Henry Jenkins wrote one of those essays that make me nuts.* Pirates 3 is just no fun. No theoretical machinery is going to begin to justify even a single one of its egregious mistakes, such as the one pointed out by Fraction in the comments to yesterday's post, that Chow Yun Fat fails to kick any ass as a pirate.
In the essay Jenkins writes "The secondary characters [in Pirates 3] rely heavily on what my former student Geoffrey Long likes to describe as negative capability -- they are well enough defined that we can imagine who they are, what they want, and why they are doing what they are doing, but much remains for the audience to flesh out from their own imaginations."
Does he really think I should be satisfied with my imagining Chow Yun Fat kicking ass as a pirate? To quote the fellow audience member who responds to Lisa Simpson's gushing "you have to listen to the notes she's not playing" -- "I can do that at home." And for free I might add.
I am unclear from that quote if Jenkins knows his former student is cribbing from the poet John Keats. But we know he is, so lets take a look at the best prose thing Keats's wrote, in a letter of 1817:
"At once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously -- I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason -- Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium [innermost and most secret part of a temple] of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration."
If you, as they guy in charge of Pirates 3, fail to provide the pure spectacle of Chow Yun Fat kicking pirate ass -- Beauty in its purist form -- then you do not get to claim, or have someone claim for you, John-fucking-Keats as a patron of your film's junky stupid badness.
[Apparently when I said in yesterday's comments that I was going to let the whole Pirates 3 thing go, I was not telling the truth. But NOW I am letting it go.]
*[thanks for the link Mikey: you inspired today's post].