META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Wed Feb 20 07:24:03 PST 2008

On Feb 20, 9:51 am, Martin Phipps <martinphip... at> wrote:

> I thought you'd say that.  But then there'd be absolutely no reason to
> present character witnesses in trial if people's behaviour were that
> unpredictable.  Your point seems to be that people are unpredictable
> and that's what makes them interesting.  I obviously disagree.  A
> person may be interesting because you don't know exactly what they are
> going to do next but if their behaviour were quite so random you'd
> soon lose interest in them.

I see your point there, at least as far as art goes-- in life, someone
who is consistently surprising would not lose my interest.  But in
art, and especially when working in prose (less so in film), one needs
to have some kind of center, something that ties the threads together.

Saxon's noted Martin Rock's tendency to bottle things up and then make
a stupid decision when all this energy has nowhere to go-- and I think
that's a big thread running through his "inconsistencies".  There's
also the fact that he's moving from solitude and self-reliance to
dependence on and interaction with others.  And many of the "tropes"
or accepted operating procedures of the superhero are things he's
deeply ambivalent and waffling on.  And there's more than that, but
what it comes down to is I think I have that center in place, and you
disagree, and that's fine and that's that. :-)


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