Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing

Date: 19 Nov 2009

  • Next message: Don Lee: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Lehane/Stasio on noir"

    Okay Jim, I'll tackle this in good faith.

    It is a matter of individual perception, as much of 1984 also is. In the book, the protagonist, Winston Smith, was not pleased with the way his society has been, to his mind, changed, largely as a result of advances in communcations technology and their use, observed and anticipated by Orwell. But many if not most of the citizens in Oceania appear to be much less disturbed by these developments. Indeed, they may even welcome them as long as they are not directly affected by some of the more negative aspects, as Winston is. Similarly, it's clear you, I and Patrick view the same events from different points of cultural perception.

    There's an analogy between the disappearance of $200 from Patrick's bank account, the disappearance of a book from Kindle and Winston's job rewriting history in the Ministry of Truth. In all cases information (money is only information, whether the medium is gold, paper bills, data blips in bank computers or the GNP) is altered, or disappears. Patrick and Kindle owners thought they owned this information only to see it, in their minds, arbitrarily confiscated by authorities in a way that the citizens of Oceania may feel about their own histories as a result of the activities of Minitrue. Further, as a result of having innocently worked himself into this situation, as Patrick says, he was hauled in for questioning by civil authorities as a possible perpetrator of what they, and you perceive as a crime. This is an entirely different interpretation of Patrick's history than his own, and all this over issues of information you and other authorities deem "counterfeit." There's a c
     ertain Minitrue atmosphere (I know how you love literary atmospherics) to this, and then, I think, to your own analysis of the issues.

    Even as you review the circumstances you fail to note the similarities that I, and I believe Patrick plainly see, (I have to be careful here as Patrick has a history of not seeing what I plainly do), seizing instead on unrelated points to promote your argument that there are no such connections. I see this as circumloquatious, and a form of newspeak: the selection of language (information) to mean its opposite, or at least a rationalization of the same. I hasten to add that this does not make you or your argument wrong, as I know you are NEVER WRONG, and I accept this.

    Neither am I, until I change my mind, something I do not expect you to do, just as you have not changed your mind about the definition of noir, even though I squashed your argument at the last Toronto Bouchercon before more than one hundred witnesses, some of whom subscribe to RARA AVIS, and even though numerous others on the list have since noted the uselessness of your over-broad definition. Still, I know your definition is all that matters to you and I've no problem with your constant claims of its efficacy even as I understand that such repetition is a common buttress against self doubt. Some, even many RARAvians may be bored by the discussion of definitions, but even though I, like you, consider the matter long settled, I welcome your constant reminders as guides to interpretation when you share your encyclopedic knowledge of the genre (and more.)

    It's good to know where people are coming from, especially as perception is reality, as we increasingly learn to be the case. For instance, Mario has recently asserted that because of Kindle all writers are fucked. As long as he believes that to be true, and acts accordingly, he is likely to be right. I take a somewhat broader view that Kindle is only one in a rapidly expanding array of digital media which offers a wide variety of ways for writers to engage audiences and find reward however that may be defined. If I believe that and pursue it even if only to the degree that I continue to interpret events from that basis, I too am right. Remember, it's "reward however that may be defined." Reality is relative, and culturally determined. Recent neurological research suggests that this is how the human mind works, grows and learns (or not) in a physical as well as psychological sense but this only reinforces what I previously learned reading noir fiction and subscribing to RARA
      AVIS (in part, in other words, from you.) Ironically, this observation supports my personal faith and hope, definitively transcendent qualities and something most of us know noir is not.

    Thanks and Best Wishes, Kerry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: JIM DOHERTY
      Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7:20 PM
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing


      Re your comment below:

      "Man, if this circumloquatious justification isn't 1984 newspeak, damned if I know what is."

      Granting that it was long, what was "circumloquatious" about it? I thought it was a pretty straightforward argument on a pretty straightforward point, that getting questioned by police for passing counterfeit money wasn't in any way analogous to a book downloaded into some high-tech reading device suddenly getting erased from that device while the owner of the device is reading it.

      What new words was I using and what old words were they meant to replace? What was there in my comments that in any way paralleled the totalitarian regime in Orwell's novel creating newspeak to replace all those old words that were so dangerously counter-revolutionary?

      Was it meant as an ironically humorous remark? Because, if it was, I'm afraid I'm just not sophisticated enough to get the joke and you're gonna have to explain it to me.



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