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Movies Reflect Modern Ideas

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I have almost no experience in evaluating movies as an art form in the context of their aesthetic value.  What is Romanticism, what is naturalistic - I can only judge the most obvious distinctions unless I decided to embark on a study of an area I choose to leave for entertainment only. 

 

I spend my time on metaphysics and epistemology and my further philosophical interest on ethics and politics, but movies have become a more widely accessible reflection of the culture and I enjoy many of them.  I know they must reflect ideas in the culture.

 

If I list some of the movies I especially enjoy, would those of you who have the knowledge of this art form analyze and comment on my choices?  And then recommend movies that might provide the same celebration?

 

My movies are "Mr. Holland's Opus," "On Golden Pond," "Out of Africa," and "Lion in Winter."  I may be fooled by superlative examples of acting, editing, music, etc.  In my limited experience, these movies make me feel good vicariously or directly. 

 

Thanks for your time and knowledge in this endeavor.  Jack

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I have almost no experience in evaluating movies as an art form in the context of their aesthetic value.  What is Romanticism, what is naturalistic - I can only judge the most obvious distinctions unless I decided to embark on a study of an area I choose to leave for entertainment only. 

 

I spend my time on metaphysics and epistemology and my further philosophical interest on ethics and politics, but movies have become a more widely accessible reflection of the culture and I enjoy many of them.  I know they must reflect ideas in the culture.

 

If I list some of the movies I especially enjoy, would those of you who have the knowledge of this art form analyze and comment on my choices?  And then recommend movies that might provide the same celebration?

 

My movies are "Mr. Holland's Opus," "On Golden Pond," "Out of Africa," and "Lion in Winter."  I may be fooled by superlative examples of acting, editing, music, etc.  In my limited experience, these movies make me feel good vicariously or directly. 

 

Thanks for your time and knowledge in this endeavor.  Jack

 

What do you mean by being "fooled" by superlative examples of acting, editing, music, etc.? That statement seems to suggest that you believe that your own aesthetic responses are not genuine and legitimate, but that someone else here has proper and objective responses which are genuine and legitimate, and that you should conform to their tastes. It kind of seems that you might be asking for approval and for permission to like what you like and to feel what you feel.

 

If so, why? Is that what a real-life Dagny, Galt or Roark would do? Would they assume a submissive position to a bunch of anonymous online posters?

 

Why would you assume that others here have more knowledge of aesthetics, or that their tastes and judgements are more legitimate? Is it because Rand and many of her fans have aggressively and arrogantly presented the attitude or facade of being experts on aesthetics, and of having "objectively" superior tastes? If so, that's no reason, logically speaking, to immediately surrender your own judgments and to defer to theirs. If you're intimidated by mere brash attitudes and judgments, please step back and reconsider what you're doing. Don't accept poses of authority, don't question or abandon what you value, and don't accept unearned guilt, no matter where it comes from. Don't start with the assumption that you're supposed to hate most art, and that you need to somehow justify what you think are your guilty pleasures.

 

Anyway, what, specifically, do you experience in each of the movies that you listed? What do they mean to you? What value do you get from them.

 

J

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SPECIAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE

 

After writing the above OP, I received a personal message from a forum member (he can reveal himself if he chooses).  He responded personally because the moderators thought his answer to me, in the thread, was a little harsh and they dropped it.  It was a little harsh and I understand why the moderators made their decision.  BUT . . .

 

The poster wanted me to explain why I would seek out the ideas of others and then substitute them for my own thoughts.  I thought this question was valid and so I'm answering it here in the open along with my thanks to the moderators who tried to protect my sensibilities.  Here it is:

***************************************************************************************************************************************

 

 

Jon, I thought your message didn't cross the line and I'm happy to respond, but the moderators don't want this site to become filled with emotion like other philosophy sites.  You're right to be suspect of people who appear to ask for the judgment of others as a substitute for their own.  But most often on this forum, you are dealing with people, like myself, that are not so sensitive to the ideas of others because people know here, that their opinions are secondary, and they must provide the reasoning for others to analyze their conclusions and reach there own.  In this context, we are actually a little freer in debate here, because we don't expect people to agree with conclusions - we tend to offer data, experience, or reason - all in support of a conclusions.

 

So, with lots of experience in metaphysics/epistemology, and lots of emotional responses to the work of certain actors/directors/editors, but with no experience analyzing my favorites in the wider context of romantic art, I asked for the experience of others on this forum.  I would not have asked this open-ended question on a general philosophy or art site.  But here I am more likely to have people who have knowledge of Objectivism, and I was enlisting those with more experience in the visual arts than me.  I'm less interested in their conclusions then I am with the reasons they have reached their conclusions.  On this forum you are more likely to get that kind of response.  Does that help?

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Wow, is this site great, or what?  After reading my private response to Jonathan, the moderator re-published the errant post.  This site is interested in ideas, not opinions or emotions.  Kudows to the moderator for being cautious and also for re-thinking.

