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2:12 AM
Today in critical reading: What's missing from this article about the Crazy Horse monument?
2:23 AM
Missing? @BESW it sounds ok to me.
Typical news article.
The audio's not exactly the same as the script.
@BESW think I got it.
3:25 AM
@BESW thinking about asking and/or self-answering some questions about scansion.
With the hope of starting some conversations about how literature should be read aloud.
And just focusing on the written words means you loose out on a lot of cool stuff.
2 hours later…
5:41 AM
@Hamlet that sounds like a really cool idea; perhaps you could contrast it with this:
Q: Reading Your Algebra Book

student An algebra book requires a different type of reading than a novel or a short story. Every sentence in a math book is full of information and logically linked to the surrounding sentences. You should read the sentences carefully and think about their meaning. As you read, remember that algebra ...

6:10 AM
@Hamlet That could be fun. There are a number of writers who have said things about that, or who have things about that said about their work.
@Hamlet I suspect you may have.
(In no small part because you've talked with me long enough to know what gaps I'd look for in that kind of article. Cheater.)
May we have the answer please @BESW
What I see is that it's an article about a famous Lakota historical figure being carved into a sacred Lakota landmark by a Polish-American family, and the only Native American whose perspective or involvement they even mention is some random guy who happened to be visiting when the author visited the location.
Hmm, good point.
Even if you don't know any of the actual relationship of the Lokota to that sculpture, it's a massive glaring omission of a group of people with a significant, extremely relevant connection to the subject.
(If you DO know the history, it looks even worse.)
Also, the token native indian scholarship thing was lame.
6:23 AM
Mmm. If you dig into it, the sculpture was requested by a Lakota chief who probably had no business requesting it (Crazy Horse's family should've been consulted, at the very least), and now the sculptor's family has sole control of the project and all the money (millions in donations and gift-shop-type revenue) related to it.
There's a really fascinating, ongoing story about the Lakota relationship to the sculpture. It's not a comfortable story or an easy one, but even Wikipedia does it more justice than that article.
Thanks, I'll check it out :-)
Indian Country Media Network has some useful articles, heck, even mentalfloss.com does a better job.
So: critical reading is often about finding the gaps and seeing what's missing from a work.
Sometimes that takes outside research, sometimes it just takes stepping back and mapping out who or what you might expect or want to see which is being glossed over.
In a good work (that's not trying to be reportive), sometimes the missing pieces are deliberate and contain the themes or message of the work.
But in a reportive work, those gaps should not be left as an exercise for the reader and instead indicate that the work is shoddy, ignorant, and/or misleading.
(This brings me back to the problem with Harry Potter: JKR taught us to look for the gaps, but didn't write carefully enough that most of the gaps were deliberate. This led to fertile ground for speculation and a very active fanbase while the series was ongoing, but left the experience distinctly shallower once the franchise concluded and it was clear those loose ends and missing pieces would not be tied off and filled in.)
By contrast, Sherlock Holmes never gave us anything except the condescending illusion that we might be able to figure something out before Holmes did. A primary staple of that series is that Holmes is right because he's Holmes, not because his methods actually make any sense.
(Which is why Moffat was a surprisingly good choice for showrunner of Sherlock.)
The Holmes franchises never tried to convince us we could be as smart as Holmes, so there's no real disappointment that the stories don't give us the chance to be.
We're the Watson, marveling as Holmes overshadows us by virtue of his innate superiority.
2 hours later…
8:41 AM
@Mithrandir Great!
@Hamlet Not until I've finished it at least, which I'm nowhere near doing at the moment. I have two or three other book series I'm planning to write reviews for, if I can find the time.
Q: Novel about the future of communication

shamalaiaYears ago, roaming around in a library, I stumbled across a short novel about the future of communication. I think that it was written in the 70s. Starting from the first appearance of the Reader's Digest, the author imagined the future of literature was described as progressive condensation of...

@Bookworm One for user14111, I think.
3 hours later…
12:16 PM
Q: What do these lines in Edward Thomas's 'This is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong' mean?

