Discussion:
Symbolism in SK films
(too old to reply)
Darin Boville
2003-09-04 13:24:26 UTC
Permalink
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.

This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.

My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?

The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."

So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-04 21:34:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in that
1-2-3 order.

SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning? And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?

I suppose that here and there a few artists, novelists, poets,
playwrights, and auteurs have identified symbols in their creations -
or at least uttered general statements acknowledging that there were
symbols to be found. Maybe Ingmar Bergman did; I'm not sure. But
this certainly isn't typical behavior. Artists put symbols in their
works and then let observers find and (they hope) appreciate them.

In Kubrick's case, he was intensely secretive. He wasn't giving hints
to anyone, not even his screenwriters. In the case of 2001, his
allegorical masterpiece, he never revealed any of his symbols or even
provided the general information that the film was allegorical. It
wasn't until several years until after the film was released that the
screenplay's co-author, Arthur Clarke, became aware that the name
Bowman alluded to the fact that Odysseus (symbolized by Dave Bowman)
was a bow-man (archer), master of the Great Bow with which he slew his
wife's nasty suitors.

Another allegorical film conceived by Kubrick was A.I. ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE. Here Kubrick was again intensely secretive. Kubrick's
scriptwriters were contractually bound not to discuss their work.
Sara Maitland, one of these writers, wrote: "He was profoundly
secretive. There was a silencing clause in my contract - I could not
talk about the film." Another writer, Ian Watson, called Kubrick
"secretive Stanley." Steven Spielberg said in an interview that,
after Kubrick persuaded Spielberg to direct A.I. (Spielberg later
backed off), Kubrick made Spielberg take an oath of secrecy. Kubrick
also insisted that Spielberg install a secure fax in his bedroom
closet, out of sight from prying eyes. When Spielberg wanted to
change the name of the robot teddy bear from Teddy to something else,
Kubrick insisted that the bear be called Teddy - but refused to reveal
to Spielberg the reason, namely, that (still unknown to Spielberg) the
name Teddy is symbolic and stands for Teddy's allegorical identity.

My point again: Kubrick was secretive. Don't expect him to point out
his symbols. Don't expect ANY artist to do that.

ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM

You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x) stands
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.

Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."

Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
examples (including, for good measure, some from ANIMAL FARM):

A. NAMES

1. Bowman = bow-man = Odysseus
2. Elena (Russian for Helen) = Helen of Troy
3. Snowball (from ANIMAL FARM) = white = goodness and
virtue = Trotsky (vis-a-vis Stalin, the betrayer)

B. CHARACTERS

1. Frank Poole = Nietzsche's rope dancer (tightrope walker)
2. Hal = God's brain and central nervous system (Discovery is the
body)
3. Three disabled (hibernating) "survey team" crewmen = three
crewmen of Odysseus who were disabled from eating
lotus.
4. Farmer Jones, "ruler" of the farm = Czar Nicholas, ruler of
Russia

C. SCREEN TITLES AND SUBTITLES

1. "2001" (first year of a millennium) = 9001 (the year
Zarathustra
arrives to fight the evil god Ahriman in Zoroastrian
mythology
2. "18 Months Later" = God's gestation period after moon lander
fertilizes moon
3. "Beyond the Infinite" = After [beyond] God [the infinite]:
after
Hal dies

D. SPOKEN WORDS

1. BBC announcer: "the survey team" = Odysseus's survey team
2. Hal: "I'm sorry, Dave. I don't have enough information" =
lying,
one of God's many "in the image of man" human
characteristics

E. MUSIC

1. Strauss' "Thus Spake Zarathustra" = allegory of Nietzsche's
TSZ.
2. "Daisy, Daisy" = reversion to childhood = senility before
death

F. COLORS

1. Black (Bowman at dining cart) = bad = lower man (who creates
God)
2. White (Bowman in bed) = good = higher man
3. Rainbow colored rings of Saturn = Zarathustra's "I will show
them the rainbow" (this symbol was planned but could
not be
created - technical problems)

G. SHAPES AND SIZES

1. Phallic pen = Aphrodite's bribe to Paris = gift of sex with
Helen
2. Jupiter (below stacked moons) = big, low = lower man
(numerous)
3. Stacked moons = small, high = generations of higher man (few)

H. OTHER FEATURES OF THINGS

1. No doors/windows in hotel room = amnion (no openings)
2. Bowman's aging in hotel room = maturation of the fetus

I. ABSTRACTIONS

1. The monoliths = each symbolizes 3 things (3 allegories)
2. Tunnel of lights = cosmic fallopian tube

J. MOTION

1. Shuttle's approach to space station = pre-coital mating dance.
2. Jabbing and twisting of brain module key = jabbing and
twisting
of stake in cyclops' eye
3. Bowman's gaze climbing moon stack to "overman" spot over
Jupiter's moons = Zarathustra's willing himself to
become
overman (Nietzsche's "will to power").

K. TRANSITIONS

1. Sun's climb from dawn (apes) to high noon (overman) = man's
climb
from ape to overman (and "the great noontime")
2. Black Bowman shifting gaze from broken glass to white Bowman =
association between cause (broken glass) and effect
(higher man)

L. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

1. Shuttle's penetration of space station = coitus (leads to
God's
conception)
2. Poole's jogging and shadow boxing = Odysseus's crew running
through streets of Ismarus, fighting the residents.
3. Bowman's picking up Poole's body = Z's picking up rope
dancer's
body
4. Animals overthrow Farmer Jones = Russians overthrow the czar

M. OBJECTS

1. Bone-club = tool (ape becomes tool user = ape evolves into
man)
2. Discovery's pod launching ramps = anthropomorphic God's
tongues
3. Hal's red eye = eye of one-eyed cyclops

N. POSITIONS

1. Jupiter's low position in stack = lower man
2. Radiant star-child's sun position above earth = the Great
Noontime (final scene in Nietzsche's THUS SPAKE
ZARATHUSTRA)

ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART

Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.

You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.

At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across. But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message - suffers.

I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
since. Art can't get much better than that. But notice something:
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).

I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude" and
harmful?
Darin Boville
2003-09-05 02:52:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in that
1-2-3 order.
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning? And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
Leonard! Hello again!

I'm afriad you are wrong, wrong, wrong about that. I do not beilieve
what you are sadly shaking your head about. So I'll just skip by your
point #1....

[big snip]
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x) stands
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
I'm afraid that everything on your list in "analytical symbolism.' I
think you are destined not to "get it"!
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across. But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message - suffers.
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude" and
harmful?
I'm afraid that I see it as your description of the allegory in 2001
that is a 2x4! I don't see any hope of changing your mind so please
forgive my short answers!

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Laura E. Czeschick
2003-09-05 07:59:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the
idea that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain
household construction material and just now that certain colors
map to a scale of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews
Kubrick has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes
anything into his films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that
can be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other
ways. It would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they
turned out to be be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of
his films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be
due to the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in
that 1-2-3 order.
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says
the symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that
someone would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his
allegorical novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do
his symbols lose their meaning? And does his book therefore cease
to be an allegory?
Leonard! Hello again!
I'm afriad you are wrong, wrong, wrong about that. I do not beilieve
what you are sadly shaking your head about. So I'll just skip by your
point #1....
[big snip]
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x =
y. Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x)
stands for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical
(usually) or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing
about how "analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
I'm afraid that everything on your list in "analytical symbolism.' I
think you are destined not to "get it"!
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I
think that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a
masterpiece.
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack
them with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes,
that's more likely to get the message across. But I think the
artistry - and maybe respect for the message - suffers.
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just
as worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the
mind. Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is
"crude" and harmful?
I'm afraid that I see it as your description of the allegory in 2001
that is a 2x4! I don't see any hope of changing your mind so please
forgive my short answers!
--Darin
Darin, why the HAL would you want to change Leonard's mind? His analysis of
Kubrick's usage of symbolism is (though questionable in one or two details,
perhaps incomplete in others) impressive and fundamentally absolutely sound
and sensible. It is the kind of analysis which applies to James Joyce's
"Ulysses", too, JJ also transposed an old myth into a new shape, and doing
this had to *consciously* integrate symbols into his story (which unlike
Kubrick he often did in a mocking way). Whether this is crude or not solely
depends on the total range of intellectual comprehensiveness of the
author/director who does it, but it is definitely not crude per se. (I agree
that symbolism can be crude, e.g. if it is too obvious, too much designed to
impress simple minds, one example that comes to my mind is Louis Begley's
novel "Mistler's Exit" which is why I don't appreciate it.)

Kubrick choose to integrate threads into the texture of his movie from
different sources than the ones Joyce chose, and therefore he resulted in a
very complex but nonetheless "readable" new piece of art. Thanks to
Kubrick's complexity it will give us to think for some more time.

Laura
Eric Patteeuw
2003-09-05 12:43:53 UTC
Permalink
<SNIP>

I think i understand what Darin Boville means. It is true that analitical
symbolism is a rather "simple" way maybe to embed meaning in a work. It is
seems to be the way of a beginner to give a higher meaning to his creation
( if only that type of symbolism would be used). However , i agree that
Kubrick uses these things, but they do not diminisch the artistic value of
his work. They are just anonther addition that adds to the whole realm of
symbolism in his movies.
Maybe by using this kind of mapping he wants to say more about people and
there envorinment in a rather abstract way. By that I mean that he does not
want to say something trough the symbol, but trough 'the use' of the symbol.
(Looking at the symbol being there , and using the result of that
observation, knowing that the observation is there, as a way to say
things).
Darin Boville
2003-09-05 13:44:47 UTC
Permalink
"Laura E. Czeschick" <***@t-online.de> wrote in message news:<bj9fg1$a7o$02$***@news.t-online.com>...

[extensive snip]
Post by Laura E. Czeschick
Darin, why the HAL would you want to change Leonard's mind? His analysis of
Kubrick's usage of symbolism is (though questionable in one or two details,
perhaps incomplete in others) impressive and fundamentally absolutely sound
and sensible. It is the kind of analysis which applies to James Joyce's
"Ulysses", too, JJ also transposed an old myth into a new shape, and doing
this had to *consciously* integrate symbols into his story (which unlike
Kubrick he often did in a mocking way). Whether this is crude or not solely
depends on the total range of intellectual comprehensiveness of the
author/director who does it, but it is definitely not crude per se. (I agree
that symbolism can be crude, e.g. if it is too obvious, too much designed to
impress simple minds, one example that comes to my mind is Louis Begley's
novel "Mistler's Exit" which is why I don't appreciate it.)
Kubrick choose to integrate threads into the texture of his movie from
different sources than the ones Joyce chose, and therefore he resulted in a
very complex but nonetheless "readable" new piece of art. Thanks to
Kubrick's complexity it will give us to think for some more time.
Laura
Been there! Done that!

Question: Do you find Orwell's symbolism is "Animal Farm" "too
obvious, too much designed to impress simple minds"?

Comment: I don't think anyone is questioning that Kubrick wove
"threads" of the "Odyssey" and "ASZ" into the film--the title of the
film and the main theme music get us heading down that road, for
christs-sake. My six year old gets the Homer part! It is the degree to
which Leonard sees a mapping of one story to another that causes the
disagreement.

So my question was, and is: is there any evidence from interviews that
SK saw his films "mapping" to The Odyssey, ASZ, etc. in such a direct
way?

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Laura E. Czeschick
2003-09-05 14:20:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Darin Boville
Question: Do you find Orwell's symbolism is "Animal Farm" "too
obvious, too much designed to impress simple minds"?
Sorry, I cannot answer this offhand, when I read "Animal Farm" I was about
14 or 15 and since then my impressiveness may have changed a little :-)
Post by Darin Boville
It is the degree to which Leonard sees a mapping of one story to another
that causes the
Post by Darin Boville
disagreement.
I have to admit I don't understand what exactly you mean by "mapping", but
as this seems to have been a point at issue between you and Leonard, I will
have to wait for his answer and see if I can keep track.

Laura
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-06 03:29:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Darin Boville
[extensive snip]
Post by Laura E. Czeschick
Darin, why the HAL would you want to change Leonard's mind? His analysis of
Kubrick's usage of symbolism is (though questionable in one or two details,
perhaps incomplete in others) impressive and fundamentally absolutely sound
and sensible. It is the kind of analysis which applies to James Joyce's
"Ulysses", too, JJ also transposed an old myth into a new shape, and doing
this had to *consciously* integrate symbols into his story (which unlike
Kubrick he often did in a mocking way). Whether this is crude or not solely
depends on the total range of intellectual comprehensiveness of the
author/director who does it, but it is definitely not crude per se. (I agree
that symbolism can be crude, e.g. if it is too obvious, too much designed to
impress simple minds, one example that comes to my mind is Louis Begley's
novel "Mistler's Exit" which is why I don't appreciate it.)
Kubrick choose to integrate threads into the texture of his movie from
different sources than the ones Joyce chose, and therefore he resulted in a
very complex but nonetheless "readable" new piece of art. Thanks to
Kubrick's complexity it will give us to think for some more time.
Laura
Been there! Done that!
Question: Do you find Orwell's symbolism is "Animal Farm" "too
obvious, too much designed to impress simple minds"?
Comment: I don't think anyone is questioning that Kubrick wove
"threads" of the "Odyssey" and "ASZ" into the film--the title of the
film and the main theme music get us heading down that road, for
christs-sake. My six year old gets the Homer part! It is the degree to
which Leonard sees a mapping of one story to another that causes the
disagreement.
So my question was, and is: is there any evidence from interviews that
SK saw his films "mapping" to The Odyssey, ASZ, etc. in such a direct
way?
When you immediately noticed an pointed out (correctly) that my reply
to your first question misinterpreted the question, you apparently
decided not to read the rest of my reply to that first question. So
I'm going to copy and paste it on the following lines.

I suppose that here and there a few artists, novelists, poets,
playwrights, and auteurs have identified symbols in their creations -
or at least uttered general statements acknowledging that there were
symbols to be found. Maybe Ingmar Bergman did; I'm not sure. But
this certainly isn't typical behavior. Artists put symbols in their
works and then let observers find and (they hope) appreciate them.

In Kubrick's case, he was intensely secretive. He wasn't giving hints
to anyone, not even his screenwriters. In the case of 2001, his
allegorical masterpiece, he never revealed any of his symbols or even
provided the general information that the film was allegorical. It
wasn't until several years until after the film was released that the
screenplay's co-author, Arthur Clarke, became aware that the name
Bowman alluded to the fact that Odysseus (symbolized by Dave Bowman)
was a bow-man (archer), master of the Great Bow with which he slew his
wife's nasty suitors.

Another allegorical film conceived by Kubrick was A.I. ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE. Here Kubrick was again intensely secretive. Kubrick's
scriptwriters were contractually bound not to discuss their work.
Sara Maitland, one of these writers, wrote: "He was profoundly
secretive. There was a silencing clause in my contract - I could not
talk about the film." Another writer, Ian Watson, called Kubrick
"secretive Stanley." Steven Spielberg said in an interview that,
after Kubrick persuaded Spielberg to direct A.I. (Spielberg later
backed off), Kubrick made Spielberg take an oath of secrecy. Kubrick
also insisted that Spielberg install a secure fax in his bedroom
closet, out of sight from prying eyes. When Spielberg wanted to
change the name of the robot teddy bear from Teddy to something else,
Kubrick insisted that the bear be called Teddy - but refused to reveal
to Spielberg the reason, namely, that (still unknown to Spielberg) the
name Teddy is symbolic and stands for Teddy's allegorical identity.

My point again: Kubrick was secretive. Don't expect him to point out
his symbols. Don't expect ANY artist to do that.

In his Playboy interview, Kubrick does nevertheless offer a hint - I
don't claim it's more than a hint - that 2001 contains symbolism.
This hint should be interpreted in the light of some of the most
general and obvious evidence that 2001 allegorizes THUS SPAKE
ZARATHUSTRA. Before presenting the Playboy hint about symbolism in
2001, let me present four items of contextual evidence from the film
itself.

1. The film begins with background music that loudly points to
TSZ: Richard Strauss's symphonic poem "Thus Spake Zarathustra."

2. The broad theme of the movie's surface story is the same as the
broad theme of TSZ: man's evolution from (1) ape to (2) man to (3) a
higher being that will evolve from man. In the case of TSZ, that
higher being is Nietzsche's overman (symbolized by the star-child), as
several reviewers recognized back in 1968.

3. TSZ's main character, Zarathustra, is named after the Persian
prophet Zarathustra (a.k.a. Zoroaster), who founded the ancient
Persian religion Zoroastrianism. According to Zoroastrian mythology,
Zoroaster arrived on earth in the first year of the tenth millennium
(i.e., in 9001) to lead man in the fight against the evil god Ahriman.
Just as the word "Odyssey" in the film's subtitle alludes to 2001's
secondary allegory, the Odysseus allegory, the word "2001" in the
film's main title alludes to the main allegory, the Zarathustra
allegory. The first year of one millennium (2001) symbolizes the
first year of another millennium (9001). And if you have doubts about
that, Kubrick backs it up by tacking 9000 onto Hal's name, signifying
that the year he and Dave arrive in the film symbolically comes after
9000 years of mythological history.

4. Nietzsche's TSZ begins at dawn and ends at high noon, or "The
Great Noontime." In that ending, Zarathustra foresees the overman as
a FIGURATIVE sun radiating wisdom and morality on the earth. Between
dawn and high noon, Nietzsche speaks of man's climbing "the stairs to
the overman." Kubrick's 2001 repeats this same climbing sun theme.
2001 begins at dawn: the sun creeps over the horizon of the African
desert. The film ends at high noon, with the star-child (overman)
poised high above the earth as a FIGURATIVE sun radiating wisdom and
morality on earth: the sun has climbed from dawn to high noon. In
between, at Jupiter, we see "the stairs to the overman." Jupiters
moons (successive generations of higher man) line up vertically above
Jupiter (in the LOW or bottom position, where Jupiter can symbolize
LOWer man). Bowman's gaze climbs the stairs and focuses on a point
high above - OVER - the highest moon. He is aspiring to become
OVERman.

Now, before getting to the Kubrick interview, I'll add one more fact.
In the ape-man-overman evolutionary progression, the "man" stage
subdivides into (a) lower man, who creates God in his own image, and
(b) higher man, who "kills" God by ceasing to believe. My point here
is that, IF TSZ is being allegorized, you can expect to find God
playing a prominent role. The movie will revolve around God and his
death.

Now for the interview. Question: "Would you agree with those critics
who call [2001] a profoundly religious film?" Answer (Kubrick
speaking): "I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001."

Kubrick's acknowledgement of the presence in 2001 of "the God concept"
is reinforced by what Arthur Clarke says in THE LOST WORLDS OF 2001.
He presents a 1964 entry from his 2001 "log": "Feeling rather stale -
went into London and saw Carol Reed's film about Michelangelo . . .
One line particularly struck me - the use of the phrase 'God mad Man
in His own image.' This, after all, is the theme of our movie."
Clark's phrasing of the theme is a bit careless, or perhaps tactful,
because the theme is really Nietzsche's inversion of the Bible's "God
created man in his own image." Nietzsche's TSZ theme is "man created
God in his own image." (That is why Kubrick's God symbol,
Hal-Discovery, is so heavily anthropomorphic - manlike.)
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-06 02:24:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in that
1-2-3 order.
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning? And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
Leonard! Hello again!
I'm afriad you are wrong, wrong, wrong about that. I do not beilieve
what you are sadly shaking your head about. So I'll just skip by your
point #1....
[big snip]
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x) stands
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
I'm afraid that everything on your list is "analytical symbolism.' I
think you are destined not to "get it"!
This time the error is yours. By attaching the restrictive adjective
"analytical" to "symbolism," you clearly indicated that you were
referring to a special kind of symbols, not to all symbols. When you
now say that everything on my list is "analytical symbolism," you are
saying that "analytical symbolism," as you use the term, means exactly
the same thing as just plain "symbolism." So I suggest that you use
"symbolism" as your word from here on out and drop the meaningless
adjective.

Incidentally, my dictionary defines "symbol" as "one that represents
something else by association, resemblance, or convention." That
covers your "x = y," where x is the symbol and y is the thing
symbolized (represented).
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across. But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message - suffers.
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude" and
harmful?
I'm afraid that I see it as your description of the allegory in 2001
that is a 2x4! I don't see any hope of changing your mind so please
forgive my short answers!
Whether or not my description resembles a 2 x 4 isn't the issue. The
issue is whether allegory resembles a 2 x 4. I continue to maintain
that allegory is the opposite of a 2 x 4. Allegory and its symbols
are subtle, too subtle for most people to recognize, even when the
symbols and the analogies and story context that supports them is
pointed out. The openly displayed artistic details that you think
make allegory "crude" by comparison are things nobody could miss.
Post by Darin Boville
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Tobasco
2003-09-06 04:58:40 UTC
Permalink
"Leonard F. Wheat"
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Leonard, at this point my question is: Who exactly, has ever questioned the
premise that Kubrick employs 'symbolism' in his films?
Posters here take issue with the forced topology that is found in your
interpretive 'theory' of 2001.
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-06 15:19:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tobasco
"Leonard F. Wheat"
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Leonard, at this point my question is: Who exactly, has ever questioned the
premise that Kubrick employs 'symbolism' in his films?
Where did you get the idea that the symbolism issue was that general?
The issue has always been whether Kubrick uses symbols to create
certain specific allegories, such as the Odysseus allegory.

But as a matter of fact, lots of posters have, in effect, denied that
there are any symbols at all, whether or not they support allegory.
These posters reject every single symbol that is identified and refuse
to acknowledge the presence of any symbols in Kubrick's pictures.

One such poster is Peter Tonguette. He does say Kubrick uses symbols,
but Peter doesn't know what a symbol is. What he calls a symbol is
not really a symbol. A symbol is not a symbol unless its creator
intends to attach a specific meaning to it. The author, poet, or
whoever puts something (the symbol) in his story to represent
something else. If the "something" in the story is not intended by
the author to represent anything in particular then, by definition,
that "something" is not a symbol.

Well, Peter says that (a) there are what Peter calls symbols in
Kubrick's films but (b) Kubrick does not have any private
interpretations of his own: the "symbols" have no meaning for Kubrick.
Kubrick, according to Peter, just puts these things in his films so
that viewers can place there own interpretations on them. No
interpretation can objectively be said to be wrong, because there is
no right interpretation, i.e., one intended by Kubrick. So Peter
Tonguette is, although he would deny this, saying that Kubrick does
not use genuine symbols.
Wordsmith
2003-09-08 02:44:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Tobasco
"Leonard F. Wheat"
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Leonard, at this point my question is: Who exactly, has ever questioned the
premise that Kubrick employs 'symbolism' in his films?
Where did you get the idea that the symbolism issue was that general?
The issue has always been whether Kubrick uses symbols to create
certain specific allegories, such as the Odysseus allegory.
But as a matter of fact, lots of posters have, in effect, denied that
there are any symbols at all, whether or not they support allegory.
These posters reject every single symbol that is identified and refuse
to acknowledge the presence of any symbols in Kubrick's pictures.
One such poster is Peter Tonguette. He does say Kubrick uses symbols,
but Peter doesn't know what a symbol is. What he calls a symbol is
not really a symbol. A symbol is not a symbol unless its creator
intends to attach a specific meaning to it. The author, poet, or
whoever puts something (the symbol) in his story to represent
something else. If the "something" in the story is not intended by
the author to represent anything in particular then, by definition,
that "something" is not a symbol.
Well, Peter says that (a) there are what Peter calls symbols in
Kubrick's films but (b) Kubrick does not have any private
interpretations of his own: the "symbols" have no meaning for Kubrick.
Kubrick, according to Peter, just puts these things in his films so
that viewers can place there own interpretations on them. No
interpretation can objectively be said to be wrong, because there is
no right interpretation, i.e., one intended by Kubrick. So Peter
Tonguette is, although he would deny this, saying that Kubrick does
not use genuine symbols.
Lenny, sometimes a symbol is just a symbol.

W :)
Tobasco
2003-09-09 02:59:42 UTC
Permalink
"Leonard F. Wheat"
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Tobasco
"Leonard F. Wheat"
Leonard, at this point my question is: Who exactly, has ever questioned the
premise that Kubrick employs 'symbolism' in his films?
Where did you get the idea that the symbolism issue was that general?
The issue has always been whether Kubrick uses symbols to create
certain specific allegories, such as the Odysseus allegory.
Did you or did you not make the following statement?

Since you
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Tobasco
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
That is a general statement - broadbrushing "others" as postulating that no
'symbolism' is encountered in 2001. I know of no one who has made such
claims. Actually, your counter of peer-critique seems to rely heavily on
accusing adverserial reviewers of the grossest oversimplification if they
question what in >any< rational discourse, would be considered dubious and
in fact fundamentally flawed conclusions.

You have seen hexagonal bathroom tiles.
Stanley Kubrick probably had seen hexagonal bathroom tiles.
The ass-end of Kubrick's spacecraft features thrusters framed in hexagonal
housings.
Therefore: This, in combination with other paralleling features of the
craft, is supporting evidence of the anthropomorphic configuration of said
vessel.

Is this a joke?
You're not serious.
You see Leonard, this is all induction. You're inducing. Which is fine.
Unfortunately - you're treating and asserting these intuitions as
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
reductions to fact<.
In anything like a rigorous post-graduate review of thesis --- you'd be
thrown out onto the hexagonal tiles on your errrrrrrrr ass.

You see Leonard ---- I'd say that most here agree that the spacecraft has
certain anthropomorphic characteristics - it's simply that the evidence
you're presenting does not hold water.

Perhaps if you'd approach these problems from an exploratory view --- i.e. a
real theory that is falsifiable...
but you've already published the book --- tsk tsk.

Have I told you about some of my >conjectures and intuitions< re: the
appearance of Jungian motifs and Archetypes in Stanley Kubrick's films?
Many fit the pattern, inductively and otherwise --- but I'll be damned if
I'm going to postulate these as some sort of hard-wired, proprietary, mosaic
code that unravels the 'truth' of the films ----- those bathroom tiles are
cold.

Let me clue you in on a little secret Leonard; SK's films deny definitive,
overly-rational approaches. Kubrick films are infused with an ambiguity and
contigency that does not yield to Grand Unified Theorums. Anymore than
does the Mona Lisa. Or Beethoven's Ninth. Or...
Darin Boville
2003-09-06 08:06:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in that
1-2-3 order.
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning? And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
Leonard! Hello again!
I'm afriad you are wrong, wrong, wrong about that. I do not beilieve
what you are sadly shaking your head about. So I'll just skip by your
point #1....
[big snip]
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x) stands
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
I'm afraid that everything on your list is "analytical symbolism.' I
think you are destined not to "get it"!
This time the error is yours. By attaching the restrictive adjective
"analytical" to "symbolism," you clearly indicated that you were
referring to a special kind of symbols, not to all symbols. When you
now say that everything on my list is "analytical symbolism," you are
saying that "analytical symbolism," as you use the term, means exactly
the same thing as just plain "symbolism." So I suggest that you use
"symbolism" as your word from here on out and drop the meaningless
adjective.
Incidentally, my dictionary defines "symbol" as "one that represents
something else by association, resemblance, or convention." That
covers your "x = y," where x is the symbol and y is the thing
symbolized (represented).
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across. But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message - suffers.
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude" and
harmful?
I'm afraid that I see it as your description of the allegory in 2001
that is a 2x4! I don't see any hope of changing your mind so please
forgive my short answers!
Whether or not my description resembles a 2 x 4 isn't the issue. The
issue is whether allegory resembles a 2 x 4. I continue to maintain
that allegory is the opposite of a 2 x 4. Allegory and its symbols
are subtle, too subtle for most people to recognize, even when the
symbols and the analogies and story context that supports them is
pointed out. The openly displayed artistic details that you think
make allegory "crude" by comparison are things nobody could miss.
Post by Darin Boville
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
I'm not sure I'm with you on this last point. You've used Orwell's
"Animal Farm" to make your case for allegories, and the subtleness of
allegories on many occassions in the past. You've suggested, I think,
that both the allegory of "Animal Farm" and whatever allegories my be
in 2001 are of a similar subtle nature.

My view is that allegories can be anything from obvious to extremely
obscure. Obviousness tends to seem cruder, but I suspect that is not a
mandatory association. The allegory in "Animal Farm" strikes me as
rather obvious--I can't belive any reader with even a bare knowledge
of history would miss the general nature of the allegory. Of course
they wouldn't get down to the which-Russian-is-which-animal level of
analysis unless they took the book for a topic of special study, but
they'd get the basic point. In my read of the book, in fact, it is
analogy first, story second. Without the analogy I'm not sure the book
would be all that interesting. Whether that qualifies it for the
adjective "crude" I don't know.

You have also repeatedly pointed out that Orwell never admitted to the
allegorical nature of the book. Given the obvious nature of the
allegory in "Animal Farm" I have found that claim difficult to swallow
in the past. True, it didn't really matter if he admitted to it or
not--it was already obvious and incontrovertable. But in fact he did
admit to it and discuss the background of the Russian Revolution in
some detail (in the unpublished preface) and in less detail but no
less clearly in the published preface to the Ukrainian edition--both
texts are located at the link I provide earlier.

So we have a strong difference in our perceptions of what is an
obvious allegory and what is not, and what is a crude allegory and
what is not. I would suggest that if Kubrick really did allegorize ASZ
in 2001 then it is both obvious and crude. Obvious because any viewer
with a bare knowledge of ASZ would have the general sense of what the
allegory was about (clued in by the opening and repeated theme music,
at the very least). By this I mean obvious in the way that "Animal
Farm" is obvious--students of the Russian Revolution my see the
allegory in "Animal Farm" more clearly but everyone "gets it." I would
furthermore suggest that the ASZ/2001 allegory would be crude in that
it seems by your description to be a fancy, albiet hidden or encoded,
illustration of ASZ with fairly direct one-to-one mapping.

My view is that SK did not work in this way--did not engage in such
one-to-one mapping nor did he illustrate stories of theories or the
parables of others. I suspect that he felt that *he* was creating the
great work, that *his* work was the primary one, not a mere derivative
of others. No basking in the reflected light of others for him. If the
core achievement of 2001 is an intertwining of allegories then that is
perhaps an impressive trick but not, I think, a great work in and of
itself. (Yes, yes, yes, every academic will be saying something like
"But all works are derivative in one way or another!" Maybe. But that
kind of thinking doesn't offer much fuel for an artist to create!)
Surely Kubrick couldn't have missed this point (especially in medium
where novels are the basis for the films--already hard enough to go
beyond...).

So, at bottom, I'm looking for evidence for your theory, Leonard. I
see the film, and your claims for it. But I can't believe that all
external evidence has been hidden or that SK was such a master of
secrecy that he was able to hide all traces of it. That sort of
"evidence" is the sort used by religious fanatics--what's that great
line in "Life of Brian"? Only the true Messiah would deny his
divinity? I need evidence! And on the basis of evidence your claims
have taken a beating. At the beginning of the recent series of posts
on this topic other posters pointed out the rather mundane reasons why
certain things in 2001 where the way they were, contrary to your
claims of special significance. (You were reduced to defending the
claim the the hexagons equated with bathroom tiles--a sort of
embarrassing point to have eached, i think.)

I have pointed out that your claims about Orwell never admitting the
allegorical nature of "Animal Farm" are also unfounded. So your theory
has not been proven wrong (I'm not sure how such a theory could be
proven wrong--we've discussed its testability in the past with no
conclusion)--but it is suffering from lack of evidence and from
evidence pointing in the other direction. You may suggest that the
strength of the evidence within the film is more than enough (and
obvious enough to you, now that you recognize it), but many
others--including me--do not see the internal evidence as being as
strong as you say. Thus the need for more.

(And after typing this rather long post I at 3 or 4 in the morning
after waking up for a drink of water I realize the danger of the
thought, "I'll just check my e-mail and go back to bed.")

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-06 14:56:38 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Darin Boville
You've used Orwell's
"Animal Farm" to make your case for allegories, and the subtleness of
allegories on many occassions in the past. You've suggested, I think,
that both the allegory of "Animal Farm" and whatever allegories my be
in 2001 are of a similar subtle nature.
My view is that allegories can be anything from obvious to extremely
obscure. Obviousness tends to seem cruder, but I suspect that is not a
mandatory association.
I would prefer to say that SYMBOLS, as opposed to the allegories that
some (not all) symbols support, can range from obvious to obscure.
Whether an allegory is obvious depends as much on whether the observer
is familiar with the subject matter (e.g., the Russian revolution or
Nietzsche's TSZ) as it does on the degree of literalism in the
symbols. Whether being obvious makes a symbol crude is ultimately
irrelevant. I will say, though, that Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
isn't considered crude by scholars qualified to judge it (that leaves
me out), even though its symbolism is generally blatant.

Furthermore, obviousness vs. subtleness is not a useful criterion for
rating the quality of symbols. Symbols in 2001 that are obvious to me
don't seem to be so obvious to lots of people around here. Most
AMKers who have bothered to post on the issue of whether 2001 is an
allegory can't see all sorts of obvious analogies. An example is the
analogy between 2001's ape-man-futureman evolution theme and TSZ's
ape-man-overman theme. Most posters have rejected the idea that the
Strauss "Thus Spake Zarathustra" music points to a TSZ allegory. And
what could be more obvious than the bone-club's use as a symbol for a
tool, given that the story context is "The Dawn of Man," who was long
regarded as the first tool user? Also, what could be more obvious
than Bowman = bow-man = Odysseus? Or that Bowman's (1) three-man (2)
"survey team" that is (3) disabled - in hibernation - symbolizes
Odysseus's (1) three-man (2) survey team that is (3) disabled by the
effects of eating lotus?
Post by Darin Boville
The allegory in "Animal Farm" strikes me as
rather obvious--I can't believe any reader with even a bare knowledge
of history would miss the general nature of the allegory. Of course
they wouldn't get down to the which-Russian-is-which-animal level of
analysis unless they took the book for a topic of special study, but
they'd get the basic point. In my read of the book, in fact, it is
analogy first, story second. Without the analogy I'm not sure the book
would be all that interesting. Whether that qualifies it for the
adjective "crude" I don't know.
Well, I do know. Having a surface story that is not exciting (or
whatever you mean by "interesting") does not make an allegory "crude."
More than anything else, what makes the surface story interesting is
the fascinating symbols that keep popping up - this plus the fun of
searching for and finding them. I haven't read PILGRIM'S PROGRESS,
but from what I've read about it I'm sure I would find it boring,
uninteresting? Does that make it crude? I'd say the main test of
allegory is how artfully, imaginatively, and cleverly its symbols are
designed and presented. Kubrick gets an A+ on this test.
Post by Darin Boville
You have also repeatedly pointed out that Orwell never admitted to the
allegorical nature of the book. Given the obvious nature of the
allegory in "Animal Farm" I have found that claim difficult to swallow
in the past. True, it didn't really matter if he admitted to it or
not--it was already obvious and incontrovertable. But in fact he did
admit to it and discuss the background of the Russian Revolution in
some detail (in the unpublished preface) and in less detail but no
less clearly in the published preface to the Ukrainian edition--both
texts are located at the link I provide earlier.
So we have a strong difference in our perceptions of what is an
obvious allegory and what is not, and what is a crude allegory and
what is not. I would suggest that if Kubrick really did allegorize ASZ
in 2001 then it is both obvious and crude.
Let me get this straight. You have repeatedly expressed skepticism
about not only the symbols in 2001 but the presence of allegory. You
reiterate this skepticism when you say (above) "IF Kubrick really did
allegorize ASZ [abbreviation for German title]." You have plainly
said that the presence of allegory in TSZ [abbreviation for English
title] is not obvious to you.

Yet in the same sentence where you say "if," you say the symbolism
that you can't even see is "obvious" if it is there. And because it
is "obvious," it is "crude." You are really straining to criticize
Kubrick.

Kubrick's symbolism is anything but crude, and most of it isn't even
obvious. You have to look for it, and to find it you have to know
what you are looking for: you have to know the story and important
story elements of TSZ.

One important element of TSZ is the "stairs to the overman." Kubrick
lets us see those stairs when he stacks Jupiter (lowest in stack =
lower man) and its moons (higher than Jupiter and each other =
successive generations of higher man) and places a point of light
(overman) above the highest moon. That is subtle enough that you
still (apparently) deny the symbolism is there. To me Jupiter and its
vertically aligned moons provide a symbol that is both subtle and
highly imaginative. That symbol should not be called "crude."
Post by Darin Boville
Obvious because any viewer
with a bare knowledge of ASZ would have the general sense of what the
allegory was about (clued in by the opening and repeated theme music,
at the very least). By this I mean obvious in the way that "Animal
Farm" is obvious--students of the Russian Revolution my see the
allegory in "Animal Farm" more clearly but everyone "gets it." I would
furthermore suggest that the ASZ/2001 allegory would be crude in that
it seems by your description to be a fancy, albeit hidden or encoded,
illustration of ASZ with fairly direct one-to-one mapping.
Here you display a fundamental misunderstanding of allegory. Some
allegories - not all - retell a story from existing literature. Two
of 2001's three allegories do this; the man-machine symbiosis allegory
works instead with an IDEA, which it fleshes out into an original
story. In those allegories that retell a previously told story, there
has to be what you disparagingly call
"one-to-one mapping." Every detail of the original story need not be
symbolized, but whatever details (characters, events, things) the
allegorist decides to symbolize must necessarily have one-to-one
symbolism. That's what symbolism is: one thing (the symbol)
represents one thing (whatever is symbolized).

If one-to-one symbolism (the only kind of symbolism there is) makes
allegory crude, then all allegory is crude. Is that really what you
believe?
Post by Darin Boville
My view is that SK did not work in this way--did not engage in such
one-to-one mapping nor did he illustrate stories of theories or the
parables of others.
You are once more denying that 2001 allegorizes either THUS SPAKE
ZARATHUSTRA (TSZ) or THE ODYSSEY. Yet a few paragraphs back you
wrote: "Obvious because any viewer with a bare knowledge of ASZ would
have the general sense of what the
allegory was about (clued in by the opening and repeated theme music,
at the very least)." Where do you stand, Darin? Do you recognize
that 2001 allegorizes TSZ or don't you?
Post by Darin Boville
I suspect that he felt that *he* was creating the
great work, that *his* work was the primary one, not a mere derivative
of others. No basking in the reflected light of others for him. If the
core achievement of 2001 is an intertwining of allegories then that is
perhaps an impressive trick but not, I think, a great work in and of
itself. (Yes, yes, yes, every academic will be saying something like
"But all works are derivative in one way or another!" Maybe. But that
kind of thinking doesn't offer much fuel for an artist to create!)
You have a strange notion of what makes a work "derivative." A
derivative work would ordinarly be a nonallegorical work that copies
the basic plot of an earlier work. It doesn't symbolize. But an
allegory symbolizes the earlier work. Call that derivative if you
must, but I'd call it art. Allegorists are not copying; they are
symbolically retelling the earlier story, which is something
different.
Post by Darin Boville
Surely Kubrick couldn't have missed this point (especially in medium
where novels are the basis for the films--already hard enough to go
beyond...).
So, at bottom, I'm looking for evidence for your theory, Leonard. I
see the film, and your claims for it. But I can't believe that all
external evidence has been hidden or that SK was such a master of
secrecy that he was able to hide all traces of it.
You've seen the evidence, but you won't accept it, because your mind
is closed. What could be more obvious that Kubrick's using Bowman's
disabled three-man survey team as a symbol for Odysseus's disabled
three-man survey team? What could be more obvious than Bowman =
bow-man (archer). What could be more obvious than ape-man-futureman =
ape-man-overman? How can you call that hiding all traces of evidence
that allegory is present?
Post by Darin Boville
I have pointed out that your claims about Orwell never admitting the
allegorical nature of "Animal Farm" are also unfounded.
You are putting words I never said into my mouth. Here, copied and
pasted from my first post on this thread, is what I actually said:
"Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical novel ANIMAL FARM
contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose their meaning?
And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?"

You point out that Orwell did acknowledge that his work was allegory.
Does that mean that you recognize the allegory only because he tells
you it is there? If that isn't what you mean, what is your point?
Post by Darin Boville
So your theory
has not been proven wrong (I'm not sure how such a theory could be
proven wrong--we've discussed its testability in the past with no
conclusion)--but it is suffering from lack of evidence and from
evidence pointing in the other direction. You may suggest that the
strength of the evidence within the film is more than enough (and
obvious enough to you, now that you recognize it), but many
others--including me--do not see the internal evidence as being as
strong as you say. Thus the need for more.
If you aren't convinced by the things I have already mentioned on this
thread and previous ones, you are beyond convincing. But just for the
heck of it, I'll offer one more piece of symbolism. And I predict
that you will reject every point of the six points of symbolism.

A major character in TSZ is the "rope dancer" (Birx translation) or
"tightrope walker" (Kaufmann translation). He is trying to cross on a
rope from one tower to another. The first tower symbolizes ape, the
second overman. After he starts out from the first tower (ape), a
"buffoon" (Birx) or "jester" (Kaufmann) comes up behind him, leaps
over him, and continues on to the far tower, thereby achieving
supremacy. The buffoon symbolizes God, who comes after man because
man, who comes first, creates God in his own image. Frightened, the
rope dancer falls to his death. Zarathustra, standing below, picks up
his body and later disposes of it.

Kubrick uses Frank Poole as his symbol for the rope dancer. This
symbolism requires only one analogy or other correspondence to be
valid. But Kubrick provides six points of correspondence (which still
won't be enough for you):

1. The character who kills Frank (the rope dancer) is
Hal-Discovery, who symbolizes God (which you continue to deny, so you
can reject this point).

2. Hal-Discovery uses his detachable shoulders and arms (the space
pod with its mechanical arms) to approach Frank from behind (as the
buffoon did).

3. The pod (part of God) causes Frank's death, just as the buffoon
caused the rope dancer's death.

4. Dave Bowman (Zarathustra) picks up Frank's (the rope dancer's
body).

5. Bowman later disposes of (releases) Frank's body, just as
Zarathustra disposed of the rope dancer's body.

6. Frank's name is what I call a 90 percent anagram whose letters
(except the first) can be rearranged to get the rope dancer's
identity. Rearrange the last 9 of the 10 letters of [F]RANK POOLE and
you get [W]ALK ON ROPE. (I know, I know. You reject the idea that
this is a deliberate anagram, because Kubrick was unable to work the
kinks out of that first letter.)
Darin Boville
2003-09-07 03:14:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
I have pointed out that your claims about Orwell never admitting the
allegorical nature of "Animal Farm" are also unfounded.
You are putting words I never said into my mouth. Here, copied and
"Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical novel ANIMAL FARM
contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose their meaning?
And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?"
I do not have time right now to post a full response, but I must
counter this point. You have made the case on several occasions, that
an allegory does not need to be admitted to by its author for it to be
an allegory. (Fair enough, as far as it goes.) You used Orwell as a
debating point to make the case that even though there is no outside
evidence of 2001 being an allegory (nothing in the interviews, etc)
then that lack of evidence does not harm the claim that 2001 is an
allegory since "Animal Farm" is clearly an allegory yet Orwell never
said anything on the record to that effect. You pointed out how
secretive SK was to account for this lack of external evidence.

In the above post you restate that claim, this time using the
qualifying word "if"--and you clearly imply that your position has
always been "if."

I remember it differently, however. My view i that you started using
"if" only after I posted the links to the prefaces written by Orwell
where he clearly acknowledged the allegorical nature of "Animal Farm."

Here is an example of your earlier, pre-"if" claims from a post in the
"Geometry and 2001" thread on 8-20-2003.


You write:

"You are asking for way too much. Would you ask for a "confession"
from George Orwell that ANIMAL FARM is an allegory before accepting it
as such? Did Orwell ever say, or did anyone else hear him say, that
the farm was Russia, the farmer who the animals overthrew was the
Czar, that the pig Snowball was Trotsky, that the pig Napoleon was
Stalin, that the horse Boxer was the exploited worker, and so on?"

I think the only way to read this is that you are suggesting that
Orwell never acknowledged the allegorical nature of "Animal Farm." So
you have changed your position without realizing it--indeed, while
making the claim that it has not changed.

So once again, when your argument has been met with fact your argument
has come out the worse. This is a pattern that demonstrates the
weakness of you theory, I think.

