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Post By
Late Great Donald Blake
Moderator

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

Member Since: Fri Jul 14, 2017
Subj: Yeah, but I think your version of the analogy is also a bit shaky.
Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2022 at 07:21:55 pm EST (Viewed 72 times)
Reply Subj: Let's look at the house analogy a little more closely
Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2022 at 04:25:02 pm EST (Viewed 73 times)

Previous Post

LGDB: yeah, well living in a house for an entire lifetime doesn't make you qualified to build one or even evaluate properly its construction, but of course you're perfectly qualified to say if you like it or not.


UPPER KRUST: Telling a story is not as complex as building a house.

Personally I don't believe modern (American) comic storytellers have the same understanding of the medium as those from 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago

BRAUGI: I think writing, especially in some genres and some formats can be more complex than building a house, but that is beside the point.

Here's a scenario....if I live in a house for 40 years, and every time it rains, the basement floods. If I plug a non excessive amount of electrical items in and it blows the breaker every time. If the airflow is uneven, so half the house ends up too cold/hot and the other not cold/hot enough. If light switches are poorly placed, or kitchen layout is difficult, or there isn't enough room in the tiny guest bathroom, or the foundation is cracking/damaged....

There are a ton of legit criticisms that can easily point to 'you built me a crappy house and suck as a homebuilder' that I do not need to be a homebuilder, carpenter, or building inspector to evaluate. Its not a matter of 'I like it or not', its a matter of whether the product delivers the value expected. And no, you don't need to be an expert to evaluate that.

Now, to provide adequate criticism, I will agree that it helps to be able to clearly enunciate the WHY of the matter....the house you built sucks because every time it rains, my basement floods.....your writing sucks because the dialog sounds completely fake and doesn't make sense....your art sucks because every guy has the exact same build and proportions, as does every woman, and it makes reading the comic book difficult because scenes are very confusing.....

A huge percentage of features on products (hardware and software) are rarely or never used. That means that a lot of product design is wasted effort, and yes, it means that those products are somewhat poorly designed because those features are not meeting their customer needs.

But here's the thing, I also think you can be a mediocre writer and critique an excellent writer...heck, that is most critics and editors in most of the writing world. I can be a great food critic, or even somolier (did I spell that wrong), and not be able to cook like a chef or make top quality wine...but I have built my palette to a point where I can evaluate the results as a consumer.




I agree with a lot of this analysis and I think generally it's well thought out, but I think there are some distinctions and differentiations I'd made regarding your interpretation of the house analogy.


Here's a scenario....if I live in a house for 40 years, and every time it rains, the basement floods. If I plug a non excessive amount of electrical items in and it blows the breaker every time. If the airflow is uneven, so half the house ends up too cold/hot and the other not cold/hot enough. If light switches are poorly placed, or kitchen layout is difficult, or there isn't enough room in the tiny guest bathroom, or the foundation is cracking/damaged....

There are a ton of legit criticisms that can easily point to 'you built me a crappy house and suck as a homebuilder' that I do not need to be a homebuilder, carpenter, or building inspector to evaluate. Its not a matter of 'I like it or not', its a matter of whether the product delivers the value expected. And no, you don't need to be an expert to evaluate that.


LGDB: So for one, I think this is basically a different analogy.  It's still using the example of the house, but not the analogy is comparing to something else.  My point was that living in a house doesn't mean you know how to build one.  I don't think the analogy could be drawn to the degree that it means if you don't know how to build  a house you don't have a right to complain about one you bought.   Those mean different things, even if they are about a home owner and a house.  I subscribe to the first one, not the second one.  

Second even taking the latter analogy, you notice this is all just about what the home owner wants.   The homeowner doesn't necessarily know how to make any of he wants, he just has an idea about what he expects from what he's purchased.  And on that note, you'll notice all the examples here of things that don't meet the homeowner's criteria are basically all objective and we imagine plain to see and empirically irrefutable.  You notice these things are all sort of matters of fact: the house does flood anyone could see that expert or not; there's not enough room, that's just the difference in measurable quantities.  The literal foundation is cracked.  These examples are all more or less universally excepted as good house criteria, and unquestionable in terms of verification.

But with writing, I think things are quite different in their nature.  So to remind you, my point in this section for most, was that most critics and complainers on the internet or otherwise don't even bother to argue for their criteria or rigorously establish examples.  But further, unlike the house, even amongst rigorous academics, it would be hard to get everyone to accept what criteria have to be met for a piece of literature to be successful and competent (though there probably is  a broad canonic consensus in a loose sense of the term), but harder still to definitively show that this particular work's characterization actually is bad or that this plot really is poorly organized.  As opposed to the house which no one will argue doesn't need a good foundation, and no one will doubt if it doesn't have one.  Generally speaking these flaws you're point out in the house are as plain as the nose on  your face, but the flaws someone points out in a story are usually mediated heavily if not entirely by personal taste, arbitrary criteria, and so on.  And while almost not one would want to live in the house that you're describing here, apparently roughly half  if not more of the readership agrees these comics we've been debating agree that this house is a very very fine house.  I think what you'd have to account for here is why the bad house would be more or less universally understood as bad, that's not how comic or literature generally is understood.  And specifically here with Aaron or Cates's Thor runs, these are well selling endeavors.  Isn't more likely that rather than the foundations aren't cracked or broken, but that people that don't like the house just don't like it's color or its location or perhaps its inhabitants?
  


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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