Pure Dead Brilliant

Pure Dead Brilliant

John Pistelli finds some interesting parallels between Sin City & The Passion of the Christ.

I couldn’t agree more!

good night friends!



  1. hi there. You’re blog is interesting…but the fact that it is too wide for my browser drives me crazy. Is there anything you can do to fix it, unless you happen to prefer scrolling back and forth to read the posts. I’ve tried it in Firefox and IE, on a Mac and on a PC. It’s too wide on all of them. Thanks for letting me vent.

  2. hey, thanks DJ GS!

    I’m not sure what’s creating the browser problems… I use firefox and IE (on a PC) too, and they each display the entire blog on my screen…

    sadly, I am not the world’s most technically-savvy individual… anyone have any ideas?


  3. Hey, Dave, I decided to move this over here rather than fill up Tim’s site with more of our warbling.

    Me: “One has to deal with what the art object contributes to our interpretation.”

    You: “why? what you’re saying is that the art of interpretation is some kind of a vote that will determine what the objective qualities of a work of art are…”

    No, what I’m saying is that like when talking to me, you might want to simply insert your own thoughts into the object, but it resists. You don’t call yourself a subjectivist, but if that’s all there is to your interpretation of something, then you are one, objectively so. Does art constrain interpretations? If you say no, you’re a subjectivist. But no subjectivist can actually act like a subjectivist. That’s why subjectivism is wrong. If you want to claim that some quality doesn’t exist in the object without us, you might be right, but who knows? Sounds good to me, what’s red without the right arrangement of photoreceptors and neurons? It doesn’t make it any less objective to say our relation to object brings out certain qualities, that just makes it an objective relational quality. The world is “pregnant with meaning”. Why does one have to deal with what the art contributes? Well, because you’re supposedly dealing with the art, not just your own mentations.

    You: “again–why? it’s a cultural power play. that’s the only thing it could possibly be!”

    It depends on what you mean by cultural power play. First, if you think you’re right about it being a cultural power play and that I’m not, then it’s because of something more than your subjectivity is overpowering mine. I mean, there’s plenty of examples of where certain egos overpower others yet no one in their right mind would argue the powerful were right because they were powerful. But if you’re just using 60s cant to say art is culture and arguments about the value and meaning of art are cultural arguments and some arguments are more powerful than others, thus, arguments about art are cultural power plays, then I’m in agreement. But, that’s probably not what you’re saying (even though I wish it were). Some people have stupid opinions about things and others don’t. That’s in part because some people are clueless about what they’re opining. It’s been my experience that it’s not always the intelligent who achieve cultural power.

    You: “you’re right though, I’ve never seen the thing in itself, so who am I to say that you’re not seeing it? but what does it mean when we don’t both see the same thing? I guess one of us is wrong? how can an impression be “wrong”?”

    Well, we could get into some kind of a lengthy discussion about whether any of us are talking about the same object, but I’ll just say that I’m an old-fashioned pluralist, so I don’t accept objectivity as an inherently zero-sum game. If it’s all subjective interpretation, then you can’t even state that we’re not seeing the same thing or that we’re seeing the same thing. This isn’t that abstract, I should think, if you encounter something that results in a change within you, then there’s something more than your own thought involved.

    You: “this subjectivism (and please note that I’ve never identified myself as a subjectivist!) thing gets crazy, because you want me to defend the position that anyone can impose any meaning upon any text… I’ve never made that claim… It’s pretty clear that certain texts have very definite meanings for me… Whenever our opinions differ, you chalk it up to my “subjectivism” (i.e. you claim that my interpretations are perverse/playful, rather than honest accounts of my encounters with texts–because, of course, a truly objective statement about the text would tally–if not exactly, then pretty nearly so–with yours!)…

    ‘when I talk about the subjective in art, I am saying that I think it’s very possible that others could look at a text and see all kinds of things there that I don’t see (without being more or less “right”)–I have never said that I am capable of making any text mean anything I want to mean! every piece of criticism that I’ve ever written has been a performance of a my attempt to come to grips with an object that fascinates me…no more, no less!”

    My major bone of contention here isn’t that you have some different insights into some work we’ve both read or watched, but that continued insistence it’s nothing more than some extra-art aspect that causes it, be that aspect structure, culture, psychology or whatever else other than the art itself. However, I’m not even denying the possibile influence of those factors, just trying to get you to acknowledge that the art is also contributing something to the dialogue about the art.

    Haven’t read the stuff in your current link, but the blood was better in THE PASSION. But SIN CITY wins with the ass shots.

  4. ah Charles–good idea!

    I think I’ll transform my reply into a blog entry on textual resistance (and I agree that texts–just like people–do resist our subjective wills–it’s just that they tend to resist each interpreter’s will in such different ways that, ultimately, I really don’t see how it adds up to anything that anyone can identify as a stable object…), next time I take a break from this historiographical opus…



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