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Old 2011-11-02, 15:34   Link #25421
Wanderer
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
...ultimately, everything is fixated on rewarding and comforting the people who seek shelter in subjectivity, without significantly questioning whether doing so is mentally healthy or morally right.
What about Ange's opinion on Maria for most of episode 4? What about that really disturbing scene where Maria has Beatrice kill Rosa over and over again? How about how both Ange and Maria are considered outcasts for being creepy? What about Kinzo's madness and isolation? What about Eva's madness in episode 3? What about how naive Battler was in refusing to suspect one of the 18 in episodes 1 and 2? How pitiful was Natsuhi in epsiode 5 needed her fantasy Kinzo to feel accepted?
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Old 2011-11-02, 19:48   Link #25422
AuraTwilight
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Yea. About that.

All of those delusions are validated.
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Old 2011-11-02, 22:11   Link #25423
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Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
Yea. About that.

All of those delusions are validated.
To varying degrees, yeah, but it's beside the point. I'm just saying he showed the good and bad about it.

Saying that it doesn't count if it's ultimately validated is like saying he's not allowed to make a philosophical argument if it has a conclusion.
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Old 2011-11-02, 23:20   Link #25424
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And he made the bad into practically a strawman, as Renall already said.

Who shot down Natsuhi's delusions, for example? BERN AND ERIKA, whose opinions are invalidated pretty much by virtue of the fact that they go out of their way to bully mentally handicapped nine year olds for fun.
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Old 2011-11-03, 02:40   Link #25425
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Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
And he made the bad into practically a strawman, as Renall already said.

Who shot down Natsuhi's delusions, for example? BERN AND ERIKA, whose opinions are invalidated pretty much by virtue of the fact that they go out of their way to bully mentally handicapped nine year olds for fun.
You're attacking only one example, you chose one of the weakest ones that I provided, and your attack can apply only to it and none of the others. This is what you call strawmanning.

And who cares what Bern and Erika said? I'm not so dumb that I needed them to point out that Natsuhi's delusions were pathetic. RK07 showed us a pathetic, escapist Natsuhi, then at the end of the chapter he indirectly validated her escapism by having the villains attack it. It's definitely a moral cue for the reader that subjectivity should not be attacked, but that's different from a straw man argument.

To clarify, I don't think Renall's view that pre-sorcerer Battler is a straw man meant to help Beatrice's subjectivity argument to be entirely inaccurate. But I do think that the negative aspects of escapism were presented through other characters, mostly Ange, Maria, and Kinzo.
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Old 2011-11-03, 03:18   Link #25426
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You're attacking only one example, you chose one of the weakest ones that I provided, and your attack can apply only to it and none of the others. This is what you call strawmanning.
I can really make the same argument with every example.

Ange's opinion on Maria is shown to be wrong, as she changes her mind later, herself.

Maria's Rosa-killing fantasy is treated as a healthy ventilation of feelings she can't express in the real world (nevermind it doesn't fit your other examples whatsoever).

Kinzo's madness is a product of heartbreak, and he's to be pitied over it.

Eva's madness even existing in EP3 is itself debatable, but even if it did, Ange reforms her into a figure of pity, that she should've taught the white magic ('happy lies') when she had the chance.

Battler's naivete is...well...exactly the point of view he accepts at the end of Chiru, deciding to embrace the illusion of the Witch and helping Beatrice hide the truth.

Quote:
And who cares what Bern and Erika said?
The point is that after Battler's side-switching, nearlyevery Pro-Truth character is treated like they're evil, and have no interest in anything except hurting people for their own satisfaction. The exceptions are Featherine, who frankly doesn't give a shit about human suffering, Ange, who is willing to die to find out the truth and doesn't care who she hurts in the process, and Will, who is the only morally good character who is Pro-Truth, and EVEN THEN he thinks it's evil to unwrap the 'innocent lies of those who haven't sinned'. You don't see the problem, here?

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RK07 showed us a pathetic, escapist Natsuhi, then at the end of the chapter he indirectly validated her escapism by having the villains attack it. It's definitely a moral cue for the reader that subjectivity should not be attacked, but that's different from a straw man argument.
What he's saying here, whether he meant to or not, is that attacking Natsuhi's delusions is morally wrong.

In fairness, Natsuhi is all kinds of mentally ill, so I'm willing to hand him that one, but the fact that he's consistent across the board with this subject is pretty fucked up.

Quote:
To clarify, I don't think Renall's view that pre-sorcerer Battler is a straw man meant to help Beatrice's subjectivity argument to be entirely inaccurate. But I do think that the negative aspects of escapism were presented through other characters, mostly Ange, Maria, and Kinzo.
And in the end, those negative aspects are validated, or are effectively strawmanned to such extremes as there to be no middle ground.

Either you are Pro-Truth, and thus you're an evil bitch who bullies the mentally challenged, or you're Pro-Fantasy, and you're willing to hide terrible things so people can feel good about themselves but there's No One Truth so Hey!, or you're Kinzo, who rapes his kids.
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Old 2011-11-03, 08:46   Link #25427
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Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
Either you are Pro-Truth, and thus you're an evil bitch who bullies the mentally challenged, or you're Pro-Fantasy, and you're willing to hide terrible things so people can feel good about themselves but there's No One Truth so Hey!, or you're Kinzo, who rapes his kids.
Whoa whoa hang on there cowboy.

He raped one of his kids. Let's not turn this into some kind of scandal.
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Old 2011-11-03, 10:53   Link #25428
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Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
Who shot down Natsuhi's delusions, for example? BERN AND ERIKA, whose opinions are invalidated pretty much by virtue of the fact that they go out of their way to bully mentally handicapped nine year olds for fun.
Though I'd disagree that they are turned into villains because of their favouring of the truth. They are of course no less antagonists than Beatrice was during the first four Episodes, it is their methods which are questioned not the goal they try to acchieve. At least that is how I read the Episodes.

