Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#42

VladThatGuy Wrote:
KittraMcBriar Wrote: I find it interesting that "literary" fiction is even considered a legitimate label that people can claim of their own works.

A lot of what we consider great literature of today was the genre trash of its time. For them, the "literary" badge was something earned over the ages through broad acclaim, study, and accumulated cultural significance.
You are trying to put meaning to my post that did not exist.


Literary fiction refers to "day in the life" stuff - character driven, real life in real world. It's a broad reference. Break that down into "detective" if you want, "military", "Little House on the Prairie"

But it is NOT sci-fi, fantasy, LitRPG or magic. THAT was my comparative point. I think you understood that. It certainly seemed clear to me and others.

But glad you made the point so I could clarify. Thanks.



I wasn’t trying to put meaning to your words that wasn’t there. You weren’t really asking a question, so I did what a lot of people in threads like this do—I stated a thought that was spawned in response to what was said. Still, though, if you look up literary fiction, the definition you’ll get over and over again is as follows:

Literary fiction is a category of novels that emphasize style, character, and theme over plot.

It doesn’t have to be mundane or real world in order to be literary. It’s more about where the focus of the writing is placed and how it’s written. A lot of literary fiction is magical realism, which is quite fantastical…basically a sub genre of fantasy. A lot of lit fic has science fiction, romance and horror elements. The lines aren’t as clearly defined as I think you might like them to be. There’s a lot of blending and bleed-over between what we consider literary and genre fiction.

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#43

KittraMcBriar Wrote: Literary fiction is a category of novels that emphasize style, character, and theme over plot.

It doesn’t have to be mundane or real world in order to be literary. It’s more about where the focus of the writing is placed and how it’s written. A lot of literary fiction is magical realism, which is quite fantastical…basically a sub genre of fantasy. A lot of lit fic has science fiction, romance and horror elements. The lines aren’t as clearly defined as I think you might like them to be. There’s a lot of blending and bleed-over between what we consider literary and genre fiction.
I'd like to apologize for my own misinterpretation of your words. The way your post read for me indicated that you were using lit fic as a synonym for literature (as so many people often do) in its restrictive sense of "poetry, drama, and prose fiction considered as forms of art." 

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#44
Referring to the outriggers of literary fiction to convince of one's almost being precisely right is not really discourse. It's argument.

I'm NOT arguing, but if one makes the GENERAL assessments of MY work (Jep and Jackpot - BOTH clearly lit fiction, as was/is my discussion point) measured against the WIDE majority of material here, that has a hard time fitting in Lit fiction definition, most absolutely NOT, you will then come to the very point I was making.

Or... you can keep arguing. I'm not in for it. 

But thanks for the input all the same. 

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#45

VladThatGuy Wrote: Referring to the outriggers of literary fiction to convince of one's almost being precisely right is not really discourse. It's argument.

I'm NOT arguing, but if one makes the GENERAL assessments of MY work (Jep and Jackpot - BOTH clearly lit fiction, as was/is my discussion point) measured against the WIDE majority of material here, that has a hard time fitting in Lit fiction definition, most absolutely NOT, you will then come to the very point I was making.

Or... you can keep arguing. I'm not in for it. 

But thanks for the input all the same.


Your initial point in making this post was kind of unclear (and I don’t seem to be the only one who thought so), so I just added my two cents and then backed up my personal definition of literary fiction when you brought it into question. At no point did I say your work isn’t literary fiction. I’m sorry that something I said has upset you, that wasn’t my intention. I’m not trying to “argue” any more than anyone else who happens to disagree with you is “arguing,” I just find this topic interesting to discuss and happen to disagree with you on some points.

Speaking of which, I don’t really think I’m just talking about outliers here. Plenty of significant literary fictions are fantastical in some way, like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, Life of Pi, and everything by Haruki Murakami

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#46

Crownfall Wrote: They used to say books rot your brains too. This is just juvenoia in action. You sound like you're in the middle of the satanic panic of the 80s lol next you'll start talking about how D&D leads to demons possessing you.

LOL. Thanks for demonstrating my point so quickly and obviously. I couldn't have asked for a better example. 

1. "They used to say books rot your brains too."

Who is this vague and undefined "they", and which historical time period are you referring to? There were multiple instances of books (or even writing--see Plato) coming into disrepute. This is a gross oversimplification, and none of the examples I know of were "books rot your brains." It was more like "writing everything down makes your memory worse", "reading makes women and the rabble uppity," or even "novels are a waste of time because they don't teach you anything important. Read non-fiction instead." 

The arguments were frequently, once more, nuanced and understandable for the time and place from whence they came. Many of the anxieties revolved around class issues (for example, if literacy becomes widespread, it's much harder to control the rabble), anxieties about the increased reach of dangerous or undesirable ideas (again, this would be for the elites, who are often the ones whose opinions are left in the historical record), or a concern that writing would become a crutch that led to the deterioration of memory or even a deterioration in the ability to apply knowledge. This is only a small sampling, but it would be impossible for me to discuss this point with you unless you specifically state which time period and which criticism you are referring to. 

