Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Line

So... Devin Faraci is getting torn-apart on Twitter and on his own website for posting (well, more for posting and being enthusiastic about it) a "no texting during the movie" bumper from FrightFest (horror movie festival) that is, to put it mildly, pitch-dark stuff.

I'm not going to embed it here - not because I believe in "censorship" necessarily but because I DO take things like "Trigger Warnings" seriously and I'm not comfortable putting it up where someone might click it without wanting to. But, this IS one of "the" movie-geek discussions of the day, so if you want to see Devin's original article, the video itself and the subsequent blowup in the comments click HERE. (incredibly NSFW, obviously.)

Description of said video (as said, Trigger Warning) and some thoughts after the jump...



Okay, so...

The basic idea of the clip is as follows: A woman is texting during a movie. The guy behind her asks her to stop. She blows him off. He stabs her in the back of the head with a pencil, killing her (this is, I stress, a horror movie festival dedicated to the extremes of the genre - think "A Serbian Film.") He then unzips his pants and proceeds to perform a sex-act on the stab-wound, literally climaxing with his semen running out of the dead girl's mouth and onto the screen of her smartphone. The End.

Yeah.

Well.

Do I have a problem with this? Kind of, yeah.

I'm not against shock-art, and I don't think the overriding idea of the piece (a bloody version of the "dont text or something bad will happen" bit because it's a horror festival) is out of bounds at all. And, while I'm at a loss to imagine HOW it could ever be done "right," I suppose that if every other form of horrible violence can be fodder for "fun" horror-exploitation rape is "on the table." And while I don't share Devin's enthusiasm (it's not well-executed, enough, frankly - goes on too long) I "get" where he's coming from in appreciating the sheer audacity of it.

What bothers me about this isn't necessarily the rape (though, obviously, that's unpleasant as all hell and goes on WAY too long for it to have any hope of being "clever" or "funny" in even a black-comedy way) but the misogyny behind it. Yes, naturally, male-on-female rape is always automatically misogynist in nature... but the conflating of it HERE with "don't fuck up our movie-watching experience" angle and the "girls are the ones who theater-text" stereotype puts a (likely unintended) extra dimension onto the whole thing that makes it feel like her "crime" was less specifically texting and more being a woman in a traditionally male space - i.e. "stupid girl doesn't know how to act at our Hardcore Horror-Geek FilmFest" with rape/murder as a "put her in her place" corrective.

I'm not saying that was the INTENT of the filmmaker, but it's how it comes off - so, yeah, in that context I can see why people reacted so negatively to the way Devin presented this.

54 comments:

ANImaniac said...

Jesus Fucking Christ


I'm speechless, its like something you'd see in the Crossed comics.

Rarer Monsters said...

Honestly, fuck horror-exploitation. I hate the way they think they can get away with this shit because they're a "genre of extremes"

It's more like "We can do whatever violent, misogynistic crap we want and then claim that it's ironic"

This is bullshit. This is some petty rapists power-fantasy and I guarantee that that's the intent of the filmmaker.

Joshua the Anarchist said...

Speaking as someone who works in a movie theater, yeah, the "girls are the ones who theater-text" stereotype is pretty unfounded. In my experience it's just teenagers, period.

Aiddon said...

well, that was offensive and disgusting

Peter Guilherme said...

100% of these controversies could be avoided is the people who make this stuff stopped for one fucking second and thought "Now, I know what message I want to send, what other messeges could I be conveying unintentionally." The best piece of advice I ever got about art was in a poetry class, when the instructor said "Show your work to someone else, if they don't get your messege or get a different one, change it so that there is only one correct interpretation." A Serbian Film, for all its horrific content, has a single, political point to make, which somewhat excuses the content, this replicates the content, without any of the purpose.

Andrew Eisen said...

"...makes it feel like her "crime" was less specifically texting and more being a woman in a traditionally male space - i.e. "stupid girl doesn't know how to act at our Hardcore Horror-Geek FilmFest" with rape/murder as a "put her in her place" corrective."

Wow. That's an incredibly odd, bordering on outright silly take on it.

To me, it's a straightforward "be considerate during the movie" message with "or I'll skullfuck you" being a punchline. The fact that the obnoxious theater patron is female, to me, doesn't factor into it at all.

Looking Down The Crionics said...

The clip is protected by a password, un...fortunately? Wait...

Rarer Monsters said...

@Andrew

A man commits a punitive act with his penis, and you don't find it significant that the victim was female.

