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As done by Kafka and Lovecraft

In class we’ve been discussing the deformance of literature. I found this comic today by Zach Weiner, writer of the popular internet webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.  Instead of recontextualizing a piece of literature like we did today with the “Yellow Wallpaper” and the Voyant program, this comic recontextualizes the classic videogame Pacman through a surreal lens of prosaic horror. I feel this can be considered a type of deformance. Any thoughts??

Here's my attempt at attaching the image...

pacman by kafka.gif

...and if that didn't work, here's the link to the site

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  1. Unknown User (ebw1)

    I'm not sure this is deformance but rather a particular idological/philosophical interpretation of the game. I think a deformatist would take the actual Pacman game and alter it's functionality; if the user were able to play as the ghosts, or something. Maybe I'm way off, though.

  2. Unknown User (jca4) AUTHOR

    I wouldn't say you're off at all. I actually hadn't considered you're point, but I think it's spot on. The change in medium would definitely alter how the piece could be "deformed."  I would still consider the comic to be a deformance as well, though. It took my understanding of Pacman as banal yet purposeful entertainment, and used symbology to give it profound meaning.  It may be a stretch, but it's sort of like "the Word Plum" taking an inanimate fruit and giving it sensual energy and personality. 

    1. I think it's important to keep in mind that for McGann, "deformance" apparently consists of repeating a work while altering it. Granted, we can adopt stricter or looser definitions of "repeat," but his examples all involve taking the original words of a poem and re-ordering them (or preserving some while deleting others). That is, there are no examples that introduce words that the author didn't write. No matter, though. I love this strip about Pacman! It ties in beautifully with what we began to talk about yesterday: narrative. The kid finds older video games boring because they lack a "story." Arguably, many of those older games did have what we might call a primitive narrative structure, if only because they unfolded in time; but the most basic of them were much less deeply embedded in a "backstory" than contemporary games. So the dad here supplies the "missing" narrative of Pacman, and suddenly the game's characters and actions take on a whole new meaning.

  3. Unknown User (lmg19)

    I don't quite understand fully the meaning of "deformance", but isn't it about focusing on certain parts of the text, in this case a video game? I agree with Eric. I think deformance would be looking into the actions or specifically the descriptions because in many of McGann's exmples, he reads the poem backwards or removes all words except verbs or nouns, etc. However, like Professor Schacht said above, Pacman doesn't have words which is why it's hard to say what deformance is in this scenerio. I like the comic strip too! It actually reminded me of the discussion between practical criticism vs. Sontag. Sontag would disagree with the father's backstory because he's looking a deeper meaning. She would study the formof the game, how the creater shaped and played with its structure.