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Author Topic: Thor: Ragnarok  (Read 4502 times)
Soulflame
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Reply #105 on: November 17, 2017, 01:24:09 PM

Are you even serious right now?

Hela specifically said that they got all of the gold that covers everything in Asgard by pillaging and raiding the 9 worlds for it.  Until Odin had a change of mind/heart.

That's so Spain/Portugal/Belgium/France/England that it hurts.  I'm sure I am missing a few.
Shannow
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Reply #106 on: November 17, 2017, 01:45:39 PM

And it probably flew right over the head of 95% of people who watched it, and probably the mavels execs too.

Someone liked something? Who the fuzzy fuck was this heretic? You don't come to this website and enjoy something. Fuck that. ~ The Walrus
Khaldun
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Reply #107 on: November 17, 2017, 02:35:01 PM

1. It doesn't matter if it's intentional, it's there.
2. It's intentional, given who the director is and his outlook on things.
3. MCU's production staff likely don't care one way or the other as long as the film doesn't mess with the brand image in a way they can't undo. They probably cut Waititi more slack to do what he wanted because the first two Thor movies were not critical successes and performed at the low end of their box office spectrum. They'd probably be more wary if the next Captain America director said, "i want to make a movie where Cap punches a Donald Trump-alike in the face".

Tolkien's position on allegory and reference is a by-product of his literary (and otherwise) conservatism and of his frankly rather peculiar views on the nature of fantasy. Anybody using Tolkien's views of his own fiction as a general guide to the interpretation of literary or cinematic work needs to get out and read a bit more.
jgsugden
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Reply #108 on: November 17, 2017, 03:03:32 PM

1. It doesn't matter if it's intentional, it's there.
2. It's intentional, given who the director is and his outlook on things.
The same two things were often said about Lord of the Rings being an allegory for the World Wars - when it was not intended at all by Tolkien.  The allegory to the World Wars is clearly there - it just wasn't an intentional choice on his part.  It was just a reflection of the dominant experiences of his life.
Quote
...Tolkien's position on allegory and reference is a by-product of his literary (and otherwise) conservatism and of his frankly rather peculiar views on the nature of fantasy.
Or, perhaps it was an author saying, "Huh.  Yeah, I can see what you see and why you see it, but that wasn't on my mind when I wrote it."   In fact, it was literally just that and not some by-product of conservatism.  That doesn't even make sense.  Because he's 'conservative' in some way he didn't know why he was writing something?  Huh?  And, as for his peculiar views of fantasy, the genre he pretty much created... seriously?  He is often referenced as the father of the genre.  How can his views of it be peculiar?  They're inherently foundational!
Quote
Anybody using Tolkien's views of his own fiction as a general guide to the interpretation of literary or cinematic work needs to get out and read a bit more.
So the specific example brought up to demonstrate something *can* happen requires us to go out and read more because... why?  If it happened there, it can happen elsewhere.  That is why it was brought up.  It proves the matter for which it was asserted.  Shitting on Tolkien doesn't invalidate the argument.

He was brought up as an example where people - for a long time - claimed it was plainly obvious that he wrote books specifically as an allegory for the World Wars and he then said it just wasn't true.  He was selected as the prototypical example of this well known phenomena.  It is directly on point here to show that it can look blisteringly obvious that something is intentionally being created to comment on a particular thing, when, in fact, the creators didn't even think about it - and that it was just created that way because they think in those terms and it was a byproduct of their thought process, rather than explicit intentional commentary. 

This stuff happens all the time.  Head strong people that think they know everything about what an author intended.  They go to book signings and ask authors about some perceived symbolism in the book... and the author laughs at them for assuming things the author never intended to parallel.  If you think there is no other possible explanation in the world other than TW sitting down and saying, "Now I'll write this Thor movie as an allegory for colonialism,"... well, if you can't imagine any other possibility, it doesn't matter what I say. 

I miss Good Eats.  *Sniff*
Mandella
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Reply #109 on: November 17, 2017, 03:17:08 PM



That's so Spain/Portugal/Belgium/France/England that it hurts.  I'm sure I am missing a few.

Like, maybe the Vikings?

Maybe part of my disconnect here is that, in my own headcannon, this is exactly as I would have thought the Asgardians forged their realm. Marvel has already shown us that the overall universe is not a very peaceful place -- having the inspiration for the earthly Vikings being spacefaring plunderers is, well, not exactly edgy.

It's just weird that people are slapping their foreheads and going "Woah! He really snuck some heady social commentary in there! Bet nobody noticed but us smart folks!" when it's actually kinda stereotypical. And Waitiki even put all the bad stuff in the past -- if they want to be really risky make it plain that the Asgardians are still hated everywhere else *but* Asgard.

They may still do that, and I would approve.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 03:19:38 PM by Mandella »
Khaldun
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Reply #110 on: November 17, 2017, 04:04:48 PM

Man, I don't think I have the energy to fucking muck out the entirety of this stable right now. Tolkien didn't create fantasy--he'd be the first person to tell you that, for one, given that he saw himself as reworking Beowulf, the Eddas, and so on. Fantasy as a literary genre in the 20th Century has many other fathers and mothers: Lord Dunsany, Eddison, Lovecraft, Howard, Burroughs, Lewis, Baum, etc etc; Tolkien's blueprint has been very influential but it's not the only thing there to look at.

