Canon: an introduction

This article will serve as an introductory look in to the term Canon, and how we will use it moving forward.  The term canon is most commonly used to group a series of works together. Usually you discuss  one or two connections. The first is a real world, or para-textual connection such as the canon of an author. a country 1. The second is a fictional, or intertextual connections, like the Star Wars canon, or canon or non canon episodes of fresh prince of Bel Air.

In this series we will mostly focus on the second definition. This is not to say that the other definition is any way lesser of a form of analysis, but this will be what we mostly focus on. More specificity will we will focus on what in considered “true” within the framework of certain pieces of media. It’s equally important for any canonical study to look what isn’t included in a collection, as what is.

1 Culler, Jonathan D., Literary theory: a very short introduction, 2. ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011

The game: a definition

Several definitions of games exists within and without the academic world. With this text I will make the case for one of them. This definition goes as followed, “each games must have an implicit or explicit player”  Furthermore we will define the “player” as “Someone with implicit or explicit control over the actions in a game”.

An observant reader might have noticed that the two definitions is intertwined, there is a point to that we will come to later.  But first let’s break down these two definitions into smaller parts. Let’s begin with the definition of a game, this is a modification of a literary definition. “A text is a text if it has if it has an explicit or implicit reader”. The distinction between explicit and implicit reader is important. This way a text is not only a text if it would be to read, but also if it had the potential to be read. The same logic applies to or definition of a game. A game is still a game, even if no one ever plays it, as long as there is a possibility that someone could play it.

The next step is to define the player that is mentioned in our games definition. It’s important to define the term player for two reasons. First of, the term is not as directly obvious as that of a reader. Secondly, the term player is used in several different scenarios, wish leads to a need for further clarity to avoid confusion.

These definitions clear up two things, a game must not have been played, in order to be discussed or analysed as a game. Finally these definitions together means one very important thing. In order for a game to be considered a game in our discussion, it must have one thing. It must be possible for a player/person to take control over, in other words change something in the game. There must exist an deliberate interaction between the game and the player.

When we in the future will discuss games of any kind, from board games to video games to slot machines, this is the definition I will use.




Pop culture analysis: an introduction

This part of the blog will be dedicated to a critical discussion about popular culture. This is made in a hope of deepening the discussion about the subject and hopefully putting these texts in a broader context. I believe that we can learn much  about our time from the types of media we consume.

In this introduction I will describe what I mean with pop culture, and why I believe its worth studying.

With the term Pop culture or popular culture is in broad terms “bad media”. More specificity everything that inst considered “art” or “high culture”. Part of the mission with these texts are to disprove some of these myths about pop culture.

This segment will contain everything from discussion about theme, writing styles to analysation and discussion about specific works.

Consider a state

Today we will follow up on our earlier discussion about the State. Historicity has states, as defined by Hobbes exist as long as humans has lived in any form of organized tribe.

Today we will tough focus on defining the “modern nation state”. With this term I refer to the unified nations that formed as a result of, and with the explicit help of the rise of European nationalism.

This nationalism can be in part be attributed to the rise of unified nation states in the west. Germany, the UK, France and many more nation went from legalized governance to a more localized form. With this localization came the need for a notion of a complete and uniform national identity. This identity would unify the nations citizens under one banner. This national identity would also legitimize the states rule. This act also help legitimize the states interaction with other states. These interactions includes everything from trade negotiations, to war and colonization.

This nation state is as much defined what it is, as what it inst. What I mean by this statement is the following. When defining who are the citizens of a state (us), one must simultaneously define why is not (them). At the rise of European nationalism this often meant exaggerating some perceived virtue of the nations citizens while exaggerating negative traits of the “others”.

It is true that nationalism has simulair events, discussions etc has evolved in several areas and time frames around the world. The somewhat unfortunate Eurocentric standpoint of the environment this blog is created in, does me that Europe is where our discussion start. With this said, I believe there are some simulates that can be found in most if not al of these events.

The common element that we are going to focus on here is he following: al national identities are by their design, fabricated. What I mean by this is the following:

Al national identities are created by its parent nation, state and most importantly, the people that embody it. Next time we will look closer at what makes up a national identity.

How many raspberries . . .

Inspired by the title of a movie, we will today discuss the properties of raspberries, specificity, how many that exists in the world. A juvenile question at first glance, but one that does pose some interesting follow-up questions.

