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April 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Jordan Adam Stein <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 16 Apr 1994 15:47:09 -0700
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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From: Jordan Stein
        In response to Tom Byers's posting from Friday 4/ 15/ 93, I would
say that viewing violent films is one of the methods by which we deal with
deep seated cultural fears.  I wouldn't want to imagine a society where
topics that are deemed as deviant, such as violence, are beyond the realm
of cultural expression.
       However, I don't think it is wise to distinguish between average "
Hollywood fare " and films such as Blue Velvet.  First of all, even a film
like Friday the 13th has enogh cultual ideology encoded in it to make it
interesting for intellectuals, and someone who isn't familiar with the "
deconstruction " probably wouldn't be more enlightened by Blue Velvet than
they would be by the former film.
        Given that violent images are an important form of our cultural
expression, it seems that the problem isn't the images themselves, but the
fact that so many people are ill equipt to interpret these images as part
of a symbolic framework.  For someone who is media literate seeing Blue
Velvet probably won't have a more negative impact than reading Edgar Allen
Poe would.  However, if someone thinks films represent reality, and will
act on what they see in a film, then all violent films will be dangerous
for these people.
        I think violence in films cqan potentially be helpful, because they
encourage debate over issues that cause cultural fear.  I think the major
problem with recent debate over violence in the media, is the fact that the
focus has been on violence per se, and not the underlying fears that the
violence represents.