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November 1995, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Scott Furtwengler <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Nov 1995 07:42:35 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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At 09:45 AM 11/7/95 -0400, Hoffman wrote:
>It seems to me that what we are dealing with is a tradition of the male
>superhero which goes back to ancient times.  After all, is T100 really
>any different from Achilles or Sigfried?  The male warrior is as old as
>the hunter and the battlefield.  There is often a moral ambiguity to such
>characters, but they often fight for the *good* be it country or cause.
>In our culture, Superman, Spiderman, etc. are American equivalents of
>this (shall I say *macho*) tradition.
>By the way, in terms of the Terminator films, don't forget that
>Terminator I was a bad guy, and I believe his transformation into the
>good superhero had as much to do with Schwarzeneger wanting to be a good
>guy as it did anything socially significant.
>Ron Hoffman
>[log in to unmask]
I would say that T100 is quite different from Achilles.  Achilles actually
did experience a moral dilemma as the emphasis shifted from that of the
individual, to the good of the community.  T100 is amoral, it is a machine
does what it's programmed to do.  On the other hand, Helen's role in the
Iliad as well as Hera's may be more interesting in terms of their moral
There has been a tendency in film for men to be portrayed as ruthless,
almost amoral.  From Kids to Tarantino's films to Glengarry Glen Ross
there's a climate of the male characters taking whatever action to suit
there needs  or desires.  To be honest, I'm having a difficult time coming
up with many female character who are placed in a moral dilemma, or are
genuinely ambiguous as to their moral quidelines.  Glenn Close's character
in Dangerous Liaisons might be a good place to start.  Being of the the
aristocracy, she seems to think that everything is a game, so challenges
Malkovich.  He, being a lecherous Don Juan, accepts.  You can see throughout
the film, though, subtle changes in Close's attitude to the wager.  Is this
a moral voice kicking in?  Or just "love?"
Scott R. Furtwengler
Morris Library, SIUC
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