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April 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Jordan Adam Stein <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 17 Apr 1994 19:06:44 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (38 lines)
        Bob stewart wrote:
>      "  I wonder if a more accurate phrase would be "media immersed".
>Although I agree that violence does have an expressive value, it's the
>very over saturation of film violence that deadens it's expressive
>power. As was said of the Holocaust, it is the creation of the
>banality of violence that makes it acceptable.
>        It is a very narrow view of the potential of film
>expression to see the superabundance of violence as merely making use
>of film language. "
        Jordan Stein replies:
        First of all, if the over saturation of violence were deadening its
expressive power, then would we even be engaged in this debate?  Is anyone
prepared to argue that Shindler's List is not an expressive film, because
it uses violence as a means of emotional arousal?
        I think that there is a very serious problem with violence in our
society.  However, every society has a level of violence, and every society
needs mechanisms to deal with its underlying violent nature. So why should
we take for granted that media violence is a problem.  After all, media
images don't do physical harm.
        I think media images can be a problem if their power for emotional
arousal encourages people to engage in violence.  However, like I said
before this won't happen if people know how to interpret the images as
language. ]
        However, if media violence is representative of social decline,
then the debate should be over the issues that these depictions of violence
represent, such as break down of the community etc.
        Finally, as  a filmmaker I acknowledge that film language is a very
powerful form of expression, and therefore if violence is part of this
language, then it shouldn't be dismissed as " merely making use of film
language".  Because visual communication is very powerful, it very
important that the implications of any film representation be discussed
fully, and not dismissed because they may not be socially acceptable.
                Sincerely, Jordan Stein