Pat wrote:...this was the reason when asked to provide some topics for the daily question that I included the one about Father's acceptance of Catherine, because I hoped Zara would respond with her studied script analysis. I wanted that available for others to read and consider. And, thankfully, she did. Zara, I apologize for the manipulation, but your thoughtful response is needed out there among the more visceral responses.
I'm honored, grateful, that you find my responses thoughtful and valuable, but in my turn I admit that when you informed me of said manipulation I was annoyed. Perhaps a little advance notice next time will dispense with any need for any further manipulating. I accept your apology.
For reference, here is a link to the WFOL Classic Question of the Day
that Pat refers to.
S wrote:A prejudice towards Father -- as well as towards any other character, be it "for" or "against" -- *damages* B&B. Especially, as I have said many times, if it is continually repeated, until becoming "real".
Ah, this sparked a notion in my mind. An illustration, if I may. Let's pretend that once upon a time, a fan of B&B was prejudiced against Catherine. Maybe she didn't like wealthy people in real life. Maybe she did not understand the historical context of Catherine's character. Maybe she simply felt she could have written in a better protagonist for the story, had anyone asked her. Let's call this fan "Miss Muffet," of Little-Miss-Muffet-and-her-tuffet fame. *dons Miss Muffet costume*
Miss Muffet: Catherine is one messed-up lady. She hates Vincent. I can prove it. She's always dragging him into danger and disregarding his feelings about everything. She even says she hates him. Direct quote, Catherine to Vincent, "I hate you!" She says this FOUR TIMES in Season One. "I hate you!" So you see, Vincent would be better off without her. He loves a cruel, selfish woman who does not love him back.
*removes that pesky little arachnophobe's costume*
Okay, so Miss Muffet's opinion is based upon motifs and lines from the show that really stood out to her. The fact that she ripped these things out of their appropriate contexts does not matter. The fact that ALL of Catherine's "I hate you!" assertions are from "Dark Spirit," when she has been drugged and terrorized into a state of temporary insanity, does not matter. Miss Muffet has a right to her opinion, yes? So Miss Muffet repeats her opinionated conclusions a lot. Eventually, someone agrees with her. Then someone else hears the amplified claim and repeats it. The repetitions of Miss Muffet's assertion ripple through the community of fans. Rinse, repeat; rinse repeat.
A quarter of a century later, Catherine is a bad guy in the story. She is the ultimate obstacle to the romance between Beast and Beauty. It is common knowledge that "Catherine hates Vincent." To suggest otherwise is to invite collective incredulity, even ridicule, certainly opposition, from the dominant current of mainstream thought. No one who holds this "truth" to be self-evident wants their cherished "truth" to be challenged by suggestions that Catherine might instead be a heroine who loves Vincent with a passionate, eternal love. No, Catherine's badness and hatred have become "real." The entire story is twisted out of all proportion. The original Dream is trampled underfoot. Conversations and fanfiction retellings revolve around the idea that Catherine hates Vincent. It is considered highly uncivil to ask anyone who prefers this twisted deviation of the story to examine (a) their own reasons for believing what they do, (b) the complete body of actual story material, rather than only a few cherished and proof-texted items extrapolated from the material, and (c) the possibility that the common opinion is flawed, if not outright invalid, due to the community's dependence upon uncritical assumptions.
I believe this is what the fandom has done to Father, and to Vincent as well.
What think you?
Pat wrote:I think it is very difficult, if not impossible, to remain neutral toward all characters in a show or written piece. I question whether we are even meant to.
No one is completely neutral about anything. Our inspirational stories, least of all. But as Sobi said:
S wrote:I think we are entitled to our "preconceptions", so long as we are honestly aware of them.
Self-awareness is an essential aspect of the human reasoning process. The idea of neutrality or impartiality is too often used as an excuse for claiming that "my way" of thinking about a subject is "the one right way" of thinking about it. It's easy to assume, if we have not taken the time to reflect upon our own biases, that we have none. The danger is, as Sobi also said, that "the one right way/my way" begins to be equated with "universal truth" to such a degree that all other perspectives are discarded out of hand, regardless of their logical or intuitive validity, or any evidence from the source material that can be applied to either support or refute those perspectives. As Pat says, it is up to us to recognize the process within our minds of *how* we perceive source data, ask questions about the data and about our own preferences, make connections, interpret, apply, and revise ideas. *smiles* I think I am agreeing with you both.
Anyway, the point I wish to add is that self-awareness of our preferences, preconceptions, and emotional responses keeps us honest. We need not assume that every perspective out there which differs from our own is equally valid, correct, or "true" (there are plenty perspectives and conclusions which are patently false and/or destructive, or at the least simply not true for "me"). Rather, our honest awareness of our own perspective allows us to constantly entertain the possibility that "I might be wrong." Because of Zara's particular tendency to favor characters such as Vincent, Father, Diana, and Mouse, etc., Zara may well be wrong about characters like Catherine, William, and Mary, etc. I may be wrong about the very characters I identify with most closely. Thus, I listen to the ideas others share with me about their perspectives and preferences, comparing and contrasting ideas, evaluating the merits of everyone's thoughts and conclusions (others' as well as my own) based upon the available evidence...in this case, evidence derived from our shared source material for the story. "My opinion" and "your opinion" mean nothing, in the end, if we have no way of verifying the value of differing mindsets beyond an appeal to oft-repeated themes of Fanon. Yes, I am given to challenging the holiness of sacred cows. It's the only way I know to avoid catering to the whims of false idols and cunning humbugs.
Pat wrote:This doesn't mean they don't see positive qualities in Father; it just means he is the handiest scapegoat, perhaps, to the thwarted love story.
Father and Vincent both, each in their own (and, according to common preference, often connected) way. It's ironic, is it not? The characters who were most victimized and scapegoated by Topside society in the story...are the same characters who are trashed and scapegoated by many fans of the story. Even well-meaning fans. It's like a central lesson of the tale has been completely overlooked. Folk who have chosen to adopt such a narrow view of the love story end up divesting the story of its deepest statements about love. Scapegoating damages and cheats the scapegoater just as much as it damages the target(s) of their animosity.
Pat wrote:The happy ending, the expectation of the fairy tale as we have been well trained by Disney to expect, did not come.
Do not get me started on Disney, ha ha. Talk about "rinse, repeat" in American culture. *sigh*
Pat wrote:Not everyone is ready, or willing, to look beyond or deeper into the story as we received it.
That's fine. But my problem arises when some who are not looking beyond try to shut down the possibility that others might look beyond. This is the present fandom's tendency. I believe it is wrong.
S wrote:Just the titles, no elaboration:
- in your third point, you confirm the deplorable tendency of trying to find someone (else) to blame no matter what, in B&B like in RL.
- a "NO!" Father means a weak/dumb Vincent. And consequently a Super Catherine. Wrong.
- such commonly perceived deviated B&B brings deviated fandom creativity. (In one of the most *acclaimed* stories recently posted, all that Vincent did was... bringing tea. The rest was a powerful fight between F and C).
S - protective of real B&B, starving for real B&B creativity
Here's to enlightening discussion and ennobling conversations and authentic B&B creativity!
Off now to take a long drive in the winter rain,