Mike Frank's remarks got me thinking about the "greatness" issue.
I believe in the fullness of time these recently listed 100 of the
century will be seen by those who know to only be the AFI list. That is,
the context which Mike refers to will already wrap around the list
itself. I think we here on this "list" will likely come to refer in
shorthand to the AFI list when speaking to issues of "canonizing" and the
peddling of studio influence by opportunistic organizations.
I look forward to seeing the BFI list, and the NFB list, and the NBC
list, ad nauseum. The greatness of an event (Hindenberg, Titanic, etc)
seems to be derived from its place in cultural myth. But in other ways
great events and ideas have a singularity and are instantly adopted by a
culture (or many cultures). Walking on the moon would seem a good
example of this. We all understood at some deeply cultural level that
everything was going to change after this. History now had a huge
milestone for humanity from which to reference all things before and
following. I seriously doubt such cultural weight can be attributed to
the AFI's dubious selections.
If we were all to exercise our collective clout we might begin using this
"list" to vote for our own Century 100 selections and thereby carve a
place for ourselves in the millenium games. The Screen-L list could
represent a year's worth of haggling and acrimony but it would be a
fascinating (to me) exercise in finding out what people say to justify
Screen-L's website might spontaneously sprout a button which competes
with the AFI and BFI buttons and casual (non academic I suppose) interest
might be spread around.
Mike notes the popular suspicion of "lists" and their lack of credibility
in the public mind. To this end the creation of a Screen "list" would
simply compete for (dare a say it......?) mindshare. I also agree with
all I've been reading about the despicable approach the AFI has taken but
I have never seen them as a venerable institution so there's no surprize
here for me.
Media Specialist for ATL
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
"For a list of ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life,
please press three."
‹ Alice Kahn
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite