[Marxism] Quentin Tarantino, Eileen Jones, and the perils of film school theorizing | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 21 15:08:44 MDT 2019

On 8/21/19 4:01 PM, Jeffrey Masko wrote:
> No, you are not stepping on my toes because Cinema and Media Studies is 
> a real thing taught in higher ed, "Film Journalism" - or movie 
> reviewing, is not. You do catch my attention though, like sand in the 
> eyes, when you try to present what you do on your blog as something that 
> connects Marxist theories - of film, media, or anything else - to film, 
> media, or other moments of cultural production. Not sure if you call 
> yourself a Marxist film reviewer, but it's more like a film reviewer 
> that happens to be a Marxist.

I also write about TV shows, novels, music, and other aspects of 
culture. I wouldn't be at all interested in "theorizing" about any of 
these things. My theorizing is strictly limited to things like American 
slavery, the Democratic Party, fascism, etc.

My inspiration for film journalism is Roger Ebert, not any film or 
communications professor writing for academic journals. I critiqued 
Eileen Jones because her theorizing about Tarantino was totally absurd. 
Calling the alternative history of the Sharon Tate story "radical" and 
likening it to Eisenstein or Vertov was laughable.

I should add that Eileen Jones mostly writes reviews like mine but about 
commercial junk that I generally avoid. Her take on Tarantino's latest 
was not the typical jargon-filled baloney you read in a film journal but 
it certainly reflected film school tendencies.

Finally, I am not that impressed with any Marxism that is based in the 
academy. From Zizek to Robert Brenner, there's just a kind of failure to 
engage with the real class relations of capitalist society that makes me 
think I made the right decision to give up on getting a PhD in 
philosophy back in 1967 and getting educated by people like George 
Novack, Farrell Dobbs and Joe Hansen. Their "vanguardism" was a mistake 
but their analysis of American society was not.

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