Sunday, April 12, 2009

David's Questions for Week 13

1) I sheepishly confess that I have no idea what Mulvey is referring to with the "paradox of phallocentrism"; not that phallocentrism isn't a dominant issue (perhaps even *the* issue) in cinema, but that "it depends on the image of the castrated woman to give order and meaning to its world" (D&K p342) seems conclusory and unsupported by the rest of her essay. Is this a statement of a psychoanalytical tenet or a statement about the nature of cinema?

2) In Mulvey (D&K p. 345), a persuasive case is made for how "the glamorous impersonates the ordinary". But Mulvey describes the process in isolation, in a vacuum. As we all know, the ordinary tends to impersonate the glamorous, too, and this circular image-shaping and reshaping consumes itself at such an obvious pace that you have to wonder: does cinema really provide that powerful 'mirror moment'? Is that the heart of cinematic fascination? Or is the relationship between object and subject more akin to reading a novel (albeit highly illustrated)? Is Mulvey fetishizing the screen image (a la Sternberg) to make her point stick?

3) In Richard Dyer's charming (but dated) essay on stereotyping, he ultimately confesses "the importance of holding on to some concept of typing..." even as we expose the politics of stereotyping (D&K p364). Aside from the obvious question (what is the fine line between typing and stereotyping?), why is identity so important in media/cinema? What is the locus of the 'danger': that our identity as individuals is compromised by media, that we are injured by media, or something else?

4) (b)ell hooks defines the appropriation of otherness in a fairly broad way. But it made me wonder: if this exploitation runs from the 'white boys on the sidewalk in New Haven' (D&K p. 367) to the way catalogs "exploit notions of Otherness with both visual images and text" (D&K p372), what then, is, say, travel to 'foreign' places? Is that not, too, a kind of exploitation of Otherness? Is one more benign than the other? Ultimately, hooks argument hangs on the idea of white people wanting to move beyond their boring white bread culture. But if that were not the case---that is-- if there were other reasons for 'experiencing the Other', as hooks puts it, would her assertion hold water?

5) One of the most interesting statements in Gilroy's essay is his claim that "(m)ulticulturalism...has retreated from reexamining the concept of culture in a thoroughgoing manner and drifted toward a view of separate but equal cultures". But how, exactly, does Cultural Studies lead us out of that paradox toward something better (as Gilroy seems to be suggesting/hoping)? Aren't the thematics of identity such that equality is of primary importance? If so, doesn't this necessarily imply an elaborate fence-work of identity(-ies) to
maintain the underlying interests that make equality valuable in the first place?

David D. Brown

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.