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Post By
Late Great Donald Blake

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,358
In Reply To

Member Since: Sun Jan 02, 2011
Posts: 3,786
Subj: Here's a basic explanation for what's expected to be included in an analytical criticism.
Posted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 at 04:02:01 pm EST (Viewed 77 times)
Reply Subj: Define the boundaries of your argument for once...
Posted: Thu Jan 06, 2022 at 07:11:43 am EST (Viewed 89 times)

Previous Post

    Because it's on one hand not that I think it's all ridiculous or unreasonable. It's just that this is either a big misunderstanding between us or you're being obstinate to try avoid where the rubber ultimately meets the road: my point wasn't that you didn't go into enough detail on this board about your complaints or even that your comments about Aaron or Cates were uniformly bad. What I asked was if you at any point had an actual argument

Very clearly I did.

    and if so what was to you the most compelling argument you had that Donny Cates was a bad writer, that was distinct from mere preference.

An 'objective standard' which you cannot in your wildest dreams even begin to define, and which you will continue to dodge (seemingly forever).

    An argument with evidence that would demonstrate Cates is a bad writer.

Bad dialog, bad character interactions, bad false choice dilemmas, bad conclusions... all of which I've demonstrated. Oh wait! Even if I clear provide evidence of these things, it's just my opinion. So what you want to do is trap me in a maze of circular logic. Got it.

    Now obviously you and I are probably never going to agree about this, but what's confusing here, is that many of these links AREN'T EVEN YOU SAYING HE'S A BAD WRITER. This was what I was getting at before when I said I'd never seen you present a decent argument that establish convincingly that he's a bad writer, and I asked you if you could present that since you said you had written them in the past.

Note to audience: Has LGDB provided a standard for 'bad writer'? Who is the judge and jury that I'm 'convincingly' trying to appeal? Notice how LGDB never establishes the rules or boundaries of his argument? That would require cementing some goal posts, wouldn't it?

    Now... how on earth can some of these articles be presented as a kind of evidence for Cates being a bad writer, when never mind proof, they don't even make that claim in many cases?


    This is what I mean when I said this was just a bunch of links to your having talked about the subject in the past; it's not even clear if you're trying to actually make a strong and compelling case.

I didn't anticipate 'debating' your in the future. Sorry for my lack of foresight in not addressing your non-criteria for an argument.

    These are mostly just musings.

Yeah, that's kind of how comic reviews go. People think about the story and express that thought.

    Again, I'm saying that most of your criticism here are just preferences, and by no means principles that we could universalize as how to understand and identify good writing. You keep talking about moving the post (which seems like a dodge to me); move it, how be we try recognizing it to begin with? We can dig into any of these that you like, but I'll give you my short synopsis for each one. Keep in mind I'm trying to demonstrate this to the board. It's not important whether you're personally receptive or whether you humor it or not.

With all due respect, you used a lot of words to say basically nothing.

    LGDB: This is just you saying that you'll give Donny Cates a chance. And who knows if that's the case. Everyone says that.

Translation: I'm a liar, my intent wasn't sincere, I was always in it to trash Cates and never give him a fair chance.

    I mean, no one would cop to "well I didn't give this a chance at all. I came in with prejudice and found the conclusion I was looking for." More importantly what does it have to do with our discussion?

It shows that I come from a place of good-faith.

    It has nothing to do with establishing Cates as any kind of writer, good, bad, or otherwise.

I only ever said I was stating my opinion, and there is no objective standard as to what as qualifies good writing; or a good writer.


    LGDB: This is a list of things you didn't like about the comic. You mention things happening "for no reason" or there being "false choices." You don't try to make a compelling argument or evidence for saying these were false choice or that things happen for no reason. You just proclaim it as a mere observation or to be taken as given. You barely clarify you meaning in most cases. So... obviously this wouldn't count.

Well, prove me wrong. Could Thor have dealt with Bill without shattering his hammer? If so, how is this not a false choice?


    LGDB: Here you mention that Cates big weakness is character interaction. You do no work to substantiate it. It's just a claim here. You mention things happening unnecessarily which I would argue is a meaningless standard. Whether a thing is necessary in a story doesn't equate to whether it being in a story is bad. Many choices in good works can't be explain as NEEDING to be in the story. Moreover, you don't even explain or justify things being unnecessary. You just label them that way.

- Sif intervenes, calls Thor an ass for wanting to beat Bill while he's unarmed and defenceless; after previously (unnecessarily) shattering Stormbreaker.
- Thor is indignant, and attempts to strike both Bill an Sif with Mjolnir (which is barely under his control, mind you).
- The next FOUR PAGES are detailing where Sif transported Mjolnir, how Thor is upset, and Sif lecturing Thor on leadership.

Does this seem like good character interaction to you? Or for that matter, a good use of limited space? You're right, I didn't go into detail. I let those who read my review, and the issue, determine the validity that criticism for themselves. However, it's clear what I was talking about without scans or quotes.

    You also say the issue feels empty and that there's not enough to like and things don't mean much.

It took four pages of almost zero dialog to get back to the main story, which itself was Thor unnecessarily attacking and provoking Galactus while a universe-destroying threat was looming. It wasn't just bad writing, it was stupid. I should have stressed that in my initial review, but I was being kind.

    Again, these sentiments aren't wrong or inappropriate. And perhaps they could even be well established, but you don't do any of that work here. Regardless these bullet points they in no way constitute an actual argument. It's not even a bad argument. It just isn't one.