Firstly it is the question of defining said berry, for this experiment we will keep to the botanical term of, a specific type of berry.

This leads us to the following question, when does a Raspberry begin, or end being a berry, should rotten berries be accounted for, half digested berries, barley formed berries? To further complicate this point, is the fact of the continual change of biological life.

A solution to this would be to only count fully formed, intact raspberries. This state is tough, as previously mentioned, fleeting.

To get an exact reading we will be forced to count said berries instantaneously, for a specific moment in time. This will get us an accurate representation of berries, tough one that is instantly outdated once the moment of reading ends.

As a conclusion, the quantity of raspberries in the world is in constant flux, based on the creation and destruction of said berries.

Conider a country part 1

Consider a country, consider it bearing in mind al we have considered before in these texts, roads, towns, cities, cars and people. From above imagine the network of roads towns, houses and businesses and lives. These collections both independent, and completely dependant on each other.1 But a country constitutes more then that, more then the land it entitles, more then the people in it. These are in a way, arbitrary and incidental, simply existing in one time and space.

More then that a country also signifies a contract, for better or worse. A contract between the individual and a collective. Both these can be given the monarch of “citizenship”. These citizens collectively, and often forcedly build up the bulk of the contract of the “state”.

The state is a catch al term for a ruling organ of some form, for where citizens get the rules of said citizenship.  It is trough these limitations, as well as the imagined borders of said country that the citizens get their shared history. This history, together with culture, traditions, customs and products created within these borders helps to form a citizens “national identity”. In doing this, these identity collectivity and simultaneously creates a country “identity”. Both affecting each other simultaneously.

This identity leads back to legitimize the state, and with it, its right to rule. The state rules with contracts between citizen and state and with as as Thomas Hobbes states “A monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force”2. These nation does also identify themselves in relation to other nations. Creating groupings of shared history, culture and other bonds, or forced together by oner reason or another. A nations identity grows when it relates to other, for better or worse.

In this way a nation becomes more then itself, more then it borders and its s citizens and its culture. It becomes a collection of al these incidental parts, brought forth by time and space and becomes something else. Both as a physical force and as an illusion it becomes a nation, a country.

1 Note that these dependencies do not end at an arbitrary land border, but spreads freely, along the globe. But for this experiment, we will contain it within one nations imaginary borders.
2 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan 1651

Consider a city, part 2

We continue by examining other buildings of our city, the buildings in witch we do no not live, but yet spend much of our time. These would be the buildings of profession, either of ours, or of those needed for our lives and well being.

Let us begin with the prior. This is our location of business, note that for some this is also our home, tough for most it is not. Here we preform a service or produce a product for consumption. Services can range from selling to repairing, and selling can range from physical items such as food and toys to abstract consents such as stocks and insurance.

You might or might not enjoy this work. Tough for the process of these text, all these facts are secondary. The main point is that you have an occupation, in witch you spend a set amount of time. For the time and effort you are compensated a monetary sum, witch you can buy goods an services from the second category of buildings.

These transactions will inevitably be handled by another individual, currently at their job. For the time and effort of handling your monetary transaction, they to will be compensated.

After a sett number of transaction this individual will be able to make a purchase of their own, and the monetary flow stretches out, flown and intertwine trough out our city. This transactional chain does not stop in our town of course, but rather sprawls out in the world, as said worlds transactions sprawl back in.

In this way our imaginary is not only interconnected trough the physical lines of traffic, but through the metaphysical means of the exchange of goods and services.

Lastly there is one more group of buildings I would like to take up. These are the buildings of government and services. In some cases funded by public means, in other word the citizens of said city, or privately. In this category do I put everything from police, to libraries and garbage collection. These are here due to, the are in their very core to more or less mean to serve the public.

Note that these buildings are also where individuals works, and is so part of the previously mentioned loop. Even tough some of these buildings (in some areas), have a need to stay profitable, this is not their main goal. Their goal is instead to provided the services needed for other to make a profit. See them as a baring support for your city, witch the rest of the cit is built around.

Here is where I will conclude my contemplations of a city for now. My hope is that you will no see your city or town as a collection of blocks and stretches of land. But rather a collection of homes, all of them unique in their own way. That you will see workspace, where people like yourself work to meet similar ends. Roads full of individuals, as well as people and work of numerous services, making it all possible.

My hope is that you will look out upon your city or town and see . . .

something more.