1688 Do You Understand Life?

I said this on twitter but let me expand on it: as a character Jo presents unique problems. Since she loves basically all movies ans can recite many of them line for line it sometimes requires me to research things I ultimately don’t care about or have even actively avoided in some case. The Room is one of those things. I know of it, I’m passing familiar with the memes, but I’ve never watched the whole thing. Much like plan 9 from outer space. I understamnd the cultural impact, but don’t care to see the work itself. In order to write this part I had to see more of it that I ever intended to but couldn’t think of a more perfect example of the point Thomas wanted to make. Of course Jo needed to respond in a way that fits her love of things like The Room. All that said, I can see why people love it. There is a childlike earnestness to the work that makes it seem like it was created as a very pure expression of the creator’s desire to make a meaningful movie. It’s like a little kid showing you their drawing of a horse that looks like a shit on a field of green scribbles. It’s not very well executed, but you can see the beauty of the child in the garbage they made.
Believe me, I empathize with Tommy Wiseau. I too have made a broken thing that people can still see the beauty in. On some level even the most skilled creators do the same thing, although the flaws have to be scoured out. Much of our culture is devoted to picking things apart so that critic can scrape some notoriety from the back of the work of others. We are a culture of critics. Before the advent of the internet people wanted it to be that way. I mean why else did we have to do book reports? Of course I don’t know if our teachers would have tried to instill a critical eye quite so hard if they knew we were going to take the ball and sprint away.
The creator and the critic are always going to be at odds on some level. Even though the relationship is symbiotic. We are all creators and critics in one way or another and switch roles all the time. It’s just way more obvious now than it used to be. We all talk shit about how other people are dancing while prancing around ourselves. A performing culture, a critical culture, an evolving culture.


Anyway, how’s your sex life?


I certainly know what you mean about Teachers and the critical eye.

My 10th grade English teacher was scandalized by my 5-page analysis of exactly why “Catcher in the Rye” was a shitty book.

If you were that perceptive in 10th grade, you must have been a holy terror to your college professors. :P

There are a number of “mandatory” cultural crapfests that I’ve managed to avoid, and “Catcher in the Rye” is one of them. “Titanic” is the other big one that comes to mind.

You know, I’m not sure if we did Catcher in the Rye in high school. If so, it was just an excerpt. Either that or I was exempt from having to read it. I was at a post college reading level by 9th grade and had an IEP from pretty much 1st grade through 12th.

Question for you: Without criticism, how would you improve?

The problem being that many of us have failed to learn or remember that important distinction between constructive criticism and unrelenting negativity. If all you can do is tear something apart without expressing what the actual flaws were and how they might be improved upon, or more importantly still recognize where you may not have been the target audience or that someone may well be using a different, but valid, approach that you personally don’t like and that is a matter of opinion… *sigh* I guess what I’m spinning my wheels over is that I do think criticism is necessary, but the best critics are those with a love for what they are citicizing, and the maturity to understand both the difference between objectivity and subjectivity, as well as that ultimately the project they are criticizing is not theirs.

I think putting together some example might help illustrate your point.

The classic oil painting Grande Odalisque is a masterpiece but to a trained eye, especially one familiar with anatomy, there are a few too many vertebrae.

A more modern example would be any Boris painting where the figures and props are done in meticulous detail with brash use of colours yet something always seems just a bit off. Again with knowledge comes criticism, you note the sight lines and realize they are all off because each part was created in isolation.

This particular failing can be seen in quite few of today’s digital artist works where detail is superb and each component perfection in itself, yet as a whole the composition is more a collage of parts strung together.

This gets to be almost as bad as the works some [in]famous comic book artists who are known for such failings as tiny feet, mutated hands, daliesque perspective, impossible contortions, pouch fetishes, boobloons, etc.

That’s it! I am a huge fan of Boris, I love his work, but something has always seemed a little off, and I have never been able to put my finger on it. Thank you for pointing it out. I take it that it is a result of his composition method. Surprising he hasn’t spotted it himself and adjusted his process.

Hmmm, why do I get the suspicion that you are not a fan of the Liefeldian style?

I place the Liefeldian attitude towards art right up there with John Byner and herpes…..[Bizzarre reference for the nonTV types]

Adam Warren at Empowered often sits with his head in his hands, contemplating his various past sins of this sort. I have to say I seldom see those errors, while on the other hand his heroine’s face changes almost unrecognizably at times. But it’s a good comic, it’s just drawn quickly. Warren is a solid veteran and in particular has a fantastic eye and ear for background information. I love the way he mixes up super heroes and celebrity culture in Empowered for instance. He just spirals when it comes to some details.

Around here, I seldom notice any big screwups. There is a possible one I remember from a couple of weeks back: Thomas looking rather cross-eyed in panel 1 here: /comics1/1680-dtf

You could make a case the drawing is correct actually. It just looks a bit funny from that angle. Either way I think it’s unusual, Jackie as a rule has a drawing hand like iron, he’s a reliable one.

unfortunately life doesn’t allow me to take the time on each page I want. At the moment I’m lucky if I get the page up on time.

It’s always a bit humbling to contemplate how hard it is to draw something just right and how easily it’s damaged, and how much time an artist spends on a page.

I agree fully.

I have enough artists in my life to know all to well the continual self criticism and the deep time sinks some projects end up being.

Luckily I don’t have any of those self promoting primadonnas with more ego than talent in my circle but I have met a few thanks to that circle and I am always amazed at how such creatures can survive and thrive, but they do.

Right. Because when I tell you your work is shit, I’m helping you improve. You should thank me!

Constructive vs. destructive criticism.

Criticism comes in all forms. Some mean to help fix a problem. Some are just mean spirited. Some even want to help the Creator. It all depends on what person is trying to accomplish with it.

I fucking knew she’d quote this movie sooner or later. I hazily remember my sleep-deprived tweets @ Jackie to this regard. I might go look at those again…

I too, find that when I’m writing, I end up looking up things that I never even thought about before, like the gestation period for a horse (~11 months), an alternate name for Demeter (Agganippe), or certain words used in music (like dolcissimo and mano sinistra). On the one hand, it can be aggravating trying to find just the right word (especially if it’s in another language), but on the other, I do love learning new things, so all in all, I’d say it’s a net gain.

I couldn’t do that research. I just couldn’t! Even though I used Plan 9 from Bell Labs for about 10 years.

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