This is the week before a bit of a break. We have also gotten to the end of the first season and have begun the second.
Susan Quilty asks a similar question as was asked at the beginning of the course: "What constitutes personality? ... Can the total personality--the entire sense of self--really be removed and replaced at whim? Or does some unique piece of self remain in the body?" (133) Does the body keep in itself an inherent personality?
Caroline = central image
Echo = negative space
Echo emerges from negative space to be the central image
The point is that both of these entities are part of the same whole, recognized by change in focus. Quilty, though, seems to confuse these notions of difference in personality with notions of personality being inherent in the body. Later, she discusses the sense of self which Echo possesses, and the seeming sense of self (however slight) that the other actives possess in their doll state, sitting and eating together, for instance. This "instinctual level" is what Quilty suggests is "negative space."
Quilty suggests that love exists in this negative space, inseparable from the body. While I do find some of her arguments problematic, I do appreciate her final thoughts: "As Echo and one of the men discussed the paintings [in a museum vault in Episode 1.04], he commented, 'That's what art's for, to show us who we are.'" (144)
As per Hiromi and Da Silveira, is it only through narrative (or stories) that we understand the world?
A question I have here is, does cancellation work to make viewers perpetually uncomfortable, because the narrative ended without closure? In a way, I agree, but this discomfort brings pleasure. That is, closure closes the narrative; cancellation leaves the narrative open. Anyone who read any amount of Roland Barthes will understand that the latter is better.
I observed what they observed, that the second season moved too quickly (we can discuss this a bit more as we watch the second season in the coming weeks), but I'm not sure that cancellation works in the positive way they suggest. Allowing (or forcing) the closure of story arcs might provide closure, but doing so in a rushing manner doesn't seem to necessarily be a better way of doing things. Consider the fine example of Firefly, the other Whedon show cancelled after something like 11 episodes: closure did not happen (not even in the film Serenity, though perhaps the "closure" of certain storylines there was also rushed). This worked for Firefly; I want closure there, but I'm sort of happy that we are not getting it.
Again, I want it. But in wanting it there is some pleasure there. Barthes considers this in The Pleasure of the Text, in which he suggests the turning of pages to find out what happens next is most important, and pleasurable. It is in the turning of the page, not in the revelation of details, that we derive pleasure. (Don't quote me on this. It has been a bit since I read this book, so I might be quite off regarding Barthes' comments there. I think I do reflect Barthes accurately, but maybe not from that particular book.)
This week we watch Episode 13, which was not aired on television. What is your reaction to "Epitaph One"?
Note that next week is Reading Week. There will be no blog entry next week.