I would even agree with you that Ryűkishi's attempt to polarize the positions of reality and fantasy to such an extreme as he did in Umineko is questionable and needs to be viewed critically when reading. But I would disagree with you and Renall when you try painting his work as propaganda for blind escapism. Maybe it is a matter of philosophical perspective when analyzing this aspect of Umineko, just as much as the question wether a mystery narrative can be concerned with subjective aspects as perspectives on truth itself.
The real worth, when viewed on a scale of the complete discourse on the subjectivity of truth, can be discussed on a whole other page. But to downplay the potential of the Umineko narrative is not only disrespectful but also a typical problem of high and low culture discourse.

Another thing that really irritates me is the aspect of totally ignoring the context in which Umineko was created within Japan, especially concerning the influence under which it was apparently consciously and subconsciously created. Of course it is difficult when we are dealing with something from a completely different language...but handling it as if it was not is a kind of arrogance that annoys me throughout both fan-discussions as well as academic discussions on Japanese popular culture.

-----

And just as a little comment on the side. For those who accept the manga version as a meaningful addition to Umineko (I'm among those who do, AT for example doesn't).
The new chapter of EP4 depicted the ressurection of Sakutarô in the Golden Land by Ange. When Beatrice tries to deny Ange's magic by saying そのぬいぐるみは特別なぬいぐるみ!楼座が娘の誕生日のために作った、世界でたった一つの, she really does choke and is unable to cotinue her sentence. So that would settle the debate wether she was cut off or if it was similar to how Battler was unable to say he was born by Asumu and thus kills another one of the "Red is purely subjective on Beatrice's side" arguments.
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Old 2011-11-03, 11:12   Link #25429
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I don't think red is subjective to Beatrice's subjective whims. I think red is subjective to Ryuukishi's subjective whims.

As for the escapism...I'll put it simply:
It annoys me to the point where I find it to be offensive, but since I don't know where to draw the line between cultural differences and pure idiocy I can't really comment on it beyond "I truly personally despise the way he treats the subject."
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Old 2011-11-03, 11:37   Link #25430
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Whoa whoa hang on there cowboy.

He raped one of his kids. Let's not turn this into some kind of scandal.
Yeah nothing can justify that not even a messed up mind.
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Old 2011-11-03, 12:17   Link #25431
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Though I'd disagree that they are turned into villains because of their favouring of the truth. They are of course no less antagonists than Beatrice was during the first four Episodes, it is their methods which are questioned not the goal they try to acchieve. At least that is how I read the Episodes.
They're not mere antagonists. The ep7 Tea Party is absolutely nothing more than deliberate sadism on Bern's part. If she wanted to see this horrible maybe-truth, she could've viewed it in private or in Will's presence. She "invited" (read: forced) Lion and Ange to watch it, knowing it would hurt both of them. There is no justification for this. It's villainy, not mere antagonism.
Quote:
I would even agree with you that Ryűkishi's attempt to polarize the positions of reality and fantasy to such an extreme as he did in Umineko is questionable and needs to be viewed critically when reading. But I would disagree with you and Renall when you try painting his work as propaganda for blind escapism. Maybe it is a matter of philosophical perspective when analyzing this aspect of Umineko, just as much as the question wether a mystery narrative can be concerned with subjective aspects as perspectives on truth itself.
The real worth, when viewed on a scale of the complete discourse on the subjectivity of truth, can be discussed on a whole other page. But to downplay the potential of the Umineko narrative is not only disrespectful but also a typical problem of high and low culture discourse.
I'd accept it as one if it weren't pretending to be the other. Umineko is the one that threw the debate in there, not me. I'm not trying to "read in" a subjective vs. objective nature of truth argument into the text, it's actually there, just poorly-formed and biased. I'm not sure if the bias is intentional, because I'm not sure Ryukishi really knew enough about the philosophical consequences of what he was doing to really be creating a moral screed.

But he still pretended he did, and that means I must hold him to the standard to which he aspires. It's like how I won't bash the way X-Wings work in Star Wars or the TARDIS in Doctor Who but will point out inconsistencies in the technobabble in Star Trek. The former two don't bother trying to explain to me how these things work, and even make fun of trying to figure it out. The latter makes belief that the writers coherently understand the science (or fictional science) they're writing about, and if they screw up and contradict themselves, they have no one to blame for that but themselves.

Ryukishi created a fundamental philosophical debate. He even wrote side essays about it. I will engage him as if he were a philosopher. And he is a poor one.
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Another thing that really irritates me is the aspect of totally ignoring the context in which Umineko was created within Japan, especially concerning the influence under which it was apparently consciously and subconsciously created. Of course it is difficult when we are dealing with something from a completely different language...but handling it as if it was not is a kind of arrogance that annoys me throughout both fan-discussions as well as academic discussions on Japanese popular culture.
A narrative relying on disgustingly morally wrong conclusions does not change based on the context of its creation. I can appreciate that there exist certain contexts in modern Japanese society that would lead Ryukishi to the conclusions and beliefs he holds. I am not required to believe those conclusions and beliefs are well-founded, or that they arise from a morally healthy society.

