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Seong-Young Her

This is a Category Document: it’s a living note that I regularly add to, unlike articles, which are stable.

Last updated 2022-04-16

Are they WRONG about deconstruction?

There’s an ongoing battle about the concept of “deconstruction” within the anime analysis community, which I know through YouTube (they’re on other platforms as well like MyAnimeList). The interlocutors are really well read and thoughtful; I recommend Pause and Select.

This particular video was great because it was an informed take on the current state of the discourse from the perspective of the subculturalist that doesn’t get bogged down on the true definition of “deconstruction”, instead diving into the origins and influence of deconstruction as a colloquial concept (as used within the subculture). It makes a lot more sense to base the discussion on how a term is actually being used within the subculture (and why) than to focus on the (ostensibly legitimate) academic definition. And it’s plausible that “trope” is an empty signifier.

According to the research presented, the incorrect definition of deconstruction popular within anime analysis subculture comes from the TVTropes article, which uses a metaphor of deconstruction in food to define the concept. It gives some examples of the TVTropes contributors getting details wrong about genres (namely, claims to the effect that a trope is rare in the genre when it is, in fact, a common trope within the genre). The video concludes that this is because “trope” is an empty signifier (and the definition of deconstruction presented by TVTropes is thereby ill-founded and useless).

But I’m not sure how effective this line of argument is. The term “genre” seems to also be at least as empty a signifier as “trope” by the same standard, and the ostensibly illegitimate methodology of the Tropesian Deconstruction seems no more problematic than genre-based criticism itself. There’s no reason to limit the criticism of ill-informed wiki contributors contributing inaccurate information to deconstruction, because that criticism is incidental to the criticism of the “trope” signifier. Furthermore, it seems that

Pages Attached to Aesthetics

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  • Structure and Content in Drake-Style Templates Seong-Young Her
    Two dimensions stand out that make the two templates the same: 1. the structure (aversion/affirmation) 2. the content (rappers in music videos)
  • Memes, Jokes & Visual Puns Masha Zharova
    A basic framework for understanding the interplay between visual structure, conceptual organization, visual perception and meaning-making in collage memes that don't contain any text.
  • The Interpretation of Memes Mikhail Conrad Nacua
    What I have here is a modest proposal to talk about the more obvious quality of memes as microexpressions of how we think about character, narrative and imagery. This is about when memes act as images of human action.
  • The design of a platform determines the kind of content produced Seong-Young Her
    It's a great example of how shaky the definition of 'Internet meme' as 'a funny image or video clip' really is. Are these photos each a meme, or do they compose a single meme through being viewed together?
  • Kandinsky and Loss S. Y. Her
    Tracing back techniques used in memes to modern art is a safe bet, because it's only natural that memers will use whatever tools are available to make better memes.
  • A Short Note On Gondola S. Y. Her
    There's a new meme becoming popular in the Anglosphere called Gondola. It's a derivative of Spurdo Sparde with no arms or dialogue, generally walking around in various scenes from classic artworks to everyday life. I think they could be most easily characterized in opposition to Pepe or Spurdo, both of whom are subversive in the classically Ironic Meme style of inappropriateness. Pepe will murder Wojak over and over while Spurdo will spout every satirizable position in misspelled and poorly drawn way possible. As usual, everyone's worry is about how normies will ruin Gondola. Not if or when; it's taken for granted that Gondola will become corrupted.
  • The Artist-Philosopher Manifesto S. Y. Her
    We, the artists of the future, refuse to be the plaything of politics.