With that said, let's assume your example is correct and I just missed the history lesson. Let's say there was a movement that said "books rot your brains," and this is wrong. Does that say anything about the truth value of "video games make you violent" (yet another oversimplification)? 

These are two different issues (intelligence vs. aggressive behaviour) with two different mediums (written text vs. engagement with moving visual representations on a screen). The only similarity is that adults (presumably) said this about kids, at some point. Adults say a lot of things about kids, up to and including "They never eat their damn vegetables", so I don't see what this single point of similarity makes those two very different things have connected or related truth values. Why are you linking the two? 

I also find it interesting that you did not choose "TV rots your brain" as your example, despite TV as a medium sharing more in common with video games as a medium than books. Is it because there is fair evidence that TV is, in fact, not the best medium for gray matter maintenance*? 

I guess that one wasn't juvenoia. 

*Actually literally, as it turns out. Okay, sort of. It's complicated. Also: genetic factors! Fun!

2. "This is just juvenoia in action."

It seems that you have decided here that my statement "As for video games making people violent being total baloney, I suggest you read more papers on this. It's not very clear cut and much more complicated than the average newspaper is willing to report" is an example of juvenoia. Alternatively, perhaps you are stating that "video games cause violence" (though phrasing does matter here) is juvenoia--it wasn't all that clear from your phrasing. Before we get to your actual accusation, let's briefly discuss juvenoia. 

I have been seeing this term being thrown around popular discourse of late whenever impacts of certain kinds of advancements are discussed. It looks like the original term came from a 2011 paper by David Finklehor titled "The internet, youth safety, and the problem of 'Juvenoia'." Oddly, the original paper no longer appears available, though Finklehor is still actively publishing (his latest paper is from 2020). Happily, there is a cached portion that shows up under a completely mundane Google search where he has given the definition: "An exaggerated fear about the influence of social change on children and youth."*

Well, this definition poses a problem. How do you qualify whether the fear is "exaggerated" or not? What is a reasonable amount of fear? Do children or youths have to be hospitalized or dead in large numbers (and what qualifies as a "large number"? What number would satisfy critics? What a quandary!) or alternatively, killing each other in large numbers (again, same problem)? What does "an exaggerated fear" look like? 

Well, in the case of questions like "do books rot your brain", "do video games cause violence", or "does TV rot your brain", the answer would come after the investigation is done. These are not questions where you can do simple, straight-forward research expecting direct and clear correlations. 

In other word, it is a post-hoc explanation. Juvenoia is a description of a trend after the data is in; if it turns out to not have been a big deal, then it is juvenoia. If it was a big deal, then it wasn't juvenoia. It's merely a descriptor, but for some reason, it gets used as an argument in and of itself to dismiss questions that people just don't like.

It's terribly sloppy thinking to assign it to every concern adults express about youths or children. My counterargument here is that the sloppy over-application is basic pattern recognition gone wrong; just because something looks like a bag of farts that you've encountered in the past, it doesn't mean it is. You have to open the bag and sniff! 

(And hopefully, no one dumped an open bottle of bleach and ammonia in there. Because yikes!)

*Unfortunately, if he has provided parameters around this, I have not been able to access it. I've limited my statement to what was available. This term is just lobbed at everything these days, so I have digressed a bit to express my annoyance. 

3. "You sound like you're in the middle of the satanic panic of the 80s lol next you'll start talking about how D&D leads to demons possessing you."

Please, quote the sections of my post that make me sound this way. Where am I hyperbolic? Actually, what even is my stance here? Do you know? Have you managed to even understand my point before immediately dismissing it? 

Though, as someone who did grow up playing DnD, I can certainly confirm: it does lead to demonic possession. That's right kids. ALL HAIL DEMOGORGON! Bwahwhahahah!

Quote:TealiciousTea

Flames wars fine by me. 

Yes, it seems like it. Since I am the last one quoted, I'll assume the bulk of your statements were in response to mine. I have responded accordingly. 

Quote:TealiciousTea
There is an article written in 1995 by a respected political scientist at Harvard who linked the decline of civic engagement in society, like turning out to vote, doing charity work, socialising in sports club etc with the rise of television. Now the fact that this is complete bullshit should be obvious to most, here is one counter-argument. The simple conclusion is how going to a bowling alley help the ills that plague American society.

What is the relationship between a single political scientist presumably opining incorrectly in some op-ed and a nuanced look at over three decades of research from both sides of the aisle, multiple meta-analyses, and an on-going scientific debate*? I'm not sure why you chose this example. I'm going to ask for clarification as to what you're trying to say here, because it doesn't seem related to anything I said (unless you've grossly misunderstood what I've said!)

I'm not sure about the point you're making with that counter-argument, either. It looks like you're saying that there's value in the simple advice of "Go patronize a local business, have fun, and socialize, you goober", which--well, that's nearly always good advice! But why start with this? It almost seems like you are drawing a line between this simple advice for simple pleasure and wordsinaline's question about over-indulgence, but it doesn't really track. If you were patronizing a bowling alley every day whenever you wanted, and they suddenly boomed and there were bowling alleys everywhere, I don't think this advice would still apply. 

I'd be interested in that article as well, if you have the title and author. I suspect he had some interesting things to say. 

