Pretension and autism

It’s ironic that this hit me the day after publishing the best analysis of Citizen Kane ever written (IMHO), but I just now realized why nerds prefer cartoons.

If Dostoevsky had written Dragonball Z, Goku would have spent the first six hundred pages discussing all possible ideological permutations which would and wouldn’t justify his fight against alien martial artists from space. He would argue, postulate, illustrate, and analyze the most charitable version of each possible position in ways that hint at his inner torment in coming to a decision. On the six hundred first page, he would end the book by giving his conclusion in a single line: “I like fighting, I’m good at it, and my family and friends need me to do it.”

This appeals strongly to people with a taste for social graces and nuance. I remarked to Patrick earlier today that a white person, and particularly a high-functioning white person, is just a black person with an overweening need to cover over taboos with vast complexes of pretense. This isn’t entirely bad, as it enables white people to work with each other and have nice things, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good. And, like many other conventions of communication in a world designed by socialites, I’ve accepted it as a practical necessity. But I’ve never acquired the taste.

Since Goku was written by Akira Toriyama (possibly the most autistic looking person I’ve ever seen) and not Dostoevsky, he just skips the first six hundred pages and has Goku say “I like fighting, I’m good at it, and my family and friends need me to do it.” Then he draws six hundred pages of professional wrestling drama, because Mr. T doing ki blasts was the most awesome thing he could think of. Nerds like this because it’s the same idea and they aren’t very good at penetrating the clouds of squid ink that Dostoevsky’s characters tend to communicate through.

This is also why Evangelion is artistically superior to Crime and Punishment. Yeah, you read that right, fite me irl.

When Raskolnikov decides to kill his landlady and steal her money, he talks about it for several hundred pages until he experiences Ego death. When Shinji decides to kill the monster he’s fighting (Zeruel) and eat its heart, the restraints burst off his Eva unit and it becomes the monster it absorbed, and the pilot’s body is dissolved into the Eva.

In the same way, when Shinji decides that fighting is too difficult for him, he doesn’t invent an ideology that says Asuka and Rei shouldn’t fight either. He says “I tried but it was too hard and I never understood why I was doing it” and leaves. Then, when he realizes the people he cares about are suffering and he wants to fight for them, he returns and says “I want to try again, but this time I’m doing it because I want to.”

But I can understand that sometimes you can’t just come out and say things directly, because that’s low-status. Like anime. And a little subtlety now and then won’t hurt me, as long as it’s the language my audience needs to get the point across.

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19 Responses to Pretension and autism

  1. Heaviside says:

    Dostoevsky may be a lot of things but subtle is not one of them.

    “It is questionable whether one can really discuss the aspects of ”realism” or of ”human experience” when considering an author whose gallery of characters consists almost exclusively of neurotics and lunatics. Besides all this, Dostoyevsky’s characters have yet another remarkable feature: Throughout the book they do not develop as personalities. We get them all complete at the beginning of the tale, and so they remain without any considerable changes, although their surroundings may alter and the most extraordinary things may happen to them. In the case of Raskolnikov in ”Crime and Punishment,” for instance, we see a man go from premeditated murder to the promise of an achievement of some kind of harmony with the outer world, but all this happens somehow from without: Innerly even Raskolnikov does not go through any true development of personality, and the other heroes of Dostoyevsky do even less so. The only thing that develops, vacillates, takes unexpected sharp turns, deviates completely to include new people and circumstances, is the plot. Let us always remember that basically Dostoyevsky is a writer of mystery stories where every character, once introduced to us, remains the same to the bitter end, complete with his special features and personal habits, and that they all are treated throughout the book they happen to be in like chessmen in a complicated chess problem. Being an intricate plotter, Dostoyevsky succeeds in holding the reader’s attention; he builds up his climaxes and keeps up his suspenses with consummate mastery. But if you reread a book of his you have already read once so that you are familiar with the surprises and complications of the plot, you will at once realize that the suspense you experienced during the first reading is simply not there anymore. The misadventures of human dignity which form Dostoyevsky’s favorite theme are as much allied to the farce as to the drama. In indulging his farcical side and being at the same time deprived of any real sense of humor, Dostoyevsky is sometimes dangerously near to sinking into garrulous and vulgar nonsense.”