Eli Rosehttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57205/this-is-no-case-of-petty-right-or-wrong Than in the storm smoking along the wind Athwart the wood. Two witches' cauldrons roar. From one the weather shall rise clear and gay; Out of the other an England beautiful And like her mo...

2 hours later…
2:12 PM
@BESW I would have waited to see if anyone other than me could get it.
2:28 PM
@BESW I'm also just sick of the weird idea that questions about songs/oral literature should only be about the words and not about the sound.
Given that writing is a relatively recent invention.
Given that really good writing doesn't just read good, it sounds good.
@TheRaidersofLasVegas if you're looking for something to contrast to that question, take a look at close reading.
Specifically my answer here.
A: Why does the poem "Naming of Parts" contrast war with nature?

HamletThis question is best answered using a technique called close reading. So unfortunately, if you're just looking for an answer about the poem "Naming of Parts", you're going to have to read about close reading first. But since close reading is a useful and important concept that explains so much a...

Wow, nice.
Thanks :-)
@Hamlet I have had a question in mind for a while now that might push the scope a bit, about the interpretations of songs in music videos. Wasn't entirely sure that it would be on topic.
@Hamlet Something like this question, perhaps?
Or do I misunderstand what you're looking for? I have now looked up "scansion" :)
@BESW I scanned it quickly before seeing your answer to the question, @BESW. I didn't notice that (though perhaps I should have), but I did notice that they didn't explain who Crazy Horse was, or what he did.
There was also this part of the article (I haven't listened to the audio):
> This ambitious project has other critics, including some Native Americans who believe the humble Chief Crazy Horse would have never wanted his image carved into a sacred mountain.
4 hours later…
6:30 PM
I was just thinking - how should we questions about Asimov's works? Most of them are in cycles - the Robot cycle (the short stories + the Robot novels), the Foundation cycle, and the Empire cycle.
We currently have and .
We have a consensus somewhere on meta that we should use the series/franchise/universe tag when a work is a part of one.
6:42 PM
1 hour later…
7:44 PM
I sometimes wonder if the poor response to absurdist question on Stack is really more of a reflection of the narrowness of most peoples' thinking (which is, no doubt, useful in solving problems of a certain type) and perspective (absurdism is an extremely important artistic movement, with a philosophical corollary.)
8:12 PM
In essence, absurdism is a method of contextualizing the modern condition of irreconcilable complexity
8:27 PM
@DukeZhou Which question is that?
8:42 PM
From me. Lots of them lol ;)
I think stack contributors need to lighten up overall, find joy in this information paradise, and not be so grumpy and serious all the time
(although I get that modern life is exhausting, and exhaustion leads to ill-humor)
<-- has no idea what absurdism is or what you're talking about
Or, yanno, it could just be that the Stack is created to provide practical problems with actionable solutions supported by knowledge or experience, and absurdism rarely benefits from that lens. It's like walking into a bakery and accusing the clerk of being narrow-minded because they won't sell you a roast chicken.
I'd look into it. It's an extraordinarily important literary movement. You'll find a number of Borges quote at that link.
@BESW Stack discourages creative thought, preferring questions with known answers. That is useful, but only part of the picture, where science is concerned.
@Gallifreyan Absurdism is a sister philosophy to existentialism and nihilism, which posits that there is a conflict between human awareness and the nature of the universe, making it literally impossible to find meaning in existence. It's distinct from the other two philosophies in still valuing the attempt to find meaning despite urging its practitioners not to expect useful results.
And also arguably the central artistic movement of the 20th century
It can be related to everything from quantum mechanics to artificial intelligence
(See the opening of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead for a discussion of probability and free will)
8:54 PM
@DukeZhou That's a reductionist and inaccurate vision of the Stack, but nonetheless communicates exactly what I'm saying: the Stack cannot be a tool for all occasions, and it's quite content with that limitation. There are many other communities and forums which fill more free-form, open-ended debate and discuss functions. The Stack has no need to replicate them.
Please don't insult its users for recognising that you're asking them to misuse a finely-honed tool.
