Understanding Intent and Context

quote

Quotes, they’re the lovely little garnishes of language. They’re quick, witty, sharp and deliver entire thought processes in a matter of one or a few sentences. They’re great for provoking thought, getting your point across, and summing things up. Except that’s not the reason most people use them. Most people use them as a quick counterpoint, as the basis of an argument, and/or want to make it look like they’re intellectuals. Guilty as probably charged by anyone who knows me. We live in the day of the internet; where things like BrainyQuote, Twitter, Facebook, and forums exist. Web sites where quotes play a massive game of telephone and mouth breathing “intellectuals” to butcher and misuse quotes as they please. This is to be expected with something like the internet where communication is on mass to this degree. Not everyone will know the source of every quote and the broader implications of it. However in the age of the internet, where we can simple google search something do the research, this is inexcusable. Though seeing the blatant misuse of quotes is a nuance, there isn’t much significance to calling out misquoting; the tides of a debate won’t be swayed by a quote. Yet, there is a lot of misquoting and misinterpretation as to the larger implications of quotes. And when it’s the misquotation of a historical or important figure, the effects can be incredibly damaging. Sending a flurry of misinformation and harmful misperceptions.

First, there is Crop Misquoting. This is the intentional cutting out of one or more sentences from its larger work, with the intent of making it sound incriminating. It is then, either knowingly or unknowingly, spread out. You see this all the time with bigots and Conservatives when they misquote Martin Luther King Jr. This is damaging because it sends the wrong ideas, messages, and principals about, not only that person but also groups in society (past and present); and also sends misconceptions about events and history.

The second type of Misquotation is Larger Context Misquotation. This one is more complicated, as it’s more ambiguous, but also not, at the same time. Yet, still unforgivable, I’ll explain later. A while back I was scrolling through Twitter when I came across a news story about a government official (I don’t remember his name or his specific job, but it doesn’t matter) who had made a large budget cut to the education system. The politicians justification was, since “Socrates taught his students on a rock”. What was surprising about this was not the budget cut, but someone who came to the defense of the decision. The quote rang something like “the knowledge and ideas of the previous generations often hold back progression of current generations” – A Roman (he was actually a roman). This is a clear example of what I mean by Larger Contextual Misquoting. The quote was referring to how older generations hinder progress by influence. It couldn’t have been referring to the broader implications of an education system (because education systems only really became a thing in the last century) and the types of behaviors discussed in the quote don’t apply to set curriculums and people specifically trained in education. If he was responding to an article about the influences of and on out-of-touch politicians, then the quote would apply. That quote is not appropriate when talking about something with completely different functionings, behaviors, and systems. It’s important to know the circumstance of the provocative, insightful, and significant statements that are often the ones being quoted. Quotes are said under and alongside specific circumstances, ideology, implications, philosophies, behaviors, attitudes, relations, systems, and contexts’. Quotes are also meant to convey specific ideas, meanings, philosophies, logics, intentions, implications, in the context of (and in response to) all the previously mentioned specifics. When you use a quote in the wrong way and context, you rob it of its weight, significance and meaning. Let me give you an example; I will turn to a page in Cat’s Cradle and pull a random quote from it. Here we go: “What makes you think a writer isn’t a drug salesman?”. You see what I mean? Without knowing the attitudes and personality of the author and characters, in addition to the larger context, attitudes, tone, and systems surrounding the quote, you can’t properly discern the meaning, intent and implications from it.

Now some of you might be asking “well isn’t the meaning and implications up to the implications of the individual?” Yes, but also it isn’t. Like I said quotes are framed around specific circumstances and contexts’, and are said with specific intentions, implications, and ideas meant to be conveyed. Quotes are lucid, they are meant to say something and specific things. If we were talking about subtext in addition to the context of events in the work, and actions of characters, then yes the work as a whole and specific actions are up for interpretation (when looking at the work as a whole). When it comes to actual claims about something, however,  you can’t come up with your own conclusion because that is actual specific ideas being expressed blatantly. That is why it’s perfectly fine to come to your own conclusions on works like movies, books, television, games, comics etc., but cannot make up your own conclusion about something like an article.

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Dissecting “Want to Want Me”

(Derulo…)          – The singer feels the need to remind us who he is, just in case we forgot. – Arrogance?

It’s too hard to sleep

I got the sheets on the floor

Nothing on me          – well no shit you can’t sleep your blankets are on the floor unless you’re in full pajamas I doubt you’re very warm and comfortable. – Jason is restless because he’s yearning for physical intimacy from a lover.

