AVC: This is probably a question you're sick of, but according to your Wikipedia entry your undergraduate thesis was on Marxist overview of popular '70s cinema and hegemonic discourses?
AVC: Could you give a Cliffs Notes version of what you said in this thesis?
SP: It was mainly about Star Wars and related works. It was mainly saying if you watch a movie that has inherent political messages, even if they're unintentional, and without critically objectifying yourself, you by consent agree with it. So if you have a film which is incredibly misogynistic, and you just watch it and enjoy it, you are a misogynist because you haven't been able to say, "Hey, wait a minute, that's putting forward an idea that women are to be demeaned." So in films like Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark there are certain social metaphors at work. Bomb-fear. A lot of big-weapon fear. Saying stuff like, say, "Big weapons are fine if you're good, and they're not fine if you're bad." The line, "Don't look at the ark" is a fantastic way of saying, "Just don't worry about stuff and it'll be fine. We have nuclear weapons, but it's none of your business." Also some of the sexual things going on, the gender relationships, the racial stuff that goes on, if you don't pick it out and say, "Hang on a sec. Isn't that saying that black people are stupid?" Then you're being racist by watching that movie. You agree with it.