February 23, 2010

Academese is *so* annoying

By: Sonny Bunch

There really is nothing worse than reading academics do film analysis. Consider this passage on George Romero’s The Crazies in Tony Williams’ George Romero: Knight of the Living Dead:

The sweet old lady then stabs him with her knitting needle … as the soldier falls downstairs, the twine becomes temporarily caught in his body. It ironically renders his male presence impotent as a result of the deadly use of a supposedly harmless domestic artifact relegated to grandmother. After her most productive years as wife and mother, she is now confined to a rocking chair continuing her use-value to society by knitting. Like Karen avenging her subordinate status in the Cooper family, grandmother also appropriately reacts against a patriarchal culture which sees no use for her aged status other than being confined to a rocking chair upstairs.

I suppose it’s possible that Romero was making a statement about the “use-value” of elderly women. I would suggest it’s far more likely he was going for a shock/scare by having violence come from an old woman, a subset of the population that is, shall we say, not known for violent outbursts.

Anyway, this all goes back to my annoyance with the academic left’s penchant for viewing everything through the prism of politics. Sometimes a needle isn’t a symbol — it’s just a stabbing implement.

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