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October 1994


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Thu, 20 Oct 1994 10:38:15 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Kevin Glynn <[log in to unmask]>
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Don wrote about _The X-Files_:
>My wife and I started on it last year but gave up on it as it seemed to
>be pulling out urban legends and tabloid headlines for plot ideas, without
>developing any implications farther than their shock value.
I couldn't agree less.  The program seems consistently to suggest all sorts
of "implications" regarding its "fantastic" narrative elements.  The role
governments, experts, and powerful institutions (like bourgeois education)
play in the determination of what counts as "credibility," for example
(notice that the program refuses a condescending stance toward socially
marginalized popular knowledges about things like alien abduction
phenomena).  A specific episode that springs readily to mind is a recent one
featuring an intestinal parasite (a "flatworm" of some sort) that, as a
result of the Chernobyl meltdown, mutated into a humanoid form, and was
roaming the New York sewers.  What a great concept, no?  And great partly
because it contains such an interesting implicit critique of the nuclear
power industry, and such an interesting articulation of nuclear anxieties
(the mutant was simultaneously fascinating and repulsive).
Also, even when there seems to be only "shock value" at stake, isn't there
always necessarily something more going on??  That is, aren't there
necessarily additional "implications" at stake when one finds something
"shocking" (e.g., there must be powerful social boundaries being
transgressed or negotiated, powerful social meanings at stake, etc.--and how
could that be considered insignificant?)
Kevin, X-Files devotee