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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Patrick B Bjork <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 23:14:01 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 1994 07:37:37 -0500
From: Steven Mintz, U. Houston <[log in to unmask]>
To: Multiple recipients of list H-FILM <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Audience manipulation in recent film
From: Amy Nelson <[log in to unmask]>
You suggest (albeit tentatively) that perhaps pre-WWII Americans
"were more readerly" and also "more literate," therefore more able
to appreciate "subtlety and nuance" as well as a "slower pace."
Well, contemporary Hollywood films certainly don't answer to such
sensibilities, right? OK. Waht about the ideas of literate here?
What do we mean? Film-literate, like we'll pick up on self-
conscious fiolm refs within films? Or product appearances? This
is part of what Barthes describes (in _S/Z_) as "the readerly":
that which gives us, comfortably, back to ourselves as we are,
and doesn't ask us to change it or think about it. Really, this
is interesting because I wonder how _you_ meant readerly; I'm
so used to using it in my own work via Barthes and Ray Federman
as quintessentially reactionary and, yes, "dumbing." This is
also how I see a lot of contemporary mainstream (as well as
past) film operating -- as easy reaffirmation of the usual
ideological formulae and ways of being in the world, at least
the first-world USA themepark.
I hope there are responses to your post that help revise that
unpleasant but longstanding assessment of "the film industry."
Cheers --
Amy Nelson
Department of English
Rutgers University
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