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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Amanda Marcotte on Game of Thrones - major spoilers if you click on the links

Amanda Marcotte is undoubtedly not my favourite cultural commentator, and she sometimes takes serious missteps. There will be times when I'll want to criticise her judgment. This, however, is not one of those times.

Credit to her where it's due: whatever her faults and past mistakes, she sometimes shows an appreciation of contemporary art and entertainment that is superior to most. At her best, she has an ability to see and explain the complexity of what's in front of her nose when she's looking at, say, a statue, a movie, or a television episode. When she's in the zone, she resists vulgar, crassly politicized interpretations, rather than trying to rationalize them; yet she still provides some sharp commentary.

This week, while many other people were writing pretentious, censorious pieces about Game of Thrones - often seeming to rationalise essentially irrational responses - Marcotte wrote a couple of Slate articles that largely defend the show, and specifically defend its most recent episode.

I don't necessarily accept every general point that she makes in (major spoilers in the link!) the first of these pieces, although where she is critical of GoT I do see the basis for her argument. However (same warning about major spoilers), the second article gives the first more credibility: it is exactly right - exactly what was needed in the circumstances - and it shows a strong intuitive and intellectual understanding of the TV series' dramatic intentions. That gives her more credibility in general.

If she can keep producing analyses as detailed, careful, and critically sensitive as the second of these pieces, in particular, then more strength to her arm.

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