Whether intentionality matters, and the ways in which it matters, is literally one of the pre-eminent major issues in literary analysis over the last century, debated from a huge range of perspectives. But even the people who are big on finding out what an author intended don't think that's the single or solitary thing that determines a reading of a text. You don't have to find Shakespeare saying "I intend for The Tempest to be a reference to early modern European colonialism" in order to confidently read the ways in which that play references the experiences of early modern European explorers and conquerors. It's all over the play, sometimes in ways that can be traced very explicitly to events and personalities being discussed in public culture in Elizabethean England. A writer or artist can work in references that aren't consciously and programmatically allegorical, and can also be making references that they themselves don't entirely know they're making. Writers and artists also sometimes have reason to be coy about whether something's an homage or reference: they don't want to be accused of ripping someone off, they don't want to be too simplistic or on the nose about their politics, they're playing a game with their audiences (or with friends they're referencing/ripping off). A writer can deny that they meant to refer to something and either be lying or be in some sense wrong (e.g., they may not entirely understand their own creative process, or may have forgotten what they were thinking about as they were working).

Tolkien had a bug up his ass about perceptions about what he was referring to because he thought some of those perceptions were simplistic or literal in a crude way (Saruman = Hitler), and because near the end of his life he especially disliked some of the hippies/counter-cultural types who thought he was on their side. But the notion that hobbits are basically idealized yeoman farmers from pre-industrial Yorkshire or the English Midlands is a reading he readily copped to, and his dislike of the industrial-seeming contrivances of Saruman was certainly a feeling he had about 20th Century life in general. It's up to a reader to decide whether LOTR amounts to an *intention* to use fantasy to advocate turning your back on industrial modernity--Tolkien wasn't a polemicist in that sense, so that's possibly an overreading of his own views, and LOTR is also a pretty lousy polemic in those terms. Tolkien thought fantasy was largely an end in and of itself, but you're not obliged to read his fantasy and stay strictly inside the lines he set for himself. You can do as you like with it.

If you watched Thor: Ragnarok and said, "This is a polemic that calls out for the overthrow of the former imperialists of the West! It's intended as a secret message of affection for ISIS or as a work of postcolonial theory!" then congratulations, you're an idiot. Not because that's not the intention, but because that's not the movie's tone, it's not the nature of its reference to colonialism. It's not a polemic--it's a light-hearted adventure. But it's still working with the sense of modern colonialism as a "secret history" of the contemporary world to inform its underlying narrative. Even if somehow a Maori director who is deeply involved in contemporary rethinkings of New Zealand's imperial history and the relationship of Maori people to it somehow didn't know he was doing that--a frankly stupid and insulting suggestion--that material is without a doubt present in the finished product. Whether Marvel executives intended that or knew that is a secondary question and I can't see that it matters all that much except if you want to know whether they deserve some of the credit for it or not.
jgsugden
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Reply #111 on: November 17, 2017, 05:00:45 PM

There is a touch of irony here in you revising Tolkien's stated truth to suit your own ends, KhalOdin.

And to say that someone does something without *intent* is not the same thing as saying they did it without *knowledge*.  That doesn't seem to be something you're understanding here.  If, at any point, under any reasonable fact pattern possible, someone asked TW is there was a parallel between Asgard/Odin's story and the whitewashed colonialism of... well, 90% of the fucking world, he'd say it was obviously there.  Nobody is fucking debating that shit.  Everybody seems to be 100% fucking clear on that point. 

The question, and I get to say what the damn fucking question is BECAUSE I FUCKING ASKED IT, is to what extent it was an intentional decision to build the story around it.  When and why did that underpinning enter the story?  I could see it being there way back in 2011 when Thor III was put on the secret Marvel whiteboard.  Or I could see it being added in a revision of the script when they saw an opportunity to turn a Shakespearean family drama into something more.  I could see TK coming to Marvel to pitch the idea that Odin and Asgard were conquerors before they were 'benevolent rulers', or I could see it being something he just worked into the script naturally without fanfare and everyone accepted without much, if any, conversation because it seemed so fucking natural for the story.  If you can't see more than one narrow possibility... well, why do I need to waste my breath?

I'm done.


I miss Good Eats.  *Sniff*
Khaldun
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Reply #112 on: November 17, 2017, 06:03:04 PM

Lot of goalpost moving there. Sometimes it's easier to just say, "Oh, ok, I get it."
Khaldun
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Reply #113 on: November 17, 2017, 07:31:58 PM



That's so Spain/Portugal/Belgium/France/England that it hurts.  I'm sure I am missing a few.

Like, maybe the Vikings?

Maybe part of my disconnect here is that, in my own headcannon, this is exactly as I would have thought the Asgardians forged their realm. Marvel has already shown us that the overall universe is not a very peaceful place -- having the inspiration for the earthly Vikings being spacefaring plunderers is, well, not exactly edgy.

It's just weird that people are slapping their foreheads and going "Woah! He really snuck some heady social commentary in there! Bet nobody noticed but us smart folks!" when it's actually kinda stereotypical. And Waitiki even put all the bad stuff in the past -- if they want to be really risky make it plain that the Asgardians are still hated everywhere else *but* Asgard.

They may still do that, and I would approve.

Being disliked by most of the rest of the Nine Realms is even a basic part of Norse mythology. As are the Aesir being morally dubious sorts in some ways. Even in the mythology of the people who worshipped them, they're sort of dubious sorts, although their enemies aren't really any better. Which would probably be Odin's justification that differs from Hela's bloodthirstiness--that he was bringing peace to the Nine Realms, etc.--but even that's pretty consistent with Western colonialism in the 19th Century (oh, we're here to kill and humiliate these people because we want them to stop fighting with each other) plus it's a classic split between the people talking a somewhat lofty language back in Europe and the people actually doing the colonizing out there in the world.
MahrinSkel
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When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back... she was bullshit!


Reply #114 on: November 17, 2017, 08:24:07 PM

Quote
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
lamaros
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Reply #115 on: November 19, 2017, 06:41:00 PM

I'm done.

Mate you never even got started.

Expect poison from the standing water.
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