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October 2004, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 7 Oct 2004 00:52:58 -0400
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Dr. Enticknap’s long response to my brief critique of one of his previous
posts provides even more examples of the rhetoric that provoked my critique in
the first place.  This list is no place to debate the problems with British
railways nor the environmental viability of various forms of transportation.
And Enticknap’s erudition in these areas far exceeds my own.  I do indeed live
in Rhode Island—I have been in the U.S. since the 1980s as a refugee from
Thatcherism.   It is some years since I traveled by train in Britain and I’m
sure Dr. E’s criticisms are based on real experiences—but don’t these recent
criticisms then confirm the ills of privatization?   I am, however, more
concerned with his continuing vilification of Ken Loach.

 I tried to point out something about the content of this director’s film, The
Navigators as I’m not sure Dr. E has even seen it.  He seems to think it is
some kind of eulogy to “a golden age of rail travel” instead of a realistic
portrayal of the lives of rail workers.   Dr. E expresses little interest in
what the film is about.   Instead, he seems more concerned about the expense
of rail travel and either minimizes the dangers Loach is so concerned about or
blames the workers for ignoring safety regulations. Loach’s film attempts to
show the wider context of how workers take risks or are put at risk.   The
Navigators is a minor film in his admirable body of work but it is worth
seeing.   I thought this was worth pointing out to people on the list.  I'm
concerned that no one has so far challenged Dr. E's use of the tired clichés
of the British right e.g., “his(Loach) vision of a Pol Pot-style socialist
utopia” (one has even endorsed this rhetorical overkill--see Ben Halligan’s
recent post).  I’m now beginning to question whether I’m on the right list--or
am I on a RIGHT WING list?  I also can’t quite believe that Dr. E actually
called me “a Ken Loach, loony leftie, stuck in the '70s myth” !!!

 I should point out that I DON’T accept what I “see on the screen as gospel.
 Moreover, if I find Loach’s arguments more compelling than those of Dr. E do
I deserve to be labeled as a left wing fanatic?   I don’t really care what Dr.
Enticknap calls me but I believe the films of Ken Loach are an important body
of work—to be discussed, criticized and argued about (like other serious works
of film art).  I hate to see this worthy filmmaker demonized in this way.

Robert Goff

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