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LAW, POPULAR CULTURE, AND AMY FISHER

An interesting research topic might consist of an examination of the made for television movies on the subject of Amy Fisher compared with 1) the actual treatment of the case and 2) treatments of teenaged girls in popular culture and in reality. Fisher has been compared to Vladimir Nabokov's character Lolita in the novel of the same name. Is the comparison accurate? Is there a tendency as one of the characters in Casualities of Love suggests to treat young women in Fisher's position as temptresses and men in Joey Buttafuoco's position as victims of a pretty girl's manipulative charms?

Resources for such a topic might include

The videos made of the story:

Amy Fisher: My Story (1992) (TV)(aka Beyond Control), starring Noelle Parker

The Amy Fisher Story (1993) (TV)(aka Lethal Lolita),  starring Drew Barrymore

Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story (1993)(TV), starring Alyssa Milano

Consider the point of view for each film. How do they differ and what message(s) do they send the viewer about guilt and innocence of each of the major characters (Amy, her parents, Joey, his wife)?

Other videos featuring young offenders:

You can also compare images of other young women "lawbreakers", for example Billie (Helen Slater) in The Legend of Billie Jean (1975), Caril-Ann Fugate in the docudrama Starkweather: Murder in the Heartland (TV miniseries (1993), with Fairuza Balk as Caril-Ann, and Badlands (1973) starring Sissy Spacek as Holly in a film based on Fugate's story. Does the public's attitude toward these characters change over time? Does the filmmakers'? If so, how? Are they reflections of changes in public policy and popular attitudes? Do filmmakers actually have an impact on our perceptions of these kinds of events, or do they simply reflect public perceptions, or is a more accurate description that the two interact?

Applicable federal and state statutes:

Examine federal and state statutes and cases involving juvenile offenders and their differing treatment in the juvenile justice and adult criminal justice systems. On what premises, assumptions, public policies are such differing treatments based, how do they reflect current public and governmental attitudes toward juvenile offenders and how are such attitudes reflected (or not) in films, television and fiction about these young people? You might also look through social work resources, psychology resources, urban geography and urban sociology materials and child psychiatry studies for information and opinions on the culpability of juvenile offenders and their ability to understand the "nature and quality of the act." See Judy DeHaven, Special Report: Murder: When Couples Kill, Courts Traditionally Are Harder on Men, Detroit News, January 20, 1997, at C1.

Other topics might include the statutory rape law under which Joey Buttafuoco was ultimately convicted. Should we have such laws on the books when we hold one of the parties as an adult in another action? Amy was tried and sentenced as an adult offender.

Related topics:

Related topics: "Dying for Love": the involvement of juveniles in criminal activities. See for example recent tv movies To Die For (Nicole Kidman as a local weathercaster yearning for fame), Murder in New Hampshire (Helen Hunt as Pamela Smart in a dramatization of the Greg Smart murder), Stay the Night (Barbara Hershey as a Georgia woman who entices her teenaged lover into killing her husband), and Seduced By Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story (starring Ann-Margret).

Other topics related to question of responsbility of juveniles for their actions include patricide and matricide by children who claim to have been abused. See "I Wish My Parents Were Dead" and "You'll Be Sorry You Laughed At Me": Children Who Strike Back.

The Amy Fisher Website (AIMEE) is available also.

 

 

 




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