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Jones' Formula of Literary Criticism

Jones Formula of Criticism

Here’s a much different way of looking at art and storytelling—perhaps a method that your editor or writing group may never have considered, or succinctly explained.

I’m going to share with you a formula created by Dr. Todd Jones that explains what makes good art and literature. Jones is a celebrated philosophy professor with a significant background in anthropology.

Jones’s BeDE Theory of Art Criticism:

Art or literature’s only function—the only thing it is good at doing—is creating beliefs, desires, and emotions (or BeDE for short). Art fails at doing anything and everything else.

The BeDE theory is designed to tell you which works of art are comparatively better than other works of art in its class, based on how well it performs its function of creating beliefs, desires, and emotions within its audience.

What makes something “art” is a social fact—such as the concept of money or Tuesday. Society agrees that “x” is art, and therefore it becomes art.


Read more: Jones' Formula of Literary Criticism

Three Fourths Home: A Melancholic Chat With Mom

Video Game

Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight…

I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was supposed to be, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a video game. There was nothing about this story that warranted it being played or visualized in this medium. The graphical element of a car driving through cornfields added nothing to the story, the controls and playability added no feeling or connection with the characters—if anything these components distracted from the plot and created a barrier between the “player” and what the story was trying to convey. To me, this story could have easily been a novel or perhaps a film—as a video game it was a frustrating and underwhelming experience.

So let’s break it down—all that’s on the screen is a silhouette of a car and stick-figure cornfields that you drive through during a thunderstorm. And when I say “drive”, I use the term loosely as you simply hold the gas (R2) and the car drives for you—no steering or anything fancy like braking. During this time, a phone conversation is had by an early 20 something female and her parents. The only thing of importance in the game is this conversation, so naturally to you begin to ignore the driving car, the corn, and thunderstorm and focus on reading the dialog. However, you must be driving (holding R2) in order for the conversation to continue—tape down the button, because it’s a long, uneventful ride.

I will give them this—the dialog does seem authentic. Whoever wrote the story is either from or spent a lot of time in Nebraska as they nailed the cadence of speech and expressions of the region. Beyond that, as a human interest story goes, it lacked the “interest” part. It’s a character piece with way too little connection with the characters. The protagonist, Kelly, is obnoxiously eye-roll-snotty mixed with the dissatisfied realization of a long-sigh-welcome-to-adulthood.

Read more: Three Fourths Home: A Melancholic Chat With Mom

Video Games

Storytelling & Writing: 50% - 1 votes
Graphics: 11% - 1 votes
Controls & Playability: 6% - 1 votes
Soundtrack & Audio: 38% - 1 votes
Je Ne Sais Quoi: 11% - 1 votes

23% - An Empty Cornfield Of Game Space

Three Fourths Home just didn’t accomplish anything. It wasn’t fun, engaging, entertaining, moving, or thought provoking. The story has potential, but it never should have been a created as a video game–it would have connected much better as a book or b-rate movie.

Three Fourths Home: A Melancholic Chat With Mom

Three Fourths Home: A Melancholic Chat With Mom

Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight… I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was supposed to be, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a video game. There was nothing about this story that warranted it being played or visualized in this medium. The graphical element of a car driving through cornfields added nothing to the story, the controls and playability added no feeling or connection with the characters—if anything these components distracted from the plot and created a barrier between the “player” and what the story was trying to convey. To me, this story could have easily been a novel or perhaps a film—as a video game it was a frustrating and underwhelming experience. So let’s break it down—all that’s on the screen is a silhouette of a car and stick-figure cornfields that you drive through during a thunderstorm. And when I say “drive”, I use the term loosely as you simply hold the gas (R2) and the car drives for you—no steering or anything fancy like braking. During this time, a phone conversation is had by an early 20 something female and her parents. The only thing of importance in the game is this conversation, so naturally to you begin to ignore the driving car, the corn, and thunderstorm and focus on reading the dialog. However, you must be driving (holding R2) in order for the conversation to continue—tape down the button, because it’s a long, uneventful ride. I will give them this—the dialog does seem authentic. Whoever wrote the story is either from or spent a lot of time in Nebraska as they nailed the cadence of speech and expressions of the region. Beyond that, as a human interest story goes, it lacked the “interest” part. It’s a character piece with way too little connection with the characters. The protagonist, Kelly, is obnoxiously eye-roll-snotty mixed with the dissatisfied realization of a long-sigh-welcome-to-adulthood.
Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight… I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was supposed to be, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a video game. There was nothing about this story that warranted it being played or visualized in this medium. The graphical element of a car driving through cornfields added nothing to the story, the controls and playability added no feeling or connection with the characters—if anything these components distracted from the plot and created a barrier between the “player” and what the story was trying to convey. To me, this story could have easily been a novel or perhaps a film—as a video game it was a frustrating and underwhelming experience. So let’s break it down—all that’s on the screen is a silhouette of a car and stick-figure cornfields that you drive through during a thunderstorm. And when I say “drive”, I use the term loosely as you simply hold the gas (R2) and the car drives for you—no steering or anything fancy like braking. During this time, a phone conversation is had by an early 20 something female and her parents. The only thing of importance in the game is this conversation, so naturally to you begin to ignore the driving car, the corn, and thunderstorm and focus on reading the dialog. However, you must be driving (holding R2) in order for the conversation to continue—tape down the button, because it’s a long, uneventful ride. I will give them this—the dialog does seem authentic. Whoever wrote the story is either from or spent a lot of time in Nebraska as they nailed the cadence of speech and expressions of the region. Beyond that, as a human interest story goes, it lacked the “interest” part. It’s a character piece with way too little connection with the characters. The protagonist, Kelly, is obnoxiously eye-roll-snotty mixed with the dissatisfied realization of a long-sigh-welcome-to-adulthood.
23 out of 100 with 5 ratings

