Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Story

1. Social conservatives cling to established order by slowing down the process of evolving equality. In this manner, those in power cause the natural energy of a culture to compress. Newton had cogent observations about compressed energy.

2. When grammarians express concern about corruption of the rules of usage, they are moving, whether knowingly or not, toward racism and cultural Darwinism. If they exercise too much power, they will be, whether knowingly or not, creating a wider gap between those who read and those who do not.

3. Many changes in a particular language have come about as a result of travel and multiculturalism.

4. Today's grammar is often invaded by yesterday's slang.

5. Yesterday's slang often had its origins in local and national politics.

6. A story was once church based, which is to say a sermon.

7. A story was once culture based, which is to say a fable.

8. A story was once a tale, which meant it had a specific purpose of slowing down individual initiative in favor of the larger theme of group identity.

9. A story once had the basic format of a joke. Set-up. Complication, which slyly introduces a parallel. Punchline, which springs a surprise (which also takes a shot at some social convention).

10. A twenty-first-century story may well contain items 1-10 supra, but it may also be a shaggy-dog story, which is to say a narrative line with one or more major distractions and an abrupt ending.

11. Stories from cultures other than our own sound different to ours. The dramatic format is the same, but each culture provides a different form of irony, which makes the story sound different.

12. Stories are like jokes in the same sense that jokes are what they are because they have a specific butt. The butt of a joke is often a character, but it may also be a social convention.

13. A significant difference between a joke and a story is the degree to which one or more individuals in either form is hurt. Stories are filled with persons who have already been hurt and are likely to be so again, unless they can find a strategy to swerve away from collision.

14. There are stories for readers who do not like to read about persons who have been or are about to be hurt. The readers of such stories often do not consciously identify with socially conservative causes. In time, these readers stand a high probability of being hurt.

15. The more memorable a story, the greater the probability that it in some way dramatizes the slow pace of cultural evolution and its close parallel, the deeper understanding of the human animating force.

16. The more a story strikes the reader as being a puzzle, the greater the probability the reader will remember the story for at least a year beyond the time of reading.

17. The more effective a story is now, the greater probability it will reveal more on a subsequent reading.

18. The greater the ambiguity within a story, the more likely it will seem to have actually happened.

19. The essential ingredient in a story is ambiguity.

20. There will always be a hidden meaning located somewhere between the title of the story and the actual text.

21. There is a hidden meaning behind the fact of this list being called Thirteen Ways of Looking at Story.

22. The answer is to be found in the nine inapplicable ways.

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