Seriously?

Andrew Eisen said...

Rarer Monsters,

No, I don't. Because in the context of this video, it's not. You could make the exact same video with a male victim and nothing would have to be changed.

Unknown said...

Can't see it. Password protected. And what the hell is NSFW anyway? It sure as hell wasn't the password.

maninahat said...

Andrew,

But that's part of the issue isn't it? We would never have gotten a video of a man raping another man in the back of the head in the first place. Having a "gay" skull fucking probably never crossed the director's mind. Believe me, a lot would change, even if it ideally* shouldn't.

* I feel like I'm using that word incorrectly here.

Rarer Monsters said...

Andrew

Yes. And you could have made a woman the killer. And you could have made the video about a lot of things.

But they didn't.

They elected to make it a woman. They made the conscious choice to make it a man killing a woman and raping her skull and having semen drip out her mouth.

Moviemaking, even for little bumpers, is a slow, deliberate process. You don't do things by accident. If a character is female, you wanted that character to be female and you had plenty of chances to change your mind.

"Well yeah, but it's not mysoginistic because it could have been all men" is not a good argument, because it WASN'T all men. We're taking about a video that they made and not the video that they could have made.

You're just completely off base here... and the fact that you could actually see this and think it's somehow sexism-neutral just shows how phobic people are about ever recognizing anything sexist in their treasured media.

Rarer Monsters said...

As for why Devin is enthusiastic about it: Because it puts rape back on the table. It reminds empowered pricks like him that they can get away with shit like this as long as they claim it's ironic.

Mads said...

Rarer monsters:

Let me get this straight -
Are you saying Andrew is a chauvinist because he doesn't recognize a pre-movie bumper as mysogynist?

If so...why? What makes you jump to that conclusion?

Rarer Monsters said...

I'm saying it's a real problem with society if people's first impulse is to defend something like this.

I'm saying that it's a problem with society if violence against women is so prevalent and accepted that you can see this and not have it stick out as misogynistic.

Daniel R said...

@ Unknown
NSFW- Not Safe For Work, as in not suitable or appropriate enough for some.

I think its horrible. Absolutely and simply terrible. I've never understood how people can give crap like this a pass because the filmmakers supposedly had major balls to do so. Something like this is not brave or novel, its just dumb and sick. If I were to see this bumper playing before a film at my local theatre I don't think I could in good conscience continue contributing in any way to that establishment. I understand others could like it, I genuinely don't understand why.

I get dark comedy, I get going for shock value. This is neither. I'm surprised Devin didn't see it as such.

Luna m said...

I feel conflicted about it. On one hand, there really is no way to know what the creators intended. On the other, the problem (or lack thereof) with the clip is evident in the audience's reaction to it. Are most people legitimately horrified and angry, or are they amused and entertained?

Anonymous said...

People wouldn't defend things like this, if others weren't so adamant of things like; "WELL the guy OBVIOUSLY meant this to be misogynistic!" or gems like, "Wow how dare he trivialize rape!"




Truth is this isn't even depicting rape. It's depicting the act of necrophilia. You can't call it out as misogynistic (By suggesting that the director planned it as such.) and then call it something else.



However I don't think it's that, I think it's just a matter of some douche director going, "Let's make a texting PSA for the festival! Oh I know what would make it hilarious!"

As someone else said, substituting a male texter in place of the female would really change next to nothing. Except instead of people on the web crying misogyny, they'd be deeming it a hate crime. SMH

Andrew Eisen said...

maninahat,

"We would never have gotten a video of a man raping another man... probably never crossed the director's mind."

We don't know that but it would certainly be an interesting thing to ask the creative team. And hell, if I had the time and resources, I'd make such a video to prove my point. In fact, I almost made a male version of the recent Hitman trailer to show that the original was not sexualizing violence against women. Unfortunately the production was far too complicated to complete in a timely manner.

"Believe me, a lot would change, even if it ideally* shouldn't."

Okay, swap the victim's gender. What changes?


Rarer Monsters,

"If a character is female, you wanted that character to be female..."

Not necessarily but that makes no difference in this case. The fact that the actor is a woman does not make the victim's gender significant any more than a male actor would.

"I'm saying that it's a problem... that you can see this and not have it stick out as misogynistic."

It's not misogynistic because it's not about her gender. The guy in the video didn't murder the person in front of him because she's a woman, he murdered her because she wouldn't get off her phone. I see nothing in the video to suggest that his act had anything to do with her gender or that he wouldn't do the same to a male.

Elessar said...

I'm not against shock art persay, but it's a HARD line to walk, and I generally find most of it to be pointless and cruel. Not all of it. I consistently recommend works like Salo or Irreversible (typically with a huge number of qualifiers, but still). But I generally believe you better have a VERY specific point to make and you better be making it well (looking at you Cannibal Holocaust).

This shit and the Serbian Film stuff that's been hitting a lot lately? Fuck it. Fuck it right to hell.

That's MY two cents at least.

Andrew Eisen said...

Funny coincidence: I recorded a podcast the day before yesterday where I talked about a video I conceived and wrote last July that was a similar play on those "Silence is Golden" PSAs. In my version, the camera panned across the theater seats. The first person you see is slumped over, possibly asleep. The next, their head is at a very odd angle. The next has a cell phone jammed in their eye socket. Another's guts are in their lap and so forth.

While the camera moves down the line, the narrator intones the importance of being respectful to your fellow movie goers. "Because," and the camera ends on me sitting among the slaughtered, quietly watching whatever movie is playing, "you never know who's in there with you." My eyes dart from the screen to the camera with an appropriate music sting and that's it.

And then the Aurora shooting happened that night.

Anonymous said...

Considering this type of issue is a hotbed for screaming on both sides, the only thing I'll say is the girl being stabbed in the head was probably the best place to end it. Anything else after that would have been basically like teabagging in Halo, as in insult to injury and not really needed.

cathal said...

The question i have to the video's defenders is: If this video ISN'T misogynist, then what the hell is? Killing her and then sexually using her corpse in the most humiliating way the director could think of, that's a hard act to top in terms of misogyny without having him say something like "drink my cum you cunt".

Is there a MORE misgynist way they could've gotten their message across?

If they'd done it with a male victim they would've had show cum in a man's mouth while his body was raped by another man. They didn't want to do this. They decided a woman being treated this way was fair game.

The only thing approaching a defense for this particular case would be "they thought someone being comedy-raped would be extra-shocking, and a man getting raped never really occurred to them" which is itself an indictment of society, that male-on-male rape didn't even seem like a thing. Or maybe they wanted it to be blackly funny and they thought about it really hard and they decided a woman getting raped was funnier than a man getting raped. A man getting raped would've been even more shocking as the mostly-male audience would've been surrogately both fucking a man and tasting semen in their mouths.

There is no way you can slice this that sounds anything like a moral or artistic highground.

Andrew Eisen said...

cathal,

"If this video ISN'T misogynist, then what the hell is?"

It would have been misogynist if she were murdered and her corpse defiled because she was a woman rather than because she was being rude in a movie theater.

As the video is presented, her gender had nothing to do with the actions of the guy behind her.

"If they'd done it with a male victim they would've had show cum in a man's mouth while his body was raped by another man. They didn't want to do this."

We don't know that.

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you think it sends the wrong message?. Turn off your phones or we will skull fuck you.
I think is pretty clear.

Am not a fan of this genre of horror at all but If you are that offended you have no business seeing an extreme horror festival.

If you hated the idea of the serbian film then what do you expect?. Why are you even watching it?.

Attacking the director is so shallow and basic, may as well say the same thing about any horror director ever.
If the victim was a man may as then of course the director of being a misandrist, and or a closet homosexual? RIGHT?. If the victim was a dead baby then of course the director is a pedophile that enjoys necrophilia.

Anonymous said...

I am going to write something that probably a lot of people are not going to like, but I believe it needs to be said.

This video discussed in this article is not art. It is not a boundary pushing idea. It is evil, pure and simple. This video is one of the most horrific things I have ever heard of and can serve no good purpose what so ever.

I am not automatically saying this. This is not a purely emotional reaction. I truly believe with mind, as well as my heart, that this film and any message it may be trying to convey can only be destructive and degrading to anyone who sees it.

This film is poison. This film is evil. That our society would let this exist, let alone support it in any way, terrifies me.

Anonymous said...

I bet if it was two men there wouldn't be any problem, right, Feminist apologists?

Anonymous said...

Shock art is shocking people?
Stop the fucking presses.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:06

You make it sound like Hilter himself rose from the grave and infused the footage with the souls of innocents in order to corrupt American youths.

All it was, was a stupid attempt to shock people at a horror film festival. Nothing more, nothing less. The director had no ulterior motive other than the dumb-headed idea that he thought other people would find this funny.

Actual serial killers are evil, ruthless dictators are evil, genocide is evil. A PSA where the punchline is the guy skullfucking a woman who won't stop texting? Just stupid. A vapid disposable joke that should have been left on the cutting room floor. A gaffe of Micheal Richards proportions that he will no doubt be apologizing for a long time. But Michael Richards was not evil, just very stupid.

Anonymous said...

Andrew is right, it's not mysogonist, or rape. its necrophilia. I didnt get any sort of male power fantasy message here, its just a crazy guy killing the annoying person in front of him, then doing something awful to the corpse. All we know for certain is the director had to pick a gender for the people in this, we have no idea why he picked a girl as the victim, but it seems like some of you want it to portray rape so you can get all up in arms. Here's an idea; maybe you're wrong.

maninahat said...

Andrew: "Okay, swap the victim's gender. What changes?"

Two things jump to mind:

1) For some reason, director's just can't seem to face up to gay sex. Depictions of gay sex tend to be coy and concise (see True Blood, for example). If we had a guy, the rape would probably be far less gratuitous or indulgent, so as to avoid exposing the viewer to harmful gay rays.

2) Two common stereotypes of women are that they are idiot gossipers and disempowered victims. Showing a woman as either of these things would be playing up to those stereotypes. A man, rarely being associated with them, wouldn't be playing up to them.

I'd like to reiterate the fact that the director choosed to not have a guy getting fucked in the first place, which is very telling in itself. I have to ask, when you were planning to do your Hitman trailer remake, would the replacement male clergy be wearing assless chaps? Or would they have been just ordinary blokes in robes?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the clip because it was password locked. But reading the comments, I have to believe everybody is overreacting.

Anon at 8:52 PM is right. If this was male on male, it would be deemed as being anti-gay. People just like to find offense in things. I've alway thought that people who find racism/sexism in things say more about the person than what they are offended about.

My modern art teacher said good modern art gets people talking. And this clip, good or bad, is doing just that.

sean said...

sadly, i can't watch the clip because it's password protected, so i'm going off of the comments and the description (or play by play) that was given by "moviebob" and the rest of y'all.

the speculation as to what the difference would be if it were two males or a female "rapist" and a male victim or whatever and what have you are stupid and silly. violence is violence, rape is rape, it doesn't get any less offensive no matter HOW you match it up.

to those who are saying "fuck horror exploitation"... fuck you. plain and simple. you don't like it? don't watch it. i don't like pixar movies because i think many of them are insulting to childrens' intelligence. i don't go on a stupid message board and bitch about the filmmakers "exploiting children".. i just don't watch them. it's surprisingly easy to do.

finally, i enjoy how moviebob has such a problem with this film, and refuses to post it on his blog, yet he has no problem with accumulating the "hits" that his blog is getting just by the controversy that this film is causing. oh, and he also has no problem with linking to the site where you can find it. seems like a veiled attempt to generate traffic. PLUS, how is his description of what transpires in the film any LESS offensive than the film itself?? if you're going to describe moment for moment what happens in the film.. WHY NOT JUST POST THE DAMN THING, PUSSY?

anyway.. that's just my two cents. hopefully i'll be able to find the password so i can watch it and actually decide for myself.

i'll tell ya one thing though, if i do actually get to see it.. you can bet your bottom dollar that i won't be texting during my viewing..

Andrew Eisen said...

maninahat,

"If we had a guy, the rape would probably be far less gratuitous or indulgent..."

We don't know that. Anyway, you're changing more than the victim's gender. My point is that you could have had a male in the role and absolutely nothing else would have to change.

"A man, rarely being associated with them..."

Until this video, I had never heard anyone suggest that people who text during movies are stereotypically one gender or the other. I also don't consider a violated corpse to be a "disempowered victim." I suppose you could argue that being murdered is in and of itself disempowering but it's certainly not gender specific when the victim is essentially shot in the back of the head.

Regardless, neither trope, to my eyes, are played to in the short. I don't get a sense of "oh look, another damn WOMAN texting away!" or "ah ha ha, women are so easy to victimize. You sure couldn't stab a man in the back of the skull and fuck the hole!"

"...the director choosed to not have a guy getting fucked..."

We don't know that.

"...is very telling in itself."

No, it isn't. The actor that ended up in the role could been cast for any number of reasons.

"...would the replacement male clergy be wearing assless chaps?"

