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February 1996, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sean Desilets <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 18:12:38 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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In reponse to Mike Frank's question about the use of the word "correct:"
        Well, yes, I think we can say that in certain contexts (although
I'm suer we're walking together into some pretty touchy territory here)
in certain contexts. In a roomful of Foucauldians I think it is correct to
say, for example, that our coke ad, as an image of female sexual agency, can't
be seen as liberating by virtue of its content--we have to wonder how
that text is deployed in the matrixes of power that always operate in
culture. The problem in intellectual communities with this way of
thinking is that one of the things that intellectuals have always done to
foreclose on disruption is to produce a set of assumptions, assume
everyone agrees, attach the word "correct" to them, and proceed from
there with very little thought about anyone who might be inclined not to
share that original set of assumptions (I hope I'm once again saying the
obvious when I say that I use the example of a roomful of Foucauldians
        The Boston Globe has three regular weekly columns dedicated to
genres of music. They are called "Rock Notes," "Jazz Notes," and "Musican
Notes." See what I mean?
        With this in mind, I think part of Mike's point (and I agree) is
that we're never going to articulate every assumption we make and get rid
of it. Wanting to do that is symptomitic of a will to purity which is
more or less fascistic. Its always annoyed me when people accuse of
discourses on, say, literary theory are exclusionary without every saying
the same thing about physics. Its assumed that physics needs esoteric
language to address the complexity of its contents. Is literature (or
film) any less complicted? What I'm saying is that if we want to talk
about film in certain important ways we need to find a common ground,
based on a set of shared ideas on which we agree and which we thus
constitute within the community as "correct." I think it also behooves
us, though, to make a language which leaves space for dissention (whether
it be in our own texts or from other people).
Sean Desilets
Tufts University
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