The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whiteout Theatre

Lately I have been thinking about the role of the unsaid in art. Well, kind of. I've actually been thinking about Four Thirty Three and humming The Sound of Silence. As I understand it, someone has tried the same chortle with a blank canvas at some point.

What's the point, you might ask? (Not about the Sound of Silence. That's an awesome song.) Well, you could argue that by putting a little blank in a frame, you're making a statement about framing, an attempt to divert attention to the artistic beauty of leaves and pies and fire hydrants. Sometimes, it's a statement about authorial intent and primarily of interest to the kind of academics who spend their budget on tea and biscuits rather than on lasers and steam engines (known in the trade as slackers). Sometimes, I like to think, it's a statement about the Emporer's New Clothes.

The real value of the unsaid, if you ask me, isn't about blank canvases and silent songs. You need material to make a framework, and the viewer fills in the gaps with their own virtual reality.

This, incidentally, is something that humans are already doing every waking moment- in fact, we do it on levels higher than the neorological: in evidence I present the fact that Homestar is reognisably human, and can display a wide range of emotions, depsite lacking almost every feature. I'd go so far as to say that our perceptions are "really" a spotlight, constantly darting from faces to hands and most everything else goes unnoticed.

More relevant to art, though, are the gaps we fill in our ridiculously non-sequiteur conversations and the agent thinking that is behind (among other things) animism, cartesian duality, and Freaky Friday.

So, not at all originally, I thought I'd take a piece of communication and destory some of it's message with some digital tipex. I think the new version carries a strong story not intended in the author's vision, because it is supplied by my (and hopefully your) social library.

I call it Li'l Suzy and the Pink Pistols1. (For sanity reasons, it'll only display on the post page: click here if you don't see it.) For context, the original unexpurgated Li'l Suzy is here, but I warn you: I don't think she's half as cute when you can hear her.

1. I'm a bad internet citizen. A simple google-search would have taught me that the Pink Pistols name belongs to a real group of people. In fact, they are jolly interesting people who I may discuss at another time, though fans of terror and mayhem will be disappointed to learn that they don't seem to be out for the blood of every straight person. Instead it's self-defence, sense of belonging, rights of the idividual, blah blah blah. Since my original choice of name is misleading, how about... Li'l Suzy and The Isle of Saphos? Li'l Suzy and Her Audition fort Hallmark?2
2. I really hope that Hallmark don't object if I compare them to cute kids over-acting a U-rated love scene.


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7 Comments:

At 8:20 pm, August 01, 2007, Blogger Nathan said...

In retrospect, I think I should have removed more words- like, all of them after the first panel or so. Somehow, even the fragments that remain make it too over-the-top. The second-to-last panel ruins the subtlety of it, somehow. Strange, then, that my first attempt had quite a lot more text. In one version, I left all of Cathy's text intact- but it basically boils down to "ORLY?", "NO WAI", and the obligatory "so I guess Jesus rules" ending (in Wednesday White's terminology, you have to have one of the God Shot or the Hell Toss).

Still, the silent love story still appeals to me. Maybe because it's as if it's underlining how trivial the actual words we say tend to be in comparison to the subtext and body language- especially in the minefield that Suzy and Cathy seem to be walking (though with a happy ending, it seems).

 
At 2:04 am, August 04, 2007, Blogger ck215 said...

I stopped reading the blog after the first paragraph, and the comment after the first comma. Summarize please.

 
At 10:27 am, August 04, 2007, Blogger Nathan said...

"Chick Tracts are about over-the-top religious extremism. If you remove the words, it comes across as over-the-top lesbianism. Plus, I am super smart and use tons of big words."

 
At 8:06 pm, August 04, 2007, Blogger Charlie said...

I'll assume that's a good summary. Plus, you do use long words.

 
At 5:22 am, August 17, 2007, Blogger Gwen said...

Why on EARTH would you call it "Lil Suzi and the Pink Pistols"?

What does that piece of Bible-thumping propaganda have to do with GLBT self-defense with lawfully-owned firearms? I'll grant you the semi-homoerotic component in it, but it's a stretch. And it has ZERO to do with our organization.

Would you please explain the connection for me? Perhaps your humor is a little too cerebral for me.

---Gwen Patton
Pink Pistols
International Media Spokesperson
www.pinkpistols.org

 
At 9:34 am, August 17, 2007, Blogger Nathan said...

Gwen,

It seems I have failed to do my research, and for that I apologise.

I had no idea the Pink Pistols existed outside the fever-dream of Fox News- I'm sure you're aware of the kind of reports I'm talking about. As a Briton I get such things rather second-hand through other blogs or YouTube- and as a Briton, the idea of guns as an affirmation of individual rights didn't even occur to me (but that's a debate for another time). By no means did I mean to imply a connection with any real group. I've added a note explaining this on the original post.

I'll admit the humour was a little rarefied, but the point I was trying to make was this: as human beings, we can read expressions and attitudes. To a young secularist like myself, the story looks like a cutesy valentines card. In fact, it is a celebration of religious ecstasy, and associated with a pretty terrifying world-view. I suppose the joke is innuendo, basically, though I did my best to dress it up with noises about authorial intent. That being so, I find it delicious that the author would be horrified if anyone thought his work even marginally sympathetic to a romance between two girls.

The title- "Li'l Suzy and the Pink Pistols"- is how I imagine Chick would write if he consciously set out to deal with a story of one pubescent girl attracted to another. It would have a lot in common with O'Reilley's reports of the cabal bent on destroying America.

Once again, I meant to gesture towards a bogeyman figure, not a legitimate group. That I mocked McCarthy and used the name of a trade union is down to stupid carelessness, not ill-will.

Mea Culpa.

 
At 5:35 pm, August 22, 2007, Blogger Gwen said...

Ah, now I understand, and apology accepted.

I fully comprehend what you're saying about O'Reilly and Fox News in regards to my organization. I spent a great deal of time getting them to retract their statements and apologize for them, and Mr. Rod Wheeler performed the most amazing emergency bat-turn in media history when confronted with the facts.

I can only assume that you did some Googlewhacking on the subject? We have extensive coverage on our blog, at www.pinkpistols.org/blogger.html

Thank you for your candor. I know that we Americans appear strange with our attachment to firearms, but we do have a method to our particular madness. And just FYI, if you check the Sunday Times two Sundays ago, you can see a picture of me and my partner in the coverage of the book Armed America.

---Gwen

 

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