*I'm actually not even sure which part of my comment you are referring to. The video game part? The part where I comment about current social trends? 

Quote:TealiciousTea
I get yous are all afraid across the Atlantic and yous should be. Really. Most of the rest of the world is scared as well. There are genuine social ills: stark social inequalities, exploitation and alienation, misery and anxiety rising, wars and hunger across the globe, homelessness, climate change and so on. Nukes.

You're also going to have to qualify which portion of my comment (or someone's comment) you're responding to here. The world has always been a violent and scary place. We're seeing it more now thanks to the internet, but the other effect is that we're assuming things are worse than they ever were. This is erroneous (for my country, at least). This does not, however, preclude examining current trends for anything troubling, because continued stability requires continued effort. 

I'm actually not sure why you've added this very patronizing portion to your comment. Was there a point in you telling people "yes, you're scared*, and you should be"? What was it? 

*Am I, though? I live in a country that is likely going to weather the next decade relatively well, actually. Big assumption on your part. American social, cultural, and political trends, however, should always be observed for those of us in the Anglo-sphere. They export culture at a prodigious rate.  

Quote:TealiciousTea
And where did this comparison between USA and the Roman Empire come from? They aren't all that similar. Language, politics, religions, economy, geography, views on gender, the other etc are all different.     

Looking at your response, it seems like you don't understand what that phrase refers to. If I say, "I'm crossing the Rubicon", I am not attempting to imply that I am Caesar (or even a military leader and politician), nor am I saying I am physically crossing a river with an army. I am saying I am making an irreversible decision with serious consequences. This is the only point of similarity when I use this phrase between myself and Caesar. We do not share a language, politics, religion, economy, geography, view on gender, or any other feature.  

Similarly, the phrase "fall of Rome" refers to a model of how empires or large civilizations lose their regional or global hegemony and diminish. Generally, you can look across history and cultures for points of similarity around the phenomenon you are studying. The reason Rome has been singled out in the Anglo-sphere is because of its cultural significance and because most people have an elementary understanding of the fall of Rome thanks to our education system and entertainment. It is not an intentional force-pairing of other aspects of the Roman Empire. It is an easy-to-understand figure of speech that is historically, culturally, and linguistically relevant to the audience. 

Quote:TealiciousTea
All civilisations die, it is the fate of all life. The USA nor the Roman Empire is unique in that aspect. Moreover, Rome is still around! Shocking. Somehow a city and more importantly the people who live there, continue on even after a particular government falls. Even after a decline, life continues! Civilisations continue, nothing has stopped Egypt or China and they have gone through many changes; rises and falls. 

I'm actually not sure why you've decided to lecture me (or whoever you are responding to--it doesn't seem all that clear) about this. This entire lecture seems predicated around the assumption that "the Fall of Rome" refers to catastrophic fallout where the civilization is simply wiped out. It doesn't. The Fall of Rome refers to the slow decay of institutions as corruption and in-fighting eat away at the system, during which the bureaucracy valiantly keeps the cogs turning as long as possible until bits of the empire fall away under different political umbrellas or organizations. In the meanwhile, you have bread and circuses to keep the plebs sedated. This is oversimplified, but the current fate of Rome is a part of the argument: changed, and no longer a mighty empire and leader of trade and culture--at least, not to the extent that it was. It's not a fear of annihilation. It's a fear of decay and diminishment, then utter, irreversible change. The other aspect is that the barbarians only got in because of the decline--the infighting and the futzing around, basically, left the door open for their enemies. Again, over-simplifying, but these are the general ideas that phrase refers to. 

Also, keep in mind, a diminishment usually means a hit to standard of living and quality of life. That's the thing people don't want to give up. You can spout platitudes about civilizations continuing all you want, but a single mom with three kids staring down the grocery aisle, knowing her paycheck hasn't changed but inflation has hit, doesn't care about that. 

You've written a great many paragraphs around a single statement, it seems, but you don't seem to have understood the phrase you've latched onto in the first place, so the entire conversation here is now very odd. What was your aim in lecturing me (or whoever it was aimed at) about civilizations rising and falling exactly? The point is obscure, though thanks for insulting my (or whoever it was aimed at's) intelligence by implying I (or they) don't know that Rome is still around. That was nice! /s

Quote:TealiciousTea
Perhaps feel anger at what causes the situation where one of the few joys people can experience is to read a free story online. Think long about it and with an open mind. Why do people want to detach from reality? 

I'm not sure who you're responding to here. Who's angry? I don't believe anyone in that thread has expressed anger. 

You've missed the point of wordsinaline's post. They're not saying that people should not read free stories. They were wondering out loud if this culture of giving people exactly what they want, all the time, and in high volume, is somehow harmful. I don't see why asking this question needs to be countered with the implication wordsinaline does not have an open mind. Asking the question already demonstrates an inquisitive and open mind--they are questioning the cultural conditions and effects of our entertainment. 

Since wordsinaline has already expressed a personal experience with gaming and escapism, I imagine they already know why people want to detach from reality (some of it). This is why the query was made. 

