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July 1999, Week 3


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M Furniss <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 09:15:37 -0700
text/plain (63 lines)
>     though i'm in principle sympathetic to maureen's
>     plaints, i think it gets more complicated than she
>     seems willing to allow . . . to the extent that some
>     package of glamour and star power is one of the
>     driving forces of mainstream cinema, any responsible
>     account of how that cinema works will have to allow
>     room for such issues . . .  though i find myself usually
>     very resistant to the appeal of such as LT,  someone who
>     considers how the camera deals with her "beauty" is, i
>     expect, doing something no less  valid than i am doing
>     when i conisder how terence malick's camera deals
>     with landscape

Just for the record, I understand that issues of reception are important,
as are the aesthetics of various aspects of film and television
(landscape, etc.).  My recent book, Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics,
is (obviously) all about aesthetic issues.  It includes a chapter on
audiences and reception, though not exactly related to 'beauty'.

It's just that the messages I've been seeing on Screen-L tend to lack the
analytical component that (in my opinion) would make them more
appropriate for this list.  I think the original question was something
like, "Am I the only person who thinks Liz Taylor isn't beautiful, except
in a textbook sort of way?"  Fine -- it's a question.  However, I then
find that my mailbox is being filled with messages going into different
directions about issues of beauty that are seemingly detached from any
analytical aspect and really (apparently) just reflections of a person's
personal standards of beauty and 'the norm' (short men, people with big
heads).  I haven't seen a lot of female members of SCS posting these
messages and, not to suggest that there is a gender issue involved, I'm
wondering about that aspect as well.  If this thread were to continue,
that might be an subject to explore.

I've elicited a relatively strong reaction from some people, so perhaps
I'm wrong in my opinion that these messages aren't appropriate for
Screen-L.  I have the option to drop this list, which I've done several
times in the past, so it's up to me to exercise that right.  I do find
messages about 'call for papers', 'open positions' and research
questions, for example, to be useful and of interest in terms of
scholarship.  I'm not saying that messages have to be 'dry' -- whatever
that means.  I also enjoy lists which are less scholarly in nature,
including several about animation, which attract a lot of fans.  However,
I run an Animation Journal list which has low traffic and, except for the
occasional personal letter accidentally sent to the whole list, contains
messages I feel are more scholarly in nature -- and, no, I don't moderate
the list.  When a thread starts to get a bit off target, other members
let the posters know.

Anyway, I hope that explains my response in a bit more detail.  BTW, no
follow up messages are needed, unless you've got a burning desire to
question and/or ridicule my beliefs ;) -- after all, I do want this
thread to die out.  I just wanted to clear the record so, at the next SCS
conference, I don't walk past people and hear them whispering, "there's
the one who doesn't care about issues of beauty in film and television .
. ." (note: sarcasm is being applied here).

Maureen Furniss

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite