The ‘Problem’ of Brandon Teena: Ethics in the story Documentary

Larke-Walsh, George and Kelly, Jana (2010) The ‘Problem’ of Brandon Teena: Ethics in the story Documentary. Journal of Information Ethics, 19 (2). pp. 33-51. ISSN 1477-996X

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Abstract

This paper seeks to reveal the ethics of The Brandon Teena Story by assessing the balance of message and metaphor in the text. It provides an analysis on the ethics of representation in documentary, especially, as in this case, when the main subject of representation is absent. Analysis is focused primarily on the documentary with only passing references to the Hollywood film, because the intention is to interrogate the general assumption that the documentary is more ethical in its presentation of facts. By assessing the structural metaphors of the film and how they encourage audience readings and possible judgments on the events and participants, the analysis unveils how the documentary addresses Brandon Teena’s “story” in such a way that submerges the issues of transsexual identity beneath other social discourses, such as masculine identity. Our analysis reveals that the documentary provides very little commentary on Brandon Teena as a person, but instead focuses on him as a problem for others.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Media > Film
Media > Media and Cultural Studies
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design
Depositing User: George Larke-Walsh
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 10:13
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 10:15
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/13050

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