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June 1994


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Denise Bryson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 14 Jun 1994 15:33:33 CDT
text/plain (57 lines)
>>        Heck, so what if she "revised" history, everyone else did too.
>>Once you get past the obvious propaganda stuff I see a real master
>>filmmaker at work.  Even today people are just "discovering" some of the
>>techniques she mastered a long, long time ago.
 More than this (since I know you don't in any way mean                 to
>imply this sort of thing in your wildest imagination), can "techniques" be
>separated from the cause to which they are put?  More than that, as Susan
>Sontag demonstrated quite convincingly years ago, in "Fascinating Fascism,"
>Riefenstahl was obviously and clearly a fascist and a Nazi sympathizer.  It, I don't REMEMBER passing the "Political and Social
Awareness Mandatory" sign on the way into this discussion.....must've
been there, though, elsewise there wouldn't be such a darned
authoritative ring to that rhetorical question.  (To which, my
answer is a resounding "YES||", btw)
>makes no sense to defend her on purely aesthetic grounds, as if her values
>and beliefs, not to mention her contribution to the Nazi effort, were
>merely "something to get past."  Has cultural relativism and "pluralism"
>allowed us to accept the Nazis as just one more value system to "get past"
>in our aesthetic sensibilities?
Let's see....hmmmmm.  Literary Criticism types fawn all over DeMan and
Foucault, neither of which were exactly exemplary human beings (one
being one of those pesky Nazis and the other intentionally infecting
other people with HIV and all)....
Yup, in fact, it DOES seem that in our rush to value EVERYBODY'S opinion
without drawing any distintion beyond "It's just his/her CULTURE|", we
may have left the door open to a Neo-Nazi uprising.  But, is this
because we appreciate someone's style of filmmaking, or because our
political agenda (often used as a battering ram in the halls of academe)
has finally ricoched out of control?
I think the AESTHETIC quality of ANYONE'S workMUST be separated from
the politics of the artist.  In fact, with Derrida arguing about the
death of the author/auteur, we can't even assume that an author/auteur
exists at all.  All there IS, is art.
See?  Ask a rhetorical question, and then someone goes and disagrees
with you|
 Denise M. Bryson, Northeast Missouri State University            
 Division of Language and Literature                              
 Kirksville, Missouri  63501                                      
 [log in to unmask]                       
 "You keep using that word....I do not think it means what you    
  think it means."  -- Inigo Montoya --