Can you Separate your Perceptions or Sensibilities to Enjoy Something?

So, there was a thread about what do you root for, Science or Magic. I like a blend myself, but so many people are so anti-religion, magic, and mysticism that... honestly, I considered a lot of you joyless.

I'm here to officially eat those words, because in the recent 'What's the Appeal of Cowboys' thread, I've admitted that I can never see the appeal of those times because if I was ever in them, my life would be horrible simply due to my skin color. I also had that issues with the Ludonarrative Dissonance thread with how the Barbarity of the protagonist made me too disgusted to properly enjoy it or take anything from it.

So, I bring the question to the masses. Can you reliably separate yourself from your Sensibilities, your Perceptions, Your Moral Standing or Beliefs to enjoy works of Art that run counter to your feelings?

I'm half Native, and while the people IO descended from weren't at risk in the Wild West era, it can still gewt uncomfortable. I remember RDR1 had some professor who fetishised the "noble savage," for example. I still enjoyed the game upuntil they turned it into Chore Simulator 08 or whatever.

I also have a thing for pulp-style adventure, though the pulps themselves were often horrendously racist, sexist, and come from a time where LGBT people wee rarely acknowledged or they'd be homo/transphobic as well. I think for me, it largely depends on how far it goes down that path. If RDR was "lynching simulator"or "Indian Hunter,"I'd pass. But the first game gave me enough emotional and psychological distance I could enjoy most of it. Cowboy genre pieces often not only white wash things, but they modern-wash them as well, adding modern sensibilities into the mix in ways that are afar more progressive than any ofthe stuff that leads to cries of "SJW" these days.

One of the reasons I started writing is I was a fan of Lovecrafian horror and genre fiction, but didn't like the racism/sexism/antisemitism/xenophobia/etc involved in them. People told me if I didn't like it, to write my own. So I did. I have much love for the genres, while acknowledging their roots are sometimes awful and can be outright horrific.

...although the Western is a weird beast in this sense, as the myth of the white cowboy being the mainstay is one of the big misnomers. I remember people having a fit over the remake of the Magnificent Seven for having cowboys who weren't white and many cowboys were, in fact not white. Black, Mexican, even Native and Asian cowboys were not unheard of and it is only largely a big deal because people have bought into the myth that started with the dime novel and continues to this day with modern movies and vidya gaermz. Not saying it was great to be black in the Wild West because I have no doubt it still was problematic, just that we tend to think of the West as white territory when it...wasn't.

Short answer, yes.

I'm irreligious, but I have high regard for religious films such as Prince of Egypt and Calvary.

Have British ancestry, but have high regard for films such as Viceroy's House, Once Upon a Time in China, and A United Kingdom for instance, none of which paint the Empire in a positive light (this can extend to the issue of racism, Australian or otherwise, as portrayed in works of fiction)

Very skeptical of the effectiveness of military invention in the late 20th and current 21st centuries, but I can still call something like Black Hawk Down a good film.

Course, there's going to be exceptions to this, but generally, I can evaluate a work on its own terms. I mean, there's always going to be works of fiction that make certain groups uncomfortable (e.g. a German watching Saving Private Ryan, or a Muslim watching anything to do with 9/11) - if anything, it's good to be exposed to such things rather than having one's sensibilities coddled.

Yes. I loathe organized crime and people that engage in it, and my current job revolves around fighting organized crime. Yet I love games and movies about organized crime. Goodfellas is still one of the best movies ever made and Mafia is still one of the best video games ever made. There's just something about that genre that's very appealing to me, even though in real world I wouldn't hesitate to shoot those people in the face.

I also love movies about religion even though I'm an atheist.

Sure I can. I understand that the job of a story is to be well-told artistically, and that I can't go around claiming that the only good writers are the ones who share my beliefs.

Yes.

For example: All the games where i joyfully murder someone.

I don't get offended when people look at my culture disapproving. Although, the movie Australia felt nothing like Australia, even if you try to place it In its historical context. I think it was more about what others perceive Australians to be like.

I try to do the same with critical reception of movies, BvS wasn't as bad as people made it out to be, Black Panther wasn't as good. The latter was better than the former, but not by as much as most people reception. The Force Awakens is the worst Star Wars movie, despite its reception, being the most cynical, just there for the money movie I've seen in a long time, Dredd was a good encapsulatation of that character (I just don't think people like the character over all.) Lex Luthors distractions were the best part of BvS despite the silliness of what he was trying to do while they were distracted and the actual B v S fight was pretty boring. I always listen to reviews beforehand but don't let that colour my viewing. I listen to critiques to see if I missed something but don't take on their emotional baggage.