You viewpoint is valid, but limited, and of limited use
Science should be fun and engaging, in addition to being serious and focused
I refer you to Zeno of Elea
Agreed. That's not the same as expecting every forum to meet every need, nor equating the Stack with all of sciencedom.
Sometimes asking unanswerable, even absurdist, questions drives scientific inquiry
And again, insults are not welcome here nor do they make your perspective more palatable.
It's a valid artistic position, which is why I mentioned it on Lit, where it is in-scope, as opposed to the serious forums
8:58 PM
You're welcome to ask questions about absurdism, but absurdist questions will tend to be in defiance of the Stack social contract and treated accordingly.
Wait, lit.se isn't serious?
[citation needed]
Not in the sense of the hard sciences or materialist approaches to the soft sciences
Lit is very important, but distinct from, say, physics
That said, it can be helpful to know a little bit about both
@DukeZhou That might be true, but this is not really a place designed for inquiry of that type.
I believe our starboard has just been turned into 10 6 commandments.
There's a Star Board? (I've heard of the Star Chamber, but I didn't realize it had been incorporated...)
Stack Latin seems to be a paragon in regard to the point I'm trying to make. It's an incredibly useful Stack with real experts and a strong (necessary) materialist bent, but they don't get offended when someone asks how to say "I came, I saw, I kicked ass" in Latin because every question is an opportunity to educate
In my experience, the best teachers regard no questions as bad
and with that, I bid you all adieu!
9:16 PM
Fare well ;)
Yeeeah, that's a false equivalency; it's a question for which it's clear if an answer is actually an answer, and answers can be voted usefully based on criteria beyond personal preference. It meets all the Stack baseline guidelines for a question that can create pearls.
It's not absurdist in any way, it's just potentially frivolous.
And it's only the REALLY big, busy Stacks, that get an absolute glut of questions, that develop razors to cull frivolous questions.
So whatever point you're trying to make, either your example is not a useful demonstration of it or your initial statement about the narrow-mindedness of Stack users in rejecting absurdist questions is a misrepresentation of your point.
...or you're attempting to use absurdist praxis in an earnest discussion, which is a great way to get everyone to ignore you.
(It's also not very useful to spout platitudes like "no questions are bad" as a way to dismiss specific practical concerns about the medium in which those questions are being asked; sure, no questions are bad but there are bad times and places to ask them.)
Even absurdism requires rigor.
9:33 PM
Um. What.
I think we could all stand to calm down a bit here.
@BESW I don't think @DukeZhou was insulting anyone or being Not Nice in this conversation, but you should both be a bit more respectful of each other's views.
> Rudeness and belittling language are not okay.
Focus on the post, not the person. That includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to posts (like "lazy", "ignorant", or "whiny").
FYI stars aren't a "I agree with this' button but a "this is an incredibly insightful point that everyone should be aware of button." If you're starring every message in a conversation, you're using the feature incorrectly.
@Randal'Thor I'm not sure there's a real lack of calmness here, tbh
@Hamlet Unless it is all insightful.
in RPG General Chat, May 10 '16 at 21:41, by BESW
Hey, folks, this is your semi-yearly reminder that The room sidebar is intended to be a collaboratively created mini-timeline of interesting room events for people who don't have time to read the entire chat transcript for that particular room. Stars aren't "like" buttons, and if you star several things from a short period of chat it pushes the other cool stuff off too fast.
@BESW And you in turn accusing him of "spout[ing] platitudes", saying "[that]'s a great way to get everyone to ignore you", and making slightly disrespectful analogies like "walking into a bakery and accusing the clerk of being narrow-minded because they won't sell you a roast chicken". You're the last person I'd have expected to see such intolerance from.
9:40 PM
(Usually I wait 'til everything settles and then delete all but the most starred from the series.)
@BESW thought it had all settled down at this point tbh
Unstarring posts to fit the starboard into a somewhat narrow definition you provided is not really a good way to go.
@Gallifreyan That's a rather loaded assumption.
If at least two people thought the message is worth starring, why not? The density of stars indicates there's an intensive discussion going on here.
@Randal'Thor You're right, and I regret responding to rudeness with rudeness.
