This is a troubling if hardly original notion, but the genius of 'Us' is that it explores and sustains the conceit in a way that is both amusing in its literal-mindedness
and thrilling in its imaginative energy.
This is certainly true of Great Comet, which alternates moments of goofy literal-mindedness
with the kind of transcendent, out-of-body passages that only the alchemy of music and theatre can achieve.
Like all careful-what-you-wish-for stories, it mines some chuckles from the gods' literal-mindedness
: "Weather, be like in LA!" commands Neil, faced with a typically grey London morning -- and his powers plunge the city into darkness because, after all, it's night-time in LA.
Using Bakhtinian theories of the carnivalesque and Hobbes' theory that humor is a shout of triumph or celebration of superiority, Ed Piacentino examines the treatment of the character Robin in "My Kinsman, Major Molineux." He situates the character in the tradition of the comic Yankee stereotype to argue that both display the kind of common sense and literal-mindedness
that make them so popular as iconic comic figures.
Such rejection can produce a deadly literal-mindedness
, so that injured bodies become the medium of protest, bodily destruction the expression of rage.
Though Gene never lost his belief that class hegemony was the active agent in history, his stance as historian was never the shallow literal-mindedness
of most of Marx's American followers.
To Audrey Mbugua, by contrast, 'religion is a threat', and her essay is enlivened by anger at the selective literal-mindedness
of homophobes who justify their hate by reference to the Bible or Qu'ran.
Wyile, in most cases, prefers books that transmit history with the literal-mindedness
of a photograph.
Grandin is able, in effect, to get inside the minds of the animals she's studying, and Jackson is able to get inside her mind: We see how she thinks--her literal-mindedness
, her ability to think through problems by means of pictures, diagrams, metaphors, and similes.
A bit like the artificial intelligence Page and Brin found so fascinating at Stanford is a literal-mindedness
at Google that seems to cut both ways--a brainy efficiency reigns, but the company can't see itself as others do, which can be embarrassing and dangerous given what its marketing and advertising business is all about.
Less turgid and aggravating than its predecessor, this cleverly produced melodrama remains hamstrung by novelist's Dan Brown's laborious connect-the-dots plotting and the filmmakers' prosaic literal-mindedness
in the face of ripe historical antagonisms, mystery and intrigue.
The comicality of literal-mindedness
recalls the classic comic stupidity of Aristophanes' Strepsiades, who, when instructed in Socrates' cosmology, first thinks that Zeus is literally overthrown by Vortex, and then that the vortex is literally a jug.