So Squid Game is a huge hit, and I'm glad I've been a kdrama fan before it was cool, apparently XD (though granted, it's been cool for a good while for a lot of people)
This is not an article about Squid Game, but it offers the opportunity to talk about something else: overwriting the artist's intended interpretation in favor of your own. Especially, in favor of your own if you pose as a critic or an opinion leader of any sort.
Squid Game's director Hwang Dong-hyuk has apparently gone on the record saying that he intended Squid Game as an allegory and decry of current capitalist society and how it destroys people.
This article isn't about that either. I haven't seen Squid Game so I can't tell how well he succeeded in his intention and though I absolutely love talking politics, I don't think you want to hear my diatribe on capitalism vs. communism. (Or you probably already suspect or know anyway)
What this article is about is erasing the author altogether. With articles like this one.
An author may not stick the landing when trying to create a story to illustrate a point. In fact they may get it so wrong that it may end up illustrating the exact opposite point. Is it possible that Squid Game (or any other story) is not anti-capitalism but actually (unintentionally) anti-communist?
Sure. I don't know. I haven't seen it.
Even if it is, articles with such titles as the one I linked to ( “The Director Of “Squid Game” Says It’s About Capitalism, But It's Really More Like Communism” says one Meghan Dillon) are in my opinion plainly obnoxious and wrong.
Not because the person writing them sees something entirely different in a piece of art. That is legitimate and totally possible because art is ultimately interpretative and in a way, in the eye of the beholder.
What I feel is obnoxious and wrong is the phrasing: stating her interpretation as true by overwriting factually what the author has officially said it is about.
She could have said “The Director Of “Squid Game” Says It’s About Capitalism, But I Disagree” (still somewhat audacious, but states an opinion, therefore legit)
Or she could have said “The Director Of “Squid Game” Says It’s About Capitalism, But The Delivery Drives Home the Opposite Message”. (a critique of craftsmanship, still stating interpretation opinions, therefore legit)
Or she could even have said “The Director Of “Squid Game” Says It’s About Capitalism, But I Think It's Really About Communism” (a discussion of views and opinions, totally legit).
What is it about the actual phrasing that gets under my skin? It is a sense of entitlement that the consumer of an art piece is more of an authority on the art piece's meaning than its own creator. It feels like infringement, in a sense, and an attempt to erase the creator's stance by imposing a different one, and therefore attempting to have the art piece work in a different way/ for a different purpose than what it was created for.
I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge what authors say they want to do with their artwork, if they go on record to say it. Whether they were successful in doing it is and should always be up for debate. But to outright relabel a work or try to argue intent of the creator to serve either an agenda or fortify an opposing ideological stance is infringement in my book, and the bad type of entitlement.
What are your thoughts?
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Oct. 23, 2021
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