Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Sikon: I de-censored the word. It's an audio review. If it was said, it should be quoted verbatim. If it was bleeped out, replace it with [bleep] or something. Asterisks just look silly.

joeyjojo :While this is a valid trope about half of the examples listed here seem to fall into that dreaded category

Doctor Worm: Perhaps this page's examples should be split into two halves: parody and actual examples. I'm too lazy to do this right now, but it would make the examples a lot more understandable.

Red-Hatted Plumber: Removed, and will replace:

  • Ridiculous! Waiting for Godot clearly and artistically presents themes of the meaningless and repetitiveness of life, the fearsome and sudden nature of death, and the harmfulness of religion. This troper, while in high school, was able to write four pages about these themes in one night, without any of the mental contortions required to "understand" the other "works of art" listed under this trope.

First off, I haven't read Waiting for Godot, so I'm arguing this on general principle rather than specific example.

Whether you can "understand" or not a "work of art" depends entirely on who you are. Though the Waiting For Godot example perhaps shouldn't be on this page (in which case it should've been removed in the first place), literary and artistic analysis is based entirely upon the analyst's understanding of the piece. That's why one person can say that, oh, I don't know, Don Quixote was a straight parody of knight-errant novels, while others say it was social criticism of 16th century Spain.

Furthermore, the "mental contortion" aspect is debatable. I've gotten into arguments, mostly with art majors, about how much thinking should be done to appreciate a work. Most of them find it easier or more difficult to understand different things. I know people who understand Gabriel García Márquez like they wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude. I don't, probably never will, and hold through my entire life that the man likes writing.

Short form: my argument's that while the example may in fact be ridiculous on this page (I can't attest to that), the basis of the argument is moot. Some people understand something right away: others don't.
fhqwhgads: My college art teacher explained that the reason Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock are considered great was mainly because they challenged the status quo by proposing that mundane objects and paint splatter could be considered art, and not necessarily because their works had any other profound meanings. He even conceded that if art ends up going the way of the Guinness Book of World Records and focuses more on finding "innovative" forms of art than on strong messages and quality work, it's in trouble.
Kalle: ... 'Hair Tropes'?
Large Blunt Object: Hmm. The Finnegans Wake thing screws up and ends up going below the picture when the browser window is too narrow for it, presumably because it's just one long word? Strange... (And no, I am not putting it in a sidebox. Those look terrible.)
later: Putting it before the picture works, huzzah! Oh, and there are some in a sidebox halfway down the page, for whatever retarded reason. Ugh. Fixing that now...
Wascally Wabbit: Snipped rant, we may not know the history of modern art like you do but Defending Shows You Like by insulting the intelligence of the readers cannot be good for the wiki.
Fast Eddie: Anyone feel like doing the Troper Tales thing for this article?
  • Landstander: Seconded!

Inkblot: I don´t get it. What´s wrong with surrealism/incomphrensible art?

Anonymous Mc Cartneyfan: These things:
  1. If True Art Is Incomprehensible, then art that is comprehensible (more naturalistic works) is not True Art. This means that True Art cannot reach the masses.
  2. The goalposts move. Once enough people have learned to comprehend a certain sort of art - say, Impressionism - it is no longer considered True Art.
  3. Have you read "The Emperor's New Clothes"? Some artists try this, too ("only people who truly appreciate True Art can see this special cloth") - only they are far less likely to get unmasked.


Heavily rewrote the opening to cut down verbiage, rephrase awkward sentences, and emphasize that this is a primarily a trope, with the Real Life connection being secondary. For one thing, while some professors do exalt incomprehensible works of dubious merit, the Art Professor Who Hates All Representationalism is often an anti-intellectual Straw Man, as is the "great modern art that looks like children's scribbles." Modern art may be banal, intentionally obfuscated, pointless, or dreary, but the high-priced pieces often show real technical skill as well.

The art buyer who thinks that True Art Is Incomprehensible is, sadly, Truth in Television, if only because expensive mediocrity is easier to come by than talent and looks good in the living room.

I may be in the minority here, but I think that this page works better if it's mostly about fictional representations of Emperor's New Clothes scenarios, rather than Complaining About Art You Don't Like.

Cut this:

  • This troper has also read so many different interpretations of poems by E.E. Cummings that he is convinced that many of them, such as "anyone lived in a pretty how town", don't have any "real meaning" at all.

"Incomprehensible" means "can't be comprehended," not "subject to multiple interpretations." If there's a straightforward reading of a poem that can be gotten without obscure leaps of association or logic, it's comprehensible. This poem can be comprehended straightforwardly. It's the circle of liiiiiife... and it moves us alllllll!

That's a simplistic interpretation, but the poem makes perfect sense in that light. I do agree with the original editor in that we still need an E. E. Cummings example, because E. E. Cummings sometimes was ridiculously incomprehensible.


Removed Anonymous Troll Edit —-

SpiriTsunami: Didn't this article used to be self-demonstrating, or am I thinking of something else?
  • Kinitawowi: That was True Art, which got cutlisted down to sanity because it was becoming completely pointless.

Mike Rosoft: removed (re: updated version of Finnegans Wake)
  • Rather suspiciously, the man who claimed this (the same man who owned the copyright) waited until his copyright was almost running out before he announced this. That the updated edition would remain in his ownership for the rest of a modern copyright period must be pure coincidence, right?
Copyright doesn't work this way; correction of typographical errors doesn't create a new copyright. And if you create an actual derivative work, it is copyrighted regardless of whether the original is in public domain (but if it's not, you can't publish it without a permission from the original copyright holder).