  2. Aeoli Pera says:

    >In the case of Raskolnikov in ”Crime and Punishment,” for instance, we see a man go from premeditated murder to the promise of an achievement of some kind of harmony with the outer world, but all this happens somehow from without: Innerly even Raskolnikov does not go through any true development of personality, and the other heroes of Dostoyevsky do even less so. The only thing that develops, vacillates, takes unexpected sharp turns, deviates completely to include new people and circumstances, is the plot. Dostoyevsky is a writer of mystery stories where every character, once introduced to us, remains the same to the bitter end, complete with his special features and personal habits, and that they all are treated throughout the book they happen to be in like chessmen in a complicated chess problem.

    This Nabokov guy is smart. But he appears to be saying this as a criticism, whereas I’d consider it to be the point of the book.

  3. Obadiah says:

    “I just skipped the first 30 days of painting and drew bunch of stick figures holding guns on a piece of copy printer paper. Then I took a couple of colored sharpies that I found in the junk drawer and gave my stick figures hair, clothes and then put some squiggly lines in the background for detail. Nerds like this because it’s the same idea and they aren’t very good at penetrating the layers of oil paint that Rembrandt’s subjects tend to manifest through.

    This is also why my stick figure drawing is artistically superior to The Night Watch. Yeah, you read that right, fite me irl.”

  4. Obadiah says:

    “I just skipped the first four years of composition and busted out some dank power chords I learned on my guitar that I bought a week ago and recorded them on my phone. Then I recorded some backup vocals and slapped the whole thing together in Audacity. I like this because it’s the same idea and I’m not very good at penetrating the clouds of notes, figures and motifs that Beethoven’s works tend to communicate through.

    This is also why my phone recording is artistically superior to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Yeah, you read that right, fite me irl.”

  5. Obadiah says:

    Basically, insofar as artistic quality is concerned:

  6. Obadiah says:

    “I just skipped the first two years of sculpting and went and got two cans of Play-Doh at Hobby Lobby. I got one can of pink Play-Doh and one can of blue Play-Doh, each to symbolize a different gender. Then I made a pink Play-Doh person (girl) sitting down holding a blue Play-Doh person (boy) in her arms. I like this because it’s the same idea and I’m not very good at penetrating the large blocks of refined and chiseled marble that Michelangelo’s sculptures tend to manifest through.

    This is also why my Play-Doh creation is artistically superior to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Yeah, you read that right, fite me irl.”

  7. Obadiah says:

    Not that I’ve ever watched more than a few episodes of Evangelion or even cracked the cover of Crime and Punishment, just saying that if you could measure the quality of art objectively it would be a STEM subject.

    As you can see, I’ve chosen to fite you on the internet.

  8. Jordy LaFrog Peterson's Fully Automated Mecha-Dragonslayer says:

    @Obadiah
    Roger that.

    Insecure people sometimes respond to insightful unsubtlety by being all like, “Kill him! He knows too much!” Learned that one the hard way… The trick is to think about its implications without saying it out loud.

  9. Heaviside says:

    >This Nabokov guy is smart. But he appears to be saying this as a criticism, whereas I’d consider it to be the point of the book.

    If you say so, but personally I find Dostoyevsky is boring and it makes sense you chose him because his books are pretty “autistic” and unsubtle as far as literature goes.

  10. Obadiah says:

    Unfortunately, if I didn’t say too much stuff out loud in the comments section, I wouldn’t be old man Obadiah.

  11. Obadiah says:

    But I gotcha

  12. Jordy LaFrog Peterson's Fully Automated Mecha-Dragonslayer says:

    @Obadiah

    Sorry. The second part of my last comment was supposed to be a response to Aeoli’s post. Actually, your analogies made me LOL *because* they made your point so unambiguous.

  13. Obadiah says:

    @Jordy
    Ah, OK I see.

  14. Obadiah says:

    So art is not STEM due to the subjective factor in determining quality.

    I had to make a hard distinction between math and art because art is easy and math is hard.

  15. Boneflour says:

    First we get the Citizen Kaneposts, then BLOCKEADS DOUBLE FEATURE, and now OBLADI-OBLADA is bringing out internet ICBMS on the Aeoli man.

    And there’s a new Hotel Concierge blog post?

    We are entering a Aeolisphere Renay’s-Sauce over here.

  16. lflick says:

    to be fair, there are a lot of oil paintings that MS Paint Adventures is superior to

  17. Pingback: Precepts of the upper middle class | Aeoli Pera

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