I again stress that if your theory is to be made compelling to others
you must find some external evidence. Quoting me lists of correlation
between 2001 and ASZ do nothing to move this debate forward as these
correlation are not as strong as you make them out to be, neither
individually nor as a group. I am willing to be convinced but accusing
me of being closed minded is simply not going to cause me to suddenly
see your allegories in the level of detail in which you see them.

Your theory is a mere curiosity at this point. Why not strengthen it
with real evidence? Why not test it and see if it fails? Whatever
doesn't disprove it will make it stronger? (To paraphrase
you-know-who.)

[I'm copying this post to the Orwell thread where you posted a similar
claim]

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Matthew Ryder
2003-09-07 05:59:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
What could be more obvious that Kubrick's using Bowman's
disabled three-man survey team as a symbol for Odysseus's disabled
three-man survey team?
Mr Wheat, you ignored my line-by-line analysis of the ostensible
analogical connections between the opening sequence of the Jupiter
sequence and Odysseus' sack of the city of Ismarus in the Geometry
thread.

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%2Bkubrick+%2Bryder+%2Bismarus&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=vj5ckv00ertq57lj14hrsc2qnn04pvok1p%404ax.com&rnum=1


Is that because I utterly discredited your argument?

I don't really expect you to respond here either.

You've repeated this nonsense to yourself so many times that its
indisputable truth is now entrenched in your mind. I don't expect to
vanquish the murky swirls of "faith" (akin to religious fanaticism)
which cloud your thought and have "destroyed the keenness of your
mind". (oblig. pog. ref.) , but I do think that newcomers should be
presented with some facts.

So let's take a close look at your "obvious" analogy of the 2001
survey team with the lotus eaters in the Odyssey.

Once again, let's actually read Homer's words and compare them to your
interpretation:

'Thence for nine whole days was I borne by ruinous winds over the
teeming deep, but on the tenth day we set foot on the land of the
lotus-eaters, who eat a flowery food. So we stepped ashore and drew
water, and straightway my company took their midday meal by the swift
ships. Now when we had tasted meat and drink I sent forth certain of
my company to go and make search what manner of men they were who here
live upon the earth by bread, and I chose out two of my fellows, and
sent a third with them as herald. Then straightway they went and mixed
with the men of the lotus-eaters, and so it was that the lotus-eaters
devised not death for our fellows, but gave them of the lotus to
taste. Now whosoever of them did eat the honey-sweet fruit of the
lotus, had no more wish to bring tidings nor to come back, but there
he chose to abide with the lotus-eating men, ever feeding on the lotus
and forgetful of his homeward way. Therefore I led them back to the
ships weeping, and sore against their will, and dragged them beneath
the benches, and bound them in the hollow barques. But I commanded the
rest of my well-loved company to make speed and go on board the swift
ships, lest haply any should eat of the lotus and be forgetful of
returning. Right soon they embarked, and sat upon the benches, and
sitting orderly they smote the grey sea water with their oars."

- The Odyssey, Book IX (http://www.bartleby.com/22/9.html)

Now, you argument runs "that Bowman's (1) three-man (2)
"survey team" that is (3) disabled - in hibernation - symbolizes
Odysseus's (1) three-man (2) survey team that is (3) disabled by the
effects of eating lotus"

So you claim:

1. Bowman's three-man team is analoguous to Odysseus' three-man crew

Doctors Hunter, Kimble, and Kaminsky are not in any way subordinate to
Bowman. It is therefore inappropriate to describe them as Bowman's
team.

2. The hibernating crew in 2001 represents Odysseus' "survey team"

All three of the men in hibernation represent a "survey team", while
only two of Odysseus' company have that function; the third is a
herald. So there's only a very vague resemblance on these grounds.

3. The hibernation of the 2001 survey team represents a "disability"
similar to that incurred by the lotus-eaters.

The scientists are asleep, not disabled. They were placed in
hibernation before the "space odyssey" even began. The lotus eaters
are mesmerized by foreigners not rendered unconscious by friendly
colleagues. Hunter, Kimble, and Kaminsky are never "weeping" or led
back to the ship "sore against their will". They never left the ship
nor returned, being utterly inert throughout the film.

Another lousy analogy. As always, you make your case by ignoring all
contradictory evidence and focusing on some surface "parallels" that
only make sense if presented in a particular way.

I could arbitrarily open up the Bible (for example) and present
similarly facile "evidence" for close analogies with 2001:

"The first Monolith represents The Tree of Knowledge. The downward
trajectory of the tossed bone represents Man's Fall. David Bowman is
an anagram of ADAM BIND VOW, which represents man's betrayal of God's
sacred contract. When Frank lies on the sundeck, he closes his eyes to
the Light, which represents man's spiritual blindness. His
shadowboxing in the centrifuge represents man's struggle with his
unseen Maker. "

Etc, etc. Ad nauseum.

It's incredibly easy to make up this shit once you've decided there's
a necessary connection.

Can't you see you're wasting your intellect on gibberish?

Matt.
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-07 15:57:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
What could be more obvious that Kubrick's using Bowman's
disabled three-man survey team as a symbol for Odysseus's disabled
three-man survey team?
Mr Wheat, you ignored my line-by-line analysis of the ostensible
analogical connections between the opening sequence of the Jupiter
sequence and Odysseus' sack of the city of Ismarus in the Geometry
thread.
http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%2Bkubrick+%2Bryder+%2Bismarus&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=vj5ckv00ertq57lj14hrsc2qnn04pvok1p%404ax.com&rnum=1
Is that because I utterly discredited your argument?
I don't really expect you to respond here either.
I was not aware of, and did not deliberately ignore your previous
"analysis." Permit me to correct the oversight. Here, copied, is
your "analysis" and my reply.

RYDER:

"You claim that the above exerpt [snipped account of Odysseus's attack
on the city of Ismarus] provides indisputable evidence of 6 analogies
with the opening sequence of 2001's Jupiter Mission, on the
following grounds:

"(A) Both are "FIRST EPISODES"

"Okay, I'll grant you this. But I'm sure you'll agree that on its own,
the 'resemblance' has little value."

WHEAT: On the contrary, it is no coincidence that Kubrick made his
Ismarus symbolism the first event on Dave Bowman's odyssey. Indeed,
that's how I first found the symbolism. I knew Odysseus's attack on
Ismarus was the first event on his Odyssey. So I looked at the
opening scenes of the space odyssey for the symbolism. The first
event of one odyssey symbolizes the first event of another. This is
an important aspect of the Ismarus symbolism.

RYDER:

"(B) Odysseus' crew resembles the crew of the Discovery (ie Frank
Poole).

"This is utterly implausible. In what way does Poole even vaguely
suggest a rabble of Greek warriors? He's not even subordinate to
Bowman as Odysseus' men are, so your description of him as "Bowman's
active CREW" is nonsensical.

"Most of the Discovery's crew are in deep hibernation, with absolutely
zero analogy to Odysseus' very alert warriors."

WHEAT: Now you are getting ridiculous. You claim that the space
agency sent Discovery on its mission without putting anyone in charge
- a ship without a captain. Poole isn't subordinate to Bowman? At
the beginning of the BBC television interview, Mr. Amer says this: "We
spoke with MISSION COMMANDER Dr. David Bowman and his DEPUTY Dr. Frank
Poole."

As for your suggestion that Frank should resemble "a rabble of Greek
warriors," you reveal your ignorance of the meaning of analogy. My
dictionary defines analogy as "similarity in SOME respects between
things that are OTHERWISE DISSIMILAR." Frank and Odysseus' crew are
similar in that both are (a) subordinate to their leader and (b)
crewmen on a vessel.

Bowman does not need to have 12 ships (the number Odysseus had), and
he and his crew need not speak Greek, and Discovery's crewmen need not
wear armor, for the analogy to be valid. "Similarity in some
respects" does not mean "identical."

RYDER:

"(C) Frank Poole jogging around the centrifuge represents Odysseus'
men
running through the streets of Ismarus

"Read the passage again. There are no descriptions of men running
through streets. This is a product of your overheated imagination."

WHEAT: It is your lack of imagination that is the problem here.
Odysseus says, referring to Ismarus, "I sacked this place and
DESTROYED THE MEN who held it." That certainly implies running
through the streets and fighting, even if you can't imagine how
Odysseus could kill all the men in the city without doing so.

RYDER:

"(D) Poole's shadow boxing represents Odysseus' sacking of Ismarus.

"Poole's shadow boxing could evoke any number of violent incidents in
any number of works of literature. I find it literally astounding that
the image of one man exercising evokes for you a bloody assault on a
city by rampaging sailors."

WHEAT: "What is astounding is your inability to view symbolism in its
narrative context. Consider Orwell's allegory ANIMAL FARM, where the
pig Snowball symbolizes Trotsky (snowball = white = goodness and
purity = the revolutionary leader who remained true to the cause,
contrasted with Napoleon/Stalin, who betrayed the revolution). One
cannot possibly interpret Snowball as a Trotsky symbol without placing
the symbol in its Russian-revolution-allegory context.

A person with your symbolism-requires-literalism mindset would argue
that it takes a pig to symbolize a pig (just as you actually argued
that it takes rabble to symbolize rabble). So, you would reason,
Snowball must symbolize another pig - most likely the good pig from
"The Three Little Pigs," meaning the pig who uses bricks to build his
house. You would, in other words, ignore the allegory context: the
Russian revolution and its later betrayal by Stalin.

I can't review here all of the other evidence that Homer's THE ODYSSEY
is being symbolized, but "A Space ODYSSEY" and Bowman = bow-man
(archer) should help put you on the right track. And we are looking
at the first episode of the Odyssey. In that
first-episode-of-the-Odyssey context, the simulated fighting (shadow
boxing) is going to symbolize the fighting between Odysseus' crewmen
and the men of Ismarus. Odysseus' attack on Ismarus involves fighting
and killing the men of Ismarus.

RYDER:

"(E) Dave Bowman's selection of food from a vending machine is akin to
Odysseus' looting of Ismarus

"We're through the looking glass here folks. I really need to know,
Leonard: How can you seriously argue that Dave innocently pushing a
button and ordering food (his own property!) can be likened to the
plunder of a city and the rape of its women??"

"This is so ludicrous that I still wonder if you aren't pulling our
legs here at AMK."

Once more you are displaying your lack of imagination. And your
inability to recognize narrative context as an essential aspect of
allegorical symbolism. All symbolism, in any allegory, is ambiguous
until placed in context. Context is your guide to interpretation.

We are looking at the first event of Odysseus's odyssey. That event
involved the sacking of Ismarus. As far as Odysseus was concerned,
this was normal "innocent" behavior. He wasn't provoked into
attacking; he had no reason to go to Ismarus other than to sack and
pillage. He matter-of-factly relates the event to the Phaecians,
treating his attack on Ismarus as normal innocent behavior. He is
unashamed. He makes no excuses. So when Dave "innocently" (your
word) "sacks" the food machine, we have good in-context analogy.
Dave's taking food from the machine symbolizes Odysseus's taking loot
from the people of Ismarus.

Kubrick had a marvelous imagination. It's too bad you can't
appreciate it.

RYDER:

(F) Bowman's burnt fingers represent the Cicones counter-attack

"Bowman's food is a little hot, but it doesn't seriously hurt him. If
one of his fingers had been singed right off it might appropriately
represent the grievous loss of life described in the passage. Another
ridiculous comparison."


You continue to display lack of imagination - and to give Kubrick too
little credit for his imagination. The surviving Cicones seek help
from "upcountry neighbors," who counterattack and kill six warriors
from each of Odysseus' ships. Figuratively speaking, Odysseus gets
burned. I realize that figurative imagery is too deep for you to
handle, but that's what Kubrick is using. Bowman's getting burned
symbolizes Odysseus's getting burned. To repeat, you have to
interpret symbolism in its narrative context, which in this case is
the sacking of Ismarus.
Post by Matthew Ryder
You've repeated this nonsense to yourself so many times that its
indisputable truth is now entrenched in your mind. I don't expect to
vanquish the murky swirls of "faith" (akin to religious fanaticism)
which cloud your thought and have "destroyed the keenness of your
mind". (oblig. pog. ref.) , but I do think that newcomers should be
presented with some facts.
So let's take a close look at your "obvious" analogy of the 2001
survey team with the lotus eaters in the Odyssey.
Once again, let's actually read Homer's words and compare them to your
'Thence for nine whole days was I borne by ruinous winds over the
teeming deep, but on the tenth day we set foot on the land of the
lotus-eaters, who eat a flowery food. So we stepped ashore and drew
water, and straightway my company took their midday meal by the swift
ships. Now when we had tasted meat and drink I sent forth certain of
my company to go and make search what manner of men they were who here
live upon the earth by bread, and I chose out two of my fellows, and
sent a third with them as herald. Then straightway they went and mixed
with the men of the lotus-eaters, and so it was that the lotus-eaters
devised not death for our fellows, but gave them of the lotus to
taste. Now whosoever of them did eat the honey-sweet fruit of the
lotus, had no more wish to bring tidings nor to come back, but there
he chose to abide with the lotus-eating men, ever feeding on the lotus
and forgetful of his homeward way. Therefore I led them back to the
ships weeping, and sore against their will, and dragged them beneath
the benches, and bound them in the hollow barques. But I commanded the
rest of my well-loved company to make speed and go on board the swift
ships, lest haply any should eat of the lotus and be forgetful of
returning. Right soon they embarked, and sat upon the benches, and
sitting orderly they smote the grey sea water with their oars."
- The Odyssey, Book IX (http://www.bartleby.com/22/9.html)
Now, you argument runs "that Bowman's (1) three-man (2)
"survey team" that is (3) disabled - in hibernation - symbolizes
Odysseus's (1) three-man (2) survey team that is (3) disabled by the
effects of eating lotus"
1. Bowman's three-man team is analoguous to Odysseus' three-man crew
Doctors Hunter, Kimble, and Kaminsky are not in any way subordinate to
Bowman. It is therefore inappropriate to describe them as Bowman's
team.
You made the same false argument in connection with the Ismarus
symbolism, discussed above. Let me repeat my reply: "Now you are
getting ridiculous. You claim that the space agency sent Discovery on
its mission without putting anyone in charge - a ship without a
captain. Poole isn't subordinate to Bowman? At the beginning of the
BBC television interview, Mr. Amer says this: "We spoke with MISSION
COMMANDER Dr. David Bowman and his DEPUTY Dr. Frank Poole."
Post by Matthew Ryder
2. The hibernating crew in 2001 represents Odysseus' "survey team"
All three of the men in hibernation represent a "survey team", while
only two of Odysseus' company have that function; the third is a
herald. So there's only a very vague resemblance on these grounds.
Your objection amounts to no more than a quibble. You acknowledge
that Odysseus sent three men inland, but you choose to characterize
one of these men as a "herald" (messenger) rather than a member of the
team. You can't recognize that Bowman's three disabled crewmen
symbolize Odysseus's three disabled crewmen.
Post by Matthew Ryder
3. The hibernation of the 2001 survey team represents a "disability"
similar to that incurred by the lotus-eaters.
The scientists are asleep, not disabled. They were placed in
hibernation before the "space odyssey" even began. The lotus eaters
are mesmerized by foreigners not rendered unconscious by friendly
colleagues. Hunter, Kimble, and Kaminsky are never "weeping" or led
back to the ship "sore against their will". They never left the ship
nor returned, being utterly inert throughout the film.
Another lousy analogy. As always, you make your case by ignoring all
contradictory evidence and focusing on some surface "parallels" that
only make sense if presented in a particular way.
What's this? The three men in hibernation are not disabled? Permit
me to enlighten you: anyone in hibernation is out of commission,
unable to perform his duties. That means he's disabled. Hibernation
is an excellent symbol for disability.

