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livredor
There are no words
Wednesday, 07 December 2005 at 10:25 am
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I have several long thinky posts in my head, but also things to do apart from posting to LJ. But just a note to remind me so I don't forget to talk about:
  • Religion and science
  • Gathering together some of the discussion about Narnia and the problem of Susan
  • I don't really have a short title for this, but I want to talk about how Aboriginal culture was presented to me when I was in Australia and how I feel about that and the implications for race relations. It's going to be tricky to talk about without offending people too, and my ideas are hazy anyway.
  • News update on all the people I saw on my trip

    And since there isn't much content to this post, have a link to the most inappropriate advert ever (and yes, it's genuine, not a parody). Thanks to dot_cattiness.

  • Moooood: indescribableindescribable
    Tuuuuune: Tori Amos: China
    Discussion: 26 contributions | Contribute something
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    kathrid: default
    From:kathrid
    Date:December 7th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC)
    32 minutes after journal entry
    (Link)
    What is the problem of Susan?
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    livredor: livre d'or
    From:livredor
    Date:December 7th, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC)
    1 hours after journal entry, 12:04 pm (livredor's time)

    The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    Lots of readers are very upset that Susan doesn't get into Aslan's kingdom at the very end of the series. Some people think that this is because Lewis hated adult, sexual women. A lot of people are angry because of the Christian allegory; basically, they're angry with the Christian teaching that lots of decent people are going to be denied their place in Heaven, and Susan personifies this.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    From:lyssiae
    Date:December 7th, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
    1 hours after journal entry

    Re: The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    I realise I'm probably pre-empting some of your thoughts, but I can't help myself: Susan chose to leave it behind, though, didn't she? In the Last Battle (this is scraping the dredges of my memory, mind) someone asks Peter why there are only three of them, and he replies that Susan looks on Narnia almost as a kind of game that they played when younger. To my mind it's not about whether she's a decent person or not, but whether she wanted to keep her link with Narnia (and the inside-out onion).

    I'm looking forward to reading about all the stuff you've mentioned in your post, especially the one about Aboriginal culture.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    shreena: Quilll - from obsessiveicons
    From:shreena
    Date:December 7th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
    2 hours after journal entry, 01:07 pm (shreena's time)

    Re: The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    The problem that I have with it is the speed with which she's dismissed. She's been a main character, she was with Aslan when he died, when he was ressurected, she's ruled as Queen of Narnia for 20 odd years, I think we deserve to hear more about why she's not back in The Last Battle than the rather offhand sentence that we get. I agree, mostly, with what you say - that the reason she's not there is because she's dismissed Narnia not just the nylons and lipstick - I just think more explanation of this is needed, some reaction from the other kids (even Lucy doesn't seem to care), some explanation from Aslan that she still has time to repent and she may join them in the end by a longer route, is needed. I get what Lewis is trying to do with her, in other words, I just don't think he succeeds, I think a lot of children particularly find the abandonment of a central character in a sentence really mystifying and somewhat worrying.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    From:lyssiae
    Date:December 7th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
    3 hours after journal entry

    Re: The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    Ah, I understand (although there may be other problems with Susan, of course) what you're saying. I think it's a good point; I remember wondering why Susan had decided to "grow up" when I was reading The Last Battle. It left me a little peeved, because I preferred her over Lucy (although that may just have been because I was influenced by the tv series). It simply didn't occur to me to wonder about the "time frame" of it.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    sea_bright: default
    From:sea_bright
    Date:December 8th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
    1 days after journal entry

    Re: The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    I've just posted a response to this on livredor's newer post on the subject... seemed to make sense to continue the discussion over there.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    livredor: livre d'or
    From:livredor
    Date:December 9th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
    2 days after journal entry, 06:19 pm (livredor's time)

