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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Kindness of Friends

Last week my animal companion of 16 years, Sada, passed away. Of course this was sad, yet not unexpected. Sada was epileptic and I had been warned that her anti-seizure medication might shorten her life. It has left me out-of-sorts and at odds. No one to greet me at the door, no one to fuss over, no one to feed, no one to purr on my lap, to kiss or to hug. At the same time there is a tinge of relieve, I no longer need to race home to ensure she gets her medication within x hours, no longer have to clean up after, no longer have to watch her seizures, no litterbox, etc. She was a BIG cat and a BIG presence in my life, and will be missed.

I want to thank all my friends and family who were so kind and sensitive in sending me cards of condolence - yes, people do grieve for their pets. I especially want to thank my namesake, for sending this fab pic of me and Sada, and my tall friend who gave me a guardian angel cat pin in memory of Sada. The kindness of friends warms my heart. Thank you.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Critical Assessment versus Just Entertainment

Quote of the day on my personalized Google page is:
"Only fools are positive" by - Moe Howard
Love it love it love it.... agrees with one of my new mantras -The power of Pessimism

Had an interesting discussion with a friend this past weekend, and once again I was surprised by the attitude - " I watch movies/read books just for the entertainment" I don't know why this surprises me. Personally, I have always analyzed what I am reading or viewing or hearing, ever since I was a child I was taught to question/reason/assess - to learn from each and every experience. Of course it is perfectly reasonable and understandable that some/many people just want to be entertained, and I admit that there are times when I actually enjoy mindless entertainment - mainly in front of the boob tube. In fact I know many many people who "just want to be entertained". Escapism is a reality!
None-the-less, for myself I still enjoy analyzing movies or plays or books with a critical eye so as to get the most from the experience.

A critic is - one who discerns, criticism is the act of judgement or informed interpretation. To quote Natalia Poncela, "criticism acts as a mediator between cultural products, principally between material culture and its viewers. Criticism interprets, transcribes, translates and verbalizes everything that is pre-verbal, perceptive, or symbolic, turning it into something pronounceable and meaningful." I think perhaps some people mistakenly think all criticism is hostile or putting a negative spin on something, but it's not! For me there is nothing wrong with viewing with a critical eye. For me criticism interprets and illuminates and opens the overall experience. It can be as small as saying "that was a great movie", or as deep as discussing the camera angles chosen by the director. For me the enjoyment comes with critical appraisal. To paraphrase Moe: "Only fools view without critique"