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December 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
James Allan Schamus <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Dec 1993 00:11:05 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Some questions on this topic:
I just completed teaching a course on B movies, and for the last class
assigned Andrew Ross's excellent article on intellectuals and pornography.
Many of the students asked why I had chosen not to show any porn films in
the class (especially as I was happy to show films such as Last House on the
Left, etc, in which women are routinely tortured, etc.). One of the
students mentioned that in a sociology course he had been shown Not A Love
Story, which I derided as a p.c. way of getting porn as a text/topic into
the classroom while making sure no one enjoyed themselves. But I also
said, quite honestly, that I would simply be too uncomfortable, on many
levels --to the point of being un-pedagogically correct -- in screening
porn. Somehow,
violence is "analysable" in the instructional space of the classroom
whereas, at least for me, audiovisual representations of sex are not. I'm
wondering, with the proliferation of academic writing on porn these days,
if any of the authors of such texts screen porn for their students, and if
so (or if not) why and how? I assume there is quite a gap between the
"instructional" and the "textual/professional/theoretical" here, which
interests me greatly.
I am also wondering why and how we persist in claiming that "shocking" and
"disturbing" are somehow positive attributes of "aesthetic" objects (or
actions) when we would probably find "shocking" or "disturbing" table
manners, behavior on airplanes, etc. to be of little if any value.
--James Schamus