    Re: The problem of Susan

    (Link)
    Thanks for this, shreena. I think you were the first person who brought this issue to my attention, during a conversation in Oxford this summer. Pullman is attacking a complete straw man, but I think there is a real issue there, and this is a very good summary of where the problem is.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    rho: default
    From:rho
    Date:December 7th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
    1 hours after journal entry, 12:54 pm (rho's time)
    (Link)
    I'm definitely looking forwards to reading your thoughts on science and religion.
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    pseudomonas: science
    From:pseudomonas
    Date:December 7th, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
    2 hours after journal entry, 01:19 pm (pseudomonas's time)
    (Link)
    Ditto :)
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    livredor: teeeeeeeeea
    From:livredor
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
    5 hours after journal entry, 04:43 pm (livredor's time)
    (Link)
    But you know all my opinions already! Not that I mind discussing them with you, of course, you're always interesting.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    pseudomonas: default
    From:pseudomonas
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
    6 hours after journal entry, 04:58 pm (pseudomonas's time)
    (Link)
    But you know all my opinions already!
    Oh, boring*! I was hoping you'd have some new ones.

    *the fact that it's not new opinions, not your opinions themselves, naturally
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    livredor: p53
    From:livredor
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
    5 hours after journal entry, 04:37 pm (livredor's time)

    (Link)
    There's encouragement! Thank you, rho, I'm flattered.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    pne: default
    From:pne
    Date:December 7th, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC)
    1 hours after journal entry, 01:57 pm (pne's time)
    (Link)
    Tell me what makes it inappropriate, please?

    I presume I'm missing some cultural background or common knowledge.
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    hypatia: default
    From:hypatia
    Date:December 7th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC)
    2 hours after journal entry
    (Link)
    Unless I'm very much mistaken the picture behind the smile is Picasso's Guernica...
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    hypatia: default
    From:hypatia
    Date:December 7th, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC)
    2 hours after journal entry
    (Link)
    "On April 27th, 1937, unprecedented atrocities are perpetrated on behalf of Franco against the civilian population of a little Basque village in northern Spain. Chosen for bombing practice by Hitler's burgeoning war machine, the hamlet is pounded with high-explosive and incendiary bombs for over three hours. Townspeople are cut down as they run from the crumbling buildings. Guernica burns for three days. Sixteen hundred civilians are killed or wounded."

    by way of additional info.

    do I know you from usenet??
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    pne: default
    From:pne
    Date:December 8th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC)
    1 days after journal entry, 03:49 pm (pne's time)
    (Link)
    do I know you from usenet??

    It's possible, though the days when I was a regular on Usenet are a thing of the past... can't seem to find the time recently.

    I usually posted as "Philip 'Yes, that's my address' Newton" <nospam.newton@gmx.li>.

    I'm afraid your name doesn't ring a bell, though... which newsgroup(s) do you think you know me from? Or what name(s) do you post under?
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    cakmpls: default
    From:cakmpls
    Date:December 7th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
    3 hours after journal entry, 08:19 am (cakmpls's time)
    (Link)
    That advertisement for Spain is just mind-boggling. What were they thinking???? Do you suppose that no one at the ad agency had any idea what the painting is?
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    livredor: ewe
    From:livredor
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:51 pm (UTC)
    5 hours after journal entry, 04:51 pm (livredor's time)
    (Link)
    I think it must be marketed at the kind of tourist who takes a sort of, "Yay, I saw a famous painting!" attitude to culture. But even so. They could have chosen pretty much any other famous painting on show in Spanish galleries...
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    beckyzoole: default
    From:beckyzoole
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
    6 hours after journal entry, 10:58 am (beckyzoole's time)
    (Link)
    It's a pretty inappropriate ad, but the one promoting German self-esteem with a picture of Albert Einstein just might be worse.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    (no subject) - monanotlisa (12/7/05 04:03 pm)
    livredor: teeeeeeeeea
    From:livredor
    Date:December 7th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
    5 hours after journal entry, 04:53 pm (livredor's time)

