Thursday, September 13, 2007

down time

I have been on a kind of vacation lately. I thought I would do more reading than I have but it is more necessary to write, though not about things on which I would ever actually blog, at least not most of them.

However, I will mention that thanks to some friends and relatives I have been watching more than a few Japanese cartoons lately. I have been toying with some analysis of the cartoons, actually. What they may or may not teach you in school is that artistic criticism and analysis isn't just for the the "masterpieces" of the Western arts. You really can do it for any kind of media. Critical thinking skills were touted as what a good education would give me when I was growing up but if people don't want to use critical thinking skills then what good are they, really? More to the point, one of the shortfalls of education can sometimes be the paradox of promoting critical thinking skills around a canon for which critical thinking skills are considered to be more worthy or more worthily applied. I.e. I've had professors who think Kurosawa and Shakespeare are fit subjects for searching analysis and study but not comic books ... at least not comic books not written by Art Spiegelman! Some music professors I knew thought you could apply formal analysis to Mahler but that there was nothing to study in songs by pop musicians. The truth is that both ends of the "high/low" spectrum are equally worthy of study and equally amenable to historical and literary and formal scrutiny.

Which is why I'm toying with thematic analysis of two Japanese cartoons I've been hooked on lately, Cowboy Bebop and Eureka Seven. The two shows couldn't be more different in terms of tone but both are quintessentially Japanese cartoons. However, it is not necessarily the Japanese aspect of the shows I want to explore but more trans-national themes because the fact that both shows have shown up on Cartoon Network speaks to how the shows have a cross-Pacific appeal. Vouching from my own experience and eventually budgetary plans I plan on getting both series eventually so I'm not just borrowing them from friends and family!

But this is not exactly the time for me to get into all this stuff. I still have musical and biblical literature stuff I want to study for a time and I have to admit I haven't been doing a very good job of that.