This term, I’m taking a class in American Cinema, and the teacher has an unusual way of taking attendance. At the end of each class, he has each student take out an index card and write a couple of sentences about a question he gives us. This gives the teacher an easy way to take attendance and gets the students thinking critically about certain film topics. Often, the prof will start the next class by sharing a few of the comments from the previous set of cards.
We just finished watching the 1931 production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the topic was whether the movie was more science fiction or horror.
This morning, the prof again shared a selection of comments, and the last one finished with the line, “… and I don’t find anything entertaining about violence against women.”
Which really made me grind my teeth.
What’s the implication? That violence against men is entertaining? Or at least, less objectionable that violence against women? For what it’s worth, let me point out that the movie included plenty of violence against men, yet somehow that didn’t merit any mention at all.
I found myself wondering what the classroom reaction would be if I had said, “I don’t find anything entertaining about violence against white people.”
After the discussion, we watched a documentary about the genre of war/combat movies. I’ll be interested to see if that raises any similar objections about the entertainment value of violence.