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Teaching

Bowling for Columbine

I finally had a chance to watch Bowling for Columbine last night (when you’re a parent with little kids you just have to wait for the video). I was thinking about it in relation to Greg Ulmer’s book, which I’m using in my courses. Moore’s film doesn’t really answer the question “why?” that it continually poses, and I guess I prefer it that way though it does leave a little vague impression as a result. The closest I think it gets is its suggestion of how Americans experience fear through media and that our cultural propensity for violence is a result of this fear. This in itself isn’t a new idea, though Moore does some useful things with it. It got me thinking though about Ulmer’s suggestion that English Studies should develop in a direction that instructs people in the production rather than consumption of images. Specifically, critical media theory to date has dealt largely with strategies for being a “resisting reader”–largely b/c it was not feasible for individuals to produce their own media. However, with new media this is not so much the case. Obviously not everyone wants to produce media, but a small group of determined individuals can with relatively little expense. This could potentially alter the way mass media functions and serve to disrupt this mediated spectacle of fear perpetuated by mass communications.

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