More generally, escapism has always existed. The question brought up is whether the current volume of escapism is good for the individual doing the escaping and/or society at large. You seem to be driving at the idea that life is hard, so people deserve their indulgences, but that is not really related to the point of the discussion. We are asking about the ramifications of the indulgence. You are making a point about the emotional or moral necessity or reason for the indulgence. 

I'll be frank. You don't seem to have actually understood the points wordsinaline or myself have made, and you are not engaging with what we've written, only some strange strawman. It's rather infuriating, especially since you've decided on adopting an incredibly patronizing tone rather than one of open and respectful discourse. 

(Wow, Rome is sTiLl ArOuNd?!1

...Yikes, man. Yikes.)

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#47

bokhi Wrote:
Crownfall Wrote: They used to say books rot your brains too. This is just juvenoia in action. You sound like you're in the middle of the satanic panic of the 80s lol next you'll start talking about how D&D leads to demons possessing you.

LOL. Thanks for demonstrating my point so quickly and obviously. I couldn't have asked for a better example. 

1. "They used to say books rot your brains too."

Who is this vague and undefined "they", and which historical time period are you referring to? There were multiple instances of books (or even writing--see Plato) coming into disrepute. This is a gross oversimplification, and none of the examples I know of were "books rot your brains." It was more like "writing everything down makes your memory worse", "reading makes women and the rabble uppity," or even "novels are a waste of time because they don't teach you anything important. Read non-fiction instead." 

The arguments were frequently, once more, nuanced and understandable for the time and place from whence they came. Many of the anxieties revolved around class issues (for example, if literacy becomes widespread, it's much harder to control the rabble), anxieties about the increased reach of dangerous or undesirable ideas (again, this would be for the elites, who are often the ones whose opinions are left in the historical record), or a concern that writing would become a crutch that led to the deterioration of memory or even a deterioration in the ability to apply knowledge. This is only a small sampling, but it would be impossible for me to discuss this point with you unless you specifically state which time period and which criticism you are referring to. 

With that said, let's assume your example is correct and I just missed the history lesson. Let's say there was a movement that said "books rot your brains," and this is wrong. Does that say anything about the truth value of "video games make you violent" (yet another oversimplification)? 

These are two different issues (intelligence vs. aggressive behaviour) with two different mediums (written text vs. engagement with moving visual representations on a screen). The only similarity is that adults (presumably) said this about kids, at some point. Adults say a lot of things about kids, up to and including "They never eat their damn vegetables", so I don't see what this single point of similarity makes those two very different things have connected or related truth values. Why are you linking the two? 

I also find it interesting that you did not choose "TV rots your brain" as your example, despite TV as a medium sharing more in common with video games as a medium than books. Is it because there is fair evidence that TV is, in fact, not the best medium for gray matter maintenance*? 

I guess that one wasn't juvenoia. 

*Actually literally, as it turns out. Okay, sort of. It's complicated. Also: genetic factors! Fun!

2. "This is just juvenoia in action."

It seems that you have decided here that my statement "As for video games making people violent being total baloney, I suggest you read more papers on this. It's not very clear cut and much more complicated than the average newspaper is willing to report" is an example of juvenoia. Alternatively, perhaps you are stating that "video games cause violence" (though phrasing does matter here) is juvenoia--it wasn't all that clear from your phrasing. Before we get to your actual accusation, let's briefly discuss juvenoia. 

I have been seeing this term being thrown around popular discourse of late whenever impacts of certain kinds of advancements are discussed. It looks like the original term came from a 2011 paper by David Finklehor titled "The internet, youth safety, and the problem of 'Juvenoia'." Oddly, the original paper no longer appears available, though Finklehor is still actively publishing (his latest paper is from 2020). Happily, there is a cached portion that shows up under a completely mundane Google search where he has given the definition: "An exaggerated fear about the influence of social change on children and youth."*

Well, this definition poses a problem. How do you qualify whether the fear is "exaggerated" or not? What is a reasonable amount of fear? Do children or youths have to be hospitalized or dead in large numbers (and what qualifies as a "large number"? What number would satisfy critics? What a quandary!) or alternatively, killing each other in large numbers (again, same problem)? What does "an exaggerated fear" look like? 

Well, in the case of questions like "do books rot your brain", "do video games cause violence", or "does TV rot your brain", the answer would come after the investigation is done. These are not questions where you can do simple, straight-forward research expecting direct and clear correlations. 

In other word, it is a post-hoc explanation. Juvenoia is a description of a trend after the data is in; if it turns out to not have been a big deal, then it is juvenoia. If it was a big deal, then it wasn't juvenoia. It's merely a descriptor, but for some reason, it gets used as an argument in and of itself to dismiss questions that people just don't like.

It's terribly sloppy thinking to assign it to every concern adults express about youths or children. My counterargument here is that the sloppy over-application is basic pattern recognition gone wrong; just because something looks like a bag of farts that you've encountered in the past, it doesn't mean it is. You have to open the bag and sniff! 

(And hopefully, no one dumped an open bottle of bleach and ammonia in there. Because yikes!)

*Unfortunately, if he has provided parameters around this, I have not been able to access it. I've limited my statement to what was available. This term is just lobbed at everything these days, so I have digressed a bit to express my annoyance. 