It's akin to a Dixie writer spinning an antebellum narrative of the Old South that treats slavery positively. I can understand from the context why a Southerner might pine for the Old South in a not-specifically-racist manner (rarely is such a book going to be like "Woo, slavery owned. We really shoulda kept us some of that," after all), but it doesn't change the fact that the writer desires a return to a deeply immoral society whose good points (if that's what the author admires) can't exist unmarried to its bad ones. A more neutral work on the same topic tends to be more willing to expose the ugliness and portray the contrasts between, say, the prewar culture of honorable gentility and the disgusting practice of owning other human beings. Fiction can say a lot of things about how these sorts of things exist at the same time in the same place, but that balance is important. Remove the balance and it appears that you are an advocate.

I wouldn't compare Ryukishi to Upton Sinclair in terms of kludgy preachiness. I don't think he's bludgeoning us with the idea that escapism is always a good thing. However, he's basically set up a moral wrong in his "real world," then extended the escapism argument to justify that moral wrong as well. It's one thing to say Maria was right to have her fantasies to cope with life with her mother (as Rosa's behavior was never portrayed as anything but wrong, and Rosa herself recognized this in her better moments). It's quite another to cover up a murder, then portray those who want answers as evil.

Also, you try to use this culture argument as a bludgeon every time, but it's never really stuck to me as having much of anything valid to say. If your argument is that we're making moral judgments that are being misinterpreted because of a cultural shift that casts things in the wrong light, you need to be more specific about what isn't being taken the right way. Saying "Well, you have to understand that Japanese writers have been doing x, y, and z for a while" doesn't really mean anything unless you're going to explain why it doesn't mean what we've taken it to mean.
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Old 2011-11-03, 12:59   Link #25432
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
Another thing that really irritates me is the aspect of totally ignoring the context in which Umineko was created within Japan, especially concerning the influence under which it was apparently consciously and subconsciously created. Of course it is difficult when we are dealing with something from a completely different language...but handling it as if it was not is a kind of arrogance that annoys me throughout both fan-discussions as well as academic discussions on Japanese popular culture.
I think the problem here is more one of lack of knowledge than of arrogance.
Many of us don't know Japanese culture so well we can keep them in mind while discussing Umineko. I guess most of us reports the beliefs of his own culture and, at best the little they know of Japanese beliefs.
It's like when you ask to keep in mind Japanese mystery literature.
We can do it only if we know it.

Let's pretend for absurd in Japanese culture having incest with your children was perfectly legittimate. By those standards Kinzo wouldn't be doing anything wrong. But by the standard of many other countries Kinzo is a monster who's raping his own children.
If you don't know in his culture he's legittimate to do so, maybe that's even seen as a way to form a body between father and child with its own ritual and so on handled in such a way the child isn't traumatized but take it as a normal passage in growing up (of course I'm making all this stuffs up as I don't think Japanese culture include this sort of things) you'll likely think the worst of him and, since in your culture this is bad, it doesn't even dawn in your mind that in Japanese culture it might be different.

Now mine was an extreme example but there are a lot of cultural difference between countries so we're bound to trip on them.

I understand your annoyance, which is legittimate (Ryukishi surely wrote Umineko while being influenced by Japanese culture and for readers of Japanese culture so it wouldn't be fair to blame it to have written it without keeping in mind cultures of other countries he might not even know), but I'm not sure there can be a solution.
People can't keep in mind things they don't know while discussing Umineko.

So, if you want to clarify points in Ryukishi's culture that might have pushed him to do something I know I personally will apprecciate it and try to keep it in mind but sadly, I'm not able to do this for stuffs I don't know yet.

My lack of knowledge of his culture is bound to undermine my understanding of his work and possibly push me toward a wrong judgement (or better toward a judgement that follows different cultural beliefs) but I really don't have the time to follow a full course in Japanese culture... and I'd hate to be suggested to just keep silent and don't express my opinion just for that.
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Old 2011-11-03, 13:18   Link #25433
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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Also, you try to use this culture argument as a bludgeon every time, but it's never really stuck to me as having much of anything valid to say. If your argument is that we're making moral judgments that are being misinterpreted because of a cultural shift that casts things in the wrong light, you need to be more specific about what isn't being taken the right way. Saying "Well, you have to understand that Japanese writers have been doing x, y, and z for a while" doesn't really mean anything unless you're going to explain why it doesn't mean what we've taken it to mean.
I'm not at all trying to imply a cultural rift that causes a misinterpretation of Umineko. The mere thought of that appears laughable to me, because culture-specific writing is something that I tend to belief does not exist (that does of course not mean I don't belief in influence of cultural backgrounds on fiction).
The problem is that Umineko was written in front of the background of a very lively debate on literary approaches and literature itself in the time from the mid 1980's, which continues into the present and the future. Much of this debate is still very much exclusive to Japan, but due to a very closely linked network of literary criticism and writing in Japan (which often creates very biased reviewing but also often an interesting insight into personal opinion) one work very rarely exists only on his own...which can drive academics around the world nuts.

For example the term of Gamemaster in the context of storytelling is very likely something that Ryűkishi took from Ôtsuka Eiji's Essay on the Consumption of Narratives (物語消費論). His whole perspective on Mystery fiction is influenced by the Japanese development of that genre, his knowledge of it's development in the "West" seems to be limited to the classics...he names Christie as a prime example for Western mystery/detective fiction, yet Higashino Keigo as an example for Japan, while both are only marginally comparable on a narrative basis.
I wouldn't even read Umineko as a comment on the morality of subjectivity vs. objectivity at all. That is because I see the comment on literary construction of reliability vs. unreliability as much stronger and much more prominent. Even his "real world" is so highly stylized and streamlined towards a certain argumentative structure, that I cannot rate it as a depiction of his real life stance towards such topics as murder or truth vs. lie at all.

You try to devalue Umineko based on a supposed comment on the morality of truth, and not only that but truth concerning murder, which is of course a highly explosive subject. But that seems to blind you to take a step back and consider the possibility that this aspect is maybe not the main feature that was supposed to be commented on with the narrative at all.

