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October 1994


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Patrick B Bjork <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 23:55:26 -0500
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On Wed, 19 Oct 1994, Troy Warr wrote:
> other films like Natural Born Killers, revel in violence, and in fact exploit
> violence.
> Killers makes obvious comments on violence in American society and in the
> media, but it is so excessive it becomes guilty of the same thing it
> criticizes.  Its power comes from the use of violence, and it would be weak
> without it.  Eventhough a film like Killers is at least trying to bring up
> the issue of violence, I'm not sure that it is useful.  It seems to me that
> the only people who recognize the use of violence as a critical cultural
> statement are the people who are already clued into the fact that such a
> statement needs to be made.  There are too many people who are either unaware
> that they are being manipulated by images in mass media, or they are saying,
> "Cool...more blood."
You raise a crucial point here because what essentially you are
discussing is the inability for many to clearly make a distinction
between art and real life. It's probably a peculiarily modern phenomenon
wherein TV, in particular, blurs the distinctions. However, if you are
suggesting somehow that artists need to be more cognizant of their role
their readers/viewers can't make the distinction, then I suspect the art
itself would/does suffer. I don't especially care for violent films--
although PF was so  incredibly slapstick and cartoonish that, to me, the
violence was merely another comedic vehicle--and I suppose film makers
could/should be reined in if their art becomes too exploitive (whatever
that means) but there's clearly a danger to such action. It's really a
curious phenomenon that others on this list could speak more succinctly
about, but I have noticed, over the years, how individuals resist
metaphor in word and image, and prefer to "see" the text as real,
actually want it to be real. You know, "based on a true life story" is
often used in TV to sell certain programs/movies. Why people resist
metaphor remains a mystery to me, but if someone on this list could
explain it to me, I'd be eternally grateful.
Patrick Bjork
Dept. of English
Bismarck State College
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