As for there being no "weeping" among the astronauts, you again ignore
the fact that analogy requires only similarity, partial resemblance,
among things that "are otherwise dissimilar." Once again you are
claiming, in effect, that it takes a pig to symbolize a pig and a man
to symbolize a man, hence that Orwell's pig Snowball cannot symbolize
the human Trotsky. Did Trotsky have a curly tail? Did he walk on
four legs? Did he have a pointed snout? Then why did Orwell use a
pig to symbolize Trotsky? And how about the other pig, Napolean, who
symbolized Stalin. Does Napoleon have a heavy black mustache like
Stalin?

Try to learn more about what analogy is and isn't. Sit back and
reflect on what "similarity in some respects" means.
Post by Matthew Ryder
It's incredibly easy to make up this shit once you've decided there's
a necessary connection.
Mario R
2003-09-06 18:29:01 UTC
Permalink
Very interesting thread. So refreshing to actually find a newsgroup with
signs of intelligent life! I agree with some of your points Darin your
discussion of analytic symbolism and now considering that Kubricks main
focus was his own masterpiece rather than a series of perhaps derivative
vignettes. It's equally clear to me that Leonard has devoted an incredible
amount of time (perhaps too much!) thinking about the symbolism and allegory
represented in the movie.

Interpretation of any art by its nature can have its obvious and more subtle
meanings but once we move beyond symbols, comparisons that can be
illustrated and substantiated in some way and that are noted independently
by different observers we then pass into a much more subjective domain where
interpretation becomes much more of an individual phenomenon. Aside from the
obvious comparisons to The Odyssey or ASZ which are highly substantiated by
for instance repeated or recurring connections that are unlikely to be sheer
coincidence there is also indepth discussion on this ng of symbolism that
would exist more in perhaps the individual observer. If one attempts to read
too much into something or makes a too concerted effort to make a connection
it is possible to form that connection without internally realizing that the
connection has been made on less tenuous grounds. So whats really required
here is to separate the Wheat from the chaff (excuse the pun).

Leonard makes some brilliant points throughout and his analysis will allow
me to subsequently observe the movie with that much more enjoyment. I think
the fact that there is enough ambiguity to allow some individual
interpretation is partly what makes great art. Isn't this why art is a very
personal and emotionally poignant thing? To me this adds to its value and
worth. In this way a three hour movie becomes something that can entertain
us for far more than three hours and in fact we spend lifetimes thinking and
talking about it.
Leonard, the movie and Kubrick's body of work are obviously very special to
you but I sense some frustration in explaining the finer nuances to others.
This is probably due to others not agreeing or sharing some of your
specific analysis. To me that is an indication that you are sometimes
talking about a theory or interpretation that is more individual in nature
which is fine. IMO any of your premises is valid if they are valid to you
when you are watching the movie. Similarly I have thoughts and
interpretations of the movie that are unlikely to be shared by others.
Clearly there can be as many interpretations as observers but that just
reaffirms the wonder and the art of the work.
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work. There are more powerful
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, (2) that "analytical symbolism" is
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and (3)
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason. Let's consider your beliefs in that
1-2-3 order.
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there. I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this. Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols? If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning? And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
Leonard! Hello again!
I'm afriad you are wrong, wrong, wrong about that. I do not beilieve
what you are sadly shaking your head about. So I'll just skip by your
point #1....
[big snip]
You got me. Right between the eyes. Sorry, my mistake. Since you
have been reluctant in the past to accept the idea that Kubrick uses
symbols, I assumed (without paying careful attention to your words)
too quickly that you were again attacking that idea (as you seem to do
in the last two sentences of your present post!). I also assumed that
you were using an argument that others in this forum have used: that
if Kubrick used symbols, he would have explained what he was doing.
In rereading your original post, I can see that you really didn't use
this argument. My apologies.
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism." But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
Clear as mud. In ALL symbolism x = y. That is, one thing (x) stands
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship. So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red). Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"? If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories. It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups. Here are the categories and some
I'm afraid that everything on your list is "analytical symbolism.' I
think you are destined not to "get it"!
This time the error is yours. By attaching the restrictive adjective
"analytical" to "symbolism," you clearly indicated that you were
referring to a special kind of symbols, not to all symbols. When you
now say that everything on my list is "analytical symbolism," you are
saying that "analytical symbolism," as you use the term, means exactly
the same thing as just plain "symbolism." So I suggest that you use
"symbolism" as your word from here on out and drop the meaningless
adjective.
Incidentally, my dictionary defines "symbol" as "one that represents
something else by association, resemblance, or convention." That
covers your "x = y," where x is the symbol and y is the thing
symbolized (represented).
Post by Darin Boville
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share. Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work. Well, sure. Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings. So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4. Be blatant in expressing the message. Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across. But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message - suffers.
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism. My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape. That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning. It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude" and
harmful?
I'm afraid that I see it as your description of the allegory in 2001
that is a 2x4! I don't see any hope of changing your mind so please
forgive my short answers!
Whether or not my description resembles a 2 x 4 isn't the issue. The
issue is whether allegory resembles a 2 x 4. I continue to maintain
that allegory is the opposite of a 2 x 4. Allegory and its symbols
are subtle, too subtle for most people to recognize, even when the
symbols and the analogies and story context that supports them is
pointed out. The openly displayed artistic details that you think
make allegory "crude" by comparison are things nobody could miss.
Post by Darin Boville
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
I'm not sure I'm with you on this last point. You've used Orwell's
"Animal Farm" to make your case for allegories, and the subtleness of
allegories on many occassions in the past. You've suggested, I think,
that both the allegory of "Animal Farm" and whatever allegories my be
in 2001 are of a similar subtle nature.
My view is that allegories can be anything from obvious to extremely
obscure. Obviousness tends to seem cruder, but I suspect that is not a
mandatory association. The allegory in "Animal Farm" strikes me as
rather obvious--I can't belive any reader with even a bare knowledge
of history would miss the general nature of the allegory. Of course
they wouldn't get down to the which-Russian-is-which-animal level of
analysis unless they took the book for a topic of special study, but
they'd get the basic point. In my read of the book, in fact, it is
analogy first, story second. Without the analogy I'm not sure the book
would be all that interesting. Whether that qualifies it for the
adjective "crude" I don't know.
You have also repeatedly pointed out that Orwell never admitted to the
allegorical nature of the book. Given the obvious nature of the
allegory in "Animal Farm" I have found that claim difficult to swallow
in the past. True, it didn't really matter if he admitted to it or
not--it was already obvious and incontrovertable. But in fact he did
admit to it and discuss the background of the Russian Revolution in
some detail (in the unpublished preface) and in less detail but no
less clearly in the published preface to the Ukrainian edition--both
texts are located at the link I provide earlier.
So we have a strong difference in our perceptions of what is an
obvious allegory and what is not, and what is a crude allegory and
what is not. I would suggest that if Kubrick really did allegorize ASZ
in 2001 then it is both obvious and crude. Obvious because any viewer
with a bare knowledge of ASZ would have the general sense of what the
allegory was about (clued in by the opening and repeated theme music,
at the very least). By this I mean obvious in the way that "Animal
Farm" is obvious--students of the Russian Revolution my see the
allegory in "Animal Farm" more clearly but everyone "gets it." I would
furthermore suggest that the ASZ/2001 allegory would be crude in that
it seems by your description to be a fancy, albiet hidden or encoded,
illustration of ASZ with fairly direct one-to-one mapping.
My view is that SK did not work in this way--did not engage in such
one-to-one mapping nor did he illustrate stories of theories or the
parables of others. I suspect that he felt that *he* was creating the
great work, that *his* work was the primary one, not a mere derivative
of others. No basking in the reflected light of others for him. If the
core achievement of 2001 is an intertwining of allegories then that is
perhaps an impressive trick but not, I think, a great work in and of
itself. (Yes, yes, yes, every academic will be saying something like
"But all works are derivative in one way or another!" Maybe. But that
kind of thinking doesn't offer much fuel for an artist to create!)
Surely Kubrick couldn't have missed this point (especially in medium
where novels are the basis for the films--already hard enough to go
beyond...).
So, at bottom, I'm looking for evidence for your theory, Leonard. I
see the film, and your claims for it. But I can't believe that all
external evidence has been hidden or that SK was such a master of
secrecy that he was able to hide all traces of it. That sort of
"evidence" is the sort used by religious fanatics--what's that great
line in "Life of Brian"? Only the true Messiah would deny his
divinity? I need evidence! And on the basis of evidence your claims
have taken a beating. At the beginning of the recent series of posts
on this topic other posters pointed out the rather mundane reasons why
certain things in 2001 where the way they were, contrary to your
claims of special significance. (You were reduced to defending the
claim the the hexagons equated with bathroom tiles--a sort of
embarrassing point to have eached, i think.)
I have pointed out that your claims about Orwell never admitting the
allegorical nature of "Animal Farm" are also unfounded. So your theory
has not been proven wrong (I'm not sure how such a theory could be
proven wrong--we've discussed its testability in the past with no
conclusion)--but it is suffering from lack of evidence and from
evidence pointing in the other direction. You may suggest that the
strength of the evidence within the film is more than enough (and
obvious enough to you, now that you recognize it), but many
others--including me--do not see the internal evidence as being as
strong as you say. Thus the need for more.
(And after typing this rather long post I at 3 or 4 in the morning
after waking up for a drink of water I realize the danger of the
thought, "I'll just check my e-mail and go back to bed.")
--Darin
Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
ichorwhip
2003-09-08 03:57:04 UTC
Permalink
<snipped orig post>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work,
I don't think he said that at all.

(2) that "analytical symbolism" is
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and
...and why wouldn't it be distinguishable even if it's named wrong?

(3)
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason.
He never named what he was talking about "allegory" and professed his
own ignorance.

  Let's consider your beliefs in that
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
1-2-3 order.
Sounds like someone's going to have surgery...
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
WHAT?  ALREADY I FIND MYSELF READY TO DOUBT YOU.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there.
I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
would suggest this.  Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols?  If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning?  And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
You really need to settle down Leonard.  You are shoving words in
mouths at this point and becoming shrill.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I suppose that here and there a few artists, novelists, poets,
playwrights, and auteurs have identified symbols in their creations -
or at least uttered general statements acknowledging that there were
symbols to be found.  Maybe Ingmar Bergman did; I'm not sure.  But
this certainly isn't typical behavior.  Artists put symbols in their
works and then let observers find and (they hope) appreciate them.
I really disagree with this on several grounds.  First off,  MAYBE
never gets it around here.  Secondly, I believe that symbolism is only
an incidental component of any true work of art. An artist is aware of
symbolism of course, but when truly inspired to create, the symbols
come as a matter of course. I'd be glad to go on for pages here, but
I'll let this do for now.

, he was intensely secretive.  He wasn't giving hints
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
to anyone, not even his screenwriters.  In the case of 2001, his
allegorical masterpiece, he never revealed any of his symbols or even
provided the general information that the film was allegorical.   It
wasn't until several years until after the film was released that the
screenplay's co-author, Arthur Clarke, became aware that the name
Bowman alluded to the fact that Odysseus (symbolized by Dave Bowman)
was a bow-man (archer), master of the Great Bow with which he slew his
wife's nasty suitors.
Bowman is a referential name such as the literary lingo would have it.
There are all kinds of referential names in SK's films, Doctor
Strangelove being at the top of that pillar.  Referential names are
symbolic. So what?
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Another allegorical film conceived by Kubrick was A.I. ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE.   Here Kubrick was again intensely secretive.  Kubrick's
scriptwriters were contractually bound not to discuss their work.
Sara Maitland, one of these writers, wrote: "He was profoundly
secretive.  There was a silencing clause in my contract - I could not
talk about the film."  Another writer, Ian Watson, called Kubrick
"secretive Stanley."  Steven Spielberg said in an interview that,
after Kubrick persuaded Spielberg to direct A.I. (Spielberg later
backed off), Kubrick made Spielberg take an oath of secrecy.  Kubrick
also insisted that Spielberg install a secure fax in his bedroom
closet, out of sight from prying eyes.  When Spielberg wanted to
change the name of the robot teddy bear from Teddy to something else,
Kubrick insisted that the bear be called Teddy - but refused to reveal
to Spielberg the reason, namely, that (still unknown to Spielberg) the
name Teddy is symbolic and stands for Teddy's allegorical identity.
My point again: Kubrick was secretive.  Don't expect him to point out
his symbols.  Don't expect ANY artist to do that.
You really don't make a good point as one thing is not really linked
to the other.  You seem to be saying that because Kubrick was
secretive he was a master of symbolism.  I think the reason he was so
secretive was that he wanted to protect his ideas.  One can never be
original if all your ideas are already out there. Just so happens
that a lot of his ideas contained symbolism.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism."  But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
  Clear as mud.  In ALL symbolism x = y.  That is, one thing (x)
stands
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship.  So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
The guy even professed his own ignorance and still you carry on like
this.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red).   Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"?  If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories.  It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups.  Here are the categories and some
Animal Farm is NOT that big of a deal. The Symbolism therein is so
obvious and so forth... Why you feel like you need to stick it in with
2001 symbols...I just don't know.

<snipped the whole pointless litany>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
You have really derived more here than should be legal.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share.  Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You know Leonard, you lord your "knowledge" of allegory here so much
that I almost wish I didn't know anything about it.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work.  Well, sure.  Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings.
Are you some kind of sophomore? You write like it.

  So
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
What? Allegory seems to me to be the easiest form of symbolism to
recognize because you know to look for it right from the first
identification. Allegories are most always "exposed" before you ever
read them. I think it's fair to say that Kubrick's films can be seen
as being allegorical in certain ways, but it's all within the range of
subtext. Kubrick's films ARE. Everything after this is a footnote.
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4.  Be blatant in expressing the message.  Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across.  But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message -  suffers.
Ya think so?
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism.  My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape.  That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning.  It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
Too many words...
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
  Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude"
and
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
harmful?
He NEVER came up with an identification of allegory to begin with.
That's your words. I think what he was saying was that if 2001 et al
had symbols "deliberately buried" in it, then it would be a lesser
work of art. I say that Kubrick never was so obvious, and that his
work remains aesthetically intact.