Quote:
They're not mere antagonists. The ep7 Tea Party is absolutely nothing more than deliberate sadism on Bern's part. If she wanted to see this horrible maybe-truth, she could've viewed it in private or in Will's presence. She "invited" (read: forced) Lion and Ange to watch it, knowing it would hurt both of them. There is no justification for this. It's villainy, not mere antagonism.
I did not see the EP7 Tea Party like this anymore. Of course Bern was depicted as enjoying the sadistic role she was offered, but it is implied during EP8 that this was also merely a role that had to be played in the context of the larger sequence of games. A role she assumed and played to perfection.
The role she fulfilled within that Tea Party was not torturing Lion or Ange, while this was of course something that resulted from her actions, but providing a proper counter example to Will's very emotion-oriented solution. The more Will sought out the heart, the more Bern's depiction lost it's heart. It was a proper counterweight in the debate between a solution that honours those involved and a solution that strips away all concepts of honour. Although I'd agree that Ryűkishi's overly pompous style blew this point out of proportion in favour of a dramatic fight between Bern and Will.
You can of course criticize the actions of the characters involved, but they do not have to mirror the ideals held by the author at all. This is a problem if you fictionalize a literary argument and restructure it as a narrative.

Also, even if I thinks it's dangerous to mix personal theories regarding the plot into this discussion, I still think that the moral decision of the characters was not wrong per se. To me the real culprit of "Rokkenjima Prime" will remain Kyrie (as I see EP3 and 4 as a definitive hint towards her guilt), so probably the only person who was actually wronged in the aftermath by somebody else than Kyrie herself was Eva. The question wether a dead culprit should be persecuted is something that is up to debate, but it is not something that can be answered definitely.
I know you argue towards the responsibility towards people like Ange and the relatives of the servants, but the question remains wether that truth would actually do any good beyond proving culpability in a case where no crime is suspected by anybody outside the Witch Hunters at all.

EDIT:
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Originally Posted by jjblue1 View Post
My lack of knowledge of his culture is bound to undermine my understanding of his work and possibly push me toward a wrong judgement (or better toward a judgement that follows different cultural beliefs) but I really don't have the time to follow a full course in Japanese culture... and I'd hate to be suggested to just keep silent and don't express my opinion just for that.
As I explained above I didn't want to imply a problem of cultural difference at all. To insinuate that a narrative is impossible to understand because of cultural difference is something that is done only by nationalists and elitists, especially those of the Nihonjin-ron (Essays on the Japanese) school in Japan. There it is often implied that people other than the Japanese cannot understand products of Japanese culture because of a certain Japanese essence...total nonsense of course.
The problem is much more based in a lack of communication between "the East" and "the West" (especially an imballance in that only few information flow from the East to the West) when it comes to areas of culture and cultural products. There is often this very misunderstanding that those things cannot be discussed outside of that cultural concept. But considering that Umineko among others is just the result of an amalgamation of influences from so many different cultural backgrounds, it is much more the unwillingness to create those bridges on an academic level or a level of intellectual debate as well. If we would enable people to read what is written in Japan about Japanese fiction for example, then many things would be much less mystified or misunderstood. But of course if no information is available, how is anybody supposed to understand.
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Old 2011-11-03, 13:46   Link #25434
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But I would disagree with you and Renall when you try painting his work as propaganda for blind escapism.
That's not what we're saying. We're saying that Ryukishi didn't do a good enough job of trying to make a philosophical argument on subjectivity and truth. However he tried to put it, he bungled it and made the argument that it's wrong to expose the truth if people don't want to hear it.

Quote:
And just as a little comment on the side. For those who accept the manga version as a meaningful addition to Umineko (I'm among those who do, AT for example doesn't).
The new chapter of EP4 depicted the ressurection of Sakutarô in the Golden Land by Ange. When Beatrice tries to deny Ange's magic by saying そのぬいぐるみは特別なぬいぐるみ!楼座が娘の誕生日のために作った、世界でたった一つの, she really does choke and is unable to cotinue her sentence. So that would settle the debate wether she was cut off or if it was similar to how Battler was unable to say he was born by Asumu and thus kills another one of the "Red is purely subjective on Beatrice's side" arguments.
She chokes in the Visual Novel, too. But since EP5 goes out and says that Ange was able to enter the Golden Land because Beatrice wanted to, and because Beatrice was happy for Maria, it's equally likely she was acting in order to save face, or something.

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I don't think red is subjective to Beatrice's subjective whims. I think red is subjective to Ryuukishi's subjective whims.
Exactly. The consequence is that it makes Beatrice a cheating bitch.

Quote:
As for the escapism...I'll put it simply:
It annoys me to the point where I find it to be offensive, but since I don't know where to draw the line between cultural differences and pure idiocy I can't really comment on it beyond "I truly personally despise the way he treats the subject."
Ryukishi is advocating escapism and ignoring the problems around you in order to boost your self-esteem. If we make the culture a significant factor, here, then he's advocating a significant problem that is crippling Japan's youth and thusly it's workforce and economy. He's advocating the emotional regression Japan has been cancerously infected with ever since World War 2.

