I don't think it's necessarily useful to divide things so neatly. Kishoutenketsu literally means something like 'arising, development, turn, resolution,' and this idea of a 'turn' or a 'twist' is broad enough to encompass Eastern and Western narratives, high-conflict narratives and low-conflict ones. My book on writing (very cheesy and commercial, and certainly not low-conflict) Boys Love novels says that you should use kishoutenketsu as a plot model. But then I think about a Yoshimoto Banana short story that I read several years ago. The viewpoint character is a girl who lives next door to a boy who's well-off but whose family life seems mysterious and sad. One day, circumstances lead her to understand the boy's family life much better; then he moves away.
By the standards of the conflict-plot model, this is a bad story. The girl isn't really driven by her efforts to help the boy or find out more about his family life; these are just things that happen. (If you were hung up on the conflict-plot model, you'd say she gets things too easily.) But the story works because really, there are two kinds of questions we're asking through the course of a narrative that generate tension or suspense. There's wanting to know what's going to happen next; and there's wanting to understand what's going on now. If a story like this one works, it works because we feel like we understand a little more about the boy and his family; and it works because we feel like that knowledge is meaningful in the context of the story; and maybe we feel like we understand a little more about the ways in which families can be sad or cruel or complicated. It's not driven by success or failure, but by revelation. Or epiphany.
This is where the Western/Eastern thing breaks down, because epiphany-driven storytelling has been the model for Anglosphere short stories for the last hundred years. And even if we think of Hollywood blockbusters, even in hugely conflict-driven movies, it's often the epiphanies that generate the most resonance -- isn't "I am your father" the key moment of any of the Star Wars movies? Even very traditional conflict-plot stories are driven by much more than the conflict, by much more than the protagonist's success or failure -- they're driven by a situation with mysteries that need to be understood. And a lot of that is lost when we try to cram stories into a conflict-plot model that reduces events to a try-fail cycle.
This is true even when it's really just a conflict-plot model with a Freudian overlay: we've got to dig up the hidden trauma, search out the mystery at the center of the problem, so that we can beat the Big Bad. But even then, I think it reflects something important -- the idea that we'll succeed not by being the cleverest or the strongest, but the ones with the deepest understanding of things. Perhaps, if we're lucky, by being the ones with the most empathy.
But there are also stories where understanding things better doesn't really get you anything, except for understanding things better. These are the stories that often feel aggressively anti-narrative to me, in the same way that Japanese fiction often used to feel anti-narrative to me when I started reading it. And at worst, these kinds of stories can feel meandering and pointlessly sad. But at best, I can relate better to the people in these stories: people who don't know what will make them happy; people who don't have much of anything concrete to fight for or fight against; people whose action in the world often consists in watching and waiting and hoping to get a better understanding of themselves and what's going on around them. These are the stories that say, if the conflict-plot model doesn't work, if you're not going to win or lose at life, what else matters? Where else can we build meaning, or find meaning? The epiphany story is bigger than an assumption about the cruel and brutal truths at the center of the universe. Kindness can be a revelation; the moments in Miyazaki's movies of quiet and natural beauty come like revelations, even in a movie as violent as Princess Mononoke.
The conflict-plot story is fundamentally a story about how you can win as long as you have enough strength or guts or will. That's not my story; it's not most people's story, I think. I want a story that decenters its protagonists, a little. A story with enough room for the cruelty of the universe and also its beauty. A story where, in the middle of all the other conflicts that are going on, the protagonist can sit down and breathe in the fresh air and see things at a different angle than they did the night before.
Trump is multiply bankrupt. He reneges on his contracts, leaving his suppliers in the hole. He is in debt to China (but China has bought so much of the US debt that it's somehow not even that big a deal.)
The big deal is this: Trump is in debt to Putin's Russia. Yes, he is.
I'm going to pause while you think about the last 50 or so years of US-Russian relations, including the Cold War, Afghanistan, and all the other little pushing contests.
Now think about all of the times that the US has messed with other countries' elections, notably in Central America as well as elsewhere.
With a money grip on Trump's, er, little thumb, isn't is reasonable that Putin would want to interfere here as well? Of course it is. And the fact is, Putin's people did hack the Democratic database. Why? To cause problems for Hillary, and to get Trump into office. (And probably for fun and because he could, because he's that way.)
Not a joke. Really. Obama has said publicly that he's not happy about this. The flustered four-letter-word denials from Russia are pretty much non-denials. You know how non-denials work, right? Weasel words that don't mean anything. And of course Trump doesn't have investments in Russia -- he has debts in Russia. Not the same thing. But Russian fingerprints are all over those five hacking attempts--and nothing happens in Russia without Putin's knowledge.
Why would Putin do it? He wants to weaken NATO. And Trump has said he wants the US out of NATO, when the US is a strong force there keeping Russia from walking over other countries.
So it looks as if we have a candidate who has already been bought. I suspect that's a first.
Yet another reason to vote for Hillary instead of for Trump -- because it matters. Think of it this way, those of you who hesitate to support her: if Putin is trying to undermine her, it's because she is strong and capable and able to stop him from whatever he wants to do. Otherwise, he wouldn't waste the time. And don't you want someone who is strong enough to stand up to him?
