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December 1993


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Kal Alston <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Dec 1993 13:42:39 -0600
text/plain (43 lines)
Leaving Catherine MacKinnon aside for the present (i frankly could leave her
to heaven), I would like to speak up for popular culture--one form in
the daytime drama.  While the form can be deeply and seriously criticized on
any number of grounds, I find myself quite resentful of the priests of high
culture who defend the Marquis de Sade and denigrate the intertextual
of daytime drama.  Two points seem particularly germane in relation to Dworkin's
blanket critique of mass culture.  First, while the daytime drama is a genre
that partakes of its own particular brand of cliche and recylcling of writers
and producers, the shows themselves are quite different in their stylistic and
teleological world-views.  2) for every bad role model Dworkin can name,(for
instance most--tho' not all-- the endlessly victimized women of Salem on Days
of Our Lives) I can name 2 powerful, non-victimized, textured women in the
genre--Lucinda, Lisa, Emma (Not to mention the marvelous actresses who play
Further, there is an activity to the fandom in daytime drama that is
complicated, textured, contested, whatever as well.  It is not just about
romance, sex on the beach, and an excellent grad student here of the U. of
Il is writing her dissertation on a network news group.  Her analysis of the
varied levels of discourse/interaction/audience I think will be an antidote
to the flat, humorless, dismissive, uninterested/ing analysis of philosophers
who ought to know better (being employed as a philosopher, I take as part of
my job to try to keep all sorts of texts and contexts dynamic and textured
and complicated not to  simplify them out of existence.  there was a nice\
piece about the discourse of daytime television/ the transition to the
fathers of truth aka our network anchors/the masc-fem accounts of life and
their various relations to the  possibilities of truth.  I'll try to dig
up a citation if anyone is interested.
anyway, this is not meant so much as a defense of soaps or of mass culture
as it is a critique of the endless narrowing of intellectual world-views--
to the familiar, comfortable , and safe.
Kal Alston
236c Education--UIUC
1310 S. 6th Street
Champaign, Il  61820
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