Of course. I wouldn't have been able to make my point otherwise. They would have been monks who doff their ropes to reveal male-equivalent, leather fetish gear. I wouldn't have changed how the trailer was done, only swapped the gender of the Saints to show that the violence against them was not sexualized.

Rarer Monsters said...

"My modern art teacher said good modern art gets people talking. And this clip, good or bad, is doing just that." Your Modern Art teacher is a dumbass. By his logic, "Obama's America" is great art.


I'm very done here. This is what I'm going to show people when they ask for proof about how pervasive misogny is.

We literally have a woman putting his penis inside a woman and orgasming and people refuse to see how that could somehow have sexual implications.

This is such a gigantic cognitive dissonance here. There is pretty much NOTHING that can make you admit even the slight possibility of sexism at this point. You are just too terrified of admitting you have the tiniest bit of correction to make.

Andrew Eisen said...

Rarer Monsters,

"By his logic, "Obama's America" is great art."

No, it would be "good modern art." Feel free to debate his definition but you can't deny that that documentary is a talking point.

"This is what I'm going to show people when they ask for proof about how pervasive misogny is."

Better show it to people who don't know what misogyny is or you're going to get laughed at.

"...people refuse to see how that could somehow have sexual implications."

Unless I overlooked a comment, that's not what anyone's arguing.

"There is pretty much NOTHING that can make you admit even the slight possibility of sexism at this point."

There could be, I just haven't seen anyone present a case for sexism (or misogyny) beyond "the victim is female." The character simply being a woman does not make it about her gender and if it's not about gender, then it's not sexist. Also, the actions of the guy behind her do not appear to be motivated by the fact that she's female so it's not misogynist.

sean said...

@rarer monsters and friends..

for the sake of argument, let's say that every implication you have made about the film and its director is true.. that it is extremely demeaning, misogynistic, sexist and the same can be said for the director...

what do you want? justice? a cookie? what?

would you like the people arguing with you to admit that they are wrong and you are right? would you like the film burned and it's director locked up in a turkish prison? would you like "anonymous's" modern art teacher fired from his position?

i'm struggling to figure out to what end you would like your argument to reach..

"..this is what i'm going to show people when they ask for proof about how pervasive misogny is.".... are there people out there that would argue that misogny is not pervasive? cuz i don't think anybody on this forum would argue that "misogny is not pervasive" the argument is that "whether this film is misogynistic, sexist, etc.?"

i think the only thing that anonymous was saying in regards to his modern art teacher (who may or may not be a dumbass.. the jury is still out) was that for good or bad, art makes people talk. sometimes (as in this particular case) it is ugly, nasty, "insert your vicious monicker of choice here", but it's sole purpose is to be witnessed and perhaps discussed.. it's sole purpose is NOT to necessarily be liked. which you clearly don't and that's TOTALLY FINE. i'm not saying you are a bad person because you hate this "movie".. but i think it is also unfair to state that other people are somehow "wrong" for not seeing the same things in it that you do.

we don't know what the filmmaker's true intention was.. but i'm pretty sure it wasn't "HEY! let's make this totally sexist and misogynistic video that represents how i feel on this inside!"... i may be wrong. But i don't think a film festival would go for that sorta thing. they probably said "make a short that can go before the movie that tells people to turn off their fucking cell phones or they will get skull fucked or something! it'll be great cuz it will go viral and piss a lot of people off on the internet message boards!".. that may sound like a really stupid scenario, but something tells me that it's probably not far off from the actual meeting.. if there was a meeting.

the really funny thing about all this is, this short seems to be causing more controversy than any of the films at the fucking festival..

maninahat said...

Andrew: "Until this video, I had never heard anyone suggest that people who text during movies are stereotypically one gender or the other.

I would have been surprised by your claim that you have never came across the stereotype that women talk too much on phones, had I not read this straight after:

"I also don't consider a violated corpse to be a "disempowered victim."

You don't think stabbing a defenceless woman in the back of the head and raping her to be disempowerment? Well, Jesus Christ, no wonder we're not getting through to you.

If it were a man getting head raped, then yes, he'd be disempowered too. But it wouldn't be stereotypical. It wouldn't be a re-tread of a long established cinematic tradition, wherein females are threatened with rape. If you just so happen to be ignorant of this convention too, well,

I wouldn't have been able to make my point otherwise. They would have been monks who doff their ropes to reveal male-equivalent, leather fetish gear. I wouldn't have changed how the trailer was done, only swapped the gender of the Saints to show that the violence against them was not sexualized.

