Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I'm not sure.

I'm not sure which I am. I don't know if any of the personality-type things map onto eachother, or for example because I'm a mouse on the native american leadership wheel, that translates to INTP on the Myers-Briggs and into high S in the DiSC model etc.

So when Scott McCloud defines the 4 personality types of artists as Classicist, Formalist, Animist and Iconoclast not only do I not know what most of those words mean, I don't see the connect betwixt other personality types.

But I know what I like.

For one thing, I personally find the cutting edge overrated, extremely overrated and borderline misguided. Perhaps paradoxically, I usually find most attempts to 'break the rules' lazy and tame. Most iconoclastic works that get produced are just shit, a reiteration of the same message the Sex Pistols carved into rock - that even those without mastery should get a voice. A poigniant statement, but it has been made already. I find most iconoclasts to just be classisists of shite.

Classicist speaks to me, it is about mastery, about actually learning from the forebears and doing shit that works. I like classicist, but I fear I'm not good enough to really be one. And I'm not good enough because I don't work hard enough, but I appreciate them. I don't work hard enough because I can't get the discipline. This leads me to suspect that I'm actually an animist.

Now, do you like 'Gran Torino' or do you like 'Mystic River'? Both made by Clint Eastwood. I love Gran Torino because it involves no trickery whatsoever, it is just beautifully told. It plays on the emotions whilst foreshadowing exactly what will happen so I guess it's like watching your own life ending and having no regrets. It is a fine example of animist filmmaking. Conversely I don't like Mystic River because it uses obfuscation to make it interesting, and Chekov's gun, and none of the characters are sympathetic, and because the Chekov's gun is so conspicuous, they end up cluttering the film with shit to try and make you forget so that you wind up with a plausible-surprise at the end. The only really sympathetic character is Tim Robbins' and I guess that is probably the only real moment the movie gets you emotionally. For me the rest is just 'what the fuck am I watching?'

But people can have the absolute opposite opinion. They could also concievably use '7 pounds' and 'Gran Torino' as similar comparisons of an animist vs. iconoclast? or perhaps formalist? approach.

At any rate, I'm one of those people who likes Gran Torino, and hates 'twists'. To me, mastery of any storytelling is how long you can keep somebody listening/watching/reading beyond the point they know how it is going to end.

This for me is what elevates in my opinion a book like 'Dune Messiah', where the protagonist, whom possesses the power of prophecy predicts the outcome of the entire novel in the second chapter or something, and then you just read how it turns out and it is gruelling and agonising because the sentiments have been set up right.

Or Gran Torino, as soon as Clint Eastwood coughs up some blood, you know he is going to die, and that he is going to help out the Hmongs, but you still get upset and moved by it. Unless you are some kind of heartless monster, or somebody who really enjoys a good twist.

But I still like some iconoclasts, or rule-breakers, like China Mieville, whose books I can devour, my favorite remains 'The Scar' which was the first I read, and largely because I liked the cover art, but that book just kept concluding, it had like 7 conclusions, and unlike twists, each was just like a successive pealing back of a layer of plot.

Anyway, the point is, some people like some shit, others like other shit, and it matters not what you love or hate because in the creative world there is room for all. 

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