META: Surface Deconstruction vs. Actual Deconstruction

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Tue Mar 29 00:18:56 PDT 2011

On Sun, 27 Mar 2011 13:54:07 +0000 (UTC), Martin Phipps wrote:

> On Mar 23, 11:00 pm, Andrew Perron <pwer... at> wrote:
>> An aspect of writing I've been considering lately is deconstruction - that
>> is, not the Heidegger/Derrida what-were-you-even-thinking philosophical
>> thing, but the act of taking apart a story and putting its tropes under the
>> harsh lens of reality (or, at least, what the writer things is reality).
> Is it really that hard to write what you think is reality?  I mean,
> suppose you are a lawyer and you write a story about Hawkeye being
> accused of murder.  The Avengers obviously know who he is so having
> him arrested to face trial is possible.  A lawyer could write a story
> that is very close to reality.  Similarly a research scientist could
> write a story about Hank Pym considering the question of how a bio-
> chemist was also an expert in robotics.

It's not hard to write what you *think* is reality - and when it comes to
the subject you specialize in, that reality will often be very close to the
truth.  But when it's your outlook on the "real" results of, say,

>> My, but that was a rambly paragraph.
> You thing it was rambly but it was just about fine.

I do that. `` Thanks, tho~

> I don't know if that's the same thing.  Sometimes bloggers will fail
> to do adequate research before they make their assertions.

Indeed!  But this was that, combined with tearing apart the cliches that
she assumed were there from said research.

> Now, mind you, when a movie is based on real life events or legends
> (Pocahontas, Troy, Robin Hood, King Arthur, etc.) is it really
> deconstruction when the movie tries to be historically accurate?  Some
> might argue that this is not deconstruction but reconstruction.  As
> much as we might get offended when somebody "changes" the story, there
> might be some value in stripping away the mythological aspects of a
> story and presenting the story as it could actually have happened.

Depends on how they do it; after all, unless it's a straight documentary,
no version of it is going to be As It Actually Happened - they're all a
narrative one way or another.  And reconstruction is more about making
tropes work than presenting something that's accurate to some real-life

> When you do the same thing with stories that are completely fictional,
> then it's deconstruction.  So giving Spiderman organic web shooters
> would be deconstruction because it might be hard to believe that a
> high school student could create a super sticky adhesive in his
> bedroom.

I'd say that's more reconstruction - taking a trope that doesn't make sense
and finding a way to make it work in a modern context.

> This is not usually thought
> of as deconstruction: deconstruction is usually equated with grim and
> gritty, but it could just be a matter of creating a more believable
> set of circumstances for the reader or viewer.

See, the thing about deconstruction is, it's mostly pointing out the flaws
in something and showing a world where actions have the consequences they
"should" have.  Is believability the same thing as realism?  I'm not sure.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, real vs. real...

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