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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein View Post
    The problem here is that every point you are raising is irrelevant to my actual debate. (That's what this is meant to be, by the way, not a strawman mish-mass of 'How dare you think this?')

    Twilight is a smut book. Popular, peddled smut. It consists of weak plots, mostly focussing around a romance where a (debatably) vampire boy thinks some human girl smells nice and the girl thinks he is hot. The author has created a smut romance and inserted it into a genre that sells well and generates huge fan bases.

    Fine. They have to exist, as you say.

    Why, though, should we praise them? Should we be happy just to be presented with a novel and lose every thought in our mind that tells us 'Oh heck, si this the way mainstream lit is going?'

    Do not praise a book that does not deserve it. Even if that book is popular.

    If someone comes up with an amazing argument and series of point as to why Twilight (and others) are amazing, then fine, praise it. But no body so far has. Everyone's arguments have been 'I'm so happy to see my teenager read!', and 'Oh, the story of those 2 lovers is so unique and magical and forbidden!'

    There are many young adult books (fantasy or not) that are of a higher writing quality, have deeper plots, more rounded characters and include actual issues other than 'Oh no, should I do my boyfriend before we get married?'

    Going Bovine
    A Great and Terrible Beauty
    Prey
    Ink Exchange
    Thirst
    Blood and Chocolate
    Beautiful Creatures
    Deepwoods
    Wind Singer
    Naughts and Crosses

    Many more that I don't know as I don't read young adult books that much anymore.

    Then, there are the classics that prehaps people beggining to read should be introduced too.

    I honestly don't know how to make this ANY clearer. It's not that the poor book exists. It's not that the poor book is loved. It's that the poor book is praised without reason.

    Though not nearly as popular but still well read and eventually working their way into the popular mainstream are...

    His Dark Materials books, by Phillip Pullman
    The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
    Abarat; Days of Magic, Nights of War, by Clive Barker
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union & Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon

    ... some good works do fall through the cracks and become top sellers, or at least develop cultish followings... such as, As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway.

    If the Twilight books act as a gateway drug to the really well written stuff, than I'm good with that. But I'm guessing it doesn't happen like that very often.

    I had not read one piece of fantasy for near ten years until a friend said his daughter was reading these Harry Potter books and they really are very well done. Well, after breaking down my defenses I finally took him up on the offer and read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I loved it. I accepted the material for what it was and went on to read all seven books... and that got me interested in better written and thematically more sophisticated fantasy like with the books mentioned above.
    Last edited by Sparrow; August 20th, 2010 at 09:56 AM.

  2. #32
    Fiction, like all art, is subjective.


    There exists no meter to determine whether Shakespeare is a better writer than Neil Gaiman, or if Michelangelo is a better painter than Damian Hurst. It all comes down to personal preference.


    There are those here who decry Twilight for its general rubbishness, whilst praising Rowling and Tolkien for their artistic merit; yet in other circles (Harold Bloom, for instance), Rowling is demonised as an utterly awful hack, as talentless as a castrated gigolo.


    This argument is as old as a lingering fart. Back when Jane Austen was knocking about, her books were ridiculed for their almost complete lack of mention of the war with Napoleonic France (quite a big deal, back then). Mark Twain hated her terribly. But today, it’s the very universal nature of her work that appeals to readers of all variety.


    If a person receives pleasure from reading a particular book, and if that pleasure does not affect others directly, who are we to label that book bad, or the reader of that book misguided for thinking it good, simply because it does not coincide with our own aesthetic persuasions?


    So, some teenage girl (or any other type of demographic, for that matter) thinks Twilight to be the greatest book of all time. Who cares? They’re entitled to their opinion. I really couldn’t give a damn, so long as they’re not smearing Nazi insignia on walls with their own faeces as a result. And if Twilight appeals to a greater majority of readers than other contemporary novels, it will naturally receive a greater share of attention. Simples.


    I’ll end with a quote from the Bard, cuz I’m cool like that:

    They that level at my offenses reckon up their own.

  3. #33
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    There are any number of ways to determine whether one author is better than another in the same field, as well as if one field has more merits in a particular direction than another. It is fluent, but it's not completely devoid of anchors.

  4. #34
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the old 'Art is subjective so fiction is too.' argument is a thin one.

    You can't even get through it without dismissing a book such as Twilight as 'general rubbishness' on the sly.

    What is subjective about fiction, is;
    The story told,
    The characters,
    The writing fluidity, tone, style, amount of discription, etc.

    What can be measured, however is the skill level of an author, the amount of story, the quality (not content) of plot, character persona study, etc.

  5. #35
    Go on then: provide me with absolute, indelible evidence that proves, beyond all doubt, that JK Rowling is a better writer than Stephanie Meyer.

  6. #36
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Rowling told a story.

    A fiction writer tells a story.

    So therefore we judge by quality of story, surely?

    Find me someone who can - and not just for the sake of saying so - say that 'average girl moves to small town and falls for mysterious guy,' is an origional and intriguing story?

    Asking for necessery proof is rather odd if you relate that to the debate that is being put forward.

  7. #37
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    Go on then: provide me with absolute, indelible evidence that proves, beyond all doubt, that JK Rowling is a better writer than Stephanie Meyer.
    There are no absolutes in art. There are, however, authorities. It is a matter of being open-minded and perceptive enough to decide which authorities make the most sense to you, and then lean on them while building your own value system.

    So, there can be no "absolute, indelible evidence that proves, beyond all doubt, that JK Rowling is a better writer than Stephanie Meyer". There are, however, any number of pointers that would make a strong argument about it. I don't have the time to write a more argumented post about that right now, but I might in the future.

