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December 1997, Week 2


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Mike Frank <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 13 Dec 1997 22:45:12 -0400
TEXT/PLAIN (66 lines)
i certainly apologize to kevin boon for misunderstanding and thus
misrepresenting his views, though his claim that i  have misrepresented him
suggests that indeed he does think a representation can be more or less
adequate to [if not a completely accurate reflection of] the thing represented
. . . but let that go, because i really am eager to understand kevins argument,
especially since i expect that its widely shared . . . and heres where i get
hung up . . .
kevin says:    "In my last post, I argued (perhaps unclearly)
that the film cannot remain faithful to some objective t
ruth, or, perhaps more accurately, whether it remains faithful
to some objective truth or not is a moot question because the
objective truth is not reliably accessible in any totalitarian
sense. But this does NOT discount the validity of the film. As
I believe I stated, the film does remain faithful to something, and
that is the filmmaker's perception. Representation is always
subjective. "True" and "False" are judgments, not palpable
 . . . now I'm not entirely sure i understand this, and am worried by the
introduction of the notion of "totalitarian" into the debate, with the
implication, i suspect, that anything definitive, by constraining the
hermeneutic horizon, necessarily counts as totalitarian . . .
but what i really dont follow in kevins message was the relationship of this
argument to his closing statement:
"It is precisely this, trendy relativist  pseudo-problem
that allows human beings to recognize Hitler's
propaganda films as subjective representations rather than truth."
. . . i dont quite know what to make of this but it seems [though i suspect
that kevin does NOT mean this] that since hitlers propaganda was indeed
faithful to his own perceptions that it must count as being as "true" as
anything else in a flawed discursive universe  . . . in other words the only
thing that could count as a lie is something that was told in bad faith and
intended as a lie, thus misrepresenting the perception of the teller . . . and
that as long as the teller [or filmmaker] believes  it, it counts as true . . .
i, on the other hand, would think that what we need is a frame of reference
that allows us to recognize certain representations as lies even if they are
"subjective representations"
kevin would seem to agree, at least in part . . . he "literally
stated that some representation can be truer than another.
[snip]  There is a difference between narrative truth and
narrative fiction."
. . . if so i dont see why we cant say that hitlers narratives fall in to the
latter category . . . for even if we want to take a radically relativist
position and say that the ONLY difference between truth and falsehood is one of
mode [that the audience reads one and not the other as if it were an accurate
reflection of something outside of the text], we still have to allow that the
notion of accurate reflection is itself ontologically presupposed by that
discursive difference in mode, that the difference in mode is literally
unimaginable without that presupposition . . . so no matter how we slice it,
some kind of distinction between accurate and inaccurate representations  is
thus ultimately inescapable
mike frank
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