"I want to enter my house justified"- Joel McCrea in Ride The High Country
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all. (Claes Oldenburg)The above is a quote from a longer statement that I really love, but can't find online. The below link has the basic idea though...http://lookingforastronauts.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/the-state-of-the-arts/
What is unearned catharsis? If you examine Aristotles definition, unearned catharsis is impossible.
If you define catharsis as a purging of emotional tensions (which is how I meant it)... unearned catharsis could be achieved a number of ways. The most obvious would be suggesting to the audience that intent rather than action has some sort of redemptive quality. That is the first example that comes to mind.
The idea of catharsis as purging is, of course, Aristotelian. In order for catharsis to occur, there must be an experience of fear and pity. Pity, because the protagonist doesn't deserve that fate that has befallen him; fear, because one recognizes that it could happen to you, too. To the Greeks, intention had no reality -- it was what you DID that mattered. So, Oedipus didn't INTEND to kill his father and marry his mother, but that is what he DID. So I think unearned catharsis is probably impossible. I know: nerdy.
"In order for catharsis to occur, there must be an experience of fear and pity."Here is the fallacy. Too many of us allow ourselves to have a cathartic response (maybe this is not completely synonymus with Aristotelian standard, but it is based on it).I just saw a show last week that attempted this cathartic response. I would agree with you that it is impossible do so when one uses reason. But, reason isnt always our strength as a specie. Too relate to talk of diversity unearned catharsis is when someone feels redemption about having had the conversation but not changing or even truly challenging their preceptions of the diversity paradigm.For "unearned catharsis" to occur it depends upon a surrender of reason by both the storyteller and the audience. Self congratulation for being willing to hug it out without addressing the initial transgression. That is a part of what I am getting at.BTW - I see artists/entertainers doing this shit all the time.
"Fear and Pity" isnt always necessary for a cathartic response. Belief in redemption without contrition accompanied redress of the transgression...That can create that unearned catharsis. Contradictory to cause and effect, but it happens. Alright going out to enjoy Friday Night.If you have a better more appropriate term than unearned catharsis, I am open to it.
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