Does the fact that Dragons aren't real make ... well, any book with dragons less profound?
Well, no. But if you spend time arguing about the author's intentions (as we've done for more than 200 posts in this case) in regards to his dragons, whether they're a complex metaphor for the all-consuming greed of capitalistic society or perhaps a careful study in our relation to received wisdom, and you're talking about these things .... and then the author says, "No, I put them there because traditional world building in fantasy tend to stick them in there without logic or reason, and I wanted to provide a reason for why they're there that goes right to the heart of the setting.."
Well, that's not very profound. He's commenting on other genre texts, which (as I said) is at a remove from commenting on the space within which all texts are found (i.e., here and now).
In this case, Bakker's explicitly said this particular facet of his story is a commentary on traditional world building. Not much to argue about with that.
Of course, a reader can certainly read whatever one wants to read into it, and take what one wants to take away from it. But Bakker's intentions as he explains him are less profound (to me) than I was intentionally led to believe. And as you'll note, I've focused pretty much entirely on Bakker's role in the text -- what was his intention, and did he succeed in it, etc. When I thought he was problematizing gender to make some sort of comment on modern society [ETA: Or historical society!], well, it was a tough row to hoe, and you can see how many people (on both sides) were thrown off the scent of the intended commentary.
Now that I know that wasn't his intention at all, that his ambition in depicting women was very narrow and very specific commentary on other texts, it's practically not an issue for me any longer. I don't even think he's missed an opportunity, as I said before, because the opportunity he missed concerned problematizing women as a comment on society, when in fact he was problematizing women as a comment on traditional world building and the depiction of women within it.
Again, one can take out of it what one wants. But what the author intended -- at least to take that quote as evidence -- is that it's a comment on world-building.
Edited by Ran, 08 February 2009 - 03:52 PM.