I think for most people it has to be very situational. As long as my intelligence is not being insulted, we can slide. Or if they bash us in the head with the point

Prince of Egypt plays fast and loose with the Bible, as does The Ten Commandments and most other great films set in it. That doesn't mean i can't enjoy them for being good stories with great cinematography. Still can't stand Noah with everyone's favorite angry Ausy.

trunkage:
I don't get offended when people look at my culture disapproving. Although, the movie Australia felt nothing like Australia, even if you try to place it In its historical context. I think it was more about what others perceive Australians to be like.

'Australia' is good up to the point when they get the cattle on the ship. Everything after that feels tacked on, or at least, a sequel rather than part of the same movie.

Fun fact, my grandmother did get offended by the film, namely the bombing of Darwin scene. As someone who was with the RAF during WWII, she found the whole thing exagerated. Basically the idea of putting the bombing on the level as seen in the film, it diminished the impacts of the Blitz.

saint of m:
Still can't stand Noah with everyone's favorite angry Ausy.

Russel Crowe?

He's actually a Kiwi, FYI.

I think depending on how you've been educated for work or how you spend your life you can be trained to turn off sensibilities, or you can have those sensibilities reinforced as a core aspect of yourself.

My day to day work involves a lot of architects, a lot of buildings/bridges, and a lot of reading and understanding contracts. Those things are in so much of our consumable media culture that I basically had no choice but to learn how to turn it all off. I could get pissed off every time I see an architect in a movie staring intently at a set of full size concept drawings on a drafting board, or when I see a building detonate in a way that makes no sense, or when every single movie ever gets the basic concept of a contract wrong. But I would just be angry all the time and it would be about stuff that most people don't even recognize as worthy of emotional investment.

If its a sensibility related to a core aspect of your person, I get that you aren't going to be able to turn off how you feel about that, and its understandable. That said, being able to step back and say "its just a dumb movie about a dumb thing and I'm allowed to enjoy dumb stuff if I want" won't make your life any worse if you can learn to do it.

Although if you are a lawyer and you wanted to saw off your own head during the whole contract part of 50 shades, don't worry. Many people wanted to kill themselves during that movie for various reasons.

Yes, I think so. Take for example, The Birth of A Nation.

On the surface- it's a horrible film. It makes all African-Americans look essentially like sex-crazed gorillas, paints interracial marriage as literally the worst thing ever, and has the hero start the Klu Klux Klan to drive the (N bomb)s out by force and 'restore' some kind of puritannical whiteness to society. It's racial propaganda at it's most sick and twisted.

Even worse- the real Klu Klux Klan had been dead and buried for years before the film came out. But it's release brought so much attention and admiration to the Klan that it was resurrected in real life after the movie came out. How many people were lynched and/or murdered because of this film? I shudder to even think about it.

And yet- it's one of the very first feature length films ever made, and in doing so it's remarkable how well paced it is, how clear (if simple) every main character's goals and fears are. There's not a second of wasted footage in it- all of it either advancing plot or revealing character. For a film made in 1915 this is an incredible achievement, and one that has to be admired from the technical side, if not for the awful message it delivered.

So it's a movie where I hate the message, but I'm impressed by the technique. I've never seen Triumph of the Will, but I hear it has a similar effect on people who watch it with a modern eye.

Hawki:

'Australia' is good up to the point when they get the cattle on the ship. Everything after that feels tacked on, or at least, a sequel rather than part of the same movie.

I have to admit I quite liked the droving part of the movie. That's what stops me completely snubbing the movie even when the Darwin bombing -the main reason I went to see it- was so pathetic. Barely two minutes of screentime and enough explosives dropped at treetop level to flatten Manhattan. My Grandfather was in the AIF defending Darwin in the wake of the attack, and after seeing the movie I couldn't even bring myself to tell him about it, that's how embarrassing it was.

Had a moment lately where a webcomic I was reading featured an arc where a character turned to religion, which the writer admitted was a bit cheeky since it was his own religious views the character was turning to. Had a brief moment of "Ugh, can't believe the author is trying to shove his views down my throat like this" before realising "Hang on a minute, A) That this has been the first and only mention of religion at all in this series, B) Thematically fits where this character has been going for a while and C) actually provides them with an arc instead of just keeping them in stasis"

So turns out I can indeed get the hell over myself to enjoy something regardless of personal sensibilities

Kind of tends to be a case-by-case basis with me. Which sometimes results in some hypocritical tendencies and principles.

When I first read the question I thought about a lot of the music I consume. Within the past few years a handful of bands I followed pretty fervently had some sexual assault allegations (ones which seemed to be corroborated by the responses from all involved parties) come out against one or more of their members, and I've found it difficult ever since to work up even an inkling of desire to listen to those bands again. It simply didn't feel right to enjoy those songs and those lyrics which took on a profoundly different tone after that mess was revealed while knowing how I feel about sexual assault. I have absolutely no desire to support artists like that in any way, especially when they make no real effort to address the issue or admit their wrongdoing.

