Jonathan Dancy on Moral Particularism
Like root beer going down, with a bitter after taste. Roughly like someone put an expresso in your root beer.
Paul Scheer is a lifelong movie buff, but he’s never seen many of the all time greats. On Unspooled, his team-up with film critic Amy Nicholson, he’s remedying that by watching the AFI’s top 100 movies of all time, to find out what makes classics like Citizen Kane and Taxi Driver so special. Paul & Amy will dissect iconic scenes, talk to artists and industry experts, and discover just how these films got made.
Fabula (Russian: фабула, IPA: [ˈfabʊlə]) and syuzhet (Russian: сюжет, IPA: [sʲʊˈʐɛt] ( listen)) are terms originating in Russian formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and fabula is the chronological order of the events contained in the story. They were first used in this sense by Vladimir Propp and Viktor Shklovsky.
The fabula is “the raw material of a story”, and syuzhet is “the way a story is organized”. Since Aristotle‘s Poetics, narrative plots are supposed to have a beginning, middle and end. This is often achieved in film and novels via flashbacks or flashforwards. For example, the film Citizen Kane starts with the death of the main character, and then tells his life through flashbacks interspersed with a journalist’s present-time investigation of Kane’s life. The FABULA of the film is the actual story of Kane’s life the way it happened in chronological order, while the SYUZHET is the way the story is told throughout the movie, including flashbacks.
Man killed a dog then died because a woman brought him home.
Genius with superiority complex abandoned job offers to chase some girl he met in a bar.
Middle age man with unorthodox diet help chasing someone obsessed with skincare products.
A son understood his immigrant father more after he went to Europe and fell in love with a girl.
Chomsky writes in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures:
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
*Furiously sleep ideas green colorless.
It is fair to assume that neither sentence (1) nor (2) (nor indeed any part of these sentences) has ever occurred in an English discourse. Hence, in any statistical model for grammaticalness, these sentences will be ruled out on identical grounds as equally “remote” from English. Yet (1), though nonsensical, is grammatical, while (2) is not grammatical.
While the meaninglessness of the sentence is often considered fundamental to Chomsky’s point, Chomsky was only relying on the sentences having never been spoken before. Thus, even if one were to ascribe a likely and reasonable meaning to the sentence, the grammaticality of the sentence is concrete despite being the first time a person had ever uttered the statement, or any part thereof in such a combination. This was used then as a counter-example to the idea that the human speech engine was based upon statistical models, such as a Markov chain, or simple statistics of words following others.
So, in the winter of 1978, after another terrible harvest, they came up with an idea: Rather than farm as a collective, each family would get to farm its own plot of land. If a family grew a lot of food, that family could keep some of the harvest.
This is an old idea, of course. But in communist China of 1978, it was so dangerous that the farmers had to gather in secret to discuss it.
One evening, they snuck in one by one to a farmer’s home. Like all of the houses in the village, it had dirt floors, mud walls and a straw roof. No plumbing, no electricity.
“Most people said ‘Yes, we want do it,'” says Yen Hongchang, another farmer who was there. “But there were others who said ‘I dont think this will work — this is like high voltage wire.’ Back then, farmers had never seen electricity, but they’d heard about it. They knew if you touched it, you would die.”
Despite the risks, they decided they had to try this experiment — and to write it down as a formal contract, so everyone would be bound to it. By the light of an oil lamp, Yen Hongchang wrote out the contract.
Today, the Chinese government is clearly proud of what happened in Xiaogang. That contract is now in a museum. And the village has become this origin story that kids in China learn about in school.
… “He’s vit me!” And it worked. Before I knew it, I was onstage with the Rolling Stones.
Freddy led me to a cubbyhole, right next to the backup singers. It held a dozen or so people and was sort of like a baseball dugout. Jerry Hall was in there, and so was Keith’s dad. We were getting a slightly skewed view
For better or worse, I was seeing what the Stones see. And it helped me understand why rock stars get fucked up. Being in front of 60,000 screaming fans for two hours can be an overwhelming experience. There is no way to healthily match that intensity when the tour is over and you’re home in your slippers eating corn flakes.”
Under Their Thumb, Bill German