Q: What about Wasserman Shultz being made honorary chairperson of the Clinton campaign?Also the Rude Pundit (both use language). I don’t know why this popped into my head, but cognitive scientists think that the reptile brain does not register negation. Anyway, I think we should remind the American people that there is as yet no conclusive evidence that Donald Trump is a Russian mole.
A: What, a face saving “promotion” with apparently no real power? You do understand how politics works, yes?
In the first half of the show, Anthony DiMaggio and Andrew Austin rebut some of the anti-Black Lives Matter commentaries circulating in corporate media; they note, for example, that on-the-job deaths of police are much lower today than in the 1980s. Next, a discussion about the annual Whistleblower Summit, taking place July 27-29 in Washington, DC. Finally Peter […]
The post Anthony DiMaggio, Marcel Reid, Tom Devine, and Andrew Austin appeared first on Project Censored.
When I was a child, I was the clumsy geek. I could do math (and English), but people wondered if I could walk and chew gum at the same time. I dreamed of the day when computers would enable clumsy geeks to deal with the world without manual dexterity. And look what happened. I don’t begrudge Kevin Maroney and all the other dexterous people their success (all manipulation is intelligence), but I am disappointed.
I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I got an undocumented upgrade. The phone has not once asked me to “Say a Command.”
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2016-07-22:
"As long as I've got my hands up, they're not going to shoot me. This is what I'm thinking. They're not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong." -- Charles Kinsey, therapist, after being shot by a Miami police officer while working with a patient.
(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)
[To those observing Tzom Tammuz, may you have an easy fast.]
This is Saturday 5:00 p.m. Central US time. Will check back in a few hours, and again Sunday, to see if I can do the rename.
The George Harrison Estate trashed the RNC over using 'Here Comes the Sun' -- but says it might have approved if the song that the RNC had illegally appropriated was 'Beware of Darkness.' Brian May of Queen is also taking steps to prevent the RNC from appropriating 'We are the Champions'. And My Little Pony wants no part of the Trumps, either. The Stones aren't pleased, either, about Trump taking 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'; perhaps they'd prefer it if Trump took 'Sympathy for the Devil' or 'Helter Skelter'?
Could Trump pass a sanity test?
A world of languages.
So the idea of one guy passing off the work to someone else isn't new, or honest. There's nothing in the Constitution against the VP taking on some more Presidential work as necessary; that's always been done. But handing off the whole job? Keep an eye on where the money goes and who's doing the paving -- and make sure there aren't any bodies in the asphalt.
Laura Nyro saw him coming 30 years ago ('his mind is up his sleeve'): Flim-Flam Man. And if you drown in that gorgeous voice as I do, here's the lyrics:
Hands off the man, the flim flam man.
His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe.
Oh lord, the man's a fraud, he's flim flam man. He's so cagey, he's a flim flam man.
Hands off the man, flim flam man.
He's the one in the Trojan horse making out like he's Santa Claus.
Oh lord, the man's a fraud, he's a flim flam man. He's a fox, he's a flim flam man.
Everybody wants him, the people and the police and all the pretty ladies disarm.
Oh yeah, the beautiful gent, you know he has hardly a cent.
He pays his monthly rent with daily charm.
Hands off the man, the flim flam man.
His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe.
Oh lord, the man's a fraud, he's flim flam man. HeâE™s so cagey, he's an artist.
He's a fox, he's a flim flam man.
Don't believe him, he's a flim flam. Ole road runner, he's a flim flam.
- by Laura Nyro.
In 1964 the Republican Party was widely perceived as having stepped out of normal political parameters with the extremist Barry Goldwater. Nixon offered dignified acquiescence, supporting the ticket but staking out alternative positions.
In those days a now-extinct species roamed the land: Liberal Republicans. Their leader, Nelson Rockefeller, was booed and hated. After Goldwater had gone down to stunning defeat, they expected to regain control. But no. The Goldwater campaign had tapped a rich vein of stupidity and hatred in the electorate, and while the party wouldn’t yet pick another extremist, they found a middle-of-the-road candidate, the good and faithful servant Nixon, and he won.
And the future belonged to them. Goldwater was a decent, honorable human being with some dumb ideas. He thought all would be well if other decent, honorable human beings voluntarily desegregated, as his family had done with their retail chain, and we wouldn’t need the government. By today’s standards, his was moderation in the pursuit of virtue. The goalposts have moved, and today Rockefeller would be running the DNC.
And now many of us are hoping that He, Trump is seen by the majority the way Goldwater was, and that seems likely. If so, Cruz hopes, the party will overlook his personal characteristics as it did Nixon’s similar ones, and he will be the nominee.
Also: Trump’s idea of letting his veep handle domestic and foreign policy while he makes America great again suggests that he actually seeks a different office: King. He is equally unqualified for that, as the prime regal requirement is gravitas. There is a reason the United Kingdom is reigned over by Elizabeth Windsor, rather than Boris Johnson.
And furthermore: I hereby apologize for something I said in yesterday’s post. Circuses, like whores, do not deserve comparison with the Republicans. (Maybe more like a carney, in which Cruz declined the proffered chicken head.)
linky (NOTE: spoilers in some of them).
For some reason my creative writing self is kicking back and not working these days, but my scholarship, especially bibliographic type stuff, is on the job 24/7--it's FUN seeing what is being said about a text.
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