If you're asking about the content of a piece of media itself? Kinda depends there, too, but I'm far more willing to be lenient or understanding of a theme or message if the person who made it isn't abhorrent or an asshole. I might still think it's nonsense, but there's still room for enjoyment there in some aspect. Maybe the technical aspects are cool, or the characters are enjoyable and well-written. That said, there are definite lines I draw as far as what I'd actually want to read, see, or listen to.

I guess if we're just going by some already stated examples:

Religion - Actually kind of a fan of religiously inspired media in a general (to a point). Not a religious person; I just think it's interesting to see what results can come of someone's relationship with whatever the heck they worship. Sometimes extraordinary and genuine and sometimes utterly banal and half-assed. I can definitely appreciate gospel music a lot and religious churches and organizations played an essential historical role in the development of music today, but you wouldn't catch me within 100 miles of a theater showing God's Not Dead, for instance.

Political belief - generally doesn't play TOO MUCH of a factor in how I enjoy something. Though there are explicit lines drawn. Someone makes a piece of art I really enjoy that leans a good bit to the (American) right? Depending on the issue, it might sting for a bit, but I'll get over it. Probably couldn't care less after a bit. Said person inserting messages of utter hatred or dangerous attitudes or precedent into their work, or they're just that much of an asshat? Fuck off.

Video games - Couldn't care less what the fuck people do or how they make their games in most cases. Make your weird porn or hentai game, or include some gratuitous violence, or whatever you want. I don't really care and sometimes it's a selling point if done well or tastefully enough. If there's actually games I don't want to buy, it's often not because of the themes they contain but the people or companies involved in making it. You can't convince me to buy Red Dead Redemption 2 without it being cheap and used knowing what we know now. And you can't guilt trip me into buying it by pretending it's ok to just give Rockstar money so employees can get bonuses when they should have just treated them better regardless of what happened in the first place.

Almost all the time really. I find the challenging media all the more interesting, to place yourself into lives and minds that you would never want to be or currently cannot understand in everyday reality, to see how the experience unfolds and how those people react. I think if I only consumed what I morally agreed with at any particular time, well that would be an incredibly limited input that denies broader understandings. Like, child soldiers are pretty damning no matter how you look at it, but Beasts of no Nation was a film that presented their lives as way more human, capable of hope and joy regardless of the situation they are funneled in. Same as Trainspotting, as I'm fairly sure I've no intention of becoming a scottish heroin addict, nor would I recommend anyone else ever do the same, but again there is an empathetic side shown with humans being all flawed 'n humany and everything, some fancy presentation doesn't hurt either. Could go on adding endless, less known examples, but the point is that media is best when it opens up further understanding of our fellow humans that are born into different lives and situations not so simple to escape from, how they can be forced to adapt and cope in ways that are judged poorly upon by others.

Question: outside of Skinner box reward and other side-effects from psychological manipulation, what kind of enjoyment can you get if you separate yourself from your sensibilities, your perceptions, your moral standing and beliefs when playing a game, reading a book, watching a movie, etc? Because if I wanted just such mundane enjoyment, I would dedicate all my time and money in smartphone games instead (they are way better in that regard).

I can't think of an answer that doesn't boil down to "it depends". Most of the time I'm very squeamish about media that offends my delicate sensibilities. Even in a lot of games, I'll instinctively play as "good" as I'm allowed to, and quite possibly get offended if I can't continue the game without doing something awful. But, then I'll get into a game and run around seeing how many people I can set on fire simultaneously or whatever, reveling in the screams of the walking toasted. I dunno.

I'm a huge fan of Robert E Howard and Lovecraft's works, but can clearly see there is some racist bent to many of their stories. I love the horror genre, books and movies, but they mostly hinge on (for the sake of the narrative, and obviously not all horror media) accepting the supernatural as a fact. As an atheist, I naturally suppress my disbelief for the sake of enjoying a story... is this a good example? Or how about this:

I'm not really interested in women as protagonists in my escapism - it's not an immediate turn off exactly, but I won't seek it out, either - but really enjoy Orange is the New Black and have had fun reading Kill Six Billion Demons. Like, I enjoy them for what they are, you know? Granted I had to come around to thinking like this, but I feel like I have.

I played a relatively well acclaimed Paladin character for several months at one point, despite by own general disdain for religious authority, so yes?

Though conversely, while I'm not egads, *offended* or triggered or whatall. I don't derive any particular entertainment or generally pursue some of the various immoral options and depictions in games. I can do the Dark Brotherhood quest, or whatever GTA edgy nonsense, but it's just kind of a task being done rather then any actual engagement to it.

Has anyone seperated their sensibilities to this form of animation to enjoy these movie?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0fFI0ziCs8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW9xLzZVxX8

Because I actually like this realistic CGI.

