes a Victorian Era Scooby Doo?  Is Bastion a mediation on pre-lingual fable.  Yes.  If you look at them in a certain way.  If you enflame rather than discourage debate.  Over the coming pages I will be exploring any number of these subjects and themes, and would love to have you share your readings with me in an open, welcoming discourse.

Not hyperbolic enough?  Not filled with enough froth-bag, over-eager expectancy?

Well, there’s more where that came from…  I haven’t even mentioned The Wire yet.

* I was a student at the time, and, to be honest, a little checked out from that subject.  Frankly, I was testing whether my instructor was even reading the work.  But you get my point: for me and names: not so much.

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