5 comments on “Back Matter #22 — Comics and Film Criticism

  1. I have listened to every episode of back matter. This episode is intellectual superiority at its worst. At one point one of the guest refers to all superhero stories as childish. That 90% of you back catalog, gentleman. I was very disappointed in this discussion. I felt like a fly on the ivy tower.

    • Not gonna lie Brandon; while I think that Kevin and Jason made a lot of insightful comments, I don’t disagree with you. Had I been present for this episode I would have raised strenuous objection to some of their—let’s call them more “navel gazing”—positions.

      However, if nothing else View from the Gutters is an exercise in sharing different perspectives. And while I may personally disagree with them on some points, I’m always glad to add additional points of view to our discussions.

    • I agree. Listening to this episode was like intellectual whiplash because every other minute somebody (Usually Jason S.) would say something that was cringworthy and dismissive in an otherwise interesting discussion. I want to maybe listen to the beginning of the episode again because it seems like these guys probably had started the conversation before the recording started because the main thesis of what their point was was never made clear in the beginning. The listener is implored to stop consuming any media that they like or that has any recognizable structure at all but it was never made clear WHY this should be done. Its taken as a given that popular media that has any linear story structure needs to be avoided for really no given reason, its just assumed. The treatment of Kamala Khan is also was frustrating because it was clear that one of the guests, maybe both I’m not sure, used it as an example of telling the same story just with a different gender and ethnicity hero but then goes on to say that he hasn’t read the book and it would be so much better if Ms. Marvel were just a slice of life docudrama about a Pakistani immigrant family living in New Jersey. For those of us listening who have actually read that book, it is very far from just another superhero book with a color swapped hero, its not at all an example of what they are talking about. If Kamala Khan was brown Carol Danvers then the story would not be worth telling and the book would not be so successful as it is. I also noticed that the word “consume” was used only to refer to the consumption of media the guests didn’t like. As though people mindlessly consume Captain America and they meditate, interpret, or reflect on A Contract With God. Popular media, even if you don’t like it, can still be an excellent example of its archetype. The 1960’s Batman tv show isn’t a “textual deconstruction of metanarratives that examines the reification of post war ideology”. Its a really good show about a goofy guy dressed like a bat that winks at its audience. Sometimes I want to read Adorno (complain about Jazz), and thats fine. Other at other occasions I’ll read Supergirl. They are both so qualitatively different experiences that criticizing one for not meeting the specific standard set by the other is pointless. This is not me advocating the “Just turn your brain off” argument that people use to defend the merits of blatantly bad media like the recent DC films. You should be activly engaged with popular media, and appreciate it for the niche it fulfills instead of bemoaning media as bad because it has ads on buses.

      That is not to say that I disagree with the larger message of the discussion which is that we should seek out media that challenges us, or when we do consume mainstream media that we should engage with that media critically. I liked the discussion on the comic book industry as a whole and why some books last 75 years and others are cancelled after a few issues. Joe did a good job of jumping in and filling in a knowledge gap between him and the guests about Diamond. My main issue with this episode is how disorganized the ideas are and how they are not well presented from start to finish. If you say that the walking dead is an adolescent fantasy, then explain why and give an argument as to why that should concern us or not. As a listener I really really hope that these topics are brought up again in a future episode because whether or not I agree with a guest or panelist discussions on these topics are valuable and View From The Gutters is doing a great service by taking part in it.

  2. I love different points of view. It’s why I’ve been listening to you guys for close to three years. But some of the coments reminded me of frederick wortham. As you guys pointed out in a passed episode it’s a fine gaul to get ones PHD, as long as one dusen’t become an ass whole. Love you guys.

  3. Well, this sounds like a conversation between three very intelligent and educated guys who like to think about stuff. It is not a lecture, so of course it is not organized or presented in a highly structured way. People aren’t “ass wholes” because they like to think and discuss their thoughts. It is a very interesting discussion. I expect to disagree with some content in a good discussion. It makes it more interesting for me, not less.

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