Archive for November 17th, 2012

November 17, 2012

In Medias Res

pulp fiction

In medias res‘ (‘into the middle of things’) is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the midpoint or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning (‘ab ovo,’ ‘ab initio’), establishing setting, character, and conflict via flashback or expository conversations relating the pertinent past.

The main advantage of in medias res is to open the story with dramatic action rather than exposition which sets up the characters and situation. Because it is a feature of the style in which a story is structured and is independent of the story’s content, it can be employed in any narrative genre, epic poetry, novels, plays, or film.

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November 17, 2012

Nonlinear Narrative

in mediias res

Nonlinear narrative, disjointed narrative or disrupted narrative is a narrative technique, sometimes used in literature, film, websites and other mediums, where events are portrayed out of chronological order. It is often used to mimic the structure and recall of human memory but has been applied for other reasons as well.

Beginning a narrative ‘in medias res’ (Latin: ‘into the middle of things’) began in ancient times as an oral tradition and was established as a convention of epic poetry with Homer’s ‘Iliad’ in the 8th century BCE. The technique of narrating most of the story in flashback also dates back to the Indian epic, the ‘Mahabharata,’ around the 5th century BCE. Several medieval ‘Arabian Nights’ tales also have nonlinear narratives employing ‘in medias res’ and flashback techniques.

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November 17, 2012

Chronological Snobbery

whig history

Chronological snobbery, a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and philosopher Owen Barfield, is a logical fallacy describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior when compared to that of the present. As Barfield explains it, it is the belief that ‘intellectually, humanity languished for countless generations in the most childish errors on all sorts of crucial subjects, until it was redeemed by some simple scientific dictum of the last century.’

The subject came up between them when Barfield had converted to Anthroposophy (a philosophy popularized in the early 1900s that teaches that through inner development a person can better know the spiritual world) and was persuading Lewis (an atheist at that time) to join him.

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November 17, 2012

Presentism

1066 and All That

Presentism [prez-ent-iz-uhm] is a mode of literary or historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past. Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter.

The practice of presentism is a common fallacy in historical writings. Historian David Hackett Fischer identifies presentism as a fallacy also known as the ‘fallacy of nunc pro tunc’ (‘now for then,’ a court ruling applied retroactively to correct an earlier ruling). He has written that the ‘classic example’ of presentism was the so-called ‘Whig history,’ in which certain eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British historians wrote history in a way that used the past to validate their own political beliefs.

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November 17, 2012

Anachronism

old ipod

An anachronism [uh-nak-ruh-niz-uhm] is a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of person(s), events, objects, or customs from different periods of time. Often the item misplaced in time is an object, but it may be a verbal expression, a technology, a philosophical idea, a musical style, a material, a custom, or anything else associated with a particular period in time so that it is incorrect to place it outside its proper temporal domain.

The intentional use of older, often obsolete cultural artifacts may be regarded as anachronistic. For example, it could be considered anachronistic for a modern-day person to wear a top hat, write with a quill, or carry on a conversation in Latin. Such choices may reflect an eccentricity, or an aesthetic preference.

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November 17, 2012

Sex Wars

Female chauvinist pigs

The Feminist Sex Wars, were acrimonious debates among feminists in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The sides were characterized by anti-porn and pro-sex groups with disagreements regarding sexuality, sexual representation, pornography, sadomasochism, the role of transwomen in the lesbian community, and other sexual issues.

The debate pitted anti-pornography feminism against sex-positive feminism, and the feminist movement was deeply divided as a result. The Feminist Sex Wars are sometimes viewed as part of the division that led to the end of the second-wave feminist era.

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November 17, 2012

Sex-positive Feminism

Gaga Feminism

Sex-positive feminism is a movement that began in the early 1980s to promote sexual freedom as an essential component of women’s freedom. Some became involved in the sex-positive feminist movement in response to efforts by anti-pornography feminists, such as Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, to put pornography at the center of a feminist explanation of women’s oppression.

This period of intense debate and acrimony between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists during the early 1980s is often referred to as the ‘Feminist Sex Wars.’ Other less academic sex-positive feminists became involved not in opposition to other feminists but in direct response to what they saw as patriarchal control of sexuality.

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November 17, 2012

Feminist Pornography

Erika Lust

Feminist pornography is pornography produced by and with feminist women. It is a small but growing segment of the pornography industry. Since 2006, there has been a Feminist Porn Awards held annually in Toronto, sponsored by a local feminist sex toy shop, Good for Her.

They have three guiding criteria: A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work; It depicts genuine female pleasure; and It expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn.

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