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I forwarded Weddle's piece to a friend with a doctorate in British
history.  He replied:

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:32:04 -0500
From: Patrick Leary <[log in to unmask]>

   Wellsir, I have to admit that I did have some sympathy with [Weddle's]
complaints, and groaned in all the right places about forcing kids to use
Russian formalist terms and so on.  And I'm always up for a little
grumbling about Pomo imperialism and obscurantism.  But two things really
bothered me about this thing, which is essentially an industry insider
attack on the academic world, and a replay of 1960s political hatreds.  The
first is its absolutist mentality.  There's no middle ground -- *all* "film
theory" of any kind is utter crap, a monstrous swindle, a dangerous cult,
etc., etc.  And "theory" seems to be defined as anything other than the
approach to film he was taught in college, or alternatively as anything
that doesn't help kids get film jobs in L.A.  Never, he seems to be saying,
think or talk about film in terms that would make the pros on a Hollywood
set laugh at you -- because, obviously, if you do they won't give you a
job.  Wanta know about film in the real world? Talk to a guy who's been
head of Spelling Television!

   The second thing, though, is what gives Weddle's game away: his
obsession with Marxism.  It's just ridiculous to contend that all film
theory is Marxist, but this is what he does -- it's all, he suggests, a
conspiracy rooted in the New Left.  That portrait of Branigan, dandruff and
all, is meant to evoke the dirty 1960s radical.  The subtext also points up
Weddle's L.A. beautiful people snobbery: how could anybody take seriously a
guy who looks like this?

   So his real, unspoken conclusion is that these film majors should learn
how to think and talk and dress like the Hollywood pros so they can get
jobs with those Hollywood pros -- what else has he spent his money for? --
and these daffy left-wing college professors, by undermining all that with
their fancy-schmancy theories and their suspicion of mainstream corporate
media, are costing these kids their rightful places in the West Coast media
hierarchy.   A deeply cynical and instrumentalist view, but one that's not
limited to him.  The view of universities as places to learn, as distinct
from getting credentialed and making valuable contacts, seems to be going
by the wayside...

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