Tag Archives: depression

Critique: An essay

I wonder sometimes what the relation between criticism and the genre of critique should be.
Critics v Creators
The esteemed British critic Mark Kermode in one of his uncut videos brought up an issue I’d always struggled with. I had been a critic of systems in the past like examination and testing systems and i’d always get the response ‘well that’s just because you failed!!!’ and that may have been true on occassion but it was not always true. There was in fact a day when it was markedly untrue, we had to participate in propangadizing the legacy of the person my university was named after and I had some issue with this. There was a course based on his life story and his hardship and the lesson to be drawn from that was in discussing topics like discipleship and valour. It was interesting his life story in the way that a Mad men episode or a museum is but the manner in which we assessed our progress was not to relate years and facts but to fill in the blanks in a textbook. Kermode made a similar distinction when he stated that he has not ever agreed that critics make better content or productions. He mentions one example of a Japanese critic who decided to make a movie that was not well received and in the resulting accusation had to delineate between the two identities he possessed.

 

A critic may not necessarily be a creator in waiting (director, producer, writer) but is an important gate keeper or even hand maiden in any given field. To serve the creators by showing them where they have failed or preventing bad products from being seen by those who are impressionable

 

Critics as High court judges
High court judges in the UK cannot hold political office or express political opinion during their tenure. This is a feature of separation of powers such that they can take cases individually or apply court precedents where necessary. In some newer creative fields such as comic books and video games there exists a lack of delineation complete or partial between enthusiasts and critics. In some of these industries, there exists an incentive to give positive reviews or praise to a work of art not on the basis of cohesion, symmetry, structure, appearance or value but on the off chance that they may break into the industry of their dreams.
There exists also a sort of perpetual childhood described by smarter people than me such that those who did not put away their long boxes have come back with a vengeance to critique work and to suggest ways to better an industry in decline like all print media. It seems ironic that the explosive popularity of spandex and flag wearing heroes has not seen a rise in overall sales and engagement in comics. The duty of the critic like a judge would be to decide the value of something based on evidence and arguments for and against and the creator should be able to separate the language or choice commentary from the empirical criticism.

 

Critics as Experts

There also seems to be an extent to which critics have to love or care about the products involved. An affinity or a fondness of the medium or material. While it is in common parlance to discredit someone by stating that they weren’t good enough to break into the industry, it is also important to use expert information to describe critical points. Someone who knows about story structure can critique a faulty story, an amateurish studied artist can describe things as they would be better and analyse artistic failures in poor anatomy work. This is an idea that seems to be lost, as though everyone never has control over emotions. If for example a person is categorised as hateful, is it impossible for them to make any agreeable points? The robotic nature of text should allow one to pars the simplest interpretations of critiques. Apply hanlon’s razor or legal rules of interpretation if confused. If your only response to a critique is that it is hateful you need to examine your counter critique. As much as it is pertinent to say that something is hateful it is also an unbelievably complicated concept that muddied the waters in discourse.

Tl;dr: Critics are important. Maybe critique and artistry are not always linked and should be separate. Insight into subject matter helps with reasoned critique

There’s still a believer

Somewhere in the sky there’s a justification for my beliefs

And while there’s no direction in a vacuum he must be looking

Seeing me from a distance while inspecting the motifs

At least that was the tale that helped with my sleeping

 

Really I’m from nowhere living somewhere

Learning something to have a career in another thing

For a future love to erase my past elsewhere

And a porch in the morning while to her coffee I bring

 

At least that’s hoping, and I’m still dreaming

When does it stop being true or true enough

when will there be no time for thinking

At what point do I crossover and start doing

 

There’s still a believer somewhere because the extraordinary claim has not been proven

Will I be happier as a part of a body, stronger, healthier or attractive?

Is there a group of anything that can fix my self without another lie, baked fresh from the oven

Is there a reality where I don’t dress for an hour just good enough to look like I’m inactive

Here’s My Pain.

