Print Media Hot Takes

Gordon_4

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Except the entire point of Great Gatsby is that it's condemning everything you've described. You're not really meant to find any of the characters sympathetic bar Nick and arguably Gatsby (James Gatz) himself.
Yeah, I'm aware of that: I had a whole fucking school term devoted to this turd. That still doesn't make the book any less laborious to read - its especially awkward now as language has drifted so some of the prose simply reads in ways that make it sound funny to a modern audience. Also as has been ably stated elsewhere that deliberately annoying (or reprehensible) is still annoying.

Like I've said before, I'm not the smartest guy in the room so maybe a shitload of the nuance and cleverness of the novel is lost on me but if I don't give a shit about anyone, then all that clever writing is for nought because all I'm going to do is put Gatsby down and go pick up The Power of One again.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
-And back to my first point about Gears being pro-military...it isn't. Not really. Oh sure, it has you playing as soldiers fighting against genocidal monsters, but Gears has never really been an "oo-rah"-esque franchise like, say, Call of Duty. Gears has generally been pretty sombre about the conflicts it portrays - there's certainly chest-pounding moments, but there's always been a sense of tragedy in the games, both under Epic and the Coalition. This is especially true under the latter. The novels, however, are. As in, explicitly pro-military and the supposed ideals of military service.
If you look a bit further, Gears is almost anti-military. Pretty much all the conflict in the gears games are caused by the use of force and not talking, whenever someone uses some special weapon it ends up going badly, sure it will work in the moment but it always ends up ruining things later on or destroying civilization for no real gain.
 
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Drathnoxis

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To echo what I said in the "what are you reading" thread:

Moby Dick is not the "Great American Novel", and those who champion it as such are as pretentious as the book itself. It is not great, and even its status as a novel is probably debatable considering that when you take away Melville's chapters gushing about how cool whalers are and what a tragedy it is that they don't get the respect they deserve, how he personally classifies whales (which are obviously fish regardless of what those dum-dum scientists say), how either Heracles or St. George should be the patron saint of whalers, and on and on and on...it probably ends up somewhere between a short story and novella in length. The thing is less a novel than it is a bunch of poorly reasoned essays sandwiched between a smattering of story at the front and back to give Melville an excuse to talk about whaling.
Don't forget the entire chapter droning on about the colour white. White whales, white tigers, white mountains, white mice, white clouds. It's a very impressive colour.

I'd like to throw Les Miserables under the bus for the same reasons. At least two thirds of the book is endless essays on irrelevant tangents and the other third is the plot made up of improbable coincidences. I only made it half way through Les Miserables before I just couldn't stand it any more. Actually I made it about one third of the way, took a break, went back and made it through a couple more chapters and quit. The book is an ungodly length, about four times the length of Moby Dick. I have no idea how books like this became classics. If I wanted to read a textbook, I'd read one, I'm interested in good stories not whales or convents or French slang or whatever.
 
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Asita

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I did not care for the Great Gatsby when I read it in my last years of school. I didn't find anyone terribly sympathetic or interesting, like I'm watching the upper class post World War 1 be angry and miserable about their lives. And like I know everyone's got problems, but compared to what happened to all the working class people that came back from that war with amputated limbs and shattered souls.....I just find it hard to care about these assholes who can at least afford to drink and party themselves into oblivion to make the pain stop.
I'm on-board with the idea that the Great Gatsby is not-so-great and doesn't deserve the "Great American Novel" title either, but I must confess, with that as your logic for saying The Great Gatsby was worse than Moby Dick...I'm not sure that tracks. The Great Gatsby was at least coherent and focused on its story.

Moby Dick, by contrast is practically stream of consciousness in its rambling nature. There's a chapter devoted to musing about reactions to the color white. There's a chapter devoted to ranting about how the UK law of Royal Fish is bullshit (and remember, these characters are from Manhattan, so the story has no excuse for that tangent). There's a chapter describing the job of squeezing spermaceti to keep it from clumping as practically a drug-like euphoria. There's a chapter about the whaler superstition of mounting two whale-skulls on the bow as a matter of course. There's a chapter about how unfair it is that whalers don't get the respect that soldiers do. Without hyperbole, there are 135 chapters in Moby-Dick and the middle 100 are almost entirely irrelevant filibusters from Melville. It's been a long time, but to my memory, whatever my complaints about the Great Gatsby's characters and themes, Fitzgerald at least stayed on point.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Here's my hot take.

Every videogame/movie/comic/TV literary tie-in is garbage, a cash grab commissioned by a company to a hack writer under board room guidelines so they can puff up an IP into pop culture relevance just a little longer, and every time I see someone discussing it with any pretense of critique is like watching someone sift through powdered garbage and categorize it for the landfill dogs.

And it's especially grating when the same people tell you anything written before the 20th century, if not before their own birth, is boring or pretentious because they never learned how to read. Not necessarily in the comprehension sense, but the ritual aspect of it. Because instead of abandoning themselves to a book written with actual vision they stay in a dopamine playpen filled with stuff they already know and like that rewards them for being a good little consumer and staying in.
 