ObsidianJones:
So, I bring the question to the masses. Can you reliably separate yourself from your Sensibilities, your Perceptions, Your Moral Standing or Beliefs to enjoy works of Art that run counter to your feelings?

Yes... maybe?

I might say I can appreciate something - say on an intellectual level - that I don't enjoy, and equally I can enjoy something I hold in contempt on other levels.

In terms of pure fiction, where it's all made up, who cares: a religion in a fantasy novel often doesn't matter a damn, because it has no meaningful relevance to the real world. However, in terms of "author voice" or contemporary message, I might be a little warier.

The point of most fiction writers is to make you believe in this world they created. You know its not, its fiction, and they are lying, they are fiction writers, but if they have just enough truth to it to make you believe you'll go along with it. After all, how many of us question the feasibility of Smauge the Dragon moving to silently when he's like the size of Godzilla?

Another is the Deus Ex Machina. For those that didn't take that in highschool English, it's Latin for "God from the Machine" and derives from the practice of ancient Greek plays getting their plots so convoluted that they would use a lever to lower a statue of a God and that God would fix the story.

Since then the term is used for any solution to a problem that comes out of nowhere, such as the Fire Mares in Krull or the Rail Gun in Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. Not all of its bad, the T Rex at the end of the Jurasic Park Movie for instance, but most take you out of the experience.

In that regard, two that come to mind for me is one of the Warhammer books (the novella based on the 8th edition starter box with Skaven and High Elves) at one point when things seem their darkest, the main hero of the high elf armies shows up out of nowhere and ripps into the Skaven (chaotic evil ratfolk) army like it was Dynasty Warriors on easy mode. If you know nothing of the high elves his name and important means nothing. His showing up does nothing to improve the story, and is only in it for that short amount of time.

Another the entirety of the 4th inuasha movie. I first saw this playing it on my computer for an anime convention movie room and me and the people in the room kept spouting off TV trope after TV trope after TV trope to the point where the end solution I couldn't figure out if this was a Deus Ex or a Checkove's gun.

Samtemdo8:
Has anyone seperated their sensibilities to this form of animation to enjoy these movie?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0fFI0ziCs8

Nope. I get what they are trying to do, but... why did he stop disrobing himself after the shirt? I wanted to see how realistic he looked after taking his pants off... LOL

CaitSeith:

Samtemdo8:
Has anyone seperated their sensibilities to this form of animation to enjoy these movie?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0fFI0ziCs8

Nope. I get what they are trying to do, but... why did he stop disrobing himself after the shirt? I wanted to see how realistic he looked after taking his pants off... LOL

This movie borders between PG13 and R.

A few years ago, when I was considerably less critical about the media I consumed, a friend who was much more critical than I was said something to me which has stuck with me. As marginalised people (and I think this applies to many forms of marginalisation) we don't have a vast, vast plethora of media aimed at us, and thus sometimes when we refuse to allow ourselves the potential to enjoy something because we have a political problem with it all we're actually doing is hurting ourselves and robbing ourselves of stories which could perhaps speak to us on other levels.

But what's important about this process is that it takes place on our terms. You don't have to like anything, you don't have to ignore anything and it is absolutely worthwhile to make responsible choices in the media you consume and enjoy. But at the end of the day, a lot of marginalised people are emotionally very tough (far tougher than all the people who screech about other people being "triggered" while only consuming media made for and pandering specifically to them) and we can endure a lot. There's nothing wrong with enduring a lot for something which is rewarding enough to justify it.

So, I guess the answer is yes, sometimes.. but I feel no obligation to.

It's a case by case thing imo. Depends on the level of it. Certain things I dislike easy to get over them. And depends on like if it's front and center, is it the entire point of the piece of media or what?

No particular right or wrong to this imo just varies on what does or does not ruin your enjoyment of something

I find that if one aims to properly appreciate something, they must be able to separate themselves from it and be immersed in the world and see things through the eyes of the characters. If you just close off yourself because of your personal hangups then you're not gonna learn anything, you're not gonna grow, you're literally wasting time.

A good example of something that I enjoyed immensely through shutting off my own ideas and associating with something that the title of "nightmare scenario" is an understatement to is Saya no Uta. I still cherish the story to this day because it managed to put me in the place of someone who is both going insane and is completely horrible and I literally had never been at that place before. The place where someone who would have normally been irredeemable seems to be making the best of his situation and a place where the events of nightmarish horror feel like a genuinely "happy" ending when all things are considered.

Now, if I were to just be disgusted at the content that I do actually find disgusting normally and then stopped there without giving it a chance to tell its story instead of actively TRYING to enjoy the story, I would have never had such an interestingly singular experience. I know because I haven't been able to replicate it so far anyhow.

 

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