of pedagogical authority over their students. As Deresiewicsz puts it,
“Love is a flame, and the good teacher raises in students a burning
desire for his or her approval and attention, his or her voice and
presence, that is erotic in its urgency and intensity” (43). Carens goes
on further to argue, “But it is important to notice that an over-the-hill
English professor remains enticing in these narratives because the
professor himself is not really the object of desire. It is rather the
forbidden fruit he purveys in class..intellectual rather than sexual
seduction and betrayal lies at the heart of the plot” (15). This is the case
for both the “wide-eyed and innocent” girl Carens mentions and the
examples of uneducated geniuses that Dalton gives whose “smart and
assertive” characteristics and apparent need for guidance make them
attracted to their professor’s intellect respectively (13). According to
Deresiewicsz, this argument’s support dates back to Plato’s Symposium.
Socrates, the most revered teacher and philosopher in the eyes of Plato,
had a “legendary” love for his pupil Alcibiades. In Symposium,
“Alcibiades complains about how the older man [Socrates], after
bewitching him with divine conversation, would refuse to touch him”
(Deresiewicsz, 44). The sexually exploitative professor’s inability to
resist taking advantage of their pupil(s) worship results from their
narcissistic need for self-gratification. Similarly, the intellectually
exploitative professor is incapable of seeing the value in merely
conversing with a gifted student, as Socrates does, because their own
narcissism causes them to require obvious and immediate benefits. The
interaction variable, therefore, is the Hollywood professor’s over-
arching fatal flaw—narcissism.
These three explanatory variables—the individual’s likelihood
to sexually exploit their student(s), their likelihood to intellectually
exploit their students, and their level of narcissism—do just what their
name implies. They explain a relationship between their response
variable—the Hollywood professor. Movies feed into their audiences’
innate cynicism by enlisting narcissistic and exploitative individuals into
an admirable and otherwise selfless career. Overall, though, the
characterization of professors in Hollywood movies serves as a means
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