If I recall correctly, people's criticism of the trailer was less to do with beating up women, and more to do with sexing them up in fetish gear, and then beating them up. As in, it was adolescent, tacky and sexist to depict women that way, and it carries unfortunate implications when those depictions get murdered.

The fact that you have to actually make a male equivalent yourself, and that one had not already made by the film makers, should be ringing alarm bells in your head. It demonstrates that the advertisers decided to have only women, because they wanted to sexualise and kill them off. I mean, if that wasn't the case, why aren't we seeing sexy men being beaten up too? Oh, that's right... This is a man's game.

Andrew Eisen said...

maninahat,

"I would have been surprised by your claim that you have never came across the stereotype that women talk too much on phones..."

I made no such claim. "...I had never heard anyone suggest that people who text during movies are stereotypically one gender or the other."

"You don't think stabbing a defenceless woman in the back of the head and raping her to be disempowerment?"

Here's what I said: "I also don't consider a violated corpse to be a "disempowered victim." I suppose you could argue that being murdered is in and of itself disempowering..."

"...a re-tread of a long established cinematic tradition, wherein females are threatened with rape."

She was not threatened with rape.

"...people's criticism of the trailer was less to do with beating up women, and more to do with sexing them up in fetish gear, and then beating them up."

My argument was that the violence itself was not sexualized. The women? Yes. The violence? No.

Dustin hiser said...

I'm less disappointed with Faraci, whom I have a love/hate relationship with, than I am Film Crit Hulk, who offers up such a half assed sorta-condemn-it-whilst-giving-his-boss-a-free-pass comment. He's a really smart guy, and he's a huge fan of feminism and has a long standing tradition of condemning empty exploitation (see: Thomas Jane's Punisher short), and he went on at length about how misogynist Bellflower was, and then gives this the most milquetoast response to what one would think he would be vehemently aghast at. I really respect that guy as a writer, but this level of brown nosing is really disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Dumb clip. But not worth the absurd amount of butthurt. Shock value doesn't have to have some justifying irony to its presentation. It just has to be shocking.
If you guys want it banned just admit it and stop pretending you're standing up for the greater good.

Dustin Hiser said...

@ Anon

Yeah, because it's that black and white. You either go with it, or you want it banned and censored. Seriously?

Anonymous said...

@ Dustin
Then what is your point? What do you want done about it? Or is it just empty condemnation?

Anonymous said...

Okay, lets start with a breakdown here: A male movie-goer sees a female movie-goer sitting in front of him texting. He's kind of a dork, she's fairly attractive. He asks her to stop texting, she tells him to piss off.

This right here might be an early moment of misogyny of the bumper's part insinuating that if a woman is attractive, she must automatically be a bitch. But let me point out that in order to determine authorial intent, you first need to highlight a trend, and one instance of this does not establish a trend. Of course its hard to establish trends in the short timespan of a bumper, but aye, there's the rub. And conversely, if it's bigoted to assume that the's a bitch because she's pretty, isn't it also wrong to show that just because he's not so well socially adjusted that he's dangerous to women?

You'll notice that these bitch=pretty and social outcast=dangerous stereotypes exist not explicitly in the bumper, but in the culture surrounding the bumper. So we have to ask ourselves, do content producers have a duty to go out of their way to not perpetuate stereotypes? Sometimes you can employ a stereotype without meaning to because they are so ingrained in your culture, and I think that's the case so far.

But let's continue. So the man takes out his pen, looks around the theater for a second and stabs the woman in the back of the head, then takes out his penis and begins to rape her in the stab wound with a short series of quick thrusts, after which we see his semen pour out the side of her mouth onto the screen of the phone on which she was composing a text message.

There may be some troubling subtext here.
1) She seems to be still alive when he rapes her. So this isn't necrophilia, this was a lobotomy. Perhaps this represents his robbing her of her intellectual capacity as a human being before reducing her to sex object.
2) Notice also that while not all of the other patrons in the movie theater are male, the ones in the foreground are and the female movie-goers are in the background. I don't think it's meaningful, it's probably just a way of balancing the shot since the main female character is sitting in front of the main male character, but I just wanted to point it out.
3) The scene in my opinion demonizes the man much more than the woman. They make him a stereotypical geek with his shirt buttoned all the way up and a pen at the ready, and then mock his masculinity by insinuating he has a small penis and is a two-pump chump. While he is the more active and powerful character for most of the scene, he's portrayed as not merely pitiful, but detestable.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing against claims of misogyny by arguing for claims of misandry. I do not pretend to understand the director's mind based on inferences from a sloppily assembled 30 seconds of film. That's why I use words like "may" and "perhaps".