  8. #38
    Ah. You failed to answer my question. Shame; I genuinely believed you to be in possession of a mysterious magical device that manages to gauge a writer’s ability. Afterall, did you not say, ‘What can be measured, however is the skill level of an author’?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein View Post
    Rowling told a story.

    A fiction writer tells a story.

    So therefore we judge by quality of story, surely?
    Oh, the joys of transitive logic! Misapplied here though.

    Rowling used words.

    A fiction writer uses words.

    So therefore we judge by quality of words, surely?


    Or is my example, like yours, just plain nonsense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein View Post
    Find me someone who can - and not just for the sake of saying so - say that 'average girl moves to small town and falls for mysterious guy,' is an origional and intriguing story?
    Uh, I can find you about a million. Fans of Twilight are hardly going to think it unoriginal and boring, are they?

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland 85 View Post
    So, there can be no "absolute, indelible evidence that proves, beyond all doubt, that JK Rowling is a better writer than Stephanie Meyer". There are, however, any number of pointers that would make a strong argument about it. I don't have the time to write a more argumented post about that right now, but I might in the future.

    Hardly anchors, then, but fishing floats, susceptible to change. And these so-called authorities don't all hold to the same opinion, because, as I said, art (and therefore fiction) is subjective.

    I look forward to your more detailed response.

  10. #40
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    Thank you for your sarcasm. It really contributes to your post count and is, as such, awesome.

    Edit: Oops, double posting with a more normal tone. Ok, I actually said that myself - the changing and disagreeing thing. But that is why reading is as much a science as writing - you have to work hard to build a system of values complex enough to be able to find the appropriate authority on any particular subject, and one that applies to your way of thinking at that.
    Last edited by Roland 85; August 20th, 2010 at 01:47 PM.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    Hardly anchors, then, but fishing floats, susceptible to change. And these so-called authorities don't all hold to the same opinion, because, as I said, art (and therefore fiction) is subjective.

    I look forward to your more detailed response.
    Your point is valid, but it hardly disqualifies Roland's points.

    Most of us believe, after sampling Meyer's work, that she is inferior to Rowling. I've read that same conclusion from both authors and fellow fans. Therefore, I've decided that Rowling is better based on my experiences in my own literary world.

    It could be that there are professors out there who believe her work brilliant. It could be in 100 years someone will dig Twilight out from a dusty basement and realize that her genius launched a literary movement.

    Or it could be that she's really a crappy author who happened to entertain teenage girls and grown women by reminding them what it was like to be young and innocent and falling in love. Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize winners make a pittance of her royalties writing complicated books that most of the population find dull and/or inaccessible.

    As a side note, Rowling's first book was not very well written. She improved greatly by book two. I wonder if that's because she had more time, more experience, better editors, or all three. I did notice a huge improvement, though. Also, before we start signing Rowling's praises too loudly, she was also a formulaic writer who ran into real trouble in her final book when she left her formula and tried to write a book away from Hogswarts. I'd be interested to see how she does without the school year timeline in future books.

  12. #42
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Yeah, no need for sarcasm. The pure fact here is that everyone has an oppinion, including the people you chose to argue with. If you don't agree, I wouldn't simply slander the ways in which they use their logic because yours is 'SO MUCH MORE AWESOMES!!'

    The truth is the '-is subjective' excuse has been so overused. If art is subjective, why are there art classes? Museams, with standards? Why are there critics?

    If writing is subjective why are there writing classes, english degrees?

    Everything in the world is subjective. Ever done a Philosophy course? Do it, you learn ways to say that. Everything. 2+2=4 is a necessery truth yet, can easily be argued as subjective.

    Yet, the world has come to some order simply because we have too, to be practical.

    Your argument is wasted, because while arguing it even you slipped in how rubbish Twilight was. You're standing up for an ideal simply for the sake of the ideal.

    But that's your oppinion.

  13. #43

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland 85 View Post
    I couldn't disagree more. True, there are no "absolutes" when it comes to good/bad taste, but that doesn't mean that there are no "good taste" areas and "bad taste" areas. Tastes are not equal, and even though it is tricky to decide which one is better and which one worse (due to that awful "personal opinion" misunderstanding ), I am not ok with the concept that all opinions/tastes are equal. That - to me - cheapens the whole idea of growing as a reader and deepening your understanding of literature.
    Years ago I would have agreed with you - I still want to agree with you - but I had to do a re-think. The reason being, I hate classical music. On an intellectual level I understand that is by many measures better than other music, but I don't care. So who am I to say that someone else has bad taste?

    I think you have high brow and low brow, and there can be good and bad in either. In other words, they can't be evaluated against the same yardstick. In the case of music, there had to have been bad, now-forgotten classical composers just as there are bad artists in any other genre. A series like Twilight might be shallow and sensationalist, but it must do a good job of being those things or it wouldn't be popular.

  15. #45
    I'm waiting for Luya Sevrein to produce some of these authorities that have praised Twilight.

    Look, in most cases anything that is insanely popular will be pretty crappy. Books that are broadly popular are ones that appeals to wide demographics. American Idol is the most popular TV show in America and a big part of that is that it appeals to 7 year olds and 70 year olds. Some people in this thread seem to think that 13 year girls should be reading Pulitzer Prize winning novels. It's not going to happen. People who have read 10-20 books in their life are not going to have the same standards as folks who have read 1,000-2,000. Simple as that.

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