And I can’t take it no more

It’s a hundred degrees          – That doesn’t make sense because as stated earlier your not covered by blankets or sheets, or having physical contact with someone; both of which would make you warm. So you should be cold, not warm. – Jason is experiencing a burning sensations due to his strong, emotional, want the touch of a woman.

I got one foot out the door

Where are my keys?

‘Cause I gotta leave, yeah          – Jason really wants that pussy! Also, the whole key thing is irresponsible. – He really wants that pussy!

In the back of the cab

I tipped the driver ahead of time          – Financially, that’s irresponsible; you don’t know if they’re a good driver or not. – A display that Jason is so anxious for his lover that he is willing to throw money away just to make it happen. It’s a show of commitment.

Get me there fast

I got your body on my mind

I want it bad           – That’s pretty obvious. -No shit.

Ooh, just the thought of you gets me so high, so high          – You’re probably already there. – Jason is so in love with this person that he receives a sense of euphoria.

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me          – Nah der. – I guess she’s the one and only?

And if you want me, girl, you got me          – No shit, if everything else is to be considered, you’re about ready to have your clothes exploded off of you.

There’s nothin’ I,no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do          – You could have just said “there’s nothing I wouldn’t do,” but you added the “no” which I’m pretty makes it a triple negative and, therefore, says you do have limitations.

Just to get up next to you

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me

And if you want me, girl, you got me

There’s nothin’ I, no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do

Just to get up next to you

Just to get up next to you

You open the door

Wearing nothing but a smile, fell to the floor           – Who and or what fell to the floor, did you fall to the floor? If so get that tongue out and get crackin’. Did her smile fall to the floor? In that case, she’s either an alien or she’s melting. – Ooh, la la.

And you whisper in my ear, “Baby, I’m yours.” We’re up all night to the sun, We’re up all night to get some, We’re up all night for good fun, We’re up all night to get lucky.

Ooh, just the thought of you gets me so high, so high

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me

And if you want me, girl, you got me

There’s nothin’ I,no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do

Just to get up next to you

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me

And if you want me, girl, you got me

There’s nothin’ I,no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do

Just to get up next to you

Just to get up next to you

Just the thought of you gets me so high, so high

Ooh, just the thought of you gets me so high, so high

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me

And if you want me, girl, you got me

There’s nothin’ I, no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do

Just to get up next to you

Girl, you’re the one I want to want me

And if you want me, girl, you got me

There’s nothin’ I,no, I wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do

Just to get up next you (I would do anything)

Just to get up next you (anything and everything)

Just to get up next to you (baby)

Just to get up next to you

Get up, get up!          – Jason feels the need to repeat this a thousand times just in case we didn’t understand how horny he is.

Meaning Conclusion:

Jason wants, nae, needs that pussy.

Neutralism is Not Objectivity

Have you ever had one of those epiphanies on a topic you’re already familiar with? One of those statements where you’re already familiar with the thought behind it, but never quite put in the full articulation behind it? This essay is one of those moments and the title is the statement. I’m not to go into detail about who, what, when, where and why because that isn’t important. The important part is the statement itself.

I don’t know why or how it came to be, and what cultural phenomenon made this happen; but in recent years there has been this movement, particularly amongst youth, to call for Neutralism in citizens. This call is mostly in regards to social, political, issues, but the push also wants to extend to… well everything. There has also been this call for a third party system in the United States, and while it is a topic relevant to this one, it’s what I’m here to discuss. A third party system is problematic for reasons I will link to (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7679C7ACE93A5638). Superficially this sounds like a good idea. There’s this idea that the truth is somewhere in the middle and that both sides have valid and equal footing and should be accounted for in forging the truest path. This idea that the truth lies in no singular side but somewhere in the between all of it. It’s not a bad idea by any means, but for reasons I’m about to discuss, it is woefully misguided. Many have even taken to wearing “neutral” as a badge of honor and authority. Even exclaiming they’re “unbiased”, “objective”, and “honest” because they are neutral.

Before I continue any further, because someone is going to be a smart ass, and try to “counter argue” by using one of my own essays. Yes, there is no objectivity when it comes to these types of things, I’m not about to make any claims about something being objective, or that this isn’t subjective. More along the lines of what isn’t objective. Yes, truth is a nebulous, subjective, multifaceted concept; but, if we always abided by that principle in every way then it will always result in a debate of “what is truth?” and something could ever be said. And yes you’re so clever for pointing out something so trite, that pointing out how trite it is, is almost trite.