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Hi Jack,


Thanks for the response, and for bringing it back to the forum instead of keeping it in messenger.

You wrote:

QuoteSPECIAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE



After writing the above OP, I received a personal message from a forum member (he can reveal himself if he chooses). He responded personally because the moderators thought his answer to me, in the thread, was a little harsh and they dropped it. It was a little harsh and I understand why the moderators made their decision.

 



In the context of the long history of the Objectivist movement, I don't think that my post was harsh at all.
 
Allow me to explain.

In your initial post on this thread, you mention that you're not very experienced in the field of aesthetics. With that admission in mind, perhaps then you're also not familiar with the Objectivist movement's long history of aesthetic bullying, psychologizing, moralizing, shaming, punishment, and then either submission and conformity or ostracization.

Many people over the decades have commented on Rand's fans displaying "a dismaying uniformity in artistic tastes," and have observed the "art police" and "aesthetic response as morals exam" attitude, and the quite vicious and collectivist pressure to conform that is practiced by many of Rand's followers. (If you're interested, I'll even see it I can dig up some great examples from Objectivist luminaries like Lindsay Perigo, Joe Rowlands, Diana Hsieh, Dr. Peikoff, Stephen Hicks, etc.)

As one critic aptly observed of Rand's followers abandoning their passion for Maxfield Parrish's work:
"In the early 1970's, many Objectivists thought they'd found a kindred artistic spirit in the paintings of Maxfield Parrish. At a Ford Hall Forum, someone asked Ayn Rand for her assessment of his work, to which she curtly replied, 'Trash!' One could almost hear the bonfires raging across the country."

The questions that you asked in your post have been asked by others many times in the past, and they've quite often involved a lot of guilt and self-condemnation, which is something that I thought MIGHT have been involved in your post. I wasn't sure though, which is why I was ASKING for clarification.

As I wrote, "It kind of seems that you might be asking for approval and for permission to like what you like and to feel what you feel." [bold added]

You're comment about being "fooled" by superlative acting is what made me a bit suspicious. And I'd still like to know what you meant by that.
 

QuoteBUT . . .



The poster wanted me to explain why I would seek out the ideas of others and then substitute them for my own thoughts.

 



But that's NOT what I asked. I asked IF you were looking to conform to those here whom you felt were more knowledgeable or experienced in aesthetics. And I asked "if so," then "why?" If you were not looking to conform and to adopt officially approved Objectivist tastes, then my questions and comments which followed my use of "If so, why?" would not apply to you.

I think that's maybe also the mistake that the moderator made. I was not making judgements of you, but asking questions. And I was doing so from having witnessed decades of behavior in others that you and the moderator may not be aware of.

 

QuoteI thought this question was valid and so I'm answering it here in the open along with my thanks to the moderators who tried to protect my sensibilities. Here it is:


***************************************************************************************************************************************



Jon, I thought your message didn't cross the line and I'm happy to respond, but the moderators don't want this site to become filled with emotion like other philosophy sites. You're right to be suspect of people who appear to ask for the judgment of others as a substitute for their own. But most often on this forum, you are dealing with people, like myself, that are not so sensitive to the ideas of others because people know here, that their opinions are secondary, and they must provide the reasoning for others to analyze their conclusions and reach there own. In this context, we are actually a little freer in debate here, because we don't expect people to agree with conclusions - we tend to offer data, experience, or reason - all in support of a conclusions.



So, with lots of experience in metaphysics/epistemology, and lots of emotional responses to the work of certain actors/directors/editors, but with no experience analyzing my favorites in the wider context of romantic art, I asked for the experience of others on this forum. I would not have asked this open-ended question on a general philosophy or art site. But here I am more likely to have people who have knowledge of Objectivism, and I was enlisting those with more experience in the visual arts than me. I'm less interested in their conclusions then I am with the reasons they have reached their conclusions. On this forum you are more likely to get that kind of response. Does that help?

 



Hey, I'm glad to hear it! I'm happy to discover that my suspicions about your initial post were wrong.

But I'd still like to hear answers to the questions that I asked you:
"What do you mean by being 'fooled' by superlative examples of acting, editing, music, etc.?"
"What, specifically, do you experience in each of the movies that you listed? What do they mean to you? What value do you get from them?"

See, in my view, "superlative acting" IS aesthetics. It IS the aesthetic judgment, and therefore your suspecting that you might be "fooled" by it suggests that you're imposing an ethical judgment on the art, and are therefore confusing aesthetic judgments with ethical ones.

An additional problem with your questions is that you refer to Romanticism and Naturalism. Well, Rand had her own peculiar views and definitions of those terms. So, assuming that, since this is an Objectivist forum, you're using her notions of those terms' "essential characteristics," do I take it that by "Romanticism," you mean art which "champions volition," and by "Naturalism," you mean art that denies it (advocates determinism)?

If so, do you categorize the four movies that you listed as championing volition, or as denying it? Are the films' characters shown "engaging in purposeful action" and "pursuing their goals"?

J

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