    (Link)
    Gosh, I feel all appreciated now. I love having such a generous audience, thank you.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    pir_anha: default
    From:pir_anha
    Date:December 7th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
    9 hours after journal entry, 12:15 pm (pir_anha's time)

    in re. susan

    (Link)
    dunno whether you saw this, but in case not (i forget who on my flist is connected to whom): there just was a link to an excellent essay, and then an interesting discussion in sashajwolf's LJ: http://www.livejournal.com/users/lizw/275874.html.

    i'll copy what i think about susan:

    This idea is absolutely central to Lewis's thinking. You mustn't confuse means with ends; you mustn't confuse copies with realities; you mustn't confuse reflections for the original; you mustn't confuse a secondary, partial good with a primary or total good.

    indeed. i never read it as susan becoming a sexual being, but as susan choosing to be occupied with frivolous things of the real world (rather than with worthy things in the real world). but then i actually never cared one fig about susan, and i wonder whether lewis did. i mean, as an author needs to care about a character, even one who makes bad choices. i think the real problem here might've been that he didn't, and so he tells us, but doesn't show us what happens to susan.
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    livredor: livre d'or
    From:livredor
    Date:December 9th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
    2 days after journal entry, 06:38 pm (livredor's time)

    in re. susan

    (Link)
    Thank you for that link; I hadn't seen that part of the discussion and it is indeed very interesting. [Insert standard rant about how difficult LJ makes it to keep track of discussions that tend to fly off into unconnected bits.]

    susan choosing to be occupied with frivolous things of the real world (rather than with worthy things in the real world)
    I think the question in my mind is whether Aslan acknowledges that there are any worthy things in this world. Or is the message that Narnia is all-important and anyone who cares about mundane reality is worse than a traitor towards Aslan?

    i actually never cared one fig about susan, and i wonder whether lewis did
    It's possible that Lewis didn't; it's really too long since I read the books to be able to say. But she seems to have engaged quite a lot of readers, which is why many people were upset by the ending she gets. Even if Susan may be weaker than some of the other characters, she's still better than the Sturgeon's law 90% of cardboard children in literature, and I would argue that there's more of a problem with the ending than the rest of the writing about Susan. Not sure though.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    erudito: default
    From:erudito
    Date:December 10th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
    2 days after journal entry, 01:11 pm (erudito's time)

    Singular or plural

    (Link)
    Speaking as someone who has published on Oz indigenous public policy, one of the most invidious terms is Aboriginal culture. A key factor in the Aboriginal experience was that there were 200-300 Aboriginal language groups, so, in effect, that many cultures. I know what people mean, and there were commonalities, but the singular form imports a really dangerous simplification at the ground floor of thinking.

    It is one of the many ways in which Aboriginal experience was different from Maori experience (who all spoke essentially the same language and shared essentially the same culture, with local variations in both). To take one very basic example, information about Europeans could flow much more easily among Maoris (smaller area, same language, denser population) than they could among Aborigines (huge area, vast differents in language, highly dispersed population). That's even before one gets to differences between one sedentary agrarian culture dealing with another (albeit on the point of industrialising) as against various hunter-gatherer cultures with variety degrees of nomadism dealing with a sedentary agrarian culture on the point of industrialising.
    (Reply to this comment) (Thread)
    livredor: likeness
    From:livredor
    Date:December 16th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
    9 days after journal entry, 06:13 pm (livredor's time)

    Re: Singular or plural

    (Link)
    Thank you very much for this comment. That many cultures thing was one of the points I wanted to make with my post, which is now up if you're interested. But I really appreciate some input from an expert to balance my very ignorant fist impressions.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
    erudito: default
    From:erudito
    Date:December 16th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
    9 days after journal entry, December 17th, 2005 10:54 am (erudito's time)

    Re: Singular or plural

    (Link)
    I am not an expert on Aboriginal cultural, the book was on public policy from 1975 onwards. But obviously to analyse policy sensibly one had to try and undestand the situtation Aboriginal Australia was in.
    (Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)



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