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October 1995, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Robert Burnham <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 14 Oct 1995 11:09:10 -0400
David Smith <[log in to unmask]> "No Escape No Utopia" (Oct 13, 1:15pm)
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (46 lines)
On Oct 13,  1:15pm, David Smith wrote:
> Subject: No Escape No Utopia
> I feel this misrepresents, perhaps even wildly, the circumstances of the
> prisoners on the supposed "utopia". First of all, they are under constant
> seige by the rival, anarchic gang. Hence the 20-foot high stockade. Second,
> their overriding object is to escape their precarious exile over
> shark-infested waters, by evading the elaborate electronic surveillance of
> the authorities. This ain't no utopia, and any writers desirous of such a
> wonderful life should all have decamped to the Duvaliers' Haiti while they
> still had the chance (that's the nearest real-life analogy I can think of
> off the top of my head).
> David Smith
> (902)454-3087
> [log in to unmask]
My use of the term utopia was deliberately paired with the dystopic binary.  I
realize that there is a struggle with a rival band (who are certainly not
anarchic, that is, they have a bevy of rules, tacit and promulgated, some of
which come from the bastions of authority in the world outside of the island)
The mythic resonances of the prison island with certain (primarily American)
utopian codes are still evident in the Colony/Colonizer presentation of the
"good guys" of the film.  Regardless of the topical "circumstances" of the
"prisoners" (are they really prisoners?  aren't we all surrounded by shark
infested waters, panoptically supervised by Orwellian vigillance?) they are
located within certain codes that tug at certain areas of the viewer/reader's
storehouse of what "the good life might be" - that is, growing one's own
vegetables, building with one's own hands one's house and the good 'ole
democracy and justice evident in the good guys' camp.
City upon a hill anyone?
R. Scott Burnham                         Ya never played baseball?
York University                          Well, come over here and let
North York, Canada                       me learn ya the game.
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]                          -Foghorn Leghorn
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