"But personally I find that our understanding of cinema is informed more effectively by analysis of hard information regarding a film's production and reception than speculation as to what Freud thinks happened to the director's mother or a pathological
urge to bring down the bourgeois elite."

I'd really like to see examples of these latter kinds of scholarship.  Does anyone actually believe that "real" scholars just roll up their sleeves and dig into the archive to find the nuggets of truth waiting there?  Or that theory isn't centrally involved with answering questions about historical/material conditions?  Ah, for the halcyon days, when art was art, and history was science.

The LAT article is riddled with ad hominem attacks and know-nothing anti-intellectualism.  Sure, the language of critical theory can be difficult, and we have a responsibility to our various audiences to be as clear as possible.  But to suggest that to understand something as complex as our contemporary media environment -- *especially* now, when the economic, cultural, and political investments of competing forms of knowledge are writ large in the sand -- all we need do is study ledger sheets and celebrate the charms of "humanist" narrative is nothing if not *profoundly* ideological.


Michael Kackman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Radio-TV-Film, UT-Austin
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