LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 9 00:09:00 PST 2007

On Nov 9, 3:27 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Nov 9, 1:53 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at yahoo.com> wrote:

> > How do they make you feel?  It really is a valid way to distinguish
> > one pure genre from another.
> I've never heard of a "pure" genre before.

You haven't?  You've never seen movies described using hyphens?
Romantic-comedy?  Action-suspense?  Musical-drama?  (The last one is
usually just called "opera" :))

> > > What is the Western a function of?  Anger, justice, elegy, discovery?
> > > None of these.
> > > A Western is a function of _setting_.
> > A Western is a type of action movie.
> That would discount the Ox-Bow Incident, wouldn't it?  Not to mention
> Brokeback Mountain.  Both two very prominent westerns without much
> action.
> Well, not the sort of action you mean, anyway. ;-)
> Anyway, I still stand behind my belief that a Western is defined by
> its setting.

If Western is merely a setting then it isn't a genre.  Blazing Saddles
was a comedy that had a Western setting.  When people say "I like
Westerns" they don't mean "I like movies with mountains in the
background", they are talking about a kind of action movie involving
guys on horseback shooting guns at each other.  A Western setting
doesn't make a movie a Western.

I've heard the same argument before vis-a-vis science fiction.  If I
take a drama and set it in the year 2020, it does not automatically
become science fiction.  If I have Jason Voorhees killing teenagers on
a space station, the setting alone does not make it science fiction.

Look at it this way: writing exists for only two reasons, either to
impart information or to envoke an emotional reaction.  In the case of
fiction, obviously it doesn't exist solely to impart information
because most of it simply isn't even true: it must therefore exist at
least in part for the purpose of envoking emotion.  The obvious thing
to do is to classify writing in terms of the emotional reaction that
it is intended to envoke.  Frankly, when we classify stories as
"horror", "suspense", "comedy", "drama", etc. we are already doing


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