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Monday, 05 January 2009

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Adam Roberts

Your post makes me register just how, er, kinky Batman's glove (the first image up there) really is. Kink. Eee.

And now I shall go away and mentally compose an essay for Dr Kaufmann, who (I understand from Rate Your Professor is, like, obsessed with sex) on that last Killing Joke panel, there. About how the Commissioner's coffee cup is made to look like a pig's snout on his face to imply he is a sexist pig who likes have piggy sexist sex. And about how the policeman's expression is slightly startled because he's looking at the cum dripping, like, urgh, off Batman's chin.

Do I pass the course?

Sisyphus

So where are you trying to get your students to go in the end? I mean, what point are you leading up to once (if?) you get them to agree that everything in visual texts is overdetermined? That they should read differently?

Adam Kotsko

Honestly, I thought Scott was going to go for the cum-dripping thing, too.

Ahistoricality

I suspect that part of what makes it hard is that they are used to looking for hidden clues (suspense movies, and all that) but not for images that add meaning without advancing the plot. Allegory is one thing -- they're reasonably good at seeing that, even when it's not really there -- but symbolism is trickier.

Funny, for a brief, shining moment, I considered taking this seriously. Thanks for pulling me back, Scott.

SEK

Do I pass the course?

No, with thunder . . . but only because you neglected to mention Batman's clenched jaw, which is vital to understanding how disgusted he is with his treatment, nay, presence in Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator.

So where are you trying to get your students to go in the end? I mean, what point are you leading up to once (if?) you get them to agree that everything in visual texts is overdetermined? That they should read differently?

With this particular exercise, I'm simply trying to get them to see that visual rhetoric is meaningful, which---to my eternal dismay---they seem reluctant to do. There's something odd to their reluctance though, because they'll admit that ads manipulate and directors structure scenes to a particular end, but they stop there. Ideally, this exercise will force them to confront the constructedness of the image by showing them the parts the authors want combined into wholes. We'll see. (I think it'll work, but then again, I always do and it hardly ever does.)

Honestly, I thought Scott was going to go for the cum-dripping thing, too.

What do you think my footnote was for? Seriously, there's something incredibly disturbing about that image when you think about it in feminist terms---not only does Batman avoid being raped-to-death by grabbing the alien by its cock-within-a-cock, its cock-within-a-cock has a vagina dentata at its tip; moreover, the alien either gets off on the thought of raping Batman's head to death it cums prematurely or it so gets off on being grabbed by such a manly hand it . . . as I said, I don't like the implications, hence the footnote.

I suspect that part of what makes it hard is that they are used to looking for hidden clues (suspense movies, and all that) but not for images that add meaning without advancing the plot.

They're entirely up to the task of identifying what the hidden stuff means, that is, they'll venture that the monster around the corner is a symbol of the lead character's childhood trauma; but for the life of them, they can't tell you how the director builds suspense by placing the symbol of the lead character's childhood trauma around the corner and shooting the scene from said character's perspective and amping up the strings ever so slightly as said character nears aforementioned corner, &c.

They can't do the nuts and bolts, so much so that last quarter when I tried to get them to discuss the first scene in Batman Begins in which we see Batman---the one where we don't, as he's flitting around like a classic horror monster, until he announces his arrival---they can't discern that Nolan shot that scene like a horror director would.

Funny, for a brief, shining moment, I considered taking this seriously. Thanks for pulling me back, Scott.

Always take Joe seriously. I mean that. He's leagues smarter than 99.99 percent of everyone I've ever met.

Sisyphus

There's something odd to their reluctance though, because they'll admit that ads manipulate and directors structure scenes to a particular end, but they stop there. Ideally, this exercise will force them to confront the constructedness of the image by showing them the parts the authors want combined into wholes.

So are you pushing them toward a craft-oriented view of the text or more like a reading of the unconscious of the author and/or the surrounding culture itself?

And while those drawings definitely have a jizz resemblance, in the movies it is clearly supposed to be vaginal fluid, to go along with all the "mother" references.

And no one has said anything about the significance of the "NO!" in the top panel yet.

This is fun. You ought to have more posts about how your teaching is not all about sex around here. Maybe those students picked your office because they, somehow, knew.

Jon H

So when you've been talking about the very phallic Alien, do you hit a hidden button on your desk, causing a bed to drop out of the wall and a disco ball and spotlight to drop from the ceiling and sexy music starts playing?

Terry

Where does one get Alan Moore's script for Killing Joke?

Nate

Scott,
I'm late as usual (umm, I missed my bus because I was up all night being sick and taking care of a friend whose grandmother is in the hospital and I'll get you that paper really soon, I've been working on it honestly, and can you waive the penalties for turning in stuff late since I'm, like, really sincerely?), but quick question - what do you make of the alien(s) being vicious rapist females bent on reproducing regardless of their 'partners' wishes (depositing fertilized eggs into their prey etc)? That seems significant to me.
cheers,
Nate

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