literalism is bizarre

I’m not really interested in just dunking on some stranger on the internet so I’m gonna keep this vague

okay so there’s this new Apple Homepod ad directed by spike jonze and it is very cool and good and you should watch it and basically just have your eyes cross and unfocus whenever the apple branding shows up:

watched it? ok cool

so on a website I frequent, one of the commenters said something to the effect of this (paraphrased but then quoted so you can parse this rambling a little easier):

so who comes out of the mirror at the end? I think it’s the reflected version of her at the end, gazing at her new place and thinking that she’s not gonna waste her time in the real world like the original

this is such a weird reading to me of an intentionally surreal piece of abstract storytelling (which is what an ad like this is when it transcends to art — it’s almost like a piece of wealthy-patron-supported flash fiction)

do people really watch a thing like this and think of the reflection as a separate entity from the woman, as if it’s not a reflection in the sense of an angle into her inner (not necessarily “actual”) self? what kind of weird-ass horror movie is this where mirrorwoman trapped her original self in a dark no-longer-existent antechamber? how is that at all congruent with the vibe or the emotional storytelling or the pretty not-subtle metaphors (the dancing as unfurling of societal cocoon, the expansion of the mirror and duet as self-acceptance and self-love)?

I feel like people do this a lot with art — they take the most literal superficial interpretation of plot character and events and speculate off of or latch onto that — and I find it utterly strange.

I mean whatever like things however you want and all, sure. but it reminds me of how people watched hannibal and laser-focused on how cute hannibal fucking lecter was and how they wanted hannibal and will to hook up. who watches a show like that — a show that among other things portrays that specific relationship as the most fundamental kind of horrific abuse — and takes that away from it?

the west wing has a subplot I really hate, from the episode “Arctic Radar”, where josh gently-but-patronizingly berates a star trek fan for being public about liking a thing:

the “that’s a fetish” line really bugs the shit out of me because it’s a crazy dismissal of the kind of fandom that allowed the west wing to thrive and allows it to have such a following now. it’s more about aaron sorkin’s hangups about the Internet than it is about any real thing. BUT I think it also bugs me because it accidentally scratches close to a kind of truth that I don’t think aaron sorkin really understands, which is that while fandom is healthy and normal and basically just a modern extension of the human social contract, some/many fans do attach to properties in really weird ways, imposing very personal and odd things in ways that don’t really exist in the original work, edging closer to what could accurately be described as fetishism.

that’s how you get erotic fanfiction of children’s stories and rule 34 I guess but it’s also how you get a style of fandom that’s not quite that obviously askew but falls maybe closer to “recap of show as though all these things are real”. treating fictional situations not as prisms through which we view ourselves but things to be emotionally engaged in of themselves. this is I suppose especially problematic in a time of Marvel™ Cinematic Universe Franchise™s where we get so many damn stories that aren’t about anything except the perpetuation of their own goofy whatevers.

and really honestly I mean this part the most: none of this is really a “problem”, get what you want out of art and do you, fetish or not, thumbs up to all that and anything else. but it sometimes puts me in an awkward position personally, when I want to just interpret the thing from a passionate but also academic vantage point and end up falling into groups that mostly want to pin the thing onto their particular corkboard of personal interests or talk about which characters should bang

ok just needed to say all that somewhere where it wouldn’t spark a fight, back to my regularly scheduled positivity

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