Transcripts of the personal tapes
recorded by Melanie Anne Phillips while continuing to develop the Mental Relativity theory
"Cartoon Characters as
a Symbolic Emotional Language"
I just had a thought while looking through a
mail-order catalog of gag and gift items. I saw the Warner Bros. cartoon characters on
various T-shirts and mugs etc. Also, I saw Betty Boop and some of the other famous
fictional icons for our time. It occurred to me that a truly D-based [Desire based]
language, a truly D-base set of semantics, might not involve words at all. In fact the
semantics might be symbolics instead.
Note to my assistants: One of the projects that I
think I would like us to try and do is to take a simple concept, a simple emotional
concept, and try to find cartoon characters that represent the vocabulary of this concept.
In other words, if there is Donald Duck when he is frustrated and jumping up and down
because something is not going right. If there is the Tasmanian devil when he is whirling
around ripping something up. Bugs Bunny chewing on his carrot. Betty Boop in a particular
poise. Yosemite Sam... All of these characters have a vocabulary attached to them that is
non-verbal, purely emotional. When we watch the cartoons, say the road runner and the
coyote, we are going to experience the same emotions from person to person. That is a much
more accurate way of dealing with a D-based, Desire based semantics as a code for creating
a proper story form [In Dramatica].
If we can create quads out of these symbols that
have a culturally agreed upon complex emotional perspective, we might be able to create a
complete structure of these emotions based on the non-verbal usage of cartoon symbols.
Obviously, this is going to require licensing these symbols. However, I don't think that
would be a problem, since so many of these things are licensed anyway for public
consumption, for us to be able to use them as part of a structural model -- in order for
writers to be able to create different emotional moods.
Interestingly enough, because the story engine is
predictable, if we keep the relationships that we've established in the engine, but
instead of putting the words on, put the symbols on, it will be a most magical thing that
happens to an author who is trying to create a mood, who wants to write from the organic
perspective. They can answer questions by choosing symbols. Do you want your story's
outcome to feel like this or feel like that? Where among this range of options, would best
describe the way you want your story's outcome to be. Where would you like your story's
beginning to be? At the moment that it opens up, how do you want the audience to feel?
After you have picked a certain number of symbols,
the Dramatica engine, using the new matrix of symbols would do its little tricks and then
be able to say in that case, as a result of this, the kind of thing that always seems to
move the story forwards, which we call catalyst, would be a particular symbol, which would
give an emotional perspective of what it is that changes these relationships of feelings
and drives the story forward.
In other words, Dramatica engine would predict
symbolic emotional representations; it would provide and put into each slot a different
symbol to create a different appreciation, by creating an emotional context.
Obviously, cartoon characters are mostly going to
be involved in one superclass or class [in the Dramatica structural model]. It's going to
be in the area that involves the lighter emotions. Because even when cartoon characters
are angry there's no real fear there, there's no pain going on. It's that area of
slapstick that is sort of unreal. We should try and figure out a comparison study between
that feeling of cartoons, where we can have the entire range of human emotions from love
to hate, and happiness and sadness, and yet it is not serious, it is not something that
when we feel the hate or the rage, it is not true hate or rage, it's through a filter, and
consistently that filter biases cartoons in general.
When we get into the more realistic cartoons, then
we actually end up with more of a real world filter to what is going on. We need to do a
comparative study between these kinds of filters and the kinds of filters that we see
occurring when we shift from the K-based superclass to say Hitchcock's superclass, Kasdan,
or Fellini's superclass. It has to do with the relationship in the current model between
the objective and subjective views -- whether they intersect at the end of the story,
whether they start intersecting and spread out, whether they are parallel and which one
the audience is sitting on, and which one the main character is sitting on, in terms of
whether we can tell if something is real, or fantasy. For example, in Fellini's work or
Bergman's we might see that the audience cannot tell the difference between what is
fantasy and what is reality. Not being able to know the difference between the objective
and subjective views describes that superclass. Similarly, as we are dealing with these
cartoon characters, and the icons that they represent; that nature of Loony Tunes or Tiny
Tunes separates the viewer from a reality base. Instead, you are looking totally at the
If we can identify those relationships we'll be
able to pick the super class into which these cartoon characters fall.