Thank you, Matthew! :)
Thank you for the intelligent, polite response.
Thanks for explaining the purpose of the list to me.
Now I understand. :)
Perhaps my letter came from the feeling that people
were arguing about which authors were 'better' than
others and which authors were fit to wear the title,
"Master." I see this as opinion.
Anyhow, I see your point - that argument can lead to
growth. I feel this is true, if done constructively,
on a non-personal level. Perhaps I felt that the
original letter was intended to insult. If not, I
apologize to all.
With the letters reg: "Masters" and the "Mars" debate,
my e-mail box was getting filled with, what I would
consider, the kind of debate that does not stimulate
growth or learning. (BTW, I very much valued the
original mars comment and felt it was something that
was appropriate to share.) ;)
I look forward to seeing the train get back on track
and start chuggin'! Thank you again for your kind
letter. God bless!
Annapolis, Maryland, USA
--- Matthew Winslow <mwinslow@...> wrote:
> From: Matthew Winslow <mwinslow@...>
> Scott [strand73@...] wrote:
> > In my humble opinion, art and artists should not
> > compared. There is not one author who is
> > 'worse' or 'equal to' another. We are all
> > who express ourselves in different ways and enjoy
> > different authors and books. Comparing our art is
> > like comparing ourselves. Aren't we all equal?
> > Different, but equal? Let us allow the same God
> > right to our cherished authors and books! :)
> There are a few things here I'd like to respond to
> -- hopefully tying it all
> into fantasy literature by the end.
> First, I don't think anyone has implied that one
> should not be allowed to read
> what one wants. That's not really the issue here and
> is just a straw man.
> Rather, what we're discussing is the idea of
> quality: are the works of some
> authors better than the works of others? Scott's
> assertion (above) is that,
> no, they're all equal in quality, using the old
> adage of 'different but
> equal.' However, one must look at that a little more
> deeply. Scott, are you
> *really* insisting that all people are
> un-comparable? That we cannot say that
> Hitler was more evil than Ghandi? If so, then the
> argument stops here coz we
> cannot even give a value-judgment to David Bratman
> who started this whole
> thread with his comment about Tolkien, LeGuin and
> Eddings. If we are equal,
> then David's opinion is equally valid and we find
> ourselves in a recursive
> argument that spirals into oblivion.
> But if we *can* discern different levels of quality,
> then we must ask, 'what
> *are* those aspects that make a work 'better' than
> another work?' That's
> really what most structuralist or formalist
> criticism comes down to:
> discovering why a work is more effective as art than
> another piece. Without
> such distinctions, my 3-year-old's drawing of
> 'Daddy, Granddad, and Mummy' is
> as equally 'good' as Picasso's Guernica.
> What we've had so far on the list has been a lot of
> expression of opinion --
> and let's face it, a lot of folks in the Society
> don't like Eddings (and let's
> not even get started with Jordan). But recent posts
> have also brought us into
> the realm of actually discussing the reasoning for
> those opinions. I see only
> good of this if we realize one thing: just coz it's
> our opinion doesn't mean
> it's inviolate.
> Let's take a case in point that's occuring in
> another MythSoc forum. In
> Butterbur's Woodshed, David Bratman and I commented
> in almost perfect
> opposition about the effectiveness of a book. I
> didn't like it. David did.
> That's all fine and well. However, we also commented
> on whether it 'worked' as
> a piece of literature, and came up on diff't sides.
> Now, we could just back
> down and say, 'can't we all just get along?' but of
> what value would that be?
> We'd have missed a great opportunity to actually
> analyze our presuppositions
> about literature and perhaps grow a bit. I'm quite
> willing to say, 'I was
> wrong. This book really *is* better than I thought,'
> or 'I was wrong. This
> book is much worse than I thought.' That's part of
> growth, and one of the
> purposes of literature is to cause us to grow.
> If we just sit back and say, 'well, that's your
> opinion and this is mine' and
> never examine those opinions, then we just become a
> mutual admiration society
> and our discussion becomes 'This book rocked!' and
> 'No! This book sucked
> eggs!' Instead, since joining the Society I have
> been challenged many times to
> re-examine my opinion about a book and in the
> process re-examine my ideas
> about what 'good' literature is. And I think I've
> grown from that.
> So let's not sweep our differences under the carpet.
> Instead, let's look at
> them, discuss them, and hopefully learn from them.