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September 11, 2009

J.P.Meyer on studies of visual arts

In an unlinkable discussion about Owen being inexplicably butt-hurt by failry innocous comment by SDS (of Ogiue Maniax), JP dumped like so -- quoted in full, so we can link the blasted thing:

ok fine, i'll give you the best bankai i can despite all of my books/notes/stuff being in storage:

pop culture studies in academia have always been historically looked down upon. in order to be taken more seriously, film theory was created in the 60s so that film studies would be taken more seriously. this sort of approach was repeated in the early 80s with tv studies from people like charlotte brunsdon & david morley in their the nationwide television studies. you'd be amazed how many books and essays at the time talk about tv but also try to qualify themselves with statements about not owning a tv!

fandom studies in the early 90s follow the same pattern. henry jenkins' textual poachers is as much a study as it is a polemic valorizing fandom so that it will be seen as an appropriate topic for study. matt hills produces this analysis in his book fan cultures.

there is a very clear hierarchy regarding inherently "good" and "bad" forms of culture. films are praised by being called "literary"; they are insulted by being called "video games". tv is praised by being compared to film. hbo's slogan is, after all, "it's not tv. it's hbo." tv is inherently "bad", so hbo needs to distance itself from it. and if you watch tv, you're dumber than the average, cultured academic, so you need to distance yourself from what you're watching. hills has a really good analysis of the whole paradox with "distancing" oneself, fandom, academic research, and theory. and well, anime are those japanese porno pokemon cartoons, so they need a hell of a lot of rehabilitating.

now, to go another step further, all that film theory could be argued as having been actively bad for film studies. it spurned ridiculous, opaque, obviously simply wrong conclusions. i did my (anti) theory final paper on how all the freudian and lacanian crap that feminist film theory is based on made that school of theory run around in circles spinning ever more bizarre ways to try to justify the logical conclusion arising from psychoanalysis that women cannot enjoy watching movies! because they wasted time on crap like this, they ended up doing things like "proving" psychoanalysis by using analysis films to illustrate psychoanalytic concepts, except they never bothered to do things like film history or research and learn that for example hitchcock was ACTIVELY making the movie along freudian lines.

and that's why we were actively taught to stop writing those mental masturbation essays.

Seriously, these people think I'm some kind of public service copypasta robot or something. And every one of them has a blog!

BTW, it's immaterial what J.P. was taugh (however "actively"). He has just demonstrated that the incentives built into the Scholarly-Publishing Complex is what matters at directing the kind of writing being produced.

[1] Here's the SDS' comment, in case:

I can further summarize the problem with this overly academic type of blogger. Basically it's about their attitude towards anime. The worst of them act like they are taking a lowly topic such as anime and injecting in it a certain sense of academic respectability, in essence they are "bringing anime to their level," and I feel that it's deeply disrespectful.

What they should be doing is respecting what an anime is trying to be (even if it fails in the process), and not acting as if their blog is an 80s teen movie and anime is the nerdy girl in need of a makeover.

You can talk intelligently and academically about anime without resorting to comparing an anime to the words of Lacan or Derrida.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at 08:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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