I just think that this was a short bumper put together by (probably) a guy who who thought it would be funny if he went insanely over the top with the male character's reaction, and decided that rape was the most taboo thing he could think of. I subscribe to Hanlon's razor: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Anonymous said...

"Your Modern Art teacher is a dumbass. By his logic, "Obama's America" is great art."

Isn't it?

"I'm very done here."

That's probably for the best.

Blue Highwind said...

Sounds hilarious to me. But then again, HORROR MOVIES. Who is getting pissed off about this? Seriously? I want a whole movie about this. The texting killer. I might just watch it to tick off people who can't ever chill out.

(It also sounds like that gag in Scary Movie where the girl is talking throughout Schindler's List and the Killer misses his chance to kill the girl because the entire audience collectively murders her. Which also was funny.)

Artgryl said...

Old art student joke:

Goya shows his friend his new painting called "Saturn Devouring His Son".

He asks his friend: "What do you think?"

His friend says: "It offends me."

Goya says: "It offends me too. But what do you think?"

Artgryl said...

"I'm saying it's a real problem with society if people's first impulse is to defend something like this."

- Why? It's a fiction? Are you sad that one fictional character hurt another fictional character? Are you sad that the director felt catharsis over playing out a fantasy scenario involving two fictional characters to put forth the message that texting is annoying and bad? Why do you assume it is our 'first impulse' to defend it? Why couldn't it have been my 15th impulse? Do you get to decide what should and shouldn't be defended? Are people who enjoy this kind of work bad?

Do you know that kind of thinking got the West Memphis Three in prison? Do you know similar logic has been used to murder innocent (but reactionary) artists and poets around the world and has been used to villify and demonize anti-political or anti-government writers, artists and artists? But it's OK when you do it, right? Because good intentions = good deeds. And the ends always justify the means. Right?

maninahat said...

@Andrew, you're being pedantic.

@Artgryl, No one is over reacting here, and no one is endorsing the villification, demonisation or murder of the director, so I have no idea why your even bringing it up. We're just people who find the content of a video problematic and offensive.

As to why it is a problem if people try to defend the video; [i]they're defending a comic depiction of rape[/i]. Even if you aren't offended by a video made in such poor taste - even if you found the video funny - you really shouldn't be defending that sort of thing, any more than you should defend racist jokes.

Andrew Eisen said...

maninahat,

"@Andrew, you're being pedantic."

Ha! That's pretty clever! Were I to go into detail about how you're mischaracterizing my comments, that would be, in the context of this entire discussion... pedantic.

Hat's off to you, maninahat!

"As to why it is a problem if people try to defend the video; they're defending a comic depiction of rape."

So? How or why is that a problem? Why are comic depictions of heinous acts not entitled to the same defense as other forms of humor?

"...you really shouldn't be defending that sort of thing, any more than you should defend racist jokes."

Here's a racist joke:

-What do you get when you cross a black with a WASP?

-An abortion.

Please explain why that joke doesn't deserve to be defended if someone accuses it of being something it's not or claims that it says, suggests, or implies something it doesn't?

maninahat said...

@ Andrew.
You were clearly being pedantic. I was saying things like "...a re-tread of a long established cinematic tradition, wherein females are threatened with rape," you counter it with "She was not threatened with rape."

Oh wait, you're right, she wasn't threatened with rape...She was raped. Because that totally refutes my point. Pedant.

"Why are comic depictions of heinous acts not entitled to the same defense as other forms of humor?"

Good question. Not all heinous acts are the same. Rape is pretty much up at the top, and you'd have to have been born yesterday to not know how seriously people take it. So whenever you defend a rape joke, you're essentially defending what many see to be the utmost offensive and tasteless humour.

This is in constrast to your "racist joke", which isn't a big issue, and people probably wouldn't mind you defending in the first place. Perhaps if you told an actual racist joke instead of a goofy non sequitor, people might have a problem with you defending it.

Andrew Eisen said...

"Oh wait, you're right, she wasn't threatened with rape...She was raped. Because that totally refutes my point."

Yes, it does. Here's what you said: "[If the victim were male] it wouldn't be stereotypical. It wouldn't be a re-tread of a long established cinematic tradition, wherein females are threatened with rape."

