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June 1996, Week 1


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Tony Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 31 May 1996 11:47:56 CST
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 Eduardo's mailing is a good exploration of his view of problems inherent
within this debate. But Murray never proposed either forcing somebody to
watch a film 20 times or instilling "forced respect." It merely emphasized
that an informed debate on a particular film can not occur if a viewer
finished watching after 30 minutes and exclusively leaned upon an easy
attitudinal position - "This is sexist bullshit."
  Maryann also made some really valid points. The debate is not about
revering old classics and former attitudes but analyzing their structures
according to the relevant depth required.
 Next semester I have to teach a horrendous 100 level class on The Western
Tradition. After reading Dane's INFERNO for the second time, I've come to
the conclusion I can not stomach much of it. This is not just due to my
position as an atheist but the recognition of sadistic attitudes inherent
in the text particularly against D's political rivals many of whom he
condemns as gays without any evidence (the charge often led to burning at
the stake at the time) as well as his grotesque depiction of Mohammed's
punishment. Really great if any followers of Islam are in class! It is
about the same as teaching BIRTH OF A NATION without recognizing its
racist attitude.
  I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Murray's posting never
implied reverence for a great classic nor forcing students to study
something twenty times over. It merely suggested examining the text again
for a relevant informed debate. Eduardo's points about the popular appeal
of film are well made. But after a while do we not go beyond the impressionist-
ic stage and attempt further analysis? That's what they do in the legal
profession (or should do): examine all the precedents and make a cogent
argument which, hopefully, should result in a new interpretation from the
available evidence.
   Tony Williams
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