"I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss - you can't do it alone." -John Cheever.
Any form of communication is, with multiple instances, capable of constructing a discourse. But for that to happen, an expression must be "read" by someone else, another conscious experience(r) must construct some meaning from its specifics, transforming it from an expression into a communication. Basically, since we're all experientially isolated consciousnesses, without a built-in method of faithfully transferring our conscious experiences to another, all expressions must be made physically, through signs. Read More
I was originally hoping to keep the film analysis and criticism stuff off of this blog, despite the fact that film analysis is a purely semiotic process of engagement with both proposed and unproposed realities (something quite relevant here). However, a King's Speech is gonna break that short, short-lived rule, as it obviously deals quite heavily with some of the concepts that this blog focuses on and grants me an opportunity to ramble at you about the chunk of Pragmatics that is Speech Acts. Read More
Ever notice how you can't "unsee" some things? I'm not talking about terrifying imagery like a particularly stomach-churning horror movie scene or a roommate or relative with a strong dispreference for pants when lounging around the house. That's a different, but highly related, kind of unseeing I might write a little about later. But right now, I'm talking more like text emoticons, the arrow in that FedEx logo, or any other of the variety of multi-message logos. The people (fewer and fewer, these days) that haven't seen some of the most basic emoticons would be quite confused as to what a letter-writer might mean if they pen "=P", or how "equals 'P'" is at all sequitor to the letter's content, nevermind that it could have a meaning more complex than just a representation of a facial expression. However, once you're in on the secret, it's practically impossible to not see that dumb little face with a tongue sticking out, and to similarly read a tone, or a twist in meaning, to interpret said letter in. Read More
It would be good, at this early stage, to try and set out a simple, solid foundation for understanding some basics of a semiotic approach, in case readers that aren't familiar with it and don't want to spend more time on Wikipedia don't already want to completely abandon this thing. For such a task, I'll attempt a staple of explanatory semiotic metaphors: the stop sign. In semiotics (made up of semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics,) a sign is a particular instance of an observable input or stimulus that signifies, or triggers in the observer, a meaning of some sort. The meaning or understanding taken from observing a sign is usually called its "signified," and the observable unit of information (an abstract symbol, to a letter, a word, sentence, image, book, lighting in a photo, camera movement in a film scene, color of a character's hat, statistical analysis, anything) that triggered the making of the meaning or understanding taken from its observation is called the "sign." This relationship underlies the concept, and phenomenon, we refer to as significance. Read More
Beginnings are always awkward. When something's just starting, there's little-to-no existing structure to analyze first, to use in order to find which way to approach. There's not enough information to understand the rules governing not only the process you're beginning, but also what makes an individual step in that process successful or not. One of the many reasons the first step of a journey can be difficult is because you can't see the path on the other side of the threshold you have to pass in order to start the journey. You have to make the first step with a strange gait, careful manipulation of your center of gravity, lest you get that brief, but heart-stuttering sense of falling before even really beginning, because of a curb being just a bit higher than you expected.
I think and talk too much about the how people think and talk, though I have the bare minimum in formal training in the area. Trying to write about these interwoven topics led me to see that that is the same thing too. This realization can be reproduced with any process or work one could call an expression. Read More