The woman in the video was not threatened with rape (she wasn't even threatened) and she wasn’t raped either. It can't be stereotypical of that filmic trope if it doesn't actually happen in the video.

But what the hell, let’s examine it anyway!

Being threatened with rape is completely different from actually being raped. The distinction between the two is not insignificant and while I don't think “women getting raped” is prevalent enough in mainstream film to be considered a stereotype (although being threatened with rape certainly is), I would say the way rape is typically used is certainly a trope.

While the “threatened with rape” trope is most often utilized to put a woman in peril in order to give her or another hero an obstacle to overcome, actual rape is most commonly used either as a shorthand for "this character is really, really evil and deserves anything that happens to him or her" or as motivation for the protagonist ("They raped my loved one, I'm going to kill them!" or "They raped me, I'm going to kill them!).

Neither of these things happen in the video though. The skullfucking isn't done in order to paint the guy as evil and deserving of some epically ass-biting karma, it's done as retribution against the villain (the person texting during the film). Rape as a form of retribution against the antagonist? That’s certainly not a “long established cinematic tradition.” Also, the skullfucking wasn't a motivating factor for the video's protagonist, it was the action he was motivated to take! I don’t know about you but I can’t think of enough movies where the protagonist is motivated to rape to label that a “long established cinematic tradition” either.

Anyway, those are what I'd consider the most stereotypical applications of the rape trope but as you can see, neither apply (even if you do consider sticking your dick in a hole in the back of a corpse's head, rape.) Of course, those aren't the only ways rape is often used in film so if you think of another that better fits the video, please share it.


"So whenever you defend a rape joke, you're essentially defending what many see to be the utmost offensive and tasteless humour."

But again, "So? How or why is that a problem? Why are comic depictions of heinous acts not entitled to the same defense as other forms of humor?"


"Perhaps if you told an actual racist joke instead of a goofy non sequitor, people might have a problem with you defending it."

Okay, pretend my joke meets whatever your qualifications for “an actual racist joke” are. ”Please explain why that joke doesn't deserve to be defended if someone accuses it of being something it's not or claims that it says, suggests, or implies something it doesn't?”

maninahat said...

@ Andrew

On rape vs threats of rape - I'm not bothering to make any distinction. The point I'm making is that women are all too often associated with rape in movies. Drop the "threatened" part, if it makes it any easier to understand. This is why I don't agree with your argument about the guy's motivation. I don't think it makes any difference to the fact that women have to deal with rape far too often. Also, stop emphasising the fact that she's a corpse. It looked to me like she wasn't quite dead, during the rape.

As for defending types of humour; to put it in the most simple terms, "utmost offensive and tasteless humour" is a bad thing, and it is wrong to defend bad things.

”Please explain why that joke doesn't deserve to be defended if someone accuses it of being something it's not or claims that it says, suggests, or implies something it doesn't?”

I'm confused by the question. The only thing people will accuse racist jokes of is being racist. And if it is racist, then it would be wrong to defend the joke.

I suspect what you're trying to say is "if I don't think the joke is racist, there is nothing wrong with defending it from accusations of racism." If that is your point, then fine. But I think it would take a particularly oblivious person to not spot the hypothetical joke as being racist.

Andrew Eisen said...

"The point I'm making is that women are all too often associated with rape in movies."

I very much agree.

"This is why I don't agree with your argument about the guy's motivation."

Just to make sure we're still on the same page, my argument is that the guy's motivation was based on her actions not her gender.

"It looked to me like she wasn't quite dead, during the rape."

Oh? Well that's interesting. I haven't seen anyone else suggest that and it's certainly not how I interpreted it. For what it's worth, that's not how MovieBob took it either: "He stabs her in the back of the head with a pencil, killing her... He then unzips his pants and proceeds to perform a sex-act on the stab-wound, literally climaxing with his semen running out of the dead girl's mouth..."

"..."utmost offensive and tasteless humour" is a bad thing..."

I disagree. I don't think it's a bad thing for other people to find enjoyment in a joke that I regard as offensive and tasteless.

"...it is wrong to defend bad things."

I disagree with that too. Hitler is a bad thing but I'd certainly defend him if someone said he molested children because, so far as I'm aware, that didn't happen and there's no evidence to support it.

"I'm confused by the question."

My previous answer probably cleared it up but let's take this video as an example. I think the woman is very clearly murdered because she was texting during a movie, not because of her gender. As such, I'm asking why it's not okay to defend this video against claims of misogyny and sexism when it exhibits, in my eyes at least, no such traits.