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Thread: What happened to civility?

  1. #1
    Registered User Jassy Melson's Avatar
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    What happened to civility?

    It amazes me when someone will post his or her opinion on here about certain subjects, and they will be greeted by sarcasm and snideness.

    Just one example: I happened to state that I had read Finnegans Wake twice, and almost immediately I was called a liar.

    I don't understand what motivates someone to be sarcastic and snide; to pick and choose a statement made by a poster and ridicule it. It's almost as if these "vultures" have nothing better to do than to be a-holes. It's almost as if they're waiting for something they can swoop down on and tear apart. I feel pity for them.
    Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist.

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  2. #2
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Snideness and sarcasm have their places in discussion, but no one had any business calling you a liar. You should have reported the post. There is discussion, but personal attack is a different matter.

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    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    I agree Jassy. There is no evidence to suggest that you haven't read the book twice.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

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    Registered User miyako73's Avatar
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    I'm with you on this, Jassy. One should also have a proof if he accuses someone of lying. In this case, it is impossible to prove that you did not read the book twice.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    It amazes me when someone will post his or her opinion on here about certain subjects, and they will be greeted by sarcasm and snideness.

    Just one example: I happened to state that I had read Finnegans Wake twice, and almost immediately I was called a liar.


    Well you have to understand that the individual in question is a clear example of the idea that art is not for everybody, rather art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. Of course there are individuals here who have read as much or more than he and have a far greater grasp of literature... and yet would agree with you concerning Finnegan's Wake.

    Liking or disliking Finnegan's Wake... or any work of literature... is not measure of intelligence or superiority.

    With regard to your post on Joyce, I would question your initial assertion that a "masterpiece" needs to be accessible to a "majority" of readers. A great many works of brilliant literature are quite challenging: Blake's epics, Paradise Lost, Donne's poems, etc... I don't think that popularity (certainly not initially) is a measure of artistic merit... but I do think that there may be some validity to criticism of inaccessibility after the passage of a good many decades... even by very well-read individuals. Harold Bloom was a sworn champion of Joyce, but admitted that Finnegan's Wake quite likely will become one of those "classics" that almost nobody reads. I agree that a work of literature that can only be understood... even by the most well-read... with the help of critical commentaries and guides... may not be a work that survives over the long haul. This is no judgment upon the artistic merit of the work. We all must decide which works of art are likely to give us the greatest degree of pleasure... and when the challenges presented by a given work outweigh the amount of pleasure we are likely to gain in continuing to put forth such effort.

    LitNet member JBI has spent the last couple of years in concentrated study of the Chinese language, history, and literature. Hie efforts in reading ancient arcane and esoteric Chinese texts likely makes reading Finnegan's Wake seem like a day in the park. As arrogant and egotistical as JBI can be (surely a peer to myself) I have yet to come across him suggesting that those who are unwilling to put forth such labors are lazy or inferior. If someone were to make a dismissive or ignorant comment concerning one of his favorite Chinese texts, no doubt he would jump in and correct them... but I've not seen him use his knowledge as some sort of "bragging rights". I think most of us recognize that no one is a master of everything. I've known doctors and lawyers... surely quite educated individuals... who knew little or nothing of art or literature. To admit to disliking Joyce shouldn't be imagined as some proof of inherent ignorance.

    Personally, I have mixed feelings about Joyce myself. The are passages and moments in both Ulysses and the Wake that I find absolutely brilliant... where language rises to a level rivaled only by a few wordsmiths such as Shakespeare... and there are long stretches that leave me absolutely exasperated. Overall... he has never been able to engage me to the degree that T.S. Eliot, Proust, Faulkner, Kafka, Borges or any number of other Modernists have... but I wouldn't think to suggest that he is overrated.

    For some, however, to even suggest that you dislike a revered master is akin to a personal attack.
    Last edited by stlukesguild; 11-20-2012 at 08:25 PM.
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    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    I have experienced that kind of BS on here too. The sarcasm usually comes from the SAME group of people, but there are a few who just go one step too far. For the most part, however, the majority of posters are pretty balanced in their responses.

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    But sometimes it's fun to be a bit of a *****.
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    From time to time... but you shouldn't make a career of it... unless you're Oscar Wilde or Ambrose Bierce.
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    Litterateur Anton Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jassy Melson View Post
    I happened to state that I had read Finnegans Wake twice, and almost immediately I was called a liar.
    I feel justified in questioning your assertion that you read Finnegans Wake twice, because you called it "incomprehensible." Who would read a book they considered unreadable nonsense not only once but twice?

    Considering the amount of fairly imaginative claims that you've made here, I gathered that this was another example of your unique speculative fiction writing.

    Carry on.

    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    [COLOR="Straw Man Red"]
    Well you have to understand that the individual in question is a clear example of the idea that art is not for everybody, rather art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. Of course there are individuals here who have read as much or more than he and have a far greater grasp of literature... and yet would agree with you concerning Finnegan's Wake.

    Liking or disliking Finnegan's Wake... or any work of literature... is not measure of intelligence or superiority.
    What an imagination you have. I never made any of the above claims, ever, and merely expressed skepticism that the OP had in fact read a book twice that he himself declared unreadable.

    No need for hysteria.
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    Overlord of Cupcak3s 1n50mn14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anton Hermes View Post
    I feel justified in questioning your assertion that you read Finnegans Wake twice, because you called it "incomprehensible." Who would read a book they considered unreadable nonsense not only once but twice?

    Carry on.
    I would. I do not understand the Comedia. Ready it a few times. I do not understan the Sistine Chappel. I admire it a lot of times. I do not understand all David Lynch movies. Watched more than once. Not sure how many time I have listen to beethoveen before i even understood the concept of polyphonia. If I do.

    I would not be far to imagine the vast majority of people appreciate artworks that they do not understand well.

  12. #12
    Registered User miyako73's Avatar
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    good one, JC.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

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  13. #13
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Anton Hermes- Who would read a book they considered unreadable nonsense not only once but twice? Carry on.

    JCamilo- I would. I do not understand the Comedia. Ready it a few times. I do not understan the Sistine Chappel. I admire it a lot of times. I do not understand all David Lynch movies. Watched more than once. Not sure how many time I have listen to beethoveen before i even understood the concept of polyphonia. If I do.

    I would not be far to imagine the vast majority of people appreciate artworks that they do not understand well.


    Certainly there is a great deal of truth in that. I have read the Comedia at least a dozen times... and yet each time I read it again, I discover something new. Clearly I have yet to wholly understand the work. I have looked at the the frescoes of the Sistine hundreds of times... and yet again there is something there that I did not see or grasp before. The Wasteland was largely incomprehensible the first several times I read it... yet something kept calling me back. This is perhaps the crux of the matter... the central goal of reading or music or art isn't to "get it"... to arrive at some epiphany at which point the "meaning" all becomes clear. The goal is the pleasure of the experience itself... and if the experience isn't pleasurable...? Well perhaps some of us are more masochistic than others.
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  14. #14
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miyako73 View Post
    I'm with you on this, Jassy. One should also have a proof if he accuses someone of lying. In this case, it is impossible to prove that you did not read the book twice.
    Even if there was no proof no on either claims it is not our place to make sniddy remarks. It is inappropriate and does not help with the discussion.
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    Registered User manuscript's Avatar
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    i am always amused when some person, just about anyone, even a close friend, offers statements about the inner workings of my character. recently someone volunteered to inform me that i make my own life choices on the basis of pure rationality rather than considerations of feeling. what a laugh! what do they know about it anyway?

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