Yesterday I posted a possible positive use for genetic modification (cancer treatment). Today, we need to keep it real and note the inexhaustible list of downsides to eating these Frankenfoods that are churned out and put on supermarket shelves without any long term testing whatsoever. You are the guinea pig.
MPAA now in the crosshairs…
Soloway directed this year’s Afternoon Delight, a story about a housewife, played by Kathryn Hahn, who discovers she likes to get it on far more and in different ways than she’d previously thought. In a discussion of her film, Soloway reveals that to get the film the R she promised to her distributors she had to cut the scenes depicting women enjoying having sex…
The MPAA is happy to give a pass to “boys being boys,” but any picture that portrays a woman taking pleasure in sex on her terms should be treated like obscene material.
Filmmaker Alex Winter presents a radical and potentially disturbing take on the web beyond the law, the secretive parts of the internet nicknamed the “dark web.”
Winter already did a film favorable to Napster, calling it a “revolution” and giving a one-sided view of file sharing.
What strikes me is the total contempt and opposition to the music artists (and other copyright holders) who want to get paid so they can survive. There is no balance to his presentation, and his fawning description of a web beyond the law, the realm of drugs, organized crime and terrorism, sort of gives pause. Just what is he advocating? Some laws are a good thing.
I remember a documentary from 1970 about the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin touring across Canada. Just after Woodstock, when the massive crowds tore down the fences and the concert turned free – the bands met up with Canadian crowds who only wanted free concerts. The kids tried to tear down fences in several shows, and Jerry Garcia discussed it with others about how the band needed to get paid so they could tour at all. The musicians do need some compensation, and the expectation of free everything is childish and unrealistic, actually detrimental to all concerned. If artists can’t survive then they will be out of the game. Some compensation needs to be part of the system, or else it validates the claims of music corporations that downloading is “theft.” Many people hate corporations with a knee jerk response, and the big ones deserve it. But the musicians themselves are a part of this equation.
Alex Winter’s new project Deep Web is described here:
His pitch for a $10,000 sugar daddy is another moment to give pause. Seems like someone oblivious that he’s playing with fire. Or else he’s a bit of a pyromaniac. Something to consider, anyway.
How can we balance the needs of free communications with the need to uphold the law and fight crime? The new age is scary, for so many reasons. The rise of hackers, government and corporate sponsored, as well as individuals and straight out criminals has us all at a disadvantage. The modern condition is hackers 1, citizens 0. As systems become more complex and pervasive that score is going to get a lot worse.
What a loathsome piece of shit. Thankfully Glenn Greenwald sets Maher and his bigotry straight. Bill Maher is as ugly as Hannity and Limbaugh, and just as dangerous when he misleads his section of the viewing audience.
Journalism by and for the 0.01 Percent
There’s a myopia to some of these articles that irks me. It’s that she doesn’t seem to care what the stories themselves are saying — the entire point of this blog, btw — but only if they are directed by women, produced by women, or about women’s issues. It’s a hard numbers kind of argument, without regard for the actual propaganda content of the films. I tend to see it a bit differently, to say the least. Kathryn Bigelow’s pro-torture opus does not end up in my plus column, least of all because she happens to lack a penis. There are issues beyond who gets to direct, important issues, society-wide issues of war, peace, empire and authoritarianism.
That’s my simplistic response to the article, I admit, but it does cover my main gripe: Hollywood is part of a fascistic system of social control, selling authoritarianism in partnerships with increasingly despotic surveillance states. Whether those hammering out the next propaganda extravaganza possess dicks or not is not my primary concern.
Her myopia is the expected result of issue politics, where support is thrown behind tyrants based on narrow sets of interests and narrow understanding. The counterargument to that will of course cite how this isn’t strictly “narrow” when talking about half the population (gender bias).
The concept holds though. By obsessing over one metric, one parameter, we ignore the rest. This is why Obama can turn America into Orwell’s worst nightmare: at least he’s not Bush.
Now I’ve heard debates over this Hollywood gender problem, the underrepresentation of women in Hollywood,and usually the first thing trotted out by the defenders of the establishment is that the box office dictates the decisions. Is this true? It’s not just perception, they argue, but actual ticket sales that determine these movies getting made the way that they are. After all, these shlock Superfests sell tickets, and they sell them to male and female. Hard to argue against that.
