Adaptation and the art world

The constant referencing and inter-referencing of texts within Adaptation reminded me of a Calvin and Hobbs commit I recently revisited.  I could not find the actual strip but the jist of the comic is as a commentary on our interpretations and associations of what exactly “high” and “low” art are..

Calvin: A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. “High” art!

The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. “Low” art.

A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. “High” art.

Hobbes: Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?

Calvin: Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. “Low” art.

This is not the first time I have seen Adaptation, and in the context of this seminar I found myself engaged on a whole different level- involved far more in the relations between texts rather than as one whole text. The reason I thought, and brought up this Calvin and Hobbs piece is for two reasons.  First, I think it is relevant to the film as Spike Jonze tackles what adaptation from literature to film entails both artistically and emotionally… The film begs the audience to not only question the reasons behind wanting and adaption but also what an adaption actually is.  On that note, the second reason for bringing up the Calvin and Hobbs strip becomes relevant as we the viewer watch and later discuss what makes a good book worth reading and a good film worth watching.  They are two very different art forms, with very separate audiences and ideas of the world.  Which is more important to use culturally… the film artist or the writer? Which is a higher art? Is there any sense in debating this?

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