3. "You sound like you're in the middle of the satanic panic of the 80s lol next you'll start talking about how D&D leads to demons possessing you."

Please, quote the sections of my post that make me sound this way. Where am I hyperbolic? Actually, what even is my stance here? Do you know? Have you managed to even understand my point before immediately dismissing it? 

Though, as someone who did grow up playing DnD, I can certainly confirm: it does lead to demonic possession. That's right kids. ALL HAIL DEMOGORGON! Bwahwhahahah!

Quote:TealiciousTea

Flames wars fine by me. 

Yes, it seems like it. Since I am the last one quoted, I'll assume the bulk of your statements were in response to mine. I have responded accordingly. 

Quote:TealiciousTea
There is an article written in 1995 by a respected political scientist at Harvard who linked the decline of civic engagement in society, like turning out to vote, doing charity work, socialising in sports club etc with the rise of television. Now the fact that this is complete bullshit should be obvious to most, here is one counter-argument. The simple conclusion is how going to a bowling alley help the ills that plague American society.

What is the relationship between a single political scientist presumably opining incorrectly in some op-ed and a nuanced look at over three decades of research from both sides of the aisle, multiple meta-analyses, and an on-going scientific debate*? I'm not sure why you chose this example. I'm going to ask for clarification as to what you're trying to say here, because it doesn't seem related to anything I said (unless you've grossly misunderstood what I've said!)

I'm not sure about the point you're making with that counter-argument, either. It looks like you're saying that there's value in the simple advice of "Go patronize a local business, have fun, and socialize, you goober", which--well, that's nearly always good advice! But why start with this? It almost seems like you are drawing a line between this simple advice for simple pleasure and wordsinaline's question about over-indulgence, but it doesn't really track. If you were patronizing a bowling alley every day whenever you wanted, and they suddenly boomed and there were bowling alleys everywhere, I don't think this advice would still apply. 

I'd be interested in that article as well, if you have the title and author. I suspect he had some interesting things to say. 

*I'm actually not even sure which part of my comment you are referring to. The video game part? The part where I comment about current social trends? 

Quote:TealiciousTea
I get yous are all afraid across the Atlantic and yous should be. Really. Most of the rest of the world is scared as well. There are genuine social ills: stark social inequalities, exploitation and alienation, misery and anxiety rising, wars and hunger across the globe, homelessness, climate change and so on. Nukes.

You're also going to have to qualify which portion of my comment (or someone's comment) you're responding to here. The world has always been a violent and scary place. We're seeing it more now thanks to the internet, but the other effect is that we're assuming things are worse than they ever were. This is erroneous (for my country, at least). This does not, however, preclude examining current trends for anything troubling, because continued stability requires continued effort. 

I'm actually not sure why you've added this very patronizing portion to your comment. Was there a point in you telling people "yes, you're scared*, and you should be"? What was it? 

*Am I, though? I live in a country that is likely going to weather the next decade relatively well, actually. Big assumption on your part. American social, cultural, and political trends, however, should always be observed for those of us in the Anglo-sphere. They export culture at a prodigious rate.  

Quote:TealiciousTea
And where did this comparison between USA and the Roman Empire come from? They aren't all that similar. Language, politics, religions, economy, geography, views on gender, the other etc are all different.     

Looking at your response, it seems like you don't understand what that phrase refers to. If I say, "I'm crossing the Rubicon", I am not attempting to imply that I am Caesar (or even a military leader and politician), nor am I saying I am physically crossing a river with an army. I am saying I am making an irreversible decision with serious consequences. This is the only point of similarity when I use this phrase between myself and Caesar. We do not share a language, politics, religion, economy, geography, view on gender, or any other feature.  

Similarly, the phrase "fall of Rome" refers to a model of how empires or large civilizations lose their regional or global hegemony and diminish. Generally, you can look across history and cultures for points of similarity around the phenomenon you are studying. The reason Rome has been singled out in the Anglo-sphere is because of its cultural significance and because most people have an elementary understanding of the fall of Rome thanks to our education system and entertainment. It is not an intentional force-pairing of other aspects of the Roman Empire. It is an easy-to-understand figure of speech that is historically, culturally, and linguistically relevant to the audience. 

Quote:TealiciousTea
All civilisations die, it is the fate of all life. The USA nor the Roman Empire is unique in that aspect. Moreover, Rome is still around! Shocking. Somehow a city and more importantly the people who live there, continue on even after a particular government falls. Even after a decline, life continues! Civilisations continue, nothing has stopped Egypt or China and they have gone through many changes; rises and falls. 

I'm actually not sure why you've decided to lecture me (or whoever you are responding to--it doesn't seem all that clear) about this. This entire lecture seems predicated around the assumption that "the Fall of Rome" refers to catastrophic fallout where the civilization is simply wiped out. It doesn't. The Fall of Rome refers to the slow decay of institutions as corruption and in-fighting eat away at the system, during which the bureaucracy valiantly keeps the cogs turning as long as possible until bits of the empire fall away under different political umbrellas or organizations. In the meanwhile, you have bread and circuses to keep the plebs sedated. This is oversimplified, but the current fate of Rome is a part of the argument: changed, and no longer a mighty empire and leader of trade and culture--at least, not to the extent that it was. It's not a fear of annihilation. It's a fear of decay and diminishment, then utter, irreversible change. The other aspect is that the barbarians only got in because of the decline--the infighting and the futzing around, basically, left the door open for their enemies. Again, over-simplifying, but these are the general ideas that phrase refers to. 