George Berkeley: Make Philosophy Great Again

George Berkeley Trump

George Berkeley slides onto the scene a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business; the “cool guy” that’s had enough of these schoolmen stinkin’ up the place with their Pigpen philosophy.

Yeah, he might be a little self-indulgent—I assume he has orange skin and sweet comb-over—but that’s okay because he speaks for us common folk. He waves a big banner of common sense and God, and as long as I can keep my guns, I’ll vote for him as my favorite modern philosopher.

“It’s gonna be huge,” I envision Georgie B trying to explain himself to a confused reporter. “What I make public here has, after a long and scrupulous inquiry, seemed to me evidently true and not unuseful to be known—particularly to those who are tainted with skepticism or want a demonstration of the existence and immateriality of God or the natural immortality of the soul” (438). Yeehaw—I like the sounds of that campaign promise! Let’s see if he can build that wall.

Using the “illiterate bulk of mankind” as his inspiration (438), Berkeley strives to regain a child-like wonder and innocence of philosophy. The good ol’ days—back when God was the single end-all be-all for everything. What are you thinking, philosophy? “All these questions,” Berkeley snorts, “which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation, until at length, having wandered through many intricate mazes, we find ourselves just where we were, or which is worse, sit down in a forlorn skepticism” (439). I have to agree with him. The more I read Spinoza, Leibniz, and Locke, the more disheartened I become. These guys are the white-curly-haired version of an Internet forum. All this bickering back and forth over speculative and unknowable details is like a Kevin Smith film critiquing Star Wars—only God or George Lucas can answer these questions, and neither is picking up the phone. Like Berkeley, all I’m looking for is some practical knowledge and insight—answer a few questions before taking on the multiverse.

Read more: George Berkeley: Make Philosophy Great Again

Life Is Strange: The Perfect Storm

Life Is Strange Cover

Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a heart-in-throat twist.

The story takes place in a struggling fishing village in the Pacific Northwest; a setting that plays seamlessly with hipster-savvy characters and strong female leads. You take control of our budding photographer protagonist, Max, on her 18th birthday as she’s recently enrolled in prestigious art-driven boarding school for gifted students. In the opening scene she has a crazy premonition and discovers that she has ability to control—reverse—time. It’s awesome. It’s every indie stereotype personified in a cataclysm of so much sugary-pop goodness that it hurts your teeth and rots your mind—only to later sideswipe you with depth and soul.

Read more: Life Is Strange: The Perfect Storm

Video Games

Storytelling & Writing: 94% - 1 votes
Graphics: 61% - 1 votes
Controls & Playability: 72% - 1 votes
Soundtrack & Audio: 90% - 1 votes
Je Ne Sais Quoi: 97% - 1 votes

83% Pac North West Quirkiness With Gripping Depth

Life Is Strange is a total character piece. The game lives or dies by its characters and their relationships–and this game not only lives, but it transcends. Fantastic storytelling with gripping twists, compelling and well-researched universe, and thoughtful soundtrack; this game is solid and my favorite in a long time. The characters are highly relatable and realistic, with the philosophy of time-travel well thought out. Think of it as an interactive television show that is be experienced (not so much "played").

Life Is Strange: The Perfect Storm

Life Is Strange: The Perfect Storm

Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a heart-in-throat twist. The story takes place in a struggling fishing village in the Pacific Northwest; a setting that plays seamlessly with hipster-savvy characters and strong female leads. You take control of our budding photographer protagonist, Max, on her 18th birthday as she’s recently enrolled in prestigious art-driven boarding school for gifted students. In the opening scene she has a crazy premonition and discovers that she has ability to control—reverse—time. It’s awesome. It’s every indie stereotype personified in a cataclysm of so much sugary-pop goodness that it hurts your teeth and rots your mind—only to later sideswipe you with depth and soul.
Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a heart-in-throat twist. The story takes place in a struggling fishing village in the Pacific Northwest; a setting that plays seamlessly with hipster-savvy characters and strong female leads. You take control of our budding photographer protagonist, Max, on her 18th birthday as she’s recently enrolled in prestigious art-driven boarding school for gifted students. In the opening scene she has a crazy premonition and discovers that she has ability to control—reverse—time. It’s awesome. It’s every indie stereotype personified in a cataclysm of so much sugary-pop goodness that it hurts your teeth and rots your mind—only to later sideswipe you with depth and soul.
83 out of 100 with 5 ratings

Big Data: Removing Bias Within The Judicial System

Law and Justice

Ideological partisanship is deteriorating our society.