I can’t surrender all of my suffering to another

But every once in a while I want to take a load off

I couldn’t reject any invitation to visit me until my mom died

I failed school horribly that year

 

I don’t know you such that I can’t tell you enough about me

But every now and then I open my mouth and speak

I’ve not dated in five years because I’m literally afraid of females

I’ve deluded myself into thinking I was dateable

 

I don’t ever want to troll anyone with my pen name

And I never will but this anonymity is a little therapeutic

I talk to less than 10 people every week and convince each of them I’m busy

When in fact I’d rather leave my life to pretend to be a friend for an hour

 

I can’t believe sometimes what it is I said in the past

But I hope I don’t leave future me directionless

I convinced myself I was slim for 10 years until I became over 200 pounds

And I starve myself daily as well

Kewl

It’s hard to satirise something that has at its heart so many crazy ideas. If I tell a real story about how for most of my life I have been scared shitless of cats as they are featured prominently in the folk of my childhood and in media. The bizarre nature of the situation had puzzled me for a while because even though I have worked very hard to pull from myself every superstition I was born with, some have attached themselves like tumours that removing them would be fatal.
One way I have tried to free myself from my repressed past has been making fun of these notions, to the effect of about 3 poems of which only one is published because it seemed clear that it was contradictory in nature. I am unsure if the post was taken seriously or not but it did surprise me that there are indeed times when it is hard to distinguish a truth from a conflation as those types of statements have been made in the past by ideologues. It was interesting for me to explore those especially crazy truths I had come across in the past. I would, if I could only talk about precolonial Africa to show how the cultures had developed concurrently with the rest of the world some aspects of democracy, voting and such. But the colonial influx resulted in my ancestors being painted savage while they were offered a God to fix their problems. It is actually something that I would like to write a whole article on anytime soon as essentially Christianity was the vehicle for colonialism in at least the realm of the Royal Niger Company. Along with that came literacy and civilisation which may or may not be as great as it seems, and it retconned my past as well.
When missionaries visited my home from America, whether or not they went toward any of the more rural places in Nigeria or not is not within my range of amazing memory. It changed as now I have seen and met and sort of experienced the way my house will probably look to someone from the ‘first world’ and such. The thickest of jungles in Africa were nowhere in sight, in the LGA of Surulere where I lived for those years, there’s many things that are incongruous with that safari view. I remember how eager to please we were, as members of the choir we offered Americanised versions of songs we’d learned. It was such that my younger self had switched into his pleasing mode, desperate and frantic and trying to get the applause of the white women missionaries. Little boy danced like there was something to be gained and dinner arrived too soon, a meal of white rice with boiled chicken and tomato stew (which I call stew). There they were my parents, convincing me that these people would help whoever it was they had come to help. The following Sunday I excitedly told my friends that we had missionaries over and they would be coming over. They had Jesus based magic tricks which are more awesome than they sound, these involved colouring an image with random colours provided by the audience and ‘colouring’ with a handkerchief. The method to this magic has not been researched by myself, neither has it peaked my curiosity again since that day. I have in recent years revisited this and other such events to try to protract a positive from the event as I now view these people with such disdain and malcontent that they might as well have had a terrible thing happen to them without my concern.
Interesting though is the fact that not all missionaries are bad and maybe some of them genuinely feel like they have not been total dick holes in their history however ancient. The advantages will be noted thus, maybe they helped a kid from the brink of self harm in this unforgiving world by teaching him whatever biblical doctrine it was they subscribed to as well as offering them some actual help by way of food, water and education. That is I believe the main argument to be had about whether or not they do any good in the world, but the cynic in me looks at it and sees
“I’ll give you food and water and education if you agree to subscribe to my belief system wholeheartedly including but not exclusive to:
Leaving your home and family if Christ requires it
Giving away a tenth of your allowance because God has a credit cash back deal he has set up
Maybe cut off the foreskin of your penis
Also abandon your culture and your people’s way of making sense of the world
Strive as well to convert others to the belief you are still getting into
Eventually, hand on every word of some intangible being that has vague means of discerning his presence and don’t forget to always bring your money to pay the man who gives a live adaptation of the fiction on which your entire life is based”
I have ended my argument for the necessity or lack thereof of missionaries in my experience.
Disclaimer: I don’t speak for anyone but me at this time, future me may disagree.
148 as of 9:00

What of the world?

