SCREEN-L Archives

August 1994


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Eric Rabkin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 08:32:14 EDT
text/plain (37 lines)
Drew writes, re dumb films, that
>i enjoy nothing more than pure escapism. it
> helps to put my mind at rest and allows me to clear my head of
> "important" things and to revel in inane stupidity.
I appreciate his candor but honestly wonder what "inane
stupidity" really means as he is using that term. That is, I
recall as a child sometimes being fascinated by watching ants at
work. By human standards, that seems to me stupid, but the
fascination wasn't in the stupidity but in the effectiveness with
which constant, focused effort could accomplish large ends even
without vaunted intelligence. I don't for a minute believe that
Drew or most of us would find a violent confrontation on the
street with a mentally incapacitated person entertaining and,
indeed, in our major cities many citizens complain that they need
to escape such people rather than praise their presence as an
opportunity for escape. Whatever "inane stupidity" is, it has to
do with _art_ and something about the construction of art. And
what I believe some of us are objecting to is the thinness of
that construction these days, a willingness to go for the FX home
run, the guaranteed box office draw, the hot subliminal prejudice
button, and nothing more. Sure, this was done before, but I can't
help but think that our capacity to do this effectively and
relentlessly has done something regrettable. I, for one, feel an
enormous difference between _The Perils of Pauline_ and _The
Evisceration of Pauline_.
Eric Rabkin                [log in to unmask]
Department of English      [log in to unmask]
University of Michigan     office    : 313-764-2553
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1045    dept      : 313-764-6330
                           deptl fax : 313-763-3128
                           voice msgs: 313-763-3130