That's like a Western writer publishing a novel where the moral is "Blind fear is okay because it's best to be cautious, so we should be respectful of people who hate on people they disagree with (Muslims, Wall Street, Democrats, Gays) because they're actually frightened."
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Old 2011-11-03, 13:51   Link #25435
Renall
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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
I'm not at all trying to imply a cultural rift that causes a misinterpretation of Umineko. The mere thought of that appears laughable to me, because culture-specific writing is something that I tend to belief does not exist (that does of course not mean I don't belief in influence of cultural backgrounds on fiction).
The problem is that Umineko was written in front of the background of a very lively debate on literary approaches and literature itself in the time from the mid 1980's, which continues into the present and the future. Much of this debate is still very much exclusive to Japan, but due to a very closely linked network of literary criticism and writing in Japan (which often creates very biased reviewing but also often an interesting insight into personal opinion) one work very rarely exists only on his own...which can drive academics around the world nuts.

For example the term of Gamemaster in the context of storytelling is very likely something that Ryűkishi took from Ôtsuka Eiji's Essay on the Consumption of Narratives (物語消費論). His whole perspective on Mystery fiction is influenced by the Japanese development of that genre, his knowledge of it's development in the "West" seems to be limited to the classics...he names Christie as a prime example for Western mystery/detective fiction, yet Higashino Keigo as an example for Japan, while both are only marginally comparable on a narrative basis.
I don't care about any of this. You talking about it will not make me care until you explain to me what the hell your point is talking about it.

Seriously, please tell me why I should give a damn about any of this information. Ryukishi has influences? Great, wow, so does every writer. Ryukishi is writing in response to other authors and to other authorial climates? Jeez, that's never happened anywhere else in the world at any point in history, except every major intellectual movement ever. Why is it different here and why is it important to know something more than we supposedly already know about it? And moreover, what do we need to know? You're the apparent expert here, we can't know what you know unless you tell us what brilliant missed piece of background information is so important and outline why.
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I wouldn't even read Umineko as a comment on the morality of subjectivity vs. objectivity at all. That is because I see the comment on literary construction of reliability vs. unreliability as much stronger and much more prominent. Even his "real world" is so highly stylized and streamlined towards a certain argumentative structure, that I cannot rate it as a depiction of his real life stance towards such topics as murder or truth vs. lie at all.

You try to devalue Umineko based on a supposed comment on the morality of truth, and not only that but truth concerning murder, which is of course a highly explosive subject. But that seems to blind you to take a step back and consider the possibility that this aspect is maybe not the main feature that was supposed to be commented on with the narrative at all.
Go onnnnnnn...?
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I did not see the EP7 Tea Party like this anymore. Of course Bern was depicted as enjoying the sadistic role she was offered, but it is implied during EP8 that this was also merely a role that had to be played in the context of the larger sequence of games. A role she assumed and played to perfection.
The role she fulfilled within that Tea Party was not torturing Lion or Ange, while this was of course something that resulted from her actions, but providing a proper counter example to Will's very emotion-oriented solution.
So then what was the point of torturing them? The entire rest of your claim falls flat when Bern didn't have to do something that was deliberately and solely designed to be harmful to someone and did so anyway. There was no particular reason to even cast herself as a villain to Ange and Lion, even if there was for Will or Battler. If the goal was "I'm going to torment them to get Will to step to this and come fight me" then you're arguing that Bern was willing to see Ange and Lion's psychological torment as a means to an end. In which case she's no longer a sadist, but a sociopath. Even if she's doing this for a purpose, it ultimately remains an evil act. The only difference between her and Beatrice doing much the same is that Beatrice clearly felt terrible about it. One of Bern's major character traits is a complete lack of remorse. But I suppose you'll say that was manufactured too.

Moreover, the claim doesn't even make sense in context. Why is Bern trying to confront Will's emotion-oriented solution with even more emotion? Her argument boils down to poking and prodding at Ange and Lion and even effectively trying to lie to Ange in red, all for the purpose of... what, exactly? If the goal is to present unadulterated truth, she just has to passively present her scenario and state: "Facts are facts. That you won't even consider the possibility is the problem. You don't want to believe that what has happened was the result of someone's greed or hatred. But in light of all the facts before you, that is what you have to conclude. And why wouldn't Eva tell you who did it unless it was someone close to you? Isn't this scenario not only possible, but perhaps even plausible?"

That was not her tone, even if that was essentially her logic. Her tone was basically "lol ur mom killed everybody for money this is totally true... maybe! BTW Lion Kyrie kills u too lol sucker." And then Will is all "I think you're being kind of a dick, brah" and Bern's all "You wanna go, homie? COME AT ME BRO!" and then he does come at her and Bern demonstrates she is not a homie to throw down with, bro. She's not trying to defeat an emotional argument with detached academic interest. She's picking a fight she knows she will win by beating up people who cannot resist her, and she's enjoying it. It's flat-out bullying. It doesn't matter if she was doing it by design or for some higher end.

Also note that none of this required Lion to even be there.
Spoiler for An Example of the Issue:
Quote:
The question wether a dead culprit should be persecuted is something that is up to debate, but it is not something that can be answered definitely.
I know you argue towards the responsibility towards people like Ange and the relatives of the servants, but the question remains wether that truth would actually do any good beyond proving culpability in a case where no crime is suspected by anybody outside the Witch Hunters at all.
Of course it can be answered definitively, if you have a well-developed conscience. I can think of precious few moral systems that would not bear at least a little bit of criticism for how the truth was handled by those who had it.

Beyond that, I would argue that truth is its own good and that alone creates a responsibility to the truth in the minds of those who actually possess it, if anyone. And that's kind of the problem. If the tale ends on the realization that nobody has access to the knowledge at all, it's different entirely than "some people have knowledge, but they ain't gonna talk about it."
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Old 2011-11-03, 14:06   Link #25436
Wanderer
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Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
And in the end, those negative aspects are validated, or are effectively strawmanned to such extremes as there to be no middle ground.
Right, in the end the negative aspects are validated. In the end. RK07 put the good and bad about escapism on the table and went with "the good (often) outweighs the bad". The fact that he validated escapism in the end just meant that his philosophical argument had a conclusion; it does not mean he simply ignored arguments from the other side.

