What follows is a post in our ongoing collaborative series with the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This is based on a new article by Dieter Declercq, “A Definition of Satire (And Why a Definition Matters)” which you can find in the current issue of JAAC. Satire is infamously varied. The origins of the label date back to Roman times, as a classification for disgruntled verses by poets like Horace and Juvenal. Yet, although the Roman orator Quintilian tried to claim satire as “wholly ours” (satura tota nostra est), satire is clearly not limited to ancient Rome. Just think of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Jimi Hendrix’s “Star-Spangled Banner” (performed at Woodstock), Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Pussy Riot, Guerrilla Girls, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, Jordan Peel’s Get Out, Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, Daliso Chaponda’s stand-up comedy…
September 19, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds 0 comments
Frances Howard-Snyder (Western Washington University) answers a few short questions about her philosophical fiction posed by Skye Cleary (City College New York) for the APA Blog. She recounts her experiences at a recent workshop on fiction writing for philosophers. I particularly liked the idea that fiction writers often deal with quasi-philosophical topics and when they do their treatment could benefit from the skills of philosophers. And, regarding how professional philosophers’ fiction writing should be treated by universities: If you [write fiction] well and your work has philosophical content, your department and university ought to treat it as part of your scholarship. See the whole interview here. This raises lots of interesting questions. Are there some philosophical topics that are better, or even best, approached through fiction? Can philosophical fiction advance philosophical research? And if so, are philosophers sometimes better positioned to do that than non-philosophers? What do you think?
Google Translate’s Emergent Poetry Some of you will be familiar with computer poetry, poetic compositions generated by computers using algorithms. Some of you may even be familiar with computer prose, as the book The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed (text here). There are lots of things to say about this. Who’s the author? Is it really poetry? And what does it say if computer poetry passes the Turing test? Last week, I stumbled upon something new in this neighborhood, care of Google Translate. You might think this would be generated by inputting something funny (but promising if you think about it) like assembly instructions or political speeches–or even something translated into a different language, then translated back. Instead, this Google Translate poetry takes as input a single, repeated Japanese hiragana character. As you can see above, the returns are surreal and delightful. (For all of these, I’ve used ‘ke’, け.) See here and here for … Continue reading →
Why do we care about certain facts but not others when we evaluate fiction? Why do some things need to be accurate, but others not? Today we’ll be discussing these issues in “The Puzzle of Factual Praise” by John Holliday available in JAAC’s Spring 2017 volume, 75 (2), online here. And big thanks to Christopher Bartel for providing the critical précis (below the fold). John offers a brief response, and they will both be available to discuss your questions and thoughts in the comments.
Why do we care about certain facts but not others when we evaluate fiction? Why do some things need to be accurate, but others not? If you’re curious, come back in *one week* when we’ll be looking at “The Puzzle of Factual Praise” by John Holliday available in JAAC’s Spring 2017 volume, 75 (2), online here. And big thanks to Christopher Bartel for providing the critical précis. John will provide a response to this, and they will both be available to discuss your questions and thoughts in the comments. Mark it in your calendars, and we look forward to seeing you then!
I must alert you to an awesome piece by poet Sara Holbrook on HuffPo, where she explains that Texas used two of her poems for middle school standardized tests. Holbrook: receives an email from a distressed teacher who doesn’t understand the answers discovers poor formatting that adds to the confusion finds the questions in question cannot, ultimately, answer them The narration of her thought process going through the questions is also delightful. At one point, she writes: Parents, educators, legislators, readers of news reports: STOP TAKING THESE TEST RESULTS SERIOUSLY Idiotic, hair-splitting questions pertaining to nothing, insufficient training, profit-driven motives on the part of the testing companies, and test results that simply reveal the income and education level of the parents. All very fair. But then a bit of intentionalism to finish it all off! My final reflection is this: any test that questions the motivations of the author without asking the … Continue reading →
Follow these links for some great coverage on how artists are responding to the 2016 election results. Please feel free to share any information about how artists are responding to the election results in the comments below. ArtNet News: Here’s What Artists Have to Say About the Future of America Under Donald Trump ArtNews: Morning Links The Art World Reacts to a Trump Victory Hyperallergic: Artists Respond with Devastation, Then Determination, to the Election of Donald Trump For your viewing pleasure, here is the cold open from Saturday Night Live this past weekend. A response to the 2016 election results and Leonard Cohen’s death from the obviously multi-talented artist and comedian, Kate McKinnon: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG-_ZDrypec] In conclusion, an Auden poem: September 1, 1939 | W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest … Continue reading →