Well, there wasn't much story to even critique in much of these reviews. It was just empty splash pages and little dialogue that went nowhere.


    LGDB: This is for the most part a positive review. So... what's it doing here? What does this have to do with an argument for Cates being a bad writer?

It again shows me good-faith effort to enjoy Cates work. I mean, you're entire premise is that I'm a bitter and out-of-touch old person who can't handle newer comics.


    LGDB: This is even lighter than most of the others. Here you're just describing Cate's depiction of the events with Galactus in the least generous light. And even if it was the case that these story points were bad according to some coherent notion of what is or isn't good writing... you never explain WHY that's the case. And you make this analogy about it being nonnutritious which I'd argue is totally vague and is really just a fancy way of describing it as bad or poorly written.

I use analogy to convey the sense of emptiness of Cates' writing, which I think most people agree with even if they actually like his rice-cake stories and displays of power.


    LGDB: And this is another positive review, which is nice to hear but basically irrelevant to our point of contention.

Perhaps you forget your own point of contention.

    LGDB: yes this is you mistaking the elements of a story as the definition of "plot" lol

You're the one with definition illiteracy.


    here's what I want to know, why are you presenting this as a substantive critique? How are you conflating here a laundry list of things you didn't like and are claiming are bad writing with a robust argument for something being bad writing?

What definition and objective standard of criticism have I ever been trying to meet? Have you finally found one that you're comfortable with providing?

    I'm not sure if there was a misunderstanding or if this was just a long protracted dodge?

Is that why it took you several days to weakly respond? Or did it take you that long to come up with an excuse as to why my criticism isn't valid and thus cannot be addressed (except in very broad, dismissive strokes)?

    Here's a straight line to set you up to say something mean to me... what am I missing? lol

I'm not sure what you wanted me to provide in the first place, since you said that my criticism had no justification, no foundation, and didn't meet the 'objective standard' (thus apparently requiring me to emphasis and asterisk it as 'my opinion'). I also showed that I was fair from start to finish, thus the predicate for your even challenging me (that I'm a grumpy old person who hates everything new) is a fundamental face-plant on your behalf.

Don't time to respond to all this because I working on the reply to your political post (WHICH EVERYONE CAN READ IN THE COMMUNITY BOARD). But because this is vital to our disagreement and it keeps getting drowned out by other bickering I think it deserves some exclusive attention. Especially when you're suggesting I'm being obscurant about what standards I'm referring to. I don't' think that's an in good faith criticism, but here's some explanation in attempt to remove all reasonable doubt.

Also this isn't some arbitrary or esoteric preference I have. What I'm saying you're not observing (most of the time) some pretty well established formal and informal standards for logical argument.

Some basic standards for an actual analytic argument would be that it has a valid logical structure, the most common being the one in deductive logic i.e. that the premises warrant the conclusions, i.e. that if the premises are true the conclusion cannot be false.  But in order for the conclusion to be sound, the premise must themselves be true.  So true premises are another basic standard.   Obviously this is a generally difficult aspect because in many cases it's difficult to establish the truth of your premises.  Your premises can be semantically incoherent or have no basis in reality.  But the point is if you don't actually structure the thing in some logical way, it's not an argument in the first place.

So if you conclusion is the Donny Cates is a bad writer then, typically for that kind of argument, your premises are going to be the criteria by which the thing is judged good or bad.  So they might be something like because he is a bad dialogue writer, he has inconsistent characterization, and he has no discernable plot structure.  So that's a finely structured critical argument.  And I think though you sort of distribute this stuff all over the place, and don't formalize it what you're saying could fall roughly in to this kind of schema.


To make a sound argument here, to making a compelling criticism that actually is what it proports the be about (i.e. the comic and not your own preferences) you actually have to establish (1) the criteria you've chosen are necessary to good writing such that violating them or not meeting them makes for bad writing and (2) that the person you're criticizing is actually guilty of not necessarily meeting those standards because the criteria itself is perhaps too vague or itself so up to interpretation anybody or anything would qualify on you whim.

And establishing your criteria as appropriate premises (or at times even clear enough that they're completely amorphous) or demonstrating how your examples have to fit into those premises, is what I'm saying is what you're not doing that would make it a rigorous and rational criticism... as opposed to a baroque and attitudinal list of complaints, grievances, and accusations.  Rather than robustly establishing the criteria--or at least offering them propositionally, by saying IF you think  writing should be consistent with earlier continuity THEN Cates is a bad writer--or giving some explanation for why the examples you list qualify as not conforming to your criteria, you just kind of point at things, declare them this or that, and call that evidence.

Let me know if you or anyone has any questions about this.  We can dispute whether or not this is a reasonable demand for a piece of criticism or how you are or not in keeping with it, but you are getting a lot of mileage out of the idea that what I'm referring to as some kind of objective standard is completely up in the air or vague. Similarly, I think you're suggesting that because all arguments have portions or that are grounded in subjectivity, then the all arguments are equally robust, well evidenced. well argued, or that they're all equally just preferential.  And I think that's another specious claim that won't cash out to making much sense.  I'm going to continue to demonstrate that by further refining or explaining it when necessary.  But this is a good place to focus on this issue.  All the other stuff we have plenty of lines of argument where they're already being talked about, and let's face it a lot of your replies here are bickery and biting reflecting that you're trying NOT to engage with what's being discussed there.   So here we can just focus on the claim you've made about my standards for criticism being basically arbitrary or mysterious.  So what about this doesn't make sense to you or doesn't work?

---the late great Donald Blake

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