A Note on Serious Writing

a short commentary

A clip from 'The Hours' depicting the power of writing.

I submitted myself to critique a short animated film, Drux Flux (2008) by Theordore Ushev. This is, ladies and gentlemen, my first attempt to criticize a film by heart, though my first criticism was submitted to my English teacher last January as a reaction paper requirement. It's been days now since i started talking about postmodernism and the avant-gardism in my critique, and now, after reading the article "Film and Postmodernism" by John Jill, I started to think that my arguments failed.

Mainly because i committed the most stupid mistake of all: CATEGORY ERROR. It seems a bit odd to term this as 'the most stupid mistake of all' but actually, for any serious writer, mixing categories is not a good way to handle one's arguments. Plainly, the fact when one reads your article or essay, let us say a young film studies major who do not exactly know the difference between Lacan's interpretation of semiotics to that of Saussure, it should be 'a-must' that it follows a simple, well-planned structure to let the reader know what he should think and how should he think about it.

One thing to avoid is a category mistake. Category mistake, proposed by Gilbert Ryle to attack Descartes' concept of mind and body, is committed when 'we talk of something in terms appropriate only to something of a radically different kind.' [link]

Let me give you an example:

Simple ones:

"Every apple is a pig."
"Adrian Mendizabal is a scientific knowledge."

Compound ones:

"Adrian is a dormer. Manuel is also a dormer. Ms. Tirona is the dorm manager. But where is the dormitory?"

"A postmodern society is characterize by intertextuality (a principle which denies the existence of grand absolute universal truths)." ----- [this is my very obvious mistake that i wrote on my criticism and on a post at Jan's Blog, by the way, thank you so much Jan for posting my comment as a guest post]

Why is the last example a categorical mistake?

When one talks about a society, it ascribes a property characteristic of a society. It prompts a discussion about society, sociological issues, culture, etc. It may discuss social philosophy but this requires a sufficient analysis on the philosophy attributed to that society. Let us say we are talking about the 'postmodern society'. It cannot be characterized as being 'intertexual' because they are totally and radically different categories. Intertextuality is a philosophical principle, a product of a Lyotard's attempt to define the 'postmodern condition' of thought.

However, when one says about the 'postmodern society' it follows that the writer must give descriptions like a postmodern society should be media-driven, indicative of a fast-paced lifestyle, technologically advance, etc. It cannot be mentioned in terms of philosophy because philosophy is different category. The term follows a different formulaic structure of thoughts .

haha! this is really a high-end type of clarifying a mistake, i really apologize for that.

But this is what i want you to understand:

1) Do not commit a categorical mistake when writing. It's atrocious. Although the famous Descartes committed one, it should be avoided.

2) Serious writing requires a good way to carry arguments, not just blubber out words and connecting ideas with others.

3) Film criticism, for me, is a form of serious writing which requires dedication and time.

Yeah! i admit it, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to writing. Well, i consider writing as an art. The way one puts sentences in a paragraph to add effects to the readers is an art. I mostly think that sentences are like blocks of wood with shapes which can arranged into many forms to depict different moods or effects. To look at it a fundamental level, punctuation works similar to sentence placement as well.

Creative writing works differently. A creative writer manipulates each element: words, sentences, paragraphs, punctuations etc. to create an imagery or an idea. every move is crucial.

Anyway i just want to wrap this insanely philosophical view on writing by giving away this music video. It is a conglomeration of my favorite song 'Breathe me' by Sia and one of my favorite scenes in 'The Hours'.

Enjoy. Write well.

A great mix!