See, Neutralism, at least in the context it is most often seen in, is still a partisan, just a multifaceted partisan. The idea that the truth is not partisan and is a midpoint between ideas is laughable. Neutralism is still locking the idea of truth in a single direction. It’s true that the truth is neutral; “liberal”, “conservative”, “democratic”, and “republican” are all arbitrary labels of ideas. But the truth isn’t neutral by being bipartisan, multi-partisan, or solely middle, because, again, that would suggest the truth is in a singular stance. The truth is neutral in the sense that it is free flowing; not bound by labels that humans give it. Truth has the infinite potential to be anything; whether that may be neutral, a combination of things, multiple, truths, or sometimes the truth can be very polarizing. How, you might ask? Well, let’s look at some examples:

Look whether or not accelerated climate change is a result of human activity is about as much of a debate as whether or not you should kick a dog. It’s happening, it’s real, and science and facts show it. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree on it. Hell, even the Vatican’s scientists (yes they’re real) are in agreeance. This isn’t just “like my opinion man”, it’s real, it’s factual, it’s a thing. So with all this basically said and done, you would think that both parties would be in agreement right? No, instead the party mostly pushing for environmental protection is the Democratic party. But by naturalistic logic, isn’t Republican denial of climate change just as valid? No, it isn’t.

Or what about slavery? It’s abhorrent, repugnant, vile and any other synonyms. Which party pushed for the emancipation of African Americans in the United States? The Republican party. And don’t even try to make a neutralist stance on that.

Author’s side note: during the 60’s and 70’s the two parties made an ideological witch. So yesterday’s republicans are today’s democrats, and yesterday’s democrats are today’s republicans. I want to clarify this to avoid any off topic, stupid ass, comments from smart asses.

Look I can go on all day with examples, but I think you get the point. The truth is free flowing, never existing in a single partisan always in every situation. Hats off to people for seeking truth and realizing the truth isn’t solely in one ballpark. But by taking a neutral stance on all topics, you are creating a party and attempting to force truth in that area.

A Common Myth Facing Diversity in Media

Over the past few years, there has been a call for my diversity in media as a whole to have more representation that just white. This call has been met with fierce resistance and one of the most common exclamation by this resistance is that white, straight, males, (who are usually the writers for these things) cannot inherently write good female, poc, and gay characters because they are white, straight, males. Therefore, they will end up making a bad character.

Here is a long counter argument to that notion:

She-Hulk (feminist icon and widely beloved character):

she-hulk.jpg

Creators:

Stan lee                        John Buscema

Stan lee.jpg        John_Buscema_1975.jpg

Writers:

Savage She-Hulk:

Stan Lee and John Buscema

Sensation She-Hulk:

John Byrne

230px-John_Byrne.JPG

She-Hulk (2004):

Dan Slott

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John Stewart (Green Lantern):

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Creators:

Dennis O’Neil                              Neal Adams

640px-9.13.09DennyO'NeillByLuigiNovi.jpg 6.29.13NealAdamsByLuigiNovi3.jpg

Writers:

Dennis O’Neil                  Gerard Jones                         Dwayne McDuffie

640px-9.13.09DennyO'NeillByLuigiNovi.jpg 1713817-gerardjones2.jpg dwaynemcduffie.jpg

Judd Winick                  Ron Marz                           Van Jensen

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Robert Venditti

VendittiRobcci2010_thumb.jpg

Black Panther:

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Creators:

Stan lee                      Jack Kirby

Stan lee.jpg Jack-Kirby_art-of-jack-kirby_wyman-skaar.jpg

Writers:

Jungle Action:

Don McGregor

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Black Panther Vol 1:

Jack Kirby

Jack-Kirby_art-of-jack-kirby_wyman-skaar.jpg

Black Panther Vol 2:

Peter B. Gillis

(No Picture)

Black Panther Vol 3:

Christopher Priest

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Black Panther Vol 4:

Reginald Hudlin

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Black Panther: The Man Without Fear + Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive:

David Liss

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Many more and mostly white guys.

