What is a good first step? An explanation is as good as any, I suppose, so I’ve set this space aside to elaborate on just what this is going to be.
As a critic, my primary concern is that of depth. Going as deep as possible into criticism, beyond acceptance of a piece’s surface-level narrative, is the ultimate goal of my analysis. Close reading allows the person performing it to more closely examine the mechanics of media: to see how the relations of characters and the narrative presentation of their actions ultimately construct the message of a piece, be it a novel, film, or computer or video game.
But communicating this to people often leads to protest. I’ve frequently been accused of reading too much into things, of seeing fire when only smoke is exists. In my experience, people often respond to critical analysis of a piece as though it were a personal attack on a writer, a director, even a specific character. When discussing treatment of women in film, for example, I’ve seen people deny the presence of sexism because the misogyny only came from a villain, or explain an absence of female characters by saying it was only a consequence of the story the director was telling. My desire is to progress beyond this limiting understanding of narrative as dogma and reach a more critical and, I believe, ultimately more enjoyable way of understanding what we watch.
The focus of this blog, then, is on exploring media analysis in as friendly a way as possible. I want to examine how media shapes and is shaped by society, regardless of the intentions of anyone involved. Most importantly, I want to get to know the things we love and hate more closely.
One story has a thousand worlds of meaning. Let’s explore them all.