Sunday, March 01, 2009
A question of legitimacy - II
Far be it from me, carrying the sports metaphor beyond bounds, to suggest that Unreal Nature was involved in "sledging." No, no, no, we welcome all opinions on the subject, even if they be in Ingush. (Some of us have trouble with the l's.)
To rephrase the question:
Are there "rules" that govern literary (textual) criticism?
If there are, who determines them?
If there are not rules per se, are there, as Unreal Nature would suggest, "rules" about rules? To use the sports metaphor, are there some things in common with all sports that everyone agrees on? (The aforelinked article on Sports Ethics seems to suggest so. However, I find it hard to fit boxing into that framework.)(He coins the words "aforelinked" and "aforeblogged". Thank you.)
If there are uber-rules, do they extend to all art criticism?
Consider the graphics that our favorite mermaid sings about: A CT scan of metastatic lung cancer (very familiar, I wonder where it came from), the running of the bulls in Minos (I almost said cretin cattle, but bringing up the subject of Iodine deficiency would be diluting the discourse), an incomprehensible phrase, and a poem about how I feel these days.
Now, to my eyes, an entirely different picture. But to the anthropologist? The mermaid? Dr. Rorschach?
The comment I guess I am driving at is that we respond to any text or work of art in a structured way. That is, while layered with many concomitant emotions from the limbic system, we still interpret things (criticize) in the way that is structured by our memories and inherited mental structures. To the extent that the latter are common to all humans (a very long discussion about evolutionary psychology here,) there probably are uber rules. We could not be caught in this discussion if there were not.
So, I bow to the wisdom of my colleagues. I will pack up my lance and leave the field. At least I don't have a lance through my eye.
Posted by Dr. C at 5:25 PM