We can continue this discussion about whether RK07 made a solid case for the opposition, but the simple fact that he ultimately rejected it does not make it a straw man unless he made a weak case to begin with.

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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
Whoa whoa hang on there cowboy.

He raped one of his kids. Let's not turn this into some kind of scandal.
Devil's proof.

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Originally Posted by haguruma View Post
The new chapter of EP4 depicted the ressurection of Sakutarô in the Golden Land by Ange. When Beatrice tries to deny Ange's magic by saying そのぬいぐるみは特別なぬいぐるみ!楼座が娘の誕生日のために作った、世界でたった一つの, she really does choke and is unable to cotinue her sentence. So that would settle the debate wether she was cut off or if it was similar to how Battler was unable to say he was born by Asumu and thus kills another one of the "Red is purely subjective on Beatrice's side" arguments.
Interesting that Beatrice could say Sakutarou was made by Rosa for her daughter, but couldn't say he was unique. It fits with the various "Rosa made Sakutarou for Maria, but he also became mass produced" scenarios.

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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
They're not mere antagonists. The ep7 Tea Party is absolutely nothing more than deliberate sadism on Bern's part. If she wanted to see this horrible maybe-truth, she could've viewed it in private or in Will's presence. She "invited" (read: forced) Lion and Ange to watch it, knowing it would hurt both of them. There is no justification for this. It's villainy, not mere antagonism.
Just some interesting food for thought: I remember in episode 8's Tea Party, where there was a fair amount of 4th-wall breaking, Bern said something like "It's fun to play the bad guy once in a while".

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Originally Posted by Renall View Post
I wouldn't compare Ryukishi to Upton Sinclair in terms of kludgy preachiness. I don't think he's bludgeoning us with the idea that escapism is always a good thing. However, he's basically set up a moral wrong in his "real world," then extended the escapism argument to justify that moral wrong as well. It's one thing to say Maria was right to have her fantasies to cope with life with her mother (as Rosa's behavior was never portrayed as anything but wrong, and Rosa herself recognized this in her better moments). It's quite another to cover up a murder, then portray those who want answers as evil.
Wait, did all those portrayed as evil want real answers? Erika, the goats, the Witch Hunters- to them the real truth about Rokkenjima was nothing more than a game; they just wanted whatever "truth" they could get. There's really only ever one important character who wanted the real truth about the Rokkenjima murders, and that's Ange. What RK07 is saying is that only Ange even has a right to seek this truth (and presumably Nanjo's son, Gohda's mom etc. too; Ange can be seen as their literary representative).

Basically, it's a morally acceptable thing to set up an escapism route (the fictions themselves) but immoral to force your world-view on another (Ange got a choice whether or not to read the Book of One Truth). However, morality aside, escapism was portrayed as the healthier option in Ange's case.
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Old 2011-11-03, 14:14   Link #25437
Renall
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Just some interesting food for thought: I remember in episode 8's Tea Party, where there was a fair amount of 4th-wall breaking, Bern said something like "It's fun to play the bad guy once in a while".
Yeah, and that's fine if you're playing Iago in a presentation of Othello and everyone knows it's an act. It is fun to play the bad guy then, and the more you revel in Iago's evil the better your portrayal is. We enjoy the presentation of evil because it can be cautionary and exciting, and because we know no one is actually getting hurt.

It's not so much fun when the guy playing Othello isn't aware he's in a play.
Quote:
Wait, did all those portrayed as evil want real answers? Erika, the goats, the Witch Hunters- to them the real truth about Rokkenjima was nothing more than a game; they just wanted whatever "truth" they could get. There's really only ever one important character who wanted the real truth about the Rokkenjima murders, and that's Ange. What RK07 is saying is that only Ange even has a right to seek this truth (and presumably Nanjo's son, Gohda's mom etc. too; Ange can be seen as their literary representative).

Basically, it's a morally acceptable thing to set up an escapism route (the fictions themselves) but immoral to force your world-view on another (Ange got a choice whether or not to read the Book of One Truth). However, morality aside, escapism was portrayed as the healthier option in Ange's case.
The world doesn't revolve around Ange, not even in her own story. And if those who wanted "truth" didn't want the actual truth, it just demonstrates that the opposition was not adequately established. That's the whole point behind my calling it a strawman. There's not anybody who, at the end, can position themselves to say "I think Ange is wrong and there are valid reasons that I think so, but in the end I didn't win this argument so my points will have to stand unresolved but relevant." That's basically left to the reader, if they are in disagreement with Ryukishi's point. Which doesn't really help.
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Old 2011-11-03, 14:59   Link #25438
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As far as I'm involved I agree with the others on the fact that Umineko supports escapism vs. accepting reality.

Why?

Each time we're shown a character who's using escapism, we're also shown his condition is pityful and would be worse without it.
This is pretty fair and normal and psychologically acceptable.

Maria using it to deal with her mother's abuse, Ange using it to deal with bullism, Yasu using it to deal with the mess that her life is, Eva using it as a teenager to find emotional support in a maschilist environment (and possibly as a way to shift the blame if she's guilty of something in EP 3), Natsuhi also as a way to find support in her loneliness... really, they're all ways to deal with a pain/situation that could be too big for them to handle, especially for Maria, Yasu, Ange and teen Eva who're pretty young.

If Umineko were to stop here I would say it's 'politically correct and making a fair point'.

But Umineko doesn't stop here.

First we've Erika. She accepted the 'reality' (her boyfriend cheated on her).
What Umineko tells us about it?