Women do make films about women all the time, but they aren’t the ones raking in the dump trucks of money. Melissa Silverstein:
“… but the sad news is that the numbers have remained consistently dismal for the last decade. In 2012, in the US, women made up 18% of the directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.”
On the top grossing films???
Well who made that happen?
That’s the audience, not a dark cabal in suits smoking cigars and sticking voodoo needles into Barbie dolls.
Now if an argument could be presented for more marketing dollars affecting this equation, and male movies being typically funded at much higher levels (probably true) then there would be a more solid foundation, but Silverstein doesn’t even bother to go there.
The counterargument will remain that this is what the movie-going audience is “demanding” according to the strict economic dogma of supply and demand.
If women themselves aren’t supporting women up on the silver screen, then how can this be considered some great intractable problem?
“When we don’t see women, and we don’t see women’s stories, we get the message that women don’t matter as much, that our stories don’t count, that our experiences are less valid.”
Ever tried watching TV?
It’s ALL WOMEN ALL THE TIME!
Perhaps women prefer the comfort of their living rooms compared to the excursion to the overpriced, smelly, crowded MultiPlex where you overpay for popcorn, candy, liquid junk and have to endure the cell phones and blather of nincompoops while you try and follow the film. Then you must miss scenes while you head off to pee in the middle, and perhaps some jerk will start a fight or shoot up the place and kill everyone.
Maybe there are other factors involved.
Shit gets real…
Critic Armond White has no love for Sam Jackson or Django Unchained.
White’s original review of Django:
“Roles like Jules in Pulp Fiction, Ordell in Jackie Brown and now Stephen the ultimate Uncle Tom display Jackson’s patented shamelessness–his Nigger Jim flair. Jackson reverses the anger that 70s black militants felt toward the Uncle Tom figure into an actorly endorsement. He embodies the dangerous Negro stereotypes harbored by Tarantino and every Huck Finn wannabe.”
I, of course, disagree with that assessment. And we have posted a few reviews of Django Unchained. I think there’s a reason why the breaking the chains motif looks a lot like a Black Power salute…
Okay, Indiewire calls it a “hilarious, sincere and boldly feminist comedy.”
And the trailer looks promising.
I don’t always trust Indiewire anymore, having been burned too many times. But this reviewer, Beth Hanna, doesn’t ring any bells. Yeah I’ll probably go see it.
Indiewire’s praises for Holy Motors and Spring Breakers, for example, were misleading. Both films were poorly done, and Holy Motors seems to have contempt for the brains of its viewers. It’s fundamentally against making any sort of sense. Is that supposed to be a good thing now?
Anyway, here’s the trailer for In a World.
As is expected in this action / crime / military genre, right wing ideology is a stock in trade.
Jack Reacher is a lawman outside the law. He’ll do the “right thing” no matter what the law is. Stuffed with interesting fight scenarios, car chases, shootouts, in the end the story is one lengthy sales pitch for the death penalty. As in all death penalty propaganda, the innocent men wrongly executed get no mention. The moral qualms of US governors who placed moratoriums on the practice get no mention. Problems in the “justice” system, however, do appear – but is this simply the bad apple lament? Ooops, I guess there’s a spoiler in there somewhere, sort of, maybe.
Essentially the city’s DA has a daughter, and she opposes daddy’s death penalty policies. A heinous, complex spree murder though is set to change her mind on the matter. It gets all up into its intrigue and Tom Cruise-isms for a while, and Werner Herzog shows up as a creepy former Siberian prisoner monster crime lord of sorts. I hadn’t expected Herzog, and this was interesting. With Herzog’s recent death house documentary (which I hadn’t seen) I surely didn’t expect what is essentially an argument in favor of executions. The Jack Reacher way wins out in the end, as if anyone ever doubted that. Death is the appropriate sentence. The formerly pacifistic lawyer woman is now okay with daddy’s policies. Barf bags optional.
I’ve never seen such a shocking explosion, like ever.
Numerous people killed and maimed in the Texas fertilizer plant explosion so far. Already it’s off the main news page and getting buried in media coverage.
The Boston attacks killed 3 people, but with political overtones this is the great issue of our time, according to the media and authorities.
The Texas plant explosion killed perhaps 15, but perhaps 40 or more as in other reports. These people only showed up to work to feed their families. But this doesn’t seem to be an issue at all.
Is that so? Is the safety of workers who are incinerated en masse not an issue? Not to the political class. Is this company potentially guilty of criminal negligence and manslaughter? When will we hear something about that?