Captain Marvel (formerly Ms. Marvel):

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_Textless.jpg

Creators:

Gene Colan                        Roy Thomas

GeneColan6.13.09ByLuigiNovi.jpg roy-thomas.jpg

Writers:

Ms.Marvel Vol 1:

Chris Claremont

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Ms.Marvel Vol 2:

Brian Reed

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Captain Marvel Vol 7 & 8:

Kelly Sue DeConnick

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Ms.Marvel (2007):

Brian Reed

reed.jpg

The Mighty Avengers:

Brian Michael Bendis

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Falcon (new Captain America):

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Creators:

Stan Lee                  Gene Colan

Stan lee.jpg GeneColan6.13.09ByLuigiNovi.jpg

Writers:

Captain America (all volumes):

Stan Lee              Gary Friedrich                 Gerry Conway       Steve Englehart

Stan lee.jpg 230px-4.20.08GaryFriedrichByLuigiNovi.JPG conwau.jpg 230px-SteveEnglehart.jpg

Mike Friedrich              John Warner   Tony Isabella                               Jack Kirby

230px-MikeFriedrich.jpg (No photo)      tonyis.jpg Jack-Kirby_art-of-jack-kirby_wyman-skaar.jpg

Roy Thomas            Don Glut                     Steve Gerber          Roger McKenzie    Peter B. Gillis

roy-thomas.jpg Don_Glut.jpg 230px-Steve_Gerber_(cropped).jpg 468462706.jpg (No photo)

Roger Stern                 John Byrne                 Jim Shooter            J.M. Dematteis      David Kraft

Roger_Stern_(Ithacon_2010).jpg230px-John_Byrne.JPG Jim Shooter.jpg 2321887-dematteis_1.jpg David_Kraft.jpg

Mark Gruenwald   Roy Thomas          Rob Liefeld                 James Robinson         Jeph Loeb

Mark_Gruenwald.jpg roy-thomas.jpg Rob_Liefeld,_Amazing_Arizona_Comic_Con,_2014.jpg 230px-James_Dale_Robinson_2.jpg 230px-New_Loeb_Photograph.jpg

Dan Jurgens                                  Ed Brubaker

Dan_Jurgens.jpg 230px-6.21.10EdBrubakerByLuigiNovi1.jpg

Captain America & The Falcon:

Christopher Priest

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All-New Captain America:

Rick Remender

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Jade (Beyond Good & Evil):

jade.png

Creator and Writer:

Michel Ancel

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GLaDOS (portal):

Glados.png

Creators:

Erik Wolpaw                    Kim Swift

Erik_Wolpaw_FDP2.jpg 220px-Kim_Swift_-_Game_Developers_Conference_2010_-_Panel_Day_4_(1).jpg

Writers:

Erik Wolpaw             Chet Faliszek

Erik_Wolpaw_FDP2.jpg chetfaliszek.jpg

Lili Zanotto (Psychonauts):

lili.jpg

Writers:

Tim Schafer                    Erik Wolpaw (wow this guy has a pedigree)

Tim_Schafer_2011.jpg Erik_Wolpaw_FDP2.jpg

Ellie (The Last of Us):

Ellie_Bow_Winter.jpg

Creator and writer:

Neil Druckmann

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Samus Aran (Metroid series):

Samus.png

Creator:

Makoto Kano

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Writers:

Metroid:

Makoto Kano

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Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion:

Yoshio Sakamoto

Yoshio-Sakamoto.jpg

Metroid Prime Hunters:

Richard Vorodi

Vorodi.jpg

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider 2013. You know why.):

lara.jpg

Writers:

Rhianna Pratchett         Susan O’Connor

AVT_Rhianna-Pratchett_8304.jpeg susan.jpg

Female Shepard (Mass Effect Series):

femshep.jpg

Writers:

Mass Effect:

Drew Karpyshyn

drew.JPG

Mass Effect 2:

Drew Karpyshyn        Mark Walters

drew.JPG Mac.jpg

Mass Effect 3:

Mac Walters

Mac.jpg

Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge):

faith.jpg

Writer:

Rhianna Pratchett

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Lucca (Chrono Trigger):

Lucca-Chrono-Trigger.jpg

Writers:

Takashi Tokita             Masato Kato                  Yoshinori Kitase         Yuji Horii

Takashi.jpeg masato.png yoshinori.jpgyuji.jpg

Luke Cage:

luke cage.jpeg

Creators:

Archie Goodwin          John Romita Sr.

archie goodwin.gif john romita.jpg

Writers:

Power Man (#17 – #49):

Len Wein                    Tony Isabella                       Bill Mantlo                     Don McGregor

len wein.jpg tonyis.jpg bill_mantlo.png 4.11.15DonMcGregorByLuigiNovi5.jpg

Marv Wolfman                Chris Claremont

marv.jpg Chris_Claremont.jpg

Cage:

Marcus McLaurin

marcus.png

Hero for Hire:

Archie Goodwin        Steve Englehart          Tony Isabella

archie goodwin.gif 230px-SteveEnglehart.jpg tonyis.jpg

Cage (2002):

Brian Azzarello

brian.jpg

Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy 7):

final-fantasy-barret-wallace-6.jpg

Writers:

Yoshinori Kitase         Kazushige Nojima

yoshinori.jpg Nojima.jpg

Carl “CJ” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas):

Gta_carl.jpg

Writers:

DJ Pooh                    Dan Houser                                     James Worrall

DJPooh.jpg houser_610.jpg (No Photo)

Lee Everett (The Walking Dead Season One):

lee.jpg

Creator:

Sean Vanaman

sean.jpg

Writers:

Sean Vanaman             Gary Whitta        Mark Darin

sean.jpg gary.JPG Mark_Darin_1.png

Look, if a writer is a straight they’re not going to inherently understand the problems of being other orientations. If a writer is white they’re not going to inherently understand the problems of being POC. If a writer is male the aren’t going to inherently understand the problems of being a woman. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn or that it is impossible for them to portray these things correctly. That’s why we have thinking exercises wherein we try to imagine, within reason and logic, an experience outside of our own. We also live in the age of the internet where we can find other people’s’ stories to use as reference, easily contact people who have had particular experiences discuss and learn about those experiences, and then have people with those experiences review the work and make corrections where necessary or appropriate. Some of these guys even managed to do it without most of the resources I just listed and managed to do it really well. But personal experiences of prejudice and how that affects people aside, are you really going to try and tell me that a white guy can’t make a great black character merely because that character has more melanin than him? Really?

Also, if you see anyone trying to make that argument, link them to this page.

Attitudes in Aggregate

To really get the point across there needs to be a narrative.

Tim and Craig are sitting in Tim’s living room and they’re watching the VMAs on television. They finish watching the show and Craig’s face puts on a look of disgust. Craig then says, “How can anyone think this is good art? They reward curated garbage year after year and dismiss much more deserving, smaller, artists.” Tim responds “That’s a very veridical statement. I didn’t know you were such a culturati.” Craig’s face turns to a look of confusion and asks “what?” Tim, knowing the exact cause of the confusion, responds “‘Veridical’ means honest, truthful, and veracious. ‘Culturati’ is a person deeply interested in culture and art.”

“Alright,” says Craig “but why did you say it like that? Like, why those words specifically?”

“Well, I believe that people need larger vocabularies. Humans as a whole have become over reliant on simple words because after middle school we are not encouraged to learn new words. Learning new words helps people communicate ideas and describe things, which leads to better understanding. So if I start using more complex words, in addition to other people, and people catch on; then society as a whole will have a larger vocabulary.” Tim felt quite proud of his decree. Craig responds “Okay, I agree that people should have bigger vocabularies, and I agree that that’s a good way to go about it. But, you shouldn’t do that because people are constantly going to have a hard time understanding you and you’re always going to have to keep explaining words. So it’ll just be easier if you don’t do it.”


A little context is necessary for further explanation. A few weeks ago a friend and I were debating the efficacy of a tactic used by activists. He was opposed to the tactic based on the grounds that it increased the probability of the activists receiving harassment. Otherwise, he agreed with the principals the group was trying to instill into society and agreed that the tactic is an effective tactic. Yet, he still opposed it based on the probability of harassment.

I found this problematic. Not the situation, the logic behind his thought process. It’s the same one surrounding people that tell you that you shouldn’t get visible tattoos because it will make employers think you’re no good. Or similar to the statement that you shouldn’t post pictures of you at parties on Facebook, or else it will send the wrong impression to employers.

Even though that person agrees that tattoos are a form of expression and that basically everyone goes to a party and drinks, and that neither are a statement of work ethic and character. This is all a huge fallacy.

Both parties are in agreeance that this socially beneficial change needs to occur. But by telling one of the parties to stop, they are hindering the spreading of the ideas influence. As that person won’t spread the idea around making it harder for it to reach normativity. If this logic was applied to every instance of a person who wanted to forward a socially progressive idea, and they then followed it; then the results of that idea would never come to fruition, take a much longer time than necessary to come to fruition, or remain wishful thought in the minds of people. All while the pre-existing notions continue to perpetuate with little to no resistance.
The act of perpetuating a progressive idea requires the sacrifice of some form of comfort on the part of the people. Without that sacrifice, the idea won’t come to normativity. It’s ironic that, even though they support the idea, the logic they endorse hinders it. Make this the aggregate attitude towards progressing ideas and there would be no progression period.