First, it seems to imply Erika gained part of her twisted personality due to it (this experience is what pushed her to challenge poor Mari and shatter her belief in magic).

Second, it questions if Erika's 'truth' was really that true (Dlanor says although Erika was likely right in saying her boyfriend cheated on her... well she couldn't deny the possibility her boyfriend still loved her [I won't go into the debate on wherever a boyfriend cheating you and therefore making you suffer might still be loving you after all... -_-])

Third, Erika's life didn't improve when she accepted the 'truth/reality'. She's alone, she has a twisted and unlikable personality, she ends up as Bern's pawn, her goals are hollow. Maybe she would have been like this even if she still had a boyfriend but since Umineko implies she became like this due to the loss of her boyfriend we draw the conclusion that if she had used escapism to ignore her boyfriend's betrayal maybe she'll be a better/happier person. Mind you, we can't prove it but that's the conclusion the story seems to imply.

In short, for Erika accepting the truth/reality was bad.

Let's move to someone else.

Ange. Ange is presented a choice, if to chose magic or not.
In case she doesn't what happens to her?

She possibly survives by killing Amakusa and the captain without secure proofs they were aiming to harm her. On another side she's on a ship she likely doesn't know how to drive and she's seeing Erika so it's possible she's gone nut or that committing a murder forced her to hide in escapism ANYWAY as a way to cope with it.
This can be viewed as opposed to EP 4, in which she's likely killed, her fictional friends unable to save her... however EP 4 Ange is shown to be toying with the idea of suicide and somehow dies with peace of mind as she seems to settle her unfinished business.

What if she choses magic? She survives anyway, without committing murder, supported by Okiura, living a more or less normal life, becoming a successful writer and even meeting Battler.

Either ways, chosing magic in Ep 4 or 8 will make Ange happier and mentally healtheir than not chosing it.

Also apparently discovering the truth about herself did to Yasu more harm than good.

Basically, we're shown the only way to cope with the unpleasant truth in a positive way is either to hide or reject it, not to deal with it in fact:

Ange apparently chose to stop searching for the truth, rejecting the truth of the book and believing in her own.

Battler, as soon as he discover the truth, realize the truth is BAD, switch position and decides to hide it.

Toya wants to reject the truth he was Battler and accepts it only out of guilt toward Ange. However, from what people said, he still doesn't want to be 'Battler'

Now let's move to the characters who wants to cover the truth with lies.

They are all presented as people wanting to do it in order to protect someone.
Krauss hid Kinzo's death in order to protect his family from financial disaster.
Eva hid truth in order to protect Ange.
Genji hid the truth about Yasu being alive in order to protect her and so on (sure they also have some personal gaim but the empashis is put on PROTECTION in the story not in PERSONAL GAIN).

What about the characters who wants the truth?

The goats want it for their own sick curiosity.
Erika also isn't pushed by nice motivation.
Featherine seems to have a gentler type of curiosity than the goats but still she's careless of hurting others.
The siblings want to know the truth about Kinzo's death... because they want inheritance. None of them seem sorry/worried about their father's demise.
Bern is apparently the worst. Oh, she says she showed Ange the worst truth just to see if she was strong enought to handle an unpleasant truth but considering how bad she's portrayed it seems some sort of excuse. Destrying Lion so as to prove to Yasu she also shouldn't hold any hope for a happy ending... well, although it could stop her from hiding in this new fantasy doesn't really look like it was done in the gentler way.
Ange might have been the best, as not knowing does her personal harm, however it's also implied she's not really searching THE TRUTH but a way to put the blame solely on Eva so as to remove suspicions from her parents and she's also shown to reject theories that go on Eva's defence, although, to Ange's credit, she tried to consider her but, for most of EP 8, she just rejects the idea her family can be guilty and wants to find a truth that will please her and who cares if this might mean to frame innocent Eva. She becomes no better than Erika in Ep 5... although she has better reasons for being as such and she makes efforts to redeem herself.

In short we're presented with a vision in which whoever searches the truth does it due to personal malice, ill curiosity or personal gain and who finds the truth always think it does more harm than good and, if he wants to deal with it positively, have to hide/reject it.

Now, if we were having a debate about realism vs escapism, in which the point of escapism needed to be supported because too many works were supporting realism, Umineko would have its reason to be in supporting it.
Maybe in Japan there's such culture that denies escapism or a huge amount of books that goes against it and it could be reasonable to write a novel that support it because escapism ISN'T ALL BAD.

It's a way for the mind to cope with a pain that's too huge without being damaged too much. It can help.

However, if Umineko is put out of such context, in it there's a clear unbalance in favour of escapism. Umineko advocates escapism against accepting reality and, as absolute concept, this wouldn't be a healthy way to deal with life either.

Umineko only vaguely brushed this point in Ep 4 when Ange's immaginary friends are proved to be too little of a confort and of a protection to shield her from emotional abuse and real bullets... though this point is soon covered up by Ange chosing to allow the seven sisters to live and tag along with her (she didn't simply just accept Maria had imaginary friends... she dragged them along with her, returning to be a person with imaginary friends) and by not making clear she died (actually it seems the seven sister protected her when it was all her fantasy and it was Amakusa who shot the other guys...)
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Old 2011-11-03, 15:09   Link #25439
jjblue1
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Quote:
The question wether a dead culprit should be persecuted is something that is up to debate, but it is not something that can be answered definitely.
I know you argue towards the responsibility towards people like Ange and the relatives of the servants, but the question remains wether that truth would actually do any good beyond proving culpability in a case where no crime is suspected by anybody outside the Witch Hunters at all.
Well, actually Ange was bullied by her classmates who accused her parents to be guilty. Now Umineko presents this as the truth but let's pretend it wasn't and the culprit was... let's say Rosa. Or Yasu. Or George who after chose to kill himself. Or whoever else.

