Critique Is Magic Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014-09-11 14:00:00 No comments

A point to consider:

A BRONY TALE Movie Review: Cynicism Versus Naivete In The Land Of Equestria | Badass Digest

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... there’s a point where a pleasant lack of cynicism (cited in the film as a principal reason for being a My Little Pony fan) becomes insular naivete. My Little Pony fans - as presented in A Brony Tale - are characterised by steadfast and all-consuming devotion to their fandom. Devotion is often an admirable trait, but it’s important to be able to critically analyse the entertainment you consume. Being able to pull apart your favourite pop culture is a step towards doing it to the world you live in, which I believe is absolutely vital to functioning in today’s society.

Emphasis mine. This is why I enjoy getting all these sidelong ribbings from people -- some of whom know me well, some of whom don't -- along the lines of "C'mon, it's just a [movie|book|TV show|comic|advertisement], why you gotta take it so seriously?" Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Nothing is ever just such a thing; it's a contextual part of the world it comes from, and once you've been woken up to how such a thing manifests, it's hard to close your eyes and go back to sleep.

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Believe me, I get just as annoyed by killjoys as I do anyone else, which is why I try to keep my criticism relevant and targeted at the people who will get something out of it. I don't wait for people to casually mention they watched The LEGO Movie and then pounce on them with a whole fusillade of ego-bodyslam about how they could possibly enjoy something that's a glorified toy commercial, etc. A lot of the things I've enjoyed -- including, dun dun dun!The LEGO Movie, are glorified toy commercials; the crime isn't in the enjoyment. It's in cultivating, as Andrew Todd touched on in the above piece, a studied sense of ignorance about what enjoying such a thing entails.

It's OK to be a kid for a while, but we've somehow ended up in the business of making our childhoods and adolescences last longer and longer, and we're finding all these insidious new ways to do it. The least we can do is not kid ourselves about what it all means. I am just enough a fan of some things to know that there comes a point when I need to stop being a fan, and start being an observer and an analyst. The alternative is, as I see it, to give away the most valuable and penetrating parts of your intelligence to people who may not be malicious at heart, but are not doing you any favors either.

Another side of it -- and this is something I'll go into tomorrow -- is to learn how to keep the child in you alive without it becoming the brat. In some ways I'm finding it's actually very good that we have an adult populace that savors things previous generations nominally reserved for kids, but again it's all in the deployment. Being able to talk critically and thoughtfully about even the "childish" things we love seems integral to that process.

Tags: criticism culture