It’s very nature fosters inequality, stunts progression, and detracts from the common good. This poison has completely consumed the Executive and Legislative branches of government, and continues to leech into the Judicial—the people’s single safe-haven that promises unwavering and unbiased justice to all regardless of race, class, creed, or religion. By using big data, we can offer empirical certainty that equal and consistent justice is being served—and if it’s not, the ability to remove its offenders.

I: The Constitution and Why Partisanship Doesn’t Apply

There have been no news articles, no insight offered by academic or legal scholars, no pragmatic solutions that have overwhelmingly demonstrated the value of partisanship. Ever. Nothing of these arguments in support bias show how the effects of its good outweigh that of its bad—it’s all theory and opinion to convince us that partisanship is necessary. And it’s worked. We willingly accept—celebrate—the pillaging of our democratic system in the name of a political party and even go as far to evangelize it.

Read more: Big Data: Removing Bias Within The Judicial System

Leibniz: Human Freewill *Wink

Red Pill or Blue Pill

I wonder if Leibniz, somewhere deep inside himself, had this overwhelming feeling of giddiness when he wrote “Primary Truths”?

While he couldn’t predict the future, something within the eternal truth of himself must have tingled with the thought of philosophy students—350 years later—reading his words. Some part of his subconscious swelling because the version of his perfected-self, the version that God decided would be best for the world, was one where he is to be echo throughout history and pop culture.

Ah, but Gottfried was modest; “every individual substance contains in its perfect notion the entire universe” (266). He’ll be the first to admit the profound nature of a leaf or blade of grass—and that his mind is no better than yours or mine.

Read more: Leibniz: Human Freewill *Wink

Legally Married With Children: A Conversation

Legally Married With Children

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.

While there is absolutely no moral equivalency being drawn between good and evil—right and wrong—this exposé on same-sex marriage and modern families is completely about turning a blind eye. How I looked the other way—simply because everyone else did. We are afraid to ask the simplest of questions just because of the way it makes us feel. Ignorant. Confused. Fearful of the future. A whole host of complex questions that require considerable thought, vulnerability, and stirs deep emotions.

Meet Ginger; a longtime family friend and who would be the closest thing I have to a sister. My dad and her dad have been friends since the mid 1970s. They met while at work; my dad being a construction manager and her dad, David, owning a painting company. The two played competitive softball with each other for many years. As the stories go, it was a tight-knit group of friends and the ballgames were much more than obsession—it was their life. My mom had a significant role in Ginger’s young life, acting as an close-to-the-family babysitter for her and her brother for several years. Ginger’s mom and dad were always very much involved in her life, but appreciated the extra help while working full-time jobs and managing softball teams. Eventually I was born and my mom looked after all three of us. Though I was only a toddler, Ginger was my favorite and I followed her around like a duckling.

Read more: Legally Married With Children: A Conversation

Descartes' Wax: More Important Than God

Descartes' Wax Argument

First, let’s consider a question: if a thinking mind didn’t contemplate a piece of wax, would the wax even exist?

According to Rene Descartes, existence is predicated upon thinking. In order to know if something truly exists, it must think. So can wax not exist because it doesn’t think? Or does the wax not know that exists because it doesn’t think? Or do we, thinking things, give the wax existence simply by virtue of us thinking about it? But then what thought about us?

Before we can attempt to answer any of these questions, we must first define existence. “Let us consider those things which are commonly believed to be the most distinctly grasped by all: namely bodies we touch and see” (45). We can touch, taste, smell, and see the wax—we use our empirical senses to define its existence. “But notice that, as I am speaking, I am bringing it close to the fire” (45). The wax heats up, it changes shape, it loses its scent, it turns to liquid. “Does the wax still remain? I must confess that it does; no one denies it; no one thinks otherwise” (45). But if so, what happened to all of the empirical data that was originally collected to verify its existence? Those same attributes—its shape, the way it feels, smells, sounds—all are no longer accurate, but yet the wax still remains.

Read more: Descartes' Wax: More Important Than God

How Will Feminism Remember Kellyanne Conway?

Kellyanne Conway and Feminism

No. For reals. I’m genuinely asking.

While Conway isn’t single handedly responsible for Donald Trump being elected, she was certainly instrumental. A strong case can be made that if it weren’t for her, Hillary Clinton would have become President. In my opinion, this has to create tremendous pause within the movement.

Is Kellyanne the troll of women’s rights? The pawn that men used to tear down another woman? Or, is Kellyanne the posterwoman of the movement’s success?

Conway forged a successful career in a highly male dominated field. She was hired as Trump’s campaign manager based on her merits, and she blindly went after Hillary as a competitor regardless of gender ideology. She was hired to do a job, and she did it well. Professionally, Kellyanne represents everything Feminism stands for—except that she used it against them.

Conway benefited from the progress Feminism afforded her, and then potentially sabotaged its future. If it weren’t for Feminist—strong women paving the road before her—she never would have been able to rise to the career and political stature that she’s earned.

Read more: How Will Feminism Remember Kellyanne Conway?