TheMysteriousGX

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I don't think "literary classics" should be as emphasized as they are in school. Not because they aren't literary or classic, but because they are archaic. Like, sure: they're meaningful and deep and etc, which would be really impressive if they had anything to do with modern teens. And I don't necessarily mean content, but prose and societal assumptions have all shifted drastically too. Dracula just straight up isn't a horror story any more. Shakespeare's gone from bawdy to exceptionally stuffy by virtue of language changes alone, you need annotations to know when somebody's telling somebody else to fuck off.
 
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Gordon_4

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I don't think "literary classics" should be as emphasized as they are in school. Not because they aren't literary or classic, but because they are archaic.
So what do we replace them with? I'm not even being funny; I'm genuinely curious what more modern novels would be picked to replace them. You know, since as with music everyone is convinced anything made in the current year is inherently inferior to everything that has come before it.
 
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Drathnoxis

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I don't think "literary classics" should be as emphasized as they are in school. Not because they aren't literary or classic, but because they are archaic. Like, sure: they're meaningful and deep and etc, which would be really impressive if they had anything to do with modern teens. And I don't necessarily mean content, but prose and societal assumptions have all shifted drastically too. Dracula just straight up isn't a horror story any more. Shakespeare's gone from bawdy to exceptionally stuffy by virtue of language changes alone, you need annotations to know when somebody's telling somebody else to fuck off.
Because if the characters can't solve all their problems with their smart phones it has no relevance to modern life, right? Everything made before the current year is completely wrong and has nothing worth learning.

Or maybe it's good to give students a view of where we've been so they can appreciate where they are. Society has changed, yes, but it still remains to be seen whether it's for the better. It's also useful to expose students to a larger vocabulary to increase reading comprehension. Interpreting a difficult to understand work is a useful skill as well, we are trying to develop student's mental abilities in schools and you don't progress if you aren't challenged. Also, exposing them to classic fiction may just broaden their horizons and make them realize that just because something is old, doesn't mean it's bad. Frankly, a lot of the stuff that makes it onto 'best seller lists' these days is just shockingly bad. Obvious first novels that sell because of marketing rather than literary worth.

And it's not like schools exclusively teach classics. When I was in high school you'd do one Shakespear play a year, and then for all the other writing assignments you'd get a choice of 4-5 books ranging from classics to stuff that came out fairly recently.
 

TheMysteriousGX

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Because if the characters can't solve all their problems with their smart phones it has no relevance to modern life, right? Everything made before the current year is completely wrong and has nothing worth learning.

Or maybe it's good to give students a view of where we've been so they can appreciate where they are. Society has changed, yes, but it still remains to be seen whether it's for the better. It's also useful to expose students to a larger vocabulary to increase reading comprehension. Interpreting a difficult to understand work is a useful skill as well, we are trying to develop student's mental abilities in schools and you don't progress if you aren't challenged. Also, exposing them to classic fiction may just broaden their horizons and make them realize that just because something is old, doesn't mean it's bad. Frankly, a lot of the stuff that makes it onto 'best seller lists' these days is just shockingly bad. Obvious first novels that sell because of marketing rather than literary worth.
Judging from the number of people that critically misinterpret them, I'd say that idea is a resounding failure. Maybe it's better in Canada, but over here a "Romeo and Juliet" law is an exemption in age of consent laws that allow an adult to have sex with a child provided the adult isn't more than a few years older than the child. It's frequently described, by people who like it, as The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. Romeo and Juliet is a raunchy tale about a child fleeing a political marriage to a creep, getting involved with a dude *much* closer to her own age as kids, having a two week fling, then they start a gang war, get most of their friends killed, and end up in a double suicide because neither of them can wait 10 goddamned minutes.

I feel like most of that energy gets missed.

Daily Dracula is actually was caused my comment though. It reads like comedy because people just don't get that the scary Eastern European man looking to go to London is meant to be a specific kind of scary racist caricature. Instead we're reading the story of the world's most oblivious man being employed by an Obvious Vampire. Scary it is not.

Don't get me wrong, Grapes of Wrath influenced my political views to the point that I get called a communist these days, but if time on the internet has taught me anything it's that I have uncommonly good reading comprehension. But that was a "read it on your own and write a book report" thing. Classroom discussions would've sucked ass
 

TheMysteriousGX

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So what do we replace them with? I'm not even being funny; I'm genuinely curious what more modern novels would be picked to replace them. You know, since as with music everyone is convinced anything made in the current year is inherently inferior to everything that has come before it.
You'd have to talk to a book person. I am not that person. Most people aren't, generally having to do with slogging through "Great" literature in school and bouncing off the prose.

Only thing inherently inferior in music these days is Nostalgia Country.
 

Drathnoxis

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Judging from the number of people that critically misinterpret them, I'd say that idea is a resounding failure. Maybe it's better in Canada, but over here a "Romeo and Juliet" law is an exemption in age of consent laws that allow an adult to have sex with a child provided the adult isn't more than a few years older than the child. It's frequently described, by people who like it, as The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. Romeo and Juliet is a raunchy tale about a child fleeing a political marriage to a creep, getting involved with a dude *much* closer to her own age as kids, having a two week fling, then they start a gang war, get most of their friends killed, and end up in a double suicide because neither of them can wait 10 goddamned minutes.

I feel like most of that energy gets missed.

Daily Dracula is actually was caused my comment though. It reads like comedy because people just don't get that the scary Eastern European man looking to go to London is meant to be a specific kind of scary racist caricature. Instead we're reading the story of the world's most oblivious man being employed by an Obvious Vampire. Scary it is not.

Don't get me wrong, Grapes of Wrath influenced my political views to the point that I get called a communist these days, but if time on the internet has taught me anything it's that I have uncommonly good reading comprehension. But that was a "read it on your own and write a book report" thing. Classroom discussions would've sucked ass
If we set our curriculum based on how poorly the average student retains their knowledge after graduation there wouldn't be much to it. Math wouldn't be taught at all.

I'm sure most of the misinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet comes from other sources than the actual play. Or maybe it's because most people read it in high school, and high school students don't have the clearest understanding of the difference between love and infatuation. At any rate, in my class it was made pretty clear that it wasn't a love story, but a tragedy and what that meant.

I didn't think Dracula was commonly taught in schools. I enjoyed it, though, when I read it. It's been a long time, so I don't remember a lot of it, however.
You'd have to talk to a book person. I am not that person. Most people aren't, generally having to do with slogging through "Great" literature in school and bouncing off the prose.
I doubt that's the reason. I suspect it's more of an upbringing type thing. Schools can only do so much to correct poor upbringing. I love reading and so does everybody in my family, but if children don't get encouraged to read by their parents at a young age it will be difficult for them and they won't take to it as well. I used to work with a guy who bragged about only reading 3 books in his life and all of them for school. Just blows my mind.
 
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BrawlMan

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At any rate, in my class it was made pretty clear that it wasn't a love story, but a tragedy and what that meant.
The same of when I read the story in middle school and high school.

I didn't think Dracula was commonly taught in schools. I enjoyed it, though, when I read it.
My high school used to teach it at one point, but it was not required reading. It was more so bonus credit.
 

BrawlMan

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Even before Frank Miller went off the deep end, I don't like a lot of his work. That includes his "good work".
 
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Specter Von Baren

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To echo what I said in the "what are you reading" thread:

Moby Dick is not the "Great American Novel", and those who champion it as such are as pretentious as the book itself. It is not great, and even its status as a novel is probably debatable considering that when you take away Melville's chapters gushing about how cool whalers are and what a tragedy it is that they don't get the respect they deserve, how he personally classifies whales (which are obviously fish regardless of what those dum-dum scientists say), how either Heracles or St. George should be the patron saint of whalers, and on and on and on...it probably ends up somewhere between a short story and novella in length. The thing is less a novel than it is a bunch of poorly reasoned essays sandwiched between a smattering of story at the front and back to give Melville an excuse to talk about whaling.
I think Moby Dick is actually pretty good. Lots of information about whaling and characterization in the crew. The big problem with it is that people have gone way way waaaaaaay overboard (pun not intended) in playing up Ahab's grudge with Moby Dick and its importance. Most of the stuff about Ahab is at the very end of the novel, with a little near the begining, the book may as well be called 'A Whaling Voyage' otherwise. I blame the misdirection on people that have read the book though. If I had any real problem with it, Its that Queequeg didn't also survive.
 

Xprimentyl

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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is long-winded and boring, one of few exceptions where the film adaptations were far superior to the source material. Purely a case of the author being more in love with the effort than the story he was telling.
 

Specter Von Baren

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If we're going to talk about stories we hate. Slaughterhouse Five is, at best, a mediocre sci-fi story that's only remembered because the author had the chapters put out of order. It's shallow, juvenile, and has no heart and I hated having to read it in college even if it is short. I've read hundreds of fanfiction stories, stories done for no profit, written better than that.
 

Drathnoxis

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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is long-winded and boring, one of few exceptions where the film adaptations were far superior to the source material. Purely a case of the author being more in love with the effort than the story he was telling.
I'd say there's a bit more of a trade-off than that. Frodo had a way better portrayal in the books, rather than the whiny, weak, useless thing he was in the movie. A lot of characters got a better representation, actually. On the other hand you don't have to put up with endless passages about battles, or skip past a bunch of boring poetry and tuneless songs.

My own LOTR hot take is that it really has quite an odd message. Some people are just better than others and it all depends on who your parents were. If you are born from a race of kings, then you are noble and pure and get to live for centuries and are the only one fit to rule the kingdom. You're really screwed if you are anyone else, unless you were born an elf, in which case life is a dream so sweet mortal man could not even dream it. There isn't really any possibility for movement out of your class.

The Hobbit (book) is where it's truly at, though.
 

Mister Mumbler

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The Hobbit (book) is where it's truly at, though.
Gotta agree there. I had to read it as part of my summer reading leading up to starting junior high and it became my favorite book that I ever had to read for school. I had even managed to snag a copy of the Michael Hague illustrated edition for it, and it's still kicking around somewhere (my younger sister ended up borrowing it for her turn at reading it for school), though I haven't actually laid eyes on it in about a decade.
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