(Note- This blog is a joint presentation written by myself and CamTheWoot. It might seem slightly odd, and this is due to the fact that it was written as a chat conversation. This is a blog series which we plan to continue, hopefully with the help of some community members. To prevent confusion, my comments will be in RED and Cam's will be in GREEN. I hope you all enjoy!)
Hey guys, TBSD here with (another!) blog! I have returned early from my hiatus after seeing a rising number of idiotic comments on this dear site. As you all know, idiocy is my second pet hate (after Mazzara), and I do not stand for it. Today I will be blogging in order to banish this idiocy, by proving that there is a difference between "your favourite" and "the best". This will be a five blog series, so please be patient with us. That's right folks, I said us. Joining me today will be the delightful CamTheWoot, a gentleman of the two virtues I admire most, common sense and sexy hair, without further ado, over to you, Cam.
Thank you very much! Ahoy there people. My stance on idiocy is very similar to that of TBSD, however I would rank incompetence in front of Mazzara and behind Moffat. So where exactly should we begin on this? The idea of a logical best and worst for everything is rather daunting and the idea of it is rather difficult to wrap one's mind around, although I will defend this idea to the end. Along with TBSD I propose that everything stands on a hierarchy, where all things have a logical best and worst. When you consider this idea, if everything was not on such a hierarchy everything would therefore be the same. If the concept of a factual best doesn't exist, me gargling Listerine in the morning is musically equal to Bohemian Rhapsody... The difference between preference (opinion) and superiority (function) are great but apparently inconspicuous. So we must cover this. Back to you.
My personal approach to the idea of opinion is this: opinion is the argument for those who don't have argument. In other terms, when you don't have anything to back up your claims, you just justify them to be fact or partial fact "because opinion". As Cam says, we need to find a way to compare opinion with function. I believe that this can be done by completely distancing one idea: popularity. If you asked the general public: Season 3 was the best and Ben Paul was an awful character; both of which can't be further from the truth. The fact is, public opinion isn't always right. I'm going to suggest that in order to argue a point, we should use the scientific rule of three, meaning that you need three pieces of evidence to back up a claim. To the same extent, to moot a point, you should be able to outnumber the positive points by at least three. That's my basic idea for judgement, but I'm still not entirely sure of how this system could work.
To add to that; these points should be founded on reason. Time and time again I see people back up their claims with further opinions or an emotional backstory, leading to that opinion or claim. If you have an opinion founded on such, that's fine, in fact that's good. We all like things for emotional reasons, but such reasons cannot be used as factual evidence in a discussion. I have to agree with TBSD, phrases like "It's my opinion" are used as a means to dodge the burden of proof and thus free oneself from a need to justify a statement. To further complicate things there is a distinctive difference between a preference and an opinion. Preference being something someone prefers (like me taking sugar in my tea) and opinion being a "personal fact" per se. Returning to fact vs opinion/preference, at the end of the day, fact can be proven with evidence whereas opinion cannot. Now taking the step from opinion to fact is a more complicated process.
In order to separate fact and opinion, we need to apply a basic principle. If there is no support in the given medium for an argument, then it is opinion. If it depends on preference, such as "I think she's pretty" or "he's my favourite", it's opinion. If it can be supported by the rule of three, it can be deemed a fact. How likeable something is will not play a factor in our judgement. We will be focusing on what different aspects add to the plot, characters, themes and atmosphere of The Walking Dead. I believe that it is best to treat this like a comparative literary essay, making points with solid evidence. We will have a policy of debating any comment on these blogs that bases itself in solid fact, so if you disagree with our points, feel free to try and prove us wrong. Your turn, Cameron.
Oooh, it seems a challenge has been issued to the readers. I like that. Notice I used the word "like" there, I could have just as easily used the phrase "that is a good idea" as if it is a factual statement, but would that statement be correct? Well, we don't have the evidence to support that claim yet so we can't say. At the moment that comment would not be a well based factual claim. Now it is possible for factual claims to be segmented into different types: a well founded, evidence supported estimate for example. I enjoy this policy of debating against people with well structured arguments, however I think we should explain the faults of a poorly constructed argument if and when one is posted. I will give an example of a poorly constructed argument: "The walking dead sucks, the characters make no sense and it's gross!"- Genuine YouTube comment. At first glance, any reasonable person could see the flaws with this; the main flaw being, the evidence used to support the claims are either opinions or pseudo-facts with no evidence to back them up. I see comments like this all the time, albeit not as blatantly stupid but close in structure. These pretend facts are common throughout arguments, where someone will pull a fact out of thin air and try to use it as evidence. This will never work, and this being used and later tugged upon by another could easily pull on argument apart.
I think our next step is to set up a criteria by which we will judge each medium of The Walking Dead, in order to decide which is functionally the best. I think this should depend on the three pillars of narrative: plot, setting and character. Each of these can also be broken down into three subsections. Plot- structure, concept and development; Setting- appearance, relevance and development; and Character- characterisation, meaning and development. If we can decipher these aspects, we can critically analyse each medium. In order to make this a fair comparison, I suggest that we compare the first major story arc of each medium: Issues 1-48 of the comics, Episodes 1-43 of the TV Show, Season 1 of the Video Game, and the four Governor novels. What do you say Cam?
I would agree on that one. To me this seems like a fair criteria by which to judge, we must try our best to void ourselves of bias to fairly review. It may or may not be possible to create a completely and utterly fair review; but through the means of discussion, evidence, logic and reason; I believe this is as close as possible. I'm looking forward to these reviews and hopefully we can bring more people into these discussions in the future.
I too am looking forward to these debates, and I hope they can settle the big debate one and for all.
So...what topic will we be covering next blog then, now that we have the ground rules and foundation down?
I think we'd best start with plot, and hopefully have a nice big group to discuss with. Would you say that's everything for this blog?
I would say so.
So do you guys have any suggestions or comments? Do you dare to take myself or Cam on in a debate? Leave your comments below! The first proper blog in the series, centred on Plot, will be released soon. Do you have anything to add Cam?
Terry St.John is unknown...tehehe. No, I have nothing else to add, except thank you for reading!
There you go.
You heard it here first folks, Terry is unknown...
I'm amending that comment.
RIP Terry (insert trollface here)
We'll cut it off there, before Cam decides that I'm a liability and replaces me with YoungAnarchy. Thanks for reading everyone!