Ange would be mistreated because the truth had been hidden.

And what about the relatives of the servants? We don't really hear about it but what if Nanjo or Genji or Kumasawa or Gohda had also been suspected?
What if Nanjo's grandaughter grew up suffering the same bullyism as Ange or a similar one?

I'm not talking of just their need to know who killed their relatives but their need to have their relatives' reputation protected.
In Ep 4 it's implied their relatives might have been paid with a huge amount of money. Nanjo likely hid Kinzo's death.
If this were to be known it would be enough to suspect them to but culprits.
Wouldn't it ruin the peace of your mind to suspect your mother or your father might have been responsible of so many murders?

If only the Ushiromiya had been killed and only Ange were to be kept in the dark, I might understand it as knowing and not knowing are equally harmful for her. But there were other people and for them knowing would/might be better than not knowing... though Ryukishi didn't raise this issue at all.
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Old 2011-11-03, 15:38   Link #25440
AuraTwilight
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Right, in the end the negative aspects are validated. In the end. RK07 put the good and bad about escapism on the table and went with "the good (often) outweighs the bad". The fact that he validated escapism in the end just meant that his philosophical argument had a conclusion; it does not mean he simply ignored arguments from the other side.
You're missing my point, here.

He doesn't present the arguments as they would actually exist, he presents them in ways he knows he can defeat (strawmanning). He never presents, "Hey, Maria, this is behavior that's not going to help you in the long-term, it's not going to change anything."

He does, present, however, "Hey Maria, your mom hates you, and you're retarded" from Erika and "YOU'RE JUST IN DENIAL YOUR LIFE SUCKS AND I KNOW BETTER THAN THE PERSON WHO LIVED IT WHY AREN'T YOU SAD LIKE ME" from Ange.

Presentation of an argument matters, and Ryukishi demonstrates over and over and OVER that he does not respect the opposing arguments to his point, going so far as to paint his readers as intellectually lazy proles who are incapable of thinking of their own answer because they don't agree with his own conclusions.

Quote:
We can continue this discussion about whether RK07 made a solid case for the opposition, but the simple fact that he ultimately rejected it does not make it a straw man unless he made a weak case to begin with.
And I'm saying he did. He portrays everyone who opposes the truth he wants us to accept as a villain, and no one who tries to uncover the truth has a good reason to do so except Ange, who is treated as a child who doesn't have the emotional maturity to make up her own damn mind.

The only truth-seeker who is the slightest bit rational AND moral, Will, didn't even want to uncover the truth anyway, and was essentially forced into it. And even when he does solve it, he speaks in riddles so that only the person he's speaking to can understand him with clarity, implying that he too is respecting her decision to keep the truth locked up in a box.

No one disagrees with Ryukishi's argument unless they're fucking evil, and no one presents a proper philosophical or moral argument for not engaging in escapism. People who disapprove of escapism are depicted as sociopathic bullying bitches possessed by, are themselves are, an evil witch. No one who questions the truth of people's beliefs does so from a position that implies that they care about that person's well-being, and everyone who does care about that person is made to think that it's okay for them to plug their ears and tune out what they don't like.

He made a world where it's morally wrong to expect people to grow up and deal with reality.

Quote:
Basically, it's a morally acceptable thing to set up an escapism route (the fictions themselves) but immoral to force your world-view on another (Ange got a choice whether or not to read the Book of One Truth). However, morality aside, escapism was portrayed as the healthier option in Ange's case.
You say that, but BATTLER never gets any sort of moral comeuppance when he tried to convince Ange from seeking the truth by deceiving her and manipulating her emotions, and even when he physically tried to keep the truth out of her hands. The only reason he conceded at all was because she tried to commit suicide over it, but no one gave Battler a smack to the face and called him a jackass for it.

And, again, EVERYONE WHO IS PRO-TRUTH IS BEING DEPICTED AS MORE CHILDISH AND LESS GROWN-UP/WISE/MORAL/OR OTHERWISE OF EQUAL CHARACTER TO THE PRO-FANTASY SIDE.

Quote:
Each time we're shown a character who's using escapism, we're also shown his condition is pityful and would be worse without it.
This is pretty fair and normal and psychologically acceptable.
Wrong. Yasu could've stepped out of her delusion, picked up the phone, called Battler, and put the matter to rest before all this shit got out of the gate. She didn't do this, however, because of her delusion that God was testing her and she should have faith that Battler would be her prince, seeing him as a magical rescue from all her problems.

If not for that, she could have overcome everything herself and prevented the tragedy that is Sayo Yasuda. She could've atleast TRIED, but her delusions pushed her into learned helplessness.

Maria could've realized that magic isn't going to solve things, stopped doing things she knew set off her mother's anger, and possibly salvage her relationships with others; it was infact her interest in magic and the occult that made her bullied in school, along with her infantilism.

If Ange wasn't pretending to play word games with her imaginary friends, she could have finished studying and gotten a better grade, and then her classmates wouldn't of bullied her.

The idea that these characters had no recourse but escapism, or that their escapism actually helped them, is complete and total bullshit. But Ryukishi wants us to advocate it because it made them feel good about themselves.

Ryukishi is basically saying that positive reinforcement and high self-esteem should be encouraged no matter our fuckups.

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What if she choses magic? She survives anyway, without committing murder, supported by Okiura, living a more or less normal life, becoming a successful writer and even meeting Battler.
Not to mention she saves a whole bunch of orphans.

Quote:
Maybe in Japan there's such culture that denies escapism
You're kidding, right? Have you SEEN the anime industry?
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