Tastes in visual media

Nancy Drew novels are the quintessential novels for girls who have broken out of childhood, but have not quite reached adolescence. They lie between Dr. Seuss and novels that can be truly called novels.


yeah, she doesn’t look too good in this illustration >.>

I have been introduced to books early in my youth. When I was still eight, I was already reading a significant portion of the Hardy Boys novels. My father disapproved of what I read, however, because he believed that the intellectual and lasting value of these novels sparkled only evanescently. He believed, and still believes, that books were written to leave lasting impressions on both emotion and intellect. He coerced me, with this belief, to begin reading the timeless classics. Initially, I was obstinate regarding the matter and stubbornly kept on reading the Hardy Boys. Later on, however, I yielded to his demands and read some of Poe’s short stories. He was correct; my perspective with regard to literature was drastically overturned. I did not read any literature akin to Hardy Boys any longer: by sixth-grade, I had read roughly 20 condensed classics. Since then I fervently believed that one must read literature befitting one’s age.

I scoffed at people my age who still read Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, because I believed that they should have gone past such literature. This belief of mine lasted until this third year in university: from sixth-grade, it only coalesced further when people my age thought that when they finish a Harry Potter novel, they become knowledgeable in literature when they have read only the Harry Potter novel-series, and nothing else. These actions by my peers have molded me to become an elitist. I hated the braggadocio that they exhibited whenever they finish a Harry Potter novel. I have read The Sound and the Fury four times but I do not go to people saying that I have just read one of the best novels of all time four times. Those childish actions vexed me.

Jade Raymond
THIS GIRL IS A GEEK. NO, REALLY.

I have thus been elitist when it comes to literature: most of the novels I read are classics acclaimed by both critics and simple people. They are classics not because they are popular; they are popular because they are classics. In addition, these novels withstanding the test of time attest to their significance. The topics that are dealt with stay the same throughout the passage of time. Crime and Punishment remains to be a potent psychological study of a troubled man in a troubled time. Even if time passes, the message it delivers will not change. There will be troubled men as well as troubled times. Despite being rooted in sense, however, what is elitism remains to be elitism: what I believed was exclusive and condescending, and ultimately wrong.

I still abhor the braggadocio, but I admit that I have been wrong in defaming the material. Not all books have to follow their dualistic role to entertain as well as to foment the mind. I did not realize this until not too long ago.

When leisure was no longer in my hands I realized that novels as a visual medium can be solely used for entertainment. Although I was once proud of my ability to read novels tangential to the lectures in school, the truth was simply that I had a lot of time on my hands. I could think as well as entertain myself.

I realized during the first semester of this year, however, that after reading philosophy as well as studying for my majors I could no longer read for leisure. The nadir was when reading altogether tired me, where leisure was spent on media not involving reading voluminously or thinking intently. It was then that I realized I was totally wrong: reading did not always need to fulfill the dualistic role I accorded it.

I returned to my hometown a few days ago. I was excited because I could search for novels in second-hand bookstores which are rampant here. To my disappointment, my first trip to a mall ended without having found anything except an aesthetic attachment to two Nancy Drew novels bound in a single book. I shrugged and bought the tome. I learned absolutely nothing from it, but it helped me pass time especially when there was nothing to do and there was no Internet cafe nearby.

I still approve of good novels: that has not changed. Meaning can be derived even from the basest of novels, when one derives entertainment from that said novel. Leisure translates to a temporary escape, a respite from the real world. Anything, in any medium, be it novels or anime, which facilitates this escape or is the vehicle for it has some meaning. Even if a person likes Ichigo 100%, Zaizen Jotaro, or Harry Potter, as long as he derives enjoyment from his endeavors, the medium has meaning, if only to that person himself. Truly, in matters of taste, there is no debate.

8 Responses to “Tastes in visual media”

  1. meganeshounen Says:

    Well, being coerced early to read classical and philosphical books would be a nice start for kids… even if they won’t be able to fully comprehend the true meanings of the works.

    Let’s face it, people have their own reasons to read. To improve comprehension, to improve intelligence, or simply to be entertained, heck, list goes on, etc. Kid just want to have fun.

    Don’t want to venture into elitism though. The more you treat yourself as one, the closer you get to being the thing you hate, ironically. (Or so I think.)

    P.S. This post’s new word content rating = 3/5. At least I didn’t get confused with the number of hard words this time around. :3

  2. Michael Says:

    I didn’t really use much ‘new’ words here. I tried to keep it as simple as possible, but some description can’t simply be contained in simplicity.

    I admit, I haven’t understood the stories totally when I first read them. There’s still an amazement, though. Hehehe. :3

    Oh, and that girl’s a game designer. SRRSLY. She played Everquest for 10 hours each day … for about six months. I was like, 0.0

  3. Ryan A Says:

    Progressive post! I think I try to read mostly for enjoyment, unless it is a textbook for studying, which is usually unavoidable.

    I like the idea that much can be learned from a reading experience (but isn’t required) even in shorts, like Poe has written. There was a period where I would sit after eating dinner at my grandmothers and begin to read Poe and Chaucer aloud, what a good time I thought. Now I’m thinking I should start that again, make it an annual event for Fall and Winter (I did this last year… there was no way to resist, the Complete Works of Poe was sitting 5 paces from the table… so I grabbed it!)

    I find, the really good experiences are perhaps entertaining (maybe not for everyone), but also can bring new light to our life’s perspective, even if it is a simple version of “live it up!”. Sometimes people need a jump start in directions that media can yield. It’s inevitable of this ability, but some works drop pebbles in the ocean, and others drop asteroids O_o though not everyone has the same ocean.

    🙂

  4. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » First impressions on kimikiss ~ pure rouge Says:

    […] I have not seen many series this year. I guess the reason is primarily because of my studies, which have plagued me all throughout the year. Since I have not viewed anime as much as my blogging peers have, I decided to dawdle in #animeblogger for a while, asking them what series they would recommend to watch this season. Although I have written a post regarding that, I felt that the replies were somewhat lacking (although I am grateful to those who have replied) and thus I ventured to ask them online. Girls I would want to hang out with … I was not able to glean much about the best among the newer series, but I was able to ponder about the nature of debate, positing that semantics is the equalizer in any debate, and I was also able to gain insight about tastes and preferences, of which I have failingly tried to explore before. […]

  5. anime|otaku » Blog Archive » Media: are they apples or oranges, or are they feathers of the same bird? Says:

    […] With maturity as well as with learning more about the ways of the world, I have finally realized that literature is not the apex of media: it was merely just another form. I have mentioned in a previous post (pardon for the repeated plug, but I deemed it was necessary to this discussion) that it was only when I was distressed and disquieted did I learn the value of other media around me. (Let us admit, literature is one of the most time-consuming media there exist today.) It was only when I had finally fallen through the nadir of my own existence that I awakened to the different beauties of the different media around me. When time flitted through my fingers as smoothly as sand, I did not have the leisure of pondering what the subtexts were with regard to Raskolnikov (of Crime and Punishment). Thought culled from reading those classics of which I was once very fond of was no longer entertaining; on the contrary, it was tiring. The mental calisthenics which I once got from the classics became an agonizing tetany. I guess, in the end, looking at fruit relaxes. :p […]

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