I'd like to generally support the views of Mike (last name not given), Leo
Enticknap, and Darryl Wiggers, who make many good points.  We all know that
film studies is a discipline, like all arts, with both practical and
theoretical applications, yet whether we like it or not, the public will
always value the practical over the theoretical.  We can still defend our
ivory tower positions as we wrestle with theories that "average" folks do
not understand nor care about, so that in another few generations screen
studies will be granted a level of prominence similar to, say, art history
or economics.  And still people will care more about movies, and paintings
and recessions, than they care about the theories behind them.

Those of us who are film academics should indeed be worried over preserving
our roles as educators in both the practical and the theoretical aspects of
cinema.  With state education budgets being slashed and Hollywood profit
desperation rising, we are vulnerable to being labeled irrelevant even as we
are helping the culture to become more media literate.  And if we are to
show our relevance, we'll need to appeal to the common people as well as our
peers.  We may know the ideological value of theory and appreciate its
applications, but at the end of the day we have students who've paid up to
$125,000 to get a degree, and they need the privilege of a job in addition
to the power of their education.  And very few of them will ever find jobs
involving film theory.

Besides, consider just how many film Ph.D.s are being hired anymore to
simply teach theory, and for that matter, consider how many film Ph.D.s are
being hired as professors at all.  Those of us who have film teaching jobs
are damn lucky.  To act as if engaging in theory is more important than the
practicality of teaching for a living is a delusion at best and an insult at

Dr. Timothy Shary
Assistant Professor of Screen Studies
Traina Center for the Arts
Clark University
Worcester, MA  01610

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