Who cares what the world thinks of you and your race or gender or politics? If you are happy with yourself and your happiness does not prima facie directly contribute to someone else’s detriment then you should be fine. It is not necessary for everyone to like you or care enough to hate your guts, if you are in fact an individual you do feel lukewarm about a lot of people in your life. It always surprises me when people claim that they love everyone equally because you cannot by your functioning as a human do this. The only thing you can be sure of is that you love some people and some people love you, that should be enough to warm your heart or help you succeed.
I know that words are sometimes just that and when it comes to the actions themselves, it is harder to execute a ‘don’t care’ attitude. There are people that will annoy you everyday; there’s a small space on the lift from the tube sub platform but no one wants to make space, there’s a gum piece that was flung on the sidewalk and it gets stuck under your favourite pair, there’s someone on the tube eating something that has a very powerful scent and there’s an ass hole who spilled a coffee on an empty seat on the 205 bus. It is not however worth it to wait for the world to approve your actions in every instance, is it worth it to belong to a group where you can’t grow? Is it worth it to sacrifice yourself for the good of the group? I always ask what the plight of someone who commits an atrocity in another’s name should be, when the act of the male or female was not orchestrated for their pleasure but for the good of a group or an ideology. What happens to the silent protesters who get burned to death? Will the group’s success re-spawn them? Will their failure shift into pity because they have a Martyr now and death makes people into Jesus?
What of the world? I ask myself every so often as i try to focus on my goals and my life graduation, is it worth it in the end if there is no welcome for me and no hurrah and my body just dissolves like all into nothing? Will my life have more worth if by helping myself I help the world(or at least my corner of it) rather than the other way around? What does it help to congregate into groups and watch brilliance go toward propaganda and when will the protests stop and living continue? I hope the world is better in the future but I will not sacrifice my life or my joy or my happiness or my enjoyment of things for the foolhardy hope that maybe someday my life will matter in the annals of a group. I don’t mind sitting on the empty table everyday if I can know happiness and contentment and success and hunger. If my legs be made strong from the running alone and my palms like iron from the frustrated punches and my eyes straining as I don’t pick colour glasses and my nose sniffing in air, not hate or fury and my back lay on grass blades and my bum calm as I sit alone. I may be happy for I am free of groups and thinking other people’s thoughts and I will welcome my consciousness stream.

Caricature

Everytime I take off my shirt to clean my body, I have to confront a new set of facts that I had before. I had slept like myself once again and had run in my dreams and flown the skies above me. In my life however real or fake I had become bigger, bulkier, fatter and I think of how sad that makes me. I guess it’s a longer story for another day, how I got here and how I had become this grotesque caricature of who I once was.

I opened my brother’s locker to see if he had an extra pair of clean socks that I could borrow to put on. I found not what I was looking for, I saw a souvenir from our last trip to Paris. It was a drawing of him by a caricature artist, he had stopped my brother and ostensibly the whole family to ask if he wanted himself drawn for free. He obliged as he does and sat in the same spot for five minutes, he asked him what he enjoys doing. “Playing football”, he replied as the artist continued to scribble away. His charcoal-like instrument meeting the page with the swift strokes and conjuring shapes. “Here”, he said as he was done with the drawing. My brother collected it from him as he really liked it and admired the shape of his head, his hair and his other features. It seemed like the artist had tapped into something that I had not seen prior, a chance encounter to see yourself really through another’s eyes. You could guage how the world might see you but then your eyes shifted still as you saw the caricature which likesatire requires understanding of the issue at hand before it can distort and transform the image. “That’s 10 euros sir”, He said and brought us all out of our trance-like state. “I thought you said it was free?” Brother remarked, “It’s free to draw, but it costs to take away” He replied. Dad was enraged as this trip was meant for something else, but my step mother calmed him. He found notes corresponding to the request and took the drawing home that day with contempt for what felt like a scam artist’s doing. I closed his locker because he had no socks there, I still pondered on the caricature potrait. It seemed that what it gives, it takes away as well.

Honestly, my shirt was not sitting well on my body and the side view made it worse as it accentuated my less than glamorous side.

Picture by Mahesh Nambiar. His blog is here: http://maheshworks.blogspot.co.uk/

Longer Nights

I wish we had more time together
Less days and more nights
I’d love to see you do what you will
Spend our nights together
No quarrel no fights
I see there’s time still
Follow me,  let’s walk
For A forever period we’ve not talked
Side by side
Hand in hand
Take it in my stride
I won’t take you for a ride
A long walk in the breezy evenings
Night endings
Morning beginnings
I see your face when I awake
It’s glowing
My feelings are growing
You slept in the other room
I wanted to be with you
Don’t let it be true
You don’t feel the way I do
Longer nights
Open eyes
I try to get some sleep
Would you believe
I thought we’d be forever friends
Nothing again
The third night
I’ve been awake
Your phone is switched off
So wide awake
Missing you