Hober Mallow wrote:
You could also duct tape boxes together and call it a house, but that doesn't make you a carpenter.
No. Because, by definition, carpenters work with wood. I could, however, duct tape a few 2x4s to a couple of panels of plywood, and call myself a carpenter.
You could surgically remove your neighbor's spleen but that doesn't make you a doctor.
This is a false analogy. [Legally] Practicing medicine requires licensing and accredited training. Writing has no such requisite.
In either case, I could offer my services as a carpenter or surgeon to build you a duct & ply house or remove your spleen, but that doesn't mean you have to pay for them.
I could also try to sell you my self-labeled science fiction tale to a science fiction publisher, but they can refuse to buy that too.
Further, I could write a serious drama with no laughs in it whatsoever and call it a comedy, but calling it that doesn't make it so.
As long as YOU think it's funny it does. Otherwise you're just falsely representing it.
But as long as you can justify why you called it comedy, your label is all that matters. Transversely, if I can justify why I called my story science fiction, no one has any right to say otherwise.
But this brings up another interesting point. The definition of "comedy" has changed over the centuries. Why? Because writers have come along over time and said, "'Comedy' isn't just this, this, and this; it can
also be this or might
sometimes even be this." In other words, the writers
defined it and then redefined it. So that, overtime, the "definition" changed. Non the less, that doesn't make Shakespeare's. definition of comedy any more accurate or valid than Mel Brooks's.
"Science fiction" as a genre has several agreed-upon definitions by those who've practiced it (who else should define it?), and most television writers don't write things that fit those definitions.
Complete bullshit. There is one (not several) specific definition and it's this (from OED):
Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
That's pretty broad and all-encompassing, which is all any definition of an artistic genre or medium should ever be. If those definitions become too specific and rigid, then it's no longer art.
Any television series or film I can think of written in the last half-century by someone who's claimed it to be sci-fi has met the above definition.
Take something like Eureka
, or example. People often suggest it's not real
science fiction. Paglia and Cosby said it was. And when someone asked them why, they could've just reply with something like, "Well it's a show that deals with futuristic technology in a unique social setting." It's defined and legitimized it and its "science-fictionality" is therefore immune to any and all attacks from interwebz crusaders.
Think of it as the Descartes test. Obviously, a show can't think for itself. Its surrogate has to be those who created it.
It's one thing to define a genre, but the definition itself is nearly always a label applied to a creative work already made - already written, composed or painted. Mozart and Haydn didn't one day decide "I'm going to write a Classical sonata according to this definition of sonata form." No, that label was invented and applied decades later by someone else.
And, as I demonstrated above, the label is always changing. Sticking with music, take something as benign as "Classic Rock." Before, it was used to only include groups like Zep, Floyd, and The Who. Now it includes, Nirvana, PJ, and Metallica. Someday, Coldplay, Nickleback and such will no doubt be lopped in there as well.
Or we can broaden the scope and just call it "Rock and Roll." The thing is, what does that even mean any more? Because there are all they genres and sub-genres. And sub- genres of sub-genres! It's changed a lot over the last 60 years--and so have the sub-genres of the sub-genres.
There was a time when The Clash were labeled strictly as English punk (Not to be confused with American punk, electronic punk, fusion punk, techno punk, or alternative punk). Yet, nowadays, the most likely place to hear "London Calling" is on an adult-contemporary, pop station.
Do we define it by the tempo, melodies and tones? By the instruments. If we go by the original 50s definition, Rock and Roll can only be 12-bar Blues, usually I-IV-V (with the occasional vi), with a rockabilly beat, and played with guitar, bass, and drums.
But I would bet just about every instrument in the world has been used in a Rock song at some point or another. Every tempo and rhythm pattern that humans are physically capable of playing (and some that aren't) has been used. And, these days, the I-V-vi-IV (Or vi-IV-I-V if you're feeling spicy.) is the most commonly used chordal progression used in pop
So as a listener, it's quite a challenge to label songs/compositions and try to fit them into snug little bubbles. We can only trust they are what their creators say they are. And we have no right to tell them they're wrong.
For example, I could play a song I wrote that sounds eerily a lot like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" flamenco-style on a nylon guitar and call it a folk lullaby. Most people would probably agree.
I could then turn around play the exact same melody in fifth (power) chords, with an aggressive-staccato 16th note strumming pattern, on a Jackson/Ibanez Superstrat, through a Bad Monkey, into a JCM800, and call it Metal.
Someone else could say it's still a lullaby. Either way, it's for ME to decide.