'It's a very important work of art"
Ichorwhip
Peace is our Profession"
Leonard F. Wheat
2003-09-08 16:15:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by ichorwhip
<snipped orig post>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work,
I don't think he said that at all.
I shot from the hip, and now you are shooting from the hip. If you
had read Darin's reply and my response before you posted, you could
have avoided your mistake. Darin's requested evidence that Kubrick
admitted using symbolism. I misinterpreted Darin's request as an
argument that, if Kubrick didn't admit using symbolism he must not
have used it. Darin replied that he was not making that argument: he
didn't believe that failure to admit didn't mean Kubrick didn't use
symbolism. I then acknowledged my mistake and apologized.

And here you are, back at square one.
Post by ichorwhip
(2) that "analytical symbolism" is
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and
...and why wouldn't it be distinguishable even if it's named wrong?
Again, you should have read Darin's reply to my first post and my
response to that reply. Darin's reply showed that, when he said
"analytical symbolism," he really meant all symbolism. He was not
referring to a special kind of symbolism. I then replied that he
should not have used the restrictive adjective "analytical," since he
really did not intend to put some other "nonanalytical" types of
symbolism in a separate category. The correct term for what he
originally called "analytical symbolism" is simply "symbolism."

Comes now Ichorwhip, stepping resolutely onto square one: "There
really is a special kind of symbolism that fits Darin's description of
'analytical symbolism' but has a different 'right' name [I'm
paraphrasing]." Very well, Father Peace, please tell us what kinds of
symbolism you recognize that do NOT fit the description of what Darin
called "analytical symbolism."

Darin, in his reply, indicated that what he wrongly called "analytical
symbolism" really was all forms of symbolism. But you think you know
of some other symbolism that is not covered by the term. Tell us what
that other symbolism is. And make sure it is really symbolism,
something used by the symbolist to represent something else besides
what the symbol actually is.
Post by ichorwhip
(3)
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason.
He never named what he was talking about "allegory" and professed his
own ignorance.
He didn't need to say allegory, because the context made it obvious
that allegorical symbolism was the topic. That's what we've been
arguing about on these 2001 threads.
Post by ichorwhip
  Let's consider your beliefs in that
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
1-2-3 order.
Sounds like someone's going to have surgery...
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
WHAT?  ALREADY I FIND MYSELF READY TO DOUBT YOU.
You really are mixed up. That isn't my position. That is what I
thought was Darin's position, the position I was about to refute. For
heaven's sake, Mr. I, look before you leap.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there.
I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this.  Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols?  If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning?  And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
You really need to settle down Leonard.  You are shoving words in
mouths at this point and becoming shrill.
I infer that you think any argument you disagree with is "shrill."
Any thoughtful person can see that my argument is just that, an
argument.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I suppose that here and there a few artists, novelists, poets,
playwrights, and auteurs have identified symbols in their creations -
or at least uttered general statements acknowledging that there were
symbols to be found.  Maybe Ingmar Bergman did; I'm not sure.  But
this certainly isn't typical behavior.  Artists put symbols in their
works and then let observers find and (they hope) appreciate them.
I really disagree with this on several grounds.  First off,  MAYBE
never gets it around here.  Secondly, I believe that symbolism is only
an incidental component of any true work of art. An artist is aware of
symbolism of course, but when truly inspired to create, the symbols
come as a matter of course. I'd be glad to go on for pages here, but
I'll let this do for now.
You are still on square one. The argument I was refuting - the
argument that there can be no symbolism unless the symbolist
acknowledges its presence - was subsequently disavowed by Darin.

Meanwhile, even if Darin had endorsed the argument I was refuting,
your own argument doesn't support "symbolism requires acknowledgment."
Indeed, your argument flies off into fantasyland. Consider the
implications of what you just wrote. "Symbolism is only an incidental
component of any true work of art." If you really believe that, you
believe there is not such thing as allegory. Because symbolism is
anything but "incidental" to allegory. Allegory depends on symbolism.
Symbols are the building blocks of allegory. Without symbols,
Orwell's ANIMAL FARM would be nothing but a story, a piece of fiction,
bearing no relationship to Russian Communism.

You'd be glad to go on for pages in support of your point? Please do.
Tell us in great detail why you believe that symbols are only
incidental to allegory. Tell us why, and how, allegory could strip
itself of these "incidental" decorations and still be allegory.

Or was it your point that allegory is not "a true work of art"?
Post by ichorwhip
, he was intensely secretive.  He wasn't giving hints
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
to anyone, not even his screenwriters.  In the case of 2001, his
allegorical masterpiece, he never revealed any of his symbols or even
provided the general information that the film was allegorical.   It
wasn't until several years until after the film was released that the
screenplay's co-author, Arthur Clarke, became aware that the name
Bowman alluded to the fact that Odysseus (symbolized by Dave Bowman)
was a bow-man (archer), master of the Great Bow with which he slew his
wife's nasty suitors.
Bowman is a referential name such as the literary lingo would have it.
There are all kinds of referential names in SK's films, Doctor
Strangelove being at the top of that pillar.  Referential names are
symbolic. So what?
So what? So Dave Bowman symbolizes Odysseus, the bow-man. And if
Bowman symbolizes Odysseus, we certainly have reason to believe that
2001 is an allegory. We do, of course, need supporting evidence: one
symbol does not make an allegory. But the other evidence has been
presented.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Another allegorical film conceived by Kubrick was A.I. ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE.   Here Kubrick was again intensely secretive.  Kubrick's
scriptwriters were contractually bound not to discuss their work.
Sara Maitland, one of these writers, wrote: "He was profoundly
secretive.  There was a silencing clause in my contract - I could not
talk about the film."  Another writer, Ian Watson, called Kubrick
"secretive Stanley."  Steven Spielberg said in an interview that,
after Kubrick persuaded Spielberg to direct A.I. (Spielberg later
backed off), Kubrick made Spielberg take an oath of secrecy.  Kubrick
also insisted that Spielberg install a secure fax in his bedroom
closet, out of sight from prying eyes.  When Spielberg wanted to
change the name of the robot teddy bear from Teddy to something else,
Kubrick insisted that the bear be called Teddy - but refused to reveal
to Spielberg the reason, namely, that (still unknown to Spielberg) the
name Teddy is symbolic and stands for Teddy's allegorical identity.
My point again: Kubrick was secretive.  Don't expect him to point out
his symbols.  Don't expect ANY artist to do that.
You really don't make a good point, as one thing is not really linked
to the other.  You seem to be saying that because Kubrick was
secretive he was a master of symbolism.
You're still standing on square one, totally mixed up about what's
being said. In the first place (but for the third time), Kubrick's
being secretive is no longer relevant. Darin clarified his position.
He said he did not mean to imply that failure by Kubrick to
acknowledge symbols would mean Kubrick did not use symbols.

In the second place, you completely missed my point. I was giving a
reason (Kubrick's penchant for secrecy) why Kubrick did not
acknowledge his symbols. That is a far cry from saying that being
secretive makes one a master of symbolism. Talk about putting words
in a person's mouth!
Post by ichorwhip
I think the reason he was so
secretive was that he wanted to protect his ideas.
I agree, but again you miss my point. My point was the very point you
must made. Where did you get the idea you were disagreeing with me?
Post by ichorwhip
One can never be
original if all your ideas are already out there. Just so happens
that a lot of his ideas contained symbolism.
Why do you say HIS [Kubrick's] ideas? Just about any idea can be
symbolized if a person wants to symbolize it. And any idea can also
be presented without symbolism. Kubrick chose to use symbolism in
2001 because he wanted to create an allegory.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ANALYTICAL SYMBOLISM vs. OTHER SYMBOLISM
You refer to a nebulous form of symbolism you call "analytical
symbolism."  But you don't say what it is, except that you give two
examples and then say "analytical symbolism" is symbolism where x = y.
  Clear as mud.  In ALL symbolism x = y.  That is, one thing (x)
stands
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
for another (y), to which the symbol (x) bears an analogical (usually)
or other relationship.  So "x = y" says absolutely nothing about how
"analytical symbols" differ from nonanalytical symbols.
The guy even professed his own ignorance and still you carry on like
this.
You're still at square one. For the fourth time, Darin later
clarified his position, saying he didn't believe there was any form of
symbolism not covered by his term "analytical symbolism." Meanwhile,
you also missed my point. I did not argue that "analytical" was the
wrong adjective; I did not say that Darin used the wrong term to
describe a special kind of symbolism. Go back and read the paragraph
you think you are refuting. Pay attention to my last sentence in that
paragraph: What Darin wrote "says absolutely nothing about how
'analytical symbols' differ from nonanalytical symbols." In other
words, Darin never got around to providing an intelligible description
of what sort of symbols he was talking about.

Also read the paragraph immediately following my words here. They
amplify my point, the point that Darin hasn't said what he means by
"analytical symbols." My point isn't about improper terminology.
If's about failure to define.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red).   Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"?  If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories.  It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups.  Here are the categories and some
Animal Farm is NOT that big of a deal. The Symbolism therein is so
obvious and so forth... Why you feel like you need to stick it in with
2001 symbols...I just don't know.
Whether ANIMAL FARM is a "big deal" is not an issue. I use examples
from that story because they are good examples of symbols. But you
really go overboard when you call Orwell's symbols obvious. Frankly,
I never would have recognized them if I hadn't known before I read it
that the story was an allegory describing the Russian revolution and
post-revolutionary Communism. And despite your blatant hint that you
knew this without being told, I don't believe you. There is nothing
obvious, for example, about Snowball's symbolizing Trotsky.

Indeed, Matthew Ryder (see his post on this thread) has argued that
symbols must be literal, containing detailed correspondence between
the symbol and the thing symbolized. Matthew thinks Frank Poole
(2001) can't symbolize Odysseus's crew because O's crew was "scraggly"
(he actually used a similar adjective that I can't recall but that
suggested a bunch of ruffians). Implicitly, he indicated that any
allegorical symbol for Odysseus's crew would have to speak Greek,
carry a sword, walk an actual ship (not a spaceship), and so on. In
short, he ruled out the possibility that a pig (curly tail, pointed
ears, blunt snout, hoofs, walking on all fours) could symbolize a man.

Likewise, when I asked Darin on an earlier thread - twice - to say
what the symbolism was in the name Snowball, he couldn't do it. Or,
at any rate, he refused to do it. The idea that he couldn't is just
my inference, but I strongly suspect it is correct.
Post by ichorwhip
<snipped the whole pointless litany>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
You have really derived more here than should be legal.
Your statement could be made only by a person who doesn't understand
allegory. I was pointing out that, by calling symbolism a "crude"
form of art, Darin was implicitly calling allegory a "crude" form of
art. Why is this so? Because allegory depends on symbols for its
existence. To repeat, symbols are the building blocks of allegory.
And allegory is loaded with symbols. So if symbols are "crude," that
makes allegory crude.

Yet anyone with a modicum of understanding of good literature knows
that allegory is not crude. Some of it may be crude, yes. I'm not
about to embark on a survey of allegory in search of examples of crude
allegories, but I suspect they exist. But there existence does (or
would) not mean that all allegories are crude. Allegory is a refined,
artistic type of literature that is not intrinsically crude. Yet
Darin implied that it is crude.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share.  Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You know Leonard, you lord your "knowledge" of allegory here so much
that I almost wish I didn't know anything about it.
I gather that you think anyone who expresses an opinion on a topic and
defends that opinion with argument and evidence is "lording" knowledge
of that topic. By that criterion, you are doing the same thing - or
at least you would be if you could come up with better arguments are
real evidence to support your position, whatever it might be.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work.  Well, sure.  Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings.
Are you some kind of sophomore? You write like it.
So it is sophomoric to refute the idea that allegory is not a
"powerful" way "to embed meaning in a work." You know, Mr. I, the
more I read of your statements, the less substance I see. In your
last two comments you spiral downwards from mere lack of substance to
name calling: "lording" and "sophomoric."
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
What? Allegory seems to me to be the easiest form of symbolism to
recognize because you know to look for it right from the first
identification.
What a strange statement, coming from a man who can't recognize
allegory even when it's pointed out to him. Part of the problem is
you can't even grasp what you call "the first identification." "A
Space ODYSSEY," Bowman = bowman, all of Bowman's crewmen dying just
like those of Odysseus, Bowman's killing the one-eyed monster (the
symbolized cyclops) - none of this can you recognize as pointing to
THE ODYSSEY's being symbolized. Face it, Mr. I, you can't recognize
what you call "the easiest form of symbolism to recognize."
Post by ichorwhip
Allegories are most always "exposed" before you ever
read them. I think it's fair to say that Kubrick's films can be seen
as being allegorical in certain ways, but it's all within the range of
subtext.
You seem to be saying that allegory can consist of occasional allusion
to the antecedent work, a narrow (implied) "range of subtext." But
what you describe is not allegory; it's called allegorical tendency.
Friedman writes (in THE PRINCETON ENCYCLOPEDIA OF POETRY AND POETICS):
"We have allegory when the events [I would say 'elements'] of a
narrative obviously and CONTINUOUSLY refer to another simultaneous
structure of events or ideas [the hidden story]." He adds that
continuity is what distinguishes allegory from mere allusion.
Allegory displays a continuing series of incidents or other symbols
that represent other incidents, things, or ideas. If the symbols are
only occasional, as you suggest 2001's symbols are, we have what
Friedman calls "allegorical tendency.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Kubrick's films ARE. Everything after this is a footnote.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4.  Be blatant in expressing the message.  Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across.  But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message -  suffers.
Ya think so?
This sort of flip, neo-Wordsmithian remark is a good example of what I
meant by your lack of substance.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I'm not saying that other types of artistry in a work can't be just as
worthy of appreciation as symbolism.  My favorite scene in 2001 is
where the moon bus glides over the barren moonscape.  That scene held
me in awe the first time a saw it - and has again done so every time
the art per se conveys no meaning.  It is simply something to be
appreciated (and it is worthy of appreciation).
Too many words...
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I hate to use cliches, but your notion that being an allegory would
("does" is the correct word) "seriously damage" 2001 boggles the mind.
  Where did you ever come up with the idea that allegory is "crude"
and harmful?
He NEVER came up with an identification of allegory to begin with.
That's your words.
You still can't recognize how closely allegory is identified with
symbolism. If symbolism is bad or "damaging" to the work in which it
appears, it is damaging to allegory, because allegory is based on
symbolism. Darin didn't have to mention the word allegory. Even if
his remarks had not arisen from the context of threads about allegory
in 2001, the implications for allegory would be there. And I was
pointing out those implications. If what he says is true, i.e., if
symbolism is "damaging" and "crude," then allegory - any allegory
whatsoever - is damaged goods.

