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November 1994, Week 4


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"Russell A. Potter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 24 Nov 1994 10:16:54 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
By definition, 'parody works within the parameters of its sources" -- one
reason, in fact, why the Supreme Court ruled that 2 Live Crew's use of
the trademark chorus of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" was permissible.
Recycling rich white men -- why not?  What else can one do with them?
You are certainly welcome to your perception that this kind of pardody
is not terribly subversive, and while I wouldn't make *huge* claims for
it, I think its parody is *unsafe* to the system in a way that much
popularly-consumed paridy (Saturday Night Live, etc.) is not.
But as to the video itself.  Maybe you've seen things a video conferences
that I've missed, but I've never seen another video that uses so many
images per minute, or intercuts them so precisely -- unless you want to
count the photo-montage videos done for Peter Gabriel, which are very
different in my mind since they are not based around previously existing
footage.  Even _Natural Born Killers_ at its climactic peaks doesn't
use images in this way, or use nearly as many.
Sheer quantity of images, by itself, would not however be my main
argument for the interest of these videos.  What I think is so
powerful about them is that, rather like surrealist readymades,
the use technology to create a kind of _reductio ad absurdum_ of
the talking heads of the media (some, like Quayle, need little
work!).  The precision of the editing, and the way it's linked to
the beat of the music, subverts the representational fields from
which these images derive, and (at the least) makes the viewer
highly aware of the _production_ behind the apparently transparent
medium of television news -- giving it, I think, a critical value
against the smooth surface of hegemonic imagery. Finally, the art
of juxtaposition itself has the potential to be a form of creation.
By your use of the term "borrowed" I suspect you don't think much
of the proposition that in re-arranging found images anything new
is created, but on the contrary I think it is intensely creative,
and indeed questions commonsense assumptions about 'originality,'
'authority,' and 'intention.'
BTW, thanks to all who posted the info on EBN -- I looked in my
stack of catalogues and found the video listed, where it had
escaped my attention, in a TNT flier.
"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies"
                                                    --Friedrich Nietzsche
=======Russell A. Potter========<[log in to unmask]>=====================