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July 1994


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Constance Atwill <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Constance Atwill <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 20 Jul 1994 11:14:20 -0700
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SPECIAL NOTE: Does anyone know what's happened to ARIZONA DREAM?!!  Why
hasn't it been released in this country, or has it, and is it possible to
get a video copy, even on PAL, from France or England?
On Tue, 19 Jul 1994, Guy Rosefelt wrote:
> Another question would be: why can't we enjoy a film for it's own sake?  I
> dare anyone to fine the political ramifications in THE FLINTSTONES.
> Guy
Sorry this is all going to come out in response to your relatively
harmless question, but I can't read any more messages without commenting.
Okay, here goes...I haven't seen the FLINSTONES, or TRUE LIES, but
silently taking in this discussion of 'entertainment's just
entertainment, folks' will make me physically ill if I don't spew out my
own view immediately.
Of course there's nothing wrong with enjoying one'self, and I don't
believe that's the point of these discussions.  Perhaps one of the points
is that people *do* enjoy discussing film seriously - Denise, I hope and
pray that you win the lottery soon, because if you aspire to be a film
critic, and only teach for the money, I would assume that you aren't very
happy with you life, and it's too short not to do what you want.  It also
sounds as if your location is not making you very happy either.  I always
think living in the country would be great . . . I forget that there are
disatvantages to all the quiet.
Now, here's why we could look at entertainment as a source of valuable
political and cultural information, even a film like THE FLINSTONES:
Let's start with the less extreme quote, just to ease you in...
This comes from Richard Dyer's essay, 'Entertainment and Utopia':
Entertainment is either a highly  developed form created by past-masters
in the art of dialogue, geniuses at sensing the mood of an audience, or
it is a drug which lulls the masses to sleep, bribes them with
pleasurable dreams, and thus distracts them from the stern tasks which
are their true destiny.  In fact, these two statements are
complementary rather than contradictory, yet rarely have the prejudices
aroused by the mere mention of the term entertainment allowed this fact
to surface.
Here comes the more extreme quotes. . .
These two gentlemen are far more eloquent than I.  The whole essay
is worth reading, but here are some aplicable
highlights for skeptics of entertainment analysis:
Adorno/Horkheimer - *Enlightenment as Mass Deception*
The inferior work has always relied on its similarity with others - on a
surrogate identity.
Something is provided for all so that none may escape. . . . not
to conform means to be rendered powerless, economically, and therefore
Amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of
work.  It is sought after as an escape from the mechanized work process,
and to recruit strength in order to be able to cope with it again. . . .
All amusement suffers from this incurable malady . . . . Pleasure always
means not to think about anything, to forget suffering even where it is
shown.  Basically, it is helplessness.
It is flight; not, as is
asserted, flight from a wretched reality, but from the last remaining
thought of resistance.
'No one must go hungry or thirsty; if anyone
does, he's for the concentration camp!'  This joke from Hitler's Germany
might shine forth as a maxim from above all the portals of the culture
The idolization of the cheap involves making the average the heroic.
Had enough?  Go ahead, rip it to shreds . . . I didn't write it!
- Constance
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"I suppose you think that's very funny, Harold!"  - Mom, HAROLD AND MAUDE