Why do you find it so hard to grasp the connection between symbolism
and allegory?
Post by ichorwhip
I think what he was saying was that if 2001 et al
had symbols "deliberately buried" in it, then it would be a lesser
work of art.
How can you think that when you denied it a moment ago? I pointed out
that Darin was saying that deliberately buried symbols would
"seriously damage" 2001 and would be "crude." If so, that makes 2001
a "lesser work of art," doesn't it? Yet when I said essentially just
that, and then disagreed, you chose to disagree with me. Which is to
say, you agreed with Darin.
Post by ichorwhip
I say that Kubrick never was so obvious, and that his
work remains aesthetically intact.
Well, at least we can agree that his work remains aesthetically
intace.
ichorwhip
2003-09-09 05:01:17 UTC
Permalink
Omybog should I wade through all 400+ lines?  Sure swine not, it's
better than the usual faire... a crab floats on its back with frantic
mandibles aflutter...
Post by ichorwhip
<snipped orig post>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your comments and questions suggest that you believe three things: (1)
that symbolism cannot exist unless the person creating the symbols
says they are present in his work, 
I don't think he said that at all.
I shot from the hip, and now you are shooting from the hip.  If you
had read Darin's reply and my response before you posted, you could
have avoided your mistake.

You're wrong,  I responded to his post and then responded to your's . 
I have no obligation to read anything beyond what I respond to.  In
later replies I may have well amended what I had to interject.  Any
differences you worked out between yourselves are fine and dandy.  But
it just so happens that I find your slating of Symbolism to be rather
askew in and of itself, so there!

  Darin's requested evidence that Kubrick
admitted using symbolism.  I misinterpreted Darin's request as an
argument that, if Kubrick didn't admit using symbolism he must not
have used it.  Darin replied that he was not making that argument: he
didn't believe that failure to admit didn't mean Kubrick didn't use
symbolism.  I then acknowledged my mistake and apologized.

I know I saw it, but what if you hadn't admitted your mistake?  I
admit jocularity.  In any event, what you two guys worked out is moot
when it comes to the actual discussion of symbolism.

And here you are, back at square one.
Post by ichorwhip
(2) that "analytical symbolism" is
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
somehow different from unspecified other kinds of symbolism, and 
...and why wouldn't it be distinguishable even if it's named wrong?
Again, you should have read Darin's reply to my first post and my
response to that reply.

Why?  Am I a member of your fan club or something?  You can only
somewhat retract what you say here, you know, and I feel like you need
to debate to the last brain cell because of your many errors, not just
this one.

Darin's reply showed that, when he said
"analytical symbolism," he really meant all symbolism.  He was not
referring to a special kind of symbolism.  I then replied that he
should not have used the restrictive adjective "analytical," since he
really did not intend to put some other "nonanalytical" types of
symbolism in a separate category.  The correct term for what he
originally called "analytical symbolism" is simply "symbolism."

I read into this myself as is my wont.  Said symbolism which Darin was
talking about seemed to me like the deliberate and crast kind or,
better defined, DEGREE so obvious that it smacks you in the face with
contrivance.  Your semantic dialogue is still notwithstanding an
actual exegesis on symbolism.

Comes now Ichorwhip, stepping resolutely onto square one: "There
really is a special kind of symbolism that fits Darin's description of
'analytical symbolism' but has a different 'right' name [I'm
paraphrasing]."  Very well, Father Peace, please tell us what kinds of
symbolism you recognize that do NOT fit the description of what Darin
called "analytical symbolism."

Father Peace is it?  Well how about the kind that is subtle and crafty
and the work of a true artist?  How about that kind of symbolism
rather than that "anal-lyrical" kind.

Darin, in his reply, indicated that what he wrongly called "analytical
symbolism" really was all forms of symbolism.  But you think you know
of some other symbolism that is not covered by the term.  Tell us what
that other symbolism is.  And make sure it is really symbolism,
something used by the symbolist to represent something else besides
what the symbol actually is.

You make such a ridiculous request here that it just stuns the senses,
"like some dull opiate emptied to the drains."  You think you can box
me into answering your wrong-headed regurgitation?
Post by ichorwhip
(3)
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
that allegory, which depends on symbols for its meaning, is a "crude"
form of art for that very reason.
He never named what he was talking about "allegory" and professed his
own ignorance.
He didn't need to say allegory, because the context made it obvious
that allegorical symbolism was the topic.  That's what we've been
arguing about on these 2001 threads.

I think you have an allegory on your right temporal lobe. I read a
substancial portion of the 2001 threads of late and chose to little
participate as much as my eyes were gored by your unrestricted
bullshit. But here we are now and I am anew.
Post by ichorwhip
  Let's consider your beliefs in that
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
1-2-3 order.
Sounds like someone's going to have surgery...
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
SYMBOLISM REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGMENT
WHAT?  ALREADY I FIND MYSELF READY TO DOUBT YOU.
You really are mixed up.  That isn't my position.  That is what I
thought was Darin's position, the position I was about to refute.  For
heaven's sake, Mr. I, look before you leap.

NO, you look!  Since you leaped for judgement against our poor fellow
without even a question with your amazing pyrotechnic analysis, you
are open game for criticism, and such I will continue.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Although you don't say so in so many words, you seem to imply that
symbolism cannot - and should not - be recognized in a novel, poem,
play, or film unless the author, poet, playwright, or auteur, says the
symbolism is there.
I slowly shake my head is disbelief that someone
would suggest this.  Did George Orwell ever say that his allegorical
novel ANIMAL FARM contains symbols?  If he didn't, do his symbols lose
their meaning?  And does his book therefore cease to be an allegory?
You really need to settle down Leonard.  You are shoving words in
mouths at this point and becoming shrill.
I infer that you think any argument you disagree with is "shrill."
Any thoughtful person can see that my argument is just that, an
argument.

It was a load of horseshit for the most part, if you want my
unadulterated opinion.  Your style was bombastic, who do you think
your are? me? Unlike me you derive a lot of extra horseshit out of
thin air. When I do it it's a rather obvious joke, but you man,
there's something to be desired in your approach.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
I suppose that here and there a few artists, novelists, poets,
playwrights, and auteurs have identified symbols in their creations -
or at least uttered general statements acknowledging that there were
symbols to be found.  Maybe Ingmar Bergman did; I'm not sure.  But
this certainly isn't typical behavior.  Artists put symbols in their
works and then let observers find and (they hope) appreciate them.
I really disagree with this on several grounds.  First off,  MAYBE
never gets it around here.  Secondly, I believe that symbolism is only
an incidental component of any true work of art. An artist is aware of
symbolism of course, but when truly inspired to create, the symbols
come as a matter of course.  I'd be glad to go on for pages here, but
I'll let this do for now.
You are still on square one.  The argument I was refuting - the
argument that there can be no symbolism unless the symbolist
acknowledges its presence - was subsequently disavowed by Darin.

You are still one side of a square and so forth...  In the paragraph
you choose to ignore what I really had to say about symbolism and the
way you should "comport yourself publicwise" in this newsgroup lest
you favor thrashings and the old mental ultraviolence.

Meanwhile, even if Darin had endorsed the argument I was refuting,
your own argument doesn't support "symbolism requires acknowledgment."

Of course not, I don't agree with your terminology or your
interpretation.  You try to make symbolism seem like a discipline, and
I completely see it the other way around.

Indeed, your argument flies off into fantasyland.

So right here we draw a line.  I'm defending the legitimacy of pure
creative artistry, and that inspiration is an indefinable source of
this, at least by mere mortals, and that symbolism is an incidental
component of true inspiration.  Lesser outbursts of art employ
symbolism on varying degrees.  I never once denied that writers employ
symbolism.  What sets a great writer apart are those that AFTER the
creation has been penned realize the symbols they've created.  What
you deem to be "fantasyland" may fit in well with your own beliefs and
that's okay, but you'll have to attack a much bigger belief system
than you're letting on when you attack me.  Let's go.

  Consider the
implications of what you just wrote.  "Symbolism is only an incidental
component of any true work of art."  If you really believe that, you
believe there is not such thing as allegory.

Faulty logic on your part.  I know very well of allegory and consider
it a lesser form of symbolism.  Symbolism is divisible into varying
degrees only in the way it is employed(low art) or in the way it just
happens(high art). Your flying off on your own invention.  I am of the
opinion and with support from those highest in the history of art,
that truly inspired work comes from the artist with the purist intent.


  Because symbolism is
anything but "incidental" to allegory.
Allegory depends on symbolism.

No shit fella.

Symbols are the building blocks of allegory.  Without symbols,
Orwell's ANIMAL FARM would be nothing but a story, a piece of fiction,
bearing no relationship to Russian Communism.

If you think that allegory such as appears in 'Animal Farm' is the
ONLY DEGREE of symbolism than you really need a checkup from the
neckup.  You act like you're so huge and proving points here, but
you've merely taken your own ignorance and flown towards the sun on
wings of wax only to perish in a blaze of confusion.

You'd be glad to go on for pages in support of your point?  Please do.

You don't have to say please.  Since you want to throw down your
highly distorted gauntlet, I will go on as long as I feel like it.

Tell us in great detail why you believe that symbols are only
incidental to allegory.

No you ninny, I will teach you of the depth of the varying degrees of
symbolism in art the best I can and not be penned in by your rotten
little conclusions and wretched requests.

  Tell us why, and how, allegory could strip
itself of these "incidental" decorations and still be allegory.

Your distortion here is just plain insulting, well done!

Or was it your point that allegory is not "a true work of art"?

Oooo, maybe he's starting to get it?  I doubt it.
Post by ichorwhip
, he was intensely secretive.  He wasn't giving hints
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
to anyone, not even his screenwriters.  In the case of 2001, his
allegorical masterpiece, he never revealed any of his symbols or even
provided the general information that the film was allegorical.   It
wasn't until several years until after the film was released that the
screenplay's co-author, Arthur Clarke, became aware that the name
Bowman alluded to the fact that Odysseus (symbolized by Dave Bowman)
was a bow-man (archer), master of the Great Bow with which he slew his
wife's nasty suitors.
Bowman is a referential name such as the literary lingo would have it.
  There are all kinds of referential names in SK's films, Doctor
Strangelove being at the top of that pillar.  Referential names are
symbolic.  So what?
So what?  So Dave Bowman symbolizes Odysseus, the bow-man.  And if
Bowman symbolizes Odysseus, we certainly have reason to believe that
2001 is an allegory.  We do, of course, need supporting evidence: one
symbol does not make an allegory.  But the other evidence has been
presented.

For one who thinks so highly of their literary aptitude, I can not
begin to believe that you are not going to acknowledge referential
names as being a legitimate literary device.  They are symbolic by
definition.  Some are more creative than others.  Referential naming
goes back as far as the 'Everyman' allegory from the middle ages.  I'd
say that they are akin to allegory and therefore a lesser degree of
symbolism.  Seeing the eye of HAL as the eye of the centaur, ah... 
that's a bit more sophisticated.  I should love to believe that the
look of HAL's eye is highly inspired and chock full of symbolism.  Did
Kubrick say to himself, "Gee I wonder how I can show symbolically that
HAL is the centaur in the Odyssey?"  I doubt he ever had such a
seriously contrived thought in his life.

<snip ai garble>
Post by ichorwhip
You really don't make a good point, as one thing is not really linked
to the other.  You seem to be saying that because Kubrick was
secretive he was a master of symbolism.
You're still standing on square one, totally mixed up about what's
being said.

No, you're still making excuses to cover up for how you jumped the
gun. I'll even bet that you think you're bothering me and succeeding
at intimidating me with this brusque tone, another of your failures.

  In the first place (but for the third time)

Like Hemingway, I love repetition, especially in threes...

, Kubrick's
being secretive is no longer relevant.  Darin clarified his position.
He said he did not mean to imply that failure by Kubrick to
acknowledge symbols would mean Kubrick did not use symbols.

I think he would have admitted it.  Any good artist is bound to use
them whether they like it or not.  In plotting a story, things come to
you. However truly inspired the symbols are dictate the quality of
them.  What Kubrick wouldn't do is discuss symbolism to any great
extent.  The most I'd ever read that he'd said about symbolism exists
in the famous 1968 Playboy interview and it's all about 2001. Now I
know you read that!

In the second place, you completely missed my point.  I was giving a
reason (Kubrick's penchant for secrecy) why Kubrick did not
acknowledge his symbols.  That is a far cry from saying that being
secretive makes one a master of symbolism.  Talk about putting words
in a person's mouth!

Okay, you're plucky enough to deserve one retraction then...
Post by ichorwhip
I think the reason he was so
secretive was that he wanted to protect his ideas.
I agree, but again you miss my point.  My point was the very point you
must<sic> made.  Where did you get the idea you were disagreeing with
me?

Oh it's just something I do for kicks... seriously I have issue with a
much larger schematic of yours.
Post by ichorwhip
One can never be
original if all your ideas are already out there.  Just so happens
that a lot of his ideas contained symbolism.
Why do you say HIS [Kubrick's] ideas?

Because I'm talking about Kubrick?  durr!

  Just about any idea can be
symbolized if a person wants to symbolize it.

What the crap is this all about?!

  And any idea can also
be presented without symbolism.  Kubrick chose to use symbolism in
2001 because he wanted to create an allegory.

I think the story of 2001 CALLED for an allegory. It's far from the
only element in 2001 of course, and in some ways the lesser strictly
in terms of symbolism.  Don't you see the chicken and egg quagmire
yet?
Post by ichorwhip
The guy even professed his own ignorance and still you carry on like
this.
You're still at square one.

You are at circle negative three, make your bearing 3 right and
polygonish...

  For the fourth time,

This is the shrillness aforesaid... for the fourteenth time...

Darin later
clarified his position, saying he didn't believe there was any form of
symbolism not covered by his term "analytical symbolism."

gargle!  gack!

  Meanwhile,
you also missed my point.

Too dull to make much of a point but better than duhbasco...

  I did not argue that "analytical" was the
wrong adjective; I did not say that Darin used the wrong term to
describe a special kind of symbolism.  Go back and read the paragraph
you think you are refuting. 

Are you asking me or are you telling me?

Pay attention to my last sentence in that
paragraph: What Darin wrote "says absolutely nothing about how
'analytical symbols' differ from nonanalytical symbols."  In other
words, Darin never got around to providing an intelligible description
of what sort of symbols he was talking about.

Yeah Darin was a Durrrrrr-wood!!!!   I knew you didn't have any
respect for him, and here is more ironclad proof!!!

Also read the paragraph immediately following my words here.

I think Hitler said the same line a few times in reference to 'Mein
Kamph'...   you are so pushy Lenode, you make me want to tear my eyes
out whilst weeping tears of blood...

  They
amplify my point,

amplify?  like a sub -woofer?   durrr?

the point that Darin hasn't said what he means by
"analytical symbols."  My point isn't about improper terminology.
If's about failure to define.

Failure to define, yes, that would be a good point if you hadn't
blathered and dithered needlessly with much pompousness and not really
made it.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Your two examples of analytical symbols are shapes (hexagons) and
colors (red).   Are you implying that only symbols that are shapes or
colors are "analytical"?  If not, your two examples are pointless.
They are examples of symbols in the broad sense (symbols in general)
but not of those particular, more narrowly defined symbols you call
"analytical symbols."
Elsewhere I have grouped the types of symbols used by Kubrick in 2001
into fourteen categories.  It will help if you tell us which of these
fourteen categories belong in the "analytical" group and which belong
in the other group or groups.  Here are the categories and some
Animal Farm is NOT that big of a deal.  The Symbolism therein is so
obvious and so forth... Why you feel like you need to stick it in with
2001 symbols...I just don't know.
Whether ANIMAL FARM is a "big deal" is not an issue.

Oh I think you lie. You love 'Animal Farm' like a pet.

  I use examples
from that story because they are good examples of symbols.

What does a fart symbolize to you?

  But you
really go overboard when you call Orwell's symbols obvious.  Frankly,
I never would have recognized them if I hadn't known before I read it
that the story was an allegory describing the Russian revolution and
post-revolutionary Communism.  And despite your blatant hint that you
knew this without being told, I don't believe you.  There is nothing
obvious, for example, about Snowball's symbolizing Trotsky.

Well you're only right to certain extent.  I was schooled in 'Animal
Farm' and taught to think by professors of high esteem that 'Animal
Farm' is pretty hackish and obvious within the context of the
historical period that Orwell attacks.  There are much finer
allegories to be had apparently, but I don't know them all in a row
for you.  Allegories are seldom just that, a drama or western or
something most always accompany them in film.  That is in a film that
more than 1000 people see. Is 2001 the greatest allegory of all time? 
Well I'd say it's the greatest, and it has elements of allegory
interwined with symbolism derived through literary allusion among many
other facets and splendours.

Indeed, Matthew Ryder (see his post on this thread) has argued that
symbols must be literal, containing detailed correspondence between
the symbol and the thing symbolized.

Symbols must literal, news alert!, repeating ... symbols must be
literal

  Matthew thinks Frank Poole
(2001) can't symbolize Odysseus's crew because O's crew was "scraggly"
(he actually used a similar adjective that I can't recall but that
suggested a bunch of ruffians).  Implicitly, he indicated that any
allegorical symbol for Odysseus's crew would have to speak Greek,
carry a sword, walk an actual ship (not a spaceship), and so on.  In
short, he ruled out the possibility that a pig (curly tail, pointed
ears, blunt snout, hoofs, walking on all fours) could symbolize a man.

I'll disagree with him later, which is sure to drive you crazy as I
make my way through this thread...

Likewise, when I asked Darin on an earlier thread - twice - to say
what the symbolism was in the name Snowball, he couldn't do it.  Or,
at any rate, he refused to do it.  The idea that he couldn't is just
my inference, but I strongly suspect it is correct.

Yeah, the Darren the Durrwood theory!  I'm sure he appreciates how
deeply you scar for him.
Post by ichorwhip
<snipped the whole pointless litany>
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ALLEGORY IS A CRUDE FORM OF ART
Your third belief is that allegory is a "crude" form of art, because
it is based on the use of symbols, which are a crude form of art.
You have really derived more here than should be legal.
Your statement could be made only by a person who doesn't understand
allegory.  I was pointing out that, by calling symbolism a "crude"
form of art, Darin was implicitly calling allegory a "crude" form of
art.  Why is this so?  Because allegory depends on symbols for its
existence.  To repeat, symbols are the building  blocks of allegory.
And allegory is loaded with symbols.  So if symbols are "crude," that
makes allegory crude.

Uh lenode, you seem to sort of be arguing with yourself here buddy...
All allegories aside, those cheapest forms of symbolism.

Yet anyone with a modicum of understanding of good literature knows
that allegory is not crude.

Yeah they would also know from your last sentence that you can't write
to match your ego.

  Some of it may be crude, yes.  I'm not
about to embark on a survey of allegory in search of examples of crude
allegories, but I suspect they exist.

Have a good trip, say hello to the folks back home!

  But there<sic> existence does (or
would) not mean that all allegories are crude.  Allegory is a refined,
artistic type of literature that is not intrinsically crude.  Yet
Darin implied that it is crude.

It is crude in comparison to a truly inspired symbol.  Beginning to
catch on?

 
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
Well, that's your opinion, but it is not one that many people who are
knowledgeable about allegory are likely to share.  Personally, I think
that allegory is what raises 2001 to the level of a masterpiece.
You know Leonard, you lord your "knowledge" of allegory here so much
that I almost wish I didn't know anything about it.
I gather that you think anyone who expresses an opinion on a topic and
defends that opinion with argument and evidence is "lording" knowledge
of that topic.  By that criterion, you are doing the same thing - or
at least you would be if you could come up with better arguments are
real evidence to support your position, whatever it might be.

Oooweee!  Even the "real evidence" and "support" you cultivate all has
your spore all over it.  You write with a nasty tone, and now I'm
showing you yourself.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
You say there are other "more powerful ways" to embed meaning in a
work.  Well, sure.  Allegory relies on artistry and subtlety.
Appreciating it requires intelligence, because only by grasping
analogies can you recognize the symbols and their meanings.
Are you some kind of sophomore?  You write like it.
So it is sophomoric to refute the idea that allegory is not a
"powerful" way "to embed meaning in a work."  You know, Mr. I, the
more I read of your statements, the less substance I see.  In your
last two comments you spiral downwards from mere lack of substance to
name calling: "lording" and "sophomoric."

Both of which you are, what do you think of me now?  I speak what I
feel is true, which ain't much, and attack which I think is false,
which is a lot, but not all!
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
So
allegory does lack the power to be easily recognized, and this means
that the meaning may be lost.
What?  Allegory seems to me to be the easiest form of symbolism to
recognize because you know to look for it right from the first
identification.
What a strange statement, coming from a man who can't recognize
allegory even when it's pointed out to him. 

What a stranger statement coming from a man who can't even seem to
argue properly or understand anything right.

Part of the problem is
you can't even grasp what you call "the first identification."  "A
Space ODYSSEY," Bowman = bowman, all of Bowman's crewmen dying just
like those of Odysseus, Bowman's killing the one-eyed monster (the
symbolized cyclops) - none of this can you recognize as pointing to
THE ODYSSEY's being symbolized.  Face it, Mr. I, you can't recognize
what you call "the easiest form of symbolism to recognize."

You stupid man, heh heh heh, you twist a most atrocious falsehood of
my understanding.  I feel easy and with my case already rested. but
I'll continue nevertheless.
Post by ichorwhip
Allegories are most always "exposed" before you ever
read them.  I think it's fair to say that Kubrick's films can be seen
as being allegorical in certain ways, but it's all within the range of
subtext.
You seem to be saying that allegory can consist of occasional allusion
to the antecedent work, a narrow (implied) "range of subtext."  But
what you describe is not allegory; it's called allegorical tendency.
Friedman writes (in THE PRINCETON ENCYCLOPEDIA OF POETRY AND POETICS):

SHOCK!

"We have allegory when the events [I would say 'elements'] of a
narrative obviously and CONTINUOUSLY refer to another simultaneous
structure of events or ideas [the hidden story]."  He adds that
continuity is what distinguishes allegory from mere allusion.
Allegory displays a continuing series of incidents or other symbols
that represent other incidents, things, or ideas. If the symbols are
only occasional, as you suggest 2001's symbols are, we have what
Friedman calls "allegorical tendency.

Well I like that.  You can call it whatever, but "allegorical
tendency" is a bit closer defined than allusion.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
  Kubrick's films ARE.  Everything after this is a footnote.
At the other extreme is the alternative you seem to prefer: smack them
with a 2 x 4.  Be blatant in expressing the message.  Yes, that's more
likely to get the message across.  But I think the artistry - and
maybe respect for the message -  suffers.
Ya think so?
This sort of flip, neo-Wordsmithian remark is a good example of what I
meant by your lack of substance.

Well Mr. Fussypants, if you can not grasp the wierd reality of fine
art, I certainly see no way to change you.  Wordsmith understands art 
I think; what you are doing is overwrought and totally misses the
point of creativity. I'm guessing you were a total flop in art class.

<snip>
Post by ichorwhip
He NEVER came up with an identification of allegory to begin with.
That's your words.
You still can't recognize how closely allegory is identified with
symbolism.

Nasty little parry.  How would you know what I or anyone else can't do
Lenoard?  Are you God?  If you are you are doing a suck job!

  If symbolism is bad or "damaging" to the work in which it
appears, it is damaging to allegory, because allegory is based on
symbolism.

Screwy logic seminar:  August 10th featuring Leonard

  Darin didn't have to mention the word allegory.

You have now said "allegory" 1500 times in the last 24 hours and are
subject to penalty if you exceed this limit.

  Even if
his remarks had not arisen from the context of threads about allegory
in 2001, the implications for allegory would be there.  And I was
pointing out those implications.  If what he says is true, i.e., if
symbolism is "damaging" and "crude," then allegory - any allegory
whatsoever - is damaged goods.

I understood this fourtieth time I read it.

Why do you find it so hard to grasp the connection between symbolism
and allegory?

'Cause I'm TARDDDDDDD!!!!   yupyupp  phelgm ugh uk!
Post by ichorwhip
I think what he was saying was that if 2001 et al
had symbols "deliberately buried" in it, then it would be a lesser
work of art.
How can you think that when you denied it a moment ago?  I pointed out
that Darin was saying that deliberately buried symbols would
"seriously damage" 2001 and would be "crude."  If so, that makes 2001
a "lesser work of art," doesn't it?  Yet when I said essentially just
that, and then disagreed, you chose to disagree with me.  Which is to
say, you agreed with Darin.

I think I might need to hit a bong to understand that last bit of
spittle.  Wheat?  did you ferment into beer?  I disagree with bullshit
and you have plenty of it.  Darin is excused although he probably owes
me a few insults because I'm a smart ass unlike the dumb ass that you
are.  Get in touch with your inner child or something.  You come out
harsh and you shall be treated harshly.   "So it is written and so it
shall be done."
Post by ichorwhip
I say that Kubrick never was so obvious, and that his
work remains aesthetically intact.
Well, at least we can agree that his work remains aesthetically
intace.<sic>

You really need to learn to spell at crucial moments Leonard...

"Left over the right, right over the left, left over the right, right
over the left..."

Ichorwhip
"Peace is our Profession"
ichorwhip
2003-09-09 12:00:02 UTC
Permalink
My own correction: I noticed I incorrectly and rather amusingly
misnamed the cyclops in the 'Odyssey' a "centaur". Maybe with all the
horseshit flying around I got confused. Or maybe that I myself in
certain ways, except for shitting of course, resemble a creature with
the head of a man and the equipment of a horse. I'm sure Ray
Harryhausen would have been highly animated, and I apologize.

Ichorsewhip
"Peace is our Profession"
Bullwinkle
2003-09-09 17:27:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by ichorwhip
Or maybe that I myself in
certain ways, except for shitting of course, resemble a creature with
the head of a man and the equipment of a horse.
Popular with the ladies, eh? Good for you!

ichorwhip
2003-09-07 01:43:28 UTC
Permalink
I'd just assume answer as best I can afresh and then wade through the
Post by Darin Boville
We have spent much electronic ink over the years debating the
symbolism in SK's films. For example, we've debated at length the idea
that a certain geomatric shape may represent a certain household
construction material and just now that certain colors map to a scale
of socio-economic standing.
I would agree that there is symbolism in SK's films.
Post by Darin Boville
This sort of symbolism I'll call (out of ignorance of the correct
term) analytical symbolism. That is, is x=y, hexagons = bathroom
tiles, red = wealth, and so on.
My question is this: in there any evidence from the interviews Kubrick
has done that he thinks in this way? That he encodes anything into his
films in a "analytic symbolism" manner?
I think a more exact term for what you intimate may be "deliberate
symbolism". All pretensions aside, I'd say the symbols arise out of
the scripts and the film footage. Almost akin to the conceit is the
Shelley line "one can not say I will write poetry." :: That is, one
can not write a symbolic work of literature, it simply happens within
the context of the author's creativity.
Post by Darin Boville
The reason I ask is that from an art perspective this sort of bald
mapping of meaning within an artwork is only one way (and a rather
crude way) to embed meaning within a work.
I would say that you used a roundabout way to ID phonies.

There are more powerful
Post by Darin Boville
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
Well you just have to watch them for yourself and detach the notion of
anything based on what everybody else has to say. Your own
subjectivity very much depends on your will to be objective in this
regard.
Post by Darin Boville
So where does Kubrick EVER suggest such a mapping exists in any of his
films? I can't think of a single example, though that may be due to
the early hour and lack of sleep!
SK never gave any specifics of course, knowing that his art was strong
enough to stand on its own. You insult his intelligence even implying
that he was slinging symbols like some art-house whore. He was a true
artist, all the symbolism and mystique roils off of this fact.

Ichorwhip
"It's a very important work of art."
"Peace is our profession"
Darin Boville
2003-09-07 14:03:51 UTC
Permalink
***@netzero.net (ichorwhip) wrote in message news:<***@posting.google.com>...
[snip]
Post by ichorwhip
SK never gave any specifics of course, knowing that his art was strong
enough to stand on its own. You insult his intelligence even implying
that he was slinging symbols like some art-house whore.
[Snip]
Post by ichorwhip
Ichorwhip
"It's a very important work of art."
"Peace is our profession"
I have never implied that he was "slinging symbols like some art-house
whore"! I have, to the best of my ability, been making exactly the
opposite point!

--Darin

Darin Boville
Fine Art Photography and Video
www.darinboville.com
ichorwhip
2003-09-07 18:46:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
[snip]
Post by ichorwhip
SK never gave any specifics of course, knowing that his art was strong
enough to stand on its own. You insult his intelligence even implying
that he was slinging symbols like some art-house whore.
[Snip]
Post by ichorwhip
Ichorwhip
"It's a very important work of art."
"Peace is our profession"
I have never implied that he was "slinging symbols like some art-house
whore"! I have, to the best of my ability, been making exactly the
opposite point!
--Darin
You said:

There are more powerful
Post by Leonard F. Wheat
ways (working on a different part of the brain, so to speak) that can
be used--and I've always felt that SK was good at these other ways. It
would seriously damage the films, in my eyes, if they turned out to be
be heavily involved in "analytic symbolism."
I guess my language was a little stern within your context. The "You"
in my sentence can be taken rather generally in retrospect. Sorry if
I offended you.

Ichorwhip
"peace is our Profession"
Mike Jackson
2003-09-07 14:20:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by ichorwhip
SK never gave any specifics of course, knowing that his art was strong
enough to stand on its own. You insult his intelligence even implying
that he was slinging symbols like some art-house whore. He was a true
artist, all the symbolism and mystique roils off of this fact.
Ichorwhip
Um, where can one meet an actual art-house whore?
It's strictly for research purposes of course.

MJ
--
"For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier...
I put them in the same room and let them fight it out."
-- Steven Wright
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