Also, keep in mind, a diminishment usually means a hit to standard of living and quality of life. That's the thing people don't want to give up. You can spout platitudes about civilizations continuing all you want, but a single mom with three kids staring down the grocery aisle, knowing her paycheck hasn't changed but inflation has hit, doesn't care about that. 

You've written a great many paragraphs around a single statement, it seems, but you don't seem to have understood the phrase you've latched onto in the first place, so the entire conversation here is now very odd. What was your aim in lecturing me (or whoever it was aimed at) about civilizations rising and falling exactly? The point is obscure, though thanks for insulting my (or whoever it was aimed at's) intelligence by implying I (or they) don't know that Rome is still around. That was nice! /s

Quote:TealiciousTea
Perhaps feel anger at what causes the situation where one of the few joys people can experience is to read a free story online. Think long about it and with an open mind. Why do people want to detach from reality? 

I'm not sure who you're responding to here. Who's angry? I don't believe anyone in that thread has expressed anger. 

You've missed the point of wordsinaline's post. They're not saying that people should not read free stories. They were wondering out loud if this culture of giving people exactly what they want, all the time, and in high volume, is somehow harmful. I don't see why asking this question needs to be countered with the implication wordsinaline does not have an open mind. Asking the question already demonstrates an inquisitive and open mind--they are questioning the cultural conditions and effects of our entertainment. 

Since wordsinaline has already expressed a personal experience with gaming and escapism, I imagine they already know why people want to detach from reality (some of it). This is why the query was made. 

More generally, escapism has always existed. The question brought up is whether the current volume of escapism is good for the individual doing the escaping and/or society at large. You seem to be driving at the idea that life is hard, so people deserve their indulgences, but that is not really related to the point of the discussion. We are asking about the ramifications of the indulgence. You are making a point about the emotional or moral necessity or reason for the indulgence. 

I'll be frank. You don't seem to have actually understood the points wordsinaline or myself have made, and you are not engaging with what we've written, only some strange strawman. It's rather infuriating, especially since you've decided on adopting an incredibly patronizing tone rather than one of open and respectful discourse. 

(Wow, Rome is sTiLl ArOuNd?!1

...Yikes, man. Yikes.)
Admitting fault


I will admit to the error of the patronising tone. I should not have assumed either anger or fear. That is fair enough.

The Putnam example

Robert D. Putnam has produced many fine works, that article I referred to is not one of them. I thought I had put in a link, my bad. I disagree with them on many points, but I think you would find his work interesting. I can't remember because it has been years but he did some work for the UN, I think and produced some amazing data. Here is a link to their google scholar page - https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=Me4t2sQAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra

You are correct, the Putnam example doesn't refer to anything anyone said in the thread. I brought in Putnam as an example of someone trying to create a direct and simple relationship of causation to explain a social problem.

In bringing up Putnam's one flawed article, my only point was that social relationships are complicated. I didn't want to be patronising and say it, so I gave an example.

The link to Putnam's article is - https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=Me4t2sQAAAAJ&citation_for_view=Me4t2sQAAAAJ:2osOgNQ5qMEC

The link to a published counter-argument to Putnam is http://www.etchouse.com/mcma503/readings.old/norris-1996.pdf

"What is the relationship… a nuanced look at over three decades of research from both sides of the aisle, multiple meta-analyses, and an ongoing scientific debate"

I wasn't trying to establish any relationship. Are you referring to your comment, "There is definitely research in this area, though not necessarily about fiction. But there is a trend now of looking at what this culture of "give people what they want, all the time, and lots of it" is doing to everyone."

You didn't cite anything, nor am I going to ask you to. By the sheer fact, you admit you were not referring to research on fiction and our society that encourages consumption (by consumption, for this reply only, I mean - give people what they want, all the time, and lots of it). I didn't think it was relevant. Everything you were saying, like the rest of us, was opinion. Different from mine, well said and worth responding to.

I agree with you on the video game part, I would go a step further and say research on aggression in a "lab" setting, that is controlling the condition to produce accurate scientific data is not well suited to social research. People play video games in a variety of different settings and relationships. Trying to prove the video game is the thing making them 'violent' just doesn't generalise very well to our complex social world. 

To summarise, I have a different view on what are the current major social issues. The Putnam example was my first step. I disagree that a connection can be made between LitRPG and genuine social issues. Like how Putnam made a connection between tv and social decline. At least not in the same connection as the one between heroin and social issues.

Social issues

"But there is a trend now of looking at what this culture of "give people what they want, all the time, and lots of it" is doing to everyone. I'd say there's more than a whiff of the fall of Rome in the air, but I suck at predictions so I'll leave it there"

I will attempt to clarify my issue. It is just my opinion, I don't regard anything I say as scientifically valid. I offer no proof. My comments are also not structured in the form of a logical argument. I am attempting a conversation, but I admit it is a heated one. 

