Scott Hutchins says that his undergraduate status is a licence to say
about a film, "It sucks" or "It's crap." Now, I haven't been an
undergraduate for awhile, but I think I have the same licence. Yet I
don't use it. Why not? Because, "It sucks" doesn't inform, it vents,
and I don't tend to vent about film, regarding it as something more
important than a stimulus for personal expulsion. What really bothers me
about Scott's note is that, since he says the American Film Institute
doesn't ***know*** diddly about film, he may well think "It sucks" is a
form of knowledge, not a form of venting. And more: the sense I have
that he would only complain about the AFI because in fact he, too,
regards film rather more highly than his note suggests. He is, I
suspect, disappointed in the AFI, not just deprecating, and that
disappointment comes from a hope that a body like the AFI would be more
admirable for him.
This is not to express my position on the AFI. It's merely to say openly
that undergraduates like Scott Hutchins, who are writing honestly and
openly on this list, may well be our best hope for an articulate future
of critical and appreciative comment about film. I don't want to lose
his voice, but I'm agonized that he doesn't want to speak/write to me.
I mean by that, of course, that by saying, "It sucks" and proclaiming his
right to do so, he doesn't compel my reading eyes at all.
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama.