Derik Badman's Journal

2020-09-14 07:42

Coffee and cereal on the deck looking out at the ocean. I think what I like so much about being here is looking out at the nothingness. Obviously, there is not nothing between me and the horizon. I see sand, birds, waves, some people, clouds, often a colored sky, dunes, scrub, dogs, dolphins (if I'm lucky), the occasional ship, but also the ocean reaches the horizon and meets the sky and that's as far as I can see. No buildings or houses or trees or hills or anything. At home, there's always something nearby, either to look at or to block one's view, but there are very few places you can go where you can look out as far as you can possibly see. I'd imagine you could also do so at the edges of large flat landscapes: deserts, plains, tundra, etc. It's hard to fathom what an ancient human who had never seen or heard of the ocean or sea would think coming upon such a scene. All you know is the landscape around you and suddenly this vast body of water with no end in site. It really would seem like the end of the world. And the courage and curiosity it would take to get on a boat and... head out there into the unknown.

Not a great revelation really, but I think there's something to be said for that chance every now and then to just look as far as you can see and... see the end.

Somehow we ended up watching Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, which after awhile we both realized was a rewatch. The "browsing for a movie to watch right now" process never seems to get us to a very good place. It's hard to find something we are both excited to watch at the same time, so we end up with something we are both like "eh, maybe." Lianne often wants to rewatch things she likes, and I often want to try something I read about somewhere, but don't have the knowledge/words/enthusiasm to make her interested. Thus, we rewatched a movie we both forgot we watched and then didn't like that much anyway (I can see why we forgot it, it's not particularly memorable after the fact). In particular, Hitchcock's maguffin this time is a secret clause to a peace treaty, which just... makes little sense to me, particular since the way the bad guys are trying to find out what it is, is by kidnapping and torturing the most prominent and old of the people involved.

Today's plan, write another comic review, read more books, maybe watch something.

Finished my review and read Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy. Though to say I read it, I mean I read much of it and skipped a bunch of pages where she went on at length about books I'm not familiar in regards to analysis I didn't feel was to my interest either. But her concepts are interesting, looking at how fantasy enters a narrative and how that effects the rhetoric. She posits: portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, and liminal as her categories. Portal fantasy is from a point of view of a move from a known world to an unknown world, like The Chronicles of Narnia, which she also equates with quest fantasy because in quest fantasy while the known and unknown worlds are often the same world in a broader sense, the protagonist(s) are still experiencing the same move from known to unknown. For instance, Frodo and the hobbits move from the known world of the Shire into the unknown world of the rest of Middle-Earth. What I found most interesting in that chapter was the discussion of the way the protagonist learns about the world and how that knowledge is often accepted without question, indeed without the ability to question it. Gandalf, Aragorn, and many other characters tell Frodo a lot of history and prophecy but Frodo does not question that knowledge, it is accepted as true.

Immersive fantasy is when the fantastical is a known quantity, the protagonist exists in a world and has knowledge of it, of the fantasy aspect. Intrusion then is when the fantasy breaks into a world, an interruption, an unknown occurence, which can bleed into horror (Lovecraft being the easiest example of such) and also the gothic. And the liminal is harder to explain, and I don't really feel like explaining it. I was definitely more interested and engaged by the portal-quest and immersive chapters as they are the ones where I am most familiar with examples (including ones she referenced or discussed at length). I probably should have taken a few notes to better recall the minor things that struck my attention beyond this concept about the aquisition of knowledge and questioning/discussing it. I was happy to see her discuss Delany's Neveryona in that context as that is a frequent them in that novel and the series as a whole.