Life’s greatest tragedy is the linearity of time. I wrote that in a tumblr post when I broke up with my last girlfriend #notoverit. I don’t know if I’d say the semester went by too fast, but I did feel like it went by fast. I think I would enjoy reliving some Media Interpretation class periods, which is something I never thought I’d be able to say about a class.
A Plug for a Good Movie
I think it’s really sweet that what can seem like the most asinine parts of your life can soon become the most missed. I have a friend who is horrible at singing (he doesn’t go to school here). It’s atrocious, and the whole situation is made worse by the fact that he belives that he’s an amazing singer. I would sometimes complain about him on my tumblr blog (which is reserved for complaining about people and poetry attempts following breakups) while he was singing in front of me. But during a summer break, I missed those moments so much. I don’t know why that it is. All I could think about sometimes was how nice it would be to just sit next to him and listen while he’d destroy another song I liked. I don’t mean to imply that this class has been one of those sort of terrible instances. I just think it’s interesting how sometimes you can miss what seem like the most awful parts of your life. Hell or High Water (2016, David Mackenzie) touched on this idea in a really beautiful way.
Answering the First Two Points
With that said, this class has been a really nice part of my semester and life as well. And I am going to miss it. I don’t know if I had a favorite reading, but I did find all of the readings in these last few weeks of class to be the most interesting. I loved the readings about the simulation theory because I was able to participate in a
conversation with friends in which the theory was discussed. I also enjoyed the four I’s article (because you wrote it) because I love analyzing video games. I think it would have been really cool to look at specific video games to see how techniques like audience identification play out in different mediums. I welcome any opportunity to discuss video games beyond their often monolithic and harmful reputation. In the last days of this class, I think it would be neat to discuss video games more, especially since the final paper gives an option to write about one.
The Section that Follows is too Long
I honestly enjoyed all of the readings for this class, and don’t particularly resent any of them. With that said, I had some qualms with “New World, Old Habits” by Kathleen Ellis. I can understand the argument that the author is making, and I do believe she raises some good points about film’s treatment of female characters; however, I believe that there are many points where she takes substantial leaps in logic to make her claims. The evidence that she does provide in support of her argument is often removed from broader contexts of the films and, I believe, is ultimately insufficient for the argument she is making. In the fourth paragraph in the third column on page 136, Ellis provides Leia’s taking cover during a combat scene as a sign of her reliance on men. Luke is able to fight the storm troopers but “the force is not with Leia.” First of all, the force is literally not with Leia (in the context of this first Star Wars movie). Second, Leia’s “reliance” on the protagonist of the film, who is a Jedi in training hardly conveys an absolute case of female insufficiency. There are numerous places in this article where witty asides such as this, and other weak claims are made. Additionally, there is a huge over reliance on outside sources. When these sources are used, they often appear similarly weak. In the second paragraph on page 137, Ellis cites Barbara Creed (without introducing any credentials but I guess that’s fine) saying “film is a tool employed by the patriarchy to label and define women and their place.” That’s quite a claim. More than that, it comes off as weak. This statement is followed up by
examples from the film where Leia is defined by her sexuality, and becomes the apparent love interest of Han Solo. At first glance, the use of Creed’s argument seems completely appropriate, as the film’s definition of Leia by her sexuality may certainly be an example of “defin[ing] women and their place.” But there is no evidence to support that this is an example of a patriarchal society asserting dominance over women. Moreover, Leia’s agency is completely glossed over in her relationship with Han Solo in the statement “all signs point to a relationship between Han Solo and Leia.” This seems to imply that Leia may also have an interest in Han Solo, but the author abandons this to assert that Leia is unquestionably treated by the film as an object. For other examples of glossing over important details, look no further than the next paragraph: “although it is Leia who provided the plans of the Death Star…” That’s a rather large “although.” In the second paragraph on page 138, Ellis discusses the ceremony at the film’s conclusion, mentioning Leia’s risqué outfit: “The film ends as Leia dressed in an elaborate dress with a plunging neckline decorates Han Solo and Luke with medals.” After this observation, Ellis gives no consideration to the fact that Leia is in a position of power whilst bestowing these medals. One might argue that Leia, who is in a position of power and royalty, is one of the largest driving forces of the entire plot of the film. Her importance is continuously reinforced at the expense of the lesser men who risk their lives to protect her: a poor farm boy and a smuggler in need of money.
I don’t hate this article, and I don’t have a huge problem with the argument she is making. But I don’t like when evidence is not treated with care. I don’t appreciate an author’s abandoning of important contexts to pick and choose support for their claims. I understand that that’s probably inevitable, and I’m sure I do it all the time. Still, this was a bit of a disappointment, especially since we didn’t have a reading quiz over it.
I just realized that I was supposed to find part of the article that I actually found interesting and/or useful. Despite all the criticism in the section above, I did appreciate this article. I do like when my ideas and perceptions are challenged. I believe that Ellis’ argument is definitely important and I certainly welcome any instance where potentially harmful characterization and ideas are examined and criticized. I think it’s important not to treat even the most widely cherished texts like Star Wars as objectively good and free of flaws. I also think that women are sometimes portrayed in film in ways that can create and reinforce negative stereotypes. So for theses reasons, I believe it is important that articles like Ellis’ exist.
I mention in my first blog post that I am an anthropology major. It looks like I’m still gonna keep doing that. But I really did enjoy this class immensely This was probably the only class where I actually looked forward to the readings which were all so interesting. I’d read that Ellis article over most of those for my other classes in all honesty. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this class, and I really can’t thank you enough for that. This was also the only class in which I didn’t utilize my two skips. The one time I did skip was because I pulled an all-nighter writing a paper. I worked on it from 10:00 am To 7:00 am and then went to sleep. I tried to sleep for two hours but that didn’t work. I also didn’t set an alarm, and thought I would leave whether or not I woke up at 9:00 am up to chance. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this to turn this into a confession. Next semester I hope to take at least one more anthropology class, and I would really like to take another communication class. This field really interests me and I’d like to keep taking classes in it. Every time I watch a movie now I think about film techniques like audience identification. I thought about this quite a bit during Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Mel Gibson). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to register for classes until next year. I’m sure I won’t get to take everything I want, but it’s all good. I’ll keep getting by.
On a winged segway and prayer