9:42 PM
@Gallifreyan I'm unstarring some of the least Nice things from the star-board.
@Gallifreyan Notice, please, that I didn't invent that definition.
If we overload the star board with lines from a narrow time frame, it stops being useful as a way for users to see what happened since the last time they dropped in.
Who cares?
@BESW This, as well as what Hamlet said.
@Gallifreyan Apparently several people in the room right now?
(I don't think people calling each other out on impoliteness needs to be starred either.)
(Also, I'm no longer the only person unstarring things.)
9:46 PM
You people have a rather low tolerance for words, really. It's somewhat frightening to see people take "grumpy", "narrow-minded", and "ill-humored" seriously. Especially when the poster seems to have some evidence to back their opinion with.
If he'd provided a specific example, the conversation might've been more productive.
Yeah, I think this whole thing got a lot more heated than it needed to be.
They basically came in here to be like "I don't like this site because it doesn't let me do what I want", so various people tried to explain why it can't do that. That's all I see.
I don't even think it was all that heated, to be perfectly honest.
Personally, my opinion about this debate is that while yeah, one of the strengths of the Stack Exchange model is that you can close bad questions, it's a bit inaccurate for us to think of ourselves as heroes for closing questions when the vast majority of our answers are pretty bad.
That moment when close reading leaks to chat.
I blame @Hamlet.
9:49 PM
@Ash I saw it as someone coming in to share their views on the SE system and being promptly shouted down by someone with different views and starrers on their side.
(A while ago there was someone who would star comments that just consisted of "???". I usually unstar comments like that.)
I don't think there was shouting at all.
I don't think this should be an environment where people with unusual attitudes are unwelcome (provided of course that they express those attitudes nicely).
@BESW do you read the answers that get posted on this site?
You should see the Anime chat star board.
9:51 PM
SE does have its weaknesses. It should be OK to say so, even on SE. The fact that we're all here proves that we're willing to overlook those weaknesses in order to participate usefully here.
@Randal'Thor Did anybody say otherwise today? If I did, it was unintentional.
(And if you really want to de-escalate, try not to hold the participants to different standards.)
Jan 31 at 4:28, by BESW
Literature at its best is about the co-existence of mutually exclusive concepts, and how the clash of opposing ideas reveals new insights.
I'll de-escalate by not responding to that ;-)
@DukeZhou you might find the conversation around that message interesting
We don't have that many questions about philosophy in literature.
10:06 PM
@Randal'Thor we would probably be better off as a site if we worked out way up to those questions.
How is close reading going BTW?
@Randal'Thor I don't think any of us were arguing that SE didn't have weaknesses. One of it's most obvious ones is that not every concept can work here.
And BTW: if any of you are looking for something new to learn about literature, take a look at scansion. Unlike the vast majority of literary topics, there's some really good material available with a few google searches.
I'm probably going to ask some questions about scansion at some point.
@Hamlet Like poetic metre and stress and such?
That's a thing I've read a bunch about while getting my degree.
@Ash yeah!
Not that I can speak about it with any sort of authority or clarity, but it is a term I am well familiar with :)
10:13 PM
interested in part because reading Chaucer made me interested in how literature is read aloud, and in part because I would like to rebut the claim that we can only ask questions about the lyrics of songs (i.e. the most boring part).
@Hamlet Haven't seen many good opportunities for it recently in terms of Lit.SE questions, but I think I've got better at it with practice.
And the research I've done with scansion so far has really increased my understanding of several poems.
A week or two ago I noticed that I was reading certain things much more deeply than I would've done last year, just because of all the close reading practice.
@Randal'Thor still recommend trying to answer some questions on this site using close reading. Writing out an answer is a really good way of teaching yourself something. And I think you've asked some close reading questions; you should answer them.
@Randal'Thor that's good to hear!
1 hour later…
11:42 PM
.@terrymooreart confirms #RachelRising will be back after he is done with #StrangersInParadise 2018 #sdcc2017 https://t.co/XLJa0bWEUY

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