Followingly, I was not trying to get to the truth. I was expressing anger at the focus on cultural problems like over-indulgence in media. Without actually going full flame war and being abusive. I think I failed at that point as you say with my patronising tone.

I think social issues like poverty and the like... I listed them before are of far greater importance than criticising or worrying about people watching too much tv, video games or books etc. I believe if I understand you, that you would agree.

However, where I have quoted you above, it gives off the impression that you agree with wordsinaline that reading LitRPG is like heroin.

"… it's so far disconnected from reality that it's jarring. Completely untethered from the physical world.

Maybe it's fine? Maybe it's harmless? But like, at the same time how is that different from heroin?"

That line on heroin brings to mind, imo, connecting reading LitRPG to the social problems of drugs. I come from Scotland and drugs are a major problem here. It angers me that someone who makes a comparison between heroin and LitRPG. As if the (unproven) harms of reading a LitRPG may cause is in any way similar to the harm heroin has on people. Not just to the people who take the drugs but also to their friends, family, and the people whose job is to take care of drug users, etc. 

I would say all fiction is disconnected from our physical world to some extent. And even if LitRPGs are completely untethered, they are not the first nor the last fiction that will do this. Is this a social problem? I think not. 

For me, I've read and listened to fairy tales. I've thought about who would say them and who would listen to them. They were completely disconnected from physical reality. But, I don't think they are like heroin. I also don’t think that they are an indicator that a society is in decline. They exist in a society, it may be in decline but that is the extent of the relationship.

I hope this answers your question on what my comment on genuine social ills was about. I don't think overindulgence in media like reading a LitRPG is an important question. The same as asking if video games cause violence. It isn't that important, imo. I think the social ills I reference are important and worth asking about.

It is perhaps clearer if I say that I am not disputing thinking about overindulgence and media, etc. I am disagreeing that if you want to talk about current social trends or social issues... that you bring up overindulgence and media or video games and violence. How are they a social problem? 

If you want to talk about overindulgence, I would also add that the overindulgence itself is not the problem. The social relations that produce the mass societal overindulgence is the problem. Relations build on exploitation. 
 
Fall of Rome or Longue durée

"Fall of Rome refers to the slow decay of institutions as corruption and in-fighting eat away at the system, during which the bureaucracy valiantly keeps the cogs turning as long as possible until bits of the empire fall away under different political umbrellas or organizations. In the meanwhile, you have bread and circuses to keep the plebs sedated."

I do not claim what the Fall of Rome is or is not. I disagree that Roman Empire and the USA are similar.

The current fate of Rome is part of my argument. It is why I say 'Rome is still around' it was not intended to be patronising. By saying Rome continues I argue that the civilisation has not died, in the meaningful sense. A government fell, and the Roman culture and its people did not. They changed. 

I am taking a Longue durée approach. I am stressing the slow and often imperceptible effects of space, climate and technology on the actions of human beings in the past. 

Thus I don't deny decay or diminishment in the USA. But, neither do I agree overindulgence that is 'giving bread and circuses to keep plebs sedated.' is similar to the societal mass consumption that is occurring in the Global North and perhaps the entire globe.

As I said, Rome has a different economy from that of the USA.

I also do not care that the Roman Empire fell. It isn't important when taking a Longue durée approach.

To go further into our differences I do not see institutions as valiantly keeping the cogs turning. I see an iron cage. I do not despair at the fall of the hegemonic power that was the Roman Empire. I am glad people were freed from domination. However, so brief it was. But before, the claim is thrust on me, I am not siding with those who sacked Rome either.

Further, the Roman Empire was horrible to most people, imo. But it is horrible that living standards drop, however trying to prove that because the Roman Empire fell standards of living dropped is an immense task. It is far too broad.

The broader question is, is government important for the quality of life of people? That is near impossible to answer. Though most, I think, would say yes. I believe that life is easier under the state. But is the quality of life better? I leave such a question open.

On point of Rome, we are talking past one another. However, it is for the right reasons for we are making very different points. You, I think are trying to say the Fall of Rome is important and we can learn from it to understand our current social trends.

I am trying to say it is not that important. Historically speaking, Roman civilisation has given us many of our current social problems as we inherited their culture. Its "fall" is not important. We can learn little from its fall that matters. What is important is that life continued and the social problems they had continued. The social problems that now cause us suffering. Suffering we should address.

Indulgence or joy

"The question brought up is whether the current volume of escapism is good for the individual doing the escaping and/or society at large."

I dispute the value of the question. That is my meagre contribution to the discussion. See my above on my point about genuine social ills. 

"You seem to be driving at the idea that life is hard, so people deserve their indulgences, but that is not really related to the point of the discussion."

I do drive at the fact life is hard. I briefly note that reading a free story is one of the few ways people experience joy. I don't think that means that "You seem to be driving at the idea that life is hard, so people deserve their indulgences"

For one, I put no criteria for deserving. You do not earn pleasure, rest, enjoyment etc. People do things that give them pleasure. They do what they enjoy. They rest when tired. 

If you do not understand how emphasising life is hard is relevant to a discussion on escapism then I do not know what more I can say on that point.

