Please choose one of the following questions to answer for this unit by Wednesday at 11:59pm (CST). You should also respond to two of your classmates’ postings by Sunday at 11:59pm (CST).

Before answering this unit’s questions, you should read “Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers and the Hollywood Star System,” p. 105 in Natural Born Celebrities.

Keep in mind, as you read, a few of the questions posted below.


Online discussions will be graded according to the following rubric.

Full-bodied entries—of at least ten sentences of writing from you (in addition to quotations from the text)—are more likely to receive full credit. Lesser credit will be assigned to work that is missing, brief, or clearly disengaged or sloppily produced such that miscues interfere with readability.

Your responses to other students’ work are also assessed. Students often resist commenting on each others’ work in substantial ways; instead choosing to post simply “good job” or “looks okay to me.” This kind of peer response doesn’t help your own—or your peers’—development as a writer and thinker.

Acceptable peer responses will, among other things:

  • Explicitly identify what was learned from someone else’s work.
  • Ask a follow-up question.
  • Offer an alternative interpretation.
  • Offer concrete strategies for improvement.




Discussion posts are completed on-time; they not only thoughtfully respond to and incorporate course readings when appropriate, but they evidence creative thinking and make a significant contribution to peers’ understanding of the course topics. Moreover, follow-up posts/peer responses clarify and extend the class conversation, demonstrating critical thinking.


Discussion posts are essentially complete and incorporate, when appropriate, excerpts from the course readings. Initial post is made by due date, and follow-up posts/peer responses engage others in continued discussion.


Discussion posts are incomplete, inaccurate, and/or late. Peer response is present but perfunctory, offering little “back” to enhance peers’ understanding.


Posts and peer responses are not made to all topic threads.


No posts are made, or posts are entered after the unit’s discussion has ended.

Questions (Reading)

Choose one questions to answer:

  1. On p. 113 of Natural Born Celebrities, Schmid argues that most serial killer films are successful because they allow “their viewers a way to disavow their involvement” with any violence. What does he mean by this, and how do we separate ourselves from the violence we see in Natural Born Killers specifically?
  2. In his long critique on Natural Born Killers, Schmid discusses the idea (p. 122) that Oliver Stone should be held responsible for any violence in the real world that is perpetuated or directly caused by the creation of his film. How do you feel about holding art responsible for “real world” violence?
  3. Schmid further argues that films, like Natural Born Killers, both participate in and criticize the culture of violence in our world (p. 127). Many have called the filmmakers hypocrites for their supposed aim to defeat violence, but ultimately just create more of it. How do you feel about this idea, and perhaps further, the purpose of this class? By talking about violence, are we creating more of it–or stopping it through education?
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