October 7, 2012

Cartoons… Magical powers? :)

Cartoons… Magical powers? J

When I read the first couple of pages of McCloud’s “Vocabulary of Comic” it initially brought me back to many examples that we discussed in class. I was immediately drawn back to the definition that we had in discussion in class from Kenneth Burke on the word Symbolic Action. The first page of the passage that I read, McCloud presented us with so many symbolic figures and went on to convince us or sway us that those things that we are seeing on the papers that we are reading are not them. That the cow was not a cow. The leaf was not a leaf. More or less it is ink on a paper depicting the image. Which leads to the word Symbolic action. Symbolic action as we discussed in class according to Burke is “any poetic or verbal act that became representative of a social trend…the difference between practical and symbolic act. They were enactment and that through form, content, gesture of an attitude; they eventually became individuation of a common paradigm.

I enjoyed the part where McCloud breaks down the cartoon. He asks what’s so fascinating about stripping down a face to a simple cartoon-like image. What I gathered about this section was by drawing a cartoon face instead of giving it its realistic human face; you can spread the wealth and reliability of the cartoon. It’s identity can be spread rather then permanent to one person’s identity. The blank face could be added upon. He explains how self-centered we are how we see ourselves in everything. Cartoons with just a plain face allows us to put our imagination to use rather then seeing and living whatever is being depicted through an actual person. This reminds me of a topic I had in a communications class when we discussed why does soldiers name their guns female names. This name that is giving to this gun gives it more meaning than it could possible have without it. Me naming my Gun “Michelle” makes her special to me. Soldiers are now sleeping with the guns that they name all in making that special connection. I also learned that naming the gun takes the blame off of the soldiers conscious a little. “Michelle” was the one who really killed and is the one to blame. That example I feel is a way and why some people use cartoons in a magical and relatable way. No matter what your age you can still use your imagination and identity in a cartoon. 


Nicola Wood said...

I really enjoyed your example of the gun being named by soldiers - so interesting! I had never really heard of soldiers doing that before, but I guess it makes sense. It certainly is much easier to assign blame to an object with a name and a conceptualized identity than it is to an inanimate object with no real power. Do you think that naming a gun makes it more relatable? I agree with McCloud that we (as humans) see ourselves in everything, but I wonder if that reason is consistent with the reason for naming a gun.

Megan Conner said...

I as well enjoyed McCloud's piece and his idea of simplicity and seeing ourselves in the cartoon. What I kind of overlooked in the reading was the actual level of self-centeredness that you mentioned, but it makes perfect sense. I gathered that we want to see ourselves as the character in the cartoon but I mostly thought that we just wanted the piece to be relatable. Humans obviously are self-centered beings, as McCloud points out. Even when we are talking to someone face to face, we are still at least somewhat aware of what our own body is doing. We are always thinking about ourselves.
This goes back to your example of naming guns. We associate human constructs to nonhuman objects to make it more relatable to us. We want to feel like we are with others who understand us, but also have an outlet to place blame so that we do not have to lower ourselves.

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