"We are asking about the ramifications of the indulgence. You are making a point about the emotional or moral necessity or reason for the indulgence."

I don't think someone enjoying web fiction is indulging? At least not to the extent of overindulgence (which is what I think you mean when talking about the ramifications?).

I make the point, if anything (I am asking a question at the time), that there is an emotional and moral necessity (or reason) to experience joy. 

I do not think that joy is an indulgence. I don’t think people who feel joy or want to feel joy by reading a story, hurt the societies they are in. Thus it is relevant to the discussion. From my point of view, you are criticising one of the few reasons to live. Or on a smaller scale, you are criticising one of the small moments of happiness some people get to have in their long working days. 

You criticise by making a connection between reading web fiction and the loss of the USA as a hegemonic power. Wordsinaline was criticising by linking heroin and web fiction. I disagree with both. I passionately spoke out because you said that they "You're more right than you seem to think you are". I do not believe they are, in any way, shape or form right. 

I am someone who has been accused of doom and gloom in a different thread. Here, I am defending happiness and joy. The irony.

"Maybe it's not our place to ask, but by giving audiences exactly what they want, are we doing harm?" said by
wordsinaline

They think the appetites of the people are the problem.

I think the brutal domination of a tiny, vastly more powerful minority is a bigger problem. I think the domination over the vast swath of people comply because most want to (I.e. hegemony). But of the rest of us, we have to. That is a far more important problem. I think the appetites of the so-called elites are far more terrible. I think their ability to easily control the tastes and dreams of the majority is a social trend. One that is not current but ancient. 


Now for all the things I don't say or even imply

"American social, cultural, and political trends, however, should always be observed for those of us in the Anglo-sphere. They export culture at a prodigious rate."

I never deny this.

I argue differently however on what should be studied. You can read articles on people playing too many video games, or reading too many books. I will stick to important questions like wealth gaps, exploitation, alienation, inequalities and so on. I think researching the new strategies that preserve masculinity by linking it to progressive politics is a far more interesting cultural export by the USA than questioning if LitRPGs are like heroin. 

I don't use the phrase 'Fall of Rome', nor do I deny that the USA is losing its hegemonic status. I don't care, I don't talk about diminishment. I talk about the continuation of life. It doesn't matter to me what group becomes hegemonic the social ills I stated also continue. Inherited from the previous hegemony. That is the interesting thing about creating a hegemony that requires powerful social groups to ally themselves. All the powerful social groups have a stake in continuing our current social ills.

Order and stability demand it. Life continues whether humans are ordered or they return to anarchy.   

You claim I lack understanding of your discussion, and I do not claim a full understanding of your points. Only a slight grasp. But you are correct in that I didn't engage with what you had written. At least in the sense that you me to discuss the fact that the USA may be experiencing a Fall of Rome.

I instead argue that you should focus on genuine social ills.

I never mention anything inflation, a single mom or grocery sections. I state that civilisations live and expand on that statement by linking it to the fact that is because people live on. I imply but never state also that even if civilisation does die, people would continue in anarchy. 

My central statements are

"There are genuine social ills…" then "All civilisations die, it is the fate of all life." and lastly "Think long about it and with an open mind."

But, why would I deny that people want a high quality of life? I go into no detail about diminishment and its consequences. My only statement on it is that "Even after a decline, life continues!"

Further, when I say open your mind, I am suggesting to think about human existence including every single being who has lived, is living and may live. The entirety of human history. I am not saying ask questions, that is a prompt for critical thinking. Wordsaline already is. An open mind is to be curious about everything and everyone and treat them like a child who is playing.

For a child playing there is no right answer or correct way of playing. They are, however, fully engaged with what they are doing with what they imagine is happening. They are disconnected from the physical world, but completely in it and thinking actively. They are experiencing reality in a what that meets their needs. 

Final remarks

If a person makes a hot take, why are you surprised that someone disagrees passionately?

Further, if you want open and respectful discourse don't mock or insult right after. 

"It's rather infuriating, especially since you've decided on adopting an incredibly patronizing tone rather than one of open and respectful discourse.

(Wow, Rome is sTiLl ArOuNd?!1

...Yikes, man. Yikes.)"

Once again I admit patronising in assuming fear, anger and the like. But, "Rome is still around" is important to what I was saying. It seems you failed to understand that.

That's fine.

Different points of view getting misunderstood is a part of talking. Especially in heated discussions.

But, you made a silly and immature remark.

It seems I am not the only one who ought to reflect on their actions?

Re: Literary Fiction? I guess it's a "no" :)

#52

TealiciousTea Wrote:
VladThatGuy Wrote: I couldn't believe this one bounced back, and I looked.... 

A little more than I ever would have expected, but at least you can see it's something of passion!
Yeah, sorry about diverting the topic away from your question and the purpose of your thread. 


peodistress

I'm glad you found readers that appreciated your fiction :)
No sweat. These pages aren't mine, even if it was my goofy post that started the discussions, and EVERYTHING is valid - just not always unanimous.


But thanks. I got a sniff of a following some good stories in their own little corners here. I see RR as exercises for me, while it bears greater fruit for others and for their reasons. All cool.