Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

Existentialist Counterpoint

Michael Gose takes exception to Mark Conard’s conclusions about Pulp Fiction, suggesting that just as there is no transcendence, there is no transformation—and that Tarantino distorts even the philosophies he espouses.



I’m going go with the point on this one and take a pass on the counterpoint, but still very well written.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 30 Jul 04 at 07:23 PM

Gose’s article is interesting, but completely flawed, I’m afraid.  He claims to be responding to a previous article, but in places he misrepresents Conard’s claims.  Criticizing the claim that Butch’s decision to return and save Marcellus is transformation, Gose points out: “Existentially and nihilistically there is no right and wrong.”  Point taken, but Conard said that Butch’s transformation is in moving past nihilism, thus, Gose’s framing of the criticism within the philosophies of existentialism and nihilism is completely inconclusive.

Not only does Gose fail to engage with Conard’s essay, he fails to complete his own ideas.  In the beginning of the essay, he says that Conard’s claim that there can be lasting meaning in the world “is a fatal misreading of the director.”  One would expect Gose to concentrate the rest of his essay on the film, giving evidence that Conard is, indeed, wrong.  Instead, he quotes philosophers and complains that Tarantino has distorted scripture, nihilism, and existentialism.

Maybe so.  But Tarantino’s not bound to simply regurgitate philosophy—in Pulp Fiction, he enters his own voice into the marketplace of ideas.  He’s not Sartre, he’s not Camus, and he’s not Dostoevsky—he’s Quentin Tarantino, and his characters find meaning in the world, experience grace, and undergo transformation on his terms.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 15 Aug 04 at 07:25 PM
Commenting is not available in this section entry.